Mama Martin

quilting, gardening, sewing, motherhood….

23 meals for $50 December 3, 2013

Filed under: canning — janelmartin @ 3:27 pm

The title of this post could be a little deceiving if you didn’t read my previous post. My goal for this month is for us to only spend $50 on groceries this month. Most of our food will be coming from our freezers and our hundreds of jars of canned items in the basement.

I decided that I should get myself organized if I only want to spend $50, so I came up with 21 meals. On Sundays we often share meals with family and friends and every Monday we go to Dean’s parents, so we don’t need a full 30 meals. Here is what I came up with- in no order as to how we will eat them.

1. Fried hot dogs, potatoes and onions
2,3. Homemade Pizza
4. Pasta with garlic basil sauce
5. Kale sausage soup
6. Potato, cabbage and sausage casserole
7. Hotdogs, hamburgers and French fries
8. Roast with veggies
9. Whole chicken
10. Bacon, chicken, cream cheese peppers
11. Tomato soup
12. Vegetable soup
13. Chicken noodle soup
14. Pasta with Italian sauce
15. Tacos, rice
16. Cheeseburger soup
17. Chicken pot pie
18. Fish
19. Chicken nuggets
20. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes
21. Meatball sandwiches

We could actually have some of these meals several times because they are based on what I have canned in the basement. And I’m sure that as my freezers get a little bit less full I will find other things we can eat. I wonder what I will find. What do you have in the bottom of your freezer?


Not Spending A Penny November 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — janelmartin @ 9:19 am

Earlier this week Dean and I went to see a house. We weren’t planning on looking for a house until spring, but this one came up so we decided to go see it. (If we decide to try to make this house our home I will tell you more about it.). Last night we sat down to discuss finances. We decided that we want to pay off as much debt as possible and increase our house savings account before we put an offer on a house. I thought I would share what we are doing. Maybe it will inspire you. And you can hold us accountable…

Our plan for reducing debt:

– not to spend ANY money on non debts: this means no eating out and buying no more Christmas presents
– spend $50 on groceries this month. I know this sounds crazy, but we have two full freezers and lots of canned items in the basement. Now the challenge is for me to be creative with my meals:)
– no more credit cards
– use only cloth diapers. We were still using disposable diapers on Wesley and Nathaniel at bed time. No more.
– use cloth toilet paper
– turn lights on as little as possible

Our plan is then to focus all this money towards paying more on all our debt payments.

Our plan for putting more money in our house savings is pretty easy. Every month we put a set amount from the money we receive for rent into this account, so every month that goes by this account will automatically grow. We will also be adding the tax refund to this account.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. Please post any money saving/ earning ideas that you have!


Freezer Labeling Tips January 13, 2013

Filed under: Freezer/ Bulk Cooking — janelmartin @ 10:26 pm

Here are a few things that I have learned over the years about labeling my food before it goes in the freezer.

-Mark it with the kind of food and amount. (ex. 7 cups chicken)

-Make sure to label it with the meal that the ingredient is for. (Chicken enchiladas)

-Add where the recipe can be found. ( Betty Crocker cookbook, pg 86)



I know that this list seems amazingly simplistic but I have put many containers in our freezer without labeling them.  For some reason I always think I can remember what is in the container.  But I don’t…


40 lb of Chicken January 12, 2013

Filed under: Freezer/ Bulk Cooking — janelmartin @ 4:24 pm

On Thursday I had 40 lb of Chicken delivered.  Several of my friends asked me to share what I made with all that chicken.  Trust me- if you ever decide to get 40 lb of chicken- it is A LOT of chicken! I posted links whenever possible. Here is what is in my freezer or already in our bellies:

1. Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chili Sauce

2.Chicken Enchilada Casserole

3. Chicken Rice Soup- to can

4. Chicken Pot Pie

5. Chicken Squares

6. Creamed Chicken and Biscuits

7. Seven Layer Casserole

8. White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe

9. Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

10. Chicken Nuggets

11. Chili Chicken and Pasta

12. Chicken and Lemon Broccoli Alfredo

13. Chicken and Dumplings

14. Chicken Corn Soup

15. Parmesan Seasoning Blends- I get these packets super cheap at Surplus Outlet.  It’s $2 for   a variety of about 20 packets.

16. Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Ok- I need to clarify.  These meals are not actually in my freezer, just the chicken is prepped.  The first two meals will be made and we will eat part of the recipe and freeze the rest.  The same is true with soup.  I always make soup in large batches because we love soup and it freezes well.

Maybe next time I need to order meat some friends could come over and we could prep for meals together- or even make a few freezer meals.  Let me know if you are interested!


Canning in 2012 January 11, 2013

Filed under: canning — janelmartin @ 9:46 pm

Since 2012 is over I thought I would post everything that I got around to canning this past year.  Most of the soups are canned during the winter and the vegetables and fruit are canned when they are in season.  Here’s my list:

Green Beans- 10 quarts

Beet Pickles- 4 pints

Peaches- 12 quarts

Peach Honey- 3 jelly jars

Diced Tomatoes- 15 pints

Pepper Jelly- 5 jelly jars

Salsa #1- 10 pints

Salsa #2- 7 pints

Peach Butter- 3 pints

Peach Pie Filling- 6 quarts, 1 pint

Green Beans- 8 quarts

Spaghetti Sauce- 6 pints

Corn Slaw- 11 pints

Ketchup- 4 pints, 12 jelly jars

Pears- 4 quarts, 19 pints

Yellow Salsa- 6 pints

Ro-Tel- 2 pints

Grape Juice- 6 quarts

Whole Tomatoes- 1 quart, 4 pints

Applesauce- 50 quarts

Cheeseburger Soup-  4 quarts

Vegetable Beef Soup- 13 quarts

Strawberry Pie Filling- 3 quarts, 1 pint

Raspberry Pie Filling- 4 quarts

Sloppy Joes- 5 pints

Blueberry Pie Filling- 5 quarts

Blueberry Syrup- 4 pints

Pickle Sticks- 6 pints

I’m sorry they are not in any logical order.  This is the order they were written onto my Canning Inventory.  I used this Pantry Inventory  to keep track of everything.  I was amazed that I got this much done this summer, especially with a newborn.  I’ve already canned some in 2013, so my list may be longer for this year!  Dean will have to rearrange his tools in the basement so I have more room for jars.


Let the Canning Begin August 6, 2012

Filed under: canning,gardening — janelmartin @ 12:32 pm

It’s the end of July, and that means it’s time for more canning to begin.  I had made blueberry pie filling earlier this month, but now it’s time for at least one day a week to be spent canning.  Here’s what I’ve been working on:


Peaches cooking down in the crock pot to make peach butter.

Pickle Sticks, Peach Butter and Salsa

Peach Pie Filling


Pickles August 4, 2012

Filed under: gardening — janelmartin @ 12:31 pm
Tags: ,

I had some cucumbers in my garden, but not enough to make canned pickles.  I am  going through my food magazines and tearing out the recipes that look good and recycling the magazine (part of the decluttering effort.)  I had recently tore out a refrigerator pickle recipe.  This past week three of my friends ate some of the pickles and loved them.  I decided to make more yesterday.  Here’s how you do it:

You start with cucumbers and onions.  I like this recipe because it easily adaptable to how many cucumbers are growing on your plant.  I know that most people’s cucumber plants will be producing mass amounts of these, but ours are having some trouble.

You slice them and put them in a bowl.

After sitting in the fridge for 4 days I put them in pint jars for easier handling.

Here’s the original recipe from Cooking Light magazine:

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

6 c thinly sliced cucumbers

2 c thinly sliced onions

1 1/2 c white vinegar

3/4 c sugar

3/4 t salt

1/2 t mustard seeds

1/2 t celery seeds

1/2 t ground turmeric

1/2 t crushed red pepper

1/4 t black pepper

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I just use garlic in a jar.)

Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion.  Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and 1 cup onion.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well.  Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.  Pour over cucumber mixture; let cook.  Cover and chill at least 4 days.  Yield: 7 cups

Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.