Saturday, January 31, 2015

Frugal Activities #44

I am in shock that it's actually January 31st, 2015. Really?? How did that possibly happen? Geesh, time is flying again this year!

Anyways.

Hubby came home Friday night ... had to pick him up at the airport at 9pm and we went straight to our favorite Italian joint, Umbertos for chicken parm (me, didn't eat the pasta on the side) and linguine with white clam sauce (him) and he ate the linguine. We had 2 beers each at $4.50 each. YIKES. That was a little disappointing when I looked at the bill ... next time I won't order booze ... which really should be the general rule anyway!  We spent $70 with tip and I had the pasta and half the chicken left over that we split for lunch today.  Well, Hubby ate the pasta and half the chicken and I ate the rest of the chicken.

Funny enough, I've been really watching what I eat this past week while he was traveling (since I can cook and eat whatever I want!) and notice that when I ate something heavy with flour/grains, I had a headache and sinus issues the next day. Coincidence? Maybe. But I do think I'm going to go back to the grain free eating again for the month of February and see if things don't clear up with the inflammation too. Yes, I know, this was not really related to the Frugal Activities post but just wanted to share something with you all ;-)

Here's some of the Frugal Activities I did this past week (Hubby was traveling, so he doesn't really count):

1.  Avoided Costco for another week ;-) ... Ate pretty much from the pantry and freezer this past week ... I did, however, hit up Fresh Market (for the ground beef), Publix, Winn Dixie and Aldi's towards the end of the week ...

2.  All 20 meals were prepared at home. This is a huge thing for me, you know that? I did NOT ask the kids to go eat with me once last week, score!!

3.  Air conditioning has been OFF all week, thankfully! I came close to turning the heat on one morning as it was 68 in the house, but I sucked it up and didn't. The past 10 days or so have been beautiful here and I'm so thrilled to have the windows open and fresh air going through! Yes, the electric bill will be sweet too when I see it, hopefully close to $200!

4.  Didn't do laundry all week until this morning. Um, yes, this is Frugal. I generally do laundry mid-week and again over the weekend. Some loads are NOT full loads, sadly. The dress shirts and slacks are washed separately from the general whites/darks/color loads ... I held out til Hubby got home from his trip and just made do with what I had in my closet. Apparently I have a lot of clothes, and more than a fair percentage that do not fit at the moment :-(

5.  Cleaned out fridge BEFORE I hit up the stores this morning. Yes, this is another big thing for me. I don't always do that before I shop and find that I still have 4 red peppers in addition to the 4 I just bought (and those suckers are expensive lately so it irks me when I neglect the ones I already have!)

6.  I did pretty well sticking with a pantry challenge this past week UNTIL the Publix stop. Granted, I had coupons and spent $60 but saved $90 ... but still ... I had to spend $60 to save that much :-( Most of the stuff had coupons and will be consumed within the next month

7.  I will say that meal prepping on Sunday is paying off based on #2 above. Yes, it does take a little work, but I'd rather do the work on Sunday, rather than in the mornings before leaving for work with a lunch in hand ;-) ... also nice to come home from work and have dinner stuff ready to just throw together and heat up in skillet or microwave ... I ate ground beef (with onions and garlic) over a bed of cabbage and topped fresh chopped tomatoes and these awesome cubes of frozen avocados ... see below ...

8.  Salvaged my avocados last week that were heading south fast by freezing them. Guess what? They defrost perfectly! So much so that I can't wait til the ones I bought today ripen so I can do it again! This time I'm going to slice them and see how it works when they thaw!

9.  Stayed firm in NOT buying a bunch of frivolous crap that would be thrown away for my dad's rushed ceremony. Ahem. The daughter of dad's girlfriend flew in town for a few days and she is just a basket case and insisted we do a little ceremony (NOT MARRIAGE) before she leaves and her mom is sent off to a skilled nursing facility ... I would have preferred to have a week or two to better coordinate and plan the festivities, but nope, we had to do it in 48 hours ... guess what? I was swamped at work and there was NO WAY I was able to help out ... and I refused to stop at the dollar store and buy stuff. In the end, as much as it sounds like I was being a b*tch, it was ok as Rose was pretty much out of it as she's gone down hill super fast after the amputation. It's sad and my dad was upset the daughter was making such a big deal about it all, he was getting nervous and apprehensive and started getting confused, calling ME by my sisters name ;-( I finally pulled him aside and asked him what he would like me to do ... he simply said to love him no matter how bad his mind gets :( That would be because the daughter was in denial that her mother's dementia was full blown now. Sad. Made me want to cry but I didn't. Anyway. I said no to getting them rings (Rose won't be able to wear), no to new outfits (SUIT!) for both, no to a catered dessert bar (these people are bad diabetics AND it was 7:30 at night! Good grief) ... anyway. I did buy Rose a single yellow Rose for my dad to give her. The fact that she tried to eat it is another story :(  I suppose I should do a post on that eventful evening, but I'd rather just forget it really did happen.

10. Picked up more $2.99 85/15 ground beef on Tuesday at Fresh Market ... it's still the best deal around and I was getting low on ground beef again. I frozen 5 1 pound bags (and cooked the other 1 pound for #7 above. I did this all on a Tuesday night (while the 1 pound was cooking, I was bagging the other 5 pounds, easy peasy)

And now, full disclosure of the NOT so Frugal Activities:

1.  Aldi's on Saturday ... holy cow ... went for a few items and then remembered I was running "low" on a few things and proceeded to spend $102 (seems to be my magic Aldi number?) ... had to make a u-turn as soon as I pulled out of parking lot as I was looking at my receipt trying to figure HOW I spent that much again (while sitting at the light) and saw that the bags of frozen wings that said $4.49 rang up as $8.99. Aldis would NOT honor the price so I asked for my money back. Do you know those wings were going straight to the garbage? That made me even angrier :( So really, I spent $70 or so.

2.  Dinner out and buying the beers on Friday night ... we could have just as easily came home and made dinner and drank the beer I bought earlier in the week at Publix ($10.49 for a 12 pack) ... but we were both tired and well, you know how easy it is to go out to eat instead.

3.  See that the gym HAS charged me for the "small group classes" that I've never been able to get in for (class cancelled 3 times and then they changed the time to 5:30 which I can't make it there by that time) ... $398 for 3 months. I need to call American Express and dispute the charge AND cancel my gym membership. I'm not using it and it's just irritating me yet again.

4.  Scolded Hubby for NOT accepting the 2 round trip tickets and hotel room for night on Friday due to flight be overbooked. Instead, he flew on a packed flight, crabby the whole time when we could have had TWO FREE TICKETS! Gah!!

5.  Had to toss some pork tenderloin that was still in the fridge. Meant to make sure Hubby ate it before he left town but forgot ... wasn't crazy about it in the first place so I couldn't force myself to chance it

And that's that ... how about YOU? What have you done Frugal this week??

Looking forward to sharing over at The Money Propeller and The Prudent Homemaker ... go check them both out!!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Frozen Strawberry Margaritas

You probably already know that I LOVE margaritas ... uh huh ... but not the heartburn at 2am after a few of the ones using the pre-made margarita mix ... Hubby already has the system worked out where he just pulls out the bottle of Prilosec and sets it next to my glass. Pretty pathetic, don't you think? ;-)

So, that with the fact that I'm trying to eat a little healthier and more whole foods, this was a perfect recipe to give a try AND it qualifies as part of the pantry challenge since I have frozen strawberries in the freezer and way too much tequila on the bar ... plus it used the big blender which made me very happy!


This makes ONE generous drink ... I had a couple and let me just tell you that 1 cup of tequila is a LOT ;-)  Was wishing the following morning that Hubby had set out the bottle of Advil too!

1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
juice of half a lime
1/2 tbs triple sec
1/2 tsp powdered sugar
1/4 cup sparkling water (I grabbed the soda stream to carbonate some water from fridge)
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (per Nigella ... this is a secret ingredient that did make a difference!)
3/4 cup ice

Add all to the blender and let it rip. I've got a Vitamix and had no problem with it being too thick but you may need to add a little additional liquid (um, think twice before you add more tequila!)

I was so happy to see these little cocktail umbrellas at the dollar store ... 16 for $1 ... I'm in!


As always, please drink responsibly and take a cab or have one of your teens drive you if you are out and about ...

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