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Monday, November 29, 2010

101 ...

Quick, when you think of 101 ... what do you think of??

Dalmatians. That would have been ole France. He was the worlds BEST dog ... anyways...that's not what the post is about :)

101 Airborne.

Yeah. That's what it's about.

Well, sort of.

See, when we were doing the Wii, Princess was sitting there patiently (not so) waiting as she wanted to play tennis ... I was putting all my Wii Active stuff away NEATLY in the cabinet ... and I was playing with the stupid rubber red thingy.

I had it around the bottom of my feet and was doing curls and said, "Oh, this sucks. It's so wimpy!" And she said "Uh huh. Do it 101 times and tell me what you think then."

That's when she told me about the drill Sergeant that came in midway through boot camp for her ... he was from the 101 Airborne division and EVERYTHING they do was 101 reps.

Sure enough, 101 reps of ANYTHING is tedious! That wimpy red strappy thing? It could have been 50 lb dumbbells by the 50th. 100 lbs by the 101st. YIKES!

So go ahead, next time you work out. Pick a lighter weight. Like ridiculously light and go for 101!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Make It Happen Monday

Oh boy ... we are in the homestretch to the end of the year. If you are not normally a list maker, now would be the time to change THAT attitude :)

If you've been following along, I've been linking up to Ammie over at Domestically Obsessed and posting my Monday morning list of things to do for the upcoming week. And much to my horror, I realize that I occasionally spell AMMIE's name wrong (I'm so sorry!).

Anyways ... busy week, month coming up here. 18th and 20th birthdays of the two animals (OMG!). Hubby flies out Saturday morning and returns the following Friday Tuesday. Garage Sale on Saturday. Kids birthday gathering on Saturday night. Which means I have girlfriends over on Saturday night (uh uh, no way am I supporting all these animals by myself ... I need other adult reinforcments!). So with that in mind...here we go:

1. Anything that looks REMOTELY out of place, slap a price tag on it for garage sale [evil laugh] PURGE baby!
2. Once and for all, clear out the closet floor. Just do it and be done.
3. Clean bathroom drawers out. Toss the make up that you just don't wear (90% of it).
4. Kids birthday cards.
5. Kids meeting with party rules and expectations (no booze, smoking away from the adults only (some of the friends smoke, over 18, sleepovers fine WITH the exception that girls sleep in guest room, boys in living room, all out of the house by 9am Sunday, no booze, if caught near the bar, fingers will be snapped (the big girls meaning me and friends most likely will be there), live music is fine but must end by 11pm or sooner if requested by neighbors or police, all must pitch in throughout night to help clear mess so not a big chore the following morning) ... hmmm, did I forget anything?
6. Laundry and ironing. Put all away.
7. Price tags on stuff.
8. Call doctor for mammogram script
9. Link up to Menu Plan Monday
10. Talk to kids about food on Saturday. Tacos ok? Good, done.
11. Have kids bake cake and make cookies while I'm doing garage sale.
12. Set up bills for auto bill pay.
13. PAY PROPERTY TAX BILL no later than Tuesday (ick. $5500) Do you think I should move this from #13 to #1??
14. Drop off library books.
15. Bed Bath and Beyond for towels for gifts - DON'T FORGET COUPONS! (these cool little towels that you drain your dishes on ...awesome)
16. Start evaluating winter clothing for trip. Is anyone laughing at this? My kids do NOT have a winter jacket. They never need them here. The ones that we had were like from 2nd and 4th grades! OMG.  Sonny Boy had me laughing so hard I almost peed my pants :)
17. Wii weigh in
18. Wii workout plan
19. Wii goals
20. Play Wii :)
21. Put Garage Sale ad in Craiglist starting Wednesday.

Ahhh...21 things. Woohoo. I finally had Hubby move theWii from the Florida Room aka Man Cave to the main living room. We've been bowling and playing tennis for fun!

Are YOU getting your home on? Link on up with Ammie to show you do!

Menu Plan Monday

Thanksgiving is over ... and we are now into the homestretch for the end of the year. Does that make me happy?

Sort of. Kind of. Yeah, maybe. It gives me the chance to wipe the slate clean of all those new year resolutions I made LAST year that fell on the wayside. Seriously, I'd just as soon give them all up!

So, I've got 2 days left of the SRS program ... and I think, I'm going to continue working on the freezer and pantry clean out. In other words, eating from the freezers and pantry as much as possible.  Looking for ideas? Hop on over to Organizing Junkie and check out the 300+ menus that are posted around the web!

Trust me, it's not as bad as it sounds. Three freezers? Two of them have been inventoried and documented. And you never know, by the time this post shows up on Monday, #3 may have been ambushed too! Of course, I've added about 16 lbs of chicken breast and 3 lbs of shrimp to the freezers since then AND I'm sure, a little more turkey will be tossed in! AND then I grabbed 4 lbs of ground turkey at $1 per pound AND 2 pkgs of snausages AND a pound of chicken apple sausage ($1.99 for a pound, excellent price!) ...

So, based on what I have on hand, for the most part, this is what we are eating this week, if everything goes according to plan that is!

Sunday - Chicken Piccata and buttered egg noodles

Monday - Turkey and stuffing, please let this be the last of the stuffing ...

Tuesday - Sesame Beef and Peppers ... will post my version after I try it!

Wednesday - soup and sandwiches (of course!) Would really like to try this cheese soup as I have everything on had again and then we could just have a [gag] turkey sandwich too.

Thursday - This yummy sounding Shrimp Pad Thai (because I have EVERYTHING in the freezer/pantry!)

Friday - as Hubby will be leaving tomorrow, tonight will be our date night ... bet you never knew we had date night, did ya? I'm thinking something yummy like on the grill ... but I'm going to let HIM decide what

Saturday - (hubby off to Dallas and I believe the kids are having their combine birthday party) ... wonder if I can bring some of the turkey stuff out of the freezer?? Just kidding! I jest! Really! But seriously, we have our annual garage sale this day AND I will have a few girlfriends over that evening to offset the mayhem that is sure to arise (uh, 18 year old boys, 20 year old girls and ALL of them play musical instruments) ... thinking maybe taco bar or something of that sort that I could make beforehand and keep warm in the crockpot ...

So how about it, what do YOU have planned this week to eat? Hop on over to Menu Plan Monday and link up!

Chicken Piccata

We are so over turkey, well, at least I am! So something different was made for dinner (and I stuffed one turkey breast that was dissected into the freezer!)

Chicken Piccata ... this has to be the favorite thing I make for Princess. She's been asking for it for what seems forever and she sat at the counter and waited patiently, hopefully picking up the way to make it along the way.... we serve this with buttered egg noodles and crescent rolls.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed and sliced in half (horizontally)
1/2 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper (and whatever other seasoning you might wish!)
Olive oil and butter for pan frying

1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth (a little more than one cup)
1/2 cup lemon juice (honestly, I use the stuff in a bottle, shoot me)
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
fresh or dried parsley for garnishing
TIP: I add the 3 liquids to a large mixing cup/bowl for ease.

Dip chicken in flour and coat both sides. Have oil and butter melting in pan on medium heat. Fry chicken in 2 batches, 3 minutes or so til browned and cooked.

Once all chicken is cooked, keep warm on a plate covered with foil. Turn up heat on pan to medium high and add most of the liquid, scraping the bottom to remove all the browned bits. Add flour to some of the liquid in your measuring cup/bowl and whisk to remove all the lumpy stuff (TIP: I use Wondra which is super fine flour).  Once the liquid in pan is boiling, pour in the mix from cup/bowl and continue to whisk til thickened. Add capers and chicken, top with parsley and heat thoroughly.

Serve over noodles and enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hot Browns, my way

I post about Hot Browns on my Menu Plan Mondays pretty frequently. And I always get side tracked by something else or just don’t feel like the hassle of doing it. Tonight, the day after Thanksgiving, no kids in the house, and hubby pretty much out on his back with back problems, I made it, using 2 big hunks of turkey breast that we had fried yesterday.

Oh lordy, why have I waited so long? Yeah, I know, I’ve said (any may have even put it in writing a time or two!) that a Hot Brown is just a glorified hot open face turkey sandwich. But after making it tonight and eating it, I must say, it deserves to be called so much more! This is definitely staying in my to go to recipe list … the sauce, even though it took a little time, was pretty much done in the time it took for the bacon to cook so not so bad if you are good at multitasking (and toasting the bread and remembering that oops, the turkey should be sitting out to take the chill out) … go ahead, have at it and let me know what you think!
Hot Brown Sandwich
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, room temperature and beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste
Dried parsley as desired
8 slices toasted white bread, crust trimmed off
1 pound cooked turkey breast, thickly sliced (or chunky)
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
8 bacon slices, fried crisp (I only did 5)
One medium size tomato cut in quarters and halved again (8 quarters)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Gradually add flour, whisking constantly, until smooth and free from lumps. Gradually stir in milk and cream until sauce comes to a gentle boil, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted and well blended.
In a small bowl, beat egg. Gradually add 1 cup of hot sauce, 1/3 cup at a time, to the egg, stirring constantly. Gradually add egg mixture to remaining sauce, stirring constantly until well blended; add salt and pepper to taste with parsley.
For each Hot Brown sandwich, place two slices of toasted bread on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with a liberal amount of turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey. Nestle a tomato wedge in one corner and then other corner (2 total). Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler cross two pieces of bacon over the top, and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings of two open-faced sandwiches each.
My notes: FYI – its pretty important that you gradually do the egg otherwise you will have scrambled egg pieces and pretty much ruin the sauce … keep the bread crust that you trimmed off after toasting to “sample” the sauce … trust me, you’ll be glad you did! Also, I DID use fresh Parmesan cheese. There's a time and a place for the shaker green stuff but I don't think is it.


Original recipe found at http://www.whatscookingamerica.com/ and as modified by me on 11/26/2010

Linking up with Jen over at (balancing!) Beauty and Bedlam Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods! Go check it out (and don't blame ME if you get sidetracked for an hour or so!)

Trying not to panic

I realize that I am out of the following items:

Ketchup. I have a small bottle, half empty if even half left. NONE in the pantry. Realize that Hubby must have used the LAST big bottle during his bbq episode ...

Onions. You know, the all around produce staple? I think I have ONE left in the fridge. I do have some in the freezers (thanks to the inventory list!!)

Brownie mix. Yeah, I know, its a box but still.

Sour cream. Oh Oh. This never happens. I couldn't make the cheesecake because I didn't have any more sour cream. Used the last of it in the three corn casserole.

Cat litter. Ok. You know what? I'm ready to boycott that whole area. Damn it anyways. It's not MY cat that uses the stinkin litterbox. He hangs outside all day long and then comes in, hooks a left down the hallway and another left into the laundry room to do his business then comes marching right back to the sliding glass door to go outside again. WTH??

Dish soap. Uh huh. I'm pretty darn low right now. Like, bubbles come out when I squeeze the bottle.

Laundry soap. Down to my last bottle of Tide. With Febreeze. So glad I saved this bottle til last! It's half gone.

I'm sure there are other things that I'm running low on ... but that's ok. I will NOT panic and feel the need to go out and BUY them this very moment.

But secretly, I certainly hope there are some decent deals coming up in the next few weeks!!

Using up those leftovers

We make a lot of food for Thanksgiving.

Seriously.

2 10.5 lb turkeys

3 5 lb turkey breasts

10 lbs of mashed taters

2 tins of stuffing

1 dozen eggs, deviled

tin of three corn casserole

and then the rest of the snacky things.

ALL of this was transported to our friends who live up the road about 8 blocks.

Unloaded.

Reheated.

Reloaded at the end of the night.

Ok, not ALL of it, but a lot :)

Well, all 5 turkeys came home with us because they also fried 4 ... we love our turkeys!

So. I forgot to take the eggs. In all the hassle excitement of loading the truck, someone forgot to open the fridge and grab the eggs last. Oh well. Could have come back home and picked them up but we had so much food already.

Kathy had a ham, stuffing, 1 roasted turkey and one fried turkey, sweet taters, cranberry sauce (and this jar of stuff from IKEA!), cheese ball and crackers, green bean casserole and ohhhh so much more.

So we have A LOT of food to eat. And I figured I may as well start first thing eliminating some of them ...

I started off this morning with breakfast of deviled eggs and a slice of ham ... pretty tasty although I should have the let the eggs sit a bit to take the chill off (heated the ham for a few minutes in a skillet).

Hubby will have stuffing fried (heated) up in a skillet and he will more than likely toss some turkey and gravy over the top for a corned turkey hash :) That's just my thing I call it (I HATE corned beef hash, he LOVES it ... ick, dog food!)

The kids will probably just eat a bagel and some deviled eggs. WHEN they get up (and I'm sure I will hear whining about the eggnog being gone) ...

Oh, dinner tonight? That will be Hot Browns. Oh yum. I'm so looking forward to that!

So what are you doing with all your leftovers?

Being that it's Friday and a Frugal Friday at that, come on over and link up at Life As Mom ...

Aldis trip 11/24

I drove to Aldis on Wednesday after work since I got out at 1pm ... and there were a few things I needed to get, primarily for the Three Corn Casserole I wanted to try ... plus a few things on my list.

I did deviate from the list (bad bad bad) but I'm SO glad I did ... because I got some GREAT deals ...

10 lb potatoes were 99 cents!!! For the whole bag. Dang. I wish I had grabbed another bag. I've still got alot of the 20lb jumbo size taters from Costco (that cost me $8) but these are excellent size, normal :) And not green.

I also peeked at the meat prices again. I wasn't overly impressed the last time I was there when I checked it out but this time, they had the boneless skinless chicken breast for a not so spectacular price (same as before) BUT there were little stickers on them that said $2 off ... so I grabbed 8 pkgs that were priced around $5 each (about 2 lbs or so each package) and figured I got them for about $1.50 per lb. Woohoo.

Also, they had 12 ounce bags of LARGE shrimp, cooked, with tail on, for $3.99 bag. Normally I can get raw, unpeeled shrimp for this price per lb but not lately (not since the oil spill anyways) ... so I picked up 3 bags to throw in the freezer for quick appetizers, or maybe a Po' Boy in the near future :).

Dozen large eggs were 69cents each. Picked up 4.

And a 16' inch deli style cheese pizza for $5.99. Grabbed that as I knew there would be a 'few' animals in the house that night (FYI - 16 inches is LARGE, this is considered Xtra large at the local pizza joint) ... fed 6 teens no problem.

Yeah, I did buy more ... want to see what else? Keep reading:

2 gallons milk $1.99 each
bananas (33 cents/lb) $1.38
2 paper bags, 6 cents each
8 pkgs of chicken, $ average each, most I paid was $3.23
whole pineapple, $1
2 qt batter bowl with lid (large measuring cup) $6.99
pizza $5.99
shredded asiago cheese tub $1.99
ready to serve bacon (to try out) $2.19
toothpaste $2.29
4 dozen eggs, 69cents each
3 ply tissue $1.19
2 whole kernel corn  39 each
10 lb taters 99cents
flour tortillas (to try ) 99 cents
2 bags frozen broccoli 99 cents each
3 jumbo cooked shrimp $3.99 each (ok, i would say I bought LARGE?)
2 bags french fried onions $1.99 each
fresh mushrooms $1.39
Green peppers (2) $1.19
2 String cheese $2.89 Ok, not sure WHY I bought these, was hungry I suppose? This is NOT a good deal
fresh cranberries 99 cents
tomatoes (3) $1.89
2 marshmallow fluffs 89 cents each
2 limes 19 cents each
2 peanut butter wafers (our downfall) 99 cents each
sliced pepperoni $1.99
75 feet of aluminum foil (needed) $1.99
white corn tortilla chips (to try) 99 cents
split top rolls $1.89
2 corn muffin  mix 35 cents each
peanut trio mix $3.99 (to take to friends)
Cheese Crumbles (totally clueless as to what this is?) $1.99
2 plain bagels $1.39 each
2 gravy mix packets 35 cents each
3 taco season packets 35 cents each
plain potato chips (to try with the homemade tatertots!) $1.29
chicken ramen soup cup $1.79 (6 cups)
chicken ramen soup mix $1.79 (12 bags)
butter bread $1.19

So my total? Not ending the SRS challenge well at all ... $115.69.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Three Corn Casserole

I've been on a mission for like ever to try and find a recipe for a corn casserole I had several years ago ... I'd have asked for the recipe but it was one of those catered lunches (the architect upstairs has it once a month, same caterer because they are GOOD) ... and I think this might be the one. I've got everything sitting on the counter waiting to go to make this ... original recipe came from Our Family Eats which she had adapted from Cooking Light, I'm doubling it and a few changes ...

I added in the prices of what I paid because honestly, I think this is going to be a dirt cheap side dish all things considering (thanks to our NEW Aldis!)

2 cups sour cream (mixing no fat and light) (free on sale and with coupons)
2 large eggs  (picked up for 69 cents/dozen at Aldis)
6 tbs butter room temp (did I really see that a pound of butter was $4.xx?? I paid $2.50/lb at Publix)
2 cans whole corn (39 cents each at Aldis)
2 cans creamed corn (39 cents each at Aldis)
2 boxes corn muffin mix (Aldi brand, 35 cents each)

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x12 dish with some cooking spray.
Combine sour cream, eggs and butter. Mix well to combine and incorporate.
Stir in corns and muffin.
Pour mixture into the dish and bake at 350 for about 60 minutes or so til set.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your turkeys be moist!

May your stuffing be flavorful!

May your gravy be smooth (sorry, I have to use a jar!)

And your company be enjoyable!

Today, when you sit for your feast, please do look at all those who chose to join you today and give thanks for having them in your life. Also, please remember those who are NOT at your table, but are overseas serving to protect our country in the name of freedom.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being a Foodie and discovering new sites

As you already know, I use I Heart Publix to set up my Publix shopping trip. Michelle does an excellent job of listing all the corresponding coupons to the current sale with Publix. And it's all free (and I think easier to deal with than that other site, The Grocery Game).  If you have a Publix and you haven't checked out the site, you MUST. Every Monday afternoon she has a sneak preview of the sale ad AND matching coupons ... it's pretty cool that you can set up your list a few days in advance (as opposed to 4 days into the sale period!)

Ok. Anyways, now that I've sold you on Michelle's site ... she also has a few guest bloggers come along and post recipes, etc. One of the newer features is Big Taste Small Budget which of course, is RIGHT up my alley! Our Family Eats ... I can't decide which recipe to do first, the Shrimp Po Boys (seriously thinking of taking this with me up North to feed the extended family for day after Christmas) or the Rocky Road Brownies (to try out on the Animals before their big birthday weekend events). Or if I should wait til Friday and do both (and scratch the Hot Browns as much as Hubby might holler!)

Susan's mom was a Home Ec teacher ... how cool would that be? I imagine maybe as a kid (when I was a kid) it might not have been as cool, but now, as an adult AND a mom (yeah, the kids STILL need me) I think it would be AWESOME. Seriously. I have NOT met a kid yet (teens at that!) who don't have some kind of interest in the kitchen and cooking (and eating) ... I wonder if it's because families don't cook like they used to?

Anyways ... because of her site, that's how I found the other site, Pennies on a Platter. Susan is great about giving credit where credit is due ... something I make every attempt to do but fail at times ...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freezer Inventory #2

At last! I did it!

It helps that I had the 3 turkey breast removed. Made a lot more room and easier to pull shelf by shelf out & put back.

Only threw away one thing, that would be the last bag of red sauce I had made back in July ... Hubby didn't like the sausage I used (I used ground pork, that could be it!)

So here it is, Freezer #2 (or the Guest Freezer as we call it):
Flat Iron steaks (individual 100 calories, 3 per pkg) x 2
Beef tenderloin for stirfry, 1 ziploc
Hamburer 80/20 x 1
filet mignon (from a WHOLE filet that was purchased) 2 ziplocs left (with about 6 per pkg)
bottom round steaks x 3
brats x 1 (4 in bag)
sandwich steaks x 1
chicken tenders (breaded) 5 lb bag
chicken thighs b/s x 2
flame roasted chix x 2
pork chops x 1
cheddar cheese x 1
mozz cheese x 5
parm cheese x 3
swiss cheese (shredded) x 1
fresh mozz slice x 1 (large ziploc for pizza)
fresh mozz shredd x 1 (large ziploc)
provolone slices x 1
sauted onions x 1 (ziploc)
clam strips x 6
crab cakes x 2 boxes (mini cakes)
shrimp x 1 lb
breakfast links x 2 (not that great, could become fish food)
canadian bacon x 1
bacon x 3
turkey bacon x 1
chix & apple sausae x 1 (large pk)
cajun style chix sausage x 1 (small pkg)
flat outs x 2
cajun chix lunchmeat (cubed and ziploc) x 1 (2 pkgs in ziploc)
turkey lunchmeat x 4
honey ham lunchmeat x 1
stadium brats x 1
smoked sausage x 1
Tabasco pulp x 2 LARGE SPACE EATING BAGS (ok, this is my pet peeve, sorry!)
cheddar wurst x 1
cheddar brats x 1

Whew ... I'm concerned, I didn't see more cheddar cheese OR butter!  But I do have a lot of beef steaky stuff to use up ... looking into this recipe or maybe I'll use some of the shrimp for this one.

I do need to get to the third (and smallest, thankfully!) freezer in the garage and then at last, I can see just what I really need to be buying (I'm looking a little lean on veggies it appears!) ...

Being a Foodie and discovering new sites!

I found a new site yesterday that I just fell in love with ... and unfortunately, I was at work and got a wee bit side tracked...

Pennies on a Platter

Totally dedicated to Food. Yahoo!

Excellent recipes.

A few are trying to be a little more healthful.

I think the thing that did me in was the homemade tater tots.

Yeah. HOMEMADE.

I could definitely earn Mom of the Year with that recipe. Not that I NEED to earn Mom of the Year (cuz we all know that I AM Mom of the Year!) ... but the question now comes up ... do I wait til January 1st to make these to drag out the award? Or should I finish off the year with this on New Years Eve? Whichever I decide, I must remember to do the Napoleon Dynamite line!

Anyways ... back to the real purpose of this post!

I have no idea WHO runs this site. I did gather a baby under one year and a hubby were in the picture (oh how sweet!) ... but really, it doesn't matter as I'm about to glean as much as I can from that site ... I'm telling you ... the recipes that I've looked at so far have been outstanding!!!

Go on over and check it out ... I've to dedicate some time to it very soon!

Black Friday (it's Madness!)

In many years as an adult, I (we) never did participate in Black Friday.

We had friends (and Thanksgiving guest) who would wake up at 3am, slug down a cup of coffee and dash out the door by 3:15am to get the VERY best deal they could.

I just could never see the reasoning behind it all. I mean, seriously, this is when people are at their worse, behavior wise.

Tired.

Greedy.

Determined.

Uhhhh....yeah.

Last year, we DID do Target at 4am. We got up. Slugged down a cup of coffee. Got there an hour before the store opened. Oh. We being me, Hubby and Sonny Boy ... needed him for his muscle. :)

There was a line around the building (mall). OMG. What have we signed up for??

We went for 2 TVs.

We left with 2 TVs.

No thanks to ME :).  Hubby had scoped out the situation on the Wednesday before to see WHERE the TV's were ... not knowing that the special deals would not be ON THE SHELF (doh!). So him & Sonny Boy head straight to the back of the store where the appliances were.

Me? I veered to the right and cut through the baby section and what was that straight ahead???? A pallet full of the TVs.

Of course, there are no manly men in my troop with ME. So I'm struggling to get the two TVs off the pallet and fend everyone else off ... (it was scary!) ...

Finally, after dragging the 2 TVs towards the checkout, here come the Big Boys! At last.

We were out of the store by 5:15am.

We were sitting in IHOP at 5:30am.

Home by 6:15am.

TV #1 set up by 7am.

Back in bed by 8am.

Am I doing it this year? No. Remember ... I'm on an SRS program!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reaching Out

I admit it, I'm very very bad with staying in touch with old friends.

It's not like when they are out of sight, out of mind, but, I have a pretty full, busy, all time consuming life.

Hmmm. That DOES sound like an excuse.

I have a few close friends. I have a lot of acquaintances.

I have a few OLD friends, which yes, at this point in my life, OLD both in age and time :)

Saturday night, as Hubby and I were sitting out on the patio enjoying the view and weather, we were listening to Sirius radio, something like Classic Rewind or whatnot, and REO Speedwagon came on ... "Take It On The Run". Oh my, the memories came flooding to my mind. I could remember it clear as day.

Sitting in the Diary Queen parking lot.

With my very best friend, Jules. Jules, who was at the other end of my umbilical cord. We were so very very close. Total opposites as far as our upbringing and such. But the very best friends forever. In her old silver firebird (her first car that we managed to total one Saturday afternoon...luckily we were both ok, young and stupid!).

It's been probably 10 years since I've seen Jules. And probably 4 years since I've spoken to her.

She's gotten married to a greek dude recently. Well, within the last 4 years. I know this because her big brother is also a very close friend of Hubby. Small town USA :)

So as soon as that song was on and the memories popped up, I grabbed my cell phone, scrolled through the 100 plus names and numbers and SURPRISE! There was a number for her (you never know if the number REALLY is on that SIMS card when you swap a new phone, you know??) ... No, I didn't CALL her (hey, I've had a few drinks), but I did send her a text message.

And she sent one back. And asked if I was on face book.

Oh....not really. I mean I am. But not actively. I refuse to get sucked into all that time consuming stuff :) Which goes back to the very beginning of this post :)

So...this week, BEFORE the big Turkey day, I will be calling Jules one evening to chat and catch up ... you know a life long friend when you can just pick up as if you were speaking yesterday when in reality it's been 4 plus years ...

Make It Happen Monday

Really, maybe we should request it be re-named to Make It Happy Monday? :)

If you've been following along, I've been linking up to Aimee over at Domestically Obsessed and posting my Monday morning list of things to do for the upcoming week.

Yeah, some of the things get checked off after lingering for a few weeks.

Other times, they just carry over. Stuff Happens. Such as is Life!

Anyways. I'm getting My Home On, at least I hope to!

1. Remove the 3 breast from the freezer to thaw. AT LAST!
2. Touch base with Cathy to finish up sides.
3. Remind bosses of Christmas leave.
4. Discuss options with kids for birthdays (18 and 20!!)
5. Call primary dr and see if she can get script for mammogram to me.
6. IF #5 is successful, schedule mammo at Holy Cross.
7. Check out cheater reader glasses. If not the issue, call eye dr.
8. Set up last 3 bills of month for auto pay.
9. Balance check book and smile.
10. Remove balance of check book to property taxes and weep.
11. Start getting pictures MORE organize for the Christmas gifts.
12. Check out Brookstone for the helicopters.
13. Order Sonny Boy design creation tshirts for Sis & Bri (he designed some really cool tshirts online for birthday gifts)
14. Call tmobile and see what kind of excellent deal I can get for 2 new phones for kids.
15. List mirrors on craigs list.
16. List suits on craigs list.
17. Check with Church and Joan on garage sale.

That's it. Seriously. I'm trying to keep it simple here this week! Yeah right. So what's on your to do list this week? Go on over and link UP!

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday! Happy Monday to all the Monday Menu Planners of the Web!  That would be over 300 of you!

At last, Thanksgiving has arrived! That means that FINALLY I will have room from the removal of the 3 turkey breast that are taking up residence in the one freezer ... still working on clearing all 3 out and, well, it's coming along ... as for the SRS (Severley Restricted Spending) month, that's coming along too ... and this menu may show that ... with the exception of ice cream, and a few other odds and ends, we've done pretty darn well staying within the necessary purchases ...

Sunday - pepperoni sandwiches and chocolate chip ice cream shakes (Hubbys request for birthday)
Monday - pasta with red sauce
Tuesday - clear out fridge ... leftovers and/or soup of sorts ... make room for Tom and friends
Wednesday - sandwiches and chips
Thursday - what else, gobble gobble, gobble. Turkey. Stuffing. Mashed Taters. Green Beans. Corn of some sort. Dinner Rolls. Pie. Cranberry stuff. Sweet Taters. More Turkey ... macaroni and cheese ...
Friday - leftover turkey ... thinking of doing a Hot Brown
Saturday - Steak and taters OR chicken. Still up in the air here ... will probably not decide until the morning of!

So, what do you all have going on for the week?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Freezer status

I've been trying very very hard to eat from the freezers to clean them out some ... this past week, this is what I've removed:

package of pepperoni
package of hoagie rolls
3 packages of cheese
2 boxes of Berber chicken (Kiev)
bag of pork chops
hot dog buns
hot dogs
*edited to add (since I forgot!):
3 packages of hamburger
2 1/2 packages of slider buns
1 frozen pizza (I believe this is the LAST one?)

Not so bad. And THIS week will herald the removal of THREE turkey breast AND a few bags of mashed taters. Can I tell you how much I'm looking forward to THAT?? :) Evil, I know. And yes, there will be some bags of turkey to put back in the freezer, but at least it won't be big hunks of frozen solid stuff :)

Oh, we DID add in 2 containers of ice cream, but those will be gone fairly quickly ...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Frustrating!

If you've been following my Make It Happen Monday lists, you'd know that I've had the gyno and mammo stuff on there from day one, always at the end, almost like an afterthought, you know, to kind of round out the list of things to do.

I printed out a list of doctors for the girly stuff ... uggg, how I just dread doing this. I don't know why. But I had 3 separate, unknown to each other people, refer this one doctor.

Miracles of all Miracles! She's on my plan! Woohoo! December 16 at 9am. Be early. Lots of paperwork. "When was your last pap?" "uhhh....a while ago. Quite a while ago" ...

Then as I'm taking the plunge, may as well make the next appt.

Call Holy Cross Women's Center ... (was the old NorthRidge Hospital) and end up going on line to request a call back. Why is it so difficult to schedule a mammogram appointment anyways?

Finally, after 3 hours, I get a phone call. Said that she would transfer me to the scheduling dept and then asked if I can the script with me. Uhhh.... "I need a script??" Crap.

So, one down, one to go. And quite honestly, this 2nd one is just going to have to wait another month til I see the gyno. It may be the least of my worries :) I'm just kidding ... it's not all doom and gloom, seriously!

So ... have you done your check ups this year?? (As I type this I wonder if my deductable is going UP next year or not ... maybe I should wait til the new year .... maybe I should just cancel the appointment ... oh wait, what if ... and so on!!!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Publix Alert - Heads UP!

If you get the paper today in South Florida, be sure to grab the Publix ad ... there is a $5 off $50 purchase right smack in the middle. Cut that baby out and head to the store with it tomorrow!

This will work excellent for ME as I've got a $20 gift card to use, and with my coupons, I should be able to get away with about $20 out of my pocket or so for groceries this week ...

So far, I've got this on my list:
celery x 2
carrots x 2
romaine lettuce
iceburg lettuce
publix ice tea x 4 (on sale)
NOT butter x 2
sweet taters (39 cents lb) about 4 lbs worth (really want to try this recipe)
frozen spinach IF it's on sale for a good deal
sour cream
possibly a small 11 lb turkey at 59 cents per lb for Hubby to do is feast at work (need to call him and see)

That does NOT look like $50 worth of food. If not, I will toss in a the wine thats on sale this week (I would prefer to buy KJ but for the price of THAT, I can buy 2 bottles of the other stuff which is almost as good) ... and maybe some more frozen veggies besides the spinach (brocolli, cauliflower, etc.) ...

The Thanksgiving Feast

I laugh now when I think back on all the Thanksgiving meals as a kid. I was so picky and would NOT eat any of that stuff, with the exception of the dinner rolls and corn and some desserts (get the pies away from me, ick!).

Now look at me. Almost everything, except the stuffing and green bean casserole, and the pumpkin pie, and the pecan pie ... and oh, I suppose there are a few things still that I bypass.

Sonny Boy is just like me when I was that age. It's infuriating and now I realize what my mother went through. Ha. History DOES repeat itself.

Anyways ... as an adult, I've learned to go with the flow of things much more smoothly!

We fry our turkeys. Yes, more than one. Generally 3 or 4 and then our friends do theirs. 

We rotate our dinner location between our home and our best friends who live about 10 blocks up the street.

This year will be at John & Kathy's. They've put a lot of work into redoing their home and I can't wait to cook in the new kitchen alongside Kathy ... wohoo! New appliances! State of the art oven! I'm sooooo in!

So with the keeping in the Severely Restricted Spending mode for November (which at times looks to be an utter failure!) I am going to dig out the three turkey breast I have taking up major, valuable space in the freezer of the guest kitchen.  We are just trying to determine HOW to put them in the fryer as we don't think we can thread a breast on the base thingy. I'm sure the boys will figure it out one way or the other ... but in the meantime, I may need to look into roasting them (ICK! NO!).

As Kathy and I have not totally discussed the plans of who will do what, I've got tentative ideas of what to make and take ... mashed taters (which some laugh at but because I (and Sonny Boy) don't do stuffing, we add taters to the meal!), green bean casserole, dinner rolls (I so LOVE Aldis right now) and a dessert ...  but of course, Kathy may want to make the green bean casserole (which is fine) but I insist on making the mashed taters and the dinner rolls ... and you can never have too many desserts!  John likes his cranberry which Kathy will take care of for him. Hubby LOVES stuffing so I will probably pull the fixins out for him to make that on Wednesday OR Friday ... he makes a turkey (fried) for the girls at work for Wednesday's feast before the holiday ... It's a good feeling knowing that I COULD make everything today with what I have on hand and no special trip to the store (although, I'm out of NOT Butter and I need to dig in the inventory the two freezer for some frozen butter)

So how about it, what are you all planning on making?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Make It Happen Monday

Thanks to Ammie over at Domstically Obsessed, I've started to Get My Home On and post my Make It Happen Monday list here. Does it necessarily help me? Yeah, but I have to fight the urge to re-create it on line as you know how things change every day...so if you are up to it, come on over to Ammie's home and link up!

As usual, a few items are carried over (seems to be the story of my life!) and with Hubby being gone 3 nights I've decided to be ruthless and P. U.  R. G. E. some of my problem areas. Better now than when he's around :) ...

1. Set reminder of library book due dates
2. Post and link menu plan monday
3. Hubby birthday card
4. shop on Crescent party stuff (coupons and gift card). Clean and set all for Thursdays get together
5. Scrub kitchen sink (main kitchen)
6. Reset Netflix selections (what is this CRAP they've been sending??)
7. Compile WW points on common foods consumed in this house
8. Guest hall closet - purge
9. Guest room closet - purge
10. Main dresser (bedroom) purge
11. Office area and desk, purge
12. Set new files for paid bills
13. Bank deposit, balance, pay bills, budget remainder
14. guest freezer and fridge
15. garage freezer and fridge
16. main fridge
17. Check out brookstone.com for the helicopter gifts to boys. (ok, we were wandering the mall looking for a pair of shoes for Hubby Sunday and the Brookstone store there was doing a cool demo on these helicopters .... very very cool, we almost got sucked in - along with the hampsters in the ball at the little kiosk) ...
18. The usual carryover ... mammogram and pap appts.

So how about it, you getting your home on?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday (again!?) and that means time to link up over at Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday! Go check it out and link up ... tons of other ideas there too! 

Hubby is traveling this week to Detroit ...

Sonny Boy has school 4 days this week ....

Princess has 4 classes this week AND starts her new job at Tijuana Flats (go get em' girly!)...

And Me? Well, I have work this week. At the moment, as I type this in advance, I think it shouldn't be too busy but who am I kidding? I say that and then get slammed ...

And I'm entering week three of the SRS program ... with very little cash left to tide me over after my Aldi's trip ... I really have NO need to go to the grocery store ...

So with all those factors above, dinner time shall be simple and not at all difficult:

Sunday - Pasta with my red sauce that I got up at the crack of dawn to make (not really) with a green salad and garlic rolls to hopefully celebrate finally getting the rope lights (LED) up around the back of house and patio (been a long ride to do this, Hubby is a perfectionist)

Monday - Garlicky chicken with rice and veggies

Tuesday (hubby out) -  Burgers on the grill (will make them small so I can use the slider buns from freezer)

Wednesday (hubby out) - Survivor Night - soup and sandwiches (I'm thinking easy peasy here with grilled cheese and tomato soup! But I may change my mind and do black bean soup and some other sandwich type?)

Thursday (hubby out) This is my Pillsbury Crescent night, so I'm making little pigs in the blanket (the lil smokies were in the freezer, thankfully!), baked brie and a dessert of sorts ... all will be using the Crescents (free coupons provided by Pillsbury) ... there will be a separate post on this later!

Friday (hubby home!) - I believe something along the lines of Chicken!

Saturday - steak and double baked taters (I really need to eat the filet mignon before too much longer)...most likely have friends over since Hubby's birthday is Sunday ... maybe I'll make brownies from scratch (no boxes left!).

So there you have it. One link. No recipes. Simple as can be. But this is good, it falls in with the SRS plan for the month AND leaves me with minimal stress. I am all for that!

Aldis Trip

I went. I saw. I bought. I left.

Ick.

1.  The place was mobbed when I go there.

2. Entrances and exits and parking aisles were blocked.

3. Some crews were there cutting down trees, cutting asphalt, etc. that just wasn't cool. I had barricades all around my truck when I came out. Kind of ticked me off that they couldn't wait til the store was closed, or blocked off the whole thing before I parked.

4. Customers were rude. Just didn't get the whole concept of paying a quarter for the cart (hey, you will get it back if you aren't so lazy to leave it wandering around the parking lot!) and the fact that they had to either PAY for bags OR bring their own.

5.  Even worse was when they found out it was CASH or debit only ... no credit folks!

6.  Not in the best of areas. Probably one of the worse areas to be (in my opinion). BUT I have to say, they've totally upgraded the plaza area where its at ... just thought there would be more security/police presence ... I only say this because walking back to my car, there were probably 10 kids or so (all around 12-14 years old?) cruising around on their bikes right up to people loading their cars. I mean, like seriously kid, don't make me practice my old boxing skills on you type of stuff. Little twerps, probably had weapons on them. Would NOT go after dark. Enough said.

So. Now that I got THAT out of the way.  Aldis is Aldis. Very few name brands. Very basic layout. But I found things I was looking for:

Milk (no matter what percent) $1.99 gallon. Beats Costco.
Bananas 39 cents lb, beats Costco (and not Costco sized!)
Apples, 3 lb bags for $1.29. Beats Costco (and Publix, who has apples for $1.79 per POUND!)
Romaine lettuce (3 per bag), $2.00 BUT they were kind of puny so I passed
Half and half, $1.99. I bought only because I needed.
Whipping cream, (heavy), $1.59 CHEAP, bought one
Corn beef hash (the one thing hubby always ask for) $1.49. Totally beats Costco and Publix.
Canned goods were pretty cheap, mandarin oranges were 49 cents, black beans were 55 cents which I haven't seen that low in a while, pears halves $1.39 and so on.
Brown & serve rolls that we love to have were 89 cents a package. This is way cheaper than store SALE price of $1.50. Same with bagels, $1.39 ... have to ask Sonny boy how they are.
I only picked up pringles and a bag of pretzels from snack aisle. We just don't need that crap but they were $1.19 for TALL can of pringles and $1.29 for pretzels
Tissues, 3 ply were $1.19 which beat this weeks sale of $1.25 a box.

There were a few things that I passed by. The meat didn't seem to be a stellar deal (plus I'm fairly stocked at the moment) ... tons of frozen items to choose from, but I have NO room in my freezer, trying to clean that out AND have started to look at the labels of some of that premade stuff, just freaks me out a little!

Oh, I also got 2 5lb bags of flour for $1.19 which is the cheapest I've seen in a while - Publix has Gold Medal on sale for $1.99 at the moment ... will try this and see how it is (hmmm...maybe I can finally get around to the Artisan Bread? ... which, by the way, the recipe link no longer carries the recipe!) ...

So, will I go back? Yes. I think the milk could be the number one thing for me. I need to have everyone try it (can you believe I have MILK SNOBS in the house??) and give me their opinion ...

Oh I'm sorry...what was that? How much did I spend? Ummm, hmmm ... $63. Yeah. Depleted my cash ... crap.

Sunday morning accomplishments (and a recipe)

I'm very impressed with myself this morning ... it's not even 9:30 and I already have this going on:

Noodles Panini Red Sauce look alike!

Here's how I make it (modified from the original recipe):
About 2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 lbs (or so) Italian sausage (I used 4 to 5 links, and slice through the casing, peel it off and break it up)
1 tsp oregano (dried)
1 tsp marjoram
1 large bay leaf (or 2 smaller ones)
6 oz tomato paste
3/4 cup water
About 90 ounces crushed tomatoes (3 large cans) ... I just buy one of them Costco sized tomato sauce cans, I think its' 105 ounces? because hubby doesn't do chunky cooked tomatoes)
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup loose packed fresh basil, julienned (you know, sliced thin!)

Heat olive oil in LARGE pot. Add onions & garlic, saute for a minute or so to sweat. Then add sausage and cook til no longer pink, breaking up as you go.
Add the remaining ingredients except the fresh basil. Allow to simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Hubby loves this stuff and swears it taste best the following day. Makes quite a bit, 14 cups or so AND I generally freeze in quart size bags for a quick defrosting dinner.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I am off to Aldi's today

Hubby is going to Mens Warehouse to look at some new suits ... ummm, really? Yeah. They have a deal right now where you buy one get the 2nd one for $100.00.  Expensive, still, but he's a big guy and I just don't see him being able to find anything second hand. Being a director status, you have to have decent stuff...being a guy must really stink at times!

On the other hand, I have 6 suits that no longer fit him and he's quite certain there is not enough fabric to have them altered so they do fit. Trying to decide if I want to list them on Craigs List and for how much? (mental note, need to also do the tires and wheels from truck soon, along with the huge mirrors, and a few other things...)

So, anyways. Back to the subject line.

Aldi's. They opened up on Thursday and I really really wanted to go after work ... that was, before it got so freakin late in the day before I got out ... and I don't want to be going west (young man) at 4:30, 5pm at night. Traffic is brutal! So I'm hoping to go today. This morning, ideally.

I have a list.

Very specific (hmmm....have you read that line anywhere else on this blog??).

With a little room for browsing.

I have my quarter for the shopping cart (wonder how much extra change I could make in the parking lot?)

I have my reusable shopping bags in the back of truck.

I have CASH (no credit cards!!)

I'm all set to go, except that I have a MAJOR headache this morning.

No, it's not from last nights beer and pizza. I had TWO beers. Well, actually, one and a half, the 2nd one sat on table while hubby did the rope lights. And 3 pieces of pizza. Wow. What a chowhound!

Time to take two Tylenol and a shower, slug another cup of coffee down, and get ready to go! I'll be back later to give an update on Aldi's South Florida style!

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Friday Night

The Animals have all left the house (ok, probably not for long though with MY luck).

Hubby is not home yet.

I'm sipping a Coors Light straight out of the can.

I'm on the Internet.

I just ordered two pizzas from Poppa Johns Papa Johns (see what happens when you don't proof!?).

Used the promo code of all799

Paying $20.91 for both. Am using the crisp $20 bill the boss man gave me today as he left at noon for his weekend trip (see, do a good job, above and beyond and you will be rewarded!)

Will eat all the evidence before any one gets home.

Destroy cardboard boxes.

Stash the little dipping sauces for future uses.

I'm PMS'ing ... I can't help it.

SRS - Severely Restricted Spending Update #2

It hasn't been so very bad, into week 2.

However, the gas pump wouldn't stop at 30, so I ended up putting $35.01 into the Tahoe ... that gave me a little over a half tank on Monday.

I stopped at the grocery store (Publix) on Wednesday to get the Hood Smart Milk, beef broth and a few other SELECT items on my list with coupons in hand. Was aiming for $20. Uhhh. No Smart Milk. No Beef Broth. $60 later, with the majority of it being produce stuff (very disappointed here in the quality and PRICE of the produce) along with 4 cans of french cut green beans, 2 cans of black beans, 2 cans of pizza sauce, carnation instant breakfast, bread, hoagie rolls, and a few other oddball things ... was more than I wanted, and had to BEG for rain checks.

Thursday got out of work early. WANTED to go to Aldi's but said NO since I just spent $40 more than I wanted at the grocery store the previous night. So instead, I went to Faith Farm, my newest favorite thrift store to look for a new pair of jeans.

Yahoo ... got me a pair of low flare 542 Levi's ... perfect fit $3.99 AND a shawl double breasted button up cardigan sweater by Take Out for $3.99. Bypassed the cool fiestaware set, the cool shoes, a few dresses, etc. Got exactly what I needed and left (this all because I wore a pair of my jeans to work and all day long, my stomach was getting pinched by the TIGHT waistband...let's face it, time to get moving and lose some weight).

Then stopped at the bread store (the thrift and bread place close way too early for me to make a normal stop on my way home from work) and got a loaf of bread for 79 cents, coney island style hot dog buns, 79 cents, regular hot dog buns, 79 cents (freezer), 6 ho ho's, 6 snack donuts packs and 2 boxes of zingers. Junk, I know. $10.

I will be going to Aldi's this weekend, hopefully with Hubby and/or Animals in tow to check it out ... Heck I'm so dang excited that they've finally come to South Florida!!

So, now that I've confessed to spending quite a bit this week, how has everyone else done?

*This post is linked over to Frugal Friday's with Jessica at Life As Mom ... check her site out, pretty cool stuff from a gal that lives on the exact opposite coast of me!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pantry Food - Chicken, Corn and Black Bean Salad

This came from my local paper, Sun Sentinel as a way to make something yummy using our hurricane supplies, kind of funny as it’s pretty tasty and I make it about once a month! I generally make it for lunches or quesadillas.

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn, no salt if possible, drained
4 scallions, thinly sliced, about ½ cup
1 red/yellow or orange pepper, diced
1 can of chicken, drained (or ¾ lb / 3 cups cooked chicken), cut into bite size pieces
Juice of 2 limes (3 tbs)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbs ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Diced tomatoes (optional, but highly recommended)
Baked tortilla chips, optional
Avocado, optional (diced)

In large bowl, mix all except chips and avocados. Chill 30 minutes or one day ahead. Mix to redistribute dressing and top with chips and avocado if using.

This is really good to use as a filling on quesadillas, just omit the chips and avocado, use a little cheese on the tortilla shell and grill up.

*Linking up to Jen over at Beauty And Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cocktails, beverages and friends

Ok, I admit it, I WE partake in cocktails, beverages and such. I know some of you who visit the site do not, and hey, I'm perfectly fine with that.

However, for those of you who DO participate, read on ... all others who have no interest in my latest discovery, move on to the next post, I promise it will be interesting.

I generally drink beer. Which is NOT a ladylike thing normally. I mean seriously, unless you are in some music video, there really isn't anything appealing about swigging from a can or bottle :)

My 2nd choice used to be vodka. Lemon Drops to be exact. You know, Absolut Citron, chilled, with a lemon sprinkled with sugar. Don't even think of putting the sugar and/or lemon in the shotglass!  Of course, as I got older, and drank one too many (and swallowed a shot the wrong way, ICK!) I no longer get all giddy at the thought of doing a lemon drop.

My 3rd choice is tequila. Not straight up as in a shot, at all ... but a margarita. Must be a silver (clear) type of tequila, preferably NOT Jose Cuervo. Then my girlfriend introduced me to Patron, the yellow label (if I had a bottle in front of me I could tell you WHICH one it is) ... but it runs about $60 or so a bottle. Smooth, no mix needed or required. It's highly recommended by me for the taste and even the cost (heck, it's not like you will drink the whole bottle in one night, at least I HOPE not!)

So back to choice number 2. Vodka.  I've tried them all, Grey Goose, Belvedere, Smirnoff, Gordons, etc. Even some funky off the wall ones that came in a cool looking bottle (hey, we shop with our eyes, admit it!). But then my girlfriend across the street introduced me to TITOS.

Titos.

Crystal Clear liquid.

The smell. The smell. Does NOT smell like vodka.

The bottle is just plain clear with a fairly nondescript label.

The price is middle of the road, I think Hubby paid about $30 for a mid size bottle (he thinks it's less than Absolut).

The taste. The taste along is enough to do me in. See, it's distilled SIX times. And it's made with Corn. From the MIDWEST (hey, I'm a natural born Hoosier girl!)

100% gluten free, no wheat (and I'm pretty sure no preservative stuff)

Made in Texas. Hey, can't get much better than that!

Anyways, I am NOT affilated in any way with Tito's but I would strongly recommend you look in to a small bottle to sample if Vodka is your thing. Seriously. It's smooth. No funky, bitter taste or smell. And just good. Oh, yeah, it IS alcohol, 80 proof ... please DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.

Look what I saw yesterday morning on my way to work

The Reindeer's have arrived at the Galleria Mall ... which means, next up is SANTA! The BEST Santa in town, in my opinion ... he sits in the courtyard area (now it's a Food Court) with a Christmas tree that is like 3 stories tall ... I can still see Princess the first time she saw him, she was just in awe ... (Yes, it's the real Santa, as in you tell him what you'd like him to bring you) ... and then she inquired how Rudolph and all the other reindeer were doing :)

Chili Cheese Dogs

I always forget how easy these are to make and how happy everyone is with them. They are gooey and make a great patio meal. It IS the holiday season fast approaching and I really think everyone should take a night and just wind down and do something THIS simple for dinner ...

1 pkg of hot dogs. Any type will do
1 can of no bean chili
1 bag of cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pkg of hot dog buns

Now that you have the difficult list of ingredients down, lets cook.

Steam hot dogs til cooked. I use my bamboo steamer, but you can use a steamer rack, or if you prefer, fry them up in a skillet with a bit of water. Please, do not EVER boil your dogs. They just don't like it and well, my kids get really wiggy about it, can't say I blame them!

Heat the chili on low heat.

Place buns in large baking dish. Open each one up a bit and put the dog in … push down as you will need room on top.

Top each dog with some chili (as little or as much as you’d like) and then liberally spread each with cheese.
Toast under broiler til the cheese is melted. If desired, you can top with onions, tomatoes, peppers, whatever, before serving. Scoop out with a large spatula or spoon as they will be really gooey but oh so yummy.

*This is linked up to Jen over at Beauty and Bedlam Tasty Tuesday parade ... go on over and check her out, she's got some GREAT giveaways going on right now (but be sure you have time, you will be browsing and reading for hours!!*

Monday, November 8, 2010

Make It Happen Monday

Thanks to Ammie over at Domstically Obsessed, I've started to Get My Home On and post my to do list here. Does it necessarily help me? Yeah, but I have to fight the urge to re-create it on line as you know how things change every day....notice laundry and ironing are NOT on this week? Thats because in my fit yesterday morning, I ironed ... good therapy!

So here I am, once again, attempting to get my home on!

1. Menu Plan, pull recipes and coordinate
2. Halloween stuff in BOX and then attic
3. Inventory guest kitchen freezer and type up results
4. Inventory garage freezer and type up results
5. Publix list, very detailed, no more than $20.00 (veggies, salad stuff, breads, milk)
6. Hubby birthday card
7. Thanksgiving ideas (here or at John and Kathys?) use all three turkey breast or buy whole turkey (NO!)
8. Look into new phones for Kids birthdays (plan wise, how much for phones?)
9. eye exam for me (ummm, things are a little more blurry than usual, eye fatigue? Perhaps but I sort of doubt it)
10. Sonny boy contacts? Check on Princess status (she has astigmatism and the contacts take 3 times longer to deliver!)
11. Mammogram appt
12. Papsmear appt
13. Set girls night for next week. (I've been selected to host a Pillsbury Crescent Get Together!)
14. Closet floor. Come on. Just box it up for the garage sale. It doesn't fit. That's why it's on the floor in the corner!!
15. Work in the garden. Of course, this would have to be BEFORE I go to work or wait til the weekend, or IF I'm lucky to get off early one day since we switched to daylight savings time.
16. IF I have time, give Florida Room 100% cleaning. For some reason, maybe because it's been declared the Man Cave (or the Animal Room) it's a dusty, gritty mess everytime I walk in there. This is my top choice room to work out in and everytime I go in there to do so, I just get crabby
So yes, a few things carried over but not so bad. I've also tried to keep my list small this week as I have a lot of stuff at work to do and need to dedicate more of my attitude to family stuff. You know, being a good mom and wife :)

Menu Plan Monday

Here it is, another Monday. Gee, have you noticed how they just keep showing up??
That means Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie, and Make It Happen Monday over at Domestically Obsessed. I highly recommend you visit both sites and link up if you are so inclined ... they are both great with a great deal of useful information to be read!

As I am still doing the SRS program (that means Severely Restricted Spending), before I post this weeks proposed menu, I was lucky enough to start the freezer inventory. I got the main one done on Saturday and started the guest kitchen one on Sunday. Of course, Sunday, I was in a bad mood and after one shelf, was just overwhelmed and said forget it til the next day ... but you can link over here to see what's in the main kitchen freezer (alot!)

Monday - Fried chicken and mashed taters and gravy (chicken and taters from freezer, gravy from pantry)
Tuesday - Chicken apple sausage and macaroni and cheese, originally was going to do taters but 2 nights in a row? No thanks!) (sausage from freezer and rest in pantry)
Wednesday -  Quesidillas (chicken from pantry, canned) and black bean soup (all pantry and freezer again!) Need to make tomato stuff
Thursday - Chili cheese dogs (need buns from store)
Friday - For Hubby, Chicken thighs on grill with scalloped taters (fyi - food processor sliced these perfect over the weekend, no need to buy a new mandolin just yet!)
Saturday - Pork and black beans and rice (cubano?)

Misunderstood or just plain crabby

Yesterday was not such a great day. Sure, I went with Princess to the campus to see Romeo and Juliet, but overall, not a good day.

I was mad at hubby and held a grudge most of the day.

Gave him the silence treatment.

Yes, I know, very mature indeed.

It all started with me commenting on something that was on television at 8am ... I was a little ticked off that the tv was on already and he was glued to it. 

Apparently, I interrupted something he was watching/listening to, and I was shushed.

Up go the hairs on my body!

That was it. Simple as that. I was shushed.

Of course, there's more to it than that.

a. The tv is more important that what I have to say.
b. You would rather watch tv then have a conversation with me.
c. What I say means nothing as you don't want to listen to me speak.

and so on.

In the end, Hubby won. He was able to watch tv all day without me interrupting him.

Of course, in between the tv watching marathon, he vacuumed the bedroom, made a full fledged breakfast (with hot chocolate as a bonus), and picked up my pile of Halloween stuff that's been on my to do list for a week.

But still watched tv all day long.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Freezer Inventory - Main Kitchen

Its downright chilly here this morning. 54 degrees at 8am ... I've got windows open (not all the way!) and the house is cool so I figured now was the time to tackle this project!

The funny thing … as I’m pulling stuff out (one shelf at a time) I see instant dinners in the making so I started to write things down, like for instance, the top shelf has the breaded chicken and 2 bags of mashed taters, so I grouped those together and wrote down on the side of my list, mashed taters & fried chicken, and then roast beef au jus sandwiches (RB lunchmeat & half loaf of Italian bread) and Hot browns (cooked turkey breast (good lord, I’m not sure when I froze these, but they are large chunks off a roasted turkey) and so on… so this WAS good to do that will definately help with the SRS this month!

I did throw a few things out, a couple bags of bananas that were brown, a bag with 3 lonely freezer burned strawberries. Apparently the kids have been tapping into the freezer for food as there were things opened (raspberries) and used with just a few things left in the bag … the tortellini was ripped open (my pet peeve) … but most of all, imagine my surprise that there were no blueberries? This is the freezer where they would be.

Here's what I started with at about 9:10am:

And after (about 10:15am):
So there you have it. One down, one to go. I feel a little better about doing this now … I realize that the best
thing was to go one shelf at a time, i.e. empty the shelf, inventory and put back, and then to the next one. Yeah, it’s not as “organized” as it could be but it’s a heck of a lot better. So I’m off to look at the other 2 and decide which one is next!

If you really want to see whats all in this fridge, here you go:
Cooked/Roasted turkey breast (big hunks in ziploc) x 2 bags
Chicken Breast – Ziploc with 2 large and 1 individual (organic)
Chicken Wings (raw)
Popcorn chicken – ¼ bag
Spicy chicken patty – combined 2 bags in to 1
Breaded chicken, raw
Ropa Vieja (cooked) chicken
Bag of 5 flame roasted chicken breast (raw)
Pork loin (1/4 of whole)
Italian sausage
Adele chicken Italian sausage
Turkey bacon
Cooked bacon x 2
Hot dogs x 3
Pepperoni
Better Cheddar brats/sausage (what are these really?)
Sirloin steak x 3 (large steaks/slabs)
Hamburger (1 lb Ziploc 80/20) x 2
Hamburger patties (these were not so great) x 2 large Ziplocs
Hamburger patty (sirloin) x 1 lonely burger
Boca crumbs
Lunchmeat x 4 pkgs
Shrimp ring (medium size)
Shrimp – raw x 2
Clam strips (large Ziploc bag with a few individual bags in same general area)
Mahi mahi (enough for 1 meal)
Mashed taters x 5 bags 4 bags now
Broccoli 1 bag and 1 box
Spinach
Raspberries (consolidate 3 little open bags into 1 large Ziploc)
Peas
Veggie medley (boxed and sauced) x 5
Pepper and onions cooked
Onions (minced, diced) x 4 bags
Peppers (red and orange sliced) x 2
Peppers (green, sliced) x 1
Asparagus tips
Whole ginger
Cheddar cheese shredded
Fresh mozzarella x 3
Pizza dough
Toaster strudel (4 left)
Waffles x 2 1
Italian bread, ½ loaf
6 pk apple muffin (costco)
Deli flat bread
Bag of Tortellini
Chicken stirfry x 2
Banquet frozen dinner x 3 (kids)
Lasagna
3 oz cooked chicken and steak x 5 pieces
Bag of pinenuts
Fried assortment (mixed small bag)
Raspberry zingers (2 lonely ones)
Limeade
Apple raspberry
Grape juice

Updated on Tuesday, November 9th to remove what's been used ... figured this is a REAL good way to keep the inventory in line ... !

Friday, November 5, 2010

Severely Restricted Spending (yeah, another post!)

So far, this SRS stuff hasn't been too bad ...except Hubby took my SUV today to have a tire looked at (it's wobbly) and they all determined that it was perfectly round and needed to be replaced (as it's not a radial tire, it's not like a belt is slipping but the same concept) ... so we can't buy just one tire BECAUSE we have to be special people and have special order tires on all vehicles.

So now Hubby is driving to SOUTH Miami (um, sorry, but it's like another country) and he's buying a set of 4 new to me tires that came off a 2010 SUV. Guy did the same thing we did and upgraded his tires, only he's smart in selling the other ones for $500.

Hopefully, Hubby can sell mine, with custom rims for about $400 and then I only spend $100 for new tires. Yeah, they won't look as nice, but at least I won't have a wobbly steering wheel when I go over 30 miles per hour.

So ... again, other than that, its not been a big deal.

Here's some of my future thoughts and plans which kind of falls into the Monday List stuff ...

1. Inventory all 3 freezers. Really. Take inventory. Tally WHAT I have.
2. Inventory pantry in main kitchen, cabinets in guest kitchen and canned good area. Really, again, take inventory and tally ALL.
3. Make a calendar for the remainder of the month. Pencil in Hubby's bday (21st), Thanksgiving (25th) and travel days for Hubby (week of the 15th).
3. Based on the above three results, make a menu for the remainder of the month. Really, do that.
4. Add in all the sides and veggies IF I'm so inclined (Not likely, but hey, if I'm really following my list ... )
5. Post, both on the blog (here) and on the fridge.
6. And just for kicks, calculate just how much money I've saved by doing this. Or, even better, calculate how money I have in my freezers and cabinets.

So a little flip but heck, I gotta do this.  I can NOT spend any additional money on incidentals this month. I just don't have it to spend.

The good thing about doing this, hopefully, is to clear out the freezers and pantry and such. I have so much stuff shoved into every little opening it's not even funny. Yet, someone always says "there's nothing to eat around here" uggg.

So what are you doing to save money this month? Hop over to Jessica's site and link up with the Frugal Friday group!

SRS November - an update

So far so good with the SRS ... I know, it's only Friday, the 5th day into it but I feel good (cue the music please!) ...

I may stop at Publix on my way home. But really, for what? Other than the Smart Milk on sale at buy one get one free and I have 4 $1 off coupons which would make a total gallon be about $1.50 ... and I always just buy the chocolate for Sonny Boy ... oh, and then Solo products are b1g1f and I have 75 cent coupons off....WAIT ... stop the though process!

See how easy it is to go into the "but it's on sale and I have a coupon" mode? Ick.

So really, I don't need anything from the store at the moment. My menu plan has been stuck with pretty close, with the exception of Thursday evening ... Sonny Boy and I went to a college open house (FREE and I got away with FREE parking at the Convention Center!) and got home at almost 8pm. Everyone, fend for yourself!

So we have a cold front coming in ... down in the 50's high in the upper 60's for the weekend. Do you know what that means!?

Open windows.

Cook chili

Bake bread

Do garden work

Light chimenea.

Well, maybe not the last part. We are looking to get a newer, bigger one but I think we will be waiting on that for a little longer. It's cool and all that, but the kids are older and just don't enjoy it as much as we used to ... BUT a larger opening could possibly enable me to cook out side on it, like pizzas and such ... ahhh...that may be just wishful thinking?

So, Chili. That means an alteration to the menu plan. That's fine. I have all the ingredients I need (pretty certain) to do so ... that's the beauty of a well stocked pantry and freezer I suppose!

Total funds spent to date: $0 ... I've got $200 cash and that, I hope will last for the whole month. Princess needs $20 for gas today and $8 for a mandatory play for her theater class (why do they do that??) and Sonny Boy will need gas too. May just leave the debit card here and tell them each to go and get $20 in the tank ... I need gas too. Uggg. This is about $60 worth of gas but mine SHOULD last 2 weeks almost. The kids, not so much. Gas hogs.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gardening the Frugal Way

Here in South Florida, we are entering our gardening season. This is what we look forward to, cooler nights, low'er' humidity and gardens!

I've never had an excellent turnout from my garden. I know a few people who have. I think part of the issue for me is I get all gung-ho in the beginning and then life interrupts and well, gardening becomes an afterthought. For all those out there who garden on a consistent basis, you know how that does NOT work :)

Anyhow. Lowes and Home Depot are charging around $5 a plant now days. WTH? That's quite a bit of cash to lay out, don't you agree?

So here are some of the things I do for the things that I CAN grow without much effort (as a side note, the Jalapeno "tree" that just won't die? My friend, how is a self proclaimed horticulturist, keeps asking me what type of fertilizer I'm using to make it produce so much. Huh. Fertilizer? Are you kidding me John??)

1. Jalapeno plant. This thing was just a pathetic we whipper of a plant when I purchased it over a year ago. Had I known it would stick around this long and do so well, I would have put it in the back "40" as opposed to front and center.  Put taller plants in the back folks!

2. Green onions. At 33 cents a bunch in the grocery store, I cringe when I need to buy them. So I just buy ONE bunch, cut off the root and white section where it turns to green, stick the rooty part in dirt and let those babys sprout. I only use the green sections anyway, so when I need some, I just go out and clip what I need, and they grow back.  FYI - After Hurricane Wilma, we kept smelling oniony stuff on the patio. Finally we saw these long green things hanging over the top of the gutter ... yup, the wind had uprooted some of the green onions and landed them on the roof where they washed into the gutter and they took off. Goes to show, they don't need a whole lot of attention.

3.  Tomatoes, peppers, etc.  Ok, This is really hit and miss. Toss the seeds from the tomato and peppers you've purchased in the produce aisle in the dirt. It really helps to label so when they start to sprout you don't think they are weeds (tomato sprouts are pretty easy to spot with fuzzy soft leaves, peppers, not so much). They will sprout and you MUST thin them out otherwise they will compete for soil nutrient and water and then ALL do badly.  I know this. I've currently got some sweet mini peppers growing from Costco. Woohoo.

4.  Lettuce. IF you plant lettuce, be sure that you stagger your planting, otherwise you will have MORE lettuce than even a group of bunnies can eat all at once.

5. Herbs. If you find yourself paying that $2.99 for the plastic container of parsley in the produce aisle, just spend the $3 and get a whole plant. The more you cut (use) them, the better they grow.  I've got some still in their "peat" pots in a pot (need to get some soil) that are just growing away 3 weeks later ...

I tend to take a casual approach to gardening and I do get food to eat ... maybe not bucketloads but enough to make it worth it for me. I suppose some of it is self therapy and such as I couldn't feed the family for months on end by my yield, but I bet I could IF I dedicated more time and effort ...

So go ahead, dig a hole, dump in some stuff and watch it grow ...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Guess what is coming to South Florida?

Aldi's ... ALDI'S!Everyone sing praises!

The one straight down the road from me, corner of Oakland Park and 441 is opening on Thursday the 11th. Psyched Baby! Boy am I ever. About 7 miles. Google Map says 15 minutes but I know it takes 15 minutes (about) to get to I95 from here and that's only the half way point. So figure 20 to 25 minutes.

More than anything, I can't wait to see the prices ... whenever we go to Indiana, Illinois or Kentucky, we try to take a bag with nothing or little in it with us to fill on our way back. The last time in Kentucky we were over the 50 pound limit so I ended up stuffing summer sausage rolls in my purse. Pretty funny going through the security checkpoint.

Anyways. There is a Walmart across the MAIN intersection (when I say MAIN, I mean MAIN, like 5 or 6 lanes in all 4 directions) and the last time I shopped at the store there, I wasn't all that impressed with product selection, quality or pricing.

AND now, I can buy the produce and such from there! For obvious reasons, I couldn't before!

So hopefully this will stick within the SRS month I have imposed (holy cow, I'm going on day 3 and already talking about shopping!) ... but seriously, how can I NOT get excited!!

Thursday. November 11th. Veterans Day. The kids are out of school. Banks are closed (I think?). Courts will either be closed or on limited schedules. I wonder IF I can get that day off? Maybe a half day?? :)

Now I feel the urge to skip working out this morning and go browse other blogs for seasoned Aldi tips!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Spend November aka Severely Restricted Spending November

The first thing alot of you have said is "No spend November? That would be real hard" ... but not really. I know, its the holidays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Etc.

I've got hubbys birthday. Thanksgiving. Father in Laws birthday, best friends birthday. Then we go into December and I have Sonny Boy's 18th, Princess 20th, my dad, my neighbor, Christmas Boat Parade Party (!!), trip to Indiana, Christmas. Oh my GOSH!!

But, here's the thing. I can do this. That's why I revised it to be Severely Restricted Spending. Or, to keep the spelling errors in check, SRS. :) No, THAT is not for the gearheads around here, ahem.

1. Thanksgiving. I've got 2 turkey breast in the freezer. I also have 20 lbs of taters (at the moment), 6 pkgs of premashed taters in fridge, and 6 pkgs of taters in the freezers. I know, the premade stuff isn't quite golden, but it WOULD do if needed.  I've also got untold amounts of gravy in the pantry (never have mastered the from scratch stuff).  I've also got tons of sweet stuff to bake and frozen and canned corn, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, etc to make a corn casserole. I mean, seriously, what else is there? Oh. Yes, I have stuffing mix stuff too (does that make sense??)

2. Birthdays are not normally a break the bank occasion in my house. I contribute that to my frugal ways, NOT! More likely, because of the timing of the year they fall around. :)  So, bake a load of cupcakes, have the kids decorate them (even at this age, they still like to do that, sprinkles, coloring and all) and generally, they get an American Express giftcard. Now, I could take the real easy way out and redeem my AE points to get the cards for FREE, but I'd have to discuss that with Hubby. He wants to save for some big trip some day (I have no idea WHEN or WHERE).  As for Hubbys birthday, thinking of a stationary bike. I can get one for about $250 at sports authority (trying to find one like at the gym that he likes) and they currently have a promotion where you spend $200 and you get a gift card for $100. Word of CAUTION on this deal: the gift card is only redeemable for like 5 days and they list the specific days. Could lose it if not careful.

3.  Christmas. We are flying to Indiana to spend with all the family (both sides!) We've already purchased the one gift each family will receive. It shouldn't cost us more than say $300 for the week for all of us up there, what with grocery shopping and other things.

4.  Christmas Boat Parade Party. This used to be a HUGE event for us. One year we had over 70 people. The past few years have been smaller, more like 20 to 30 which is much more dealable. AND honestly, I like it smaller, say 15 to 20. Just easier to spend time with those friends who I really want to spend time with, not the ones I see only a few times a year. I apologize if that sounds ungrateful, but seriously, its the way I've been. Downsizing in all aspects of my life. Yeah. Think of it that way :)

So there's the answer to whether or not it would be difficult in November :)

But really, it's just a plan to make me really think before I spend. To not spend unless I NEED it, not just WANT it. I've got pantries that are stuffed to the top and freezers that will barely close. If it's filled with stuff that no one will eat, we will find that out soon enough. I'd like to go into the new year with CLEAN and STREAMLINED pantries and freezers.

I've got closets and dressers that I can't even keep neat because there are so many articles of clothing in them. We are getting ready for our annual yard sale in late November so this will give me a chance to again CLEAN and STREAMLINE the closets and dressers (kids too!!).

I've also just got STUFF. Although Hubby would call it something else.

So maybe just by doing an SRS month, this will help me declutter and SEE what I really have that I've been missing. So, you want to join in? Leave a message and if there's enough response, I might try and do a weekly link up.

Voting

I voted this morning on my way to work. It's just best if I do it early in the day so it's done and out of the way! The church parking lot is full, and I'm thinking, oh no. The volunteers were out there waving their signs and offering up the brochures. No thanks, I've already done my homework ...

Thankfully, a driver's license is sufficient if you are registered voter as I had left mine home, I never carry it or my social security card. So they swipe it, give me a receipt and send me to the next table. There I pick up my ballot (3 sheets, front and back, good lord!) along with the PRIVACY folder (this is a huge joke, in my opinion). A side note: all the attendants who check you in when you arrive? They've been doing this since I've been voting at this location, over 20 years. They said that this is probably their last year ... no way!

There, another attendant leads me to a chair in the middle of this big long table with about 20 chairs on each side. There is one lonely privacy booth on each table. No, I do not get the privacy booth. Must be reserved for someone else.

So I set at this table, feeling totally exposed. I glanced around and saw probably 30 to 35 other people sitting at other spots. There were probably 10 people at my table, so figured every 3rd chair. 

So I sit. And notice that every stinking choice is in THREE languages. Yes THREE. I'm sorry, but if you are declared an American Citizen and can VOTE then you should be able to read and write English. Not Spanish. Not French-Creole. Just not right.

Anyways. So I look around and really, feel totally exposed. I'm probably the youngest one there. There are couples and friends sitting side by side reviewing the ballot AND discussing the options. HOLY COW!!! What is wrong with THAT picture????

I vote. Fill in all my bubbles, perfectly. Do not color out side the line and make sure it's filled solid. My vote WILL count today.

Take my pen to the gal at yet another table and she directs me to the man where I will feed my sheets in to the machine. The attendant request that I hand him my privacy folder. I do. Then instructs me to feed the sheets in one by one. I do. Again, NO privacy walls up around this. AND he's standing right there, seriously, I could have reached out and hugged him, he was that close.

So, I think seriously, there WAS a problem there today. Honestly. I've already let the local newspaper know as I want to see what is said about it.

Just plain odd.

November 2nd

Don't forget to get out and VOTE today!

Yes, your VOTE does count!

Yes, I do care who you VOTE for but will not tell you WHO to VOTE for, just go VOTE!

Menu Plan Monday

Again, it's Tuesday, and I'm just getting the Menu Plan up and posted over at Menu Plan Monday, Organizing Junkie! Crumb, I tell ya, it's more than I can handle some days!
So here we are, first week of November, new month, new budget, AND ... a "No Spend" month, but seriously, thinking of it as Severely Restricted Spending Month :)....

Sunday - Chicken breast and noodles (chicken cooked in oven with cream of onion soup & seasonings, noodles were left over from the Animals on Friday night)
Monday - Taco Bar and Black Bean Soup (taco meat from the freezer, soup stuff from pantry AND the fixins from pantry and fridge)
Tuesday - Chicken Cesar Salad with noodles (chicken is the remainder of Ropa Vieja thats in the freezer) noodles are the REST of the Animals feast from Friday, salad greens were all prepped on Monday for the week worth of salads
Wednesday - pressed smoked turkey sandwiches (remember, I'm a little heavy on lunchmeat and cheese at the moment)
Thursday - Garlicky chicken with broccoli and maybe a salad too? This could change. I've got chicken thighs and a HUGE pork tenderloin to tend to, oh, and the 4 lbs of ground beef. Holey Cow!
Friday - Brats on the grill and shark chips (brats from freezer, need buns, may have guest bring?)
Saturday - Steak and taters because darn it, it's been a busy week and trying with the Severely Restricted Spending!
Sunday - just to drag it another proposed day, Sausage and Peppers ... swung over from last week, will "try" to make the bread to go with it! :)

Don't forget to check out 100's of other menu plans over at Menu Plan Monday!

Black Bean Soup - revised

I've made this soup from Lynns Kitchen Adventures a few times, but always felt there was something missing for our taste. Don't get me wrong, it was yummy, but missing that extra wow factor.

So last night, I switched from Chicken Broth to Beef Broth, added all the bacon that was left in the fridge and tripled the spice level. Whooppee!! That did it!

1/2 lb bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
32 oz carton of beef broth
1/2 tbs cumin
1/2 tbs chili powder
dash of A1 Bold & Spicy sauce

Cook bacon til just crispy. Toss in the onions & garlic and saute til soft.  Add all the beans, broth, and the cumin and chili powder. Add the dash/glop of A1 (this is optional but I think it's what really gave it the kick!) and bring to boil. Reduce heat, allow to simmer about 20 minutes. Take an immersion blender, or masher OR just remove half of the beans to a food processor/blender/bullet and puree. This will give the soup some 'depth' or thickness :) Add back to the remainder of soup (hey, be careful, the stuff HAS been simmering for over 30 minutes by now so it's HOT).

Serve it up with some sour cream, cheese, more diced onions and tomatoes (and guac if you are Princess).

NOTES:  Ok, for those of you who would like to know: 1/2 tbs is the equivalent of 1 1/2 tsp. I just accidently used that measure for the cumin and stuck with it and it WORKED.  The A1 is almost always in my house, but if you would prefer not to use, don't ... if you want heat, add some hot sauce, just a dash as it will get strong!

Also, doesn't make THAT much, as much as you would think anyways. Enough for dinner and lunch the following day for 3 people (Sonny Boy said no thanks).

This post is linked up to Tasty Tuesday over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam ... check it out, lots of other good stuff to read!

A little side note after reading what today's Tasty Kitchen was about and realized that the immersion blender stick I have is approaching 20 years!! Hubby had purchased it back when Princess was born to help mix the formula and to make baby food muck with :)  Yes, I see the shiny stainless steel ones and think, wow, I'd love to have one of those, instead of my faded white (why does the white always turn a funky color??) stick that still works TERRIFIC ... but I hold out ...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Balancing the Cash

I am real bad at budgeting. I mean, yeah, I set aside x amount for this and that and then have a goal of this for that ... but seriously? Not so much in the end!

For instance, I have $300 in my checking account and $70 cash in my wallet AND a "few" dollars here and there scattered around the house and a couple of bucks in the 2 savings accounts.

I have a "free money" jar that is for the Animals, hubby and/or me when we need something, be it gas in the car or a pizza or a quick drive to McD's (Animals and friends, not ME!). The free money jar is just singles and whatever is left over from the grocery shopping of the week. And I try, on the last day of the month, to take the free money and move it to the backup stash container.

The backup stash container is a plastic shoebox. Seriously, it weighs probably 20 lbs. The amount of change in there is NOT even funny. But there are also paper bills in there and I try, try, TRY not to touch it. This would be the In House savings account ...

Then I have a WAMU (now known as CHASE) Savings account (which is suppose to be my No Touch savings) and my ST savings account, which is just the savings account I move money into from my checking to "fool" myself into thinking that I don't have any extra money for the month.

Technically, what I should be doing is moving the ST savings to the Chase savings at the end of every month and really be piling up the savings, but sadly, it doesn't work that way (and just now, Sonny Boy is asking if he can tap into the free money jar for McD's after school - mid terms today and out at noon)...

So. Back to balancing the cash.

I know I have x amount to pay every month.  I also know that the home owners insurance (and wind and flood) come around every year in May and June. And car insurance (gag!) comes around every February and August. And then property taxes (gag!) comes around every November. You would THINK I have these in my budget, but I don't. Well, sort of, I do. But not really. Not enough so.

Which is why I have the dilemma I have of $300 in my checking account, $70 in my wallet, a few dollars here and there and then the savings accounts. The saving accounts have no where near as much as they SHOULD which is disappointing. This would be the result of NOT moving the cash from the checking account to the savings account to fake me out. This would also be the result of feeling generous and sharing my wealth with one whom is not as fortunate as I am BUT should be. That would be for another post all together.

Anyways....back to budgeting the cash (I know, I'm getting off track) ... I have $70 in my wallet. That will be used for this evenings trip to the grocery store. I have a fairly detailed list with all my coupons matched up ... will need to redo my list as I've mentally removed some items and added others. I should have money left over which will go in the free money jar before I sit down for the evening.

The $300 in my checking account will be spent today to pay the water bill, sprinkler bill, phone bill and cable bill. That there is about $250 or so.

The good news in any of this is that I get paid on Friday and still have my $140 check from last week to deposit. So figure about $1300 to go back in the checking account on Friday, or Monday. BUT, I still have bills to pay for upcoming November. Electric (about $400), cell phone $150, cap1 $150 (forced myself to pay this to pay down this last credit card), American Express will be around $500 I think (princess classes) and then of course, water, cable, sprinklers, house bill, bug man, food, TAXES and so on.

So, what is the Moral of THIS story you ask?  Cash is king baby. IF I didn't have that cash in my wallet, I wouldn't be going to the grocery store this evening.  But at the end of this post, I just sort of reminded myself of my suggestion to do a No Spend November. What do you think? Should I or shouldn't I?