Beef and Bean Dip – Frugal Family Dinner

This beef and bean dip is a favorite around here when the weather gets cooler. Fall is making its presence known around here right now and thus, this frugal family dinner has made an appearance on our meal plan a couple times already.

Ok, so part of that is because I needed to make it so I could take photos of it for the blog. And I might have forgot to do that the first time I made it, so I was pretty glad to have the ingredients for another round in the fridge and pantry.

We still love it.

Beef and Bean Dip Recipe - A Frugal Family Dinner

A couple notes for this recipe:

  • I use a 6 quart Lodge dutch oven for this. It makes it a one-pot meal.
  • This recipe makes a LOT of food. We typically have it for dinner (6 of us, half usually have more than 1 serving) and then we will have it for lunch at least one more time. Sometimes I freeze portions of it just so we can have a small amount ready whenever we want it.
  • It freezes well.
  • You can make this vegetarian by leaving out the ground beef. I use 6 cans of beans when I use roughly 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef. I would increase the beans to 8 or so to make up for leaving out the meat.
  • To make this super frugal, start with dry beans and home canned tomatoes.
  • I was super excited to see that Red Gold tomatoes are Non-GMO Project verified. They are local to my home state and it made me happy to see.
  • The cans of beans I use are from Costco. They are organic and at my local store, cost less than $1/can.

Red Gold petite diced tomatoes - ingredient in beef and bean dip recipe.

Organic beans from Costco - an ingredient in the beef and bean dip recipe from Simply Vicki

Beef and Bean Dip
Print Recipe
This recipe is as frugal as you want it to be, simply adjust the amount of ground beef or even leave it out.
    Prep Time
    10 minutes
    Cook Time
    30 minutes
    Prep Time
    10 minutes
    Cook Time
    30 minutes
    Beef and Bean Dip
    Print Recipe
    This recipe is as frugal as you want it to be, simply adjust the amount of ground beef or even leave it out.
      Prep Time
      10 minutes
      Cook Time
      30 minutes
      Prep Time
      10 minutes
      Cook Time
      30 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: 5-quart pot
      Instructions
      1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, brown the ground beef with the onions. Drain unwanted fat off.
      2. Add in tomatoes, sauces, beans, and spices. Stir. Bring dip to a simmer and let heat through thoroughly.
      3. Scoop into bowls, top with shredded cheese and sour cream. Eat with a spoon or tortilla chips.
      Share this Recipe
       

      Beginner Sewing Resources For Adults

      My top posts here on the blog are consistently the sewing tutorial round-ups. People seem to love these, but I noticed a lot of comments about learning to sew from those sharing and commenting on the posts, and in emails.

      I taught a hand sewing class at our homeschool co-op a few years ago and the book I used for that could actually be used for any age. It is called Sewing School, they have a second one called Sewing School 2 that is for beginning sewing machine work. The books are written to make sewing more accessible to kids, but beginner adults can use them. It would especially be a good fit for those wanting to learn to sew alongside their children.

      But if you are looking for something more specifically designed for adults, the resources I’ve gathered here are just for you. These are beginner sewing resources for adults.

      Sewing Resources for Adult Beginners - Learn to sew!

      Beginner Sewing Resources for Adults

      The internet can be such a wonderful place when you are looking to learn something new. People everywhere are sharing their gifts and talents with others and it is quite an awesome thing. We are going to start with something a bit more tangible though.

      Books

      As wonderful as the internet is, there is still a lot to be said for a physical book. It is why I spend so much time reading and putting together book lists on various subjects here. Here are five beginner sewing books for adults:

      YouTube

      For the YouTube section here, I chose to focus on specific tutorials and projects instead of general channels. You can browse around and find LOTS of tutorials for just about anything. This is great for those who need to see something being done for it to make sense.

      Sewing Basics

      I found a couple good series for getting started on with sewing. The great things about these series? They are free!

      Simple Projects

      That’s it for today. The best advice I have for anyone wanting to learn to sew? Just do it. You will learn by doing and you will make a lot of mistakes. That is why the seam ripper was invented. You will be the best of frenemies with it. Just like I am.

      But in all seriousness, I hope you find something on this list of beginner sewing resources for adults that gets you started. Sewing is fun and a great life skill to have. Give it a try!

      DIY Ladybug Bunting – Simple Craft Project

      If I had to sum my crafting style up in just one word, it would be simple. I love to create, but long projects are just not in my realm of realistic these days. I much prefer the crafts I can complete in one or two sittings than those I have to get out and put away multiple times.

      This little DIY ladybug bunting fits that bill very well. In fact, I came up with the idea, worked out the details, actually made the bunting, and took pictures of it in less than two hours. My kind of project.

      DIY Ladybug Bunting - Simple Sewing Craft

      DIY Ladybug Bunting

      To make your own ladybug bunting, you will need:

      DIY Ladybug Bunting - Simple Sewing Craft

      1. Cut a strip of each felt. I used these approximate widths for my strips – 2 1/2″ (red and black polka dot), 1 3/4″ (black), and 1 12/” (cream).
      2. Cut triangles out of your strips. I used 28 total triangles for my bunting – 9 red and black polka dot, 9 cream, and 10 black.
      3. Thread your needle with the twine.
      4. String your triangles together with a running stitch. You will want at least 2 stitches in each triangle. The nice thing about using a larger needle and felt is that you can just string them on one end and pull the triangles down the line with ease. Note: When you use a felt with a pattern on one side, make sure you are consistent with which side faces you as you stitch.
      5. After you have strung all your triangles, tie a knot at your last triangle corner and do one last stitch. Be sure to leave a tail (8″ is great).
      6. Straighten your triangles. Space them however close you want them and make sure they are facing the correct direction.
      7. Cut the string 8″ from the other end of your bunting. Tie a knot at the last triangle and stitch one last stitch on that end. These secure your first and last triangle from sliding off your string.
      8. Hang your bunting or wrap it up and give it as a gift!

      Enjoy your DIY ladybug bunting!

      DIY Ladybug Bunting - Simple Sewing Craft

      Washi Tape Bookmarks – Easy Craft for All Ages

      When I was titling this post, I almost made it easy kid craft, but the truth is, this craft is for everyone. I made several myself, one of which I will share below. The others were another style that I will share another time.

      Washi Tape Bookmarks - Easy craft for all ages!

      Washi Tape Bookmarks

      You will need:

      The laminator pouches and laminator are optional, but super helpful in preserving your craft. In our case, it protects our bookmarks from being dismantled by a curious preschooler.

      I bought blank bookmarks from Hobby Lobby for this project. If you want to use a different, non-typical size for your bookmark, then simply use whatever color cardstock you want and cut it to the size (and shape) you want. Easy.

      To make your cards, pick the washi tape and any other embellishments you want to use and start crafting. There is no right or wrong way to go about doing this. Embellishments you can use include stickers and gel pens to add hand drawn touches.

      If you are not laminating your washi tape bookmarks, then you can use embellishments like sequins and gems. If you are laminating your bookmarks, then you will want to stick with flat embellishments or the laminating will have air bubbles. You can see what I mean in the pink bookmark below:

      Washi Tape Bookmarks - Easy craft for all ages!

      Two bookmarks fit in a 5″x7″ laminating pouch. Then you jut cut them apart. When you cut your bookmarks out, be sure to leave a clear edge just beyond where the seal meets and round your corners so you don’t accidentally injure yourself in the future with a sharp corner.

      Washi Tape Bookmarks - Easy craft for all ages!

      Washi Tape Bookmarks - Easy craft for all ages!

      The laminator I use is the Scotch TL901. I bought mine on Amazon for less than $20 with a lightning deal. They usually have them for around $30. It is a great deal and I love finding new things to use my laminator for, like our chore charts.

      If you follow along on my Facebook page, I will let you all know if I see a great deal for these every time I see one.

      Washi Tape Bookmarks back

      I wanted to show you this last photo so you could see the backs don’t have to be perfect. Some of ours have overlap and others do not. If it bothers you, you can cover it by gluing another bookmark to the back and then laminating it. Then you would have a clean back for your washi tape bookmarks.

      That’s it, a super easy project that EVERYONE can do. See? You can be crafty!

      Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Bread Recipe

      This delicious bread combines two fall favorites – apples and pumpkin! One day I asked my husband what he thought about me putting apples in our pumpkin bread instead of raisins. A few recipe tweaks later, I had a new sweet bread recipe that we all loved.

      This bread is a rather moist bread. You will want to let it cool completely before cutting so it won’t simply crumble on you. Once it is cooled and cut, you can warm the individual slices up in a toaster oven and spread some cream cheese on it for a decadent treat.

      Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Bread Recipe

      Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Bread Recipe

      For this recipe, you can use either homemade pumpkin puree or store bought. Just make sure you buy pumpkin puree and not the pre-made pumpkin pie mix. They are in similar cans, but you want the straight pumpkin.

      If you have never tried making your own pumpkin puree, you should do it. It is really easy. If you want a tutorial, just let me know in the comments and I will take some photos and put it together.

      But now, the recipe!

      Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Bread Recipe

      You may also be interested in:

      Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Bread
      Print Recipe
      Two fall favorites in this sweet bread is delicious times two!
        Servings Prep Time
        2 loaves 10 minutes
        Cook Time
        50 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        2 loaves 10 minutes
        Cook Time
        50 minutes
        Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Bread
        Print Recipe
        Two fall favorites in this sweet bread is delicious times two!
          Servings Prep Time
          2 loaves 10 minutes
          Cook Time
          50 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          2 loaves 10 minutes
          Cook Time
          50 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: loaves
          Instructions
          1. Grease two loaf pans and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
          2. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
          3. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs with a mixer until light and fluffy.
          4. Add vanilla extract and pumpkin. Mix until combined.
          5. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined. Do not beat.
          6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
          7. Bake for 50 minutes.
          8. Cool completely, slice and enjoy!
          Share this Recipe
           

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Themed Birthday Party

          Has Frozen fever left your house? For the most part, it has at ours. At its peak, our little guy wanted to watch it every single day. And he got to more often than I would like to admit. I really liked the movie, too. So many funny quips in that one.

          When it came time to have our little guy’s 3rd birthday, it was very clear that he would LOVE an Olaf themed birthday. He wasn’t into Anna and Elsa so much as he was Olaf and Sven. If you look for birthday items in a Frozen theme, there is very little Olaf and Sven.

          So I improvised and came up with some food ideas and my good friend Claire made him an Olaf cake. His big sister made him cupcakes and decorated them with the party colors (green, blue, and white). He was over the moon.

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Themed Birthday Party

          You will notice that I did very little actual cooking for this party. That was very intentional. I had very little time to spare in that season. You will also notice the abundance of sugar at this party. There were a LOT of people and plus, sugar is my jam. Let’s get on with things.

          1. In the first photo, you will notice that we had Snowballs and Kristoff’s Mountain Climbing Ropes. The (edible) Snowballs were powdered sugar donut holes. The climbing ropes were the pull and peel Twizzlers, which we pulled and wound into little rope bundles.

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party - Coronation Dip

          2. Coronation Dip is a super simple dip I love to make because it is delicious. A brick of cream cheese, a small jar of Old English Cheese spread, and a sprinkle of garlic powder are warmed up and then stirred until combined well. Then we tear up bagels (plain and everything are both great choices) and dip them in the dip. Easy peasy.

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party - Sandwiches

          3. We Finish Each Other’s Sandwiches! Bless this movie for having something so simple in their movie to pull from. These were basic lunch meat sandwiches that I put together and cut into triangle wedges. It was easy and delicious.

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party - Hot Glogg

          4. Hot Glogg was apple cider that I poured into a slow cooker and turned on keep warm for an hour before the party and left on. Again, super easy.

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party - Olaf Arms

          5. Olaf Arms – Ok, so some kids won’t find this funny, but our little guy thought it was hilarious. No Olafs were harmed at this party, those are pretzel sticks. I opened a bag and poured them in the bowl. It was strenuous, I tell you.

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party - Salad Plates

          6. Who Knew We Owned (almost) 8,000 Salad Plates?! One of my favorite lines from the movie. Not really sure why, just makes me chuckle. It was the perfect phrase for our appetizer plates.

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party - String Cheese Olafs

          7. String Cheese Olafs. Some of these looked more Olaf-y than others, but they still made my little guy giggle. I used black, brown, and yellow Sharpies to draw on the string cheese. It was a bit more difficult than expected because they started condensating and the Sharpies didn’t work so well then.

          My daughter drew the ones that have the full Olaf on them. She misunderstood my directions, but they came out cute!

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party - Sven's Carrots

          8. You can’t forget Sven’s Carrots! Just some baby carrots chilling in my Pampered Chef veggie server that I just adore, but I don’t think they make any more. Boo.

          Also on this tray were Snow Covered Trees, but I didn’t get a good picture of those. It was just some broccoli and ranch dressing, if you must know my secrets.

          9. We also had some brownies that we cut up and put on a plate with the card reading “I Wanna Stuff Some Chocolate In My Face!” because that moment is one that just HAD to be documented at the party. It was the moment I felt a bond with a Disney princess for the very first time in my life. #girlaftermyownheart

          That picture turned out blurry so I couldn’t show you. A few others that we had with blurry photos:

          10. Rollie Trollies – These were meatballs I put in our other slow cooker with a sauce I found through Pinterest. I didn’t keep the link, but they were super easy. Like bbq sauce and jelly easy.

          11. Fresh Scandanavian Water – I put this label on our homemade Berkey water filter where every gets water.

          12. Kristoff’s Ice – This went on our ice maker for those who wanted ice.

          To make the little table tents, I simply typed up the different labels in my word processor and printed them. Then I cut them up and glued them to some cardstock that I then cut up and folded in half. Whew, that is exhausting, isn’t it?

          See, a super cute themed birthday party doesn’t have to be terrible complicated. Just get a bit creative and pull things out of a favorite movie and then try to match it to some easy ideas. Give it a shot, you might surprise yourself.

          Food Ideas for a Frozen Theme Party

          Healthy Breakfast Popsicles – No Blender Required!

          I made these for my toddler who is constantly insisting on candy, popsicles, and the like for breakfast. One morning it hit me, I should make healthy breakfast popsicles I can say yes to. So I did.

          And these popsicles do not require a blender!

          Healthy Breakfast Popsicles

          Healthy Breakfast Popsicles – No Blender Required!

          For an easier-to-read (and printable) recipe, see the bottom of this post.

          Healthy Breakfast Popsicles - the ingredients

          You will need the following ingredients:

          • 2 cups milk – any kind, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
          • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
          • 5-10 teaspoons granola – I used this one
          • 1-2 bananas – depending on size, you want these fairly ripe

          You will also need a popsicle mold and popsicle sticks. I bought these Norpro Ice Pop Makers from Amazon last year. I love it now that my kids are older and need a bigger popsicle.

          For my littlest toddlers, I use these Zoku Mini Pop Molds because they are just enough for them to get through without too much melting mess. Please note, that this recipe will make way too much for just one of these molds because they are pretty small.

          Breakfast popsicles

          Pour the chia seeds into the milk, stir, and set aside. Mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork. Pour the milk/chia seed mix into the bowl and mix well.

          Healthy Breakfast Popsicles

          Scoop 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of granola into your popsicle molds.

          Breakfast popsicles

          Pour the banana, chia seed, and milk mixture into the molds. Cap and insert popsicle sticks. Place popsicles in the freezer and let freeze for at least 5 hours.

          Enjoy!

          Healthy Breakfast PopsiclesWhen you have a resident threenager in the house, you eventually tire of hearing the…

          Posted by Simply Vicki on Thursday, September 10, 2015


          Healthy Breakfast Popsicles
          Print Recipe
          When your toddlers insist on popsicles for breakfast, surprise them with a yes! These are healthy and yummy.
            Servings Prep Time
            10 popsicles 10 minutes
            Passive Time
            5+ hours
            Servings Prep Time
            10 popsicles 10 minutes
            Passive Time
            5+ hours
            Healthy Breakfast Popsicles
            Print Recipe
            When your toddlers insist on popsicles for breakfast, surprise them with a yes! These are healthy and yummy.
              Servings Prep Time
              10 popsicles 10 minutes
              Passive Time
              5+ hours
              Servings Prep Time
              10 popsicles 10 minutes
              Passive Time
              5+ hours
              Ingredients
              Servings: popsicles
              Instructions
              1. Pour the chia seeds into the milk, stir, and set aside. Mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork. Pour the milk/chia seed mix into the bowl and mix well.
              2. Scoop 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of granola into your popsicle molds. Pour the banana, chia seed, and milk mixture into the molds.
              3. Cap and insert popsicle sticks. Place popsicles in the freezer and let freeze for at least 5 hours.
              Share this Recipe
               

              Baby Wipes Aren’t Just For Babies

              Growing up, my Mom always carried a package of baby wipes in our vehicles. This was LONG after any of us kids were in diapers, though she obviously carried them with her when we were in diapers, too. When I was approached about a sponsored post for the Huggies “Because Kids Outgrow Diapers, Not Messes*” campaign, it felt like a good fit. Huggies wipes have been a part of my life for a very long time.

              Baby Wipes Are Not Just for Babies!

              My own children are out of diapers. Even my baby is now potty trained. He decided at 2 1/2 years that he was going to use the potty and that was that. Easiest of the 4, which was a bit bittersweet, but mostly awesome. I thoroughly enjoy not toting a diaper bag around with us anymore, but that often means we are without the ever handy baby wipes.

              Then I had the ingenious idea to put one of the Huggies baby wipes packages right next to our toddler’s car seat. This works for a couple reasons:

              • The package actually fits nicely between the armrest of the car seat and the seat bottom (which we keep covered with a towel to protect it from wear from the bottom of the car seat).
              • The biggest need we have for wipes in the car sits in that seat. Ahem.

              On any given car trip, these are the mess “emergencies” that I hear about from the back seat:

              • His hands are sticky because he’s been playing with his gum.
              • His hands are messy because squishing crackers surprisingly makes crumbs.
              • Some kind sibling gave him a piece of candy, which ended up all over his hands and face.
              • His hands are “berry, berry” sticky for some mysterious reason and he is reaching out to touch a sibling. This is usually a loud emergency that comes in the form of “DON’T touch me, Oliver!” and squeals of laughter as Oliver reaches as far as he possibly can.
              • HIS CUP CONDENSATED AND HE GOT HIS HANDS WET! (Yes, this constitutes an all-caps emergency to our resident threenager.)
              • Occasionally, there is actual dirt that ends up on his hands, that usually gets wiped on his shirt because, you know, no big deal…

              So, yes, we are now keeping a package of baby wipes right by his seat. I’m realizing now that we are also going to need to put a trash bag by his seat or I’m going to have baby wipes all over the floor. If it’s not one thing, it is another, isn’t it?

              Have Baby Wipes, Will Travel...With Kids!

              Huggies Wipes – Because Kids Outgrow Diapers, Not Messes*

              You can find a variety of sizes and decorative packages at Walmart. Huggies brand is the only wipes brand with Triple Clean layers. We have found Huggies fragrance free wipes to be gentle enough for all four of our children’s skin.

              For more ways to use Huggies Wipes, be sure to check out the 101 Uses of Huggies Wipes video on the Walmart website.

              Do you keep a package of baby wipes with you in the car?