Monday, October 31, 2011

Single Serving Sized Soup


First, I want you to say the title of this post three times in a row as fast as you can. Now that I have you thoroughly tongue tied...

I love anything that makes my life easier, and this certainly does just that. This time of year it seems our family can eat their evening meal at different times. With my husbands teaching schedule, he often works late afternoons and into the evening. And with two teenage girls who always seem to be going in different directions, this idea has helped immensely.

I recently made chicken noodle soup and wanted to freeze it for later use.

If you would like to try this, here's what you do:

Using your muffin baking tin, ladle soup into each little section.

Put it in the freezer, and when it's frozen just pop the "pucks" out of the tin, and place them in a gallon sized bag in the freezer.

Use 2-3 little "pucks" to make a single serving of soup. Just microwave and there you have it!

It doesn't get much easier than that!

Much Love,

Anna

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reflections of the Proverbs 31 Woman - Part 3



This is Part 3 in the series. Today I would like to look at verses 16-18.

Verse 16: She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. [S. of Sol. 8:12]

To me, this says she weighs her decisions of time and money wisely. We shouldn't take on so many things in our day/week that the truly meaningful things in life are neglected or passed over. Too often we try and do too much, often striving for super-woman status. All be it not intentional, but we try to be everything to everyone. And in doing that, other important things often are ignored. This verse says "with her savings of time and strength she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard." By prioritizing and weighing our decisions, we can have more time and strength to be a blessing to those around us.

Verse 17: She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.

This verse talks about her strength, ie: spiritual, mental and physical fitness. This to me is an important key. I try to spend time in the word, but just that block of time isn't enough. It needs to be a life choice.
* Am I allowing negative thoughts to creep in throughout the day?
* Am I trying to look at things in a positive way? (This one was always hard for me because I am a "glass half-empty" person)
Thirdly are our physical bodies. We must take care of ourselves to be able to care for others.

Verse 18: She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt and distrust].
She can see that God has truly blessed her and "her lamp goes not out at night, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust." See? There are those negative thoughts again. We should trust Him in all things.

Proverbs 3:5 says: "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding;"

This has been another challenge for me. I am one of those people that have to "figure it all out." and know the reason behind everything. We should trust that God has this and He is in control.

Blessings,

Anna~

Monday, October 24, 2011

Brown Butter Soda Bread


I have been making this recipe for years and it is one of our favorites. It's very easy to make and I wanted to share it with you.
It has a different taste and texture from your traditional homemade breads so if you do try it, I'd love to hear how you like it! :)

The recipe comes from Epicurious - Bon Appetit - Feb.2006

Rosemary and black pepper make this bread anything but typical. Wedges are delicious with plenty of butter and your favorite preserves.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2stick) unsalted butter

31/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper plus additional for topping
13/4 cups buttermilk

1 egg white, beaten to blend

Directions:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 F. Stir butter in heavy small saucepan over med. heat until melted and golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Stir flour, oats, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl to blend. Pour buttermilk and melted browned butter over flour mixture; stir with fork until flour mixture is moistened.

Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead gently until dough comes together, about 7 turns. Divide in half. Shape each half into a ball; flatten each into 6-inch round. Place rounds onto ungreased baking sheet, spacing 5" apart. Brush tops with beaten eggwhite. Sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper. Using a small, sharp knife cut 1/2-inch-deep X in the top of each dough round.

Bake breads until deep golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool breads on rack at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 2 loaves

Bakers Wisdom:
You will get the most tender soda bread by kneading the dough gently and briefly, just until it comes together, so the gluten is minimally developed.

Enjoy!

Anna ~

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm Back...

Hello Sweet Friends! I can't believe it has been 2 weeks since I last spoke with you. This month has been busy.

At the very beginning of October, I planned a Fall Tasting Party at my home for the last  Saturday of this month. I have been enjoying planning my menu, decorating, and doing a little baking ahead and freezing of cookies and fudge.

Shortly after I spoke to you last, my husband had a suspicious bump on his forehead biopsied. The result was skin cancer and one week later, this last Wed., we saw a plastic surgeon and had it removed. Rob is healing, and has the sutures removed this next week. Poor guy, he has over a 3" suture in his forehead. :( 

Anyway...I wanted you to know what has been going on and to let you know I have missed you!

We would appreciate you keeping us in your prayers.

Talk to you soon!

Anna

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eating Well On A Shoestring Budget



People are often amazed by how well we eat. This baffles me. I have commented to my husband that I am surprised by their amazement. We don't take vacations, buy new cars, and we spend very little for recreational activities (ie movies, golfing, shopping, eating out).

In fact, we ate out only once this week, and spent $12. Here is another example of how we weigh decisions. Our t.v. quit working back in July and we waited almost 2 months before purchasing another one.

We eat all our meals at home, and watch every penny we spend. We are able to eat this way on $150 a week for our family of four. In fact, last week groceries only ran $120! That included food, toilet paper (in bulk), paper towels (in bulk), cat food, cat litter, toiletries, everything! Not bad huh? It is all about choices. If you already overspend, having an increase in your income will only mean an increase in your spending.

Here are some links to my previous post on buying in bulk. That has helped us too. But you do have to watch the price per unit and do a lot of comparing to know whether you're really getting a good deal.

Buying In Bulk - Part 1

Buying In Bulk - Part 2

Also,  here is the link to my post about Frugal Fridays at our house. It might give you some ideas.

Frugal Fridays

I have noticed the price of everything is increasing, so I am hopeful that living this way we will absorb that shock relatively easily.

Have a great week!

Love,

Anna

Saturday, October 1, 2011

International Frugal Fun Day

Otherwise known as National Frugal Fun Day. It is on the first Saturday of the month!

The Origin of Frugal Fun Day 
I got the idea and the origin for frugal fun day from the web site: http://www.holidayinsights.com/.

Below is what they have on their website about the origin of frugal fun day.


"This special day was created by Shel Horowitz, author of The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook. We strongly suspect Frugal Fun Day was created, in part, to promote the book. Regardless of the reason for creating this day, we see nothing wrong with having a little inexpensive fun."  

 Do something as a family or with friends that is inexpensive. Have a movie night at home, go and see the changing leaves, have a picnic (it's perfect weather for that here since we are now out of the triple digits).

Here is a previous post about our frugal Friday nights!

http://anna-thejoyfulwife.blogspot.com/2011/07/frugal-fridays.html