"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Menu

For photo credit: http://cookbookspecial.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/how-to-set-a-beautiful-christmas-table/

Well, as you can see, as usual I did not have time to post all of the treats that I have been making.  I have been BUSY, and just haven't found time to blog about what I've been doing!  I made lots of fudge (I'm known for my fudge around here!): milk chocolate walnut fudge, peanut butter fudge, white chocolate fudge, white chocolate coconut fudge, peppermint fudge (my newest creation and my FAVORITE).  I also made peppermint bark, chocolate-dipped coconut balls, nanaimo bars, chocolate scotcheroos and russian teacakes.  Some were gifts, some (many) were eaten by us, and some will be put out at Christmas.

I would like to share my menu for Christmas, which I will be serving on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve is the day that I entertain, then on Christmas Day we will be having dinner at my brother-in-law's house.

Christmas Eve Menu:

Spiced Marmalade-Glazed Ham in Crock Pot
Au Gratin Potatoes
Gourmet Holiday Yams
Broccoli Salad
Green Bean Casserole
Fruit Salad
Rice Pudding

Dessert: French silk pie and fudge platter

Yes, I'm making all of it!  I'm so excited and can't wait to make all the food.  Life is good and we are blessed, in spite of some imperfect circumstances.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  May the Lord bless you greatly, and may you keep Christ in the center of your CHRISTmas.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Peppermint Bark

Now that we are past Thanksgiving and on our way to Christmas, I'm going to be sharing my favorite recipes for this time of year.  I will start with peppermint bark!

You will need:

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or baking chocolate)
8 oz. white chocolate chips (or baking chocolate)
2 tsp. cooking oil, divided
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract, divided
crushed candy canes (we use a hammer!)

I have found that it's very important to use a good brand of chocolate chips, like Nestle or Ghiradelli.  Store brand chips do NOT have the same great taste!  For the candy canes, we used the mini ones this year and they worked much better than the bigger ones.  They were easier to crush, and were already in little bags so I didn't have to waste a freezer bag!


Line a 9 inch pan with foil.  In a double boiler, combine semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 tsp cooking oil, and 1/4 tsp peppermint extract.  Melt, stirring frequently, until smooth.  Pour into pan, spread evenly, and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.  The amount sprinkled is a matter of preference; sprinkle until you like the way it looks!  Chill until hardened, about 1 hour.

Next, combine white chocolate chips, 1 tsp. oil, and 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract in double boiler.  Melt, stirring frequently, until smooth.  Pour over top of chilled chocolate and spread evenly.  I've found it works best to pour it all in the center and then gently spread to the edges.  Sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top (as much as desired), and gently press into chocolate.

Sorry for the bad lighting!

Chill until firm, about an hour.  Peel off foil, then either break or cut into pieces.  We've found this easier if it's set at room temperature a bit, after the initial hardening.

We make a lot of this every year for gifts, and also just for munching on.  Enjoy!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Frugal Meal Friday: Chili


1-1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans kidney beans, drained
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
2 cloves minced garlic
2-4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp pepper

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onions and drain.  Put into a crock pot, and add remaining ingredients.  Cook on low all day.  Serve with cornbread or baked potatoes, or both!

Pretty simple, huh?  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Proclamation by George Washington 1789:
"WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and... PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Orange Spiced Cranberry Sauce

THIS is a fabulous cranberry sauce recipe that I make every year. If you haven't made cranberry sauce before, I highly recommend you try it. It is very easy to make, and you will never eat the canned kind again! This is an especially good recipe that I make every Thanksgiving. My daugher LOVES to help with it.


2 lbs. cranberries
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups orange juice (I fresh squeeze mine)
2 T. orange zest
3 cinnamon sticks
1-1/2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a large pan.

 Bring mixture to boil over medium heat, then immediately turn heat down.  Simmer for 2-3 hours, til sauce has thickened.  This will not gel up, as it is more of a runnier sauce than other cranberry sauces, but it will thicken more when it cools.  I make this a couple of days ahead of time, because the flavor gets even better after it has set in the fridge a day or two.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is linked up at:
Gluten Free Wednesdays

Titus 2sdays

Raising Homemakers Homemaking Link-Up

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Thanksgiving Yams

Every year, for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I make these yams.  Everyone LOVES them and I always get asked for the recipe when I make them.

Gourmet Holiday Yams

5 yams
1/4 tsp.salt
1/4 c. butter
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. cream

1/4 c. butter, softened
3 T. flour
3/4 packed brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Peel yams and chop into chunks; put in a pot of water and boil until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain yams and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup butter and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Add salt, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and cream. Beat with electric mixer until well combined.

Grease a 9 x 13" pan and pour yam mixture into it. Spread evenly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining butter, flour, brown sugar, and pecans. Squeeze all together with hands until well combined. Crumble over top of yams.

Bake for 30 minutes, until topping is crisp and lightly browned. I normally make this a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate, then bake. If you do that, then add on another 10 minutes or so.

Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy!!! These are delicious!

This post is linked up at: Homestead Barn Hop #37

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Frugal Menu Plan

Well, I somehow missed Frugal Meal Friday...oh well, sorry...I will pick it back up next week.  Today, I will share my menu from now until December 6th.  Once again, due to my super tight food budget, I am finding myself with hardly any money left to last me until December 7th (when we will have more money available).  I haven't figured out everything that will be served at each meal yet, but I have the basics figured out.

Sometimes this is really hard.  Sometimes, honestly, I really struggle with my attitude. I wonder if I'm expected to be a magician or something, making this money magically stretch farther than it seems it actually can!

But you know what?  It always works out and we never starve.  I can't buy many "fun" items, but we never go hungry.  Praise the Lord my children have never had to know what that feels like!

Frugal Dinner Menu: November 19-December 6

Pinto beans and rice, cornbread
Pork steaks, potatoes, veggie
Sausage and Zucchini Polenta bake, salad
Vegetable Beef Soup
Thanksgiving dinner at sister-in-law's
Cheeseburgers, baked beans
Ham/broccoli quiche, roasted potatoes, sausage, coffee cake
Roasted chicken, baked potatoes, veggie
Chicken and rice soup, bread
Spaghetti, bread, salad
Bbq Beef with baked potatoes
Lentil soup and cornbread
Scrambled eggs, ham steaks, roasted potatoes
Pork roast, potatoes, veggie
Pinto beans and rice, cornbread

We raise pigs and have a freezer full of pork, which is why we can afford to eat pork products so often!

The Lord bless your day!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Last summer, I was sitting in on a conversation that really upset me.  Two acquaintances of mine were discussing the fact that a young mother they knew had just obtained her college degree.  She had worked hard, even putting her little ones (one a newborn) in daycare, to achieve her goal, so that she finally could have the career that she wanted.  One of the ladies was quite amazed and said, "wow, Leah is really ambitious, isn't she?"  It was clearly a huge compliment.  You ladies know what often happens to us women who have chosen to stay home, when we hear something like that: we start feeling self-concious and like we're not doing anything important.  Or, at least that the person we're talking with must surely see it that way (well, I feel that way at least!).

I've stewed over that conversation off and on for months, pondering the idea of being "ambitious".  The word ambitious is considered a compliment.  It sounds like this extremely important character quality.  I kept thinking on it...thinking that I myself am surely ambitious....and why couldn't people see that???  I am ambitious in how I care for my home and family, of course!  Then, this morning, as I prepared to type up this post, I looked up the definition of ambitious.  I was floored by the meaning.  I guess the word actually has a slightly different meaning than I was thinking.



1. having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal, etc.
2. showing or caused by ambition
3. strongly desirous; eager
4. requiring exceptional effort, ability, etc

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
1. Desirous of power, honor, office, superiority or excellence; aspiring; eager for fame
2. Showy; adapted to command notice or praise.
Hold on a second here!  I thought being ambitious was something to be desired!  But is it?  I think there is a form of amibition, which I have, that is seeking excellence in everything I do.  That is good, and it's what God wants.  But in general, looking at these definitions, is ambitious something that I want to be?  I don't think so.

Wanting success, power, wealth, honor, superiority, fame???  Being showy, commanding praise or notice???

This is not what God wants us to be pursuing.  And yet, isn't that what career women are doing?  My acquaintance was right--Leah is ambitious.  But not in the way that I want to be!

What do you think?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Frugal Meal Friday:Hearty Chicken Stew

I love soups!  They are definitely a good way to stretch those groceries and eat frugally.  This one is a great way to use leftover chicken after you have roasted a whole chicken.  Also, this soup is delicious with turkey too, so we love to make this with leftovers after Thanksgiving!  A great tip for this month, huh?

You will need:

~1/4 c. butter
~1 onion, chopped
~3 ribs celery, sliced
~4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4" slices
~2 med or 4 small potatoes, cut into small cubes
~6 T all-purpose flour (or use gluten free flour like me)
~8 cups chicken stock
~1 tsp. dried basil
~1 can corn, drained (or use frozen, or substitute green beans or whatever)
~leftover cooked chicken (however much you have...the more the better, but if the quantity isn't huge then you can compensate by adding extra veggies)

Start this in the morning!  Melt the butter in a small skillet; add onions and cook until tender.  Stir in carrots and celery, and cook until tender.  Place in crock pot; stir in potatoes and flour.  Pour in the chicken stock.  Add chicken and basil, stir to combine, and put lid on crock pot.  Cook on low all day.

This really is a very delicious soup, and so cheap to make.  It's my son's favorite.  Enjoy!

This post is linked up at:
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Are You Trying to Bless...or Impress?

Every now and then, it is good to step back and take a look at the intentions of our hearts.  Sometimes, we don't even realize that our hearts are not in the right place.  We think we're doing something for a specific reason, but really...we're not.

Back when I was a new wife and mother, I did pretty much everything for the wrong reasons.  At that time in my life, everything was about me looking good.  I did what I did to get a compliment, make someone jealous, or to get someone to want to be like me.  I know...it sounds terrible and sad, but that is the truth of who I was at the time. One thing that I definitely did with the wrong motives was practice hospitality.

I was all about myself, and trying to look "perfect".  I wanted to show people that I could serve an amazing meal with a wonderful dessert, in a perfectly clean house, wearing a beautiful outfit and perfectly styled hair and make-up.  Before company would arrive, I would be a wreck getting ready.  What if something was out of place?  They might not think I'm perfect!  Obviously, it was all about ME.

It makes me a little nauseous thinking about all of that now.  How wrong my motives were!

The Lord calls us to hospitality.  Why?  Because we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others.  Because we are to bless people.  It's not about impressing them, it's about blessing them!  It's about humbling ourselves, letting people into our homes and lives, and finding ways that we can bless THEM and be Jesus to them.

Yes, I believe that having a clean, orderly home is a part of being a good, efficient homemaker.  So is cooking delicious meals.  But...it's NOT about making me look good.  It's about having a comfortable, tidy home to welcome people into, making them feel at home with a nice cup of coffee or a hot cooked meal.  They should see the love of Jesus shining through me in my actions.  I am not the center of attention--Jesus is!

These days, I do what I do out of obedience to the Lord.  I want to love on people, and show them the love of Jesus in my home.  I want them to be warm and comfortable and cared for, and I want them to want to come back again.  And someday, I want to be able to look into Jesus' eyes and hear him say, "well done, good and faithful servant."

Look closely at your heart.  What are your motives?  Are you trying to bless....or impress?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Defense of the Duggar Family

In case you missed it, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar--along with their 19 children and 2 grandchildren--appeared on the Today show this morning.  With much enthusiasm, they announced that they are expecting their 20th child!  I love how excited they get about each new baby, and how much joy is in their family.  Every single child that they are given is accepted with open, loving arms and hearts, no matter how many.

As my kids and I watched the interview on the Today show this morning, we were disgusted with the obvious disdain the interviewer (sorry I don't remember her name, as I normally never watch this show) had for the pregnancy.  She started off the interview by saying, "I'm afraid to even ask" (what the announcement was), and then proceeded to ask all of the usual questions that the Duggars are typically asked over and over again.  Questions like "how will you afford another one?" and "what about your health" and the two most annoying ones: "was this one planned" and "will you have another?"  Really???  How many times do the Duggars have to explain to people that they can't give an answer about when they'll stop having babies because THEY DON'T KNOW, because they are leaving up to God?  Michelle is just so gracious and loving in her responses to people.  I'm sure the constant criticism must really wear on her after awhile.

Also worth noting was that there was not a single "congratulations" to the Duggars, only an attitude of "what are you thinking...are you crazy?" (Correct me if I'm wrong...I may have missed it!)  I thought that the interviewer was somewhat rude and condescending, and could have mustered up a nice friendly "congratulations on your pregnancy!" like most people do when someone announces a pregnancy.  Why is it that the congrats are less and less frequent the more kids you have?  Is the first or second child more important than the 6th or 8th or 20th?  That should not be!  Every child is a blessing and has value, and the Lord has a plan for every one of them.

Worse yet are the comments online.  They're horrible!  Go to this news story if you want to see what I mean.  These days the world is so mixed up and priorities are all out of place. 

The biggest criticism is regarding Michelle's health.  Why do people think that's for them to determine?  Jim Bob and Michelle obviously are following the Lord and seeking Him for His will.  If it was not safe for them to have more, I'm sure in their prayer time God would speak to their hearts about it.  As it is, they are at peace allowing the pregnancies to come as God wills, and they are trusting Him to keep Michelle and baby healthy.  I greatly respect their faith, and it would sure be nice if others could make kind comments, instead of the terribly rude ones!

Congratulations Jim Bob and Michelle and family, as you await this newest precious addition to your wonderful family!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Another Frugal Meal "Attempt"

Okay, I say "attempt" because it wasn't quite right, but it was good enough to share with you!  I was playing around with a recipe, and still need to play with it a little more to get it just right. But here is what I made:

Mexican Casserole:

I browned 1/2 lb of ground beef with 1 chopped onion, because that's what I had on hand, but next time I will probably do 1-1/2 lbs of ground beef.  It just needed more meat.  I then drained the meat and put it back in the skillet.  Next I added beans; I used 1 can of drained kidney beans and 2 cups of pinto beans that I had already cooked previously.  You could use any type of beans you like. Then I stirred in 1/4 cup taco seasoning and tossed in some frozen corn (I just eyeballed this...use however much you like.  I'm sure canned corn would work also).  I heated it through, then transferred the mixture to a greased 9 x 13" pan and sprinkled cheddar cheese on top.  Next I mixed up a batch of cornbread mix--the amount that would normally go into an 8 x 8" pan--but instead I spread it over the top of the meat/beans mixture.  I use a gluten free recipe, but any will work!

After that....I baked for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.  To check for doneness, insert toothpick or knife in center to make sure cornbread topping has fully baked.

The bottom layer on this was just too thin, which is why I want to add more to it next time.

So there you go...a yummy frugal meal for you to try out!

Blessings to you and your family!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tips on Bulking Up Meals

Awhile back I asked for help from all of you.  I wanted some ideas on how to bulk up dinners to fill hungry bellies (especially those of teenage boys), without spending much money, as we are on a super tight food budget.  Now I'd like to share the great replies I received...

Lisa Maria says:  First of all, I buy dried peas and beans and cook them up in my pressure cooker then freeze them for later use. This is MUCH cheaper than canned stuff or fresh sometimes, better yet, the seasonal things are always available this way. With these I can make healthy 3-Bean chili, bean burgers, soups, bean salads. Remember beans have tons of protein so that's always a plus!

You can cut back on how much meat you use by using bite sized pieces in rice dishes and pasta dishes.. this stretches it a long way. I'll send you a few of these recipes when I can type them up (I'm so pressed for time these days!)

When a recipe calls for something expensive or exotic, I try to improvise with something similar that's cheaper. I've used cucumbers in place of zucchini (which costs more in my country), local pumpkin in place of squash.

Also, I have found that starting dinner with a light soup (inexpensive to make) helps to fill up those tummys quickly. You can try potato, squash or pumpkin, cream of mushroom (homemade), tomato (made with fresh, if in season, or canned crushed if not expensive), onion...there are so many easy simple soups that don't have a lot of ingredients.

I use alot of homemade bread, rolls and pizza to help stretch things as well. Pizza can be fun too because the toppings can be anything you want.. even stuff leftover in the refrigerator and if cheese is expensive you can cut back because, while gooey, hot cheese on a pizza is heavenly, in a pinch the sauce and toppings make it work too, especially if you make inside out pizza (just roll the pizza up and seal the edges.. you don't really need alot of cheese.

I always have to remind myself too that, even though I'm on a budget, eating healthily means that we have to have that fruit and vegetable intake. I try to always include a simple salad and whatever fruit is in season will be the cheapest. Peppers have a lot of good stuff in them, including a wallop of Vitamin C.. I put them in almost everything I cook.

Susan says: One thing I did was eliminate what I consider expensive meals (ones that use a lot of bread like French Toast or a lot of eggs or fruit) We ate a lot of cereal this summer. And A lot of Bisquick made meals. We also did a lot of U-picks (but unfortunately the season is almost over.)The biggest cut was meat. We were eating on $28 a week for awhile for a family of 5. It really only bought milk and produce. Fortunately I had learned couponing right before all this happened and I had stocked up.

Andrea shares:  No processed/packaged/pre made anything. It's far more expensive to use this food, less filling, less nutritional and less tasty. I also use my food processor to make my own ground beef. I buy large packages of high quality beef, and grind my own.

Whatever I make, I ensure protein is a large component, along with complex carbs. Filling up tummies is a good thing, but if it is gone in an hour, then it doesn't much help.

We have 6 children who are all eating meals. One boy who is 14.5 and grew 6" in a few months! William is 9, and has a huge appetite, as all our children are active and not sedentary through the day.

I eliminated breakfast cereal about a year ago, aside from keeping a bag or two for some major situation where I can't make breakfast. We have oatmeal, cream of wheat, eggs, smoothies from yogurt and fruit, homeade bread toasted, breakfast burritos, hot ovaltine sometimes, etc. All of these are extremely economical, and are filling and healthy.

For meals, I usually double or triple recipes a couple of dinners per week, and we eat the leftovers for lunch, as homemade dinners (pastas, soups, stews, meat and veggies) are far heavier in protein and complex carbs than any usual lunch fare.

I make large amounts of egg salad and tuna salad for the week, as that is healthier and far cheaper than lunch meats.

Nicole shares: Food prices are definitely a concern in my household. My kids are young but have huge appetites already (two boys 6 and 4, one girl 2). Plus, they are on special diets (gluten-free) and I'm dairy/soy/egg-free so our budget tips aren't always in sync with the average family.

We eat more meat than we used to because of cutting down on beans (I can only handle so much) but to stretch it, I try to cut it up into a meal and use less. For tacos we add rice to our meat mixture to bulk it up. We add rice to quite a bit of things.

I try to buy specialty items in bulk when I can and I still am learning how to fit this in the budget (to plan for it).

We do a lot of soups. I'm so glad fall is coming on as it's hard to eat soup in the summer (not a cold soup fan). I make all my own stocks. Roast up some chickens to make stock, have cut-up meat for different dishes, etc. I rarely use beef stock so that I will buy if needed. For vegetable stock, I keep a container in the freezer and throw in veggie scraps. When it's full, I put the scraps in the crockpot (which it fills just right) and top with water and let it cook on low all day.

For fruit/vegetables, I buy what's on sale. Fruit I will buy in a can or fresh but I hate frozen unless I'm doing a smoothie. Vegetables I'll buy fresh or frozen and some canned.

But for each meal I do use at least one fruit/veg, a carb, and protein (eggs, meat, dairy, beans, nuts) to keep them fuller longer.

I remind the boys to drink water to fill up. And, like the above poster, I think that we're going to have to nix cereal again. The kids went on a cereal binge this summer with me being sick with a new pregnancy but it doesn't fill them up at all.

Carmen shares:  I can share how we stretch our food budget: lentils and rice, black bean chili, lentil soup, all kinds of bean soup (cornbread goes great with these), and my new favorite: no-bake cookies. We also make our own granola to save $$, and I bought a $15 yogurt maker this summer from Craig's list and hope to save about $100 in grocery money over the course of a year. I was spending $5/week on yogurt, now I'm not.

Thanks so much, ladies!  That was a lot of very helpful information, that I'm sure will benefit many readers.  Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Benefits to a Stocked Pantry

I have posted more than once about how important it is to keep a well stocked pantry.  Usually my reasons are related to preparedness for uncertain events.  Today, I am grateful for my pantry because it is a tight food budget week!  Well, it's always tight, but I'm at the end of the month's food money.  I realized today that I have $45 to stretch for 9 days of meals.  I don't know how much you usually spend, or how much the cost of food is in your area, but around here that doesn't go very far!

However, I am very happy with the fact that I have come far with planning frugal meals and making my grocery money streeeettttcccchhhh.  I thought it might be tough to stretch that money, but....I sat down with my pen and paper, and in less that five minutes I had a list of 9 meals down.  AND....all I would have to spend in order to make these nine meals was 6 dollars!!  Wow!  Why???  Because of my well stocked pantry and freezer.

Here is the list of meals that I quickly came up with:

  • Whole chicken (need to buy: $3.50) with either potatoes or rice, veggie (all on hand)
  • Chicken rice soup with leftover chicken (rice in pantry, veggies and stock in freezer)
  • Ham and Bean soup with leftover ham from fridge (pantry FULL of beans)
  • Pork chops (in freezer) and potatoes (in pantry)
  • Steak (in freezer), baked potatoes
  • Beef stew (stew meat in freezer, potatoes, carrots, beef broth, etc. in pantry and fridge)
  • Beans and rice (pantry)
  • Pasta with marinara sauce (both stored in pantry)
  • Shepherd's pie (buy ground beef:$2.50)

Now, I will likely add bread and/or salad to some of these meals, as I'm not completely done planning them yet.  I can bake the bread or biscuits or whatever, and I have a lot of lettuce in my fridge.

So, with my measley little $45, I'll be picking up the ground beef and chicken that I need, then using the rest to stock the fridge with the basics: milk, yogurt, butter, juice, etc.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Frugal Meal Friday

As food prices have gone up and my food budget has shrunk, I have really had to get good at making cheap meals.  I'm actually really enjoying the challenge of coming up with more and more ways to stretch my food money and still feed my family well.  Here is an example of what I'm doing this week:

Pinto Beans and Rice:

Do you think it sounds boring?  It's not!  My entire family loved it.  It's frugal, healthy, and tastes really good.

Here is what I did: early in the morning, I put 3 cups pinto beans (no need to soak), 1 chopped onion, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp cumin, and 9 cups hot water in the crock pot.  I cooked this on high for 8 hours.  Then I poured it all into a colander to drain the liquid off, and stirred in 1-1/2 tsp. salt.

Next I cooked 2 cups of  white rice (you could used white out or brown; I alternate for variety) in 4 cups of water for 15 minutes.  Then I let it set for five minutes, and sprayed a 9 x 13" pan with cooking spray while I waited.  I fluffed the rice with a fork, then spread it into the pan.  Next I poured the beans over the top of the rice and spread them evenly, and topped with cheddar cheese...

I'm certain you could serve this at this point, but I had to leave the house for a couple of hours, so I covered it with foil and put it in the oven at 250 degrees.  When I got home, it was perfect...piping hot and ready to eat!  We topped ours with some salsa and a dollop of sour cream, and served it with a side of cornbread.

The beauty of this recipe is--while it is already super frugal--it gets even better!  We only ate about half of this, as it was super hearty.  So with the rest of it, I'm going to fill tortillas to make burritos.  I love it when I can get two meals from one dish, especially one that already cost hardly anything to make!

Awhile back, I asked for cheap ideas for bulking up meals to fill the hungry tummies of growing kids.  I will be posting all the wonderful feedback sometime this weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How Much Do You Value Life?

A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said: "Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together." So the doctor said, "Okay, and what do you want me to do?" She said, "I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this."

The doctor thought for a little while, and after some silence he said to the lady, "I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too." She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request. Then he continued, "You see, in order for you not to have to take care of two babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms."

The lady was horrified and said: "No, doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child!"

 "I agree," the doctor replied. "But you seemed to be okay with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution."  The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that's already been born and one that's still in the womb. The crime is the same!

Love says: I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person. Abortion says: I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Zucchini Recipes for that Garden Abundance!

Do you have a lot of zucchini from your garden?  Here are two delicious recipes that I have used recently:

Sausage & Zucchini Polenta Bake

This is very simple and super yummy!  Even all the kids loved it.


18 oz polenta (if you live near Trader Joe's, that is where I got mine)
1/2 lb italian sausage
26 oz. jar pasta sauce
1 large or 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
5 oz.shredded parmesan cheese

Grease a 9 x 13" pan. Brown sausage and drain; slice polenta into thin slices.  In pan, layer half of the polenta, followed by half of the zucchini, half of the sausage, and half of the sauce.  Top with half of the parmesan cheese, then repeat layers and top with the rest of the parmesan.  Bake covered in 400 degree oven for 35 minutes, then take foil off and bake another 5 minutes.  Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with a tossed green salad.  Enjoy!

My other recipe is originally a gluten free recipe for zucchini muffins that I got from Gluten Free Homemaker.  But, for this blog I will convert it to "normal" (hee hee).
You may recognize this picture from a previous post...here it is again!

Zucchini Muffins:
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tb. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Add the oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Stir with a fork to mix well. Stir in the zucchini and nuts.

Spoon into a greased muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

And the name is...

Abundant Life on the Homestead!  Same blog, different name...I hope you enjoy it here!  Thank you to everyone for all of your wonderful suggestions.  All of your ideas really helped me come up with a name that I really like!

If you're interested, please visit my other blog that's focused on gluten free living: Gluten Free on the Homestead.

God bless you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Blog name...

You may have noticed I'm messing with my blog name a bit...thank you for your patience as I figure it out!  I really want this to be a homesteading blog, but with an emphasis on Titus 2.  If you have any suggestions, please throw them out there!  Thank you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fresh From Our Homestead!

Here is a picture of a small amount of the harvest from my garden:

Here is a salad I made from the lettuce, carrots, and (super sweet) tomatoes:

And here are the zucchini muffins:

Green beans and eggs:

And more pictures of our baby chicks!:

Have a wonderful Jesus-filled week!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby Chicks!

This my first ever barn hop over at Homestead Revival (a site I LOVE)...come check it out!

This week we got a big surprise!  On Friday, Annamarie went outside and was shocked to discover that we had baby chicks!  This was a surprise to everyone.  No one had any idea that there were any eggs getting sat on by a hen. We'd been collecting eggs everyday, and getting plenty.

This particular hen is an escape artist, and really likes her freedom.  She finds her way out of the fence everyday, and free ranges most hours.  Apparently, she had a secret nest hidden away!

As you can see, mama is a barred rock chicken.  Daddy ("King") is a Rhode Island Red.

So these little guys are called either black sex link, or red rocks.  Aren't they cute?

We are so thrilled.  We had just been talking about how we wanted to get some more chickens, and lo and behold...there they were!  It is definitely a learning curve for us though, as we have never had our own little chicks (we've bought them, but not had a hen hatch our own).

So that's what's been happening out on our homestead this week!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Stocking the Pantry

I've been working hard this year at stocking up my pantry. I strongly believe it is my job as the homemaker to be prudent, and to make sure that we are prepared for whatever may come, to the best of  my ability.  I'll do my best, pray that it's blessed, and Jesus takes care of the rest.

We had a mini earthquake yesterday...super quick, but it did get me thinking again.  Am I really prepared?  Have I done everything I can for my family in case a big earthquake does hit here?  It's my job, and they are counting on me.  In the area that I live in, we are most prone to major wind storms that knock out power, snowstorms, and earthquakes.  These are the "disasters" that I keep in mind, as well as the bad economy, as I stock things up.

I want to encourage you to do what you can, and add to your pantry little by little.  I used to have just one or two of each food item in my house, and often times I would run out of something.  This has not happened in a long time.  Now I stock up several of each item.  Then, for example, if I use up a jar of peanut butter, I can just go to my pantry and get another, and write peanut butter on my shopping list to restock the one that I opened.  No more last minute rushes to the store to get something that I ran out of!  I also want to encourage you to NOT stock up on "emergency food" that you normally don't eat.  Buy what you eat, eat what you buy, restock what you eat.  I've had specific goals on each food item, and I've been really working at getting to the quantities that I want.  Once the item is stocked, it's just a matter of replacing one everytime it's used up.  It's really pretty simple!

"What about Matthew 6?" you may ask.  Jesus says not to worry about what we will eat, right?  Right!  Jesus says not to WORRY.  Please don't worry.  Just be prudent.  Prepare yourself to the best of your ability, and trust that God will use what you have stored, however much it may be.  There are plenty of verses in the Bible about being wise and prudent.

I'd like to share a list of the items I have stored, along with pictures of my pantry.  I have a huge walk in pantry.  It's very unfinished and rustic, as we live in a remodel, but it's big.  So I may have more room than you.  Just do what you can!

Here is a list of items I'm working at stocking up on, in no particular order:

Whole wheat flour/white flour/gluten free flours
Brown rice & white rice
White sugar/brown sugar
Pasta sauce
Vegetable oil
Olive oil
baking powder
baking soda
canned fruits and veggies
canned meats
many varieties of dried beans, split peas, lentils
canned beans
canned tomatoes
tomato sauce
peanut butter
pancake syrup
soy sauce
powdered milk
herbs and spices
chicken/beef boullion
regular and gluten free macaroni and cheese
vinegars: distilled (great for cleaning!), red wine, balsamic, apple cider
mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles

My pantry:

My daughter helped me label the buckets!  I'm planning to move the potatoes and carrots into a big storage tote.

Underneath the shelves, behind the oranges, is where I have jugs of water stored.

Proverbs 31:
Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29“ Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, .
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates

Proverbs 6:
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
8 Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.

This post is linked up at: Homestead Revival Preparedness Challenge

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homeschool Organization

This year of homeschooling (and this is year number 13) has been my most organized ever--woohoo!  I'd like to show you the nifty little carts I purchased for the girls this year.  They have been WONDERFUL:

All of their school supplies and books that they are using are in their carts.  These are soooo handy.  They just wheel them wherever they are going to study.  They are made by Sterilite, and I bought them on sale at Fred Meyer (with my rewards rebate, so really they were basically free!).  I also purchased simple little planners for each child, and they keep these in one of drawers also.  Sooooo wonderful!  Can you tell organization makes me super duper happy?

My mom gave Annamarie her own laptop recently, which I'm so grateful for.  It's very helpful for school time.  There are very strict parental controls on it, which helps me relax about her having her own computer.

Abby uses Daddy's computer during school.  They each have two or three subjects that require the computer.

Andrew has a desk which is right next to our huge school shelf.  All of his books, etc. are kept here, which works great for him.
This is last year's picture, but it hasn't changed THAT much since then.

Well, that's it!  Anyone have any other great tips for organizing your homeschool day?