Who am I?

My photo
Chicago, IL, United States
Wife and mother of 6, lover of God, life, family, good food, good friends and good times!


We've Moved!

Hey there and Happy New Year!  Just in case you didn't know already, Frugal Food and Fare is now bigger and better!  Join me on my new and improved blog, PThirty1.  On the new blog, I'm sharing more than recipes.  There's everything near and dear to me like articles about family, faith, restaurant reviews, crafting, giving and much more!  You can still find all of the fabulous recipes from this site on the new site.

Hope to see you there! :)


Bratwurst or Brat-less Chowder (Make it Vegan)

I bought a case of brats over the summer and froze them waiting for a day to have people over and throw them on the grill.  Well, that day never came.  Last week, I purchased a boatload of meat to stock up for the winter and, quite frankly, I was tired of seeing those brats - let alone all the space it took in my freezer.  So, I took them out to thaw with absolutely no idea what to do with them.  I thought if all else fails, I can put them on the indoor grill and make sweet potato fries to go with them.  Then, before I left work, it hit me...let them eat soup!  Tis the season, right?  

I have been in soup making mode since the Chicago hawk came out to remind us who's boss.  Once home, I worked on this recipe, tweaking here and there, to get it just right for my family.  Well it worked!  My husband marveled at how great it tastes - he even ate it for breakfast (well, that might not be much news :)).  I love making soups during this season to freeze for the kids to take for lunch or just to enjoy on a cold night.  I'm sure your family will love this too - and don't forget you can make it vegan by just avoiding the brats.  It's great and so hearty as a vegan dish!


Chicago Toy & Game Fair 2012 - Win a Free Family Pass!!

It's that time of year again...by now, every major toy manufacturer and retailer have mailed you catalogs of their best toy and game options for the Christmas season.  Your kids carefully scrutinize each page with visions of unwrapping their favorites on Christmas day.  They may even bug you about which ones they want and how well they'll behave from now until then (wink, wink)!  Well, if you're a big kid like I am, and you love to try new toys, games and/or press your child to invent their own, you'll love the Chicago Toy & Game Fair - and so will your little (and big) ones!

There's always something new and exciting each year at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (Chitag)!  The event is held at Navy Pier Festival Hall on Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18.  This year, come out and enjoy the Star Wars Character Lunch, encourage the creativity of your child and have them enter the Young Inventor Challenge, or enjoy the costumed characters in the Radio Disney Party Patrol.  There will be loads of entertainment, contests and just downright fun!  But don't take my word for it, go on over to http://www.chitagfair.com/ and get a preview for yourself.  

I am excited to offer FREE WEEKEND FAMILY PASSES this year!  All you have to do is submit a post on your favorite recipe of this site; tell me if you'd like to try it, have tried it, liked it, loved it or even hated it.  I just want to hear from you!  There will be one weekend family pass giveaway to one random winner each weekend.  Hope to see you there!


Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies (shhh...don't tell them it's vegan)

I feel so great and so energized on this vegan diet, I've decided to make it a lifestyle.  Okay, okay, I may have to slip and have some form of seafood every now and then - just call me a veg-hybrid.  You know how much I love variety so I've been on the quest to find and or create the best tasting vegan recipes there are.  One thing about this diet, you MUST COOK!  And if you like a variety of good food at your disposal (if you will) everyday, you MUST COOK OFTEN!  

That said, I bought a box of Kellogg's gluten free whole grain brown rice krispies a month or so ago thinking I'd make plain old rice krispy treats a little healthier.  I decided to spruce it up and add chocolate to the mix. Well, no chocolate recipe is complete without peanut butter...add that in and voila!  You've got peanut butter cocoa krispies...and we're still not telling them it's vegan - they'll love them!!


Thai Corn Chow Chow (It's Vegan)

By now, most of you know I've gone vegan as a result of a weight loss challenge I entered on the Steve Harvey TV show.  Although I thought I'd really miss meat and desserts, I have to say it's going great and I feel the best I've ever felt - so much energy!  The energy level must be obvious because I'm up late posting a recipe and I haven't done this in months!  You can follow my diet progress here:  http://steveharveytv.com/joyces-diet-progress/.

As a die-hard foodie, regardless of what diet I'm trying, my food MUST taste good!  I have found a few recipes that make me think I can be a vegan for life!  This is one of them.  It was originally created/posted by my dietitian and world-renowned vegan, Julieanna Hever, over at http://plantbaseddietitian.com/.  You can find the original recipe here:  http://plantbaseddietitian.com/thai-corn-chowder-cabbage-salad-part-1/.  I made a few alterations based on what I had on hand.  The carnivores in my house absolutely devoured it! ;)


Garlic Roasted Asparagus & Mushrooms

Ok, so my first and second trimesters were consumed with an addiction to brussels sprouts.  My third trimester, however, took a strange turn of events.  My sister introduced me to a roasted veggie mix that included squash, broccoli, and garlic among other things.  It was scrumptious!  I decided I would try it with asparagus instead of broccoli the next time.  I found asparagus at a heck of a good deal at Costco's...plus they had baby portobello mushrooms...YUMMM!!!  When I finally decided to cook again (hey, I'm pregnant and, as you can tell from the recipe posting negligence lately, I'm too tired to cook), I was way too exhausted to even think about cutting all those fresh veggies again.  So I decided to keep it simple.  I fell in love with the result which turned out super simple - fresh garlic, asparagus and mushrooms.  My hubby said it was restaurant quality.  Even the kids love it (well, my 4 year old semi-loves it).  You MUST give it a try!


The Best Thing Since The IPhone...Free Meal Planning For a Lifetime

For years now, I have been going through the bi-weekly process of browsing the weekly ads of my local grocery stores along with cookbooks and recipe blogs to figure out what fabulous (and frugal) food find would grace my family's palate for the week.  I think I am the reigning Meal Planning Queen (well until this pregnancy slowed me down a bit).  About a year ago, I joined a recipe site that would let me choose recipes based on specific ingredients, store them and print them out for future use.  It was a good site and I only paid $17 for a 6 month membership through one of the deal sites.  After 2 months, I became completely disinterested in the site...I can find my own recipes really...I needed something to help me look through these ads and match them to good recipes.  And with my having pregnancy brain - I'd prefer a site that I can pull up anytime, anywhere.  I can't tell you how many times I've left my nice, printed grocery list and meal plan at home.  And we all know going into a grocery store without a list or meal plan is D-D-D-Dangerous!

 My Food Budget Update (and Free Meal Planning For Life)


Easy Fruity Pan-Cake Pie

I just read somewhere that February is National Pancake Month.  How did such an important commemoration escape me all these years?  Well, far be it from me not to join in the celebration!  I absolutely LOOOOVE pancakes!  And it helps that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day (although pancakes can be enjoyed at any meal).  I thought I'd post one of my favorite pancake recipes.  It's so easy to make, I don't know why I don't make them more often.  What makes them so easy?  These are made with...(gasp)...PANCAKE MIX!  Yes, I said it, pancake mix!  Yes, yes, I know....as much as I love a homemade batch of buttermilk pancakes, sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, you know?  You can use this recipe with pears, apples or even plums.  Get creative and enjoy!  Happy Pancaking! ;)


Baby's Beloved Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I have never been a fan of brussels sprouts.  My mom used to boil the frozen, bagged kind and make us eat them.  As nutritious as I'm sure they are, they just could not be stomached by yours truly.  Fast forward to adulthood...I attempted giving them a chance a couple of years ago while trying to come up with new veggies to bring to the table (plus they were on sale).  Well, let's just say they didn't go over so well.  I never made them again until around a few months ago when a coworker of mine told me brussels sprouts were a staple for her holiday dinners.  In my first trimester, all I craved were fresh veggies and fruit.  So something in me (well the baby in me) told me these brussels sprouts would satisfy my craving.  I had to have them!  I was, however, convinced the traditional method would not work.  So I tried roasting them with olive oil and kosher salt and fell in absolute, undeniable, unequivocal L-O-V-E!  So much so, I had to have them every week since.  On one jaunt to find brussels sprouts, I went to 3 different stores (all of them out of brussels sprouts) and ended up paying twice the normal price at the last store (if you know me well enough, you know my motto is "I will not pay a lot for my muffler"...but not this time).  So to switch it up a bit (because I could sense the family was getting bored with my newfound sprout fetish), I created this recipe and it was a smash.  Now if only I can make them this way for the rest of my second trimester without the family getting antsy.  Probably not, but it was a hit nonetheless.  Enjoy!


Slow/Pressure Cooker Dish: Poppin' Pot Roast

I am not much of a soul food cook.  I only recently learned to cook collard greens and that's only the ones out of the bag.  But my husband absolutely loves pot roast!  Before marriage, I'd never cooked it before and really don't recall growing up with this dish as a staple in my house.  Well, when I started making this pot roast, I was so convinced this was my ticket into the world of the soul food cook.  I always make this with mac-n-cheese, cornbread and some "soulish" veggie dish.  My husband never said a negative word of my pot roast accompaniments because he enjoyed the roast so much.  Well, one day I was telling my sister about my pot roast recipe and I told her I was having the hardest time figuring out what to cook with it besides mac-n-cheese.  Although this was a telephone conversation, I could see the square look on her face when she responded, "ummm sis, pot roast is not a soul food dish".  "WHAAAAAT?!?!?!?," was my response (LOL).  All these years, I thought collard greens and mac-n-cheese were the only reasonable things to accompany pot roast...my sister had just blown my cover...after all, this roast made me at least an entry level soul food cook, right???  "Ummm, well sis, pot roast usually goes with potatoes and carrots or something...it's not soul food at all...sorry," my sister replied.  And that was my exodus from the world of a soul food cook.  As you can tell from this picture, I still make "soulish" accompaniments with this dish...and my hubby still doesn't complain.  But don't do as I do, do as I say (in this case). Pair this scrumptious pot roast with potatoes and/or carrots (right in the slow cooker) and it's sure to be a hit.  The gravy is so good, you can eat it by itself.