When thinking of inexpensive meals Ramen has got to be on the forefront of that train of thought. A package usually sells for less than half of a dollar and it’s probably the easiest meal to make. You open the package, boil water, add the Ramen and seasoning packet, stir, wait a couple of minutes, and you’re done.
Top Ramen gets a bad rap though. It’s usually known solely as the meal reserved for broke college-students, and rarely is seen in a more positive light. Honestly, though, those crunchy Ramen noodles can be used in so many different recipes as they’re simply fast-cooking noodles. One of my favorite recipes that I’ve stumbled upon is this Ramen Noodle Stir Fry. It ditches the flavor packet and uses fresh ingredients like garlic, shiitake mushrooms and broccoli! That way you’re still keeping the meal inexpensive as the bulk ingredient is the Ramen noodles, but you’re not just consuming empty carbs and sodium, you’re adding some healthy vegetables in there, too!
For the full Ramen Noodle Stir-Fry recipe by Soup Addict click here.
I’m really curious though; do you prefer your Ramen to be just as it is, or have you found a variation that you like most? I used to think that I liked the standard way best, but that was before I tried a few different Ramen recipes, and now my mind has been changed.
Let me know what you do with your Ramen in the comments. Bon Appetit!
I’ve been mixer-less for the past month and it’s been positively killing me! So far I’ve only made one batch of cookies, and those cookies did not turn out at all. I tried my recipe for my favorite peanut butter cookies thinking that I’d probably be able to mix the dough by hand vigorously enough to not need a mixer, but I was wrong. I melted the peanut butter in order to keep the dough from being too thick so it would be easier to mix, but then the dough was too runny… Anyways, the moral of the story at that point was that until I got my mixer back I would not be able to bake any more cookies.
My grandma saved the day. When looking through a notebook of my grandma’s favorite recipes I saw “no-mixer” chocolate chip cookie recipe and flipped out with excitement. So if you’re without a mixer, or simply want to do things the old-fashioned way, you’ve got to try this one out. It’s so simple and delicious I’m really not sure why I’ve ever made cookies any other way.
2½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
First, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.
In a large bowl whisk the brown and white sugar until they’re incorporated and then add the melted butter and whisk really well. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla, whisking in between.
Add the dry ingredients to the sugary buttery egg mixture (yum), and stir them so they’re totally combined. Set that whisk aside; a spatula or large spoon will work best for this. Mix in the chocolate chips, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes. (If you’d like, scoop the dough into balls and then refrigerate them.)
While the dough is getting chilled preheat your oven to 375ºF.
If the dough hasn’t already been scooped into balls do that after it has chilled for 10 minutes, and bake for 10-12 minutes, watching them carefully until they turn golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for about a minute, and then carefully transfer the cookies to a plate to finish cooling.
Whether it’s an activity for the whole family or something meant to be a date for just the two of you, there are lots of great things to do during the winter, in spite of the weather.
Go ice skating
Find some snowy hills to go sledding
Pack up everyone in the car to go for hot chocolates
Find the most festive neighborhoods in your city and drive around to see the lights
Look for a free live nativity by where you live
Think up a few random acts of kindness to do together
Watch Christmas movies in your pajamas
Build a blanket fort and drape Christmas lights over the top
Find 3 cookie recipes and bake all 3 (you could even have a cookie bake-off and see who bakes the best cookies)
Make Christmas Candies together
Attend a Christmas play at a local school or theater
Host a game night complete with all of your favorites
Decorate Gingerbread houses together
Indoor S’mores (you can roast marshmallows over an unscented candle or simply microwave them for a few seconds)
I could go on and on; there are so many fun activities that don’t cost much, or cost nothing at all! All you need are a few of your favorite people, a cold winter’s night, and you’re good to go!
What are some of your favorite things to do when the weather gets cold?
“Hot cocoa” is infinitely more fun to say than “hot chocolate.” Just so you know.
Hot cocoa is the best. And it’s an inexpensive drink that just about everyone loves! That’s why having a hot cocoa bar set up at your next holiday or winter party is a must. You can get a really good spread going for not much money at all, and everyone is guaranteed to love it.
First, you need hot cocoa. Make up a big batch and then either store it in large bowls with ladles, or put your crockpot to use so that it stays hot!
Secondly, you need a pretty table. Lay out a table cloth and bring out some decorative or colorful bowls to fill with the candies! You’ll also need mugs. If you have enough ceramic ones, go for it! Or you can always buy a package of disposable coffee cups, too.
Thirdly, (really not sure if “thirdly” is a word. It usually ends at secondly…) bring out the toppings!
Chocolate and caramel are a must.
Cinnamon and nutmeg. And for those wanting a little kick, a pinch of chili pepper can be added, too.
I prefer the real stuff, whipped up and sitting pretty in a glass bowl with a spoon to scoop it into the mug, but the canned kind works great as well and requires less work.
Crushed Butterfinger, Kit Kat and Snickers. Chocolate chips are fantastic, and Andes Mints are always the favorite. Crush up some peppermint candy canes, and don’t forget the marshmallows and sprinkles.
There you go! Choose a few of those options and set out a plate or two of cookies and you’re all set!
For as long as I can remember, just as we’d leave cookies for Santa, we’d feed his reindeer as well because they’re the ones flying Santa from each and every house! That has got to be absolutely exhausting, so the reindeer need some “magic” food to keep their energy levels up.
All that you need to make this “magic” reindeer food are rolled oats and sprinkles, and if you’d like, some glitter! Simply pour some oats into a large bowl and mix in the sprinkles and glitter, and then pour a cup or two into individual bags, one for each child.
On Christmas Eve night, before we’d all head to bed, we would always go out to our front lawn and throw the magic food all over the snow. The oats are what give the reindeer their energy and keep them full, and the sprinkles and glitter are the magic that help the reindeer keep flying. They also sparkle on the snow (or grass) so that the reindeer can see it!
This was such a fun tradition for my siblings and me when we were growing up. It was the highlight of Christmas Eve night, and something that we’re all going to continue with our children in the future. I always make up a little extra to give to any kids I meet with in the days leading up to Christmas, along with a short “magic reindeer food” poem to accompany it, just so that parents don’t think I’m giving their children glittery oatmeal.
All you’d need to do is google “reindeer food poem” and there are lots of free pintables that will pop up that you can print and attach to the bag.
Did you have any fun traditions that you continue with your kids now? Let me know in the comments, I love reading about everyone’s traditions!
Stocking Stuffers don’t need to break the bank. It seems like even when you start out with good intentions and get most of your items from the dollar store the stocking ends up costing you way too much money. Before I get into a list of inexpensive items to fill the stockings with, look at these two tips to help you get the most for your money:
Tip 1: Fill it with larger items. Not only will this fill the stocking up faster and with fewer items, but you’ll also avoid some of those tiny knick-knacks that never actually get played with anyways.
Tip 2: Add a few things from around the house. Already have an apple in the pantry? Maybe some left over boxes of crayons from your back-to-school stock up?
An orange (for some reason, kids get so much more excited about fruit if they find it in their stocking)
Toothbrush (this was always a staple in our stockings, and we loved it!)
Free printed coloring pages
Playing cards (UNO, Go Fish, Pokemon…)
Mini Play Dough
Small stuffed animal (Tsum Tsums would be a big hit!)
Chapstick or lip gloss
Hot Wheels cars
As long as you follow those tips and then just choose a few of these items, you’ll be set! And of course, balance it out with some candies, too. If you’re trying to limit the candy you could always include snacks like Goldfish crackers, granola bars and fruit snacks! They’ll take up some space and be healthier than a couple candy bars.
What do you like to fill your kids’ stockings with for Christmas? Let me know in the comments below!
The Christmas season is one of the most chaotic times of the year. Everyone’s running around trying to get their shopping done, houses clean for guests, and usually finishing up extra work so they can take time off. For the past few years I’ve hardly had the chance to get into the Christmas Spirit because I’ve been too busy. Last year I decided to do a few random acts of kindness during the Christmas Season and I absolutely loved it! Not only were they simple and easy to do, but it just warms your heart when you’re helping others. Even if it’s just putting a smile on their face for a few seconds.
Get your kids involved in this! Too often kids think of the Christmas season soley as the time when Santa brings them lots of fun presents. While that’s of course so much fun, it’s important that they also understand that there is so much more to Christmas than the gifts. It’s also about showing love and kindness to everyone!
Here are just a few ideas that I have ran across online:
Leave a dollar taped with a simple note in the kids toy section of the dollar store so that the next little kid passing by can pick out a toy
Tape a few quarters to a vending machine
Pay for a family’s meal when you go to a restaurant or pay for the people behind you at the ice cream shop
Pass out candy canes
Shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk
Pack up old toys to donate to a homeless shelter or goodwill
Find a Secret Santa opportunity and shop for a child in need
Have your kids save up some money to donate to a charity of their choice
Leave nice notes on post-its in a restroom or dressing room on the mirrors
Leave a candy bar and note for the mailman/woman in your mailbox
Give the UPS or FedEx delivery person some cookies and hot cocoa to go
Make homeless care packages to pass out, even if they simply include gloves and granola bars
Volunteer at an animal shelter
It doesn’t take much to bring a smile to someone’s face and make them feel special even for just a moment. Of course acts of kindness should be done all throughout the year, but they can be especially meaningful during the Christmas season for those who are struggling. These are just a handful of ideas compared to the hundreds of kind little acts that can be done. Pick a couple with your family and see just how quickly the Christmas season gets that much more magical.
I am the worst at drinking water. If I drink one full glass a day I call that good. Which isn’t good, that’s actually quite awful. I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting more headaches lately, which I know can definitely come from being dehydrated, so I’ve made it my goal to get drinking more water! Here are 4 of the tips that really helped me a lot with increasing my water intake.
1. Flavor it. I know some people don’t like those Crystal Light flavoring packets, but honestly there are so many different brands and flavors of water enhancers out there you’re bound to find something that you will like. My personal favorite is the MiO brand. They even have some with some caffeine for an energy boost!
2. Get a large water bottle. I really like this HydroFlask because it keeps my water cold (I can’t get myself to drink room temperature water, so the low temperature helps so much!) and it holds a lot, so I don’t have to refill it as often throughout the day.
3. Track it. I get a post it note and stick it to my water bottle and keep a tally of how many bottles I have finished. I’m not sure why, but adding a tally mark is a huge motivator for me to finish each water bottle.
4. Take it everywhere. This should be a no brainer, but make sure that you always have the bottle easily accessible. I used to just keep one in the fridge so that it would stay cold, but that led to me forgetting about it. Now I make sure to take it with me everywhere since I have a bottle that keeps the water cold.
There you go! It’s not rocket science to coax yourself into staying hydrated, but it does take some time to form the habits.
Let me know what tips you like best, and what you personally do to make sure you’re getting enough water!