Archive for February, 2009

Poorman’s Meal – Frugal Recipes From The Great Depression

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

I’m glad you like listening and watching Clara as much as I do. This episode of “Depression Cooking” is all about making what Clara calls a Poorman’s Meal. It’s a simple meal of potatoes, onions and hot dogs that sounds like a great kid-pleaser. We’re going to have this for lunch later this afternoon.

Can you believe Clara had to leave high-school because she couldn’t afford to buy socks?

Egg Soup – Frugal Recipes From The Great Depression

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s video where 91 year old great grandmother Clara shared her Pea Pasta recipe. Here’s another one of her family favorites – Egg Drop Soup

To be honest, I’m not sure my family would particularly enjoy this soup, but it is a nutritious and inexpensive recipe that will fill your belly in a pinch.

I love the story about the trick her brother played on her when she was a little girl.
What do you think about the recipe and Clara?

Peas and Pasta – Frugal Recipes From The Great Depression

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I found some great cooking videos with frugal recipes from the Great Depression for you. I love the fact that a 91-year-old great grandmother took the time to share them along with some interesting tidbits about growing up during this time period.

I enjoyed watching this and I’m sure you will as well.

“Make” an Extra $25 This Week – Frugal Challenge

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

What would you do if you had an extra $100 a month? Would it make keeping up with bills easier? Just imagine how fast you could pay off your debt if you could put that extra $100 toward it each month?

The problem is $100 sounds like a pretty big number and it isn’t all that easy to come up with that extra cash. But what about $25? Seems a lot more attainable, doesn’t it? So that’s what this week’s Frugal Challenge is going to be…”make” an extra $25.

I’m using the term “make” rather loosely here. You can either earn an extra $25 or save them somewhere else in your weekly budget. Either way, see if you can do it in a way that you can repeat each week. Here are a couple of ideas:

Ways to Make More

  • Babysit 2 hours per week
  • Tutor a neighbor child
  • Hold a yard sale
  • Sell something on ebay
  • Take clothes and toys your kids have outgrown to the consignment shop
  • Crafty? Sell your crafts and craft patterns on etsy.com
  • Love to write? Start a blog at blogger.com and monetize it with google adsense
  • Love to cook? Share your recipes on a blog and again monetize with google adsense and affiliate products. (You could become a HBHW ebook affiliate)
  • Work a few extra hours if you have a job (or ask for a raise)
  • Got administrative skills? Consider working as a Virtual Assistant a few hours a week. See Shelancers.com for more info.
  • Do some consulting in your field of expertise.

Ways To Save More

  • Cut out that daily trip to the coffee shop
  • Cut down on your phone, internet and cable plans
  • Go to the library instead of buying books
  • Drink water instead of soft drinks
  • Cut back on eating out
  • Make your own convenience foods
  • Meal plan

Obviously this is just a small list. I’d love to hear your ideas. Get creative… if you had to make an extra $25 this week, what would you do?

Does Freezer Cooking Really Save Money?

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Just got the following email and thought I’d share it with you since you’re probably wondering if freezer cooking can really save you money.

Hi Suzanne,

I just had to write to thank you for your freezer cooking e-book. I bought it yesterday and read through it last night. This morning, I ran across a flyer from my grocery store. Chicken breast on sale for 99 cents a pound. We eat a lot of chicken and I usually pay at least $2.89 per pound. I went shopping first thing this morning and was able to get 10 pounds of chicken. When I got home, I used your crispy chicken from the freezer recipe and the one for chicken pot pie to turn most of the meat into freezer meals. The rest will be dinner tonight. Saved $19.90 on the chicken and we have a bunch of dinners ready.

Thank you – Cindy H. SC

Big Kudos go to Cindy for going out and getting that great deal on chicken and then taking the time on a Sunday to make all those freezer meals. I’m so happy you’ve found it useful and are already saving money on your groceries.

Since we’re on the topic, I thought I’d share another email with you as well…

I have researched freezer cooking extensively and gave a talk to over 200 women last year on the subject. You did a fantastic job putting your freezer cooking info together. I am really impressed.I am a registered dietitian in Iowa and refer people often to your website. It is a wealth of info on frugal and healthy cooking as well as other subjects. Keep up the good work!
Michelle

Thank you both for your kind words. It means the world to me. – Susanne

To get your copy of Freezer Cooking Made Simple, click here or on the image below:

3 Minute Meals – Seriously!

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

We had a pretty slow and relaxing Saturday for a change. I spent part of the day knitting my first pair of socks (I’ll post pictures when they are finished) and the rest of the day on a little experiment…

I’ve had lasagna on my mind all week, and this was as good a day as any to make it. I dug through my pantry and saw that I had plenty of everything, enough to make a few extra lasagnas for the freezer. And since I’ve been working on my Freezer Cooking Made Simple ebook, I thought this was a great opportunity to see exactly how much time making freezer meals saves. The results were four 3-Minute meals.

Let me explain…

I made the first lasagna and timed myself. Then I went back to make four more lasagnas (to be frozen for later). Including clean-up each time, and assembling all these lasagnas it took me just under 10 minutes longer to make four than it did to make the single lasagna. They are now sitting in my freezer, waiting to be pushed in the oven and cooked on a night when I’m too tired to cook a whole meal. That means it took me an average of 3 minutes to make these extra meals.

Granted, it may take another minute to move each lasagna from the freezer, sprinkle it with cheese and then remove it from the oven when it’s done, but you get my point. By cooking double, triple or in my case quadruple quantities of foods that will freeze and reheat well, you can save a lot of time. Time that you can spend with your family instead.

You can get your copy of my freezer cooking ebook here.

Here’s my freezer lasagna recipe:

Home Made Lasagna

  • 10 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 C onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 t parsley flakes
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 3 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 C ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Cook the lasagna noodles as direction on the package.
Drain well then set aside and keep warm.
Heat the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Place the beef, onions and garlic in a skillet placed over medium heat.
Cook 10 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink.
Drain and pat off excess grease with paper towel.
Return the meat mixture to the skillet and sprinkle in the parsley, salt, basil and oregano.
Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and stir to combine all the ingredients together well.
Reduce the heat to low and cook 10 minutes, stirring often.
In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese and egg whites until well combined.
Spread 1/4 C beef mixture into the bottom of a 9X13 ungreased baking dish.
Layer 1/2 the cooked noodles over the beef.
Layer more of the beef mixture over the noodles and top the beef mixture with part of the cheese mixture.
Continue with the layers until all the ingredients have been used.
Sprinkle the top with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Bake 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese has completely melted.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings

When freezing omit the two cheeses and do not bake. When ready to use do not thaw. Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour 35 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the cheeses and continue baking 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Pots and Pans – Tidy Tuesday

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Since yesterday’s Frugal Challenge already had us reorganizing our pantry, I thought I’d pick something quick and easy for today’s Tidy Tuesday Task.

Where do you keep your pots and pans? I have them all shoved into a low cabinet right across from my stove. Pots and pans are stacked just about as high as they will go in there.

It’s time to do something about that….

Cast Iron Cookware 1
Creative Commons License photo credit: cybrgrl

Step 1: Get it All Out

Let’s start by getting all our pots and pans out of the cabinet (or wherever you are keeping all of yours.

Step 2: Sort Through

Next it’s time to decide what pots and pans stay and who gets a ride to the trash can. I know I have some things in there that I know I will no longer use because they are just in pitiful shape. I also have quite a few cast iron pans, more than I actually end up using and am planning on giving one or two of them away to make a little more room.

Step 3: Time To Clean

Since all the pots and pans are already out anyway, this is a great time to clean both the cabinet and any pots and pans that haven’t been used in a while.

Step 4: Put It All Back

Last but not least it’s time to put everything back in place. If you’ve been able to get rid of some of your unused pots and pans in one way or another, you should have no problem reorganizing them in the cabinet.

Don’t forget to fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea and relax for a bit after all that work.

Free pots and pans
Creative Commons License photo credit: RobotSkirts

Ready to tackle the rest of your kitchen? Get Organize Your Kitchen and Pantry in a Weekend for a step by step plan to do just that.

Reorganize Your Pantry – Frugal Challenge

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Are you ready for another frugal challenge? This week, I’d like you to take a good look at your pantry. I don’t know about you, but before I came up with a good plan for my pantry and all the dry goods stored in it, I ended up wasting a lot of food each month. Bread and rolls would get lost toward the back of a shelf only to be found much later squished, dry or worse – moldy. I’d come across several open jars of peanut butter and would end up tossing them out since I had no idea how old they were. Same goes with dry cereal and potato chips. By the time they were rediscovered, they no longer tasted good at all.

I spent a day emptying my pantry, sorting through everything I had and then reorganizing everything that was still deemed edible. It mad a huge difference. It takes me about 10 minutes a week now to straighten the pantry back up, something I usually do while I’m making my grocery list for the week since I need to check on what I need to pick up from the store anyway.

I challenge you to give your pantry a makeover this week. And then keep it organized and fully usable from here on out. You’ll be surprised to find two things.

1) There’s a bunch of food in your pantry right now that you probably forgot about. Use it over the coming weeks to cut down on your grocery budget.

2) Over the coming weeks and months, you’ll throw out less food, thus again reducing your grocery budget.

Let me know how it goes.

Frugal Valentine’s Day Meals

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Happy Frugal Fun Friday… since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I thought we could all share some fun foods and recipes to make for that special, romantic day. Hubby and I usually don’t do much for Valentine’s day, but it’s always fun to come up with a little something special.

This is also the first year that out daughter is really getting into Valentine’s Day. She’s been busy making cards and little bags of treats for her friends. I thought it would be nice to surprise both her and my hubby with some Valentine inspired dishes tomorrow.

Breakfast

For breakfast I was thinking of either making some heart shaped pancakes, or take it a step further and make some two tone pancakes. It’s basically a matter of making a batch of pancake batter and then dividing it evenly in two bowls. Use food coloring to turn one half of the batter red or pink. Then make the pancakes as usual. When done, use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut a heart out of the middle of each pancake. Gently take out the heart. Put a red heart inside the cutout shape of the plain pancake and vice versa.

Dinner

I’m going to make a heart shaped pizza for dinner tomorrow night. We have pizza quite a bit on Saturdays anyway, but this will give it a fun twist. I’m going to use this quick and easy pizza recipe. Of course you could also ask your favorite pizza place to make you a special heart shaped pizza.

Of course you could also cook a nice romantic dinner for just the two of you. We did this on our anniversary last year. We waited until our daughter was in bed, then set the table with a tablecloth, a candle and our good china.

Here’s an idea for a romantic 3 course dinner. You may also want to pick up a bottle of wine.

  • Crockpot Minestrone SoupI like the idea of using a crockpot because you’ll have time to enjoy the evening and don’t have to worry about finishing this first course. Serve a small serving as the first course, then save the rest for lunch tomorrow.
  • Pick a simple meal that you can stick in the oven and cook without having to watch over it the entire time. I like this oven pot roast. Just roast some potatoes, onions and carrots in a separate pan alongside your roast.
  • How about some homemade brownies for dessert. Cut each of you a piece, place each on a plate and drizzle with chocolate syrup for a stunning dessert.

Ok, now it’s your turn. Got any good frugal Valentine ideas?

Easily Distracted – But With Good Reason

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

I usually sit down on Saturdays to figure out what I need to get done each week – both for my family and for the HBHW website. For the past few weeks, creating a new HBHW newsletter has always been on that list, but I don’t have to tell you that the next issue is yet to show up in your email inbox.

Part of the reason is that I keep working on and adding to the Freezer Cooking Made Simple Guide which is almost done by the way. The other reason is that I got sidetracked by quite a few emails from HBHW visitors who told me that they ended up spending too much on Christmas and now that all the bills and credit card statements are in they are trying to figure out how to pay them off. I’ve been there myself and as you know we were able to dig ourselves out of quite a bit of debt this past year.

I set down and put together a short 20 page ebook called “Creative Ways To Eliminate Holiday Debt“. It’s a hands-on guide that will walk you through determining how much you owe exactly and then develop a plan to pay it off. It also includes quite a few ideas on where to find the extra money to make those payments.

You can find it in the new HBHW ebook section along with the other books currently available. I also ended up implementing a new ordering system that gives me more options, including one to set up coupon codes. Here’s the first one

Valentine’s Day Coupon – use coupon code “VALENTINE15″ to save 15% on your HBHW ebook order. This offer expires 02/14/2009.

Enjoy!