Easy Homemade Hummus

Cooking, food, Frugal living, recipes

I like to make homemade hummus.  It is less expensive than the pre-packaged hummus, you can control the ingredients and it is really convenient to have the ingredients on hand and be able to make hummus when you need it.  It literally takes just about 5 minutes to make.


Easy Homemade Hummus

Easy Homemade Hummus


  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas (drain and reserve liquid)
  • 1/3 cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • juice of one lemon (I use fresh or bottled if that is what I have on-hand)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (or just regular table salt)
  • 4-8 dashes of hot sauce


  1. In a food processor combined drained chickpeas, Tahini, garlic gloves, lemon juice, salt and hot sauce.
  2. Process.
  3. While hummus is processing, slowly add reserved liquid, a little at a time, until hummus is smooth.
  4. Serve with any of the following: pita chips, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery or grape tomatoes.
  5. Enjoy!





Nospender–No Spend November

Cooking, Debt Reduction, Finances, food, Frugal living, Home, Money

If you have read my few articles in my little blog, you will see this is not the first time I have mentioned a no spend challenge.  Or as I like to call them, “low spend”.

Every so often, I like to try and “use it up, wear it out or do without”.   My goals for this “Nospender” month are simple.  Try and use up things I have on have on hand and only buy what is absolutely necessary.  It is a good way to search the pantry and freezer and use up things that have been pushed to the back.  Also, it is fun to get creative to use up things that you may not know why you even purchased!  By the end of the month, I may even end up with some extra money to go towards my saving and debt reduction goals.

So, here are my rules:

  1.  Purchase no clothing items.
  2.  Purchase no home decor or household items.
  3.  Limit grocery purchases to a maximum of $25 a week.
  4.  Spend no money on entertainment.
  5. Basically, freeze all spending except the minimum necessary for groceries.
  6. Stay out of the Dollar Tree and Ulta!

I recently won a chili cook-off and got a $50 gift card as a prize.  I also have approximately $15 in Publix gift card monies that we received when we got our flu shots.  I will use these gift cards to purchase groceries and non-food essentials before resorting to the $25/week allowed amount–if I can get by without spending the $25 from my budget that would be even better!

I do anticipate some challenges:  I have a chili cook off at church so I will need to purchase some ingredients.  And, there is a little holiday near the end of the month—THANKSGIVING!  I will need to purchase a turkey but I will try and use other things I have on hand as much as possible.  Normally, I like to purchase several turkey when they are on sale in November, but I probably won’t be doing that this year.

Anyone interested in joining me?  Let me know if you plan to have a no spend month or even a week.  I will check in regularly and let you know how it is going.

Whats for Dinner?

Cooking, Debt Reduction, Finances, food, Frugal living, Home, living, recipes, Uncategorized

Now that my daughter’s wedding is over, we are getting ready for the next big thing….more to come in a future blog post.  Needless to say, we want to get back to basics with our budget and start aggressively saving money again.

To help with the budget, I need to get back to meal planning.  I thought I would share our menus.  Most of what we make is budget-friendly and doesn’t take too much time.  Often, we will spend a couple of hours on Sundays prepping for the week.

Here is a list of the meals we made this week.  I have included links to recipes.

Olive Garden Copy Cat Fettuccine Alfredo

Who doesn’t love this dish at Olive Garden?  And so much less expensive to make at home.  It is still easy enough to make on a busy weeknight.

Tomato Basil Soup

I picked up this soup starter at Sprouts.  Yummy!  Super easy.  I made cornbread to go with it using the recipe from the back of the White Lily cornmeal mix package.

Chicken Fajitas and Mexican Rice

We love Mexican food.  I prepped this dish on Sunday by just cutting up the vegetables in advanced.  It made it easy enough to make on a weeknight.  I didn’t have time to let the meat marinate as long as the recipe called for, but it was still really good.  The Mexican rice was good, but I may try a different recipe next time.  Avoided another restaurant meal!

Chicken with Cream Cheese Sauce

This is a recipe I found in a magazine years ago.  I have tweaked it a bit and added wine to replace some of the chicken broth.  The family loves it.  The grape tomatoes and parsley really brighten it up.  Delicious!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is another soup starter I found at Sprouts.  Quick and easy and I love that the ingredients in the soup starter are things that you can actually pronounce.  These soup starter recipes make enough for leftovers for lunch too!  Really budget friendly.


Spaghetti and Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

Talk about short cuts!  I found the meatballs marked down at my Kroger. The spaghetti and olive oil are from a haul from last fall where my Kroger had slashed all of the Taste of Italy products to super cheap.   I had bought the Marinara sauce when it was BOGO at Publix.  I picked up a loaf of bread and made a salad.  Done!

We also had a leftovers night this week.  When you cook this much, you are bound to have leftovers one night.  We just take everything out of the fridge and everyone chooses and serves themselves.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas and inspires you to eat at home this week!Save



Becca’s Wedding

Faith, Finances, Holidays, living, Money

My daughter got married a few weeks ago.  It was a beautiful ceremony and a wonderful, fun reception.

Here are some candid photos to enjoy.


I plan on posting and update on how we did with our budget in the near future.








Menu Plan Monday-Chef’d Edition


This week’s menu includes a few dinners from Chef’d.  We are trying their Weight Watcher’s menu.  I will let you know the results.

This meal plan is for more than a week, in fact, I think we have enough food on hand to go well into the first week of April.  I like to try and eat from the pantry and freezer every few months just to make sure things get used up and not forgotten.

Breakfasts:  cereal with milk, steel cut oats, granola bars, fruit, muffins, homemade applesauce

Lunches:  leftovers from dinner, sandwiches, soup


Fettuccine alfredo, green salad with balsamic orange vinaigrette

Pork Rigatoni with kale, edamame (Chef’d meal)

Pork Low Mein (Chef’d meal)

Dirty Rice, brussel sprouts

Apple Cider Chicken Salad (Chef’d meal)

Mushroom Risotto (Chef’d meal)

Pork Cacciatore (Chef’d meal)

Japanese Chicken (Chef’d meal)

Bean Burritos (The Prudent Homemaker’s recipe)

General Tso’s Chicken


Pork Chops, potatoes, asparagus

Crockpot chicken and dumplings, broccoli

Breakfast for Dinner–eggs, turkey sausage, toast, grits.

Chicken and rice, peas

I think I could come up with a few other meals from our pantry, but we want to make the Chicken and Dumplings for my sister-in-law who is coming to visit on April 3rd, so we will have to go to the grocery store to get a few items to make that meal.

What is on your menu plan this week?  Is anyone else trying to use up things on hand?


Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments and Fail

Finances, food, Frugal living, Home, Money, Sewing

Frugal Accomplishments and a fail this week.

We shopped at Aldi and got eggs for $0.49/dozen.  We stuck to our list and only spent $40. We have spent $400 on groceries this month so far.  We probably could go the rest of the month without shopping.  See my meal plan for the next 14 days.

Our meal service that we ordered (Chef’d) did not come in as promised on Wednesday.  The big snowstorm in the northeast cause a delay.  I called Chef’d and they gave me a credit for the entire amount of the meals since the food was guaranteed for Wednesday delivery.  They said that they would instruct the delivery carrier to destroy the food.  On Thursday the food was delivered.  When I opened the package, the food was still fresh and the ice packs still frozen.  We are getting a chance to try the service this week for free.

I went shopping with my daughter to pick out shoes for her wedding.  She found some evening shoes that were comfortable and the heel not too high (she wants to be comfortable), but they were missing the mate to the size 6.  She tried on the 6 1/2 and it seemed to work, but the clerk said they could get a size 6 from another store and deliver it to us for free.  We ended up buying the 6 1/2 and the 6 is on order.  We will return which ever pair doesn’t work.  The shoes were on sale for $64.99 marked down from $90.

I worked in my sewing room for 6 hours last Saturday.  I embroidered several quilt labels for auction quilts at church (using my embroidery machine), I worked on piecing a lap size quilt top and I made an infinity scarf that I wore to a meeting this week.  I am not getting as much time to work in my sewing room as I would like.  I still hope to complete all of my UFOs that I have started in 2017 and give everyone hand made gifts this Christmas.

Last Sunday we rode up to the mountains to look at a cabin (about an hour from us).  While we were in the area, we went by an apple orchard store.  They were still selling apples that were from the orchard (I am guessing the last that were picked and have been stored.)  While we were there, my son bought a jar of candied jalapenos.  They are so good!  It has inspired us to try a recipe and canning some ourselves this year.  I know I can usually buy jalapenos very inexpensively.

Fail:  During the early morning hours Thursday, I went to get water from the kitchen faucet and discovered that we had no water service.  After calling the emergency number (3:30 a.m.), we were told there was no water outage in our area.  My husband went outside and discovered a busted pipe in our front yard that was between the water meter and our house.  He cut the water off at the street.  We had to get a plumber to fix the pipe.  The plumber said that roots from a bush above the pipe had basically caused the problem.  $305 to repair.  I am grateful that we have an emergency fund.

Budgeting for a Wedding


One of my 2017 Goals is to cash flow our daughter’s wedding.  When I wrote about my 2017 goals, I wrote that we wanted to cash flow the $12K for the wedding.  The wedding budget amount, $12,000, was just an estimate.  Basically the venue cost for 100 guests is $8300, so I figured we might have a little over 100 people and then estimated the cost of our daughter’s dress and a few other items and came up the the GUESS of $12K.

This week I was watching one of my favorite YouTube channels, Freedom In a Budget.  Kelly is sharing her debt free journey.  I enjoy Kelly’s transparency as she shares her budget monthly.  She shows her excel spreadsheet of exactly how much she spends, her debts and how much she is applying to debt.  This week, Kelly showed her wedding budget excel spread sheet.  It really inspired me to make a spreadsheet for our daughter’s wedding so that we could have a better idea of all of the expenses and really how much the wedding will cost.  Kelly shared that her first wedding budget was an estimate of $15K, but now she has actually doubled her budget.  Kelly says she has been diligently paying down her debts and now is a super saver and she wants a beautiful wedding.  I think that is totally her choice and she deserves it.  She is being responsible and paying CASH.

I made our spreadsheet very similar to Kelly’s.  Fortunately, the wedding venue we have chosen includes all food, flowers, decorations, and the DJ.  We could use their photographer (for an additional cost), but we may use our own.

Here is the image of our spreadsheet.  Actually putting it down on paper helped us to realize that $12K is not quite going to be enough.  The budget is realistically more like $15K.  We are also expecting the happy couple to pay some of the expenses and you can see that on our spreadsheet, as well.   The columns to the right are how much we have been saving towards the budget this year.  There is also a line below that table of expenses that we have already paid.

Please let me know if you think I have left anything out.  Also, if you have any suggestions on getting some of the costs lower, please leave a comment. Any great ideas for nice favors that we can DIY???

Some of the numbers are estimates, so they may change.  Becca is going to ask her Aunt to make both the wedding cake and the grooms cake in lieu of a shower/wedding gift.  Her aunt does cakes as a side business and I have a feeling she will be honored to make the cakes.

I know this budget will be changing and I will post updates.

I want to say a big thank you to so many wonderful readers from my last blog post!  After getting a really nasty comment about spending $12K on a wedding, it was refreshing to get positive, supportive feedback.

Have a great week!







February Recap-2017 Goals

Crafts, Debt Reduction, DIY, Faith, Finances, food, Frugal living, Home, Sewing, Uncategorized
This post may contain affiliate links.  See disclosure here.

February turned out to be a super busy month and I wasn’t able to post about my 2017 Goals.  Here is my recap for the month.

1. Pay Down Our Mortgage

We added an additional principle payment to our February mortgage payment. We are going to try to continue this every month, however, due to our daughter’s wedding in October, we have also decided that, if needed, we will leave the option of just paying our regular payment.

Total extra paid in 2017–$1500.

2. Frugal Gift Giving

I am planning on making all gifts this year for Christmas.  I have so much fabric in my stash and so many projects plans, that I can easily have a handmade gift for everyone—if I can get them all made!

3. Buy only what is essential and choose to buy used when possible.

I have been thinking a lot about what frugality means.  So much of the time, frugality seems to equal deprivation.  There are times in our lives where it is necessary to scale back to bare bones on spending.  I have decided that I am not going to make this a priority in our lives right now.  I don’t plan on going on a spending spree, but I also am not going to obsess about having to buy some items I want or need just to prove I can.

4.  Plan and install Edible Landscaping

We are still not in the planting season.  We will try to plant a few things in April, but we also know that there won’t be a large scale garden this year.  With our daughter graduating from college and then getting married later this year, we just have to choose our priorities.  The reality is that we just won’t have a lot of time to spend on this goal.

5. Look for new ways to cut spending.

If you have read 1-4, you might see that this isn’t going to be a big priority.  However, I always try to not be wasteful.  The basics:  turn off lights, turn down the heat (wear a sweater), eat most meals at home, etc.

6.  Look for side hustles to earn an extra $5000

My husband has picked up a tutoring session at school.  Its just an hour, but a little extra each week will allow us to have the luxury of eating out a couple times a month, or buying something we want.

7.  Declutter–Get rid of 1000 items.

I am slowly filling a box with unwanted clothing items.  The box is living in our closet.  It is almost full.  We have about 50 clothing items so far.  The real work on this goal will come when my husband is on Spring Break.  I am taking a few days off that week and we can get some work done.  Summer will also be a good time for this goal.

8.  10/7/17–Cash Flow our Daughter’s Wedding

We have worked out a plan where we are setting side a large chunk of my paycheck every two weeks to go into a sinking fund for the wedding.  We are on track to have the entire goal amount of $12k in the sinking fund by the end of June.

The wedding venue we have chosen had an Open House/Tasting this month.  We were able to see things set up and also taste all the different entrees, appetizers, some wines and cakes.  It was a fun event and made everything real!  Our daughter is getting married!!!



On a side note, I got a really UGLY comment when I first posted about spending this money on my daughter’s wedding.  I deleted the comment, but it has made me think a lot about the definition of frugality and about how judgemental some folks can be about how we all spend our money.  Basically, we have made this a priority, it is something we want to do to celebrate our daughter’s wedding, and we can afford it–we work very hard at our jobs and make a good living.   We are not neglecting other bills or going into debt, we are saving for retirement and still working to pay off our debt (extra mortgage payments).  Why should we be criticized or judged for wanting to make our daughter’s special day fun and beautiful?

We didn’t spend anything during February towards the wedding.  My daughter’s dress got delivered along with all of the accessories.  She and I need to go shopping for her shoes so that we can take the dress to be altered.  She has to be wearing the shoes that she will wear at the wedding.  The next thing to do is to decided on the invitations.

Total Spent so far $2386.00

Total in sinking fund now  $2600

9.  Lose 50 pounds

I have lost a total of 8 lbs.  It is going too slow, but I have joined weight watchers online.  I have also ordered a meal service for 4 nights of dinners next week.  It is service that has a weight watchers plan.  It is one of the services that delivers all the fresh ingredients and then you cook the meals.  Again, some may consider this to not be frugal by their definition, however, when you work 50+ hours a week and have a long commute, as I do, this will be frugal since it will avoid the temptation to eat out.  The other advantage is that there is no waste.  I decided on the 4 person option.  That will leave an extra serving that I can take for lunch.  The meals turn out to be about $6 each per person.  I will report back on how I like the service.

I am also considering purchasing an Instant Pot.  I have been hearing a lot about the Instant Pot and some fellow weight watchers say it really helps with making health meals faster when you have a busy lifestyle.  If you have an Instant Pot or have tried one, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  I am going to wait a week or two before making the purchase to be sure I want one.  I am also hoping that Amazon puts them on sale.  I was thinking about purchasing the Instant Pot at Christmas and talked myself out of it.  They had great sales on them before Christmas.  Ugh!!!

Here is my breakfast from this morning.  A light English Muffin, fried egg, 1 gm reduced fat cheese, sliced tomato and grapes.  5 Smart Points.  Yum!

10.  Devote time 3-4 days a week to Self-Care

Self care always seems to get pushed to the bottom of the list, but I did do better in February.  Even though I worked a crazy amount of hours the first three weeks of the month, I did well the last week with leaving work on time.  I have also fit in a couple of walks and some time in my sewing room.

11. Spend no more than $300/month on groceries

I ended up spending $341.09 on groceries in February.  Some of that was at the very end of the month, so some of that food carried over to March.  Even though the amount is over my goal, I am satisfied.  Eating healthier is not inexpensive.  $300 may not be realistic for 3 adults for a month who are trying to eat healthier.

12.  Finish 12 sewing projects

I made a list of all of my projects.  I have 25 projects that I have supplies/fabric already planned for and purchased.  That doesn’t even count fabric in my stash that isn’t dedicated for a specific project.  My list includes 8 projects that I have started and are in various stages of completeness.  I worked this month on a lap size quilt that I am making with patriotic colored fabrics.  I am planning on this as a gift to one of my nephews.

I want to finish as many projects as possible from my started projects by the time I go on a trip to Paducah, KY in late April.  The big quilting convention is in April and I go with a group of quilty friends.  I want to be able to buy some new things and I need to have some completed project to justify buying more supplies.

God Bless you all!  I hope you had a great February.  I hope we can all continue to support each other in our journey.  Even though our definitions of FRUGAL may be different, we can still be supported and loving to each other.






Daily Frugal Diary–Week of 1/30/17


I was inspired to track frugal accomplishments daily by another blogger—By Hearth and Home.  I feel inspired by so many other frugal bloggers and it is helpful to see how others save money.  Tracking my daily frugal habits should help me to me more intentional and help me to be accountable.

Monday 1/30/17

I worked from 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. so there wasn’t much time to either spend money or find new ways to save.  I used up that last of a soup I made last week and took the last serving of a salad I made over the weekend for lunch at work.  I made homemade salad dressing using Brandy’s Balsamic Orange Vinaigrette.  Delicious!   I also found a recipe for regular Italian dressing.  The homemade dressings are so delicious, I don’t think I will go back to buying bottled dressing.  Homemade dressings are frugal and delicious!

For dinner, we had one of the meals I made over the weekend.  I find that I enjoy cooking on Sunday afternoon and I usually do a couple of meals to have during the work week.

Tuesday 1/31/17

Tuesday was another long work day.  I really didn’t work that many hours, but Atlanta traffic was destroyed and my drive home took 2 hours.  I also went to get information from a weight loss center.  I almost signed up for the program, but when they put the “contract” in front of me, it wasn’t what they had initially said it would be on a weekly basis and I walked out.  I don’t think this company is interested in helping you to lose weight–only in making money.  I got home, looked for a Groupon for Weight Watchers and signed up for the online program.

Wednesday 2/1/17

In January, we were trying to eat as much as possible from our pantry.  We really had almost nothing left in our freezer and very little left to make meals in our pantry.  Since my son and I are both now doing Weight Watchers, we had to go to the grocery store.  Eating healthy isn’t cheap!  I spend $170 at Aldi and got a lot of healthy, low point foods for the program.  I did spend some money on items that will make it easier to grab a quick breakfast and to stay on program.

Thursday 2/2/17

Work…another long day.  I did stop at Publix and spent another $18 for some items to help with Weight Watchers.  So, I have already spent $188 of my budgeted $300 per month for groceries.  It will be interesting to see how close to budget I can stay and eat healthy.  Not easy.

Friday 2/3/17

I worked from home today!  I get so much done working from home and I didn’t have to spend time in traffic or money on gas.  Yay!  Friday night we stayed in and made Chicken Kabobs and brown rice.  My meal plan has changed a bit since we started Weight Watchers on Wednesday.

Saturday 2/4/17

Saturday night I had an Anniversary Ball for my company to attend.  After 5 clothing was required.  I have several after 5 outfits, but many are not fitting well right now.  I was determined to not buy anything new, so I made one of the dressing pants outfit work.  We had a great time at the ball and I got many complements on my outfit.   The Ball was a very special night out with good food and dancing.

We stopped on the way home for the Friday Freebie at our Kroger and also picked up some hamburger buns.  Total spent was $2, so my monthly total is up to $190.

Sunday 2/5/17

We staying in all day on Sunday.  We spent time cleaning our master bedroom, bathroom, powder room and the living room and the kitchen/dining rooms.  I also spent time in my sewing room doing some more fabric organization.  My husband worked on our taxes and got them submitted.  We will be putting our refund directly into the sinking fund for our daughter’s wedding.

Overall, it was a decent week from a frugal standpoint.  I did spend a lot of our grocery budget for the month in just a few day, however, I got enough to last for a while.  I should only need to add fresh fruit and veggies.

How was your week?

My 12 Goals for 2017: Week 5 of 52

Debt Reduction, Faith, Finances, Frugal living, Garden, living, Money, Organization

Here is my update for this week.  I really didn’t do that well on goals.  I was super busy at work and put in a lot of hours.  It was still a good week for paying down the mortgage and our grocery budget.

1. Pay Down Our Mortgage

We will be adding $500 to our house payment for February to go directly to the principle.

Total extra paid in 2017–$1500.

2. Frugal Gift Giving

I didn’t work on any gifts this week.  I plan on trying to use up a lot of my fabric stash for Christmas gifts this year.

3. Buy only what is essential and choose to buy used when possible.

Well, we made a big purchase this week.  My husbands car has required some work lately.  We felt like it was getting to the age where it’s going to be one thing after another.  Our great nephew started looking for a small used truck at a great deal and found one on Friday. We paid cash for the truck and then our nephew listed my husband’s car and sold it today.  We spent a net of $5550 for the 2013 Toyota Tacoma after selling my husbands car.

4.  Plan and install Edible Landscaping

It is sleeting outside as we speak.  I looked up the last frost date for our area.  It is March 30th.  I will be able to plant lettuce seeds and onion sets in late February.

5. Look for new ways to cut spending.

I really didn’t do much in this category.  However, I am happy that I am getting creative in the kitchen.  I have been making things from scratch like salad dressings, bread and granola.  If I need something from the grocery store, I try to thing if there is a way to make it with ingredients I already have.

6.  Look for side hustles to earn an extra $5000

We didn’t make extra money this week and we didn’t sell anything to make extra money.  I really don’t know how realistic this goal is going to be for us.

7.  Declutter–Get rid of 1000 items.

I found 2 shirts to get rid of in my husband’s side of the closet and another set of sheets.  It looks like I won’t be getting much done on decluttering in February.  We have three weekends that are already booked and my long work hours during the week mean I don’t get anything done at home.

8.  10/7/17–Cash Flow our Daughter’s Wedding

We mailed the Save the date cards this week, so we spend $49 on stamps.

Total $2386.00

9.  Lose 50 pounds

I lost 2 lbs.  I need to get serious about this and start moving more.

10.  Devote time 3-4 days a week to Self-Care

I completely failed on this goal.  No yoga, no time in my sewing room.  I did enjoy cooking as usual on Sunday afternoon.


11. Spend no more than $300/month on groceries

Yay!  I went to the grocery store today and stuck close to my goal.  I only had $17.42 to spend today and spent $18.60.  I think I am happy with spending $301.18 in January.

12.  Finish 12 sewing projects

No time in sewing room this week.

How was your week?