Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DIY Pumpkin Purée

Last time I made my own pumpkin purée, I peeled the pumpkin, chopped it up and boiled it, then purred it. It was so tedius that I never wanted to do it again! 

But I found a new method, that makes it so much easier! It's so much cheaper to make your own pumpkin purée then buying canned pumpkin. If you know a farmer that has a big garden and plants pumpkins, I can almost garantee you that you can ask for a free pumpkin. My step-mother plants pumpkins every year and so many grow that she has a hard time giving them all away!

To make your own pumpkin purée, follow these easy steps.

First, wash your pumpkin to remove any dirt/mud.

Then cut the pumpkin in half.

Then remove the seeds and scrape out all the stringy bits with a metal spoon. Place pumpkin cut side down in a roasting pan. Fill pan with a couple cups of water. 

My pumpkin was so big I could not fit both halves in the same roasting pan.

Bake pumpkin in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes until pumpkin is tender. 
Scrape out pumpkin flesh and purée in a food processor or blender.

Freeze purée in the amounts of your choosing. Keep in freezer for up to 12 months. Thaw and use in your favorite pumpkin recipes as needed!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

I had bought some zucchini for a new recipe I wanted to try, but didn't end up getting around to it. I didn't want the zucchini to go to waste, so decided to try a zucchini cookie recipe.

The batter seemed a little crumbly to me, I was worried they wouldn't work out, but they ended up being delicious! 

The cinnamon adds a bit of a warm taste, making these cookies perfect for this fall weather!

1 cup, butter
2 cup, granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 cup, all purpose flour
2 tsp, baking soda
2 tsp, ground cinnamon
1 tsp, salt
2 small zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
2 cup, semi-sweet choc chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Cream butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt gradually, mix well. Stir in zucchini. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon unto cookie sheet with 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Let stand 2-3 minutes, then move to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cheddar Ham Soup

In an attemp to save money, I bought a 2kg smoked ham and tried to make as many meals out of it as possible.
Here was one of them...

Cheddar Ham Soup

2 cups diced peeled potatoes
2 cups water
1/2 cup slices carrots
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

In large saucepan, combine potatoes, water, carrots, and onion. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 10-15 mins or until tender.
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Slowly add milk, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, cook and stir for 2 mins or until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir into undrained potatoe mixture. Add ham and peas, heat through.

Really easy and quick to make. 

With that ham I was able to make a total of 6 suppers and enough leftovers from each meal for my husband to take to work for lunch the next day. I made 2 soups, each of which had enough leftovers for lunch for my daughter and myself as well as my husband! The other soup was the crockpot corn chowder I blogged about early.

One of the recipes I used was for ham and cheddar pockets and that gave me enough leftovers to freeze for 4 lunches for my husband. You can find that recipe here. I also added chopped green onions to this. Serve with salad or side of veggies!

  So in total, one 2kg ham made 6 suppers, and 13 lunches. For around $17 for the ham, I'd say that was pretty good bang for my buck!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

To Glorify God

I go to a woman's bible study at my church, and right now we are doing a study by Beth Moore called Breaking Free. The themes are based on the book of Isaiah, and the study is about discovering any areas of bondage in your life that may be keeping you from living the abundant and spirit-filled life that God intended for you.

I've done a few Beth Moore bible studies and have loved all of them because she digs into the word and the history of the specific book the study is on and I always find I learn so much. If you've never done a Beth Moore study, I strongly suggest it. They are seriously so good! And this one is no exception! It is only the second week of the study and I'm totally encouraged by her teaching. Today's homework really spoke to me. It was about glorifying God.

Beth listed a number of scriptures that talked about God's glory and what it was. Through studying the versus we learn that His glory is the way he makes Himself recognizable and shows who He is. In Isaiah 43:7 it says "Everyone who is called by name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Being created for God's glory means He wants to make Himself recognizable to us, and to make Himself recognizable through us. We were created to represent God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 

Wow! Big shoes to fill! How are we as sinners supposed to represent God?! Jesus of course! John 1:14 talks of the Word becoming flesh (Jesus) the glory of the One and Only. Jesus came from the Father and became His glory. Colossians 1:27 reveals that Christ is in us, the hope of glory! "To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." When we receive Christ as our saviour, the Holy Spirit then resides in us. I love the way Beth words it in the study, 'we glorify God to the degree that we externalize the internal presence of the living Christ.' Sobering words! Are we living in a way that reveals Christ through our actions and words? Are we living up to our purpose of glorifying God? Can others recognize Christ through us? This isn't an over night process by far! It won't come easy and we are sinners who will fall short, but there is hope.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 " Now The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of The Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from The Lord, who is the Spirit." God is changing us into Christ's likeness. As we grow in spiritual maturity, the Spirit of Christ becomes increasingly recognizable in us.

The lesson today has really inspired me and encouraged me to keep pursuing spiritual maturity so that I can glorify God. I want people to see God in me. I have fallen short so many times, and missed so many opportunities to glorify God, but I can take comfort in knowing The Holy Spirit is in me and each day is an opportunity to grow "into his likeness with ever-increasing glory." 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A new way to coupon!

It's been awhile since I posted a frugal tip. I am really excited about this one! This is a different angle on coupons.

I do look at coupons and I will use them, but ONLY if it's on a product that I would normally buy. I won't buy something just because there is a coupon for it. I actually think you end up spending more money doing that. Lots of coupons are for higher priced products, so even if you use a coupon for it, it may be more expensive then buying the regular priced version of a different brand.

The one downfall that I find with collecting coupons, is that I usually forget to take them to the store with me, and miss out on saving the money. So frustrating! Well, my post today solves this problem!

Recently my friend told me about a coupon app called Checkout 51. Each week the app uploads new coupon deals, each with a monetary value. After paying for your groceries, you take a picture of your receipt (if you have any of the items that have the deals) and the app accumulates the dollar value of the coupon until you reach $20. When you reach $20 you can request a cheque mailed to you!

I just signed up to this, and my first receipt upload gave me $4. So I haven't requested a cheque yet. Once I do, I will update this post with information on how long the cheque took to get to my mailbox. It depends on what deals the app offers as to how long it will take me to accumulate $20. Like I said, I won't be buying things just because they are the deals of the week. So hopefully there will be lots of products I buy on a regular basis!

Has anyone used this app and received a cheque? If so, I'd love to hear if you enjoy the app and how long the cheque took to appear in your mailbox.