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:

      • felt – red with black polka dot, black, and cream or white
      • baker’s twine
      • hand sewing needle – I used a size 18/22

      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

      Preparing for Homeschooling Middle School and Beyond

      If it tells you anything about how much I was stressing over homeschooling beyond elementary school, I started this post in 2014. My oldest was entering 6th grade and I was kind of panicking because, well, middle school is right before high school and high school is slightly (very) intimidating to me.

      At least, it was at the time. I’m not so much intimidated by it now. I’m pretty excited at the idea of walking through that with my kids. I still have time to research so I’m good. Ask me again in a year or so and let’s pray I’ll be the same…

      Preparing for Homeschooling Middle School and Beyond

      Preparing for Homeschooling Middle School Resources

      I decided that since I found the thought of homeschooling middle school to be intimidating, others might be in the same boat. So today I am finally going to finish this post and give you a few resources that I am currently reading/using or have already read/used to help calm my fears.

      1. The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens by Debra Bell

      I was given this book at a conference in early 2014, right about the time it was hitting me that I was going to have a 6th grader and that 6th grade isn’t very far from 9th grade. I’m a planner by nature, I like to plan things out so I thought I should definitely have this book.

      Imagine my surprise when open it up and realize that she had written a section on homeschooling middle school and it was just perfectly what I needed to read. I personally love Deb’s writing style. It is conversational without being overly wordy. Like talking to a friend who cares enough to give you what you need to know, with just enough personal stories to make you understand that she gets where you are coming from.

      I’d recommend this book to anyone thinking about homeschooling beyond elementary school. It pairs nicely with The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling.

      2. Lee Binz’s The HomeScholar

      This is a website specifically meant to help you homeschool high school. Her blog is a great resource for answering any questions you may have about preparing for high school. I like it because there are things that haven’t even crossed my mind that are discussed.

      3. Other Bloggers

      Yes, there are other bloggers out there who are walking this homeschool middle school journey with me and there are also homeschool bloggers who are finished with this part and want to help other moms navigate it confidently. I appreciate that so much.

      The Sunny Patch has a list of blogs that talk about homeschooling middle school. I’d recommend checking that list out to see if one fits your needs.

      One that is mentioned on her list that I am finding very helpful is Education Possible. One of the writers for that blog also happens to be one of the bloggers I met while working on The Library Adventure. Small world on the interwebs, isn’t it?

      Dollie has a great article called 7 Ways to Transition Your Homeschool Into Middle School that I recommend reading.

      4. Pinterest

      You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Pinterest is one of my favorite social media platforms. It is so much better than a bookmarks folder. But you knew that, right? (See also: Homeschooling Resources on Pinterest – Organized by Subject)

      A couple resources regarding that:

      That’s the list for now. I hope it helps you find some help with easing the anxiety of preparing to homeschool middle school. Now that I’m here (times two now!), it isn’t so bad. In fact, it can be quite fun!

      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
           

          Biographical Series for Tween Girls

          This is the final post in the books for tween girls miniseries. Be sure to see the books series for tween girls and classic book series for tween girls posts for a plethora of reading options for tween girls.

          Biographical Series for Tween Girls

          I am ending the miniseries with some biographical chapter books for inspiration and encouragement. I personally believe that the more we can encourage our kids to find their own unique, God-designed path, the better. Showing them lots of examples of how others have done just that is a great start.

          I’ve listed the age and grade suggestions like before.

          Biographical Series for Tween Girls

          These are based on real people and while the characters in the series change, the stories are definitely ones that tween girls can find inspiration in. Each series has a lot of titles. I chose a few female-focused ones for this post. Tween girls can also obviously be inspired by males, too, so don’t miss those.

          Lightkeepers (8y+, 3rd+)

          Who Was/Is Series (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          Childhood of Famous Americans (8-12y, 4th-6th)

          Sower Series (9y+, 4th+)

          Christian Heroes: Then and Now (10y+, 5th+)

          Do you have any biographical series for tween girls to recommend? These are the five I know about. I would love to add more! Tell me about them in the comments.

          Don’t miss the other companion posts to this one – book series for tween girls and classic book series for tween girls!

          Classic Book Series for Tween Girls

          Previously, I shared the huge list of contemporary book series for tween girls. This post will focus on classic book series for tween girls. These are books that have stood the test of time and still bring joy to readers.

          You’ll notice that not all of them are what you might consider a classic like Chronicles of Narnia and Anne of Green Gables. Those are most definitely included, but so are other fun classics like Beverly Cleary’s series and The Baby-Sitters Club.

          The Baby-Sitters Club books were a highlight of my late elementary/middle school years. They inspired me to take up babysitting, though I doubt I was half the babysitter that Kristy and the gang were. I just wished I was as cool as they were.

          Classic Book Series for Tween Girls - A big list of ideas for girls 9-12.

          Series that are pre-2000 are included on this list. After 2000, they are on the contemporary list. This is no official rule I’m following, just the way I’ve decided to break this huge list up. Be sure to watch for the next list in this miniseries, biographical series for tween girls. Sign up for email updates to be sure you don’t miss it!

          So let’s get started on today’s list. Again, I have included the age and grade recommendations that I could find and the first two or three titles from the series. Also again, I am making no assessment on content, that is for you to decide for your family.

          Classic Book Series for Tween Girls

          Sarah, Plain and Tall (6-10y, 1st-5th)

          The Borrowers (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

          The Littles (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

          The Boxcar Children (7y+, 2nd-5th)

          American Girls Collections (8y+, 3rd+)

          These are the original, historical series.

          Betsy Tacy (8-12y, 2nd-5th)

          Ramona (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          The Mouse and the Motorcycle (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          Little House on the Prairie (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          Fudge Series (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          All-of-a-Kind Family (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          The Baby-Sitters Club (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          Anastasia Krupnik (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          Anne of Green Gables (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

          Chronicles of Narnia (8y+, 3rd+)

          I’m going with the “reading in order of publication” crowd. That is why they are “out of order” based on some of the numbers on the books. Those are of the “reading in chronological order” variety.

           

          Mandie (8-13y, 3rd+)

          The Moffats (10-12y, 5th-7th)

          That’s today’s list. Did I miss one that you think HAS to be on this list? Tell me about it in the comments!

          Don’t miss the contemporary fiction list of book series for tween girls and the biographical series for tween girls, too!