Category Archives: frugal

Thursday’s Tasty Treat: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

We had this for dinner Wednesday night. I wish I could say that this was my own personal recipe, but it’s not. It’s from the November issue of Good Housekeeping and it’s from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. But it’s yummy and fits with with squash theme.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Makes 12 appetizer servings (or 6 meal servings)

2T. unsalted butter
2T olive oil
4c. chopped onions
2T. curry powder
5 lbs. butternut squash
1.5 lbs sweet apples (McIntosh, Gala, etc)
Water
Kosher Salt and Pepper
2c. apple juice or cider
1 loaf french bread (baguette)
Goat Cheese, room temp

Directions:
1. IN a 7-8 Qt. Saucepot, heat butter and oil on medium-low until butter melts and is foamy. Add onions and curry powder; cook 15 minutes or so until onions are tender, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot as needed.

2. While onions cook, peel squash (to aid in peeling, microwave squash for 30 sec or so. Then peel), cut in half, discard seeds. Cut squash into 1 inch chunks. Peel and core apples, cut into 1 inch chunks.

3. To pot, add squash, apples, 2 c water, 2t salt and 1/2t pepper. Heat to boiling on high, reduce to med-low. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until squash and apples are very soft.

Now at this point you need to puree your mixture. I used a hand immersion blender to do the job. If you don’t have one you can use a food pro or blender and puree in batches and return puree to pot.

4. Add 1c. apple juice or cider and 1t. salt.

5. Serve with crusty bread and goat cheese (optional)

Here are some pics of the girls enjoying the yumminess. I may have to start calling the Dragonfly Cinderella though.
                                             Brigid and soup

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Thursday’s Tasty Treats: Homemade Pedialyte

I had grand plans to share with you a great recipe for Butternut Squash and Apple soup (combining three of my absolute favorite things: Squash, Apples and Soup) plus it would stay with my heretofore established squash theme of the last few weeks, but we all know what happens when we make plans and test the sovereignty of God, right? Yeah, He laughs. Hard.

After her bath last night, The Dragonfly started vomiting. Joy of joys. After 2am, she seemed to settle a bit but this morning, she started again after having a few sips of water. So, hit the internet and google “Vomiting Toddler, No fever, Dr. Sears.” (We don’t get much vomit in our house, obviously.) One of the tips that Dr. Sears’ had was to give Pedialyte, which I knew but I didn’t have any here at home, and DH had already left for the office. So, back to google I went and I found a great recipe on Our Little Monkeys.

I made mine with 1 part Orange Juice and 3 parts water, along with the salt, sugar and baking soda. The resulting mixture is very salty and seems to be not half bad, as I am trying to keep the toddler from chugging the entire cup (because we all know what will happen next, right?) Plus, she seems to be in a state of comfort right now and doesn’t understand why I won’t let her eat everything in sight!

It’s only 830a here and I am already at my limit for annoyance, which is terrible to say, but I feel like I am singlehandedly fighting a battle with a nauseous toddler and a bored preschooler (and then couple that with the guilt of letting them watch *too* much TV and the fact that my house needs a bit of cleaning… especially the floors and bathrooms.) I think I’ll head up for a shower and I am sure after that and I great cup of coffee, I will be my awesome self again! And The Bear and I can tackle the cleaning bit, which could bust her boredom. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

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P.S. Please keep Chase and the entire Pottorff family in your prayers today as he is laid to rest this evening.
 

 


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Thursday’s Tasty Treat: Butternut Squash and Beef Chili

Remember last week, I wrote about how much we love our squash? Well… here’s more proof. I threw this together this week, only to find out that it’s actually a pretty popular recipe on-line. Great minds, right? OK here you go:

Butternut Squash and Beef Chili

1 small to medium butternut squash, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 pound stew meat or steak (I used a small New York Strip)
1 can mexican style diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 small jalepeno, seeded and diced
1 pack of chili seasoning (or you can add your own concoction of cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper.)

Toppings:
shredded cheddar
hot sauce
sliced jalepenos
diced onion

1. Cut your beef into smaller, bite-sized pieces
2. Heat a small bit of oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot, over med-high heat
3. Add meat and onions and cook until meat has lost most of its pink (about 5-7 minutes)
4. Add squash, undrained tomatoes, drained beans, diced jalepeno, seasoning, and one can-ful of water. Cover.
5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is soft, stirring occasionally.
6. Serve with desired toppings.

(You can also make this in the crock pot, just put everything in at once and cook on low 6-8 hours.)

What’s great about this chili is that is a nice spin on a traditional tomato based chili. The squash adds a nice , sweet earthiness and a different texture to the slight spice of the dish. Enjoy!!

And, of course, if you try this out, make sure to stop by and let us know how it turned out!


(since I didn’t take a picture, this is a pic courtesy of Laura Pants on Flickr.)

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Thursday’s Tasty Treat: Baked Acorn Squash

We are huge squash eaters here in the CCM household… butternut, spaghetti, yellow, pumpkin… you name it, we eat it! This recipe is one that my mom made when we were younger. It is such an easy recipe and it is a definitely a kid pleaser.

Baked Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter, divided
pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. With a sharp knife, cut off the bottom of the acorn squash, creating a base.
3. With the same knife, cut the squash in half, length-wise.
4. Scoop out the seeds and fibery strings from each half. (optional: keep the seeds and roast them. yum.)
5. to each half add: 1/8 cup butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and sprinkle pepper over the top
6. Place on a baking sheet at bake until squash pierces easily with a fork… 35-40 minutes.

To serve:

Scrape the flesh of the squash into the butter/ sugar/ pepper mixture in the cavity and eat!

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Thursday’s Tasty Treat: Easy-Peasy PB and C cake

I’ve been waiting to post this recipe until a friend tried making it in another vessel. This recipe is originally from a direct sales company, known for kitchen goods, and the original recipe used all of their equipment. A friend made this, using conventional kitchen materials and it turned out great, in her opinion!! (Thanks for testing, Heather!)

Easy-Peasy PB and C Cake

Ingredients:

A box of devil’s food cake mix and ingredients to make cake
A small tub of chocolate frosting, not the whipped kind
A small tub of creamy peanut butter
Casserole dish that can fit in your microwave
Spray oil
Toothpicks

Directions:

1. Mix cake mix according to directions.
2. Pour into a casserole dish, sprayed with the oil.
3. Add the entire tub of frosting to the cake batter, dollop wise, all over. (Make your dollops as large or as small as you want.)
4. Add dollops of peanut butter between the dollops of chocolate. (You may not use the entire tub of peanut butter.)
5. Microwave, with turntable on and casserole cover off, for 10 minutes on HIGH. If you don’t have a turntable in your microwave, rotate the dish halfway through.
6. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick in the cake after cooking. If the pick comes out clean, it’s done. If not, microwave in 2 minute increments until done.
7. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream

This cake results in a fluffy chocolate cake with pools of ooey-gooey chocolate and peanut butter woven within. If you make this, come back and let us know how it turned out!!
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Thursday’s Tasty Treats: CrockPot Pork Posole

This recipe was given to me by a friend and it has become a staple in the CCM household. It is so easy to bring together and usually leaves delicious left-overs for lunch the next day!

CrockPot Pork Posole

Need:

6 Qt or larger CrockPot

3-4# boneless pork roast

1 can hominy (white or yellow)

1 can tomatoes with chiles

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 t salt,  1/2 t pepper, 1 t cumin and Sazon de Goya (if you have it. It’s usually found in the Latin Foods aisle. They are little  orange spice packets.)

 

To make:

1. Place roast in crockpot.

2. Add hominy, tomatoes, onion, spices and one can of water (I use the tomato can)

3. Cook on low for 6 hours or so, or until Pork shreds easily with a fork.

4. Shred pork and serve on Corn Tortillas with Salsa and Guac!

 

So easy. So delicious!!

 

<img src="Pork Posole” alt=”” />

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If you try this, be sure to come back and let us know what you think!!


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Until debt us do part

How many of you are aware of this little factoid: A man cannot enter into the priesthood if he has outstanding debts. A woman cannot become a religious sister or nun if she has outstanding debts. Reason being, how will a priest or nun pledge their entire life to loving and serving Christ is they have the burdon of debt on their shoulders?

Now, for those of us who were called to the married life, it’s a completely different story.

Chances are, you did not just marry your spouse, you married their debt as well. Now, we can wax poetic about it all and say, “Well, mine is student loan debt, so that’s good debt.” I’m sorry. Debt is debt, and you have to pay it back. The sad thing is, some of our debts are so high that it can keep us from living the life that we are to live.

Some scenarios to consider:

Case 1: Young couple, just married, both bringing debt to the marriage, decide to wait “until they can afford” to have children. Time passes, incomes increase, but the debt never decreases because with each increase in income came an increase in expenditures. Time goes, Debt grows and the couple decides that children just aren’t in their future because they just can’t afford them.

Case 2: Married, with children, and debt. Debt each brought to the marriage and debt that the married couple amassed together. The Spirit is on their hearts telling them that it’s time for another child, but looking at their bank account really kills the mood. Surrounded by their worldly possessions, they come to the reality that they have neither the space nor the money for an additional child.

Case 3: Mature couple, ready to start thinking about retirement, but still have personal debt to pay off, in addition to sending kids to college. Then, surprise! They’re expecting. Not sure what they are going to do, or how they’re going to afford this baby, they stand at a crossroads…

 

OK, I’ll admit. It’s melodramatic, and I know that some people choose to remain childless, but for those who want children, am I really that far off? I often think of my and DH’s situation and how much more breathing room we would be if we didn’t have my Graduate Student loans (I earned my undergraduate degree on scholarship,) and our personal credit card debt. We are slowly chipping away at our debt, but I can help but feel disheartened so often because it seems like Sisyphus pushing that boulder up the hill just to see it roll back down.

When I was younger, money was always tight and I remember telling myself that I couldn’t wait to be a grown up because then money woudn’t be an issue and I could buy and have whatever I wanted (Don’t ask me where I got that idea.) But looking back, what I should have learned is the difference between wants and needs and the beauty of delayed gratification (I’m still working on that one, paying cash for our splurges does help because you have to save for that purchase, rather than pulling out old Mr. Plastic.) But think about it… the important things in life are things that you have to wait for: the right guy/ girl, marriage, careers promotions, children, grandchildren, etc. Nothing meaningful happens right away.

So, that’s what we’re teaching our girls. The Bear may mention a toy or art set that she is interested in and instead of rushing out and getting it for her right away, it’s either a birthday or Christmas gift. When we have birthday parties for the girls, instead of guests bringing gifts, we have them bring donations (we didn’t do that with The Bear’s 4th because it was just one more thing I forgot.) I don’t know how long we will continue the birthday gift/ donation tradition, and I’ll have to admit, I kind of missed doing it this past weekend, but it’s an easy way to teach the girls about giving back and what the important things in life are.

 
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Sorry if this post sounded kind of random and disjointed. It is a good example of my “stream of consciousness” writing and I am avoiding going back to edit because I am sure these are the words I am supposed to write.

Pax Christi!

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Lenten Meals: White Bean Pita Pockets

Today is the Feast of The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Since this is a day of celebration, the Bishop has given the OK for us here in STL to partake in meat if we want as a day of celebration is not one for fasting and abstinance. (I am sure other Archdioceses have done the same but you might want to check.)

Today’s recipe is meatless and comes from the April 2011 issue of Cooking Light. I made this last night and it was muy delicioso!! If you have a well-stocked pantry, you may not have to shop for much.

Southwestern White Bean Pita Pockets

1.5 T lime juice, divided
4 t EVOO, divided
0.5 t ground cumin
0.25 t salt, divided
0.25 t ground red pepper (I used cayenne)
2 15 ounce cans of white beans, rinsed, drained and divided
0.5 c diced plum tomato (I used roma)
0.25 cup diced red bell pepper
0.25 cup diced, seeded, peeled cucumber
3 T diced red onion
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 pitas, cut in half
4 boston lettuce leaves
0.25 cup crumbled queso fresco (I omitted this totally)
4 lime wedges

1. Combine 1 T lime juice, 2 t oil, cumin, 1/8 t salt, red pepper, and 1 cup beans in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

2. Place remaining 1.5 t lime juice, remaining 2 t olive oil, remaining 1/8 t salt, remaining beans, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno in a bowl; toss to combine.

3. Spread about 3.5 T processed bean mixture inside each pita half. Place 1 lettuce leaf, about 3/4 cup tomato mixture, and 2 T cheese inside each pita half. Serve with lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

(I actually found it to be tastier to omit the pita totally, and spread the processed beans on the lettuce and top with the tomato mix and roll it all up to munch.)

I paired this with couscous last night and it was quite the hit here. Hope you enjoy!!

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It is the season of Lent. I’ll be including the meat-free recipes for your enjoyment and don’t forget, if you have one to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Include your first name for the props!

Pax Christi!

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Lenten Meals: Black Beans and Rice

OK, I have been so bad about posting and I have no excuse other than: random snow and one last snowman to build, parenting, making Easter dresses, hosting book club and having a traveling husband. But please, no pity! This recipe is easy-peasy. I usually just use canned Black Beans, but you can sub dried beans, as long as you pre-soften them by your favorite method. If you are a huge Sir Mix-A-Lot Fan, you can use Red Beans instead of Black Beans…

Black Beans and Rice

1 T butter or oil
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can Mexican style diced tomatoes, drained
2 cans Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
1 T cumin
1 T coriander
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 t salt

Enough Cooked rice for the family
Sour Cream
Diced Green Onion (or regular onion)
Hot Sauce

1. In a large skillet, heat butter (or oil) over medium heat. Add the “Holy Trinity” (celery, green pepper and onion) and garlic. Cook until veg are soft and onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep things from burning.

2. Add the tomatoes, beans, liquid (water or broth) and spices to the skillet. Using a potato masher (or other similar instrument) mash about half of the beans. Bring the saucy mixture to a simmer. Cook until everything is nice and hot.

3. Serve over rice. Top with sour cream, onion and add some hot sauce for a little more of a kick.

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It is the season of Lent. I’ll be including the meat-free recipes for your enjoyment and don’t forget, if you have one to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Include your first name for the props!

Pax Christi!

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Filed under Catholic, family, food, frugal, Lent, meatless

Non-Dairy Foodie Fridays: Minestrone Soup

We do love our soups in the CCM house!!

Easy Minestrone

4 med chopped tomatoes
2 med carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 med zucchini, halved and sliced
1 med yellow summer squash, halved and sliced
1.5 C shredded cabbage
1 can (16oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups chicken broth or veg broth
1.5 Tbs Italian Seasoning
1 t salt
0.5 t pepper

In a 5 QT crock pot, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

this makes a ton (about 10 servings) as well so you will have plenty left over if you have a small family, and it makes a great breakfast option on those chilly mornings. You get a chock full of vegetables in and my little girls love it!

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If you have a recipe to share, please email it to:

caffeinatedcatholicmama@gmail.com

along with your name and location (let me know if you’d rather that info not be published!)

Pax Christi!

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