Monday, January 16, 2017

Crockpot Cheeseburger Soup

I could not live without my crockpot.  It is the magical kitchen appliance that gets me through the long days.  I use it most often when I know I have a busy day, or in winter and rainy days that just scream "soup day!"

But sometimes in winter I start missing burgers on the bbq.  The perfect solution? Cheeseburger soup.

And, oh, it was so delicious. The cheese, the pickles, the hamburger.  A match made in heaven.

Here's what you need;

Half a can of tomatoes (I used half because it was what I had left in the fridge, use a whole one if you want and really like tomatoes!
1 lb of hamburger
1/2 can of black olives
1 tsp of rosemary
1/4 cup of cream
1 cup of milk
4 cups broth (I used some homemade chicken broth)
Diced pickles for topping

Cook the hamburger on the stove until it is no longer pink.  Throw everything into the crockpot except the milk and cream and pickles.  Cook on high for 4 hours.

About 10 minutes before serving mix in the cream and milk. Serve into bowls and top with diced pickles.

Seriously, this tastes like a cheeseburger.  It was like eating a bowl of Summer in the dead of Winter. Go make a pot of this stuff and try and ignore the layer of ice and snow outside the window.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Roasted Veggie Pasta

I don't know about you, but I ate WAY too much over Christmas holidays.  And when I mean I ate WAY too much, I don't mean I had two weeks of over indulging.  No, It was a good 6 weeks of holiday eating.  All our lovely neighbours brought us cookies, and our family sent us chocolate.  It was so delicious, but by the end of Christmas I wasn't feeling so good.  I definitely was suffering from sugar overload!  Have I mentioned I also have no self-control?  If it is in the house, chances are I will eat too much of it.

Anyways, all that to say, my body is screaming,  "Please, feed me some vegetables, WOMAN!"  And I was really craving some roasted type vegetables.  I created this dish today to satisfy that craving.

First, roast your vegetables.  I used zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and broccoli.  I poured a bit of olive oil and sprinkled salt on it.  Put it in the oven at 375 degrees till they were nice and soft, but not burnt.  Make sure to stir them around every once in awhile to prevent it from burning.

While the vegetables are roasting, cook your pasta.

When the vegetables are done roasting, take it out of the oven and add sundried tomatoes and black olives to it.  Pour a generous splash of lemon juice on the veggies and stir it up.

 Add the pasta, stir it up and serve it up on your plate and sprinkle salt and pepper and parmesan cheese.  And I mean the GOOD parmesan cheese, not the "shaky cheese" as my kids call it.  Get the nice slivers of fresh parmesan. So yummy.
So, so delicious.  I enjoyed every bite.   As you can see there are no accurate measurements here.  It's really because you can add as little or as much veggies and lemon juice as you want.  It's all up to you and your personal tastes.  Except the parmesan cheese.  That stuff NEEDS to be loaded on.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

How to do a 30 Day Spending Freeze

Every year, usually in January, My husband and I do what we call a "Spending Freeze".  For 30 days (or more) we do not spend any unnecessary money on ourselves.  We still buy groceries, and anything that comes up that is an absolute necessity, but other than that, we don't spend. We also don't eat out.  This year we aren't as committed to it as usual because we are preparing to put our house on the market, so we have needed to spend money on things like paint and other supplies for minor renovations.  But we still aren't spending on ourselves right now.  And for the past couple of years we have had amazing success with it. Last year we did a 3 month spending freeze and it allowed us to save hundreds of extra dollars. Here are some tips to have a successful spending freeze.

1.  Go put your credit cards in a block of ice.  Yes, seriously.  If you freeze your credit cards they will not get damaged, yet they will be out of your wallet and away from easy access.  If you truly feel you need them, you will have to wait for the block if ice to melt.  It will be a lot of trouble to get those cards out and while the ice is melting you will hopefully have second thoughts about using the cards.

2.  Make a meal plan.  No eating out, remember?  Avoid the dreaded "I don't know what to make for dnner, let's just go out to eat" by being prepared with a meal plan.

3.  Plan some fun, free activities.  It's easy to become "frugal-fatigued".  You don't want to feel like you are having 30 days of no fun and giving in to spending money by feeling tired of saving.  Some ideas on free fun are playing board games, watching a movie on Netflix if you have it, going for a trail walk, baking, building forts with your kids, or crafting with supplies you already have on hand.

4.  Remind yourself that 30 days is not really that long.  While spending less is a good habit to get into on an ongoing basis, remind yourself that in 30 days you can go get that Starbucks coffee (Or Tim Horton's if you've decided to start choosing a cheaper option.)   It will be over before you know it!

5.  Keep track of your bank account.  As you see the money you are saving and are able to put it to other things such as debt, home renovations, or that trip you've been dying to go on, you will feel more motivated and determined to stick with it.

Freezing your spending for a short time can really make a difference.  Just 30 days - you got this!