Posts tagged ‘budget’

June 19, 2009

Frugal Friday: Leggo Those Eggos!

100_0230Remember watching those commercials as a child, begging mom to buy a box, and taunting your younger siblings with the “Leggo My Eggo” shenanigans? Eggos may be nostalgic, but there is nothing frugal about them.

A better option:

Make a big batch of homemade waffles (sprinkle some wheat germ in the batter for added100_0232 protein & fiber).

Freeze the extra waffles on a cookie sheet…

When completely frozen, pack in freezer bags… 

Pop in the toaster for a fast-food breakfast ala Eggos… 

Nutritious, convenient and a budget saver!

Happy Frugal Friday!

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. Psalm 63:5a

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June 5, 2009

Frugal Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caution: The grocery aisle marked Cookies & Crackers & Snacks – do not enter!  Unless you absolutely need something for a special occasion, I would avoid this aisle at all costs.

There are 2 basic reasons:

  1. Read the labels – preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals
  2. Look at the prices – how much money for how many?

My cart rarely graces the cookie aisle, but does this mean my brood of bouncing boys is woefully without munchies? Are you kidding – we’d have mutiny on our hands! We (Drake and Colin are cookie chefs, too) make our own cookies, and it is a whole lot less expensive and much tastier. Plus, the smell of Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies baking is absolutely divine!

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Over the years, I’ve made batches and batches of this chocolate chip cookie recipe so much so I don’t use a recipe anymore. Quickly the ingredients are pulled and returned to their shelves. Within minutes, the dough is oven ready – talk about fast food!

My frugal hints:

  • Always double the recipe
  • Bake and freeze  (if I don’t freeze them, they will get eaten instantly – out of sight, out of mind)
  • If you don’t have time to bake all the dough, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and crowd as many dough balls on as you can. Throw the cookie sheet(s) in the freezer. When the dough is completely frozen, put the balls in freezer bags and back into the freezer. When you want a pan of piping hot cookies, put the dough balls on a cookie sheet and bake as usual. Bake as many or as little as you want!

Hot chocolate chip cookies and cold creamy milk – The art of frugality. I’m feeling spoiled already!

Happy Frugal Friday!

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14

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May 15, 2009

Frugal Friday: Wild Rice

Wild rice is an amazing food.  It is high is protein, lysine and dietary fiber.  Beyond the nutritional value is the flavor.  Wild riceWildricecooked is just plain yummy!

Wild rice takes time to prepare, but it is worth the effort.  Rather than buy it pre-made in a can, this is what I do.  I cook the entire bag of wild rice and divide it up into 2 cups portions.  I use what I need and freeze the rest.  Most wild rice recipes call for about 2 cups so it’s easy to pull a bag out of the freezer and pop it into whatever I’m cooking.  I add it to brown rice as it is steaming for variety, flavor and added protein.  My famous “Minnesota Wild Rice Shut-out Soup” would be less than famous without it.

Pre-cooking foods in bulk and freezing them in portions rather than buying pre-made is both a healthy and frugal thing to do.

Happy Frugal Friday!

Taste and see that the Lord is good…  Psalm 34:8a

May 1, 2009

Frugal Friday

p1010079Frugal Living is an art form and a skill I wish to cultivate in my life and home. It’s not just about saving money, conserving resources and being green.  What makes it an art is combining frugal standards while creating a nurturing and pampering environment. In other words, your family feels spoiled and loved not neglected and deprived.

Case in point, my sister is very passionate about green-living, but her family never feels like they are being given a raw deal. She is very nurturing while holding a high standard of green-ness (see her blog: mygreenside.wordpress.com).

Being frugal is conservation at its finest, and my goal is always to be a good steward of all God has given me. It is fascinating to study the lives of generations past who excelled at economical living, and to glean what may be applicable for my family and our life-style.

Frugal Friday is born of a desire to share little tid-bits I am learning on the way. So for my first installment, I am sharing my smoothie recipe. My son, Colin, is a AAA hockey goalie and today marks the first weekend of this season.  He knows as an athlete what goes into his body before a tournament weekend will affect his energy-level on the ice. This p10100281morning was a smoothie morning…p10100291

Jane’s Smoothies Recipe

  1. Fill the blender half way with plain yogurt (not vanilla or any pre-sweetened varieties – you control the sugar!) preferably organic or homemade
  2. Add enough orange juice to blend
  3. Throw in 1-2 frozen bananas and handfuls of frozen blueberries & raspberries
  4. Blend and serve

So, where is the frugalness? Let’s start with bananas. Many stores discount bananas once they brown and you can buy a bagful for a reasonable price.  Peel them and bag them and pop into the freezer.  When you are making smoothies and malts, they are the perfect addition for nutrition, thickening and frosty flavor.

Blueberries are a lovely fruit!  In season, you can find pints for around $2. At this point, I buy as many as I can. (Last year most of the blueberries I froze for the winter months, I picked from a local garden. The benefits of picking and purchasing locally are numerous. It is more cost effective to pick-your-own berries while soaking in the fragrant smell of berries – heavenly! Also, you know exactly where your money is going and where your food is coming from.) I place them on cookie sheets and pop in the freezer.  This way they freeze individually so it is easy to portion out for recipes.  After they are frozen on the cookies sheets, I fill quart bags and stick them back into the freezer. Frozen blueberries are so much easier to work with when making scones, muffins and blueberry pancakes.

All the above could be said of raspberries. They freeze well, too, and it is best to freeze individually before you bag them.p10100773 Having frozen blueberries and raspberries make for a great pop-in-your-mouth frozen treat – better than candy!

Happy Frugal Friday!

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son… Proverbs 10:5a

April 20, 2009

Frugal Meets Magical

Left-overs: Where frugal meets magical!

The left-over dry and stale Easter challah bread was magically transformed into a tasty, steaming bread pudding. A caramel-like sauce slathered the dessert and added a note of decadence to the whole affair. Yummy!! Additionally, the vehicle for this transformation was the crock-pot.  And, the left-over caramel sauce is just waiting to be poured over pannekokens one morning this week.

Here is my Frugal Flowchart:

flow0012

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27p1010075
p1010074

April 13, 2009

Waste not…

Today is the day after the grand Easter celebration dinner. The ham was bountiful and smelled amazing. The potatoes, caesar salad (my brother-in-law’s specialty!) and deviled eggs filled every empty spot in your belly, and the beehive-shaped honey cake and/or cherry pie and/or flour-less chocolate torte provided just a touch of sweet to round of the Resurrection Day feast! Oh, the memories! Oh, the left-overs! 

My tips for Easter dinner left-overs:

672px-nci_clove_hamHam

  • As we speak, I have two ham & cheese quiches in the oven – yum!
  • Your family will tire of ham left-overs so chop up the ham and freeze in quart-size baggies. 
  • Find a good recipe for ham and bean soup. Use the ham bone for a great stock, and freeze left-over soup in individual containers for lunches.

Mashed potatoes

  • Throw together canned salmon, mashed potatoes, chives and an egg.  Fry as you would pancakes for a tasty and nutritional meal.  Serve with steamed broccoli for dinner or fruit for breakfast.  
  • Make potato bread. I found an older recipe last summer for potato cinnamon rolls printed in the More with Less cookbook.  The recipe made over 100 rolls.  I froze many, many of them; we had cinnamon rolls for months! We also gave them as food gifts and contributed a few dozen to a bake sale. If anyone in our family mentions potato cinnamon rolls, we all chuckle at the memory.

Deviled eggs

  • Well, if I had any left, I would just eat them…

Challah bread

  • I am fascinated by this Jewish sabbath bread (I’ll have to save that for a future blog…)! It is a rich, egg-based bread like a brioche. I find it dries out pretty fast, but it makes amazing French toast.
  • Recently, I found a crock-pot recipe for bread pudding. This would be the perfect bread to experiment with the recipe.
  • Challah bread makes wonderful bread crumbs, too.

Peeps

  • This year we are over-run with those mini marshmallow minions. My thought (and I haven’t tried it, yet) is to stuff those birds with a chocolate egg or two (since they are plenteous as well), place between two graham crackers and throw in the microwave (the oven works too). Sounds rather extreme, doesn’t it?pink_peeps

Love to hear your solutions to the left-over dilemma…

Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.  Proverbs 12:27 (NLT)

Father God, Give us diligent hands so that everything we do prospers according to Your word (Proverbs 10:4). Amen

March 24, 2009

Tips for Tight Places

Earlier, I wrote about claustrophobic places.  When the walls seem to be closing in on you, and you begin to feel like Pooh Bear (a wedged bear in a great tightness).  But take courage, there is relief in those tight places. David prayed in Psalm 4:1 for God to expand him in those tight places.  He had the wisdom to know sometimes God leads us to spacious places, but there are also times God chooses to expand us in those places of great tightness.

If you are in a similar place, whether physical or emotional or whatever, God can expand you.  Here are my Tips for Tight Places:

1 – Pray for expansion:  David admitted that he was in a tight place, and prayed for expansion.  He did not just assume that God would notice and do something about it.  David knew the value of asking.  Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete. John 16:24

2 – Pray specifically for the need:

If any of your lack wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5

Financial expansion – This can include wisdom in budgeting, discovering new avenues of income, and utilizing current resources creatively.  Watch for out-of-the box answers to your request.  

This past year has been very tight financially for our family. But, we’ve discovered a wealth of things that have expanded our finances and our perspective.  One extremely valuable thing my husband and I did was to attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  This provided us with tools and knowledge that we quite frankly didn’t possess before.  

We worked with my parents and my sister’s family gardening all summer, and canning the harvest. Anyone need a jar of kraut?  My two older sons and I spend our early mornings during the summer months at a local market garden picking fragrant strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  Some afternoons, we also sold buckets of berries.  We were rewarded with a small income, and often times with berries as well.  We became berry rich!  Again and again, we discovered that God can expand a limited budget.

3 – Pray and meditate on God’s word – Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness? – A.A. Milne, In Which Pooh Goes Visiting 

There are many comforting passages from THE Sustaining Book: The Bible. Write them on notecards and memorize them. Repeat and personalize them daily.  Romans 8:31-39 is one such passage:

 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 
   “For your sake we face death all day long; 
      we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4 – Trust GodTrust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Tight places can be exceedingly uncomfortable places, but there are places of intense personal growth. Often times, they are a proving ground or preparation for new phases in your walk with God. Trust God not your circumstances, and know that He WILL make your way straight.