PF Weekly Grab a Brew #47: Work Smart…How important is family time to you?


Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the very people who love us the most.

As I get my Friday dose of Yahoo personal finance reading in it was twice this morning that family time came up.

I was intrigued to read an article about a young couple who both want to retire at age 50 with just over a million dollars in a Money Sense article on Yahoo.


I’d love to retire early and if you play your financial cards right that could just happen to you.

I read some of the comments (that’s where it gets all juicy in any Yahoo article) after reading the personal finance breakdown of this couple which looked amazing to me given their young ages of 26 and 32 with her being a nurse and him an engineer.

They are doing it right working hard while they are young in their chosen careers and investing and saving money like my wife and I both did from a young age. When I read the post I was thrilled for this couple as I do enjoy reading about couples who are making money work for them and not against them which for some can be a challenge.


The good the bad the ugly


It’s always when I get to the comments where I’m either scratching my head or happy to read comments that make sense to me. I’m not sure why so many people have to have a negative bashing towards people who are making their hard-earned money work for them.

Some of the comments made me wonder why it’s so hard for some to be happy for those people who are able to stay on track financially. It would be nice if everyone in this world could do the same but we are all dealt different cards in life but it’s up to us how we choose to carry them.

There was one comment that made me think about money and how much it means to us and how far we will go to attain our goals while keeping family first.

Family time is very important to my wife and I especially since we are both very busy people including having me work on this blog full-time during the week. We had a chat about our relationship and how important it is to budget in the romance and spend quality time together, family time.

Although we don’t have any children it’s still imperative as a couple that we take time from our busy schedule to set the money-making  and success building ladder part of our lives aside to do things together.

One commenter stated the he/she had made a million dollars by the age of 32 and went on to have 28 million by age 58 and he questioned whether it was worth giving up family and friends time.

I’ve quoted the comment below and when I read the comment in my head I knew that making the decision to balance work and life was an important one not only to my wife and I but to anyone.

The other Yahoo user comment you will read below shared their success to becoming millionaires but also talked about family time which many of us overlook and put on the back burner for our careers.

Working hard is great, but you also have to work smart. I did and reached the million mark when I was 32, great right, but, I also missed watching my family grow up, had zero holiday time, no friends. Was it worth it, yes, now I’m 58 and worth 25 million and no, I would give anything to have the things I missed….- R

Well, the wife and I lived a similar life and hit the $1 Million mark at 44, now 47 and close to $1.5 Million – all self-made. We raised 3 kids, 2 are still in the house at 18 and 19. I still have a flip phone and the wife has a pay as you go, same phone since 2005.

We take the family on a Caribbean holiday each year for a week, with lots of 3 day weekends wherever. I bought 2 – 51″ Samsung for $550 each a couple of years ago after finally ditching the old tube TV’s. Point is we do not feel like we are missing out on things and can go ahead and do it when we see value in it.

To get started use the 80-10-10 rule. Spend 80 % of your income, put 10% into mid-term savings and 10% into long-term savings. Never touch the long-term savings and only touch the mid-term savings in an absolute emergency – we never have.

Then I went on to read a Canadian Press article about Marc Caira the CEO of Tim Hortons who says his Blackberry is with him 5 days a week but come the weekend it’s on the bed side table and doesn’t get touched.

How many of you actually turn off your cell phone on the weekend?

If you are a blogger do you shut down the blog mind-set and focus on family come the weekend?

Caira goes on to say that for the most part his week is planned with an agenda but come the weekend it’s family time. He likes to try new restaurants with his family and every Sunday they go to breakfast with their grandson because family is important to them.

After reading what I did this morning I’m glad to know that we are working on a work-life-balance as a couple because if you want to get to the next level in your career you must work smart.

Family time, well like the commenter said above he would give anything to get that time back. Once time is gone, it’s gone for good.

How important is family time to you and what do you do?



Top recipe



Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks Top Recipe comes from a blog called “What a Girl Eats” and when I laid my eyes on her Warmed Brie with Caramelized Onions and Fig Jam my mouth was watering.

All I need is some homemade crackers, a knife, and a cuppa tea and I’m set. A wonderful brie appetizer for the holiday season that your guests will enjoy.

How do you serve your brie for the holidays?


Weekly reads

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you

Don’t forget to ENTER TO WIN $1000 plus in Cash and prizes  which will be a great way to start the Christmas holidays from my friend over at How to Save Money Canada.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #47 so happy saving and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.




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Mr.CBB’s Cheesy Mashed Potato and Spiced Squash Baked Torpedoes

Mr.CBB's Cheesy Mashed Potato and Spiced Squash Torpedoes

If you love mashed potatoes, squash or Swede or all 3 you will love this simple cheesy baked recipe. I’ve made this recipe with both the winter squash and the swede. This quick recipe is a frugal finger food that’s perfect for any type of parties such as the boys watching the NFL or any sports game, baby showers, wedding showers,  or the upcoming Holiday Season.

If you have extra mashed potato after a meal hang on to it and make these torpedoes for your next party. You don’t need to spend alot of money on appetizers when you can make them in your own kitchen cheaper than pre-made products. For this recipe I prefer to make the mash ahead of time so it has ample time to cool which you need. You can’t make this with hot mash. I know it looks like a lot of work but really it’s not that bad at all it’s fairly straight-forward and simple.

What I love about this recipe is that you can change-up the flavours as you like simply by adding spices to your mash mixture. You can easily add some cinnamon or nutmeg to jazz up the taste like I did when I mashed my squash so you get a hint of sweet with savoury. I also love that these are baked and not deep-fried so they are not heavy tasting of oil although I do drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top for crunch. When they are done they will be a medium to dark brown and you can tap them with a fork to do a crunch test.

Serve these hot but not super hot out of the oven on a platter to your guests. To wow your guests and to make these cheesy beauties interesting serve the torpedoes with little pots of dipping sauce. We prefer to serve it with a quick easy marinara sauce which you can make in 30 minutes on the stove top. You can also serve this with sour cream a ranch dressing or a creamy spinach dip. You can easily just eat them as they are if you prefer them au natural.

Don’t forget to serve these with a small plate for when your guests like to use the traditional knife and fork method. For those that like to jump in you can handle these Cheesy Mash and Spiced Squash Torpedoes in your fingers and dip away.

We’ve also baked these in advance to serve as part of an appetizer at a party where we transported them followed by a quick re-heat in the oven on low for 30 minutes.

Have you made your own version of Cheesy Mash and Spiced Squash Torpedoes? What flavours did you use?

Mr.CBB's Baked Cheesy Potato Spiced Squash Torpedoes


  • Tin Foil
  • Baking Pan/sheet
  • bowls for dipping
  • pots for boiling
  • potato masher or ricer
  • spoon
  • cheese grater

Yield: Approximately 9 Torpedoes


  • Prep- 30 minutes
  • Cooking Potatoes and Swede Approx 30 minutes
  • 15-25 minutes to make mixture, shape and dip
  • Baking 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees


Squash Mash or Swede

  • 1 small  Squash or (swede)
  • teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 stick of butter or 2oz

Mashed Potato

  • 4 med sized potatoes peeled and cubed
  • teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 stick of  butter or 2 oz

Cheesy Torpedo Mixture

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup grated sharp or old cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 Parmigiano regianno grated fresh
  • 2 cups of seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs for dipping
  • 1 cup flour for dipping
  • 1 tablespoon parsley


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese for topping


  • 1 can of diced tomatoes or dice 5-6 fresh medium tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 minced yellow onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup of cold water

Mr.CBB's Baked Cheesy Mashed Potato and Spiced Squash Torpedoes


NOTE: I like to make the squash or swede and mash ahead of time so it has ample time to get cold. It’s up to you. I put it in the refrigerator when it is done usually overnight. If you do make it the same day, leave enough time so it has time to chill. It’s easier to work with that way and you can form your torpedoes with ease.

Squash or  Swede

  • Peel your squash or swede and chop into cubes
  • Place them in a large pot of boiling salted water
  • Cook until very tender
  • Remove from pot, drain and set back in the pot on the  low stove to dry up the moisture for a couple of minutes
  • Put your squash or swede in a bowl, and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon and butter and mash
  • Cover and store in the refrigerator to cool completely

Mashed Potatoes

  • Peel and cube your potatoes and add to a large pot of boiling salted water
  • Boil until fork tender, drain and then add back to the pot and place on low heat until the moisture is gone
  • Add the salt, pepper and butter and mash your potatoes
  • Cover and store in the refrigerator to cool completely

Making The Torpedoes

  • In a large bowl add 1 large egg the mash and the  squash or swede (whichever you used) along with the Parmigiano, old cheddar and parsley then mix
  • With a spoon take out a handful of the mix and shape it into a long torpedo like shape
  • In separate bowls add the flour in one, the eggs in another and the bread crumbs in a third bowl
  • Take your torpedo roll it in the flour, dip it in the egg and roll in the bread crumbs
  • Set it on your baking sheet lined with tin foil
  • Drizzle the tops of your torpedoes with extra virgin olive oil
  • Put them in the oven at 350 for about 35-40 minutes
  • The last 5 minutes top them with the grated mozzarella until melted
  • Serve with your choice of dipping sauce or eat them as they are.
  • Enjoy!

Easy Marinara For Dipping

  • In a pan add the olive oil, garlic and onions and saute for 5 minutes
  • Toss in your tomatoes, spices, sugar and water and stir together
  • Simmer on low for 1 hour until it reduces
  • Serve hot or cold in bowls with your torpedoes

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Mr.CBB’s Spanish Potato Sausage Tortilla Cost Aprox $10

Spanish Potato Sausage Tortilla

By: Canadian Budget Binder

Every year close to summer we get this urge to make this Spanish Potato Sausage Tortilla treat that was taught to us from one of our friends from Spain. She rallied around the food we had in Canada when she was visiting but really missed her Potato Tortilla known as the Tortilla de Patatas in Spain. She would not only eat this at home but it is served at local tapas bars, cafe and restaurants as appetizers common in Spain.

Essentially it’s one large Spanish omelette known as a Tortilla Espanola. So we worked together to formulate this traditional Spanish recipe that would be similar to her mothers in Spain. If you love potatoes you will love this Spanish potato dish or as some of my friends call the “Spanish Potato Pie” which works for me.

It was easy for me to compare the tortilla to my Sausage Frittata which is made with pasta and quite delicious. The best part about both the pasta frittata and the Spanish tortilla is that they are show pieces at any gathering. You will always have people fascinated by this dish because it’s something we don’t see so often in Canadian cuisine.

Although the prep and process to make this Spanish tortilla is time consuming it is well worth it which you will note when you take your first bite. We have since modified the Spanish tortilla to test different variations. Below you will find our latest variation which consists of sausage, onions and green peppers. We scoured our pantry looking for items we needed using up and the following Mr.CBB’s Spanish Potato Tortilla was born.

Typically you would only have the potato, onion and garlic in the tortilla. The cost to go out to a restaurant to eat this compared to making it at home will blow you away. To make this easy Spanish tortilla for 6 will cost you about $10 as opposed to buying a pizza for $30 at your favourite eatery. Prices always depend on where you live as grocery costs differ all over the world.

So I hope that your mouth is beginning to water and that you try my tortilla recipe and let me know what you think of it!

Potato Spanish Tortilla Recipe (Spanish Omelette)
  • Prep Time- 30- mins
  • Cook Time- 20 mins
  • Cost- Approximately $10 to make even cheaper if you can find some great grocery deals.
  • Servings-10-12 appetizers  or 6 if you are serving large pieces as a main
  • Suggested with: Mixed Green and Spring Vegetable Tossed Salad with a lemon, olive oil, garlic vinaigrette
  • Wine- I like a Cabernet–Merlot
  • Beer- We like Brava
Cooking Tools
  • Large deep non-stick frying pan
  • Large non-rimmed plate that fits over the top of the frying pan with extra circumference – We use a large Charger Plate from our Dining room.
  • You can also purchase a 2 piece  Tortilla Fry pan here
  • Spatula
  • Knife
  • Tongs- to turn sausages
  • Cutting Board
  • 3 tablespoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup dry parsley
  • 1 cup fresh fennel ( the green only not the bulb)
Tortilla Ingredients
  • 8 large potatoes peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cut (see pic) you don’t want them too thin or they will break when frying
  • 4 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
  • 2 med onions peeled and chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped into small pieces
  • 20 mini sizzlers (or whatever sausage you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • sour cream dollop for garnish and chives
How To Make A Potato Tortilla
  • In a smaller frying pan sauté the onions and green peppers with a tablespoon of salt and teaspoon of black pepper for about 5 minutes on med-high temperature. You want them veg to break down so they are not firm but not mushy.
  • When the vegetables are cooked take them off the heat and let them cool
  • In a separate frying pan cook your sausages until done, you really can use any sausages you like. Let cool for 5 minutes then cut into thin slices.
  • In a large deep-frying pan add the olive oil and heat up, add in the chopped garlic and sauté for a minute. Add in the potatoes which you would have cut, cleaned and dried.
  • Fry the potatoes on med heat trying not to turn them until they need to be otherwise you risk breaking them. I tend to turn them every 5 minutes. Cook them for a total of 15 -20 minutes until just lightly browned.
  • Remove the potatoes into a sieve and let them drain and cool for 5 minutes
  • Reserve the olive oil and any garlic bits in the frying pan at least enough to cover the bottom of the entire pan
  • In a large bowl crack 8 large eggs, add in the parsley,fennel, paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and mix together
  • Add the cooked potatoes and sausages to the above mixture along with the onions, green peppers, and mix it all gently.
  • Heat the oil in the large frying pan on med heat and pour the mixture into the frying pan. Use a spatula to go around the edges of the pan to push all the potatoes down.
  • Cook this on medium heat for about 15 minutes.. you can put the spatula on the side of the tortilla to lift a bit to see if it is browned underneath. The key is to cook long and slow as opposed to on high heat. You want a golden colour.
  • Once you are ready for your first flip, get a large charger plate and a tea towel and put the plate on top of the frying pan and the tea towel on top.
  • Bring the frying pan to the kitchen sink and carefully invert the pan so the tortilla slides onto the plate ( be very careful as any hot oil can burn you)
  • Slide the tortilla from the plate back into the frying pan to cook the other side for about 10 minutes on med heat until golden.
  • The last flip is performed like above, always do it over the sink, slide the tortilla onto the plate and it’s done
  • Let the potato tortilla rest at least 10 minutes before you cut it so it can set
  • Once it has rested you can cut into 6 meal size portions or 10-12 appetizer portions
  • Sprinkle freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top
  • Garnish with sour cream and fresh chives

In Spain they serve the Spanish Tortilla (Spanish Omelette) as a tapas or add a slice in between crusty bread or a baguette which they call a bocadillo or a sandwich in Spanish.

You can also serve the tortilla with a tuna pasta salad, cucumber radish salad with fresh mint, tomato chick pea salad or a mixed green and spring vegetable tossed salad with a lemon, olive oil, garlic vinaigrette and a glass of suggested wine or Beer of your choice.


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