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Are you looking for a delicious coconut cookie that you can make with just a few ingredients? Our family loves this little easy chewy Coconut Macaroons recipe because it’s something we can all enjoy and it’s gluten and dairy free!

Easy Chewy Coconut Macaroons Recipe

Something you may or may not know about our family is that before we moved to our current home, we had started and were running a successful coffee shop and small bakery. Even though I’ve been baking delicious treats my entire life, I learned so much about tastes, textures, and what people enjoy.

How Long Do Coconut Macaroons Last?

This recipe makes a rather small batch (about 15 cookies) so we’ve never had them last long, but I would say that they will keep their freshness for about a week.

How to Store Coconut Macaroons?

Store the cookies in an air-tight container in the fridge or in a cool dark place in your kitchen to prevent them from drying out.

How to Make Coconut Macaroons With Chocolate?

You could add mini chocolate chips to this coconut macaroon recipe to give it a little chocolate flavor! You could also dip half of the cookie into melted chocolate to make a really decadent treat.

Why Are My Coconut Macaroons Sticky?

The batter is supposed to be sticky, they are made with eggs! If you cookies are sticky after baking it’s possible that you didn’t bake them for quite long enough.

Why Are My Coconut Macaroons Runny?

If the batter seems too runny, it’s possible that your eggs were extra large and added a little too much moisture to the batter. Try adding in a little more shredded coconut to see if that will help.

How to Use Extra Egg Yolks

Since this recipe only uses egg whites, you will have several egg yolks left. Here are some recipes that you can use them in so that they won’t go to waste:

This easy chewy Coconut Macaroons recipe was one of these most popular treats (if not THE most popular!) that I made for our little coffee shop. Once word got out that I had a fresh batch out of the oven, they were usually gone within the first hour of business. I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you for a long time and now I finally have a chance to today!

Easy Chewy Coconut Macaroons Recipe

What You Need:

  • 1 1/3 cup Shredded Coconut (Sweetened or Unsweetened)
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons All Purpose Flour or All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt

How to Make Chewy Coconut Macaroons

Here are all the ingredients that you need. This is a very simple recipe! I usually use unsweetened coconut but you can use either sweetened or unsweetened depending on what you have on hand and how sweet you want your cookies to be.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Try and incorporate the vanilla as much as possible into the sugar, otherwise, it tends to clump into the coconut.

Add in the coconut.

Add in the egg whites. Mix everything until it’s well combined and no dry spots remain. If your eggs are large, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you used smaller eggs, you may need to mix with your hands to be sure all is combined.

Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out the batter onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Press each ball down slightly. Bake at 350F degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Do not take the cookies out too early, you want them to at least be brown around the bottoms to give them a good outside crunch. The inside will be soft and chewy!

One batch makes about 16 small cookies so if you have a large family, you may want to double this recipe. I’ve also made larger batches and frozen some for later with good success. The cookies are best after they’ve had a chance to cool off and firm up a bit so don’t place them in a container or bag right after cooking or they will lose their crispiness.

Looking for more simple and easy gluten-free baking recipes just like this one? My ebook Frugal Gluten Free features 25 delicious tried & true recipes that are gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and nut free. No exotic ingredients here, just simple baking recipes using regular frugal ingredients. 

Print the easy chewy Coconut Macaroons recipe below:

Chewy Coconut Macaroons Recipe

  • 1 1/3 cup Shredded Coconut (Sweetened or Unsweetened)
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons All Purpose Flour or All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Try and incorporate the vanilla as much as possible into the sugar, otherwise, it tends to clump into the coconut.
  2. Add in the coconut.
  3. Add in the egg whites. Mix everything until it’s well combined and no dry spots remain. If your eggs are large, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you used smaller eggs, you may need to mix with your hands to be sure all is combined.

Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out the batter onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Press each ball down slightly. Bake at 350F degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Do not take the cookies out too early, you want them to at least be brown around the bottoms to give them a good outside crunch. The inside will be soft!

Some other yummy cookie recipes that you might enjoy:

Are you making cookies this week? What kind of cookies are you making? Do you think your family would enjoy these chewy Coconut Macaroons?

The post Chewy Coconut Macaroons Recipe: Easy, Gluten Free appeared first on Little House Living.

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I think by now you probably already know the things that I do buy that save money. But what about the things I don’t buy? Things that seem like a good deal but actually aren’t?

Today I’m sharing that list with you. Things that I’ve learned with past experience that I will never buy because even though they may seem like it, they won’t save me money and they likely won’t save you money either. Be sure and leave a comment with some of the things you never buy that many others do!

Things I Never Buy To Save Money
  • Any butter in a container. I only buy butter by the pound in the sticks. I don’t even buy or use vegetable spreads. To make whipped butter at home, soften one pound of butter and whip with a few ounces of olive oil. I even saved an old butter container to put mine in so there is no confusion in the fridge! So simple to make and not even close to being worth the extra markup that the store puts them at just because it’s “spreadable”. Another simple option that we’ve utilized is a Butter Keeper Crock. You can put straight butter in the crock and it will stayy soft and spreadable.
  • Cheap paint. Learn your lesson from my mistakes, sometimes paying more money really is worth it for the end result. I painted my entire house in some paint I got free after rebate and now only 2 years later I’m going to have to paint it all over again. And I can tell you for sure which brand I will not be buying this time. The paint was so cheap that it would literally wipe right off the walls and any spots would stay in it permanently. It was awful and not worth the expense or the time spent painting with it.
  • Commercial cleaners. Vinegar at Sam’s Club is only about 1$1.50 a gallon. One gallon of vinegar will make me more cleaners than I could ever possibly buy for $1.50, plus you know what’s going into your cleaners! Here are some of my favorite Homemade Cleaners to make.

  • Microwave popcorn. I buy popcorn kernels in bulk from Azure Standard and I have one of these Popcorn Poppers to cook it in the microwave with no extra oil and butter. It’s much healthier and much cheaper than I could ever get the pre-packed kind for. If you don’t have a microwave, you can simply cook the popcorn on the stove in a pan with a lid and a bit of oil in the bottom.
  • Books. You can buy an almost new copy of the same book on Amazon or from Thriftbooks for much less than the original price. You can ask my husband…I buy a LOT of books from Thriftbooks!
  • A cell phone. Why would you spend $300+ on a phone when most major carriers have free ones or really cheap ones all the time? You are just going to replace that phone in a year or two anyway. And the free one is going to work just as well as the $300 one. It may not have all the bells and whistles (or the name brand) but it still works for it’s intended purpose! I purchased my current iPhone for $50 from Straight Talk. It was refurbished and has been going strong for over 2 years.

  • Hot cocoa. The things they put in commercial hot chocolate scare me so I make my own. Here’s my favorite Hot Chocolate Mix recipe. SO easy!
  • Haircuts for my hubby. No, I’ve never gone to beauty school but I do know how to give my hubby a good hair cut. Where we were going before it cost $12 plus the tip to get his hair cut and it looked so simple! So we invested $20 in a nice razor and I’ve been cutting his hair for the last 10 years. It doesn’t take a lot of skill (unless your hubby wants a really fancy style, which still couldn’t be that hard, YouTube it!) And I know that almost anyone could do it because my husband is SO picky about his hair cuts and he thinks I do a pretty good job. I also cut my boy’s hair and my own hair.

There are SO many more things that I could list here but this should give you a bit of inspiration for some things that you can stop buying from the store and begin finding alternatives for as well.

I’d love to hear some comments on what you don’t buy to save you money also!

This article on Things I Never Buy was originally posted on Little House Living in October 2010. It has been updated as of December 2018.

The post Things I Never Buy….To Save Me Money appeared first on Little House Living.

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Ever wanted to live like the Little House on the Prairie books today? Curious about what we can learn from the books as adults and how we can apply it to our lives? Come dig into my Living Like Little House series!

Living Like Little House on the Prairie

We finally got around to starting to read Little House on the Prairie! Growing up this was my very favorite Little House book. Me and my sister would hook the little trailer up to the 4-wheeler and pull it around the land pretending that was our covered wagon. When we couldn’t be outside we would head up the hill to Granny’s house and create “wagons” in her basement out of couch cushions and folding tables. Granny was thrilled with that!

Back to the book….here are some things that I gleaned from re-reading Little House on the Prairie as an adult.

Being Prepared

This weekend we’ve been reading through chapter 2, Crossing the Creek. If you’ll recall from the book, Pa and Ma thought they would be ok while crossing the creek but then mid-way across things changed.

“There, there, Caroline, ” said Pa. “We’re all safe, thanks to a good tight wagon box well fastened to the running gear. I never saw a creek rise so fast in my life.”

If Pa had not known what to do, or if Ma had been too frightened to drive, or if Laura and Mary had been naughty and bothered her, the they would have all been lost. – Little House on the Prairie

In any day and age, we will never be able to predict the future. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the economy or with the weather or with anything really. The only thing we can try to do is be prepared for what *might* happen.

Where I live, one thing we have to always be concerned about is the weather. In the winter we always run the risk of a whiteout blizzard or winds that make it so cold you can get frostbite in 10 minutes. In the spring we have to worry about flooding. In the summer we have to worry about fires and tornados. In 2 years, we’ve had all those situations arise right where I’m at.

This was just last fall. We had a lightning storm that sparked 4 fires. This was 2 of them that combined into one.

2 years ago. We had 3 bad blizzards in 2 weeks. Nothing melted in between. We were lucky at the time to have already borrowed the hubby’s father’s skid loader to dig ourselves out. During the blizzard though we were snowed in for about 4 days.

This tends to happen a lot when you live down a gravel/dirt road. This particular picture was taken after the blizzards from the picture above when things started melting. It often does this when it rains a lot. Last summer it got so bad the entire road just caved in.

A circling cloud. These always seem to happen when I’m alone at home! This particular one was right above ours and the neighbor’s houses and it scared me to death twisting round and round.

Those are just a few natural disasters. You really never know what you need to be prepared for. Something that we are working on right now is preparing a 72-hour kit. This is a bucket we are putting together with various items that could sustain us for 72 hours. We are going to put it in a bucket in an easily accessible area so we can grab it at a moments notice should we ever have to leave the house in a hurry.

Here’s a list of some of the things that will be going in our bucket. There are so many different emergencies to be prepared for that they can’t all be mentioned here. But I feel like at least putting together a 72-hour kit is a start and it’s better than nothing!

One other thing I wanted to touch on…in Little House on the Prairie in the passage I quoted it talks about how Ma held her nerves to be able to help Pa through the disaster.

In 2 of the pictures above, I was alone at home during the time. When the fire happened, the first thing I did was run to get the hubby to call the fire department. No one else had called it in yet. For the blizzards, we were prepared, even though we didn’t lose power that time, we were ready to. In the flood we had, I was alone all day while the water started rising up the steps to the house. I wasn’t totally sure what to do in that situation but I knew to start pumping the water out of the crawlspace right away and make sure the animals got moved to higher ground.(and then call my Dad to see what else I needed to do:) ) And the last several times when there has been swirling clouds overhead I’ve prepared the animals and been ready to head to the crawlspace.(I’ve already been through 5 tornados plus many many tornado scares so I’m getting pretty good at handling those!)

The point of this is: I kept my head on straight during all those times. I knew that I needed to act when something was about to happen so I was ready for it mentally and materially. Now I’m not saying that you can mentally be able to prepare yourself for anything that might come your way but just remember when it happens not to panic. Keep level-headed.

Being Creative

As we start reading farther into Little House on the Prairie we read about the Ingalls starting to set up their house. They needed to create a house out of pretty much nothing on the prairie. The prairie isn’t always the most inspiring place. It’s flat…and that’s about it. I can hardly imagine trying to start from scratch in the middle of an endless prairie over 100 years ago. You would just have to learn to be creative and inventive to get your home going!

“Pa was on top of the walls, stretching the canvas wagon-top over the skeleton roof of saplings. The canvas billowed in the wind, Pa’s beard blew wildly and his hair stood up  from his head as if it were trying to pull itself out. He held onto the canvas and fought it. Once it jerked so hard that Laura thought he must let go or sail into the air like a bird. But he held tight to the wall with his legs, and tight to the canvas with his hands, and he tied it down.” ~ Little House on the Prairie p. 72-73

In this part of the book Pa had built the house but at the time he couldn’t build the roof because he needed extra help. So he put the wagon canvas for the roof of the little house. In the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about being creative and using something you already have to create something that you need.

Over the years, I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels and collected a lot of freebie soap bars. I’m not usually much of a soap bar user because I don’t like the sticky sliminess. But then it hit me, why can’t I make those soap bars into liquid soap? It’s something we use every day!

I dug out all the soap bars that I could find in my bathroom and came up with 8 of them.

I used an old cheese grater and grated up the soap bars. After a while, I got tired of it and just started breaking them into chunks. I don’t recommend this unless you want to wait several days for the soap to be done.

Put all the soap chunks in an old container. For my 8 travel size bars, I had to use 2 large cottage cheese containers.

Then add hot water to the container until it covers the soap. Stir. Over the next couple of hours or possibly days depending on the size of your soap chunks. Every time you remember, mix the soap around and mash it up a little. When the water gets used up and the soap mixture starts to get really thick, add more hot water and stir it around.

Just keep doing this until you have a perfect paste that you can add to a empty soap dispenser. It’s such a simple way to take something that I wasn’t using and turn it into something we can use! I also added a little essential oil to the mixture to make the scent better.

You might think this is a silly example, especially in light of the quoted passage above. But I just wanted to show a very simple way that you can make something out of something else that you might not think has much of a use in your home. Be creative and brainstorm all of the possibilities.

Going to Town

In our family, we are prepared to go a long time without having to go to town. While I was reading through Little House on the Prairie I came upon the chapter where it talks about Pa going to town. At the very end of the chapter it says this:

“Laura and Mary went back to sleep, very comfortable all over. Everything was all right again when Pa was there. And now he had nails, and cornmeal, and fat pork, and salt, and everything. He would not have to go to town again for a long time.” ~ Little House on the Prairie p.224- 225

In those days, people couldn’t go to town whenever they wanted. It took Pa an entire day to go to town and get the few things he needed and to come home. A few months ago I was talking to my mom on the phone and she was telling me about how she went to town once a week. They did what they needed to in town and got the groceries on their list and they came home and didn’t go to town for another week or longer. This was when I will still working in town part time and I had to go in at least 3 times a week, sometimes more.

Every time I went in I had to go into a store(for my job) and of course then I would see things for a good deal and on clearance that I thought I needed to buy. The same was true when I worked my job before last, I was at a store all day long and at the end of the day, I usually had a pile of things I couldn’t live without. I wish I had been keeping track of my expenses then because now looking back at it, it would have probably made me cry to see how much I wasted!

Now that I’m working exclusively at home, I’m lucky if I make it to town once a week. With gas prices the way they are I’ve been trying to stay home even more, only going in if we have an appointment.

Ok, now you might be thinking, “well I’m not lucky enough to stay home, I have to work every day”, or maybe you live in town and therefore can’t not “go to town”. This is where a good dose of self-control steps in. Maybe we do have to be in town every day. Maybe it’s unavoidable. That doesn’t mean we need to spend money in town every day! I read forums where someone will post a great deal and then people will post that they had to run and get it right then. I think this is dangerous territory. By doing that we are telling ourselves that we need that item right here right now.

Think about things you need. Not things that you think you need, things that you really need. Shelter, food basics, heat, and clothing. Most of us already have those things on hand all of the time. Yes, we may get low on food from time to time but it’s so easy to plan a shopping trip twice a month or even once a week to get what we need and be home again. (This is where an excellent Meal Plan comes in!)

I feel like I rambled on a  little in this post so I’m going to stop before you start falling asleep at the computer. The main point from the paragraph in the book that I wanted to get across is just this…think about what you really need, train yourself to stay away from the temptation of the stores and shopping and going to town as well as you can. If you think you are going to miss out on something by not going to town, learn how to do other things to keep your mind from it, take up a hobby or a craft, have family game nights, plant a garden. There is so much that you can do at home!

Bone Broth

When you are sick, sick enough to feel awful but still feeling ok to eat, what is it that you turn to? A box of Twinkies and a can of pop? Of course not! You want something good, something that will make you feel better, and most of the time that means grabbing for some water and chicken noodle soup.

Whenever we are sick, we crave a good chicken noodle soup. However, more often than not when we are sick and wanting that soup we end up grabbing a can instead of homemade. In the Little House on the Prairie, we read about when Ma, Pa, and the girls were sick with malaria.

“Laura did not exactly go to sleep, but she didn’t really wake up for a long, long time. Strange things seemed to keep happening in a haze. She would see Pa crouching by the fire in the middle of the night, then suddenly sunshine hurt her eyes and Ma fed her broth from a spoon.”

“I want a drink of water, please,” Laura said. The fat woman brought it at once. The good, cold water made Laura feel better. She looked at Mary asleep beside her; she looked at Pa and Ma asleep in the big bed. Jack lay half asleep on the floor. Laura looked again at the fat woman and asked, “Who are you?” “I’m Mrs. Scott,” the woman said, smiling, “There now, you feel better don’t you?” “Yes, thank you,” Laura said, politely. The fat woman brought her a cup of hot prairie chicken broth. “Drink it all up, like a good child,” she said. Laura drank every drop of the good broth.” ~ Little House on the Prairie p.186, 190-191

So what’s up with this broth? Why do we crave it and why have we been craving it for so long?

“Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.” ~ Broth is Beautiful

So how do we make this miracle food? It’s pretty simple. Put the bones, fat, and some meat in a pot with water or in the slow cooker. (I just use a whole chicken). Add vegetables to taste if you want. (I usually don’t and just stick with the chicken) Make sure the water that you add to the mixture is cold so it can heat slowly. Add in a splash or two of apple cider vinegar. Heat the broth slowly and let it sit at a slow simmer for a while. After a while you will want to skim the top from the stuff that rises up. A fish broth should simmer 2 hours, other meat should be left all day, beef should be simmered overnight. You can use a slow cooker for any of these meats which is what I like to do.

After the broth has been simmered you will want to stain it and remove any bones, or meat particles still in it. It will store for days in the refrigerator or you can put it in bags or containers in the freezer to save for later.

You can use bone broth the same as you would use any other kind of broth or store boughten broth. We like to put it with chicken and noodles in the crockpot to make soup. I like to make extra chicken noodle soup and freeze it in individual servings so I have it for a quick meal when I need it. The kind of bone broth also makes an excellent soup base, and it’s very tasty when you cook pasta in it that you are going to use for another dish. It gives some amazing flavor to an otherwise flavorless pasta!

If you want to use Little House on the Prairie in your homeschooling or as part of your children’s education, I highly recommend this study guide: A Guide for Using Little House on the Prairie in the Classroom. This reproducible book includes sample plans, author information, vocabulary building ideas, cross-curriculum activities, sectional activities and quizzes, unit tests, and more.

I think that it’s fun for us to go through the Little House series as adults and see things that we never saw before when we read them as children. It puts Laura’s entire life into a new perspective and helps us to appreciate what we have today.

Make sure you read the entire Living Like Little House series!

This series was originally published on Little House Living in 2011. It has been updated as of December..

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Looking for a simple homemade laundry detergent that will actually get your clothes clean? This basic recipe only needs 3 ingredients and will keep your clothing fresh and tidy.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

This is a very simple and basic, yet effective way to make homemade laundry detergent. If you are looking for something very frugal, this detergent will cost about $0.02 per load without the addition of essential oils.

My husband works around black rubber dust all day and this is the recipe that we use to keep our clothing clean. As you can imagine, if it can clean rubber dust out of clothing, it can clean just about anything!

—Need to save as much money as possible on laundry? Here is a comprehensive article on Frugal Laundry Strategies.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

What You Need:

  • 1 bar of Bar Soap(such as Ivory)
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda
  • Essential Oils (optional)
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Step 1: Grate the soap and put it in a saucepan.

Step 2: Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.

Step 3: Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Step 4: Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir.

Step 5: Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Add in a few drops of essential oils such as lemongrass if desired. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.

If you feel that you need some kind of fabric softener, just add a bit of vinegar to your clothing in the softener part of your washing machine. Again, you could add a few drops of essential oils to that as well.

Looking for the best essential oils to use? We use Rocky Mountain Oils for all of our essential oil needs. The products are quality, the prices are reasonable, and shipping is always free!

Need to organize your laundry days and laundry methods? Here are some Laundry Routine Tips too!

If you are looking for a more detailed recipe (that does not contain any borax), you can find one in my daughter’s book: Little House Living – The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self Sufficient Life. She also has a wonderful recipe for a Homemade Stain Stick and some other great DIY laundry products.

This recipe might seem simple, but it’s effective and will get your clothing clean, that’s what counts! To extend the life of your clothing, it can be good to alternate a homemade laundry detergent like this one with some kind of store-bought detergent. This can help to ensure that your clothes are getting clean and that no buildup of any kind of soap will occur on the clothing.

Looking for more money saving tips? Here is a huge article filled with Frugal Tips that will keep your pocketbook happy for a long time.

Have you ever make homemade laundry detergent? Did you make this recipe or do you add anything else to your homemade detergent recipe?

This article about Homemade Laundry Detergent was originally published on Little House Living in October 2009. It has been updated as of December 2018.

The post How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent appeared first on Little House Living.

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When I was growing up, a good Homemade old fashioned Goulash recipe was a staple in our household. And why not? It’s frugal, easy to make, and it dirties very few dishes. It’s the perfect recipe for a busy family!

Homemade Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe

My children now love to eat this simple recipe because it’s so tasty and what child doesn’t love noodles? This recipe is perfect for using home canned tomatoes because you need the liquid for cooking the pasta. You can use fresh tomatoes but you will need to add some kind of liquid (water or beef broth) to be able to cook the noodles.

Old Fashioned Homemade Goulash Recipe

  • 1 pint Canned Tomatoes (Can also use 2 cups canned diced or stewed tomatoes. Do not drain.)
  • 16 oz. Pasta (Use whatever you have!)
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic (fresh or dried)
  • Salt and Pepper (To taste)
  1. Brown up hamburger first with onion. 

  2. Add in the garlic. 

  3. Pour in tomatoes and all the liquid with them.

  4. Add in the noodles and cook until the noodles are al dente.

Serve your old fashioned Goulash Recipe with a side salad and some fresh veggies. We love serving it with green beans because that just seems to go together. This is a wonderful hearty dish that should be able to fill up even the hungriest eater.

How long is Homemade Goulash good for?

I like to store leftovers from our old fashioned Goulash recipe for no longer than a week in the fridge. After that, the noodles are so great anymore.

How to make Homemade Goulash Soup?

You could easily turn this recipe into a tasty soup! Put all of the ingredients together in a large saucepan or a stockpot and add some tomato sauce and some homemade broth until it creates a soup instead of a fried dish.

What is the history of goulash?

This is kind of fun and interesting to know. Maybe something to share around the family table while you are enjoying the old fashioned goulash recipe at home! The origins of goulash came from Hungary where it was made to be fed to Hungarian herdsman while they were tending their sheep. It quickly spread to other European countries. The recipe I have here most closely resembles German Gulasch because my family is mostly German and this recipe came from my paternal grandmother. It’s common to see German Gulasch or any goulash made into a soup and have the addition of paprika, but this is how my grandma and my mom made it so this is the recipe I’m passing down to you.

Here are some other delicious beef based main meal recipes that you can add to your meal plan this week:

You can also find a huge list of Main Meals here.

Has your family ever had goulash? Is your recipe similar to my old fashioned goulash recipe?

This recipe for Old Fashioned Goulash was originally published on Little House Living in July 2009. It has been updated as of December 2018.

The post A Thrifty Supper – Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe appeared first on Little House Living.

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In a higher priced economy, learning the skill of bartering or trading would be useful. In the case where money may not be worth as much or you have little left to go around, being able0 to know how to barter an item or a skill for something you need will be very helpful.

Learning to Barter (Successfully)

The idea is simple – maybe you have a leaky sink that needs to be fixed and you don’t really have the money to shell out on a plumber, however, your neighbor happens to be a plumber and could fix it for you. Of course, you don’t have the money to pay him but he has some jeans that are in good shape but could use a little love from a seamstress and you happen to love to sew…..See how this works?

As long as both parties agree that this is a fair trade it’s a great way to get things done without having an exchange of money, there is only an exchange of skills.

Even if you think you don’t have any skills, you may still have something to trade. Maybe your friend would enjoy having a few loaves of freshly baked bread to fix your computer or maybe your brother-in-law is dying for someone to babysit the kids so he can have a night out with his wife and would be glad to trade babysitting for a little car tune up.

This could also work as an exchange of skills for goods. For instance, maybe you’d like your house cleaned and the person that cleans your house is ok with being paid in farm fresh eggs or meat instead of cash. You get your house cleaned and they get food for their table. As I said above, as long as both parties agree it’s a fair trade, anything goes!

I really enjoy bartering and I do it all the time even now. My mom and I almost always barter for things we need between each other. Maybe I need a few cans of home canned tomatoes and she needs facial tissue. We decide on what’s a fair trade between us and then exchange the goods! We both spend no money but still get what we need.

Haggling To Stretch Your Dollars Even Further

Haggling….sounds like someone trying to get a deal with a street vendor back in the day. But I think that haggling (bartering, trading, whatever you call it!) can be extremely beneficial to your budget in this day and age.

Several years ago I went to the local Farmer’s Market. I needed to get some tomatoes for canning. All of the tomatoes I saw were priced $2 – $3 a pound, too much for canning tomatoes. I found a stand where the tomatoes were unmarked. I asked the farmer how much his tomatoes were. He told me $2.50 a pound or $2 a pound if I buy 10 pounds. I asked if I could get a deal if I bought more than 10 pounds because I needed them for canning. He went to his van and got a huge box of tomatoes out of the back and put it on the scale. Then he said, that’s 45 pounds, I can sell the whole box to you for $0.75 a pound! It was a lot of tomatoes all at once but I needed them for canning tomatoes and that was an excellent price.

(Side note: that story was from almost 8 years ago and that farmer and I have become friends. Our family has visited his farm many, many times and he’s always treated me right when I’ve bought produce. It pays to get to know your local farmers!)

Something else… when I go to rummage sales I never consider the tag the final price(unless it says firm). Like my hubby likes to tell me, it doesn’t hurt just to ask, the worst thing they can do is tell you no!

Here are many tips on how to make the most of rummage sales.

Another note…please be respectful when you are haggling or negotiating a price. If the answer is no or the person comes back with a price that is more than you hoped, you either take it or leave it. Do not disrespect others just for the sake of a deal.

The Keys to Good Negotiation

Ever had a bill that didn’t seem quite right? Get some extra charges that you don’t believe you should be paying for? There is a chance that you can work your way out of unnecessary charges and payments if you know the right tricks. Now I will warn you, I’m not very good at this yet. But what I’ve learned I’ve learned from my hubby who is excellent at knowing what is a valid charge and what’s not. Here are some tips to help you avoid paying extra on those things and to help keep or get that money back in your pocket.

1. Know what you are talking about. if you were going to make a dispute on say, a rent charge, you need to know what you signed up for and what your rights are. If a landlord is being unfair about lease terms but it clearly states in your contract what your lease would be, don’t let them argue with you. The proof, in this case, would be in the paper.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask. Did you pay your credit card payment one day late and they assessed a late fee? They might be able to take the fee off, you just have to be willing to ask! Just remember that the worst thing they can say is no.

3. Be persistent. If you are trying to work out a deal on a bill and the company is ignoring you or not taking your calls, keep on calling. This is the one time when being a little bit annoying might pay off! Don’t let the issue go until you’ve at least talked to someone that could do something about it. Which brings me to my next point….

4. Talk to someone that can do something about it. If you talk to just a customer service rep, chances are they may not have the power to do what you are asking. Ask for a manager or someone in charge and if they tell you that person isn’t available be sure that you either leave them a message or find out when they will be back so you can contact them.

Need more tips on frugal living? Find them on my Frugal Tips page.

Do you know how to barter? What do you trade for? What do you think of haggling? Let us know in the comments!

This article on learning how to barter was originally published on Little House Living in October 2011. It has been updated as of December 2018.

The post Learning How to Barter Successfully appeared first on Little House Living.

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Looking for an easy Chocolate Meringue Cookie recipe to make for your family this week? This recipe only needs 5 ingredients and it’s so easy and since it’s different than a standard cookie recipe, it’s fun to make!

Easy Chocolate Meringue Cookie Recipe

When you are looking for something different to make for a little treat, you’ve got to give these Chocolate Meringue Cookies a try. They have such a light and delicate taste. They can also be the perfect recipe to make if you have lots of eggs that you need to use up!

How to Make Meringue Cookies

What you need:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • chocolate chips (0ptional, for coating)

Begin by whipping the egg whites and the vanilla together. You will need a large bowl and a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one) to do this.

Continue to whip the egg whites until they get very fluffy and form soft peaks.

Slowly add in the cocoa and the sugar and continue to whip together. Try not to over-whip. Turn off your mixer as soon as all of the ingredients have incorporated.

Drop by spoonful on a greased cookie sheet. I’ve used a plastic bag to drop mine on the sheet to make a little extra pattern in the cookies. You can also just use a spoon and make a large dollop. Bake at 300F for 30-35 minutes. Do not remove them from the oven earlier or they will deflate. If you make 2 trays of cookies as shown here, be sure and switch the trays so that each will be able to spend time on the bottom of the oven.

After you take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit. Enjoy them!

Fun Variations for the Easy Chocolate Meringue Cookies
  • For an extra chocolatey taste, you can also melt some chocolate chips and take the cookies and dip half of them into the melted chocolate. Let them dry on wax paper.
  • Replace the cocoa powder with powdered freeze-dried strawberries for strawberry meringue cookies. You could dip these in chocolate too!
  • Replace the vanilla flavoring with mint for a chocolate mint cookie.
  • Replace the vanilla extract with orange extract and/or orange zest for an orange chocolate cookie.

Tips for Making Easy Chocolate Meringue Cookies

How long do Meringue Cookies Last?

Meringue Cookies should be able to stay good up to 2 weeks if stored in an air-tight container. This recipe makes about 20 cookies so if you have a family that loves cookies, they won’t last long!

What do Meringue Cookies Taste Like?

They are very light and crunchy since they are basically made from egg whites. The chocolate recipe helps to give them a yummy flavor. Think chocolate crackers but lighter.

Why Are My Meringue Cookies Sticky?

It’s possible that they were not cooked long enough or were not able to cook on the bottom. I recommend trying a pre-heating stone baking sheet for cooking to ensure that they get done on the bottoms and don’t leave you with a sticky mess.

Looking for a few more other delicious treats that you can make? Here are some of my easy favorites:

Have you ever tried making meringue cookies? Do you think your family would enjoy this easy Chocolate Meringue Cookie recipe?

This recipe for Easy Chocolate Meringue Cookies was originally posted on Little House Living in December 2010. It has been updated as of December 2018.

The post Easy Chocolate Meringue Cookie Recipe appeared first on Little House Living.

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Looking for an easy dressing recipe that you can make quickly with very few ingredients? This is one of my favorite go-to recipes when I need something to top my salad.

Easy Dressing Recipe

This recipe is from several years ago when I first started blogging but it’s still a favorite. Enjoy!

I thought I’d share with you today my recipe for homemade salad dressing. I love this stuff. The recipe is little vague but I adjust according to how I want it to taste. If you need to make an easy dressing recipe in a hurry, this is a great one because all of the ingredients are easily accessible!

Easy Dressing Recipe

  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic salt
  • 1 cup Oil (Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil)
  • 1/4 cup Vinegar (White or Apple Cider)
  1. Since this is all based on tastes you may want it to taste more like oil or more like vinegar by adjusting the amounts. Yummy! Mix together in a jar and shake before using.

We have SO many more homemade salad dressing recipes here on Little House Living. I LOVE making homemade dressings instead of buying them from the store, they taste so much fresher and are much cheaper! Here are a few of our favorites:

Update to the recipe:

As I mentioned above…it’s been several years since I posted this recipe originally here on Little House Living, it was 2009 in fact! Really the only difference in how I made it then compared to how we make it now is that I use a regular extra virgin olive oil for the oil in the recipe and I generally do about 2/3 cup of oil and 1/3 cup of vinegar (and I use a raw apple cider vinegar) since I like a little zip to my dressing!

Olive Oil is a great way to get healthy fats into your diet, especially when it’s left unheated. Since we’ve been trying to do this more and have been eating quite a bit of salad, I love using a good quality extra virgin olive oil in my homemade dressings.

How Long Does Salad Dressing Last?

Since this recipe is basically oil and vinegar, it will last a very long time if stored in a cool dry place. After several years the oil will begin to get rancid if it has been exposed to light and air but you should be able to use it up before then.

Can I Use Rice Vinegar or other Vinegars in this Easy Dressing Recipe?

Sure! It’s fun to try out different flavors too so that you can make something different with the same basic 4 ingredients.

What Salad Dressing is Healthy?

Generally speaking, a vinegar/oil based dressing is going to be your healthiest bet over the cream based dressings. Of course, it all depends on your definition of healthy and what you need to add to or eliminate from your diet.

What is your favorite easy dressing recipe to make?

The post An Easy Dressing Recipe: How to Make Homemade Salad Dressing appeared first on Little House Living.

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Welcome to December! One of my favorite months of the year, all because of Christmas! Check out the blog post below to learn how to make the most of your month.

What to Buy, Grow, and Eat in December

As with each month of the year, there are several things that you should be buying, eating, and even growing in the month of December. This post is another in our series that will take us through each month of the year so that you can “make the most of your month”. At the beginning of each month, I will post an article just like this one with a list of what you should be buying, growing, and eating during the following month to help you plan our your schedule and budget.

Some highlights of the December list are:

Buy –

  • Kitchen Appliances
  • Christmas Decorations

Grow – 

  • Lettuce

Eat – 

  • Artichokes
  • Broccoli

The full list of items is available for the Little House Living newsletter subscribers in our wonderful free Resource Library. To get a copy for yourself (plus access to all our other freebies!), just enter your email address below.

Some recipes that you might want to try with this month’s seasonal produce:

How are you making the most of December?

The post What to Buy, Grow, and Eat in December appeared first on Little House Living.

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If you are looking for some simple holiday treats, both of these are fun to make! There are only a few ingredients in these Frugal Cookie Treats and you don’t even have to heat up your stove and use electricity.

Frugal Cookie Treats

While these treats aren’t totally homemade since they use store-bought crackers, they are fun to make and can be made in larger quantities so they are perfect to make for school treats or to give as gifts in little treat bags. If you do want to make them totally homemade, you could use these Homemade Vanilla Wafers in place of the crackers (use less sugar to make them more like a Ritz cracker).

To make each of these treats gluten-free, we use these Glutino Crackers. They are a good substitute that I can sometimes find at our local surplus grocery store.

Homemade Thin Mint Treats

What You Need:

Melt the chocolate chips with mint extract. I use this Mint Extract.

Dip the Ritz crackers (or vanilla wafers) in the melted chocolate, cover both sides.

Put them on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.

Optional: Sprinkle with either crushed candy canes or another kind of mint-flavored candy.

Cool or freeze until chocolate is hardened and enjoy!

Store the frugal cookie treats in a cool dry place (they don’t need to be in the fridge) if there are any left after you make them.

Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches

What You Need:

Make little sandwiches with the peanut butter (or sunbutter) and ritz crackers. Just place a bit of the nut or seed butter on the center of one cracker and top it with another cracker. Don’t use too much or it will squish out the sides.

Dip in melted chocolate chips. Cover both sides with chocolate. If your nut or seed butter is very creamy and you are having trouble with the chocolate and the butter mixing while you are trying to coat the cookies, freeze the little sandwiches first before you dip them in the chocolate. This will help them stay together and help the chocolate harden right away.

Place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and let chocolate harden.

Decorate these treats with a drizzle of white chocolate or a sprinkle of powdered sugar if you’d like!

Store the frugal cookie treats in a cool dry place or enjoy right away.

Looking for more frugal cookie treats to make? Here are a bunch of my favorites!

Find even more Desserts and Treats on Little House Living.

Does anyone else have any ideas for frugal cookie treats? Post them in the comments!

These recipes for Frugal Cookie Treats were originally published on Little House Living in December 2009. This post has been updated in December 2018.

The post Frugal Cookie Treats appeared first on Little House Living.

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