Friday Round-Up-Gifts When the Piggy Bank’s Almost Empty

In Friday Round Up on December 19, 2014 at 11:06 pm


Six more days to Christmas and I didn’t get quite enough time to post everything I wanted to share with you this holiday season but I’ve got lots in store for next year.

If you still have a few gifts to buy but the piggy bank’s seen better days, here are a few of my favorite penny pinchers-

Tea and Cookies

Instead of giving a whole box of tea and cookies, divide both up and put them in a holiday themed tin or even a holiday plate you can buy at the dollar store.

Homemade Gift Certificate

Really in a bind? Make up your own gift certificate and offer to do something, like wash the car, cook dinner, babysit.

Mittens and Scarves

I’m always amazed how many stores, even DIY stores, now sell mittens and scarves around the holidays and sometimes as low as $2. Okay, the person might already have a bunch of them but they’re easy to lose so having another pair on standby is always appreciated.

Gift Basket

The dollar store always has baskets and you can fill them with different things like a box of spaghetti, pasta sauce, container of Parmesan cheese and a bread mix.


Visit any bookstore and you’ll find books on sale…known as remainders in the business. Prices can be as low as $1 and tucked into a gift bag with maybe a box of tea or a small box of candy, it’s the perfect gift.

Lots of holiday related articles on the web-

Yet, more ideas for inexpensive gifts-


Avoid these cooking bloopers-


I always say you can’t have too many slow cookers-


 And if redecorating your kitchen on your lists of things to do in the New Year, this one’s for you-



One more post before the big day. It’s a dessert recipe that once again uses a common leftover from the holiday meal.

Have a good weekend and happy saving.


Chocolate Wontons with Chai Drizzle

In Budget Smart Cook on December 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm


Here’s another recipe I developed this week. When you think of wontons you think savory but these are sweet and I think make a perfect snack for this time of the year. To give them some extra pizzazz I used chai tea mix. The pairing of slightly sweetened chocolate with the spicy bite of the chai is a winning combination.


4 ounces of cream cheese

2 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of ginger powder

1 cup chai tea…the liquid kind you buy in packages in the coffee and tea aisle

10 wonton wrappers

Oil for cooking the wontons


In a small saucepan, add the chai tea and bring to a boil, let it simmer while you put together the wontons. You want it to reduce down to about ¼ cup so it’s nice and syrupy for the drizzle.

In a mixing bowl add the cream cheese; blend in the sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and ginger. Mix well.

Put about a tablespoon of the mixture on each wonton, fold and then fry in oil in a skillet… or a deep fat fryer if you have one.

Place the wontons on a platter and drizzle with the chai tea.


Fast and Easy PB Cups

Anyone try the peanut butter cup recipe from the link in a previous post? I took a shortcut and these are really easy to put together. Don’t know if you’ve seen it yet but Reece’s now have a PB/Chocolate spread. I used one 10 ounce bag of chocolate chips, melted them. For the molds I used a mini muffin pan. Poured half the melted chocolate into the bottom of each pan and then spooned in a teaspoon the Reece’s mixture and then poured on the rest of the chocolate on top making sure the spread was well covered.

Next step is to put them in the freezer for about an hour and presto PB cups which are perfect for stocking stuffers.



Book Giveaway Is Finished

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2014 at 10:15 pm

A huge response to the book giveaway and we have the five winners. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me and congrats to the winners.

I’ll have another book giveaway soon.


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