Category Archives: other stuff

Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping: [Recipe] Taco Seasoning

It’s always a good idea to try to save a bit of money, isn’t it? Here in our house, we’re trying our best to meal plan and get a bit more frugal with our spending on food, an area we usually totally overspend on. If anyone has any great ideas to toss my way, please do!

Meal planning is essential for us to stick to our grocery budget. When we don’t have a plan in place, we just go right off the rails. For now, we’re trying to keep our grocery and supplies (toilet paper, dog food, diapers, etc.) to $600 a month. This amount may change once we settle into a routine and figure out how much we are realistically going to spend.

Last week, I planned our meals and prepped some of them ahead of time on Sunday. Here’s what we had to eat last week:

Sunday – Pizza, Pasta Salad
Monday – Quiche, Maple Sausages
Tuesday – Lawnmower Tacos served with fresh tomato, lettuce, and sour cream
Wednesday – Slow Cooker Beef Tips in Gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Thursday – Burgers and fries
Friday – Takeout (we have a separate budget for that)
Saturday – Chicken fingers, Perogies, carrots, broccoli

I also made tangy pasta salad, quiche, berry crisp, and oatcakes ahead of time to help us bridge any food gaps during the week.

I needed taco seasoning to make the lawnmower tacos (recipe found here: Life As a Mom), so I decided I’d make my own. Here’s how I did it.

taco seasoning

[Recipe] Taco Seasoning

1 part chili powder (I used 2 Tbsp)
1 part ground cumin
1 part garlic powder
1 part onion powder
1/4 part salt
1/2 part paprika
1/4 – 1/2 part red chili flakes (I omitted this to keep it kid-friendly)

Just mix everything together and you’re done.

This taco seasoning is so much more frugal than buying the little packets at the store. It costs just pennies to make and the recipe made about a half a cup of seasoning, probably 3 times what you’d get in a packet. It also tastes great and is a healthier option.


This coming week, we’ve planned the following meals:

Sunday – Andouille Sausage Skillet Pasta, Salad
Monday – Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Rice, Asian Marinated Cucumbers
Tuesday – Salmon, squash, peas
Wednesday – Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs, Mexican Corn Salad
Thursday – Steak and Blue Cheese Caesar Salad
Friday – Take Out
Saturday – Bruschetta Chicken Bake, Salad

I’m also making english muffin bread, and an egg casserole ahead of time to help us out through the week.

Yesterday we did our weekly grocery shop. We stayed in our budget, spending $104. We even got a couple of “bonus” items like chips and dip, sausages and buns. Still stayed in budget. I was so proud of us.

Here’s what we picked up:

sour cream
ground beef
pork ribs
romaine lettuce
frozen salmon
frozen corn
frozen broccoli
shredded cheddar
deli ham
green onions
sausage buns
potato chips
chip dip
a chocolate bar
canned tomatoes
bell peppers

Now to prep and cook today to set us up for the upcoming week.

[Recipe] Mayonnaise and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

ranch dressing cover 2

Happy 2013 everyone!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas season and are off on a great start to the new year. I had one of the best Christmas vacations I can remember. Lots of family, friends, and good food. Too much good food.

The apron’s gotten a bit more snug since last year, and like a lot of other people out there, I’m trying to do something about it. Be prepared to see more healthy recipes on The Frilly Apron. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be cooking some really great tasting not-so-healthy recipes too, but there will be a nice balance, as there should be in all things.

One of the things I’ll be focusing on a bit more is using real food to make really good food. Less chemicals, less processing, more preparation and cooking at home to make some of our favourites.

Since we like some dressing on the salads we’re going to be eating, I thought it would be a good idea to start there. Today I’ll be showing you how to make your own mayonnaise, then how you can turn that into into the best ranch dressing I’ve ever eaten.

Making your own mayonnaise and dressings is easy and delicious, not to mention healthier than buying that stuff on the shelves. Most of the ingredients you need, you should have on hand.

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Here’s the Word: The Frilly Apron in the News!

One Thursday last month, I was very excited to receive a text from my friend Ryan letting me know that The Frilly Apron had been mentioned in Here NB! Here is an alternative newspaper published in NB, covering topics like music, fashion, food, and everything in between.

I couldn’t believe The Frilly Apron was mentioned!

Check it out:

I just wanted to send out a very warm thank you to whoever might have been responsible for this. I appreciate it so so much. Thanks Here!

My Kitchen Bucket List: [Recipe] Fresh Cheese

I have a kitchen bucket list. On this list are things like mastering souffle, ice cream, and eggs, among a lot of other things. The list is constantly getting longer and luckily I’ll never get to the end of it.

This weekend I successfully made an attempt at one of the things on my bucket list: making cheese. I mean sure, it was a fresh cheese much like (technically, exactly like) ricotta – the easiest cheese to make, but it was successful, and I feel very accomplished and proud of myself now that I’ve tried it. This just opens the door to a lot of other cheesy possibilities.

If you are so inclined, I very much encourage you to try it yourself. There is no fancy equipment needed – just quite a bit of patience, a bit of dairy, and a vessel with which to eat it when it’s warm, fresh, and ready to eat. This entire recipe comes together in about an hour, if that. In return for about $5, you’ll get a pound of warm, fresh cheese, and a warm, happy feeling. You’ll also get 2L of leftover whey that you can in turn use to make another pound of ricotta (using a method I’ll post next weekend).

To make your own fresh cheese at home, you will need:

2 quarts whole milk
1 C heavy (whipping) cream
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp lemon juice

along with a large pot, a large strainer, a wooden spoon, and some cheesecloth.

Let’s get started.

Put the milk, cream, and salt into a large pot over medium heat.

The liquids must come to a rolling boil, and you need to be mindful to stir it frequently and heat it slowly to avoid the dairy scorching on the bottom of the pot. This is the longest part of the cheese making process. Bringing the liquids to a boil will take about 25 minutes (this is a completely approximate estimate). It’s important not to rush this step.

While you’re waiting for the liquids to boil, take the time to line a strainer with cheesecloth and put it over your large bowl. It’s also a great time to juice your lemon (or get your handsome assistant to do so).

Through the magic of blogging, we’ll say that about 25 minutes have elapsed and your liquids are now boiling!

Pour in the lemon juice and immediately turn the heat to low to allow the liquid to simmer until it curdles – this can take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. This part threw me for a loop. I thought I was waiting for a larger curd to form, but they’re actually quite fine curds that look like this:

Once the curds have formed, pour the liquids into your cheesecloth-lined strainer, over the bowl.

The whey will drain out of the curds into the bowl and the cheese will begin to take shape. Let the curds drain as long as you’d like, keeping in mind that the longer they drain, the drier and firmer the cheese will be.

You can now remove the cheese from the strainer with the cheesecloth and squeeze more liquid out of it if you’d like.

Now is the time to taste the cheese, to see if it’s salted enough for your liking. This is a tricky step, since once you taste this warm cheese, there is no going back. We enjoyed it drizzled with olive oil, with salt and pepper, off a spoon. Trust me, this is a very smart thing to do.

In the end, we wound up with just under a pound of cheese. This was after our tasting too, so I’m sure we would have ended up with just over a pound of cheese.

You can see below, I managed to get a very civilized picture of the cheese, to make it look like I didn’t eat it right off the spoon. At any rate, this is an experiment I’ll be recreating often, especially knowing now how easy it really is. Next time, maybe we’ll move on to mozzarella. Or goat’s milk!

B’Stilla My Beating Heart [FFwD]: Chicken B’Stilla

I must start by letting you know how this post came upon it’s name.

We just finished eating this dish for dinner and I sat down to write this post. I look at my fiance and ask, “What should I name this post?”. He paused for no more than 3 seconds before grinning and coming out with this brilliant title. A silent high five is exchanged. I love this man.

And I love this pie.

Bake. Slice. Eat. Faint.


As another aside, this same wonderful man made the delicious kale served with the b’stilla – kale, onions, bacon, butter, and balsamic. Bacon, butter, and balsamic.

Back to the pie. If you’re trying to impress a first date, serve this dish. If you’re about to ask someone’s hand in marriage, serve this dish. If you need to get on your mother in law’s good side, serve this dish.

I will not reveal the exact recipe here (although I don’t mind sharing it if you ask me for it), but here’s how the whole thing went down:

Marinate chicken.

Cook and shred chicken.

Make delicious sauce.

Mix sauce and chicken.

Get phyllo. Butter phylo. Start layering.

Sprinkle toasted sliced almonds in the bottom of the pastilla.

Add the chicken mixture.

More almonds.

Fold the phyllo dough over the tastiness.

Top with a nice proper blanket of phyllo sheets and some cinnamon sugar.

Bake. Remove from pan and allow to cool a little bit.

Try to wait before slicing into the pie. This is the hardest part.

Slice. Eat. Faint.