Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Feeding a Family on a Budget, Part 5

Bean soup made with a ham bone and the little meat left on the bone.

Stretching the Meat If you really like having meat in every meal or have a family member who does, then you could just stretch the meat. Some common ways of stretching meat is something like meatloaf where you add crushed crackers, bread crumbs, oatmeal, etc. to the meat. You do the same thing with meatballs. I also will make chicken or salmon patties from leftover shredded chicken (or salmon).

Another option is to make lots of casseroles and soups. You can easily cut the meat in ½ without most people noticing. I can get away with making a casserole with only one pound of meat for my family of 11 without anyone complaining. With some meals, I have to prepare 3-4 lbs of meat to feed all of us.

You could replace ½ the meat called for in a recipe with beans or lentils. For example, I have a recipe I call Sloppy Cornbread. It takes a minimum of two pounds of meat for my family (they LOVE it when I use 3 lbs!), but I found that I can use one pound of meat and an equal amount of lentils (even better if you cook the lentils in beef broth to give a beefy flavor) and my family doesn’t complain. You could do the same with chili (using black, pinto or kidney beans), Spanish/Mexican rice (lentils, black, pinto, or kidney beans), or even meatloaf (use a mashed bean or lentil).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Feeding Your Family on a Budget, Part 4

Lentils, black beans, and great northern beans

Meatless Meals There are a number of ways you can have a meatless meal. You could take one of your favorite recipes and just make it without the meat. For example, have spaghetti without meat in the sauce or a soup without meat, or even a casserole without the meat.

You could also replace the meat in the recipe with something like tofu (although I don’t use this so I am not sure how much you would be saving), beans, or more veggies. If you like sloppy joes, make it with lentils instead of ground beef. Burritos—make them with just refried beans and veggies instead of with meat. Stir-fry is great and just double the veggies and removing the meat to save money.

There are also lots of great vegetarian meals out there. I’ve experimented and continue to experiment and have come up with a few family favorites that are not only vegetarian, but also cost effective.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feeding a Family on a Budget, Part 3

Preparing Food Ahead I know some people will cringe at this one as well because they have visions of the once-a-month freezer cooking they’ve heard about, but that isn’t the only way to prepare ahead.

Can food. I don’t mean buy canned food, but to actually can it yourself. Having canned food available makes it easy when you have surprise company or what you planned didn’t work out for some reason or for those nights you know you will just need a quick meal. Many of the things I can I get for free from my garden or others share in their abundance or I buy at a reduced rate because I am buying in bulk.

When you are making one meal, why not just double it and freeze one. I do this often when making meatloaf or casseroles. It will save you time in that you are only doing the prep work once (and it doesn’t really take much longer to chop one onion instead of two or brown up two pounds of meat instead of one), and it saves money because you are maximizing the use of your stove, oven, etc. and you will have a meal already prepared for the nights when you used to go to a fast food restaurant or order pizza.

Cook up meat and freeze. Sometimes I will just brown up a bunch of ground beef and freeze in quart bags and then I can grab one quick for a casserole or a soup later. You could pre-chop veggies or mix the dry ingredients for your favorite recipes (pancakes, biscuits, etc.).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Cleaning Your Heart

This time of year everyone wants to open windows, clean out cobwebs and junk, and create a fresh start with their homes. While this is great, I want to challenge you to do the same with your heart. Open your heart to what God has for you, clean out the cobwebs and junk and get a fresh start. . . . . .

To read the complete post, join me at Like a Mustard Seed!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Feeding Your Family on a Budget, Part 2

Menu Planning I know many people will cringe when I mention this, but it truly does help in saving money. Not only will you be organized enough to have something out of the freezer and thawed so you can cook, but you will eat out less often because you won’t have to think about what to make for dinner come 4 or 5 o’clock and then just grab something from a restaurant because you don’t have time or can’t think of something.

Menu planning can be done in a few different ways—weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, rotational, or themed.

I do a weekly menu. After I go grocery shopping, I sit down and make a weekly menu from what I was able to purchase. This allows me to take full advantage of what I could find on sale, pull out of the garden or what was given to me. I do have a few things that I usually keep in the same slots because they are family favorites and/or easy to make, but even those are not set in stone.

I know some people who create a bi-weekly menu because they go grocery shopping every two weeks. I am transitioning into this because of gas prices and switching to bi-weekly shopping to save the gas money. The same reason applies for a monthly menu.

Some people choose to create a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly menu and then just repeat that same menu over and over again. I have heard of people that have a summer menu and a winter menu as well. For example, if it is a weekly menu, then every Monday night might be tacos, Tuesdays—spaghetti, Wednesday—roast chicken, etc.

Another option is to make a themed menu. For example, Meatless Mondays, Mexican Tuesdays, Slow cooker Wednesday, Italian Thursdays, etc. You would then have your recipes in those same categories and it would give you a smaller repertoire to choose from. I use a form of this in my menu planning as well. For example, Wednesdays are one-pot meals because we eat at the church and then I only have to carry one thing and Sundays are slow cooker meals because then it is cooked and ready for us to eat when we arrive home from church.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Feeding Your Family on a Budget, Part 1

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been very busy (so busy in fact that I didn't finish my daughter's birthday dress until just hours before her party!). I will be posting the information I share at the class I taught a couple of weeks ago in probably six different parts. This is the shortest section, but I still wanted to share!


Some tips I have learned over the years that help with feeding a family on a budget are shopping sales, menu planning, preparing food ahead, meatless meals and stretching the meat.

Shopping sales I always look at sales ads before I go shopping. I have an approximate price in my head of what I will spend on an item; therefore, I know if a sale price is a good price or not. Some people will make price lists of items they purchase on a regular basis. I know this is a good idea, but I haven’t taken the time to do that yet. I will only buy what is on sale that week unless it is an absolute necessity. I have a few brand loyalties, but other than those few things, it is open to what is cheapest.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Love and Marriage

My friend wrote a wonderful blog post about love and marriage. I encourage you to check it out!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Resurrection Day!

On this day, my family and I celebrate Resurrection Day. I have been known to call it Easter, but after hearing a wonderful sermon today, I am going to try to remember to call it Resurrection Day instead since that is what we are truly celebrating.

I made the girls new dresses as I do every year. I like to do that for a couple of reasons. One, because it gives  them a new church dress for the warmer weather. And, two, because I remember getting a new dress every year. I had enough material to make myself a skirt to match as well and Chad already had a shirt and tie that worked wonderfully with our outfits.

After church we enjoyed a wonderful lunch of lamb, sage potatoes, roasted asparagus, artisan bread, and deviled eggs. I wish I would have thought to take a picture before we devoured it, but I didn't. It was a delicious. Chad kept saying he didn't know what to eat next because it was all so good. That was a nice compliment!

We then did the Resurrection Egg devotional together as a family. Chad read the scriptures, the girls took turns opening the eggs, and I read the devotional. It provided a great opportunity to return their minds to the true celebration of today.

When the younger  girls were napping and Chad took the older girls to the spring to get our drinking water, I hid the plastic eggs. We have begun hiding empty eggs to signify the empty tomb. The girls enjoyed the tradition off the egg hunt so we didn't give it up completely.

We are going to end our night watching a movie about Christ's resurrection. The exact movie is still up for debate, but we want to end our day with the focus still on the great sacrifice God made for us by sending His Son to the cross for our sins.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Resurrection Day remembering God's great love for us!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Protect Your Unborn Babies from Death—A Look at Chapter 13 of Be Fruitful & Multiply

I’ll begin by sharing some information that I wish I would have been told back when I started taking the Pill.

“In all probability, more newly-conceived human beings are destroyed each year by the intrauterine device (IUD) and the Pill than by surgical abortions. An “abortifacient” is a device or drug that causes an abortion. There is no question that both the IUD and the Pill can and do achieve their birth control effectiveness at times by causing very early abortions.”

The way that the IUD and the Pill cause abortions is by creating a hostile environment for the implantation of a fertilized egg. The reason why the Pill does this is because of the failure rate of stopping ovulation (which is what it is supposed to do in the first place). As for the IUD, that is its primary function.

I thank God that I discovered this information on my own after only a couple of years on the pill instead of never at all. I was so amazed with what I learned, I shared the information with my Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). She had never heard of such a thing. After looking into it on her own, she came to the same conclusion. This is someone who has a medical degree and she was never told how the Pill worked in the case of ovulation still occurring.

“[T]he death toll from the IUD and the Pill exceeds that of the Nazi Holocaust—each year—in the United States alone.”

The majority of the people who have an IUD or are on the Pill do not know or fully understand what they are doing to their babies. The doctors and medical staff aren’t even fully educated on how they work so how are they supposed to pass on the information to others?

Campbell shares “The Arithmetic of Abortifacient Birth Control” in this chapter and the number of abortions caused by the IUD and the Pill is in the millions. (She gives exact numbers and I highly recommend reading the book if only for this chapter!)

I think one of the ways to remedy this awful murdering spree is to educate people. While I now believe it is vital to leave God in control of family size, I was convicted about killing my children through the Pill years before handing back control to God.

I am interested to know how many people did not know this about the IUD or the Pill. Please leave a comment telling me your thoughts on this information.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fruitful Trust

As I watch the primaries, I’m beginning to wonder how many Christians are still left in America. Please keep the following scriptures in mind when contemplating who you will vote for president later this year.

“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” –Matthew 7:16

“Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” –Matthew 7:20

“Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them.” –Psalm 62:10

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” –Psalm 62:8, emphasis mine