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Category: From My Kitchen

Easiest Homemade Easter Candy Recipe (Easter Basket Idea!)

Note from Crystal: I’m so excited to have my youngest sister, Olivia, sharing this fun homemade Easter candy recipe — a spring variation on our family’s favorite homemade Christmas Candy recipe! We typically make this candy to give as gifts during the Christmas season, but I never thought of the brilliant idea to make it for Easter baskets!

Looking for non-candy Easter basket ideas? Check out this Easy Homemade Slime Recipe that my daughter loves making!

Easiest Homemade Easter Candy Recipe

Looking for unique and different Easter basket ideas this year? This homemade Easter candy recipe is sure to be a hit with your kids!

This delicious recipe is a spin-off of Crystal’s incredible Christmas candy recipe — and if you’re a white chocolate lover like me, you might end up actually liking this one better than the original! 😉

(Not a fan of white chocolate? Just use milk or dark chocolate chips instead, but don’t forget to put on the festive colorful sprinkles!)

ingredients to make homemade Easter candy

This recipe is SO easy to make and only uses a few ingredients! It’s hard to believe this recipe could be so yummy with just these few ingredients, but it really is.

There’s just something about the concoction of crackers, chewy caramel, and chocolate! YUM!

layered Easter candy in a pan

I brought a bowl of these to a recent family gathering, and not only did the kids absolutely love it, but the adults raved about it, too!

This is a super simple dessert that you could totally use for Easter Sunday, if you want something a little different than usual. Just make a big batch ahead of time and you’re ready to go.

white chocolate chips on top of layered Easter candy in a pan
And it’s SO easy to make ahead of time, because it keeps really well in the freezer. I recommend making a batch and breaking it up into individual baggies to freeze for later.

Then just pull a baggie out when you’re ready to use it for a get-together or Easter basket!

white chocolate Easter candy with sprinkles

I love the fun colors of the sprinkles — and this recipe is really perfect for just about any spring parties or get-togethers! You could even use them as frugal end-of-the-year teacher gifts.

crumbled homemade Easter candy

This homemade Easter candy recipe will add such a personal touch to a kids’ Easter basket — even if it’s the only thing in it! You could even make some of this Homemade Slime to add a little non-candy gift to the mix!

close-up photo of broken Easter candy with sprinkles

Easter candy packages for an Easter basket

Related Links:

What other unique Easter basket ideas do you have? I’d love to hear in the comments!

$70 Grocery Budget (+ what we ate this past week!)

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

Thank you so much for your encouragement on my last Grocery Post letting me know how much you enjoy me sharing my menu plans. Your kind words meant a lot to me; thank you for taking the time to share!

And yes, I realized based upon all the comments and emails that many of you really find the menu plans helpful and inspiring — even if most of the social media comments/emails in recent weeks have been from people who have felt frustrated by the menu plans. So I’ll plan to continue sharing them! 🙂

Two of the kids had their yearly testing at school this past week, so they asked if I could make Energy Bites — and we ended up going through 3 batches of these this week! We’ve eaten them for breakfast, lunch, snack, and after-dinner snack! 🙂

Also, I showed on Instagram stories how I make Roasted Broccoli — and literally just stick the frozen broccoli straight from the bag into the oven!

Sometimes, I go to Kroger and find all sorts of great deals and markdowns. Sometimes, I go and basically find nothing.

My first Kroger shopping trip of the week was a complete bust. See above. 🙂 I hope this encourages you to know that it’s not like every single time I head to Kroger I strike gold!

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • 3 Dannon Yogurts — marked down to $0.49 each
  • 2 bags of carrots — $1 each
  • Total with tax: $3.67

A few pictures of my salads from this past week. For more salad inspiration, see my post on 10 Days of Salads.

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • Kroger Pork Roast — marked down to $4.99
  • Ground Turkey — marked down to $2.49
  • Ground Pork — marked down to $2.50
  • 1 multipack of Kleenex travel tissues — $1.69
  • 1 bag of peppers — marked down to $0.99
  • Spinach — marked down to $1.79
  • 3 bags of Mission Street Tacos — $0.99 each when you buy 6 participating items
  • Palmolive Dish Soap — $1.49 when you buy 6 participating items, used $0.50/1 Kroger Digital Coupon = $0.99
  • 2 boxes Creamette Pasta — $0.49 each, got $1 back from iBotta = free after iBotta rebate
  • 2 bags of carrots — $0.99 each
  • Rice bowl — marked down to $0.29
  • Ortega Skillet Sauce — marked down to $0.49
  • 2 cantaloupe — marked down to $0.99 each
  • 2 bags of Goldfish — $0.99 when you buy 6 participating items
  • 3 bags of cookies — $0.99 when you buy 6 participating items
  • Pringles — $0.99 when you buy 6 participating items
  • Jarlsberg cheese — marked down to $1.69
  • Grapes — $0.99/lb. = $2.11
  • 1 bag Taco Bell Cheese, 1 bag Kraft cheese — $2.29 each when you buy 6 participating items, used Buy One, Get One Free Kroger Digital coupon = $1.10 each after coupon
  • 2 cartons cottage cheese — $0.89 each when you buy 6 participating items
  • Half & Half — $1.79
  • Kroger Vitamin D Milk — 2.59
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup — $0.49 when you buy 6 participating items
  • 1 box Kellogg’s cereal — marked down to $0.50
  • Total with tax: $46.65

Have you tried the Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls recipe yet? Cassey made them and posted them on Instagram stories this past week. YUM!

Kroger Shopping Trip #3:

  • Deli Chicken — marked down to $4.19
  • 2 cans of Green Beans — $0.49 each when you buy 6 participating items
  • 2 cans of Pringles — $0.99 each when you buy 6 participating items
  • 2 bags of Goldfish — $0.99 each when you buy 6 participating items
  • 5 bags of Popchips — $0.99 each as part of the Friday-Saturday deals
  • 18-count eggs — $0.99
  • Nestle Crunch Bars — $1, used $1/1 Kroger Digital Coupon = Free
  • Total with tax: $16.26

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Peanut Butter/Banana Toast

Lunches:

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Carrots, Oranges, Salads, Leftovers, Cookies, Protein Bars, Energy Bites

Snacks:

  • Cantaloupe, Cookies, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Crackers & Cheese, Refrigerator Pickles, Energy Bites

Dinners:

  • Sunday — Fend For Yourself
  • Monday — Chicken Tetrazinni, Oranges, Refrigerator Pickles, Carrots, Hummus, Roasted Broccoli
  • Tuesday — Pancakes, Sausage, Oranges
  • Wednesday — Sausage/Peppers/Potatoes, Cantaloupe
  • Thursday — Leftovers/Fend For Yourself
  • Friday — Rotisserie Chicken, Green Beans, Cantaloupe, Twice Baked Potatoes
  • Saturday — Chipotle

Total spent on groceries: $66.58

Cashback earned this week: 205 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards + $1.10 for submitting my receipt to iBotta rewards.

$70 Grocery Budget (+ why I stopped posting my menu plans)

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

The last two weeks, I didn’t post our menu plan with my grocery posts. I did this intentionally — without saying anything — to see if people would notice and mention anything.

You see, it takes quite a bit of extra time to track what we eat and share it and it felt like the only comments I had been getting were pretty negative, nit-picky comments about our menu plan (most of these were coming in via email and on social media). I was feeling like a) people weren’t finding the menu plans helpful and b) it probably wasn’t worth my time to share the menu plans if they were only going to get critical comments.

But then… multiple people wrote in and last week and asked about the menu plans and told me you had found it so helpful. That was so encouraging to know that many of you actually do find the menu plans helpful. So, I’m happy to bring them back! 🙂

Here’s what we bought and ate this week:

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • 2 loaves of bread — marked down to $1.79
  • 10 lb. bag of potatoes — $1.99
  • 2 cantaloupe — $0.99 each
  • Kroger vitamin D milk — $2.59
  • Total with tax: $10.77

As you know, I eat a lot of salads every week. This one was one of my favorites from this past week. (Marked down greens, leftover roasted asparagus, leftover Italian chicken.)

Jesse and I went out for a lunch date on Wednesday to one of our favorite places: Frothy Monkey. I love their Gail Salad with whole grain toast and butter. (Except yikes, that avocado looks nasty — I cut that bad part out before eating the salad!)

We already had a lot of groceries in our pantry, fridge, and freezer and there weren’t any really fantastic coupon deals at Kroger, but since I still had $59 in our grocery budget to use, I went to Kroger on Friday to see what markdowns I could find.

I was not disappointed. In fact, I kind of hit the motherlode of markdowns!

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • Family-Sized Nabisco Crackers & Cookies — $1.99 with Friday-Saturday Kroger Digital Coupon
  • 3 boxes of Kroger cereal — $1.49 each
  • Frozen Turkey — $0.97/lb. with Friday-Saturday Kroger Digital Coupon = $6.43
  • Minute Rice — marked down to $0.69
  • 2 Wasabi Peanuts — marked down to $0.25 each
  • Ghana chocolate — marked down to $0.69
  • Multigrain bread — marked down to $1.29
  • 2 Whole-wheat Pita pockets — marked down $0.99 each
  • RX Bar — FREE with Free Friday coupon
  • 2 packages Kroger Sausage Links — $1.99 each with 4 Day weekend sale
  • 2 bags Salad Kits — marked down to $1.49 each
  • Simple Truth Eggs — marked down to $1.49
  • Quaker Oat Beverage — marked down to $1
  • 2 big bottles French’s ketchup — marked down to $0.89 each
  • 5 jars of Simple Truth Organic Corn & Bean Salsa — marked down to $0.79 each
  • 2 Simple Truth Greek Yogurt — marked down to $0.49 each
  • Chi-Chi’s pineapple salsa — marked down to $0.79
  • Hot Salsa — marked down to $1.29
  • Tomato Juice — marked down to $0.89
  • Total with tax: $49.23

I thought you’d like to see how yummy that bagged salad looks like on a plate. Here’s half a bag of the salad. I love that buying these bagged salads makes for such quick and easy — and healthful and inexpensive! — lunches for me!

a photo of Crystal Paine and her daughter

Kaitlynn went to 7th and 8th grade camp in Kentucky with 33 other students from church on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I am not a student ministry leader, but they were short on leaders who were able to come so I volunteered to go. And I had a blast getting to hang out with the kids, have fun with them, listen to them, love on them, and encourage them.

So Kaitlynn and I ate camp food for 2 days this week… and it wasn’t that bad! I was especially happy that they had a salad bar for lunch and dinner!

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Peanut Butter/Banana Toast

Lunches:

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Salads, Leftovers, Blackberries, Cookies, Protein Bars (Jesse and I went out to lunch on Wednesday)

Snacks:

  • Cantaloupe, Cookies, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Crackers & Cheese, Refrigerator Pickles

Dinners:

  • Sunday — Frozen Pizza
  • Monday —Italian Chicken, Pineapple, Roasted Asparagus, Homemade Biscuits, Cantaloupe
  • Tuesday — Beef, Twice Baked Potatoes, Cantaloupe
  • Wednesday — Leftovers (The girls had pizza at church because they went to an activity night.)
  • Thursday — Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Pineapple, Refrigerator Pickles
  • Friday — Roasted Turkey in the Instant Pot, Fruit (Kathrynne was at a birthday party. Kaitlynn and I ate a quick dinner and then left to go to church to take the bus to camp in Kentucky!)
  • Saturday — Jesse and Silas and Kathrynne went out to eat. Kaitlynn and I were at camp.

Total spent on groceries: $60 — I have no idea how I managed to have a perfectly even number!!

Cashback earned this week: 50 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards + submitting my receipt to iBotta rewards.

Easy Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Have you ever wondered how to make cinnamon rolls at home? This is (in my opinion) the best cinnamon roll recipe of all time! They’re SO delicious and the bread machine makes them super simple to make!

Looking for more yummy recipes? Check out Bread Machine Buttery Rolls, Homemade Bread Sticks in the Bread Machine, my Favorite Muffin Recipes, Easy Homemade Bread Recipes, and My Favorite Pancake Recipes.

Easy Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

We’ve been making these bread machine cinnamon rolls for almost a decade in our family, and they never get old. It took me many failed attempts to find this perfect cinnamon rolls recipe, but they’ve been a hit in our house ever since.

And my favorite part of these homemade cinnamon rolls is that they usually only take a total of about 20 minutes of effort to pull off since you make them in the bread machine. That’s my kind of recipe! 😉

ingredients for cinnamon rolls recipe cinnamon rolls dough in bread machine

bread dough in the bread machine

cinnamon roll dough and filling

We’ve made these easy cinnamon rolls over and over again throughout the years, and my husband and kids still get excited every time we whip up a batch on a lazy Saturday morning! And over the years, the kids have learned how to make these and love helping out with them.

easy cinnamon rolls prep

Oh, and these cinnamon rolls freeze beautifully! So if you manage to have any leftovers after day one, these are a great freezer-friendly breakfast idea!

cinnamon rolls with icing in pan iced cinnamon roll on plate

Here’s the yummy cinnamon rolls recipe, so you can try them for yourself!

Many thanks to reader, Sarah, who emailed this recipe to me. It’s a keeper!

close-up of cinnamon rolls with icing in a pan


By the way, if you’re in the market for a good bread machine, I have the Zojirushi Bread Machine and absolutely love it. Read my review of it here.

Looking for more Bread Machine Recipes?

How I got PAID to buy groceries today (I promise this is legal!)

I love finding deals at Kroger! If you have a Kroger store or Kroger affiliate, you don’t want to miss this post! 

I got PAID to buy groceries today. Well, I mean, the store clerk didn’t hand me money (though that has happened before when I had so many coupons that I had a negative balance!), but I did get all of these items for FREE — and I made money back for buying them.

I usually wait to share my grocery posts with you on Sundays. But I just can’t wait to share my deals with you today, because my Kroger shopping trip was kind of insane… and well, you might find the same deals at your Kroger, so I figured I shouldn’t keep this to myself until Sunday.

How I Got Paid To Buy Groceries

Kroger is running a Buy 5, Get $5 Off deal through April 2, 2019. I was planning to buy Mrs, Cubbison’s croutons because my kids love them (they literally eat them like potato chips; I know, weird but true!).

I thought they were priced at $0.49 each when you buy 5 participating items. When I got to the store, I discovered that our store had them for $0.29 — no coupons needed. Best of all, there was a $1/2 coupon + an iBotta rebate. So they were MORE than free.

However, that’s not all, there were peelie coupons on them for $1 off any Ken’s salad dressing when buy 2. Ken’s dressing is also part of the Buy 5, Get $5 Off deal AND there is an Ibotta rebate for Ken’s dressing, too.

Here Are the Details on What I Bought

Here’s how I ended up working this deal:

  • I bought 4 bags of Mrs. Cubbison’s Croutons — $0.29 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • And I bought 2 bottles of Ken’s dressing — $1.49 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • Then, I used $1/2 Mrs. Cubbison’s printable coupon
  • And I used 2 $1/1 Ken’s dressing peelie coupons
  • Plus, I submitted my receipt to get $1 back from iBotta for buying 4 bags of Mrs. Cubbison’s Croutons
  • AND, I submitted my receipt to get $1.50 back from iBotta for buying 2 bottles of Ken’s dressing
  • After the deals, the coupons, and the rebates = everything was FREE + overage*

Oh and by the way, guess what else I found marked down at the store today? Salads marked down to $0.25 each!!!! (Seeing as I usually eat two salads every day, I should be stocked up on salad ingredients for a little while!)

*In case you are wondering, I also bought 4 other Buy 5, Get $5 Off participating items. I’ll share all of my groceries on Sunday. I spent $54 and saved $60!

$70 Grocery Budget: Aldi, Dollar Tree, Sprouts, Big Lots, Walgreens, and Kroger hauls + what we ate this week

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

Well, after a few weeks of mostly shopping at Kroger, I’m excited to have a LOT of stores to highlight in today’s post. I know that many of you are often begging for me to show more than just Kroger, so enjoy this post with LOTS of stories featured in it!

A photo of Xtra laundry detergent

Walgreens had Xtra laundry detergent on sale for just $0.99 this past week — no coupons needed! While we still have some laundry detergent in our stockpile, I went ahead and bought three more to add to our stockpile since I couldn’t pass up this price!

Xtra laundry detergent

Walgreens Shopping Trip

A photo of $0.99 cantaloupe

I was excited to discover that Kroger had cantaloupe on sale for $0.99.

A photo of groceries A photo of groceries A photo of groceries

Kroger Shopping Trip

  • Kroger half & half — $1.79
  • Vitamin D milk — $2.49
  • Cage-Free Organic Brown Eggs — marked down to $1.79 per dozen
  • Queso Fresco — free with Free Friday download coupon
  • 2 loaves of bread — marked down to $1.79 each
  • 3 bags of oranges — marked down to $0.99 each
  • 1 bag of pears/apple — marked down to $0.99
  • Bananas — marked down to $0.39 per pound
  • 2 Cantaloupes — $0.99 each
  • Suave Men’s Shampoo — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items
  • Palmolive dish soap — $1.99 when you buy 5 participating items, Used $1/1 Kroger Digital Coupon = $0.99
  • Suave Kids’ Shampoo — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items, Used $1/1 Kroger Digital Coupon = free after coupon
  • Suave Shampoo — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items
  • Irish Spring deodorant — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items
  • 3 cartons of Almond Breeze Milk — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • Epic Bar — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items, used $1/1 Kroger Digital Coupon = free after coupon
  • 6-pack Ginger Beer — marked down to $0.89
  • 8 packages of frozen veggies — $1 each
  • Kind Granola Bars — $1.99 when you buy 5 participating items, used $1.50/1 Kroger Digital Coupon = $0.49 after coupon
  • Total with tax: $40.03

Shopping in Aldi

We ran into Aldi today because we were right by there to see if there were any good deals. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and picked up the squash thinking the sign said it was $0.79… and discovered when I got home that it was actually $0.79 per POUND. Oops!

Psst! See my 25 Favorite Things to Buy at Aldi.

Aldi Groceries

Aldi Shopping Trip

  • 2 Mac & Cheese — $0.49 each
  • Mango Juice — $1.29
  • Organic apples — $2.99
  • Strawberries — $1.49
  • Chocolate Chips — $1.89
  • Squash — $2.39 (NOT $0.79 — oh well!)
  • Total with tax: $11.38

Dollar Tree

And then we went to Dollar Tree — Kaitlynn’s favorite store! (See my 25 Favorite Things to Buy at Dollar Tree.)

 

Groceries from Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree Shopping Trip

Dried Cranberries

And we ran by Big Lots because I was hoping to find some markdowns or some clearance bread, but I only found these dried cranberries for $0.15 — which will be perfect for my salads.

Total at Big Lots with tax: $0.64

Sprouts deals

Did you see the freebies we posted that you could get at Sprouts right now? I added them to my app and was able to pick two of them up today (they were out of the Lemon Snaps) and also pick up the $0.75 blackberries (they sent out a coupon via email that was good this weekend).

Groceries from Sprouts

Sprouts Shopping Trip

A photo of freebies I got in the mail

By the way, here are the freebies I got in the mail this week:

By the way, if you want to start getting great freebies in your mailbox, just start signing up for the free things I post every day that interest you. Within 4-6 weeks, your mailbox will start filling up with great freebies!

A photo of an omelette

I have been loving the free Queso Fresco I got (I had never tried it before that I know of!). And I have found that it is so yummy on my salads and so delicious in omelettes.

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Omelettes, Peanut Butter/Banana Toast, Bananas

Lunches:

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Grapefruit, Avocados, Hard Boiled Eggs, Salads, Leftovers, Oranges, Apples, Cookies

Snacks:

  • Oranges, Cookies, Bananas, Hard Boiled Eggs

Dinners:

  • Sunday — Cracker Barrel
  • Monday — Noodles, Italian Chicken, Peas
  • Tuesday — Roasted Potatoes, Pork Tenderloin, Oranges
  • Wednesday — Barbecued Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, Baked Potatoes, Naan, Cantaloupe
  • Thursday — Pancakes, Fried Potatoes, Bacon, Cantaloupe
  • Friday — Leftovers/Fend for yourself
  • Saturday — Papa John’s (We had a gift card!)

Total spent on groceries: $62.92

Cashback earned this week: 160 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards.