Easy Homemade Pie Crust in Bulk– Save Time and Money

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

Does the thought of making a homemade pie overwhelm you?  Pie-making used to feel like a big task to me when I took into consideration making both the crust and the filling from scratch (and in our family, there really isn’t another way besides scratch).

Several years ago, I learned a new recipe along with some tricks that have simplified pie-making for me.  The key was making pie crust dough in bulk and then freezing the dough balls.

Making pie crusts in bulk has some wonderful benefits:

  • It’s less mess– just clean up once!
  • We have pie crust dough in the freezer all year for homemade pies, quiches, pot pies, etc.
  • Measuring is a cinch.  I am not a fan of measuring out shortening because it’s messy, so I love that my bulk pie crust recipe takes a whole can– no measuring needed!
  • Pie-making is half the work, but still with the tasty benefits of a homemade crust.

Bulk Pie Crust– Makes 20 crusts

Let’s get started with the ingredients!

  •  1- 5lb bag of all purpose flour (hold back about 2 cups)
  • 1- 3lb can vegetable shortening
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 2 T. + 2 t. salt
  • 4 T. vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c. water

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

You’ll want to get out the biggest bowl you have.  Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together.  Using a pastry cutter if you have one (if not, a fork will suffice), blend the shortening with the flour mixture.

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

When the flour mixture and shortening are combined, set the bowl aside.

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

In a separate bowl (I always use the shortening container to minimize dirty dishes), beat together the water, eggs and vinegar using a fork or whisk.

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and blend with a fork until all ingredients are moistened.

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

Continue to blend using hands and fold dough into a ball.

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

Cover dough ball with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Use the reserved 2 cups of flour to flour your surface and hands, though you probably won’t need it all.  Divide your giant dough ball in quarters.  Divide each quarter into 5 equal parts.  You’ll have 20 equal-ish pieces of dough.  Roll each dough portion into a ball.  It’s okay if they’re not perfectly even.  You can use the smaller balls for top crusts and the larger ones for the bottom crusts.  For a flakier crust, be careful not to overwork the dough.

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

Wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap, then place balls into a freezer bag.  Store in the freezer indefinitely.  I’ve stored mine for over a year without any problems.

Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more!  Save time and money by making 20 crusts at a time.  Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial!

Each dough ball makes one pie crust or top.

To use, remove the dough balls you need from the freezer and allow to thaw on the countertop or in the refrigerator.  If I’m in a hurry (not that that ever happens!), I have also microwaved them for a few seconds to thaw.

Tip- Stick any extra dough “scraps” from making your crusts in a freezer bag back in the freezer.  Add to the bag every time you have scraps.  You’ll probably get another pie or two from all the scraps.

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Making Homemade Pie Crust in Bulk
 
Making pie crust in bulk allows you to freeze enough balls of dough to last the whole year for fruit pies, pot pies, quiches and more! This recipe makes about 20 crusts.
Author:
Serves: 20 crusts
Ingredients
  • 1- 5lb bag of all purpose flour (hold back about 2 cups)
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. salt
  • 1- 3lb can vegetable shortening
  • 4 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups water
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour (don't forget to hold back 2 cups), sugar and salt.
  2. With a fork or pastry cutter, combine the shortening with the flour mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl (I use the empty shortening container to minimize dirty dishes), beat vinegar, eggs and water.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and blend with a fork until all ingredients are moistened.
  5. Continue to blend using hands and fold dough into a ball.
  6. Cover and chill at least 15 minutes.
  7. Divide dough into about 20 balls. Each ball should be enough to make a crust.
  8. To freeze, wrap dough balls in plastic wrap, then store in a freezer bag indefinitely.

Now you’re set to make the pies for all of your holiday meals!

Funny side note: Last year I put my husband in charge of the annual pie crust making.  He accidentally doubled one of the ingredients, so instead of waste the ingredients he had already used, he doubled the entire recipe.  We had 40 pie crusts in the freezer!  We still had plenty left for this year too, but I really wanted to share this recipe, so I made some more.  Pie anyone?  Quiche?

Can You Be Thankful For Debt?

It's easy to be thankful for the good things in our lives. What requires more thought is figuring out how to be grateful for the not-so-good things in our lives, like debt.  Can you be thankful for DEBT?

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things in our lives.  That comes pretty naturally for most people.  What requires more thought and builds more character is figuring out how to be grateful for the not-so-good things in our lives.

Years ago, I read an unconventional gratitude list that really made me stop and think.  It included entries like:

  • I’m grateful for mounds of laundry because it means we have plenty of clothes to wear.
  • I’m grateful for sinks full of dishes because it means we had food to eat.

I love the example Corrie Ten Boom gives in The Hiding Place (a fabulous read, by the way).  Corrie and her sister Betsie were Dutch Christians imprisoned in terrible conditions in a German concentration camp during World War II because they were hiding Jews.  They learned to give thanks in all circumstances.  They even  gave thanks for the fleas that infested their quarters.  Later they realized that because of the fleas, the guards kept their distance which meant that Corrie and Betsie could keep their Bible hidden.

Choosing to be grateful, even in tough times, makes us happier.  We can turn trials into blessings by learning to be grateful.  Finding something to be thankful for doesn’t mean that you would choose the same trial again.  Gratitude doesn’t minimize abuse or harm others have caused us.  Finding the silver lining and changing our perspective will help us deal with the challenges we face.

How can you be thankful for your debt?

I’ll go first:

  • I’m thankful for our debt because it means my husband got a great education.
  • I’m thankful for our debt because it has taught us to be much more purposeful in our finances.
  • I’m thankful for our debt because it is giving us the opportunity to help and encourage others.

How about you?

  • How are you thankful for your debt?
  • How has being grateful for the not-so-great things in your life impacted you?

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Note: This post contains an affiliate link.  For more information, see my disclosure policy.

Great Ways to Earn Extra Money This Month

Whether you want to earn extra money for the holidays or to pay down debt, here are some great ideas of things you can do now to get paid this month!

There are countless ways that you can earn money on the side but many of them take time  or money to build up.  Sometimes you have to wait months or longer before turning a profit.  For example, starting an Etsy shop is a great way to generate an income, but it takes time to get it off the ground if you do it right.

Today I want to share some ideas of things you can do now to earn money this month.  

Sell Your Used Stuff Locally

If you take a look through your closets and drawers, you might be surprised at what you have that you could sell.  Don’t just focus of furniture or larger items.  Shoes, clothes, seasonal items, toys and books all sell well.  Clean your items up a bit and take appealing photos.  Be sure to describe your items accurately too.  You really can make a profit selling used stuff.

You have lots of options for where to sell your items.  Craigslist is a popular free place to market your stuff.  Another great option is to join a local buy-sell-trade group on Facebook.  If the weather permits, hosting a garage sale is a great way to sell your things.  When you sell locally you don’t have to worry about logistics of shipping or having a third party take a commission.  Plus, you get your payment immediately.

Sell Your Used Stuff to the World

Selling locally is great for items that are logistically difficult to ship or won’t sell for enough to make a third party service worthwhile.  When the world is your marketplace, you have many more eyes on your items which means many more potential buyers and people willing to pay higher prices.  You will be looking at around a 10% commission taken off of your sale and you will have the responsibility to ship the items to your buyers.

Both Amazon and Ebay are great options for selling your used items to the world.  Which marketplace is best for your particular item will depend on what the item is.  Search both sites for similar items to get an idea.

Trade-in Your Stuff to Amazon

Amazon has a trade-in program that in convenient and allows you to get paid right away, rather than having to wait for each item to sell and have to ship them individually.   You can look up your books, electronics, video games, DVDs and more to see if Amazon will buy them from you and how much they will pay you.  You won’t make as much as if you sold each item yourself, but the convenience factor and the quick turnaround can make it worth it. Shipping the items to Amazon is free.  You receive your payment in Amazon credit.

Sell Your Specialty

Do you make excellent cinnamon rolls or fresh baked bread?  Do you sew baby clothes or knit hats?  Your crafty wood carving or hair bows that you make for your girls might be just what one of your friends is looking for.  In the age of social media, it’s easier than ever to market your wares.

Maybe in the long run you want to open an Etsy shop to sell your wares to the world, but in the meantime you can make some cash by selling to friends and friends of friends on Facebook.  Pass the word around at work or at church that you are making your special holiday pies and selling them for $15.

Sell Your Services

People pay for services all the time, from having their oil changed to taking care of their kids.  In most cases, people would rather pay someone that they know rather than a stranger, but they usually don’t offer the job to their acquaintances unless they know they are looking for work.  Get the word out on social media, among your personal network, and on craigslist that you have a service to offer.  If you are earning money for a specific goal, don’t be afraid to share it.  People like knowing that their money is going to a good cause.

What are you willing to do?   You could:

  • clean houses
  • babysit
  • house-sit
  • mow lawns
  • wrap gifts
  • run errands
  • pet sit
  • web design
  • freelance writing
  • teach or tutor
  • wash cars

The sky’s the limit!  Get creative!

Sell Your Plasma

Plasma is the liquid part of blood that carries the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.  Although it is 90% water, it carries components used in life-saving technologies.  Having a family member who is immuno-compromised, I have seen the amazing effects of intravenous imunoglobulin (IVIG) treatments, which are possible because of plasma donations.

When I was in college, giving plasma was a popular way to earn money fast.  Donors typically earn $30-$45 per donation and, in many cases, they can go twice per week. The process for giving plasma is very similar to donating blood.

Rewards Programs

Not all rewards programs can help you earn money this month.  Some take more time to reach a minimum payout or have inconsistent earning opportunities.  Here are a few that will allow you to earn cash or Amazon gift cards (or other rewards) in a timely manner.

Swagbucks is a rewards program for all the things you do online, from searching the internet to making purchases, from printing coupons to watching videos.  With the search tool, you will randomly (it seems) be awarded various amounts of Swagbucks every so often.

If you are new to Swagbucks, I recommend giving it a try to see if it works for you. Through Friday 11/14/2014 you can get 70 bonus Swagbucks when you register with Swagbucks.  Click on “I have a sign up code” when you’re initially signing up and enter sixfigures.  Then continue to fill out your profile for another 30 Swagbucks!

I am relatively new to using Bing Rewards, but it’s pretty straight forward.  You can earn rewards for searching the internet using Microsoft’s Bing search.  Unlike Swagbucks search where you don’t have any control over how much you’ll earn through your searches, Bing tells you exactly how many credits you will get and what the maximum is each day.

You earn 1 credit for every 2 searches.  You can get 15 credits per day searching on your PC and 10 credits per day searching on your phone.  At 25 credits a day, you can earn 750 credits in a typical month just from searching the internet.  You get other bonuses along the way.  A $5 gift card is between 475 to 525 credits.  Register with Bing using any email address (or a Microsoft login if you already have one) and give it a try!

How About You?

I have just scratched the surface here.  There are many more ways to earn extra cash both online and in person.  What creative ways have you earned money quickly?  What ideas would you recommend?

Note: This post contains affiliate or referral links.  For more information, see my disclosure policy.

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6 Great Ways to Save Money on Christmas Cards

Sending an annual holiday greeting can be expensive. Here are 6 ways to save money on Christmas cards this year! Even on a tight budget it can be done!

I love staying in touch with the people I love by way of Christmas cards.  I enjoy hearing from friends far and near around the holidays.  However, sending Christmas cards out to family and friends can get expensive, especially if you have a tight budget.

Here are 6 ways you can save money on Christmas cards:

1- Make it Digital

While getting something in the mail adds a special touch these days where “snail mail” correspondence is infrequent, it really increases the cost of Christmas cards.  If your budget is tight this year, consider making the switch to a digital holiday greeting.  Emailing a family picture and annual letter out to your family and friends won’t cost you anything.  We have family friends who create a video montage of their year with a creative narrative twist and then publish it on YouTube and email the link to everyone on their list.  You can still make a digital Christmas card personal and thoughtful even without sending it in the mail.

2- Trim Back Your List

It’s always hard for me to take someone off of the Christmas card list, but the truth is that I do it every year.  There are always people on the list who we haven’t heard from in years (or decades) and our lives have clearly drifted apart.  Every year we get some Christmas cards returned to us because the address has changed.  Trimming down your list is a practical way to save money on Christmas cards.

3- Hand Deliver to Locals

In addition to sharing our annual card with friends and family who live far away, we have local friends and family that are also on our list.  To save on postage, consider delivering your cards to those who are local.  Now driving from house to house certainly won’t be cheaper than a stamp, but bringing cards for co-workers to work or church friends to church will save you money.

One of the best ideas I’ve seen was at our church when we were in law school.  Every Christmas they put a wooden mailbox in the foyer with card-sized mail slots for each letter of the alphabet.  On Sundays during the holidays each family could check the slot that corresponded with their last name to retrieve any Christmas mail that other members of the congregation had “sent” them.  Even now, I send a stack of cards for friends in our old area to one friend who distributes our cards through the church Christmas card system.

4- Make Your Own Photo Cards

Photo cards are very popular these days.  I love the personal touch that photo cards give.  It’s fun to see how families change as kids grow or new ones come along.  Instead of buying actual photo cards, consider creating your own.  Using simple photo editing programs like PicMonkey, Canva, or even Picasa, you can add a greeting and signature to your family picture, then have it printed as a regular 4×6 print.  The costof a 4×6 print is much less than an official photo card, especially when you’re printing in bulk.

You can often find great deals on 4×6 prints that will make them even cheaper.  New customers at York Photo can get 4 cent prints as well as 40 free prints when you register.  Walgreens often has deals for 10-12 cent prints when you buy 50+ prints.

5- Get a Great Deal

During October through December, there are loads of great deals on photo (or just personalized) Christmas cards.  Here are a few tips for getting the best deal:

  • Choose your picture early, so you are ready to pull the trigger when a great deal comes along.  In the past, I have had to pass on some great deals because we hadn’t taken family pictures yet.  Now I have learned to get pictures early (though we haven’t done so yet this year).
  • Watch for deals and freebies.  Every year there are awesome deals and freebies for photo Christmas cards.  Over the years, I’ve gained a reputation among my friends for finding great deals on photo cards (and other photo products), so I share the deals I find over at Photo Deal Junction to make it easy.
  • Don’t be afraid to diversify.  You might be able to get 10 free cards from one company and a great deal on 20 cards from another company.  That’s fine!  You don’t have to get all your cards from the same company.  Your recipients don’t care if the card they get is slightly different than the card someone else gets.

 Here are some of the great deals I’ve seen lately:

10 FREE photo cards from Tiny Prints (plus shipping).  Good through 11/12/2014.  Use coupon code 10FREECARDS.

10 FREE photo cards from Picaboo (plus shipping).  Limited time, so order now!  Use coupon code: FREECARD14

10 FREE photo cards from Shutterfly (plus shipping) for new customers. Good through 11/26/2014.  Use coupon code: JINGLETEN.

10 photo cards for $1 from York Photo (plus $3.49 shipping) for new customers.  Good through 11/28/2014.  You also get 40 free prints when you register with York photo.

 All Flat Cards 99¢ + FREE Stamp at Cardstore when you let them mail it for you.  Use Code: DDCCN4117. Good through 11/12/14.

$1.49 Folded Cards + FREE Stamps at Cardstore when you let them mail it for you.  Use Code: CAN4672. Good through 11/12/14.

6- Skip the Tradition All Together

I know there are some of you out there who are thinking the best way to save money on Christmas cards is to not send any.  It’s true that this option would save the most time and money.  If money is tight and time is limited, keep this in mind as a real possibility.  You can always jump back on the Christmas card bandwagon next year.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved the tradition of Christmas cards.  My family never sent them, but I loved receiving them and reading all the family updates from friends and relatives.  Sending an annual Christmas card has been a priority for me.  In fact, I put a lot of time and effort into writing an annual poem to send along with a photo card.  I write a stanza for each of us along with  general family updates.  Besides sharing with family and friends, I love having the annual poem as a snapshot of each person’s character and accomplishments that year.

How about you?

  • Do you send out Christmas cards?  Are they photo cards?  Do you send along a letter or poem as well?
  • How do you save money on your holiday cards?

 Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  For more information, see my disclosure policy.

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