Budget friendly meal · Meal planning · refreshment at home

How To Reduce Your Grocery Budget and Still Eat Heartily

We’ve all seen that grocery prices are climbing. Is it possible to stay within a budget, but also cook delicious and filling meals at home? Yes! Here are my top five suggestions for doing just that!

Vegetable Pot Pie
Banana bread made from over-ripe bananas costs pennies and can be sliced and frozen to accompany oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
  1. Take note of what’s on sale at the grocery store each week. Going to Southern Savers or Money Saving Mom sites can make it so easy!
    Also be sure to visit the marked down areas in each section of the store – produce, bread and meats. Then…
  2. Make a weekly menu from the items on sale. A menu will keep you from running to the store last minute and buying whatever it takes to make supper. You’ll also be buying when the items are lower.
  3. Stock up if you can. When items are on sale, buy more than one, if possible. When butter is on sale, I buy two or three and freeze the extras until I need them.
  4. Bake your own bread, baked goods and snacks. This French Bread is so easy and makes two large loaves. I buy my bread flour in bulk at Sam’s Club and this recipe costs very little to mix together. After calculating the flour and the yeast (also bought in bulk at Sam’s), it costs me about 35 cents per loaf! This bread is so good toasted, so aside from a great side for breakfast or spaghetti supper, the possibilities are endless – grilled cheese, French toast, or BLT’s to name a few.
    These Muffins and this sweet bread can be made so cheaply by buying bananas that are over-ripe. They are cheaper than ripe ones and they freeze beautifully. When berries are on sale, freeze them for berry muffins. Make up a batch of cookies that don’t call for extra items like nuts or chocolate chips (did I just say that?!). Reserve those for special times. Make simple recipes like Snickerdoodles or Sugar Cookies.
    Rather than buying microwave popcorn, make this easy recipe – it’s much cheaper (and so much better!). These Granola Bars are also a Yummy snack!

Granola bars a

5. Have meatless suppers once or twice a week.
You can have breakfast for supper and serve eggs, pancakes or waffles and fruit.
Go with beans as the protein and have Cracker Barrel’s Pinto Beans and cornbread.
Refried Beans in a tortilla with fresh tomatoes, lettuce and cheese is another good option.
Broccoli or Baked Potato Soups are both hearty and filling.
Vegetable Pot Pie is another yummy, filling option!

Just typing up this post made me really want to cook and bake! Each of these recipes are truly cost-effective – especially when you follow the five steps I shared. I hope this will help you to eat well AND stay in your budget!

Depression · Refreshment · Winter

Ten Ways To Refresh a Dreary Winter Day

Did you know that “January Funk” is really a thing people deal with? “Funk” is a state of depression. It can be very mild, with just a feeling of the blah’s. It can feel like a gray day has settled in your heart.

I am a lover of warm, sunny days, so wintertime can often feel dreary to me. However, I have a list of ten things that really do bring the sunshine in and lift the winter weariness!

  1. Bible Reading – Shortly after rising, I love to get my coffee, a comfy chair and a lovely view, and start the day with my open Bible and my journal! It gives me something to meditate on all day long! Even though my Chronological reading plan has me in Job right now (not exactly a lifter-upper Book) I am seeing so many wonderful character traits of my awesome God! That’s what I’m meditating on each day!
  2. Light – I let in as much natural light as the temperatures allow. Curtains open, blinds up and when it warms a bit, the front door is swung open! I also have lamps on throughout the house to brighten up dark corners.

3. Plants – Flowers and plants also help to brighten my heart. Sometimes I cut greens from my yard. Sometimes I pick up flowers at the grocery store. I also still love my Wick plants! They are thriving beautifully!

4. Candles – I usually ALWAYS have a candle burning. Right now you can find great deals on candles, so stock up! This three-wick candle smells amazing and cost me $6. It adds light, aroma and warmth to the room!

5. Media. We have an Alexa in three rooms of our home. I have it playing my “Favorites” and I love the variety I hear! I also listen to several podcasts each day. At lunchtime my husband and I also usually always watch Andy Griffith. You just can’t be gloomy when you watch Barney’s antics!

6. Hobbies – It’s no secret that I love to bake. I’ll bake for company coming, or for a friend in need, a neighbor, or even put things in the freezer for later use. I never regret having something baked and stored away! I also work on my watercolor painting hobby, sewing, or scrapbooking. It’s fun to get creative!

7. Productivity – Getting up and getting things done is helpful in improving my outlook. If I get supper in the crockpot early in the day, pop in a load of laundry, work on a radio broadcast, or write a card to stick in the mail, I get energized! It’s great to get things accomplished and even work ahead!

8. Exercise – It was 22 degrees most mornings this week, but also sunny and I decided it was perfect for a walk! I bundled up three days in a row and walked 2.25 miles while I talked to the Lord. It felt good to exercise, talk to the Lord, and get some fresh air!

9. Fellowship = Our small groups are reconvening this week and I think we’re ALL excited about it! Those pies you saw were made for our small group. I usually make something pretty simple, but wanted to kind of celebrate getting back together after a long holiday break. The fellowship with others is so important in encouraging your heart! This is one reason why the Lord wants us to meet together as a Church Body. We need the fellowship and the encouragement, the worship, the corporate prayer and the building up of one another!

10. Ministry to others – It’s easy to get so focused on our own dreariness that we fail to see that others outside our home might need some encouragement, too. Ask the Lord to show you who needs you to reach out to them, and then recognize what their needs might be. As Proverbs 11:25 says, Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Friends, God cares about your burdens. He created you and He created the seasons. Talk to Him if you’re feeling down. Ask Him to help you have a right perspective about your season, your surroundings and your sadness.

I hope you’ll add one or more of these ten suggestions and watch your heart be encouraged…even in winter!

What do you do to encourage your heart in a funk? Share it in the comments.

Biblical Womanhood · joy · peace · Truth About Women

How Can We Deal Biblically With our Emotions?

Part 1

I love that God made women to be emotional beings. We feel sentiments, we sense problems, we discern issues. Sometimes we are spot on. Sometimes that intuition and sense of sadness, trouble or even excitement were all correct and we nod our heads, thankful that we followed through to care for ourselves or the other people involved.

However, because we are far from perfect, we don’t always get it right. Let’s face it, sometimes we can be totally off. On those occasions, we can also track our incorrect feelings to our incorrect responses. Been there? Me too! We are not alone, though.

When we open to the first Book of the Bible and see Eve in the garden, we are met immediately with a woman who missed it. When Satan showed her the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Scripture says,

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

She was looking at this whole situation and feeling that God had not been fair. He had withheld something that was good. Next we see that her wrong thinking/feelings, led her to act out her incorrect discernment when she took of the fruit and gave some to her husband, Adam.

There are several ways we can avoid jumping to conclusions as Eve did.

  1. Don’t go solely by your emotions. “I feel like…” Yes, sometimes we get it right, but emotions aren’t called “roller coasters” for nothing! If we go by what we “feel,” we’re very possibly going to end up with more than a crick in our neck. Like Eve, we will injure others in the process. Not going on our emotions is absolutely essential – especially when we are feeling things about God that are unlike His character!
    Elizabeth Elliot said, If you dwell on your own feelings about things rather than dwelling on the faithfulness, the love, and the mercy of God, then you’re likely to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  Our feelings are very fleeting and ephemeral, aren’t they?  We can’t depend on them for five minutes at a time.  But dwelling on the love, faithfulness, and mercy of God is always safe.
  2. Seek out the truth. If your feelings are pushing you to do something, find out the truth before you do anything. If Eve would have gone to the Source (God Himself), she would have been spared the awful consequences that followed. Ask loving (not accusatory) questions. You might say something like, “I’m feeling like this is happening. Am I correct or am I in error?”
  3. Believe the truth. It’s easy to ask someone that question, but we can be so convinced we’re right about what we’re “discerning” that if they refute what we’re feeling, we refuse the truth when they state it. Perhaps it’s out of a desire to be right. Or perhaps we’re so sure of our feelings that we think we need to inform the other person.

The truth of this situation is found in Genesis 2:17

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Eve needed to believe that God was so good to her and Adam. He had kept the evil from them! She found that out very quickly, didn’t she? You and I will often invite hardship, too, when we keep pressing into our emotions. What do we do then if we’re told that our feelings are inaccurate? We make a choice. We go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help us replace our feelings with right thinking. Philippians 4:8 Every time the emotion rushes in, we choose truth instead. It’s like choosing to eat something sweet and delicious, or picking up something disgusting from the sidewalk and popping it into our mouth and chewing on it. It’s our choice to choose.

Next week I’ll continue this post and I’ll be sharing the result of choosing right thinking over our emotions. For today, ask yourself:

  • Am I going solely on my emotions about the issue bothering me?
  • Am I willing to seek out truth?
  • Will I believe the truth when I hear it?

The roller coaster of emotions make for dizzy days. Guard your heart by seeking out the truth.

Cookies · Lightened Up Recipe

Ginger Cookies – Light Version

I get teased A LOT by my family for always using recipes from Cooking Light, but I say if you can eat delicious food – even dessert – and make it a little healthier, why not?! I enjoy having dessert, but don’t want to overdo it with the fat and sugars!

I found a Ginger Cookie recipe recently that tastes every bit as good as my favorite Ginger-Molasses recipe (which is amazing!), but this one is much lighter!! I’m not sure I’ll ever make my old favorite version again! These were so yummy! Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, they are the perfect treat! This is one of my husband’s favorite cookie flavors, so I’m glad to have a recipe to make that I can feel a little better about making!

I always under-bake my cookies a little because I like them soft. I probably baked these around 8 minutes. You be the judge, but that’s all the time my oven required.

Ginger Cookies – Cooking Light

  • 6 Tbl. Butter, softened
  • 2/3 Cup plus 3 Tbl. sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace (I didn’t have this and it was still great)
  • Cooking spray
  1. Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar, beating at medium speed until light and well blended.
  2. Add molasses and egg; beat well.
  3. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through mace), stirring with a whisk.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring until well blended
  5. Divide dough in half.
  6. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°.
  8. Shape each portion of dough into 26 (1-inch) balls. Roll balls in remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass to 1/2-inch thickness.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, but don’t want to kill your diet with dessert, please make these yummy treats! I can’t wait to make up another batch!

What’s your favorite splurge food-wise?

Here’s another special cookie from Cooking Light that we love and this is a delicious Angel Food Cake that is a special dessert!

Bible study · cat · Winter

Weekly Highlights

Highlights are defined as “An outstanding part of an event or time.” A look at my photos from this past week are full of sweet blessings – highlights. I’m sharing them, not to pretend there weren’t also low times, but to thank and acknowledge the Lord for His goodness and mercies! He is a loving God! Here are a handful.

Of course, being a cat lover, I have many photos of Liza Jane. She’s the sweetest kitty. I’m enjoying her older years. She’s lovable, cuddly and loves her cozy napping spots!

There’s another peek at Liza in a napping basket!

I had the blessing of spending a few days with my parents in Kentucky.

We celebrated our Christmas together, complete with gifts AND even a delicious Christmas dinner. Is there anything like eating at your mom’s table?! Sunday evening we ended the day with “Christmas Tea.” So yummy and so delicious!

My daughter Alli and I got to go to lunch – just the two of us! We went to the downtown of the city where I live and enjoyed lunch, heart to heart conversation and then some fun shopping! I treasure those times!

I’ve started another read through the Bible in 2022. I’m using the chronological plan, and also The Bible Recap with Tara Leigh Cobble. Her recap is like a mini commentary on each day’s reading. It’s been so helpful!

It’s been a blessed first week of 2022! How has your year started? What are some of your highlights? Also, I’m curious, have you begun a Bible reading plan?

Enjoy and bless God for His good gifts,