How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day!

This How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day! article is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Suntrust. Opinions and text are all mine. #mysunnyday
How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day!



When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was working crazy hours as an associate at a law firm and my husband had just been downsized.  I knew I wanted to stay at home with my kids, so the scramble began immediately to figure out how on earth we could make it work.  ("Dear Google, Can I afford to be a parent?").  I began taking inventory of what we spent and saved like crazy.  My husband started to expand his small business and also enrolled in the engineering program at our local university.  We figured out that it would be tight, but we could make it work. Thankfully we had saved for a rainy day.

I didn't realize until after the baby came, that we hadn't thought about saving for a sunny day.  What is a Sunny Day?  It’s the feeling of optimism, confidence, and control around your money.  It’s a moment in life when a goal or aspiration becomes a reality.  For me, it was the ability to take my kids out to lunch occasionally, or have annual passes to our local zoo.  Being able to afford these things gave me sunny days, and unfortunately while I had planned for the stuff like mortgage and insurance, I didn't consider how important sunny days are too.

Since then, I have become a master of saving for sunny days, and thanks to careful, mindful spending and saving, our sunny days just keep getting better.  I have lots of tricks - as one girlfriend says, I could probably get a rock to bleed money, but here are my favorite kitchen savers!



Easy Weeknight Taco Salad

This Easy Weeknight Taco Salad Recipe is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods, LLC. for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Easy Weeknight Taco Salad



I feel like at least once a week the day gets away from me and I'm scrambling at the last minute to find a suitable dinner.  I try to plan my menu at least generally, but there's always that one random day when traffic or appointments or getting carried away in the pool puts a monkey wrench in my dinner plans.  That's when I turn to my no-brainer recipes.  Like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken stir fry, or tacos.

Do you have a stand-by weeknight meal that you can prepare in just a few minutes?  This Easy Weeknight Taco Salad is one of my favorites.  With ingredients that perpetually live in my pantry and fridge, tacos and taco salads are a no-brainer for us.  Especially on Tuesdays.  Hello, Taco Tuesdays!  It definitely helps that all my kids love tacos too.  Also, they're crazy versatile and customizable.  We do ours buffet style and let everyone make their own, and I serve them on the patio with paper plates and bowls (please don't judge me) to make clean up a breeze.




Simple Bruschetta Topping

This Simple Bruschetta Topping recipe was developed for Collective Bias and #FarmRich. Mama Loves Food has been compensated for the associated time and work. All opinions and recipes are mine alone. #BackYourSnack#CollectiveBias
Simple Bruschetta Topping



Bruschetta is a toasted Italian bread drenched in olive oil and served typically with garlic or tomatoes. The important part is the topping though.  I mean, bread is great and all, but bright red tomatoes? Fresh basil? Balsamic vinegar?  These are the things that make my heart sing.  This tomato salad is basically the Italian equivalent of  pico de gallo (see also: fresh delicious goodness that tastes great on everything) and I like to serve it as an alternative to marinara sometimes.  It's just so summery and full of yesssssss.

Now, don't get mad and please don't flood my inbox with hate mail, but I'm not going to give exact measurements on this recipe.  You don't need them, I promise.  There's no messing this recipe up because every ingredient is scrumptious and there's no such thing as too much scrumptious.  Trust yourself, you can do this.


Creamy Sweet Corn Soup with Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish

This Creamy Sweet Corn Soup recipe was developed for Collective Bias.  Mama Loves Food has been compensated for the associated time and work.  All opinions and recipes are mine alone. #SwansonSummer #CollectiveBias
Creamy Sweet Corn Soup with Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish



Sweet corn just screams summer, SUMMER!!!!!   I mean, don't get me wrong, you can totally love on this soup in the winter too (I won't stop you!) but if you do, it will be because you want a big bowl of summery sunshine.  Creamy Sweet Corn Soup brings forth visions of evening cocktails on the patio, watching fireflies dance in the warm breeze, and the delightful squeals of children up past bedtime enjoying just a few extra moments of late summer light.  

I had grand visions of making a fancy fire roasted corn and tomato bisque, but as it turns out, I live in Florida and if there's anything predictable about the weather, it's that the weather is entirely unpredictable.  So, after a week of rain keeping me from the grill, I decided to take a different route. Which, let's be honest, is probably better since I'm not really sure what makes a bisque.  This soup is unbelievably simple, but still rich with flavor, and the Corn and Tomato Relish is a fun little surprise on top!


P.S. Contest alert!  Scroll to the bottom of this post and enter to win up to $3,000 in prizes!



Strawberry Shortcake Bar Ice Cream Cake {Flavor Flurry Ice Cream Giveaway and Sweepstakes}

This "Strawberry Shortcake Bar Ice Cream Cake" recipe is sponsored by Lunchbox, all recipes and opinions belong to Mama Loves Food. #FlavorFlurryFun
Strawberry Shortcake Bar Ice Cream Cake



P.S.  I love ice cream cake.  Not like.  Not strongly like.  Loooooooove.  Or lurve, if that's even stronger.  Not sure though, hip lingo isn't really my thing.  Infinity love.  (infinity) x (infinity) + 1.  It's a serious kind of feeling I have for this food.  

Every year growing up I asked for an ice cream cake on my birthday. And it was the beeeeest.  There were never leftovers, because who can control themselves in the face of ice cream cake?  Not this gal. So when I recently realized I could make ice cream cakes at home in like 4 seconds with two ingredients?  Oh, hello happiest girl alive!  Where did you come from?  Oh, you know.  The kitchen.  Wheeeeeeeee!



Three Ingredient White Pizza Flatbread


Three Ingredient White Pizza Flatbread



This is one of those, "oh crap, it's 4:30 and I haven't thought about dinner yet" dinners.  It's simple, but delicious and goes perfectly with a quick salad.  I love this kind of food for busy soccer nights or times when the day just gets away from me.  I try to always have these ingredients in the cupboard or freezer so we don't have to hit a drive-thru on our crazy days.

Here's a fun tip, did you know you can freeze cheese?  I buy giant bags of shredded cheese at the wholesale market and keep them in the deep freezer.  You can also freeze pizza dough!  When we make pizza at home, I try to do a couple extra batches of dough and then put them (baked!) into the freezer so we have some for last minute meals.  Of course, if making pizza dough isn't your thing, you can always grab the pre-made stuff at the market like I did for this recipe!


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