Make it Yourself: Seasoning Mixes

Recently, I shared our chili recipe with the secret ingredient (at least in my book!): taco seasoning mix! Maybe its the addition of paprika & onion powder that does the trick for my chili! Making it yourself prevents the additions of MSG and other additives that are very often included in these types of mixes. These are my favorite seasoning mixes and are frugal and natural alternatives!

Taco-Seasoning Mix

This works splendidly for seasoning up refried beans and fajitas or any Mexican dish!

6 tsp chili powder
4 ½ tsp cumin
5 tsp paprika
3 tsp onion powder
2 ½ tsp garlic powder
1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients, and store in an air-tight container. The homemade mix is twice as strong as the store-bought one, so add only half as much.

Seasoned Salt

If you want to add a little extra flavor and zest to practically any dish, dash a little seasoning salt on it!

8 Tbls salt (we use realsalt)
3 Tbls pepper
2 Tbs paprika
½ Tbls onion powder
½ Tbls garlic powder

Mix together in a bowl and store in an airtight container (an empty spice shaker works great).

Rice Seasoning Mix

This is a yummy seasoning mix that we used frequently growing up!

1 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup chicken bouillon granules
½ cup dried parsley flakes
1 Tbls dried minced onion
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning (or 1 tsp pepper, and then add a a bit of grated lemon peel to the batch of rice when cooking)

Additional ingredients:

1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice

2 cups water

Combine the first nine ingredients. Store in airtight container for up to 6 months. Yield: 10 batches. To prepare rice: Combine 3 tablespoons seasoning mix, rice and water in a rice cooker or over the stove. Yield: 4-6 servings per batch.

Enjoy and may it spice up your life! ;)

For more tips on using herbs & spices in your cooking, check out this post.

It’s Kitchen Tip Tuesdays!
Comments { 24 }

Chicken or Beef Enchiladas (w/Crockpot Version)


This is a family favorite meal at our house! Serve with some homemade refried beans, corn and/or a green salad and you have a wonderful meal. Dollop with a little extra sour cream! I make this recipe in two 8×8 pans for our family and freeze one for another day. Works very well for freezing, by simply skipping the baking step till later. This is the recipe we used for our freezer meal service project. Enjoy!

2-3 cups chicken, cooked & shredded (I use the leftover chicken pulled off the bones after cooking up a whole chicken, but you can also cook 2-3 chicken thighs and then shred them), or 1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
1 (29 oz) can of enchilada sauce (homemade is best and free from any preservatives, try this easy recipe here – it works great!)
2 (4-6 oz) cans chilis, optional
1 cup sour cream or cream of mushroom soup substitute
1 (15 oz) can of olives, sliced
1-2 cups kidney or black beans, if desired
cheddar cheese, grated (raw cheddar cheese is the best!)
12 tortillas, homemade or whole wheat

Combine garlic and onions and fry in a little oil until golden brown. Add chicken, enchiladas sauce, chilis, olives and just enough sour cream to make a creamy consistency. It will be runny, but that’s okay. Add kidney beans, if desired to make a complete protein. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Layer flat in a 13×9 pan, starting with a thin layer of sauce, tortilla, sauce, cheese, tortilla, etc. ending with a layer of cheese. Cover with tin foil, and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes otherwise it will be on the runny side.

For the Crockpot:

Cook meat, onions and garlic in a large saucepan over medium eat until nicely browned. Add enchilada sauce, chilis, sour cream, olives, and black beans and mix until well combined. Cover the bottom of your crockpot with a thin layer of sauce, followed by a layer of tortillas, another layer of sauce, and then cheese, and repeat in that fashion until all your ingredients have been added (probably 3-4 layers). Finish with a layer of sauce and cheese. Turn your crockpot on low heat, cover, and allow to cook for 5-6 hours. Serve with a dollop of sour cream!


Comments { 38 }

The True Woman: Chapter 7 – Piety

We continue on in our weekly recaps of our book study on The True Woman by Susan Hunt. In case you haven’t been able to join us, check out the archives here, and consider purchasing this wonderful book for yourself! Linda McWhinney provides this guest post on reviewing lessons from chapter 7.

In this challenging and thought-provoking chapter, Susan Hunt continues to lead us on our journey to grow in godliness and Biblical womanhood. It doesn’t take long to be assured that piety is indeed a Biblical virtue. I think it is important that we understand that all virtues are Biblical. Lest anyone think they can be honest or compassionate on their own, it is vital we keep in mind that these character qualities are evidences of God’s grace, just as are piety or purity.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 6 }

My Educational Journey – Part 2: College

This is part 2 in a series delving into educational thoughts from my experiences. For part 1, visit here.

Thoughts on College

I received the similar question nearing the end of my high school years: “what are you planning on doing after high school?” Often times I was humiliated and almost ashamed to say that I wanted to be a wife and mother. Is this something to be ashamed of? Indeed no! I understand more fully now that it is a high calling, and yet requires a lot of skills! I do believe it is important to have skills that could earn a living if it were necessary, but it remains the husband’s responsibility to be the provider for the family. The Proverbs 31 woman had many skills she sought to use from her home to earn income. All young ladies should be cultivating these skills (sewing, teaching, etc). The ideas are endless.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 7 }

Happy Mother’s Day!

I wish to express a blessed and happy mother’s day to all my fellow mothers out there! Keep up the wonderful work in laying your life down in service to your family! You are to be highly praised for persevering through it all! What a privilege to be bestowed with gifts of life to nurture and raise, love and train, counsel and guide, with the chief goal of pointing them to Christ!

“I regard no man as poor who has a godly mother.” - Abraham Lincoln

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” –Washington Irving

Comments { 1 }

In Honor of My Mother

In honor of this lovely Mother’s Day 2008, I would like to honor my godly mother!

Dear Mother,

What a treasure it has been it be raised by such a godly courageous woman! You have never ceased to amaze me in all the roles and responsibilities you filled in managing our home, taking care of all eight of us children, serving as a helpmate to daddy, and the list goes on. You have been such a beautiful role model to me, and the character of a meek and quiet spirit radiates through your life.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 2 }

My Educational Journey – Part 1: Home Education

Kathleen asked:

What was your educational path like? Did you homeschool, attend college or Bible school, do distance study programs? The reason I ask is that I am seeking God’s path for my own life. I am currently one year “out” of high school…I want to be a SAHM, and they [my family] say, “Well, what if you never get married?” (Of course, that is possible, but not God’s usual design…) There are many things to consider and pray about (like moving out, going to college/Bible college, and vocational training), so I’d love to hear how and what God led you to do and why.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 3 }

Freezer Meals: Chicken Divan

Since I received several requests for the freezer meal recipes we used for making meals for the needy family in our church, I would love to share them in a series of posts. I would consider all of these excellent frugal and nutritious meals! We have used these many times over for freezer cooking!

Chicken Divan

2 or more cups cooked brown rice
2 bunches fresh broccoli, lightly stemmed & chopped
2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (see recipe below)
½ cup mayonnaise
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp curry
½ cup grated cheese
½-3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp melted butter, optional

Since canned soups often contain MSG, I have learned how to make it from scratch, see below. It is also a lot healthier this way, because you can use whole wheat flour and raw milk, if you like. Use one recipe of the soup to replace these cans.

Combine soup (whether canned or homemade) with mayo, lemon and curry. Keep the mixture relatively thin by adding further milk or water. Additional salt may be necessary. Gently steam broccoli until tender.

Grease a 13×9 pan. Layer rice, followed by broccoli and then the chicken. Pour creamed soup mixture over the broccoli. Sprinkle cheese on top. Combine crumbs and butter, sprinkle over all. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. For freezer cooking, leave unbaked and cover to freeze. If frozen, you may have to cook 1 hr or longer.

Condensed Creamed Soup Substitute

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt or more to taste
12 fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 cups of milk (less for a thicker soup)

Heat butter and oil then add flour and salt, stirring to make a roux. Add mushrooms and cook about a minute, just to soften. Add milk and stir until thickened. This is a substitute (and a great one at that!) for two 10 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup. To make cream of chicken, simply omit mushrooms, add 1 tsp. chicken base (a paste, like bouillon but without the MSG) and substitute half the milk with chicken broth or stock. To make cream of celery, substitute celery for the mushrooms and proceed as listed above.

Comments { 48 }

Eliminating the Junk Mail

Supermarket flyers, advertisements addressed to “current resident”, catalogs you never asked for! It has started driving me up the wall!

In an effort to cut back on the waste in our family, we began recycling our junk mail! I would never have thought that you could save so much space in your kitchen garbage bag by recycling all this paper! I cut back from once a week, to once every two weeks in dumping the kitchen garbage.

But at the same time, we are still often just bringing in the mail and disposing of it immediately in the recycling bins. The question begs to be asked…is this the best way to be good stewards of the earth that the Lord has entrusted to our care? How can we cut this stream of junk mail at the source?

Here are a few options:

1. Register for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. It costs $1 (only if you mail in, online is free with the provision of a CC to confirm identity, but they do not charge it), and it will stop commerical mail from companies that you don’t already do business with.

2. Email your full name and current address to the Abacus Catalog Alliance ([email protected]), which will take you off the list of its members.

3. Sign up for OptOutPrescreen, which will stop prescreened credit-card offers.

4. Sign the Do Not Mail Registry, a petition to stop junk mail.

4. Lastly, you will still have stragglers to which you will have to give a ring! Hang onto these throughout the week and make a once a week call to the company’s toll-free number. It works! We have been receiving unnecessary gift receipts for our monthly giving to different organizations. I would rather these costs of printing be cut back and used for more effective use. So I called them and just asked for a annual statement for tax purposes. They were more than happy to change this for me.

It may take a few months to notice a difference, but I want to make an effort to cut back on all this junk!

Comments { 6 }

How to Get out of Debt: Don’t Buy Stuff!

Our family has enjoyed a lot of laughs over this simply amazing and insightful video for getting out and staying out of debt. You may have seen this already, but it is a fresh reminder of how easy we fall into the temptation of spending money we don’t have!

Check it out here.

It works for us! ;)

Comments { 3 }