Recipe: Vegetarian Red Beans and Seven-Grain Dirty Rice

I was looking for a good Red Beans and Rice recipe and I came across this one that was aired on Good Morning America at one time.  I made it and both hubby and son loved it.  Even as lunch leftovers, my son asked for seconds.  I thought it might be too spicy for me, but it wasn’t bad at all.  This one is a keeper for our family, it has become one of hubby’s favorite recipes.

Vegetarian Red Beans and Seven-Grain Dirty Rice


2 c. brown rice
1 1/2 c. chopped red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. finely diced carrots
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsps. chili powder
3 3/4 c. vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 c. cooked red beans
1 1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
1/2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 tbsps. chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsps. chopped fresh cilantro


Place medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the rice, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, jalapeno, cumin, coriander, and chili powder, and heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until lightly browned.

In another pot, bring the stock and bay leaf to a boil and add to the rice mixture. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, corn, and salt. Stir, cover, and simmer for 15 more minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and add the parsley and cilantro. Makes 8 cups; serves 6 to 8.


I’m Not Ready For Winter!!

winter3Practically we are ready, emotionally I am not.  I woke up this morning and I just can not get warm.  Not freezing outside yet, but 40F is close enough.  Very tempting to just turn up the thermostat.  Instead I grabbed my slippers and bathrobe.

With all the extra fees and service charges, gas it much more expensive than electricity.  And electricity isn’t cheap.  We do not have a wood stove (we have a manufactured home and can’t because of zoning and insurance) nor do we have a fire place.  So being the manager of my home, I need to find ways to stay warm frugally.

There are lots of tips to stay frugally warm in the winter: Turn down the thermostat, wear more layers of clothes, heat only the rooms you are using, wear warm pajamas to bed and use flannel sheets etc.  We also like to heat up homemade rice bags and stick them in the beds by our feet at night.

Another thing is to take advantage of cooking and baking.  Baking bread or making soup are great ways to add a little more heat to your home.

lampI also like to light oil lamps in the winter.  While they don’t put out a whole lot of heat, they do make me feel warm and cozy.

One of the more practical things we can do to stay frugally warm this winter is to make sure your furnace filter is changed/cleaned. If your filter is dirty, your furnace has to work harder to heat your home costing you more money. Check it at least once a month.

It’s a little thing, but all the little things together make a big difference!  What are your favorite frugal tips to stay warm in the winter?

Canning Apples

20141027_104820Almost two bushels of apples (Cortland and Jonamac), a few for apple pie filling and the rest will soon be apple sauce.  Some of the biggest, prettiest local apples I’ve ever seen. Yesterday I canned seven quarts of apple pie filling, and after checking them this morning, all the jars have sealed.  (Wheeee!) I just need to wash them and put them away now.  I used the recipe from Ball with a couple changes.

20141028_081817My changes were that I used brown sugar instead of regular sugar, and I don’t use Sure-Jell.  I don’t use it when making an apple pie, so I didn’t want to put it in when I canned apple pie filling.  If I could make it without sugar, I would do that too.  I’m still looking for a good recipe for that.  In the mean time, I’ll use the one I have.

Today will be spent cutting and cooking the apple sauce, and I’ll probably be canning that tomorrow.  Yes, I did not say peeling.  I do leave the skins on when I make apple sauce.  Just get the cores out.  After they are cooked and soft, you can use a blender, food processor, or strainer.  If you peel the apples you can even use a potato masher.  Makes a great chunky apple sauce.  I’ll be using my immersion blender.  And I don’t add any any sugar, I don’t think a good homemade applesauce needs it.  If you are canning apples, what are the different ways you are canning them?


Recipe: Ann’Re’s Chili Dip

This is one of my favorite recipes, this is a great recipe for get-togethers, pot-lucks, parties etc.  I’ve even made it for dinner.  The only problem I have is that I haven’t yet found a sufficient non-dairy alternative to the cream cheese.  *sigh*  I’m not sure where this yummy recipe originally came from, but I’ve been making it since before hubby and I married (over 20 years!).  I like to serve it with nacho chips, corn chips, or pita chips.   I have used left over chili instead of the canned as well.

Ann’Re’s Chili Dip

1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1 15 oz. can chili, no beans (although I’ve made it with beans and I like that too!)
chopped green onions
chopped black olives
chopped tomato
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
nacho or corn chips

Spread softened cream cheese in the bottom of a baking dish. Pour chili over the cream cheese. Add chopped onions, black olives and tomatoes. Cover with shredded cheese. Bake in 400F oven (or you can microwave if you choose) until cheese is melted. Serve hot with your choice of chips.

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Reading Proverbs

“What’s worth doing is worth doing well.” Great-Grandma

Yeah, she may not have originated it, but she said it enough that I associate it with her.  My great-grandmother was full of wisdom, as was my grandmother. Even as a youngster it was something I admired in them and desired for myself. Now that I’m…um…older…and raising a spirited 14 year old, I still desire wisdom to pass onto my son. No better place to learn wisdom than from the book of Proverbs.

In my Bible reading I find that I can read through the entire book of Proverbs easily each month. Of course, actually making the time to sit and read isn’t as easy. But to read through Proverbs in a month you simply look at the date. Today is the 24th, so you would read Proverbs 24. You see, there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, and most months have 31 days. Even if you forget to read, it’s easy to jump back into it by looking at the calendar. On months that don’t have 31 days I double up on the last day…don’t want to skip Proverbs 31!

And if you want to add the book of Psalms to your reading each month, simply read about five each day and you’ll get through the entire book of Psalms in one month (with a day to spare in months with 31 days).  I usually read Psalm 119 by itself since it is long.

It works out for me, what have you found to make your Bible reading easier?

Proverbs 3:13-15
13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.

Recipe: Amish Haystack Dinner

This is dinner tonight.  I had never heard of this before we moved here to NE Indiana quite a few years ago.  It’s used a lot for local fundraisers.  There are a lot of different recipes for it, but I ended up modifying a few coming up with my own recipe.  I’d love to hear what you think if you’ve made it or if you try it.

Haystack Dinner (approximately 15 servings)

Romaine lettuce, shredded
1 lb. corn chips, crushed
hot rice (2 cups uncooked)
2 cups shredded carrots
5 tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 lb. fried burger seasoned with taco seasoning or spaghetti sauce (or you could use your favorite chili including beans)
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese or 3 cans cheddar cheese soup

Each item is stacked in order on a plate and served.

Optional ingredients:  sour cream or yogurt, black olives, green olives, chopped celery, walnuts, pecans, salsa, mozzarella cheese, hash brown potatoes, pineapple, hard boiled eggs, shredded pork, chopped bacon…the sky is the limit!

Canning Dried Beans

One of the things I want t2012MARbeansBo do is grow and raise enough food that we can eat out of the pantry and spend as little as possible at the store. It will be a lot easier when we aren’t in the zoned town limits. Until then we’ll do what we can do.

I would love to grow and can all sorts of beans, but our space is limited at the moment (I would love to just till the whole yard up!) so we just grow green and wax beans.  Since I can’t grow others, the next best frugal thing is to buy dried beans.  They aren’t hard to make at all if you have the time.  And most of the time is the beans soaking or cooking.

I recently read somewhere (I don’t remember where though) that fall/winter is the perfect time to can dried beans and I couldn’t agree more.  Who wants to heat up the kitchen in the summer cooking and canning dried beans if you don’t have to?  And we’re all usually busy canning from the garden.  Having them ready to eat out of the jar is such a time saver as well.  So I am on a mission to pull dried beans out of the pantry and get them canned.

I am canning the beans plain with the recipe below, but you can season them up.  Ham and beans, baked beans, chili beans etc.  The Ball Blue Book is a great place to start.

My next batch of beans will be black beans, those are hubbys favorite.  At some point I want to do pinto beans. In the mean time this past weekend I picked up a 50-pound bag of white potatoes and I’m going to be canning them as well.  Once those are done I hope to get a 50-pound bag of red potatoes and can those too.  But for now, beans.

Beans or Peas – Dried (Kidney, Navy, Pinto, etc.)
from the Ball Blue Book

2 1/4 pounds dried beans or peas per quart
Salt (optional)

Cover beans or peas with cold water.  Let stand 12-18 hours in a cool place.  Drain.  Cover beans or peas with cold water by 2 inches in a large saucepot.  Bring to a boil; boil 30 minutes, stirring frequently.  Pack hot beans or peas into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint jar, 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, if desired.  Ladle hot cooking liquid or boiling water over beans or peas, leaving 1-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process pints 1 hour and 15 minutes, quarts 1 hour and 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.