Autumn Turkey Soup

This is an easy recipe that can be served on a cold, autumn evening. Served in a pumpkin bowl, this recipe will add a decorative touch to the dinner table.


water and/or vegetable stock or broth

bite size cubes of pumpkin

bite size cubes of two different kinds of squash

bite size cubes of potato

bite size cubes of sweet potato

chunks of leftover turkey

1 or 2 cloves of fresh garlic

fresh or dried parsley

fresh or dried rosemary

  1. Pour the liquid into a pot, and add the pumpkin, squash, and potatoes, as well as the diced garlic.
  2. Allow to cook most of the way, then add the turkey.
  3. Add the parsley and some rosemary to taste.
  4. Pour into pumpkin bowls and serve.


  • Purchase stock or broth on sale, as store brands.
  • Better yet, make your own.Β  This will save even more money.
  • Use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to save more money.
  • Use organic herbs and produce from your garden for the ultimate savings.
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle them over the stew once it is poured into the bowls.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with a fruit salad.

What autumn stews are favorites of your family?


Make Pumpkin Bowls for Soups

Serving autumn soups in pumpkin bowls will add a nice element to an autumn feast, or a regular dinner or lunch. Great for Thanksgiving or any day.

How to Make Pumpkin Bowls:

1 small-sized pumpkin per person

food scoop

sharp knife

  1. Wash the pumpkins and allow the outsides to dry thoroughly.
  2. Cut the top off each pumpkin, just like you were going to carve it. Take the pumpkin strands and seeds off.
  3. Reserve the top to use as a cover for the bowl.
  4. Reserve the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.
  5. Scoop some of the pumpkin out to use in soups, but leave enough so the bowl will be sturdy while the soup is in it. Leave the pumpkin outside intact with no areas that are too thin.


  • Grow your own pumpkins to save money.
  • Use your spoon to scoop pumpkin from the insides as you eat the soup. This is still edible.
  • Roast those pumpkin seeds!

Serving Suggestions

  • Soups are healthy, and adding a side salad will give more of a nutritional punch.

What types of soups can be put into these Pumpkin Bowls? Any type of vegetable based soup will do. Look around this blog and see what interests you.


Cheeseburger with Vegetables, and a Chocolatey-Good Smoothie

When the weather starts to warm, I like to be outside more and my food choices change. Now I want more fresh vegetables and less heavier foods. Fruits and vegetables make up the bulk of my meals, especially during the spring and summer months, and healthy smoothies are made almost daily.

My lunch today included a burger (minus the bun!), a smoothie, and corn on the cob. Then all the vegetables came in to play. A few notes:

  • I don’t usually eat corn. Once a year, in the spring, I buy four ears of corn and that’s it for the year. Corn is such a huge GMO crop, and I’m pretty sure the corn sold where I shop is not organic.
  • Notice the lack of bun. I’m going back to limiting grain intake substantially, because I always seem to gain weight back so quickly when I eat pastas and breads.
  • The vegetables on the cheeseburger plate are all organic, and oh-so tasty!
  • The cheese is all-natural. I don’t eat cheese often, either. I feel like it is also a contributing factor when I gain weight, so I’m back to limiting it.
  • The ketchup I use is organic.
  • The parsley is organic, and I dried it at home and keep it in a canning jar.
  • I’m using coconut butter more often than not, rather than regular butter. I find it brings out the natural flavors of different foods, and is far healthier.

Cheeseburger and Vegetables

1 quarter pound ground beef

1 slice of mozzarella cheese

coconut oil

sea salt


garlic powder

onion powder

dried parsley

4 homemade bread and butter pickles

3 slices of cucumber

3 baby carrots

6 each snow peas and sugar peas

fresh broccoli

raw spinach

organic ketchup

  1. Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Form 1/4th pound of ground beef into a patty, and place it in the hot skillet. While this is cooking, I flip it four times.
  3. After I’ve flipped it three times, I grind a little salt and pepper over the patty, then add a little of each powder.
  4. Place the fresh spinach at the center of a plate and top with the cucumber slices and pickles.
  5. Chop the carrots, and place those and the remaining vegetables around the plate.
  6. After flipping the patties for the last time, I repeat step 3, then sprinkle the dried parsley over the top.
  7. Turn the burner off, and place the cheese over the patty.
  8. Make the smoothie. (see recipe below)
  9. When the cheese is melted, place the cheeseburger on the spinach, cucumber slices, and pickles.
  10. Add ketchup to the burger.


1 ear of corn


coconut butter

  1. Fill a small pot half way with water.
  2. Place the pot on the stove over high heat. (I did this when I started melting the oil for the beef patty.)
  3. Break the corn in two, and place in the pot.
  4. When the burger is done, the corn should be hot enough to eat.
  5. Place the corn on a plate, and spread a little coconut oil over each half.

Chocolatey-Good Smoothie

(I use a one-serving blender, so this recipe is catered to that.)

almond milk

about 7 or 8 baby spinach leaves

1 small banana, sliced small

frozen fruit mix (today I used apple slices, cherries, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries.)

  1. Pour a little almond milk in the bottom of the cup.
  2. Place the spinach in the cup.
  3. Add the banana slices.
  4. Add the mixed frozen fruit up to the fill line.
  5. Fill the cup to the fill line with more almond milk.
  6. Cover and blend about 10 seconds.
  7. Let sit a few seconds and blend another 10 seconds.
  8. Let sit again, then blend again until well mixed. 10 to 20 seconds, usually.


  • Buy organic when possible, but don’t feel guilty when you can’t. My meat, corn, and fruit was not organic. It is too expensive for me to eat all organic foods, so I simply do the best I can. You’re still going to be eating better than when you buy mostly processed foods. I have a very limited budget for groceries, but I make the best choices I can.
  • Mix up the vegetables. Use whatever is affordable when you shop for this meal.
  • Change the frozen fruit mix once-in-a-while.

This was a delicious meal, and I’m planning to have it for lunch tomorrow as well.




Sausage & Apple One-Pan Meal #1

One-pan meals are easy to make, and there are so many food combinations you can try something new each time. You don’t always need a lot of ingredients to make a delicious meal. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, or dinner, a one-pan meal is a good way to go.

I made one of these meals for lunch today, but didn’t have a lot of food on hand to use for ingredients. I came up with this simple, but delicious, combination.


1 Tbsp. organic coconut oil

1 small apple, rinsed, cored and chopped, peel left on

1 small sweet potato, rinsed, ends cut off and chopped, peel left on

1/4 pound ground pork

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the apple and sweet potato chunks and stir.
  3. Section the sausage into small chinks and add to the skillet, stirring again.
  4. Let cook a minute, then stir. Keep going like this until the sweet potato and apples are fork tender.
  5. Remove from heat, pour onΒ  a plate, and enjoy!


  • Use produce from the harvest season to save money.
  • Try different meat, vegetable, and fruit combinations.

Serving Suggestions

I love this one-pan meal! The apples make it simply amazing.


Even More Workweek Meal Prep, Plus

Autumn is the time of year I start to cook and bake more. Makes life feel more homey πŸ™‚ And I love the way it makes my place smell. This was the time, when my daughters were young, that we would stock up on foods so we could make what we wanted on a whim. I started having them cook with me from a young age.

Just this week Zowie, now 22, mentioned she was shopping to begin stocking her pantry. And Skye, 24, and I are planning to bake together when I visit her in a couple of weeks up north. Preparing delicious meals brings back warm family memories.

I messaged both of my daughters last night to find out what recipes from childhood were their favorites. My plan is to scrap a cookbook with our favorites. So far, I know my mac and cheese recipe will be in the book, as well as the chunky applesauce, mashed potatoes, and shepherds pie. There will be plenty more recipes going into that book! Something to work on during the winter months.

Today went like this:

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.I love slow cooker meals. Renting a room, I don’t have an oven for roasting big meals. Just a little toaster oven. Two slow cookers aid me in making a couple of meals on autumn and winter cooking days.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014Pork and vegetables went into the first crock. This is an easy recipe. I didn’t bother to cut the meat, because the meal cooks long enough so the meat falls apart easily. This made 5 meals, with the carrots coming from my parents garden.

The next crock contained beef I found on sale for $4.87, a savings of $1.88. It was steak and not a roast, but the result was delicious. This also made 5 meals. Both the squash and carrots were free, from my parents garden. Cook this the same as the pork and vegetables above.

1 pound beef

1 squash

5 or 6 small carrots

leftover sweet potato from the crock pot pork meal (bout 6 bite size pieces)

cover with water, or vegetable/beef stock

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.I decided to make cupcakes for my coworkers. They were such a big hit. The chocolate mayonnaise cake recipe I used came from my mom. It makes 18 cupcakes. I had leftover ingredients from the last time I baked, so I only needed to buy mayonnaise for this dessert. I used the cheapest brand and the smallest size I could find. Thankfully Jose, the head maintenance man at work, agreed to take the leftover mayo off my hands.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.Because I am a messy cook, the cooking spoon and measuring cup (for scooping batter) go on a napkin. Believe me, it is better this way.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I have a 6-cup muffin tin that thankfully fits in my toaster oven, and I only needed to use the oven three times. Not bad.

While things were cooking and baking, I took inventory of what I had on hand to round out these 10 meal. There was plenty of celery and pickled beets.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.And a few lovely apples leftover from last weekends visit to the orchard. Liberty and Macintosh. Yum. These were free.

I checked the first tin of cupcakes by sticking a toothpick into them. If the pick comes out clean, they are done. I bought these at Wal-Mart, a three pack. Each box is a different color. Nifty.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.They were done. I allowed them to cool a bit before removing the cupcakes, then filled refilled.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.The peanut butter frosting recipe is so easy to make. You can’t go wrong with it. Simply mix a container of white frosting with peanut butter to taste. I used a little extra peanut butter this time and it was a hit. Everyone loves this frosting. Because I don’t really eat peanut butter, Jose agreed to take what was leftover off my hands.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.I saved out two cupcakes for a coworker with diabetes. She doesn’t eat frosting. And the maintenance guys both got two because they give me rides home from work a couple of times a week. I kept two cupcakes for myself, and shared the rest at work. I have to admit, my mommas recipe is the best!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Once the beef meal was portioned out, and one of the pork meals, I still had this much of the pork recipe but no more containers. I’ll need to invest in more containers. What’s left is enough for four more meals.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.And this is what six meals looks like. I only need five for work, the other half will make great at-home dinners that I can just warm up. Three apples and a jar of pickled beets really did round out the meals. And so did the celery packs. There were 6 packs. One was leftover from last week. They come in a 5-pack, and cost $1.15.

Have a great day!


More Workweek Meal Prep

With autumn upon us, I spend more time cooking. I love it, really. It’s still a little warm for it, though. The room I rent gets over heated, and I find myself running the air conditioner and the fan to keep it cool. Soon though, it’ll be cool enough not to have to worry about that.

Last week I showed you how I go about making meals for the beginning of my workweek. This week I switched things up just a bit. For instance, you’ll notice there is no dessert. Dessert is not something I usually make, actually. Because I don’t like the way my body feels after eating it. Ever since I did the Whole30 program last year, and then moved on to a mainly Paleo way of eating, I’ve had a hard time with the sweets. Dairy is sometimes an issue as well. I just feel better when eating healthier πŸ™‚

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

First, I took out my trusty crock pot. I have two of these, but only needed one today. Mine are of a 3-quart capacity, and that usually gives me plenty of food.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.

I filled it with the makings of a nice beef soup. Though the version I made for this week was a little downplayed: Beef, butternut squash, sweet potato, and carrots. I added some parsley and oregano a little before it was done. The squash for this meal was a freebie from my parents garden.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.

Once the soup was cooking, I put together these vegetable jars. The 3 jars each contained cucumber, celery, and broccoli. The cucumbers were also free, and from my parents garden, and the other vegetables were left over from another meal. So these really didn’t cost anything more to make.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.

I didn’t have a lot to spend on groceries this week, but I did have some leftovers from last week. The orange was one of those leftovers, so I didn’t pay for it. It was counted in last weeks food costs.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.

I simply peeled and sectioned an orange to make a fruit jar. I hate trying to peel and section oranges when I’m working, because I have to hurry through the process and end up with a mangled orange. It’s easier to have this already done.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.

When the beef soup is done, I simply split it between containers. As you can see, I have enough for 5 meals: 3 work meals, and two dinners for home. Also, you may notice a lack of liquid. Crazy, I know, but I rarely eat my crock pot meals as soup. I do not know why. I usually skip most of the liquid, adding just enough to aid me in mashing my potato, squash, and carrots when I’m ready to eat.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.

And these are my meals for work. 3 days worth. Yum!

Share your ideas for meal prep for work in the comments, or email me at Let us know how you save money to eat healthy at work.



Hearty Venison Soup

With the onslaught of colder weather, my mind turns to heartier meals that can be prepared quickly then simmered, roasted, or placed in the slow cooker to heat slowly. These meals can be served at lunch or dinner, depending on when you begin.

I also start thinking about how I hope my stepfather gets a deer or a moose this year, so I can have some meat πŸ™‚ Any type of venison can be used in a soup, of course, so use whatever is on hand.


1 pound deer meat, cut into bite size pieces

1 can broth/stock

1 carrot

4 white potato

3 sweet potato

1 small squash, butternut or acorn



  1. Place the meat and some broth or stock in a pot and cook on high until.

  2. Peel the vegetables and cut into bite size pieces. Add these to the pot and cover with water.

  3. Add parsley and bring to a boil.

  4. Turn the temperature down to medium and cook until the meat and vegetables are done to your liking. Add a little more parsley just before turning the stove off.


  • Using produce you have grown yourself will cut the cost of this soup down to: Next. To. Nothing. Awesome πŸ™‚

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a side of pickles and cucumber chunks, as well as warm paleo biscuits for dipping into the soup juices after the rest is gone.