Category Archives: simple living

Mix-n-Match Soup

A simple and tasty homemade soup using things in your pantry, cupboards, and freezer.  When my kids were little, we called this Stone Soup because it resembles the soup in the classic children’s story.

(8 generous servings)

BROTH (Choose One)
Tomato: One 12-oz. can tomato paste PLUS two 16-oz. cans tomatoes with juice (chopped) PLUS water to equal 10 cups total
Chicken/Turkey: 10 cups broth or 5 bouillon cubes dissolved in 10 cups water
Beef: 10 cups broth or 5 bouillon cubes dissolved in 10 cups water

PROTEIN (Choose One – 1 lb or 2 cups cooked)
Ground beef, browned
Cooked chicken, turkey or ham – cut up
Lentils, raw or cooked
Frankfurters, sausage, Kielbasa – sliced
Cooked or canned beans (pinto, kidney, etc.)

GRAIN (Choose One – 2 cups)
Rice, cooked
Barley, cooked
Pasta, raw
Dumplings (add at end of cooking time)

VEGETABLES (Choose Two – 1-2 cups sliced, diced or shredded)
Green Beans
Peas or pea pods

SEASONINGS (Choose 2 to 4 – 1-2 teaspoons each)
Cayenne (dash)
Onion Powder

Bring stock to boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add all ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat. Simmer one hour.

Excerpted from the book Mix-n-Match Recipes.


A Simple Christmas Workshop

cinnamon ornamentsA couple of years ago, I put together a short online workshop on how to simplify your holiday celebrations.  I thought for those of you who may have missed it, you might want the opportunity to work your way through the simple thoughtful practices.

You can find Day One at the following link:

A Simple Christmas Workshop – Day One

I hope you find these exercises helpful.


Funding a Frugal Holiday Season


With the holiday season upon us, we often hear the familiar refrains of our favorite Christmas carols and seasonal music. But too many of us tend to sing different words to the familiar tune of Jingle Bells: Continue reading

Simple Times is out! (August 18th, 2016)


Photo Credit: Deborah Taylor-Hough © 2016

The latest issue of Simple Times is online now!

Lots of great information including recipes that actually use produce from the farmers’ market, eliminating mosquitoes, the high cost of convenience, confusing simplicity with frugality, and LOTS more!

Stop by and have a look (and subscribe to email updates while you’re there so you won’t miss any upcoming issues!).

“Help! My freezer’s too small!

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

One of the most common concerns I hear about preparing meals for the freezer is this: “I only have the small freezer above my refrigerator — how can I still do a full month of cooking ahead?”

For someone with only a fridge-top freezer, I usually recommend starting with twice-a-month cooking, or just doubling and tripling recipes as you go about your regular cooking during the week. As you get used to the method and learn ways to efficiently pack your freezer, you may eventually be able to store the entire month’s worth of entrees in your fridge-top freezer. When I first began cooking ahead, we only had a small refrigerator freezer. It was at least a year before I finally had a second larger freezer to store my Frozen Assets — so it can be done. It just takes careful planning.

Before you do a big day of freezer meal cooking, clear out all the various non- essentials from your freezer. Wait until the freezer empties later in the month before stocking up on frozen bread, ice cream, etc.

To save freezer space, use heavy-duty freezer bags for storing most of your frozen meals, rather than baking dishes or disposable foil pans. When using freezer bags, remove all excess air (suck the air out with a straw, or press the air gently out of the bag from the top of the food toward the opening of the bag); freeze the bags flat; and then pack them in the freezer carefully. To prevent a possible landslide of stacked freezer meals, store your frozen bags of food standing on edge—much as you’d stack old-fashioned record albums (I’m dating myself a bit, aren’t I?).

Another way to conserve freezer space is by preparing meals of sauces to pour over pasta or rice. Prepare the pasta or rice on serving day so it doesn’t take up precious space in your freezer.

If you’re in the market for a separate freezer but can’t afford to buy a new one, don’t despair.

  • Ask friends, relatives and neighbors to keep an eye out for people moving out of state or updating their kitchens. I’ve known many people who have found perfectly good freezers for FREE just by making a few phone calls.

  • Check your local newspaper’s classified ads under Appliances, and also look through Garage Sale listings for any that are selling appliances.

  • Keep a look out at yard sales, tag sales, appliance repair stores, and auctions of dented white goods.


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