Cooking from scratch is a great way to save money. It doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming to eat a healthy diet.
Cooking Saves Money
Cooking from scratch is the number one way our family saves money in our budget. We rarely go out to eat, because we usually have better food here at home. Here’s how you can learn to cook, save money and not waste your time. We spend about $400 a month to feed our entire family of 6.
Time Saving Recipes
I have done all the research on cooking fast healthy meals, so you don’t have to. We eat cooking from scratch 3 days a week and fill in the rest of the menus with well planned leftovers. It’s a great way to stretch the budget and not have to cook every day.
Family Sized Meals
We often have friends and family visit, so I cook larger quantities of food. The bonus is that it’s cheaper, and we have leftovers that can be frozen or reused. If your family is smaller, you can cook less frequently and have more meals in the freezer.
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This No Fail Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Recipe is a family secret. Hundreds of people have enjoy it at our family’s cheese house restaurant. The secret, is that it is so easy to make!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Family Recipe
If you are new to my blog, you may not know our family history. My husband’s family has been in the cheese business here in Wisconsin for more than 40 years. This cheese cake is a seasonal favorite at our family’s Cheese House restaurant. It never fails to disappoint!
The secret, is that it’s very easy to make. This is one of those treats where you don’t look at calories or worry about fat content. Because, if you do, the experience is not the same. This is not your average cheesecake, but cheesecake for the hearty appetite. You can thank me later!
We have sampled cheesecakes at different restaurants over the years, but let me tell you this one puts them all to shame. Even the Cheesecake Factory can’t compare to this.
Let all ingredients come to room temperature before beginning.
Cream the cheese, eggs and sugar.
Add sour cream.
Combine graham crackers with the melted butter. Spread mixture in the bottom of a 13 x 9" pan.
Bake crust for 5 minutes in 325 degree oven.
Open oven and pumpkin/cream cheese mixture over the hot crust.
Bake 25-35 minutes until brown. Test for doneness by gently shaking the pan, if the cake is firm it is cooked. If the cake is wiggly in the center, it needs to cook longer. Remove from oven when cooked.
Cool before serving, add chopped nuts to top of cake if desired. Store in refrigerator, or cut into pieces and store in freezer for up to 6 months. Serves 10-12 people.
Be sure to Pin this recipe for later, you know you want to!
Saving money is always a priority in our house, here’s how we get the most from our grocery budget by shopping online. This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. For a complete list of rules please see the disclosures page.
Top Money Saving Grocery Sites
I am always looking for ways to save money. We spend hundreds of dollars a month on food and other disposable items for our home, most people do. I hate the fact that we have to buy more of them each and every month. Not only does it cost me money, but it takes so much time to shop.
We live more than 20 minutes from the grocery store. Our community is large and has a multitude of traffic hazards. The weekly trip to the store usually turns into a trip of at least several hours if not more.
One of my biggest problems is that I often buy impulse items that aren’t on my list. I am guilty of being swooned by beautiful fresh flowers, exotic fruits, pretty wine bottles, cool kitchen gadgets and great deals on stuff we generally don’t need.
Lately I have discovered some amazing places to buy staples that save me time, money and lots of temptation.
Sites You Will Not Be Able to Live Without
Grove Collective: This site is becoming more and more popular for a good reason. They have tons of natural cleaning products for home and personal use. Recently I discovered the Mrs. Meyers line of natural cleaning products that they carry. One order of Lavender Dish Soap and Hand Soap will seriously change your life. It smells so good, even my kids are anxious to help with dishes! My favorite item is the little wooden handled scrubbing brush for dishes. It comes with a ceramic base that you fill with water and a bit of soap. Pump the brush up and down for lather, then scrub and rinse your dishes. Love it! My kids now wash their own dishes because it’s so easy! Grove will place your order on auto ship, so each month or week (you can choose) you will get another shipment delivered to your door. You can even get toilet paper delivered! You can get $10.00 in free products just for trying out their service. Sign Up Here.
Zycon Fresh: This grocery site specializes in organic farm fresh meats and fish. You can purchase cases of beef steaks, burgers, roasts, chicken, seafood, pork and turkey at fantastic prices. The meats are from local farmers, and are sent right to your door. Because they are fresh, the foods are of the highest quality. It’s a great way to eat organic for not a lot of money. Cost is the number one reason why we don’t eat more organic foods in our house. Most of the time we eat only hamburger and occasionally a piece of steak. Ordering online is changing all that! Buying bulk foods is the best way to save money and always have food on hand for when you need it. Our freezer is filling up with all these good deals!
Amazon Grocery: Whether or not you already use Amazon, you can’t deny the benefits of this huge resource. With Prime shipping it’s a no brainer to have your regular purchases in your cart and have them sent out once a week. I know several families that buy all of their groceries on Amazon. It is especially convenient when you purchase organic items that are hard to find. My regular purchases include gallons of coconut oil, loose leaf organic tea, and organic bulk spices.
Direct Cellars Wine Club: We occasionally enjoy a bottle of wine with our meals. We also love to give wine as a gift. It’s an easy item to have on hand and is great for just about any occasion. I recently became a Wine Club distributor, and it’s been fantastic. We get 4 bottles of premium boutique wine shipped to our home each month for $79.99. Our package includes two white wines and two red (you can choose your preference). It is so easy to have the wine sent to us each month. Even better if you have 3 people sign up under you, your wine is FREE. Great deal!
Strawberry Rhubarb Cake is easy to make. Whip up an impressive cake with only 3 ingredients for your next family dinner or pot luck.
Lucious Strawberry Rhubarb Cake
Strawberry and Rhubarb is one of our favorite combinations. We love this easy cake for last minute gatherings and pot lucks. The cake is made with fresh or frozen rhubarb, you will be surprised at how tasty it is! It’s also pretty, looks like of like pink fairy dust…..
Why You Need This Cake
I am a health nut and most of the time we eat extremely healthy diet. However, there are days when I just want to eat a CAKE and not worry about all that other stuff. What’s the point of eating healthy all the time when you can’t enjoy a little treat now and then? This cake is that treat, easy to make, inexpensive and quick to bake. It’s not gluten free, sugar free, calorie free, or even organic. But it sure tastes good! Especially with fresh whip cream, just saying’!
This light summer cocktail is just the thing to go with those spicy dishes or a cheese platter. Make a batch for your next family gathering! This post contains affiliate links. Any opinions given are completely my own.
Summer Fruit Sangria
This light summer cocktail is just the thing for summer entertaining. It’s easy to make with fresh summer seasonal summer fruit. I like to find my fruit at the farmer’s market and make a batch when company comes over. You can use just about any combination of fruit and wine. I have found that reading the tasting notes on the wine bottle gives me suggestions for fruits that pair well with the wine.
We have been having regular wine tastings with friends. I highly recommend having a tasting and inviting a bunch of friends to join you. It’s a very relaxing environment and people really enjoy trying out new wines that they have never had before. I will post more on this soon! But for now, sangria is a great way to start your summer entertaining!
When you make sangria, be sure to leave the skins on the fruit. Not only does it add extra color and fiber to this delicious treat, but the fruit pairs well with the wine and the combination brings out the flavors of each. I personally believe the skins keep the fruit from browning, but this is more of a theory than fact. I love this particular recipe with either peaches or nectarines. The raspberries can be frozen ahead of time to chill the wine further with out adding extra ice and watering down the wine if you choose. Either way, it’s delightful!
Combine juice and sugar in small pan. Cook until dissolved over medium heat. Pour into 2 quart container with lid (a large mason jar works well for this). Add wine, lime juice and ice. Garnish with mint leaves.
I am linking up to the Ultimate Recipe Challenge today. This month’s challenge is Beverages! Be sure to click on the links and see some more great recipe ideas! Also you can follow along with our Pinterest Beverages group board. Don’t forget to pin the graphic below!
Wine is a great choice for entertaining, here are some tips on pairing the perfect wine with everyday foods. This post contains affiliate links from which I will make a commission at no additional charge to you. Any opinions given are completely my own.
Choosing the Perfect Wine
We are occasional wine drinkers. I find that having a bottle or two in the pantry is an easy way to be prepared for last minute guests and dinner parties. It’s also a treat to share a glass with my husband on Saturday night after the kids are asleep. It’s called BALANCE.
Years ago we visited the California wine country. It was so beautiful, I would highly recommend it if you haven’t been there. We visited a boutique winery, small but known for it’s incredible red wines. I had never been to a winery before, but I was hooked after that first experience. After the tour and the tasting, we signed up for their monthly wine club. For several years we had incredible wines delivered to our door every month. It was as if we were on vacation each time we drank that wine. We loved it. Unfortunately, this winery is now out of business, and we haven’t been in a wine club since.
The Wine Club Solution
Although we occasionally purchase grocery store wine, we never seem to have the right wine for the food we are serving. If we have red wine in the house, I’ll be making chicken. Or if we have white wine, our menu includes spaghetti. Usually we end up running to the store to find what we need because we don’t have it.
I dream of having a small wine cellar some day. I like the idea of having wine for any meal or occasion on hand. This photo above is not a small cellar, but it is stunning is it not? Wow!
We recently became a distributor for the Direct Cellars Wine Club and we couldn’t be happier! We are getting 4 bottles of premium boutique wine (2 red and 2 white) shipped to us each month. The cellar will be slowly growing! I will be sharing more specific details soon!
Here’s how it works: With this Direct Cellars Wine Club we will get our monthly wine shipments for FREE when 3 other people sign up for the Wine Club membership. Isn’t that amazing?
Who doesn’t love free wine??? You can be a club member and enjoy big discounts on your wine or become a distributor and earn larger commissions PLUS get get discounts on wines you purchase. DID I MENTION YOU CAN EARN FREE WINE? Right now, you can even get an additional free 3 day vacation for signing up!
Here are some ideas for what to serve with your FREE WINE.
How to Choose Your Wines
There are a few basic rules to remember when choosing wines. First, red wine is usually served with red meat.
TIP TO REMEMBER: RED=RED
White wines are usually served with seafood, or poultry.
TIP TO REMEMBER: White = White CHICKEN OR FISH
The temperature of the wine is also a factor in the flavor. Red wines are served room temperature, uncorked for a few minutes before serving so it can “breathe”.
White wines are served cool and crisp. Chill in the refrigerator or in an ice bucket before serving.
Now for the foods: The wine and cheese chart above is a great resource. I printed it for my kitchen so I can have it on hand. Cheeses bring out the flavor of the wine so they make a great combination. For cheese tray directions, read my How to Make a Cheese Tray Post.
Wine, cheese and FRUIT are wonderful together. Fruit balances the cheese and brings out the fruity flavor of the wine. Frozen fruits are a delightful addition to chill your white wine in the glass when serving.
Here are some serving ideas:
Strawberries with Proscecco
Raspberries with Rose
Peaches and Chardonnay
Blackberries with Riesling
Mangos with Moscato
Blueberries with Sauvignon Blanc
Pineapple with Pinot Grigio
Cherries with White Zinfandel
Wines to Serve with Common Foods
Hamburgers: Try Shiraz, Zinfandel or Pinot Noir
Fried Chicken: White wines such as Chardonnay, Riesling or Chenin Blanc
Spaghetti: Reds such as Merlot, Chianti or Valpolicella
Baked Light Flavored Fish (such as sea bass, flounder, sole, or cod): Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
Sliced Cold Cuts: White Zinfandel, Riesling, Rosé,
Steak or Lamb: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel,
Desserts: Moscato, Late Harvest, Vouvray,
With a little organization and a Direct Cellars Wine Club membership you can be ready for entertaining, or when you and your hubby have a few minutes to share a bottle. Sign up with my affiliate link to start earning your FREE WINE!
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