Ranch Dressing Mix Recipe

The holidays are just around the corner, and I’m betting you have at least one holiday recipe that calls for a packet of ranch dressing mix (I know I do). The thing is, I never feel good about buying it. It’s pretty expensive for what it is, and it contains MSG and other artificial yuck. No thanks! So, this week, I made a billion batches of ranch, until I landed on one that tasted as good as (maybe better than) the store-bought mix. Here’s the recipe. [Read more…]

Pumpkin Tomato Sauce

Ever made a recipe that you found on Pinterest or a blog, only to have it be a big flop? Yep, that happened to me last night.

One of my favorite blogs had a recipe for creamy pumpkin spaghetti, which sounded amazing, and looked better still. So, I made it for dinner, and the sauce came out a liquidy mess. I triple and quadruple checked the recipe to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake, but nope. There must have been a typo somewhere in the recipe.

I grabbed an extra jar of pumpkin puree to thicken the sauce, and that got dinner on the table, but it wasn’t the amazing dish that I’d been anticipating all afternoon. Bummer.

It did get me thinking, though. Surely, I could come up with a pumpkin tomato sauce that was all the things I had expected that one to be. A sauce with the gorgeous color and creamy texture of pumpkin and the savory goodness of a tomato-based sauce.

Yep, I could do that. And while I was at it, I’d also make sure there wasn’t anything fussy about the recipe. It would be something with minimal ingredients and minimal cook time. It would contain ingredients that most people have on hand, and it wouldn’t leave little bits of ingredients left over. If it required opening a can of something, I’d make sure the whole can went into the recipe. In short, it would be the kind of recipe that I look for.

And that’s how I found myself in the kitchen today, making batch after batch of sauce, until I landed on the winner. And oh boy, is it a winner. My new pumpkin tomato sauce recipe has a gorgeous color and texture, and it melds the pumpkin and tomato flavors beautifully. It’s jam-packed with nutrients, too; so it’s something you can feel good about feeding your family. Oh, and did I mention it takes less than 30 minutes to make? Yep, definitely a winner.

But don’t take my word for it. Make it, and see for yourself. [Read more…]

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I like to cook most things from scratch, so it always feels like a bit of a fail when I buy canned enchilada sauce. Every time that can goes into my shopping cart, I think about all of the sodium and preservatives and who-knows-what-else that I’ll be feeding my family, and that doesn’t sit well with me. So, last week, I headed into my kitchen with a mission of creating my own enchilada sauce recipe, and I came out victorious. My new enchilada sauce is real; it’s easy to make; and it’s crazy good. Make it once, and you’ll never go back to canned (I know I won’t). [Read more…]

Bill Pay Stickers

Bill Pay Stickers

Have a hard time keeping up with all of those bill due dates? Order a set of my bill pay stickers, and use them to mark when bill are due in your planner or on your calendar.

Bill Pay Sticker Set

The set includes stickers for 38 common bills, plus blanks that you can customize. There are 12 of each sticker (567 stickers total), so one set is enough to get you through the year.

Bill Pay Stickers on Calendar

They’re available in my Etsy shop for $12, so that’s just $1 a month. If they help you avoid even one late fee, they’ll more than pay for themselves.

Printable Bill Pay Checklist

And if you haven’t already, be sure to print a copy of my bill pay checklist (it’s free). It’ll give you a place to check off your bills as you pay them.

Weekend Homestead: One Year In

We started working on our weekend homestead just over a year ago, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at at what we’ve gotten done, as well as what we hope to accomplish next.

Cabin - Before

Remember this hideous before picture? Yeah, you might say the cabin was a bit of a fixer-upper. There wasn’t a back wall; some of the roofing tin had been stolen; and all of the windows had been busted out. But this cabin had one major selling point: it was free. Yep, it was in such bad shape, it was thrown in with the purchase of the land. That was enough to get us to take a closer look at the cabin, and, it turns out, it was actually really well built. So, we came up with a plan to fix it up, and we got to work. [Read more…]