Saturday, May 22, 2010


OK, so I finally broke down and joined Netflix. My reasoning for this is that my local video store was running out of "appropriate" movies for me to rent. I don't watch rated R movies anymore, and even many of the PG-13 movies nowadays are just out of line, in my book anyhow. And there really aren't a whole lot of PG movies to choose from at the local video store, unless I am looking for kids movies.

I am so glad we did decide to join. We have been members for around 2 months now, and I do really like it alot. We got the package for 2 dvds out at a time, which runs around $13.00 a month. At the video store, we were spending around $20 a month on rentals, so it is a small monthly savings for us. In addition to the 2 dvds a month, they also have some of their movies on instant play through the computer. We have utilized this feature quite a bit as well.

Netflix has alot of interesting documentaries, family movies, tv series, etc. to view that my local video store did not have. They also have exercise and fitness dvds available to rent. Don't get me wrong, I really do like my local video store and the employees, but when searching for things that we feel are appropriate to watch, the selection was getting pretty thin. Plus the fact that every dvd we have rented from Netflix has come in better condition than the ones we rented at the video store. We have had no issues with the dvds skipping or "getting stuck" in a spot the way we often did with the video store.

We do not have cable or satellite TV, but if we did, I would seriously consider cancelling and just going with Netflix. My reasons are that there are no commercials, and you get to pick exactly what you want to watch and when you want to watch it with the instant play feature.

And last, but not least, is the fact that you get to keep the dvds for as long as you want with no late fees. We are very pleased with their service so far, and I really hope we continue to be happy with it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cheesy Lentils Crockpot Recipe

Lentils are a great way to stretch a meal budget. For us, usually a one pound package, cooked and prepared, will last us for at least two meals (if we heat up the leftovers). Lentils are a small legume, but pack a big punch nutritionally. They have lots of fiber and iron, and they are very filling. A one pound bag of lentils usually costs anywhere from $1.00-$1.50 around here. Plus, by cooking in the crockpot, it saves money because it uses less energy than cooking on the stove or in the oven.

As for this recipe, it went over well in my house. Lentils usually have mixed reviews around here. My husband really doesn't like them that much, but will eat them when I make them from time to time. Well, he actually liked the lentils last night when I used this recipe. So did everyone else. We will be using this recipe again, and thought I would share it with you. It is different than most lentils recipes. It sort of reminded me of macaroni and cheese, only with lentils instead of noodles. Very yummy!

Cheesy Lentils

1 pound lentils
2 cups chopped onion
2 cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 bell peppers, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground marjoram
1/8 tsp ground sage
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients, except cheese, in crockpot. Cook on high for around 3 -4 hours. Stir in cheese until melted. Serve topped with additional cheese, if desired.

I adapted this recipe from .

Monday, May 3, 2010

Homemade Whole Wheat Bisquick Mix Recipe

I have avoided buying Bisquick for years now because it doesn't come in whole wheat (at least not where I live), contains bleached flour, and it also contains hydrogenated oils (which is where trans-fats come from). Not exactly a healthy food product! I try to avoid these types of food products if at all possible. The downside of avoiding Bisquick is that there are lots of yummy recipes that call for Bisquick. I found an alternative, though! I can make my own Bisquick! And another added bonus is that by making my own, I will also save money over buying it at the store. I tweaked it slightly, but I got this recipe from .

Whole Wheat Bisquick Mix

4 Cups unbleached flour
4 Cups whole wheat flour
1/4 Cup baking powder
4 Teaspoons salt
1 Cup shortening or oil
1 1/3 Cups dry powdered milk

In large bowl, blend unbleached flour, salt, and baking powder. Add shortening (or oil) and mix until crumbly. Stir in powdered milk, and then the whole wheat flour. Store in an airtight container, refrigerate if made with the oil.

I made mine using oil instead of shortening. My reasoning for this is that shortenings are usually a hydrogenated oil, and they are REALLY bad for you! I tried this mixture out in a recipe I made for dinner, and it turned out great!