Category Archives: Everything Food

A Powerhouse, Nutrient Rich Carrot Soup

Hello Lovelies,

With Fall in full swing and temperatures dropping fast, we have embarked upon…Soup Season! Yummy, delicious, warming, thick, creamy, good for the soul soups.  I had numerous carrots in the fridge that needed to be used and I already have plenty of canned chunky carrots.  I canned 11 lbs last year and truly do not need anymore.  With all of the homemade broth we make, carrots are still a staple on our grocery list.  Even with all of the planning in the world, somehow we always end up with something leftover, something missed, or something forgotten. Seeming there was a good bunch of carrots left and I was getting the itch for some soup, what better way to use them up than putting the two together.  I did can this recipe for use throughout the winter season and got about 5 pints and 1 half pint plus our dinner.  This recipe is absolutely delicious!

You will need:

  • A bunch of washed carrots with skins on, chopped in chunks
  • Water
  • A small bunch of celery
  • A few garlic gloves minced
  • 1 Large diced onion
  • Butter
  • Chicken bouillion
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Stick blender or regular blender

Wash the carrots thoroughly and keep the skins on.  In the skin there are an enormous amount of good vitamins and medicinal properties, so we don’t want to throw that way. Dice the carrots into chunks. This soup simmers for about 30-40 minutes so thicker chunks are perfectly fine as you will puree them later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a large pot, combine carrots and water as well as the rest of your ingredients.  Spices and herbs are purely on personal taste and I rarely use measurements.  Be sure to taste as you go and remember that the taste will change as the soup simmers.  Flavors will develop and mingle creating a very nice rich, slightly spicy flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

The herbs and spices within this soup were chosen on purpose.  Fall and Winter seasons come with nasty colds and the dreaded flu.  By using certain herbs and spices, you can create a powerhouse soup that has many health benefits further aiding your symptoms.

  • Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and powerful anti-oxidant.
  • Red pepper flakes are full of capsaicin and have strong analgesic, and pain-relieving qualities and is an anti-inflammatory.
  • Garlic can combat the common cold and boosts the immune system.  It is very rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese.
  • Ginger is very good for helping with nausea, reducing muscle pain and soreness, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Carrot is full of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
  • Rosemary can aid in bad breath, stimulates blood flow, anti-inflammatory, and is slightly diuretic.

Much of this information is available online and is much more in depth.  I’m not a healthcare professional, but in our homestead we do use foods for their benefit. Always, as with anything, do your own research.

After your soup has simmered, let it cool.  It was still warm to the touch when it was pureed because we use a stick blender.  If you are using a glass blender, please let it cool down completely.  Blending hot food can pop the top of the blender and you will get a nice carrot facial.  Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Some add milk or cream, but it truly isn’t needed because this soup is very creamy on its own.  Milk or any dairy causes phlegm and mucus and defeats the purpose of this soup.  If you choose to can this soup, process at for 20 minutes for pints with a pressure canner.

Total Cost: A bag of carrots $.99 plus pantry staples for a small batch.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!

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Quick, Cheap, & Easy Stuffed Mushrooms

Hello Lovelies,

Tonight, I wanted something different.  And by different I mean something Babydoll won’t eat.  He is very anti mushrooms and well…I love them!  I had some large caps that needed to be eaten so I decided on the fly to make stuffed mushrooms.  They were absolutely delish! You can use whatever ingredients you wish.  This dish is completely versatile so use what you have and improvise!

You Will Need:

-2 good size Portobello mushroom caps

-1/4 cup chive cream cheese

-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

-1 tsp minced garlic

-1 piece of toasted bread (in my case leftover grilled burger buns)

-1 tsp butter

-Seasonings to taste (I used thyme and rosemary)

-Salt and pepper

In a small pan, drizzle a little olive oil.  Saute herbs and garlic until browned lightly.  Add a small pat of butter with a splash of water and scrape the bottom of the pan getting all those herbs to release their oils.  Add toasted bread in small pieces and stir until all the oil and butter is soaked in the bread mixture.  Lastly, dice the stems of the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two.  I waste nothing so I add stems.  It is good flavor! 

In a baking dish, spray with PAM or coat with oil so the mushrooms do not stick.  Fill each cap with your bread mixture and spread evenly.  

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and Parmesan. Mix to combine.  Spread cheese mixture over the bread mixture and top with a sprinkle of more Parmesan.

Be sure to put a splash of water on the bottom of the baking dish so the mushrooms become tender. Cover with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

This was so yummy and took less than 25 minutes to make.  It is great way to use what’s left in the fridge and play with different flavors.  I have a lot of freshly dehydrated herbs from my garden, so I used rosemary and thyme.  You can mix up different herbs and use different flavored cream cheeses to make a unique variation of stuffed mushrooms every time.  My caps were rather large so cooking times will vary. When you don’t really feel like cooking a huge meal, this is perfect.  It is a great meat substitute and cooks rather quickly.

This serves two people.

Enjoy!

Easy Smokin! Nothing Tastes Better Than Food That’s Smoked

Here is an easy, frugal way to smoke your food that won’t break the budget.

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Smoking food can be costly especially if you purchase those big bulky smokers. We lack available patio space and it really is not a good idea to put something that heats up on a grassy area. It not only kills the grass (which I hope happens because grass is useless, but don’t tell my husband that!) but it can start a fire. We went the frugal way instead to not only save money but space as well. This works in a pinch and takes less than 5 minutes to make and in less than 10 minutes…you’ll be smokin!

Here is What You Will Need

  • Aluminum foil

  • Small wood chips or shavings

Tear off a piece of aluminum foil about 12 inches long. Fold the aluminum foil in half to get a 6 inch piece. Now, fold a seam on 3 sides pressing tightly leaving one side open for filling with wood chips or shavings. Fill the open end with wood chips about half way. Any more than that and you risk the packet opening or not smoking properly.  Trust me. Fold a seam on that side to close your packet. Lay the packet flat on the counter and using a knife, gently poke a slit which will act like a vent. Place on the hottest corner of your grill and let the grill heat up. After about 5-10 minutes, smoke will be coming out of the vent and you are on your way to deliciousness. This doesn’t last very long, so I don’t recommend using this technique with expensive large pieces of meat such as brisket or a roast. But this works wonders with wings, chicken tenders, fish, veggies, or burgers. Make sure you don’t peek too much or you will let the smoke escape.

Smokers can cost hundreds of dollars and if you are like our family, this is a once in awhile thing. To us, an expensive smoker isn’t really such a frugal purchase. By buying a small bag of wood chips or shavings, you will spend around $3-$4 per bag lasting you as often as you use it. Aluminum foil is a pantry staple and most have this on hand. This not only saves money, but also time and space. Perfect for a balcony grill or small patio. If your grill is larger or if you are smoking a lot of meat, you can make more than one pouch or make it larger to suit your needs. Once done, simply let the packet cool off completely and toss. Seeming these chips are heated and may contain drippings or food particles, they are not suitable for composting. 

Wood chips or shavings come in a variety of flavors and sizes. You can find flavors such as walnut, pecan, pear, apple, hickory, or mesquite to name a few.

Total Cost Breakdown

Bag of wood chips or shavings $3-$4 per bag

Smoker between $40 to more than a few hundred dollars

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Questions Lead to Knowledge

Everyone is frugal in their own way. This is how we’ve learned everything we know. From blogs! There is a plethora of knowledge among the blogging community. Learn from those around you, those who inspire you, and those with a common goal. Feel free to open discussion on posts, ask questions, and let’s have some fun ;P

DISCLAIMER: Being frugal generally means not spending money or pinching pennies. Our goals do not include a fancy camera or lighting. All content and pictures are ours created with a cell phone, natural or indoor lighting, and around our own homestead. If you would like to use an image or post, simply ask and give us credit. Easy peasy!

Make Your Own Homemade Flavored Vinegar From Fresh Herbs

Hello Lovelies,

It has been a long time!  Our family has been dealing with some health issues, but God is great! We are healing and on the up and up.  About a month ago, I started drying most all of the herbs that we grew in our garden.  I couldn’t let them to go to waste, but couldn’t use the fresh version up in enough time.  Due to lacking freezer space, I tried another alternative such as making flavored vinegar.  After the herbs were cut down to just stems, the purple basil started regrowing leaves and eventually flowered.  But what I didn’t know, was that you can use the entire plant and make flavored vinegar!  I had heard about it in books and online, but never gave it a try.  It is a great way to use most all of the plant to get the most out of it.  Here is how to make it.

Purple Basil Vinegar

-Cleaned and drained basil leaves and flowers

-Sterilized Mason jar

-White Distilled Vinegar

20170729_190942Fill the bottom of the mason jar with freshly cut leaves and flowers of whatever herb you are wanting.  In this post, it is purple basil.

20170729_191210_001Pour over white distilled vinegar and cover tightly.  Shake gently and put in the refrigerator.  Let it sit in the refrigerator and in two weeks you will have flavored vinegar.  Simply strain the leaves and flowers and keep in the fridge.

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You can make any flavor you’d like with any herb you’d like.  The vinegar has a pretty strong fragrance and can be used in so many recipes for a boost in flavor.  First thought that comes to mind is spaghetti sauce and chicken! Other ways to incorporate vinegar is in sauces, canning, or even in pickled vegetables.  The two pictures to the left and right are what the vinegar looks like after two weeks.  It smells soo good ya’ll!

 

Other Flavorful Ideas

  • Parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Lemongrass
  • Combinations such as a sprig of rosemary, basil, and oregano

Total Cost:  An estimated .50 cents for the vinegar to fill a quart jar and my 3rd round of basil.  Store bought version on average for flavored vinegar is $5-$6 with no guarantee it is made from fresh herbs.

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Want a Healthy Snack? Try Roasted Chickpeas!

 

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Hello Lovelies,

Chickpeas are an amazing legume with endless possibilities.  Not only do they provide us with yummy hummus and are absolutely delicious in soups, they also roast really well. By spending a long period of time in the oven, they get very crunchy throughout, even more so than chips. You wouldn’t think legumes would be very tasty any other way then treated like a bean, but they actually are pretty good when you think outside of the box. They contain a ton of fiber which is great during a busy day or when it is too hot outside to cook.  Make a big batch and store in mason jars. You’ll have a readily available snack to just grab which in my opinion is key as a mama.  A half cup of roasted chickpeas is around 150 calories, contains tons of protein and insoluble fiber making them fantastic for the digestive system.  I’ve had these a few times before and I loved them!  You can put any seasoning under the sun on them and they will be amazing.

You will need:

  • Dry chickpeas
  • Salt to taste
  • Any seasoning to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

For the seasoning shown in the pictures:

  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cracked  black pepper
  • Kosher salt

I didn’t list exact measurements because this isn’t a science.  It truly is season as you wish and roast.  You can add seasoning completely to taste and change up according to time of day, sweet or salty, spicy or savory, the sky is the limit.

To get started, soak the dry chickpeas overnight in a container full of water.

 

 

Drain the chickpeas and pat dry with a towel. Spread out over a flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 350 degrees. Start at just 30 minutes and increase by 10 minute intervals making sure to taste one in between.  Our oven took about 50 minutes. They should be very crunchy with no raw smooth inside.  It should be crunchy all the way through. If you would like softer chickpeas, you can roast a little less.

 

I really hope you give this recipe a try!  It is a great way to snack all day and grab something that is actually healthy for you. You can try hundreds of different spice blends to come up with different flavors.  This recipe is our favorite go to but we’ve also tried cinnamon and sugar by roasting in just olive oil and adding the cinnamon and sugar at the very end.  The sugar will dissolve a little bit from the heat of the chickpeas. It is simple to make that even the kiddos can help!

Total Cost: 60 cents for a bag of chickpeas and the rest from pantry

Enjoy!

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