Category Archives: Budgeting

4 Meals for 8 people: 1 Ham: Pink Bean Soup

Real life happenings.  A few weeks ago ham went on sale for 98 cents a pound so I bought a twelve pound ham. I put it in the freezer until the weather got colder. I thawed the meat in a large pot. I covered the ham with water and simmered it for a few hours.

An hour and a half before I wanted to serve the meal, I sent one of my boys to go pick a cabbage from the garden. Meanwhile , the other boys and myself cut the bad spots off the potatoes, and cut them in half. We added the potatoes to the simmering broth and then the cabbage a little later. My husband and two older boys came home. As soon as the potatoes were cooked, I served supper.

The next afternoon, we did almost the same thing. We heated up the leftover broth and ham. Adding more water as needed. Then about an hour and a half before supper, my son peeled more potatoes and cut them in half. My other son picked a cabbage, washed it, cut it in half. The cabbage is added about half an hour before supper is expected to be ready. Same warm, nourishing meal is served. After the broth cooled and before we put the broth away, I removed the bones from the ham and some of the fat from the ham.

Again we put away the leftover broth and ham. There are a few potatoes left in the broth but most of the cabbage is gone. The third day, I get out two bags of pink beans. I rinse the beans and place them in a pot with eight cups of water. I bring the mixture to a boil. Then boil the water and habichuelas rosadas for about an hour. Let them cool for about two hours. Drain the water and add to the leftover broth and ham. While the broth was still cool, I cut up the remaining potatoes into bite size pieces. Simmer the broth and the beans for two more hours. Add garlic powder and some kosher salt. Another meal: same twelve pound ham. Everyone seemed happy with the meal.

There is still a half gallon of soup leftover. Four meals for eight people from a twelve pound ham. This way of cooking saves much time too.  If I can do it, so can you!

Succulent Sausage Rolls

Looking for something new and delicious for Easter breakfast this year?

Succulent Sausage Rolls

We may have the right recipe for you! These rolls are a golden yellow color once they are baked. They smell delicious! The special ingredient that makes them moist is healthful for you! We can keep that ingredient a secret just between us.

Succulent Sausage Rolls

  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed squash
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 one-pound packages breakfast sausages

1 cup of warm water into which you dissolve 2 tablespoons of yeast(that is 2 packages of yeast if you do not buy it in bulk.)

While the yeast is proofing, combine 1 egg, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup cooked and mashed squash. There it is the ingredient you may just want to keep to your self! Mix the above ingredients together well. Then add the proofed yeast. Mix a little. Add the flour 1 cup at a time. First you will stir in the flour. As the mixture becomes thicker, you need to knead. Keep kneading and adding flour (up to 6 cups) until the dough is not too sticky. Make sure you use flour to get all the dough off the sides of the bowl also the spoon, and knead that in as well. The kneading should take about 5-6 minutes. Grease the bowl. Plop the dough into it, turn the dough over in the bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rise in a prewarmed oven of 180 degrees that is off, for one hour.

Frying breakfast sausages

Start frying the little breakfast sausages. 2  one pound packages should be enough. When they are all fried, cover them with aluminum foil to keep them warm.

Cutting triangles of dough

When the hour is over, knead the dough a few times. Flour part of your work surface.  Take a large handful of dough, place it in the center of the flour and roll it to about an eighth inch thickness. Trim off the ends to make a rough rectangle. Now cut the rectangle into triangles that start out about the width of the sausage and taper down to a point. See the picture above. Wrap a sausage in the triangle of dough starting at the wide end. See the picture below. When it is wrapped, place it on a greased tray. Repeat these steps until you you have all the sausages wrapped.

Rolling the dough around the sausage

If you still have dough left, take a small handful and roll it like you would to make a meatball. Place on the tray.  When all the dough has been utilized, cover the trays and let rise for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes has elapsed light the oven to 400 degrees. When the oven is at the correct temperature, place rolls in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Left-Dinner rolls
Right-Succulent sausage rolls

You can store the rolls in a plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat the rolls at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Take some time this weekend to ponder the questions: Is Jesus Lord of my life? Is Jesus Lord over every area of my Life?

Happy Easter Everyone!

Thank you to my son, Benjamin, who thought of the new idea!

Cleaning With a Coffee Container

Spring is right around the corner and so is spring cleaning. I was raised, that when you clean something, you get the cleaning bucket. You fill the cleaning bucket with warm water and then pour in the cleaner. Perhaps there is a better way!

To save money on cleaning products look at the manufacturers direction and used the advised amount of cleaner per gallon of water. Measuring saves money!

My daughter had this idea. For smaller jobs use less cleaner by filling a coffee container with warm water and using a fraction of what you would put in a bucket of water. If you are like me or my daughter, you may only have time to clean for an hour or even a half hour. That is okay. Doing a little bit at a time is better than putting off til tomorrow what should be done today.  You do not need a full bucket of steaming water to clean one cabinet or the refrigerator.

Sometimes I only have time to clean one shelf in a cabinet during the evening.  I grab an empty coffee container fill it halfway with warm water and then add a little wood cleaning detergent. I empty the dishes from the shelf into the dishwasher. I wipe the ceiling of the cabinet, the three walls of the cabinet. If there is a reusable shelf liner, I put that in another coffee container with some warm water and dish detergent to soak. Later I wash it out and then hang it over the shower head to dry if it is winter or nighttime or outside in the summertime.

If there are dishes to be washed, I wash them and let them dry. While waiting for the shelf liner to dry, I put the clean, dry dishes on a tray which I leave on the counter or the table, out of the way. The next evening I put the clean shelf liner on the shelf and replace the clean dishes. If I still have time, I clean the next shelf.

Proverbs 18:9 says “He who is slothful in his work, Is brother to him who is a great destroyer.”

Budget Busters-Shoes

You and your spouse have carefully planned how much you can spend on groceries each month. You have switched from buying prepared foods to preparing your own food at home.

You go to the mall to look for a birthday present for your niece. While walking through the mall, you notice a sale at the shoe store. You go in just to look around. Next thing you know, you are leaving the store with three new pairs of shoes! You have busted your budget!!

If you are trying to save money, you should only be buying what you need. How many shoes do you need? Philippians 4:19″And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

We live in the country. We do not have sidewalks to walk on. I have an old pair of sneakers for walking down the road when it is muddy or for working in the garden. I have a pair of good sneakers for walking when the road is nice or going to the ballfield in. I have one pair of boots for winter. I have a pair of what we used to call boondockers for when it is cold and slippery. I have a pair of shoes for everyday. I have one pair of dress shoes for special occasions and church. For the summer I have one pair of sandals. Seven pairs of footwear is all you need. I also own two pairs of dress boots but they were gifts.

How many shoes do you have? Many women have fifteen, twenty, thirty pairs of shoes for one season. Many men have multiple pairs of boots for hunting or fishing. Too many shoes mean you are wasting money!

Quality shoes can be quite an investment. A pair of shoes may cost around $200.00. We need shoes, but let us do our shopping. Ask your mate whether he or she thinks you need another pair of shoes. Your spouse is there to balance you, if your mate does not think you need another pair of shoes, you do not need them.

If you and your spouse agree you need shoes, there are great sales. Shop around for exactly the type of shoe you need. Then wait while keeping track of sales, buy the pair of shoes on sale and save up to fifty percent! Budget kept! Having money in the bank is not the ultimate goal in life! But…having money in a savings account is wise. Work out a budget! Agree to keep it! Keep your word to your spouse!! Ask God to help you! Proverbs 28:6 “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”

Budget Busters-Buying Hot Drinks

Buying hot or cold drinks on your morning commute can be a budget buster! Stop and think! Want to learn how to save $570.00 per year by changing one habit?

Let us do the mathematics. You can buy one hundred tea bags for $3.00 on sale. If you use one tea bag per cup of tea, the tea costs you three cents a cup. My daughters will use two tea bags for a large cup of tea so that cup of tea costs about six cents. The water from your tap is a negligible expense. The cost of heating a cup of water is also very little money. A cup of hot tea costs $2.00 at the donut shop on your way to work. Times that amount by fifty weeks a year. Take that number and times it by five days a week. The tea for two hundred fifty cups of tea costs seven dollars and fifty cents per year if you make it at home. The same, daily cup of tea, when made by another person costs $500.00 per year.

Now, let us do the math for coffee. A can of coffee at the grocery store is about $8.00 on sale. At times the price can be even less. You are supposed to use a tablespoon of coffee for a cup of coffee. The mathematics for the coffee is a little more difficult. The can we have reads, 210 six fluid ounce cups. We usually drink eight ounce cups. Multiply 210 by six, the product is 1260 which we divide by eight. The mathematics is not perfect but we want to find an approximate amount of how much it costs us to make a cup of coffee at home. The answer to that division problem is exactly one hundred fifty-seven and a half.

Let us say the approximate answer is one hundred fifty. With one can of coffe, you can make approximately one hundred fifty cups of coffee. The coffee to make one cup of coffee at home costs a little over five cents per cup. If you put half and half in your coffee, it is going to cost a little more. A cup of hot coffee at the donut store is $2.39 per cup. If we times $2.40 by five days a week, the product is twelve dollars per week. Times twelve dollars per week by fifty weeks. For that pampered feeling of having someone else make your coffee every day, it costs you six hundred dollars a year. Two hundred cups of coffee made at home costs you ten dollars a year. With half and half perhaps thirty dollars a year. Do you see why there are so many people out there willing to make you a cup of hot “joe” for your morning commute?

If you get up ten minutes earlier, make your own hot coffe for example, you can save yourself five hundred seventy dollars a year. So how much is that feeling like royalty worth to you? Are you going to keep spending or start saving? It is up to you to stop the budget busting habit of buying coffee on your way to work! James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up!”

Budget Busters: Snacks!

Do you have a budget? Are you controlling yourself to stay within the confines of your spending plan? How much of your income is expendable?

Most people, like you and I, are trying to save money. Sometimes we are blind to the ways in which we waste money. The temptation to break our budget is often unnoticed, until we go over our receipts at the end of the month.

Most of us go to the grocery store for much of our food. Since we are on a budget, we watch what we are buying. We may buy less snack foods. For instance buying pretzels instead of potato chips is a healthier choice and you are getting more food for the same amount of money. At our grocery store, pretzels sell for between two dollars and two dollars and fifty cents a bag.

Now, we stop at the pharmacy on our way home from work to pick up a prescription. We are hungry, so we buy a bag of healthy pretzels. That same bag of pretzels is four dollars and fifty-nine cents! Buying the bag of pretzels is a budget buster! You have paid more than twice what you would have paid at the grocery store for the same item!

How can we avoid the pitfall mentioned above? One way is to discipline yourself and just say no to buying snacks on the way home from work when you are hungry and tired. Another way to combat the temptation, is to keep healthy snacks in your vehicle, that you bought at the grocery store when you did your weekly grocery shopping. My family keeps containers of dried apples in our vehicles. If the container is kept closed the apples will keep for a long time. Dried apples do not spoil when exposed to freezing temperatures. We dry our own apples in the fall, when apples are inexpensive.

We also keep bags of granola and pretzels in our vehicles, on which to snack. Small jars of peanut butter that you can dip your pretzels into, turn the pretzels into a more balanced snack by incorporating protein.

To stay in control of your finances, check your receipts at the end of the month. To avoid the budget buster of snacks bought on the spur of the moment, keep healthy snacks with you as you travel.

Early Spring Planting

Spring may be coming early this year. Once the soil is thawed, till the soil to get it ready for planting. Compost can be added to the soil at this time and tilled into the soil. Early spring is the time to plant peas, cabbage, onions, broccoli, spinach and kohlrabi. As far back as colonial times, Pennsylvania Germans set a goal of planting their peas by March17.

Spring is not the time to plant lettuce, tomatoes or peppers outside. They can be started indoors to be planted outdoors after the threat of frost has passed.

If you need to magnify the money in your food budget, plant a garden. Many people do not realize how many vegetables can be planted before the threat of frost has passed. Onions are planted now and harvested in July if you haven’t already picked them all by then. Once onions start growing you pick them as soon as you think they are big enough.

Peas need support once they start growing. Many people plant their peas near a fence. The fence could be one used to enclose a garden or a fence erected temporarily just to support the peas while they are growing.

All your cabbage and it’s relatives can be planted as soon as the ground is able to be tilled. If you walk into your garden and mud sticks to your shoes in big clumps then the soil is too wet. Wait a few more days and try again.

My favorite saying is you never know what you can do until you try, so get outside and discover what you can grow.