Embracing Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

With Thanksgiving coming up (like, tomorrow), you may be looking forward to all of the culinary delights that await you.  Or if you’re like me, you’re weird and aren’t necessarily thrilled with Thanksgiving food — just more so interested in perpetuating traditions.  (This isn’t a cynical adult thing; I’ve just never been that jazzed about cranberry sauce, stuffing, and turkey – unless we’re talking fried turkey, which is off the chain and should be experienced by everyone at least once.)

So, if you’re like me, you’re especially excited to get those leftovers OUT of the fridge and on to greener pastures (or your stomach – either way).  If you’re looking for slightly more exciting incarnations of Thanksgiving food, here’s a round-up of just a few ideas.  As always, I’ve credited each pic to its original source – just click on the pictures for the recipe.

Post image for Turkey, Cranberry & Havarti Panini (My 50th!)

Turkey, Cranberry, and Havarti Panini
{Source: Panini Happy}

Cranberry Turkey Crostini Recipe

Cranberry Turkey Crostini
{Taste of Home}

Smoky Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
{Source: Food Network, Rachel Ray}

Pierogis (uses leftover mashed potatoes)
{Source: Real Epicurean}

Potato Croquettes
{Source: Momofuku For 2}

Bird to the Last Drop Soup
{Source: Food Network}

Paula’s Turkey Pot Pie
{Source: Food Network}

Fried Stuffing Bites with Leftover Cranberry Pesto Sauce
{Source: Food Network}

Sweet and Spicy Turkey Pitas from Melissa d Arabia

Sweet and Spicy Turkey Pitas
{Source: Food Network}



Rosario Strikes Again

Remember Rosario the paintbrush and all her homies?

I mean, how could you forget?

And the last time she painted some spoons, here’s what we ended up with:

Yeah, I like those real good.

However, what I don’t like is that the spoon handles are usually not seen as their home is in that silver crock on the green baker’s rack:

In fact, I don’t even remember that they’re painted until I pull one out… then it’s a nice surprise, but still.  I wanted a set that could be visible.  Preferably with a hole in the handle so they could be hung like the rest of these colorful utensils in my kitchen wall.

Fortunately, I found a bamboo set at a Dollar Tree in Atlanta this summer (fifty cents each).  But because they were bamboo, I was a little concerned about painting them.  I’d never painted a pattern on bamboo before and I assumed because of the strong grain in the bamboo that the paint might run — this would possibly be cool if the end result was sort of an ikat type thing… But it’d probably look more like an accident in that case.

However, Rosario rose to the challenge — never a doubt — and came through beautifully (right?).

Here’s the finished product:

And since the pair have holes in their handles, they can hang on the kitchen wall tension rod:

Aw… It’s like one big, happy, citrus-colored family.

To avoid that ikat-but-really-an-accident thing, I just used painter’s tape to mark off the lines, like I did before!

Oh!  And speaking of ikat, we’re gonna talk about that tomorrow.  Stay tuned :)

National Blueberry Month

It’s National Bueberry Month!  This makes perfect sense as they are at the season’s peak… and season’s peak can mean only one thing for a cheapskate penny pincher: the lowest prices of the year!  And because of the versatility of the blueberry, it’s a great time to stock up (they freeze so well) and try some new things with the beloved blueberry.  (It’s got lots of health benefits, too.  Duh.)

Blueberry Cheesecake Martini

Blueberry Cheesecake Cocktail
{Source: Daydreamer Desserts}

Blueberry Bourbon Cocktail

{Source: My Fiance Likes it, So it Must Be Good}

Blueberry Rosemary Cocktail

Blueberry Rosemary Cocktail
{Beakers & Bouillabaise}

Lemon-Blueberry Pretzel Cheesecake Squares

Lemon-Blueberry Pretzel Cheesecake Squares
{Source: Pillsbury}

blueberry and lemon mascarpone tart

Blueberry and Lemon Marscapone Tart
(Source: Donna Hay}

Blueberry Lemon Honey Jam Recipe

Blueberry-Lemon-Honey Jam
{Source: Driscoll’s}

Perfect Blueberry Syrup

“Perfect Blueberry Syrup”
{Source: Food & Wine}

Blueberry Marshmallows

Blueberry Marshmallows
{Source: Calabasas Candy Co. on Etsy}

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
{Source: One Ordinary Day}

Blueberry                     Blueberry Sorbet

Blueberry Sorbet
{Source: Easy Paleo}

Blueberry Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting
{Source: Weeks of Menus}

Check out the whole blueberry board over on my Pinterest page (follow me!).

Grab a button if you were featured in this week’s round-up!

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Homemade Cleaning Supplies Round-up

We all have lofty goals and New Year’s resolutions… Things we talk about and obsess over, but perhaps never do.  For some it’s to lose weight… or quit smoking… or quit caffeine (crazy talk!).

For me… well, it’s a lot of things.  If I were to list them all here, it would probably begin with humor and likely end with me crying over my iPad screen, which is far less cute than it sounds (tears on a touchscreen = bad news bears).

However, one thing on my “to do one day” list is to quit store bought cleaners, hunker down, and make my own.  While I haven’t done that yet, I figured if I rounded them all up in one place, then made a blog post about it, I would suddenly be held accountable for this resolve.  Yeah?

It might not work, but here they are anyway!

all purpose cleaner recipe

{Source: The Johnstons}

The many uses for hydrogen peroxide
{Source: Preparedness 365}

diy dryer sheets

DIY Dryer Sheets
{Source: The Natural Beauty Workshop}

this blogger tested multiple glass cleaner recipes and this is the winner!  (scroll to the bottom)

Tested glass cleaner
{Source: Crunchy Betty}

natural whitener tips

Natural Whiteners
{Source: Martha Stewart}

576 loads of laundry for $6.

A recipe for 576 loads of laundry for $6
{Source: Why Not Sew?}

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Homemade Cleaning Supplies
{Source: From Garners to Bergers}

basic household products used as cleaners

Basic Household Items as Cleaners
{Source: Martha Stewart}

Grab a button if you were featured in this week’s round-up!

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Link URL: https://thegingerpennypincher.wordpress.com

National Salad Month: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

***To read the other installments of the National Salad Month series, check out these links: Asian Slaw and Grape Salad


National Salad Month strikes again!  Today, I’m bringing you a recipe that Paula Deen first brought to fame (Fame? For a recipe? I don’t know…).

I like this recipe for a variety of reasons:

  1. It uses strawberries, a fruit that is very much in season right now, i.e., tres budget-friendly.
  2. It mixes salty with sweet — one of my favorite flavor combinations (like peanut butter and apples and sea salt and chocolate).
  3. It’s misuse of the word “salad” makes me giggle.  Really, it’s more of a layered dessert… A dessert casserole of sorts.  But this should come as no surprise since Paula Deen is the one who named the dish.

(Thanks for indulging me… I feel like I haven’t gotten to make a list in a while.)

And since it’s a Paula Deen recipe, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that it has more butter and sugar than necessary.  In fact, I was able to cut the butter and sugar in HALF as well as the whipped topping… and I didn’t notice their absence!

So… here’s my version for your Pinning or cooking pleasure:

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels (don’t bother with the food processor, it’s better if they’re still in pieces)
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 2 T sugar, plus 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 of an 8 oz. container of whipped topping
  • 1 package of strawberries, washed, hulled, and chopped
  • 1 8 oz. can crushed or diced pineapple
  • 1 pkg. strawberry gelatin mix
  • 2 c. boiling water
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine the melted butter, broken pretzels, and 2 T of sugar until pretzels are coated.  Spread it evenly over the bottom of a greased casserole dish and bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes or until hardened.  Allow to cool.
  3. After the cream cheese has softened, whisk together with 1/2 c. of sugar then fold in whipped topping until incorporated.  Spread the mixture over the pretzel crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Combine the strawberries and pineapples and spread over the mixture and crust.
  5. In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin packet in boiling water and set aside until cool.  Pour over the top of the fruit.
  6. Refrigerate for about four hours, or until gelatin has set.  Enjoy!

It’s so good…..

The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Cabbage

Round two of the National Salad Month recipe-fest commences today!  (Don’t worry if you’re less than enthused, this won’t go on forever.  Just the month of May.)

Last week I made grape salad (which is by all accounts, more of a dessert).  Today I’m giving you the recipe for one of my favorite salads ever:

And it’s so easy.  And delicious.  And borderline nutritious?  It’s got cabbage in it if that’s any consolation… and that, my friends, is a vegetable.


Here’s what you’ll need…

  •  1 pkg. coleslaw mix (or 1 stalk of Bok Choy or Napa)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 pkg. Ramen noodles, crushed (no seasoning packet needed)
  • 1/2 c. sunflower seed kernels
  • 1/4 c. slivered almonds
  • vegetable oil

For the dressing:

  •  1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce

For the salad:

  1. Combine the dress ingredients, whisking together until the sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.
  2. Coat the bottom of a pan with vegetable oil and toast the crushed Ramen noodles and nuts on medium heat.
  3. After the Ramen nut mixture has cooled, combine it with the coleslaw mix and the green onions.
  4. Add the dressing, tossing the salad until everything is coated.

Surprisingly, this stuff is good the next day (I originally thought it would be soggy and wilted, but cabbage is a little tougher).


***Feeling festive for National Salad month?  Check out my previous post here: Grape Salad

National Salad Month? Yes, please.

Brace yourself.  The moment you’ve all been waiting for:  National Salad Month.  I know, I can’t believe it’s already here either.  You see, I’ve had a National Salad Month shaped void in my soul for so long and… Ok,  just kidding.

But really, it’s no secret that I embrace silly and non-essential “holidays” in an opportunistic way to inspire blog post topics.  And I do it shamelessly.  As in, no shame.  None.

So, when I read somewhere that May was National Salad Month, I said “I like salad.  I bet my GPP readers do, too.” And I like greens and a little dressing as much as the next person, but that hardly warrants exciting content (“Take the lettuce, drizzle the dressing, eat it with a fork, see you tomorrow”).

Mostly, these recipes will have the word salad in them, and that’s the only other common denominator.  You’ll see!

(Don’t worry, I won’t go out of my way to make these unhealthy.  There will be no fried Snickers bar salad with caramel and Crisco dressing… for example.)

Today we’re making…

Again, the word salad is used loosely here: this is really more of a fruity dessert… But it is sooo good.  (I actually first had it at a “salad party,” which is what made me think of this series in the first place.)

What you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs. red seedless grapes
  • 2 lbs. green seedless grapes
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
Topping Ingredients:
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
  1. Remove the grapes from their stems, rinse, and drain.  Set aside.
  2. Cream the white sugar, sour cream, and cream cheese together until combined.  Stir in the grapes until they are coated with the mixture
  3. Sprinkle the brown sugar and nuts over the top, then cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
Note:  You can use less or more grapes; that just means the salad will be creamier…or less creamy.  And it’s not imperative that you use both red and green grapes (I’ve made it before with just red and I hardly notice a difference).
This recipe will make a very large amount… think: potluck dinner to feed a few dozen people.  However, cutting in half is as easy as dividing by two (yeah, I really just explained that), and usually when I make it, this is what I do.
And did I mention it’s DELICIOUS!?!  Let’s look at a picture of it again:
I think I’ll have some now…

DIY Dog Treats

Oh boy!  Oh boy!  I made dog treats!

If you’ve ever read any of this blog thing, you know that my love for my dogs is perhaps my least kept secret.  I’m pretty crazy about them.  And while Josh and I forbid begging and giving them scraps, we like to occasionally give them a treat.  Usually this takes the form of whatever was on sale, often a milk bone-pig ear-bacon flavored something.  (And sometimes Josh brings home some dog daycare freebies.  That’s right, where my husband works, swag takes the form of the occasional free bully stick.)

Being the ever aspiring penny pincher and DIY devotee, I figured I should try to make some myself.

Here they are:

I didn’t say they were pretty.  But my dogs seemed to really liked them.

Here are my dogs voraciously eating the treats:

And here are my dogs asking for a second treat:

They’re sitting because they know they can only get special things if they follow directions (and their directions were “sit”).  Obviously, I rewarded them for following directions.

So here’s the recipe:

Peanut Butter & Cinnamon Dog Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour (most people agree that white flour is less than awesome for dogs, so whole wheat flour is the recommendation here)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. sugar
Whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add all of the ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Eventually, it will develop into a dough.  Use your hands to continue kneading in the bowl until it is cohesive.
Once you have a ball of dough, you can roll it out flat onto a cookie sheet or fill mini muffin tins:
A bit rustic in appearance, but I’ve found that my dogs don’t care so much what their food looks like as much as how it tastes.  Bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, or until they are hard.  Dogs like the crunchy things — or at least I think they do — so that’s how cook them.

Yes, I tried one. I ate a dog treat.  Me.  But listen, I’m the one who made them, so it’s not like I was eating dog kibble out of a PetSmart bag…  I must admit they’re a bit dry, but this lends itself perfectly to the crumbly/crunchy-ness that my dogs love… and it encourages them to drink more water (and Josh and I firmly believe that our dogs don’t drink enough water).

But don’t take my word for it.  See what my dogs had to say about it.

What?  You can’t hear them?  Sorry…. They must be shy around strangers.  They talk to me all the time, though.  In perfect English.  No, seriously — they have lots to say.

Anyone else out there ever try their hand at dog treats?  Or cat treats?  (Do cats even eat treats?  I wasn’t sure… I just figured they were too busy with hair balls.  Can you tell I don’t really care for cats?)

Sharing time!

A Tony Chachere’s Knock-off

Happy Mardi Gras!!!

While I’m not Catholic, I am a lover of all things New Orleans- related (and I happen to be a native of Mobile, Alabama, the original home of Mardi Gras in America — little known fact).   :)

I took this picture on a trip to NOLA.

Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I enjoyed many fabulous and unique types of cuisine, including Cajun food.  And I love Cajun food.  So today I wanted to bring you the recipe for a cheap, easy, and excellent addition to most any kind of food: Cajun seasoning (this is a Tony Chachere’s knock-off, in case you had your suspicions).

See what I did there?  Mardi Gras… New Orleans…great food…Cajun food… Cajun seasoning.  It’s a tangled and slightly opportunistic web of blog topics, so try to stay with me.

This seasoning is great on seafood, steak, chicken, sautéed vegetables, as a part of pasta sauce, and… the list goes on.  It already has salt in it, so it saves you a few extra prep steps (my favorite thing to do is sprinkle it on both sides of a catfish or tilapia filet — so good).

Here’s how to make it…

Combine the following in a bowl:

  • 1 T salt
  • 1 1/2 T cayenne pepper
  • 2  T paprika
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T celery seed
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T thyme
Put in a jar and shake or lightly whisk in a bowl until the cayenne pepper (all the red stuff) is evenly distributed.  That’s it!
In this particular recipe I used dried spices and herbs, but if you have the fresh stuff, use those by all means — just remember the 1 to 3 ratio: 1 teaspoon of dried seasonings to 3 teaspoons of fresh seasonings.
Happy Mardi Gras!

National Soup Month: Crockpot Mexi-Tater Chicken Soup

In my fourth and final installment for National Soup Month (also knows as January), I bring you:

And here’s the MS Word doc, for another printable version:  The GPP’s Mexi-Tater Chicken Soup

Delicious, delightful, easy, and yeah… in case you’ve noticed, I like heartier, cheesy soups.  So sue me.  I like to cut calories in other ways…  that’s what salads are for :)

Hope you enjoy!  And in case you missed the other budget-friendly, delicious-delightful-and-dairy-infused soup recipes, check ’em out right here:

National Soup Month:

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (a la La Madeleine Restaurant)

Teresa’s Clam “Chowder”

Teresa’s Potato Cheese Soup