Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Get Prepared for Taxes

November is a crazy busy month for my business.  I always have a bunch of parties in November and the huge Black Friday Sale is November, so I choose to do less in December.    
I don’t hold home parties (with the exception of the monthly meal in a jar party I have at my house).    I do keep working on my business.  I focus on organization, preparation, planning, and everyone’s favorite taxes.   

I get all of my tax documentation in order so I can take it to my accountant in the New Year.
I do that using an Excel Spreadsheet, and a 3 ring binder. 
Let me walk you through it.

The Binder: 
I use this throughout the year.  Don’t worry if you didn’t use it this year.  It is still a great way to catch up.
What I do:
I have a binder with a divider and envelop for each month.  I keep track of my finance by month and category. 

Here is what my binder looks like: 

Want to make your own?  Here is how.

You need:

  •  12 copies (one for each month) of  Monthly Expense Record
  • 12 Envelopes (to put receipts is)
  • 3 ring binder—or file folder (to organize it all) 
  • Hole punch

Write the name of each month on each of the monthly expense records.
Staple an envelope to the back of each month.
Punch holes in the side of everything
Insert into the binder.

The Excel Spread Sheet

I love love love this spreadsheet.  It makes going to the accountant to do taxes so much easier.  

Notice that each month has its own page to enter data on.  You enter the data on the monthly pages and it then everything auto populates to the first sheet and you have your income and expenses. 

You can download the 2014 Tax Spreadsheet here.
Disclaimer:  I’m not a tax professional be sure to consultant your own accountant.    

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup--Meal in a Jar

If you are new to making Meal in a Jars please read this how to post about How to Make a Meal in a Jar--Two Methods

Chicken Noodle soup is my kids all-time favorite meal.  They always eat it well without complaining (insert happy dance here).    

I’ve been making Chicken Noodle soup for them using freeze dried Thrive Foods for about 5 years and just recently realized I could speed up the process by making a bunch of Chicken Noodle Soup meals in a Jar.   So I made 12.  

Best idea ever.  Now I have a bunch of meals ready to go that I know my kids will love that only take 10 minutes to make.  Love it.

Chicken Noodle Soup in a Jar
For printable recipe and mason jar labels see below.

1 cup Freeze Dried Chopped Chicken
2 Tablespoons Chicken Bouillon
1 tsp Chef’s Choice Blend
1 tsp Salad Blend
½ cup  Celery
¼ cup Carrots
1/4 cup Freeze Dried Onions
2 cups Egg Noodles

8 cups water (to be added during cooking)

Jar Directions:  Layer ingredients in a wide mouthed, quart-sized jar, shaking the dry powder ingredients into the bulkier items. Top with an oxygen packet (300 cc) for longer-term storage, or seal with a food saver.  Cover with a new canning lid and hand-tighten the metal ring. 

Cooking Directions:  Add contents of jar to 8 cup of rapidly boiling water.  Stir well.    Simmer 10 -12 minutes until noodles are soft.  

A note on Food Safety:
The Meal-in-a-Jar method is a form of Dry Pack Canning.   The food inside the jars is preserved because the food is free of moisture and oxygen, the lack of which inhibits bacterial growth.  Jars should be stored in a dark environment to prevent any nutritional degradation due to light.  
When packing your jars remember to always
  • Sanitize all equipment before use. Be sure to dry all equipment thoroughly before using.
  • Wash hands and or wear food handler’s gloves.
  • Keep work area clean and dry. 
  • Use either method 1 or method 2 to remove the oxygen from your jar.

Read more:
Recipe Card
Regular Mouth Mason Jar Label
Wide Mouth Mason Jar

Interested in Learning More about Making Meals in a Jar?  Join my meal in a jar facebook group.