Super Mom – No Cape!

One mother sharing her knowledge with others

Archive for November, 2008

Thanksgiving on a Budget

Posted by supermom on November 21, 2008

This week Money Saving Mom and her friends at $5 Dinners and The Homespun Heart got together to create a series on how to host Thanksgiving on a Budget.  Today they’ve opened it up to their readers to post their budget saving Thanksgiving ideas.

I grew up in Alberta, Canada and it wasn’t until we moved to the States 8 years ago that I discovered just how different our two Thanksgivings are; aside from the fact that Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October and American Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday of November.  Or at least, how different the traditional American Thanksgiving is compared to the one I’m used to cooking.

So I thought I’d share the simple Thanksgiving menu that I’ve prepared each year for the past 25 years and will be preparing again next week.

Turkey is, of course, the star of the meal. 

Because of the great buys on frozen turkey at this time of year,  I buy either two or three depending on how much room I have in my freezer.   One will be used for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas and if I have room for a third, that will be used come Easter.  I buy the biggest I can find and can afford.  The bigger the bird, the more the meat and the more the savings since the carcass weighs about the same no matter what size the bird. 

Next is dressing, as we call it.   Though it should more properly be called stuffing since I do stuff the turkey with it.

Mine is a basic recipe with bread crumbs, onions, celery, eggs, butter, olive oil (a change from my mother’s recipe, but I like the flavour it adds), and poultry seasoning.  To keep this budget friendly, I make my own breadcrumbs.

But I guess it’s in the side dishes where I’ve found the greatest difference.  Believe it or not, I’d never heard of green bean or sweet potato casserole until we moved to the States.

The side dishes I serve are simple every day fare:  mashed potatoes (boiled and mashed with a splash of milk), sweet potatoes (boiled, mashed with barely 1 tbsp of butter and a dash of nutmeg) and a third vegetable; most often baby carrots or peas.

When we lived in Canada, I gardened and did a lot of canning, so there would also be small dishes from the bounty of our harvest; beet, dill and carrot pickles and any other kind of pickle I happened to make that year.   

Then for dessert, I bake pumpkin pies.  To be honest though, the pie usually doesn’t get cut into until much later in the evening because everyone is too full to entertain the idea of dessert.

There you have it.  And even while writing that out I realized that what I call our simple Thanksgiving menu is lavish beyond compare to that which others will be eating on the 27th

My point is, try not to get caught up in whether you have this side dish or that side dish or how big the bird is… if it’s lovingly prepared, it is enough. 

And for most of us in the US and Canada, it is way more than enough.  And for that abundance, we can be truly thankful.

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How to Make Bread Crumbs

Posted by supermom on November 21, 2008

Why buy those expensive containers of breadcrumbs when you can make your own for a fraction of the cost?

Almost any kind of bread will work except sweet breads.  I save the heels of bread, the lone hot dog and hamburger bun left in the bag, bagels that have dried out, etc. and then a couple of times a week I put them through my food processor.  


Then I bag them and freeze them for use whenever a recipe calls for bread crumbs.


If you like, add your favourite dried herbs or seasonings, give the bag a shake and then freeze.  Just make sure to label each bag so that you know which kind it contains.

For just pennies and a few minutes of your time, you can have bread crumbs ready in the freezer whenever you need them.

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Bean Soup in a Jar Mix

Posted by supermom on November 21, 2008

Looking for a quick, inexpensive Christmas gift?  The ingredients may already be in your pantry or if not, can be picked up on your next trip to the grocery store.  Here’s my recipe for Bean Soup Mix. 

You’ll need equal measures of each of the following (prices are for 1 lb bags):

Pinto Beans  (74 cents)

Dark Red Kidney Beans ($1.18)

Small Lima Beans ($1.00)

Great Northern Beans (98 cents)

Black Beans ($1.14)

Garbanzo Beans ($1.18)

Dump all the beans into a big bowl.  Mix thoroughly and measure into jars.  The above yields approximately 3 ½ quarts of bean soup mix.  That puts the cost at about $1.78 per quart.  If you’ve got a bulk food store nearby, the price would be cheaper still.

For the Bean Soup mixes pictured below I used canning jars that I’ve saved but you could use any clean glass container.   To add a bit of holiday flare, I topped the lids with a simple cross-stitched Christmas wish.   A circle of pretty fabric tied with a bit of ribbon or some raffia would also work well.



As you can see, I labeled the jars with the ingredients so that the person receiving the mix can duplicate it once they’ve run out.   And don’t forget to add a hand-written recipe card with instructions for making the Bean Soup.

The jars of soup mix could be the whole gift or could be turned into the gift of a meal by putting the jar in a basket along with a quick bread mix; again labeled with instructions for baking.

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How to Cut Up Chicken Breasts

Posted by supermom on November 14, 2008

My blog Super Mom – No Cape and all its content has moved to

For the contents of this particular post click on the link below:

How to Cut Up Chicken Breasts


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Super Mom’s Household Tip of the Day #3

Posted by supermom on November 13, 2008

When making bread, the cooler the temperature of the room, the longer it takes for the bread dough to rise.  Rather than turn up thermostat, turn on the oven light in your oven and place the bowl of dough inside and close the door.  The oven light provides just that little bit extra warmth needed for the dough rise.

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Remember to Thank a Veteran Today

Posted by supermom on November 11, 2008

Today is Veterans Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada, the UK and other Commonwealth countries, so take a moment to remember and be grateful for the sacrifices made by our armed forces both now and in the past to secure our freedom.

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How to Make Homemade Eggrolls

Posted by supermom on November 7, 2008

My blog Super Mom – No Cape and all its content has moved to

For the contents of this particular post click on the link below:

How to Make Homemade Eggrolls



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