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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday Dinner

Yes, I'm still menu planning but I get sidetracked once in a while! My neighbor is out of town and I've been getting her mail for her (because that's what us transplanted midwestern girls do). Imagine my surprise to see that she gets Food TV/Network magazine!! This thing will be so well read by the time she gets back, I may have to buy her a new one!
So many choices, but this is the one I chose to try. I've posted the complete recipe over on my recipe site and used what I already had on hand (one of the benefits of having a fully stocked pantry and freezer) ... I do think next time I will add a bit of Cayenne pepper to give it a little more kick, but it was good the way listed :)
This was before I added the cabbage to the top of each serving. It could easily be low carb if you wanted to eliminate the rice but honestly, there wasn't that much rice (2 cups total for 4 servings) and actually, the veggie mix alone was good but not so sure it would tide you over. Try it and enjoy!

New Toy

In the month of June, I spent money. More money than I would like to have. More money than I should have. My savings account is a little sad looking right now, BOTH of them. It's July. Well, almost, less than 24 hours away, so it's time to start a new slate. I intend to start that new slate with a new toy that I will utilize to it's fullest extent. A new cell phone. Yes. A new cell phone. My phone was 2 years old. It was a good ole razor that was working pretty efficiently except that the screen would go white at times, and was starting to occasionally shut off all by itself. We were out of contract since May. I shopped around a little for a new plan, but couldn't beat the one that T-Mobile gave us over 5 years ago. 1000 minutes, free mobile to mobile, etc. for 3 lines for $80 a month. Add in the $20 unlimited text messaging and my bill runs around $120 after all the fees and taxes. The kids have gotten new phones (princess purchased hers with hard cash right after graduating from boot camp) and Sonny Boy got her old side kick as a hand me down. Me, I kept the razor for years. So recently, hubby got a new blackberry. Annoying thing it was. Constantly playing with it. Then I started to inquire with T-Mobile about upgrading MY plan and phone to be SMART. Huh. They wanted another $100 to add that to the plan. No. Thanks. Well, now I managed to get them to give me the new My Touch Slide for $150 and upgrade the 3 lines to web access (unlimited) for a mere $50 a month. Yeah, that did bring my bill up more than I wanted, which is why I have to USE the heck out of this phone & service. My favorite thing so far? The fact that I can go to my favorite websites on a road trip AND the fact that I can pull my email up instantaneously. I'm so very bad about reading email :) Personal one anyways!! Barcode scanner? You betcha. I need to play more with it as I still haven't figured out how to really SHOP with it :) But I will, you just wait!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sales Ad

Aiyyyy ... it's Wednesday which means the newspaper has the Publix ad that starts tomorrow (my favorite grocery store, where shopping IS a pleasure). But of course, I've already been scoping out the real deals over at I Heart Publix because Michelle does such a GREAT job of putting a preview up! So I'm browsing both online, looking for a few additional coupons over at A Full Cup and telling myself that I really DO NOT need anything this week with the exception of milk (which of course, I will buy 2 packs of oreos, spend less than $7 for 2 oreos and 2 gallons of milk, which is actually LESS than 2 gallons of milk in the end). *note: the deal is this, $1.50 coupon (tearpad) off 1 gallon of milk (milk runs about $3.39 lately) when you buy one Nabisco cookie. Then I also have the $1 off Golden Oreos. So my oreos cost me $1.99 and the milk cost me $1.50. We go through 2 gallons of milk a week and about 2 packages of Oreos (and no, not at the same time!). Makes sense to me. But then I start browsing some more. Oh. Ritz crackers are on sale. Oh Cheese! I'm getting low on cheese (I THINK, need to dig around in the freezers) and I have coupons and there is also a match up of free Ritz when you buy 3 cheeses. Hmmm. I can get TWO free Ritz, use TWO $1 off coupons on the crackers AND use the $1 off of each of the cheese. $16 less $4, less $2, less $3. Hmmm. That would be $7 (again??!!) for 2 boxes of crackers & 3 lbs of cheese. Sounds like a no brainer again. Ugggg. What's a girl to do?? Then there is the $1.50 off berries coupon that expires TODAY. I can get free blueberries with that. The kids have already eaten the 2 pints I bought over the weekend. Amazing that they like fruit better than chips. I'm glad! I do need bleach. Benadryl (pill & spray). Milk. Bread. Salad stuff (I used the last of my $1 off salad last week, Horrors!). Tonight is tacos so I better go see if I have cheese, huh? :) Oh wait, I can use the taco dinner that has the liquid stuff if need be. I also need ... something else, but I'm clueless at the moment! Oh. And then Crystal Light is on sale again. BUT silly me held out the last few weeks and my coupons all expired. Uggg. Guess I'll be drinking my less favorite stuff (the teas...not crazy about them). There's the Sargento Cheese deal too. Buy 2 Sargento sliced cheese and get a free pepperidge farm bun for free. Hmmm. $1 off two Publix coupon, 2 55 cent off one package and FREE buns? $2.69 each, so $5, less $1, less $1.10 AND FREE buns? Oh I think I might have to work this one too this week. Everyone is eating THIS stuff up (don't even go to the ice cream stuff, BLUE BELL this week!) And then you have the Sobe water deal at Target going on, buy 10 at $1 each and get a $5 Target gift card back. Oh boy. I have 2 b1g1f coupons. I also have 1 50 cent off Target coupon AND the electronic 50 cent off Target on my phone (they scan bar code on screen of phone). Hmmm...FREE Sobe, or awful close in the end. That is definitely the steal of the day. So, how about the rest of you? Anyone doing any spectacular deals?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Menu Plan - June 20th through July 7th

I really must stay out of the stores. I need to use what we have in the freezers, pantries and fridges. I just simply have to say no. Easier said then done!! Everything below is with items already purchased and stashed in freezers, pantries and cabinets, fridges. With the exception of veggies and milk/cheese/dairy stuff, I really have NO NEED to go to the store. Can anyone join me on the bandwagon, please??? Sunday - Fathers Day and Hubby has been driving me batty to make my meat sauce so it's sauce with pasta, garlic bread and green salad with vinaigrette. The sauce was made in the crockpot all day long and yielded a healthy dinner and then 4 two cup bags for the freezer. The garlic bread was easy: slice a loaf of italian bead in half horizontally, combine a stick of soft butter with a few chopped cloves of garlic and 2 tbs (more or less) of italian seasoning. Spread a thick layer on each half. Slap them back together, wrap up in foil and bake in oven for about 20 minutes at 375. Towards the end, you can open up foil and broil so the tops get a little crispy too ... Monday - Chicken Piccata as the Princess has been driving me batty to make it ... along with a garden salad and maybe rice or pasta (if any pasta left over, that's what we will have with it). I am also going to hopefully use this as a teaching tool as she's 19 and well, it's not that difficult to make. Tuesday - Soup and sandwiches. Hope to make the soup with chicken broth, a bag of frozen cooked chicken and some veggies and seasoning to use up stuff in the freezer. Will keep the canned stuff for hurricane supplies! I do believe I have baked potatoes leftover for the cause! Wednesday - Tacos. Didn't do it last week, and well, I'm sure Sonny Boy will say something about it this week. Thursday - Blackened Chicken Sandwiches. Been awhile and I have the onion rolls in the freezer that I had picked up last week for free. Friday - Hot dogs and chicken sausage and/or cheddar brats. All from the freezer AND the buns were picked up over the weekend for free. Saturday - again, hoping to do some seafood. I have lobster tails that MUST be eaten, shrimp, mahi mahi, grouper, flounder, you name it. I need to just do a seafood fest! And moving forward (for those interested) Sunday - Salisbury Steaks, providing Hubby is available to do ... he makes the best! Monday - Chicken Parmesan, another great clean out the freezer recipe as the sauce was made on Father's Day and the chicken is hopefully getting moved out! This could be another teaching moment with Princess. Tuesday- pressed sandwiches and pasta salad (lunchmeat from freezer) Wednesday - mojo marinated pork chops with grilled veggies. The chops are in my way every single time I go to get something out of the main kitchen freezer. Time to eat them! *FYI - today would be the 30th which is the DAY I gave myself to weigh and see how I did for June. Yes, I'm still doing low carb and just modify my plate at dinner time. Thursday - I have this as leftover night. If no leftovers, then we will just make sandwiches or whatnot. Friday - thinking along the lines of grilled pizzas. Been awhile. I think I'll probably get out of work early so no issues with making the dough. Saturday and Sunday it's the 4th of July weekend so I will leave this open. I do have some bone in chicken thighs that Hubby will probably want to start with along with burgers and stuff. Monday - I believe I'm off ... If so, and Hubby is too, I'd like to try and make the turkey roast (3 lbs each, have 5, but will only do 2) on the smoker grill. It would make for an interesting experiment. Tuesday - enchiladas or chimichangas ... check out Life as Mom as she has a great, easy looking recipe that I think I'm going to try. Wednesday - Ramen Shrimp packages, again been awhile since I've made and I should have everything needed. Of course, again, the names of the day are just there for basic references and things do have a tendency to get changed :) For more menus and ideas, hop on over Organizing Junkie ...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Dinner

Ok, so originally it was suppose to be skewers. I had flank steak, chicken breast, smoked sausage, shrooms, onions and peppers.
Well, the shrooms got tossed. Yeah, they would have been ok, but as soon as I skewered them, they were falling off ... so rather than drive myself batty, I just tossed them and continued on my merry way.
Left the flank steak whole. Left the chicken breast whole. Left the sausage whole. Skewered the veggies, drizzled some olive oil & then put some mccormick grinder seasoning on. Then I put a bottle of this on the counter to use for dipping purposes:
And this was the end result. Yumm. Unfortunately, Princess showed up and started chowing. And then the masses showed up (um, 12 in all) and I locked them outside on the patio til I got my food and some set aside for Hubby before letting them in to devour.
But then I added this on the side for a little dipping action:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sea Turtles

This should be another post under Signs of Summer ... sea turtle nest. All up and down the beach.
On my way to work the other morning, I counted 14. Yes. 14! As you can see in the picture, they mark off around the nest and then post the telltale sign of NOT to mess with it ...
Then there's also the theory that the turtles seem to know where the hurricanes will hit so if there are nests on the beach, its a good sign for no direct hits. I heard of this 2 years ago and we've had quite a few nests the past couple of years. So I'm sort of doing my own non-scientific study here ;)
If you are so inclined, you can sign up and go for the turtle walk and watch the baby hatchlings make their way to the ocean. Its really cool, but a little sad to know that only a few will survive the trip. They have special lights now on A1A to prevent the turtles from becoming disoriented and going towards the street lights instead of the "moon" on the ocean

Signs of Summer in Fort Lauderdale

Usually the first week of summer break (school generally ends on Wednesday, so the following Monday), this little set up shows up on the beach just south of the A1A curve:
Its for surfing. Learn how to surf. That's fine and dandy and all but can you see the background? There are NO waves and generally that's the way it goes in the early summer. Ahhh, but at least you can learn to paddle and practice jumping up on the board (ok, I do NOT surf, therefore, do not know the proper term for that) ...
Just had to share :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Monday dinner

Ham ... cheap, 99 cents per pound. Woohoo. And FREE macaroni & cheese from Kraft ... so sweet! The ham is in the crockpot at the moment, I will put it on low when I leave for work. Should be ok, as I'll only let it cook til about 4pm or so...then have the kids turn it off. I'm psyched as this is a big ham (7 lbs) and shoot, it's a beauty! There will be plenty of leftovers for lunches and the freezer. Woohoo!

Menu Plan Monday

Here it is, time for another manic Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie ... I skipped last week and well, the kids all fended for themselves as I worked late most nights, which means they ate a lot of junk food. Days mean nothing really, just that Thursday used to be tv night (survivor, which is now over) and Friday & Saturday which are fun days... Make sure you check back for recipe links & other stuff that comes up ... I'm really trying to stay on plan this week! Sunday - Chix thighs (with bone) that marinated in mojo creole seasoning ... grilled, with buttered egg noodles and a green salad (and homemade vinaigrette) Monday - Ham (found spiral sliced ham for 99 cents lb!) with macaroni & cheese (free samples from Kraft) Tuesday - Kabobs, beef, chicken, smoked sausage and shrimp (yes 4 kinds) with shrooms, onions, sweet mini peppers (they were cheaper to buy than the regular peppers) and tomatoes, a few will have pineapple for Princess too. Wednesday - tacos, bag of cooked taco meat in freezer already, cheese is in freezer, tons of shells floating around the house, lettuce, sour cream and diced onions and diced tomatoes (easy peasy with the kitchen gadget) Thursday - soup and sandwiches. Another easy night for me as I'll make a simple brothy soup with chicken broth (pantry), shredded chicken (freezer) and a bag of veggies (freezer) with grilled cheese for Sonny Boy and pressed ham (freezer OR leftover from Monday) and swiss (freezer) for Princess & Hubby. Friday - baked taters and steak. Debating on whether or not I want to try the taters in the crockpot all day or not. I can easily set the oven timer to come on at 5pm or so BUT if the kids decide to use the MAIN kitchen to bake something, they would mess me all up. OR maybe just put a note on the oven door "USE GUEST KITCHEN OVEN!) On the other hand, this is the night the kids have their BIG concert that they are all psyched up for and they will all be coming back here AFTER the concert ... so I'm thinking of just doing a baked tater bar or maybe move the taco stuff to this evening. Will have to discuss with Hubby as not sure what time WE will be back from the concert ... Saturday - seafood fest. I've got lobster tails we need to eat up from the freezer along with some shrimp and mahi mahi (dolphin ), all in the freezer. I've also got frozen clam strips that we could fry up if hubby was so inclined (Oh I know the kids would love a fry night but ummm...that would really throw me over the edge with the carbs!) Ok. Quick. I DO have 2 kitchens. We have the MAIN kitchen which you can see here (everytime I look at that picture, I find myself tilting my head a little, I suppose I should retake it?) and then we have this one: Now I'm smashed against the wall of the bar area to take this picture, no easy task. Can you believe it though, this how small my kitchen used to be before we did the major renovation back in 1998. Wow. I keep all my overflow stuff here, sodas, alcohol (and mixers) snacks, cereals, cake and cookie mixes etc. AND this is where the crockpots are stored (in the small cabinet next to that stove.

Tight on Cash

I find it a little amusing that some weeks I am so thrifty and frugal it's sick! Every penny is accounted for, my grocery list is adhered to and I say NO to anything outside the area. Then, other days, for whatever reason, I spend. And spend. And spend even more. And then suddenly, a few days later, I will realize, holy crap! I've spent XX amount of dollars and whoa nelly, that put me way off budget AND dipped into the savings fund. Anyone have any ideas how or why that happens? For me, it doesn't help that Princess is back home. And the BAND is here 4 out of the 7 days at least. And that I paid for rent for Princess last month. And enrolled her in 2 classes at college last month. And paid my homeowners insurance. Oh. Ok. Maybe it wasn't just the fact that I fell off the budget plan momentarily afterall? On the flip side, it's good that I do have the saving accounts. Granted, they are LOW right now. As in real low. And its even better that I caught myself quickly on the overspending. Honestly. I don't know what came over me. Why I suddenly felt so ... extravegant, entitled, worthy of the higher, full priced items. Hum. Hair done - check manicure pedicure - check waxing (brows and lip) - check a few new dresses (as in BRAND SPANKING NEW FROM A STORE!) - check Lots of junky snack foods for the kids - check (ok, I think this may be my guilt of being on a low carb diet and not feeding the kids as normal!) Splurging and taking 10 teens and myself out to dinner to celebrate end of school year - check (was actually cheaper than I anticipated but still so not in the normal budget) And there you have it, my last few weeks of splurges. Oh well. I've picked myself up, dusted myself off, look straight ahead, and am now following the green line :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Teenagers and Summertime

Well, it's officially here. Summer. Sonnyboy finished up on Wednesday and he's a SENIOR. Last year. My baby is growing up! Princess is still finishing up her classes on line for the local college BUT she had enrolled in the summer courses on purpose. Sonnyboy needs to finish up his resume we put together for him and take it over to the mall and see what's there. He's an 'odd' boy, so it will be interesting to see what happens. I say odd, as in he does not conform to his surroundings. He is who he IS. Not in a bad way :) Princess has been working for oh, 3 weeks now, at a little store in the mall. She was doing ok with hours, about 20 a week. But this week she only works one day, 4 hours. Huh. Told her she needs to keep looking. Suddenly I've become cash poor. It seems with two teens back home, it's a little more expensive. I know its the $5 here and $5 there, which is why I have a cash jar. But still. So, what are the plans for the summer for the kids? 1. Princess and Hubby are driving to Orlando next weekend to pick up the washer and dryer from her apartment, bringing it home and then we will install hers in the house and sell my first generation Maytag Neptune. It will be a sad day but hers is so much better, newer, with all the bells and whistles (steam wash??). I hope to be able to sell the washer and dryer for at least $300. They are perfect condition and I have all the manuals and everything. 2. Sonnyboy and the band are lining up gigs left and right, it appears. There is a big concert coming up on Friday the 18th that they are playing at. They hope that the manager for the headline band likes them as they would like to discuss potential management. The kids do work hard practicing and I do like these kids (ahem, young men) so much better than the previous group. So in other words, there will be lots of practice sessions going on at the house which is fine as long as they behave and keep it clean. 3. Hopefully an August trip to Chicago and Indiana. I really want to go back to Navy Pier during season and not during 50 mph gusty winds :) Plus, it's just nice to see my folks and hubby's family. AND now my big brother will be there too as he's moving from Texas to Indiana in July for a job relocation (great news!!) 4. We should be getting the pickup truck soon. Which means the kids will no longer be sharing the one car. They've been pretty kind to each other so far with that but I know come the summer time with work schedules they will conflict so this is good. 5. I foresee quite a bit of pool time. Seems the new band members like to play in the pool based on the towels I see outside hanging to dry. So glad they are trained on that note. Princess has been trying to tan also as she never realized that her natural skin tone was PALE. After spending 6 months in Missouri and Arizona she lost her lifetime tan :) 6. Perhaps a quick trip to the keys with the seadoo. 7. Hopefully getting the boat back in the water. Not that the kids would be allowed to take it on their own (come on, its 35 feet long), but a few days off midweek here and there for a trip out would be fun. 8. Once the pickup is here, I think Hubby will work with Sonnyboy on backup skills with a trailer in tow. Once he masters that, then learning how to launch the seadoo and then he can take the seadoo to Bayview Park to ride. UNLESS Hubby finally decides to use the lift and leave it on the water? Hmmm. Unfortunately, Sonnyboy is the ONLY kid who can drive it since he's the only one with his watercraft license. Princess should be working on that. 9. Garage sale, at least one. Would like to do that in June. Kids definitely need to declutter their rooms. 10. Relaxing. But not laziness. I will try to teach the kids the difference. Wish me luck! Those are just a few things we are thinking of. I'm sure there are plenty of things I forgot ... what are your plans for any teens this summer?