The Hillbilly Housewife

So, one of my favorite (and the fave for a lot of other cooks) recipe sites was the Hillbilly Housewife. Her $70 weekly menu and $45 Emergency weekly menu are legendary. HBHW is not the kind of place you go to everyday (well, Maggie started a blog, so some people did start visting everyday), but when you needed a really REALLY cheap, but nutritious and more than likely good tasting meal for your family, you were very glad it was around. Maggie (the original HBHW) started her site based on her own values and her own recipes. Some of the recipes were modifications of recipes from popular cookbooks (her muffins are almost straight out of Better Homes and Gardens), but it didn’t matter because she wrote her recipes in such a way that you really understood how to do them. None of them were really fancy food, but they were all explained very carefully in a pleasant voice with a light sense of humor. She stressed frugality above all, feeding your family with your own two hands, and understanding what is going into your food (to a lesser extent). She also had a huge collection of recipes which had been tweeked for cooking outdoors (either camping, or the power is off) and was starting a collection of Healthy Hillbilly recipes.

My family hasn’t enjoyed every recipe from her site, but enough of them we have that I plan on making my daughter and my son each a cookbook built around Maggie’s recipes. Why? Because I firmly believe that everyone, man or woman, should be able to feed their family (or just themselves) in a way that isn’t limited to sandwiches and nuclear orange mac and cheese. I am starting to teach my daughter (6) and will teach my son how to cook, but having a cookbook to pore over is and find new recipes or old favorites is a joy in my opinion.

A while ago, I noticed something different, though. I go back to HBHW every so often, when I am in need of inspiration and I feel the pursestrings need to be tightened. Recipezaar is fabulous, but it is hard to just cruise around looking for inspiration – there are just too many recipes. So I went to HBHW, and I noticed that there was a lot of ads on the site. Maggie has had some real issues with ads showing for things she didn’t believe in, and finally settled on little GoogleAds. Well now there were big old images all over her beautiful clean looking site. I wondered what was up. It turns out that Maggie has turned over her site to someone else, citing that she needs to spend more time with her family. While I don’t begrudge her that at all, I don’t like what is happening to the site now.

Susanne, the new owner, is probably a lovely woman with much the same values as Maggie, and while I don’t begrudge HER wanting to put a personal stamp on the site, I miss the old site. It was refreshingly clean looking, just black and white with simple little drawings to illustrate things. It had a look out of the 1950’s, but toned down and uncluttered. It was very easy to read and very easy to navigate.

And now it has huge banner ads and a weird blue background and it is hard to find the stuff I remember from the old site. I am going to grab everything I can before it disappears or changes into unrecognizableness (is that a word?) and put it on my home computer so I can make my cookbooks. And yes, Maggie gives everyone permission to share her recipes as long as no money is exchanged for it, and Susanne has not removed the notice concerning this. I also even got specific permission, because I am like that. I will be removing the link to it, although I am sure it will still be easy to find on Google.

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16 thoughts on “The Hillbilly Housewife

  1. If you want to put together a personalized cookbook, check out http://www.tastebook.com . You can make a book with their recipes or upload your own (including pictures.) I reviewed the process for http://www.geardiary.com . I have to say it is pretty cool. I love the idea of having a glossy, professional looking collection of MY favorite recipes. I can’t think of a better gift to give your child on their way out the door to live on their own.

  2. Thanks for the linkage. I love glossy cookbooks, too, but I am also a crafter and will probably handbind the copies to make them extra special gifts. :)

  3. I agree about the hillbilly housewife. I don’t care for the new format. Do you know where to find Miss Maggie now. I had found her blog, and not I can’t. I lost all of my favorites when my computer crashed, so slowly, I’m trying to find them. Thanks for the help if you know.
    Sheri

  4. Sorry, hon, no dice. I would check out her blog every once in a while, too, and I have noticed that none of the links work on HBHW. I think that she may have just decided to concentrate on her family for a while. Her boys are about high school age, if I remember correctly – not a fun time to be a mom, I think. :) I know I’m not looking forward to it!

  5. Hi there, it’s Maggie, formerly of HBHW and currently of Frugal Abundance. Just wanted to say thank-you for your kind words. My new blog is on wordpress. My new site is at http://www.frugalabundance.com. Hope it’s okay to share the link. I don’t want to spam anyone, but Sheri had asked about it.

    blessinsg :-) Miss Maggie

  6. thanks for posting, Maggie. I am glad that you are still online, and of course you may post a link to your new site. :) I hope everything is going well with you.

  7. Susanne is actually a webmaster of many sites. She has a young daughter and works as a VA (Virtual Assitant). She also has a website that sells Halloween Costumes.

    She’s not really the type of person I would expect to run HH, and I don’t enjoy her blog very much, but as long as a lot of the original content is still there I go and peruse. I’ve reccommended the site to a bunch of my SAHM friends.

    BTW, the Country Steak recipe made with ground turkey is DEAD ON! This scares me – you could put ANYTHING into the meat and have it come out tasting the way it should. I wonder how many old phone books Banquet has hidden in the ones they sell. :-D

  8. I was just googling “maggie” and “HBHW” because I too was looking for the real HBHW. I totally cannot stand the big obnoxious ads on the HBHW website now. I sent Susanne my feedback on that! :)

    Going to check out Maggie’s blog, which I had enjoyed in the past. <3

  9. I realize that this post is from awhile ago but HBHW has changed even more! There is a “club” you can join, with a forum and newsletter for, get this, $10 a month!!! I’m really disappointed in the direction Susanne has taken HBHW because there are already so many forums dedicated to frugal living online which are free. I have a feeling that the truly frugal already know about the free forums so it will be those who are new-to-frugality or seriously struggling and desperately seeking solutions who will join this club simply because they don’t know better. I understand that Maggie had to dedicate time to her family but I wish HBHW didn’t feel like such a moneygrab now.

  10. ugh, i am really dissapointed in the “new” site too. all of the old recipes are gone, and have been replaced with tons new recipes that are totally hit and miss taste wise…mostly miss. also, they are totally disorganised. i have to skim over the directory about 5 times before i find the section im looking for.

    a few other disturbing things…susanne calls herself the owner and CREATOR of hillbilly housewife. um, can you say lie? she has her books for sale all over the place, ads galore, a club to join for the low low price of $10 a month, where she promises thats where the really good tips are, she aint just giving these money saving tips away folks! pay up!

    such a bummer.

    • Ladies, I know. I was as disappointed with the old site as you all have been, especially when I went back after Liz’s post. I did notice that she is calling herself the creator. :( Maybe re-creator, since the site has very little to do with its original intent, IMHO. I am glad I had saved the recipes I was very fond of.

  11. I just happened upon your blog when I was searching for something, but I had to stop in a minute and say I whole-heartedly agree! While I have no personal ill-will to Susanne, the site is just a mess to me these days. It seems like it is so far from what it used to be. All the ads and added recipes are a huge distraction from the original mission of the site! And as a Christian mom, I feel like all the blessed Christian persepectives Maggie shared have been lost!

    I also (when the site first began to change) went through and copied all the original recipes so I would have them for my use. They’re nearly impossible to find now amongst all the clutter and “added” recipes (several of which use less than traditional “frugal and/or from scratch” ingredients).

    I’m so very thankful that Miss Maggie still maintains a presence at Frugal Abudance!

  12. I miss the original site so much!! It was easy to read, fun and cute, and now it really is unrecognizable, and I hate it. She has recipes on there as titled as homemade that are made from mixes. ugh…. Oh well, I was looking for Maggie, in case perhaps she has some other type of blog, which is how I came across your blog post. ;0)

  13. I just happened upon this thread. Although it’s been a while since the last comment, I wanted to add my two cents.

    I used to LOVE Hillbilly Housewife! I just loved reading Maggie’s recipes and articles and referred to them often. Now, when I try to find one of the old recipes, I can’t find it! I click “recipes” and am bumped to a part of the blog with the newest recipe first. There is no recipe list or chart to navigate from. I am so disgusted with what happened to the website. I don’t care if Suzanne needs to make money with the website – as long as I can still find the old stuff!

    Oh, and her new recipes are written very poorly, nothing like how Maggie used to write them. Very sad about the changes and that the new “creator” decided to just toss the good content aside.

  14. Thank you for this post and for Miss Maggie finding her way to it. Like the others, I LOVED the old Hillbilly Housewife and a few years ago I used to be able to feed my family of 4 on about $200 a month using her recipes.

    I haven’t been to the site in a while because, like others have stated, I just didn’t care for the changes, but a friend mentioned a recipe she used recently so I went to find it, which of course got the “I wonder” wheels moving. I did a search for the “original hillbilly housewife” and happened here. I just went to frugal abundance and the homepage has that wonderful simplicity of the original HBHW. It’s about like going home.

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