Sunday, September 22, 2013

Loaded Broccoli and Cheese Soup

 September is National Preparedness month.  All month I've been thinking of being prepared.  All I can thinking of is prepared for what?  I live in the high desert of Colorado.  I live on a hill so no flooding here.  Tornado,ummm unlikely.  I do have to cross a bridge to get into town, and if all 4 bridges out of here fail I could be in trouble.  The biggest threat?  A massive blizzard.  That is a real possibility.  We have had snow day's around here.  Wet snow two feet deep.  Not bad, but if the conditions were just right I could have to deal with a blizzard.  So in light of National Preparedness Month I've decided to use some of our prepping items, and then tell you about them.  We love Augason Farms Cheesy Broccoli Soup Mix.  It is wonderful to have on hand, and has a shelf life of 10 years.

Tonight for dinner I used up the last of my Cheesy Broccoli Soup Mix.  I hope you enjoy this recipe for Loaded Broccoli and Cheese Soup. 
Loaded Broccoli and Cheese Soup
4 Servings.
2/3 cup Soup Mix
3 1/2 cups Water
1lb Ground Beef
1 cup Green Beans
1/2 cup Carrots

Mix water and soup mix.  Turn stove on and bring to a boil.
Add green beans and carrots.
Boil 13 minutes.
Brown ground beef. 
Add ground beef to soup.


I served our soup with Grilled Cheese Pull-A-Parts.  This was a very satisfying dinner!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


October of 2012
Its fall!  The leaves are starting to turn colors, the air is crisp, and the garden is winding down.  The holiday season is upon us and most people are perfectly happy.  I on the other hand and starting to get nervous.  I look forward to Halloween, Thanksgiving and most of all Christmas.  I love celebrating the birth of our Savior, we even make a birthday cake for Jesus.  That is not the problem.  The problem is seasonal depression.  Crippling, aching, empty, fearful depression.  Its hard to imagine now, I have a smile on my face, puppy liking me till I laugh, happy mind set now.  In a few months that will all change.  The happy goes away and I'm left with nothingness.  I don't want to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.  I smile, laugh, and enjoy moments, but for the most part there is nothingness.  After 10 years I think I have finally figured a few things out.  First and foremost: Prepare!  I'll share a ton of ideas, as I start prepping.  Second: Come to terms with what is going to happen.  I know its coming, so I just have to accept it.  As horrid as it sounds, accepting that the depression is going to happen helps.  Third:  Do things ahead of time.  When I say things I mean everything humanly possible.  Buy/make Christmas presents and wrap them.  Make waffle mix, cake mix, and bread mixes.  Have things ready so that in those happy moments all you have to do is add a few ingredients here, or a special bow there and the magic can continue.  Even if you don't feel like it you will be able to create happy moments.  That in turn will help with the depression.  Forth: Know what kills your depression.  For me its baking.  The wonderful smells, the smiles on my families face, the pleasure of biting into bread fresh out of the oven. 

I know there is someone out there that is going to say:"See a doctor." or "Go get depression medicine."  Dandy thoughts, and I have done both of those things. Four yes 4 different kinds of depression medicine later.  With none of the working, I have realized that western medicine does not always work.  So get ready for a series on dealing with depression.  I hope you will enjoy the ride!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Not your Grandmother's Meatloaf

This is one amazing recipe!  Its about 4 lbs of meat, and will keep you full for a while.  Bacon plays a major role in this meat loaf, so I don't make it often, but when I do the left overs are always gone with in a day.  Ok enough about this recipe......  Here it is.

Bacon Meatloaf
 2 lbs Ground Beef
1lb Ground Pork
1lb Bacon
2 Eggs
1 cup Ketchup
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 cup Onion
1cup Bell Pepper
 Cut the Bacon so that it will cover the meatloaf.  I always have to guess but it will not be directly in half.
Chop up remaining bacon.
Combine bacon pieces, ground beef, ground pork, eggs, ketchup, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
I always place 2 pieces of bread on the bottom of my loaf pan to soak up the grease.
Place meat in the pan and make a rounded top. 
Place bacon on top of meat loaf.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour.  Take meatloaf out of the oven and drain the grease.  Bake for another 30 minutes. 
Take out of the oven.
Slice and Enjoy!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Making the Most of Your Community Part 4

 Part 4 Do It Yourself
I can not believe in 13 years of living on the Western Slope of Colorado I've never been Peach Picking!  I live in an amazing area.  U-pick Cherries, Peaches, and Apples.  The area was beautiful, up on a mesa overlooking a lake.  The farm dog came and greeted us.  Isn't he beautiful!  I did spend money on this adventure.  U-pick Peaches at Antelope Hill $.50 per pound.   The only reason I knew they were $.50 a pound was a sign on the highway.  So keep you eyes open.  You never know when you will find something.  I picked 28 pounds in about 20 minutes.  The peaches were huge, ripe and a wonderful maroon color.  If I had just bought peaches it would have been $1.25 per pound. 

 I saved:   $ 21
Not a huge savings, but I did save money.  All it took was some effort on my part.  If I had picked enough peaches to can for the whole year I would have saved about $60.  I had a box to can, and some leftover peaches from last year.  I was able to get some exercise, spend time with an amazing friend, and bring home delicious peaches.  Well worth the money. 
 I hope you have enjoyed this mini-series on making the most out of your community.  I hope you have some new ideas, and are able to save some money. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Making the Most of your Community Part 3

Part 3 Use Your Talents!
This year I was able to get a free box of peaches.  What did I have to do for them?  Can a box of peaches for someone else.  They didn't have the time or talent and I did.  So I spent a day canning peaches for someone.  The provided everything, peaches, jars, and sugar.  I provided the time and talent.  Total Savings: $8 not a huge savings, but if I were to do this for a few families I could save more. 

I've also sold a few items on facebook.  Most people just don't sew, crochet, or knit anymore.  I just happened to post the cute backpacks on my personal page and a few friends wanted some too. 

So go head and share your talents on-line you never know what others are needing.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Making the Most of Your Community Part 2

Part 2
So yesterday I talked about getting free horse manure, and having a fun time.  Right?  Yes!  Today I'll share my dirty little secret.  A blackberry patch.  I pick about 5 gallons of blackberries a year for free.  
Total savings:
Yep if I did the math right I save $2560 per year just by picking blackberries.  $8 per pint, 2 pints to a quart, 4 quarts to a gallon and I pick about 5 gallons per year.  Whats the secret?  I asked to go pick them.  What to the owners get in return?  A jar out of every batch of blackberries I can.  So far this year they have received a jar of Blackberry Pie Filling, a jar of Blackberry Jam and a jar of Blackberry Jelly.  How did I find it?  Someone asked, on facebook in a community group, if anyone had any blackberries to pick.  I followed the conversation and asked if I could pick as well.  I have since become friends with the owners of the blackberry patch.  We helped clean up and destroy their house when it caught on fire.  I have helped them make cute kitchen towels for their new kitchen.  Its a wonderful relationship.  Today's lesson: Ask!  The worst you could hear is no.  The best answer yes, and you make new friends. 
Blackberry Jam from free blackberries.

Tomorrow?  Another freebie you wouldn't expect. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Making the Most of you Community Part 1

 This is the first searies I've ever considered.  I've been thinking about it for a while.  First of all I have to mention that we don't have a big income.  Think one part-time job income.  Yep that is what we live on.  I would not trade it for anything.  Expecially since we have been with out jobs for 3 years!!  We have lived with my parents for our entire marriage.  My father has been disabled for the last 6 years and 2 years ago my mother was fired, and it took her a year to find a new job.

4 adults no income. All home.  OH MY!  Talk about stress! 

This all brings me to my topic making the most of YOUR community.  In the year that all of us were home I had to find other ways to supplement the little income that we had.  The next few posts are about finding the amazing ways to save money in your community.  They will not work everywhere, some of them might not work for you.  I found all of these places slowly, but I found them.  I still use them, why not?  They are a great way to add to our house. 

Thank goodness I already knew how to garden, but our soil is almost pure clay.  I needed some manure, but didn't have any money.  The neighbors went on vacation, and said that I could take as much horse manure as I wanted.  hmmmmmm.  I cleaned out the poo pile for a few hours.  The garden took off!  My plants doubled!  I was ecstatic, and sad.  I had cleaned out the pen.  Whats a girl to do?  Call a family friend that rescues horses.  So here is Zane.  This year I cleaned out his pin, while he was in the pasture.  I helped a non-profit organization, and I was able to keep the manure.  The manure will sit, covered till next spring.  Then I will work it into the garden, and the plants will grow big and bushy.  One bag of 2 cubic foot Miricle Grow is almost $9 in my area.  I filled 6 bags worth for free.   
I saved $54 and I plan on going back for more!

 Plus we always have fun.  There are rabbits, goats, chickens, a cat, a dog, and we found a snake! The most exotic animal is the wallaby, we love sitting the the swing watching the wallaby.  Christopher even gets to help groom the miniature ponies.  So for a little work, we get to have an amazing day and all of the free manure I can load.  What a deal! 

I hope this has inspired you to find the freebies in your community.  Come back tomorrow I'll have another freebie post for you!