Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Keeping the Home | 2 comments

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Tortillas are an awesome food! You can stuff just about anything in them to create a meal. I love cheese, so quesadillas have always been one of my favorites. I’ve recently been creating quesadillas with less traditional ingredients. These cheeseburger quesadillas are a tasty example.


  • ½ lb. ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ of a medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 large tortillas
  • Your choice of condiments and toppings (ketchup, mustard, mayo, tomato, relish, bacon, etc.)


Place the ground meat and onion in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Season with the salt and pepper and stir in the Worcestershire sauce.

Place 1/3 of the ground beef mixture and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese on one half of each tortilla. Top with the condiments and toppings of your choice.

Filling for Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Fold the tortillas in half and place them in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook each side of the tortillas until they are golden brown.

Cheeseburger Quesadillas being prepared

Allow the quesadillas to cool for a few minutes before using a knife or pizza cutter to cut them into wedges. Serve with additional condiments, if desired. Yield: 3 servings.

Cheeseburger Quesadillas close up


One of the greatest things about quesadillas is that they can be prepared quickly. I often make these when we’ve had a busy day or when we have a busy evening ahead of us. These quesadillas can be easily customized to suit your taste preferences, so you should be able to make one that will please each member of the family! If you need more than 3 quesadillas, simply double or triple the recipe.

The ingredients for these quesadillas cost approximately $3.67, which is just $1.22 per serving. We serve them with a vegetable, so this increases the cost to $1.39 per serving. Next time you need a family-friendly, easy-to-prepare meal, give this one a try!


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Shared on the following link-ups: One Project at a Time & Growing Homemakers.


Talking About Money with Your Spouse

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Enriching Marriage, Managing Finances | 4 comments

Whether you’ve been married 5 years or 50 years, the activities of daily life necessitate that you and your spouse make decisions about money. These decisions are often preceded (or followed, in some cases) by tense and unpleasant discussions.

Talking About Money with Your Spouse

My husband and I have similar views on money and share common goals (this is one of the reasons we were initially attracted to each other). Despite this, it’s often unpleasant to sit down and discuss our budget and other financial topics.

Fortunately, we’ve discovered a number of strategies that help diffuse the tension so we can have effective discussions about money.

Tips for talking about money with your spouse

  • Sit near one another and make eye contact. One of the easiest ways to thwart an effective conversation about money is to use hostile body language. Crossing your arms over your chest, rolling your eyes, or other hostile body language will automatically draw defensiveness from your spouse. Eye contact and an open posture, on the other hand, invite discussion and show interest.
  • Be honest about your concerns. If you have a particular concern (affording the mortgage payment, getting out of debt, etc.), be upfront about it. Your concerns will drive your decisions and if you aren’t open about these, your spouse may not understand why you make the decisions you do.
  • Set specific goals. Goals give you focus. Simply assigning blame or making accusations (e.g., “you spend too much money on clothes”) is often unproductive because the guilty party may feel bad, but will not necessarily feel motivated to change. It’s much more pleasant and productive to work towards a goal (e.g., staying within budget).
  • Take specific steps to achieve your goals. Having goals doesn’t mean you’ll achieve them—you have to plan and take specific steps to get there. How much will you pay towards the loan each month? How much will you put in savings each time you get a paycheck? How much will you budget each month for groceries?
  • Make sure both spouses are aware of all income, expenses, and debts. You can’t set useful financial goals if you don’t have accurate information with which to work. It’s not enough for one spouse to know the nitty-gritty details of your finances. You both need to have knowledge of these details.
  • Be honest about your mistakes and don’t hold grudges. If you’ve made bad financial choices, be humble and admit these. If your spouse has admitted to making bad financial choices, forgive and move on.
  • Don’t wait until a crisis occurs to discuss money. When you’re facing a financial crisis (a missed mortgage payment, a major car repair, an unexpected medical expense, etc.) the stress of the crisis will magnify the tension of talking about money. It’s much better to discuss your finances when you can approach the conversation calmly and have time to think about your decisions. My husband and I like to talk about money while on our annual goal planning retreat. We periodically revisit our goals during the year. Some families have a monthly meeting during which they discuss money. You’ll have to figure out what frequency works for you and your family.

What strategies work in your household? How do you have effective discussions with your spouse about money?


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Shared on the following link-ups: Titus 2sday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Motivation Monday, Living Proverbs 31, Making Your Home Sing, Thrifty Thursday, Wifey Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday & Welcome Home Wednesday.


The Benefits of Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Keeping the Home, Promoting Healthful Living | 2 comments

My family always grew vegetables during the summers when I was growing up. I’ve wanted to continue this practice, but until recently I haven’t lived in a location that was conducive to this.

The Benefits of Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

My husband and I currently have plenty of room to grow a garden, but the sun only shines on a small portion of our yard. Thus, we’ll be growing some fruits and vegetables in containers that we can place in these sunny areas.

Growing a garden can take a lot of work, so why do I desire to grow one? There are so many benefits to growing your own fruits and vegetables!

Benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables

  • You can save money. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be pricy. Part of their expense is due to the fact that produce is often shipped from remote states and countries to local grocery stores. When you grow your own produce, you cut down on these transportation expenses and on the middleman (the store). Not only does this save money, but reducing the need for transportation benefits the environment. Keep in mind that if you’re not careful, you can end up throwing money away when you garden. The costs of plants or seeds, containers, soil, and other supplies can be costly if you don’t plan judiciously!
  • You can consume more nutrient-rich produce. It’s easier to consume fruits and vegetables when you have them on hand than when you have to run to the store for them. Because they’re freshly picked, they haven’t lost as many nutrients as vegetables that were picked days, weeks, or even months before reaching grocery store shelves. Kids who loath consuming their veggies may be more eager to eat them if they’ve been able to watch them grow.
  • You can choose exactly what you eat. Are you trying to avoid genetically-modified foods? You can choose non-GMO seeds. Are you concerned about pesticide residue on your fruits and vegetables? You can avoid using pesticides. When you grow your own produce, you can control what you grow and how you grow it.
  • You can be prepared for the unexpected. We all need food to survive. If a significant disaster were to occur, the growth or transportation of produce could be interrupted. If you have the knowledge and skills to grow your own food, then you’ll be more secure than if you rely entirely on others for producing your fruits and vegetables.
  • You can educate your children. Our children are raised in an era characterized by instant gratification. It is so good for children to experience the process of gardening—planting seeds, watching plants grow, weeding, watering, picking produce, etc. This process teaches children to wait and work hard for an outcome. It’s also good for children to understand and appreciate the origins of the food they eat. Many children don’t know that milk comes from cows or that French fries come from potatoes that grow in the ground. Growing a garden can help your kids learn about food sources.

Do you grow your own fruits and vegetables? How does growing your own produce benefit you?


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Shared on the following link-ups: Works for Me Wednesday, Titus 2sday, Growing Homemakers, One Project at a Time, & Titus 2 Tuesday.


Philly Cheesesteak Casserole

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Keeping the Home | 18 comments

Philly Cheesesteak Casserole

As the weather begins warming up, I tend to crave cool foods like salads and chicken wraps instead of the warm soups and casseroles I crave during the winter. However, I decided to include a couple soups and casseroles on our spring menu. Here’s one of those casseroles. It’s particularly delicious!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 cups egg noodles (precooked measure)
  • 1 pound cube steak (or steak of your choice), cut into bite-size pieces
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices provolone cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the bell pepper and onion; cook until soft. Set aside.

Begin preparing the egg noodles according to package directions. Place the meat in the skillet you used to cook the pepper and onion. Season it with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until it is no longer pink.

When the egg noodles are done cooking and have been drained, combine them with the steak, peppers, and onion in a greased 3-quart casserole dish.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour to make a paste. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Stir in the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, parsley, onion powder, salt, paprika, and cheddar cheese. Slowly increase the heat to medium, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Stir the mixture into the ingredients in the casserole dish. Top with the provolone cheese slices.

Philly Cheesesteak Casserole (cheese sauce)

Philly Cheesesteak Casserole (cheese sauce mixed in)

Philly Cheesesteak Casserole (ready to bake)

Bake for 20 minutes or until the provolone cheese melts. Yield: 6 servings.

Philly Cheesesteak Casserole (fresh from oven)


If a casserole is cheesy and creamy, then it tends to be a favorite in my house. This one definitely fits that bill! I made it with cube steak because I found it on sale, but you can use any sort of steak you prefer (you could even make it with ground beef). One drawback to this recipe is that it uses several dishes to prepare. One of these days I may try to prepare it as a skillet dish instead of a casserole to cut down on this.

The ingredients for this dish cost $10.51, which is $1.75 per serving. We serve it with a veggie on the side (usually carrots), so this increases the cost to $1.92 per serving. Considering that this dish contains both beef and cheese, this is very affordable. It’s so rich and tasty that it’s worth it!


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Shared on the following link-ups: Whatever Goes Wednesday, Frugal Crafty Home, Making Your Home Sing, Best of the Weekend, Weekend Potluck & Creativity Unleashed.


Fun and Frugal Double Date Ideas

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Enriching Marriage, Managing Finances, Rejuvenating Friendships | 2 comments

Some time ago we looked at why it benefits couples to have friendships with other couples (read about the benefits of couple friendships here). There are lots of ways to spend time with couple friends, but it can be particularly fun to go on double dates.

Fun and Frugal Double Date Ideas

It’s not always easy to come up with enjoyable and affordable double date ideas. However, here are some ideas I’ve come up with as my husband and I have brainstormed activities to share with our couple friends.

Double date ideas

  • Go bowling or play miniature golf. These activities do cost a little, but they typically won’t break the bank. They’re especially great activities if you’re just getting to know another couple because they get you up and moving—you have something to focus on in case there’s a lull in the conversation. At the same time, they’re not so strenuous that you can’t find time for meaningful conversation.
  • Play board games in your home. If you already own some board games, then this activity is practically free! Bake a nice dessert and put on a pot of coffee, then have fun competing with board games. Of course, you and your husband can always have a date night where the two of you play board games, but it’s often extra entertaining to play couple against couple or guys against girls.
  • Have an amateur photo shoot. Go on a walk through a lovely park and take pictures of one another. Hiring a professional photographer to photograph you and your husband can be pretty costly, but you and your couple friends can take pictures of each other for free. With a decent camera, even amateurs can take great photos!
  • Attend a baseball game or another athletic event. If you can get your hands on affordable tickets, it can be fun to attend a baseball game or similar athletic event. Though it will depend on the sport and the venue, the “cheap seats” are often less crowded so you’ll have some space to yourselves and will be able to chat during the game.
  • Go on a picnic and play Frisbee or fly kites. Pack a simple lunch and enjoy it while fellowshipping in a lovely spot outdoors. Toss around a Frisbee or fly a kite when you’re done eating. This will provide hours of fun that cost next to nothing.
  • Go shopping at a farmers’ market and use your purchases to make lunch. Enjoy perusing a farmers’ market in the morning. Make purchases that you can use to prepare a tasty lunch. Have fun as each spouse gets involved in meal preparation and then enjoy visiting as you eat.

Do you and your husband go on double dates? What activities do you enjoy completing with other couples?


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Shared on the following link-ups: Thrive @ Home, Thriving Thursday, Wifey Wednesday, Welcome Home Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Titus 2sday & Titus 2 Tuesday.


Tips on Tipping

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Managing Finances | 4 comments

While I was traveling recently I realized that I’m confused about the finer aspects of tipping. In the U.S., it’s considered proper etiquette to tip a number of individuals, including wait staff, bellhops, and taxi drivers.

Why do we tip these individuals and not others? We tip pizza delivery drivers, but not the guy who comes to install the internet in our homes. We tip baristas, but not the employees who assemble our sandwiches at Subway.

I’ve consulted a few sources on etiquette and finances to learn more about who we should tip and how much we should tip (see the sources here, here, and here).

Why we tip some personnel and not others

Tipping is a common practice (more of a custom than a mandate) in the service and hospitality industries in the U.S. One reason for this is that some personnel (e.g., wait staff, bellhops) who routinely receive tips are legally allowed to be paid less than minimum wage by their employers. Tips compensate for their low pay.

In other situations, tips are given as a reward of sorts for a job well done or for an individual going above and beyond the call of duty in the service he or she has provided. Others view tipping as a form of social equalization (i.e., a way to share wealth with hardworking but underpaid service workers) or a cultural custom. The last view explains why tips are often given to baristas at coffee shops, but not to employees at fast food restaurants.

How much to tip

Here are some general guidelines on who to tip and how much to tip.

Basic Tipping Guidelines

As the title of this table indicates, these are just basic guidelines. Some sources recommend tipping a wider variety of personnel, including grocery baggers, newspaper deliverers, and building superintendents.

If you receive poor service, it can be tricky to determine how much to tip. While we should always be respectful of the individual who provided poor service, many experts recommend paying only a minimal tip so we aren’t rewarding poor service.

It’s interesting to note that there are groups dedicated to the eradication of tipping (read a little about this here). They seek to require employers to pay at least minimum wage to employees so tipping is no longer needed. They make some valid points.

Have you ever been confused about who to tip or how much to tip? Do the guidelines suggested above sound reasonable to you? What are your thoughts on getting rid of tipping entirely?


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Shared on the following link-up: Anything Goes.