Cheap Fall Meals

During this time of year I am always on the lookout for cheap Fall type meals. I’m not looking for just any cheap meal, though. As crazy as our house becomes during the first months of school between football and soccer, the last thing I have time to do is spend hours in the kitchen preparing dinner. My solution is that during these months I often prepare a couple of extra dinners on Saturday that I can make ahead of time for the coming week. Those are the types of cheap meals I’m looking for.

Does that sound like I’m hoping for too much? I don’t think so. I’ve found a few favorites that I rely on, but I’m always on the lookout for something new. If I share a few of mine, will you share yours?

Pasta Baked Macaroni Bake
This hearty pasta bake is filling and easy to make. A pound of hamburger (sautéed), a couple of cups of pasta (boiled), two cans of tomato soup and a can of corn are all combined in a casserole dish. Then, simply bake in the oven for twenty minutes or so to enjoy a bubby, tasty meal. A simple salad is the perfect complement to this dish.

Chicken Casserole
Although this dish takes a long time to bake, its prep time is really fast. Boil five or six chicken breasts until they are thoroughly cooked. Place them in a casserole dish and cover them with ½ can of cream of chicken and ½ can of cream of celery soup. Add two cans of vegetable mix on top and then the rest of each can of soup. (I stop here to freeze the meal and start again on the day I want to eat the meal.) Bake the mixture at 350 degrees until it bubbles. Layer the contents of a can of refrigerated biscuits across the top to form a crust and continue baking until the biscuits are done. Yummy!

Homemade Ground Beef MeatloafMom’s Meatloaf
No meal is as comforting as a warm slice of meatloaf. We use two pounds of hamburger, ½ cup of bread crumbs, an egg, two tablespoons of brown sugar, one tablespoon of dry mustard, 2/3 cup of barbecue sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper to create our meatloaf. Mush the whole mixture together (my kids love to help with this). Place into two loaf pans and cook for thirty minutes or so.

Disclosure: This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Unless otherwise expressly stated, you should assume that has an affiliate relationship or other material connection to the providers of goods and services mentioned by, recommended, hyperlinked to, or otherwise referenced on Please see the full disclosure statement.

How Can A Chronic illness Or Age Affect Health Insurance?

Health Care Costs In AmericaThe following article is a guest post on behalf of HBF.

Chances are that if you have a chronic illness, or if you are a senior, you are going to be concerned about health insurance more so than many other people. The amount you spend in medical costs is likely to be in the high range so you want to make sure you are covered, see more at HBF.

Prior to the instigation of the Affordable Care Act there were many examples of people being refused health insurance when they had a chronic illness. Things have now changed, since the act came into being. Insurance providers are no longer allowed to refuse health insurance based solely on health grounds. In the case of the senior population Medicare is still in place for people aged 65 and over.

So if you have a serious health problem you’ll be covered?
If you purchase a health insurance plan in the newly created marketplace then an insurance provider is not permitted to refuse your application, or to cease your plan, based on the state of your health. As of 2015 this will also apply to any health insurance purchased outside of the marketplace.

What happens with your healthcare if you’re a senior?
As you get older, so your health care costs can rise dramatically. This makes it vitally important for you to ensure that you have sufficient health care coverage. This is the reason for the existence of the Medicare system. There are several different parts to this system, all of which apply to different costs and provisions.

Part A Medicare
Part A Medicare does not require the payment of any premiums. It’s designed to be a safety net to provide basic provision for the hospitalization or convalescence of those who qualify. You should be aware that you do not get full coverage and could still be liable for very high charges if your period of hospitalization is lengthy.

Part B Medicare
This type of Medicare covers 80% of costs for outpatient visits and therapy sessions. You have to pay premiums for this coverage; these payments are made straight from Social Security checks. Even with this cover there is still a good chance that you will experience high costs depending on how much health care you receive.

Part D Medicare
Part D Medicare is intended to provide towards prescription costs. It is a good idea to check with your pharmacist to see what level of this type of Medicare you require. It’s important to note that you need to apply for Part D Medicare as soon as you are entitled at the age of 65. If you fail to do so you stand the chance of being penalized with higher premiums for the rest of your life.

The most recent addition to Medicare
Medicare Advantage came into being as part of the The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 when it was known as part C Medicare. The premiums for this provision have a tendency to be high but the providers are usually reliable and reputable. It’s a definite improvement on the basic Medicare provision for seniors.

Frugal Decorating For Fall

Autumn cornucopiaFall has been a traditional time of harvest celebration since the days when farming was commonplace, and this theme continues today even in urban communities. Decorating for the fall harvest means celebrating the plenty of the season and heralding the change from summer to winter. It can also be a festive time to usher in the holiday season. Here are some tips and ideas for your fall harvest decorating this year.

Charming Frames
Chances are, you have picture frames stored away in various places in your home. They make popular gifts, and many of us end up with more than we need. If not, you can often find them for very little money at second-hand stores and even some major retailers.

You can make fall harvest decorations from these ordinary frames. Lightly glue pressed leaves and/or flowers onto a blank white background, such as a piece of card stock, and insert it into the frame. If you are lucky enough to have frames with two pieces of glass, you can achieve a floating leaf look by sandwiching it between the glass. These look nice on a table, mantel, wall, or anywhere you want to bring the autumn in. Another note on frames – using a hot glue gun, you can attach acorns, seed pods, and other autumn odds and ends to the frame itself.

Natural Vases for Fall Bouquets
You may not have considered this before, but autumn brings all sorts of interesting fruits and vegetables that you can use as vases for fall arrangements. The best sorts of vegetables and fruits for this type of decoration are those with a long shelf life, such as squashes, gourds, and apples. But you can certainly think outside the box if you’re only going to have the decoration up for a few hours. In that case, you can include citrus peel cups and even hollowed out pears. Basically, you slice the top off of the vegetable or fruit of your choice, and then dig out the flesh to the depth you need. You can then fill it with water and flowers, or use floral foam.

More with Gourds and Pumpkins
All those inexpensive little gourds and pumpkins are readily available in the fall. Gather lots of them and make a wreath using hot glue and a circular base (such as grapevine or a foam craft ring). Another idea is to arrange gourds on a cake plate, or pile them in a tiered tray. You can even make a garland of small gourds, stringing them on fishing line or upholstery thread.

How are you decorating for Fall?