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Friday, September 30, 2011

Whole Foods - NOT so Frugal

Raise your hand if you already knew this? I DO and I still go there.

I had that Living Social deal where you paid $10 for a $20 gift card dodaddy thing. So I figured, heck, I won't buy much because I just can't justify the cost of alot of the stuff.

Yeah. So much for that theory anymore. Uggg... Browsing gets me in trouble every time.

3.63lbs of Honey Crisp apples ... been reading about these and since my boss was on this apple and peanut butter kick at the office lately, thought I would contribute ... de. LIC. ious! OMG. If you haven't tried them, you should. They are the BEST! $1.99 lb (organic!) and $7.22 total. I so see myself going back to buy more next week YIKES.

Special sausage of week was chicken spicy italian, got 6 for $5.94 (this is how I try to introduce Hubby to new options)

1 thing of green onions (the garden ones are wimpy so these will be planted) $1.49
baby carrots, organic (the last ones were super sweet) $1.99 for a 1 lb bag
pkg of snow peas $2.30
3 limes at 59 cents each $1.77
4 pk of hess avocados FREE because I was joking around with the produce dude about the price ($4.99)
1.77 lb banana at 69 cents/lb (same as Publix but these look better) $1.22
bunch of cilantro (pretty) $2.69 (uh huh, I know), the bottoms (roots) are already chopped off and planted in the garden to compare to the following item
1 potted cilantro herb $4.99 (I want to see what grows better, the 4 healthy roots I cut off or this thing)
Sartori basil & olive oil cheese (to die for!) $9.11
Dalamatia fig spread $5.99
domestic brie 60% $2.99
jarlsberg lite cheese wedge $2.20
amadeus cheese wedge $2.80
NY flatbread with everything $5.99 (um, these are crackers, I did NOT know they cost that much til just now, wth)
1.99 lbs of heirloom tomatoes at $4.99 lb for $total of $9.93. Holey cow. $10 for 4 tomatoes? I am taking the seeds and starting them to grow in the garden this winter (our planting season). I need to research how to preserve them as I'm sure there will be ALOT there.
Grand total was $68.62
Less the $20 gift card total was $48.62.

I had an embarrassing moment though at the end. My debit card wouldn't go through and I was soooo embarrassed. Omg. I guess I didn't remember that the gym dues come out that day AND my deposit from the previous day had NOT cleared (um, $400 vs $20 available really stinks) ... as the bank reminded me, deposits are only cleared and available of what you have to match. Guess it's been so long since I've had to 'worry' about cleared funds ... Ugg. Fortunately I had cash to pay but still.

So, anyways, way more expensive than I like. The cheese, fig spread, tomatoes and crackers are for what I hope to be a convincing moment for Hubby to do something different and take a walk over to the ocean, spread a blanket and sit on the sand one evening for a romantic evening of doing something DIFFERENT.  I so wanted to tote it as a FREE EVENING, but obviously, it's going to be expensive (toss in a bottle of wine) ... so I will leave that out and just say different :)

OH ... there is a new store being built down the road from here. Fresh Market. I'm so excited as everyone compares it to Whole Foods as being BETTER and less pricier. That would be nice!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rubber band magic

Well, ok, not really magic, but something that totally Works for Me!

See, we like to pretend that we are sous chefs in the house ...ok, again. Not really.

However, you all know that I LOVE to shop Costco, and it's where I buy my olive oil and canola oil. Well who in the heck wants to lug around a gallon plus size of oil for a measly teaspoon? Not ME!

So here's what we do ...

Get yourself a food grade squirt bottle (I got mine from the dollar store)

Add your oil and put the cap on.

Find one of them big fat rubber bands that you saved off the broccoli heads (pink or purple are preferred)

Get a piece of paper towel and fold it in half and then continue folding longways.

Wrap the paper towel around the bottle and secure it with the fat rubber band.

Ok. Raise your hand if you want to know WHY I did this??

That sticky icky residue that oil leaves behind overtime? You know, the kind that won't wipe off? Not to mention that evil little ring from the small dribble down the side.

The paper towel will stop it dead in it's tracks and you will have a nice icky-proof grip.

Works for Me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Moment of Truth

I seem to have hit a wall, or something like that.

The savings account has a grand total of $50 between the two (gasp). (NOTE: the Textbroker stuff is going to the no spend account).

The checking account has a total of ... um, I don't even want to say, but its substantially lower than what is acceptable to me (but not negative, thankfully). All bills are paid for the month (which only has 3 more days left) and I will be getting another 3 checks on Friday, so no need to panic.

I have a few credit cards with BALANCES on them. And I'm not talking $100, but rather, add another zero and change the first number (gasp).

Everything that I am against is happening.

Its not anyone else's fault, but mine. My inability to tell Sonny Boy NO, that he must buckle up and get ready for the bumpy ride, to GET A JOB, no matter if it's something that interest you or not.

Also, I need to stand up to Hubby and say NO, we don't need to do this or that, and buy new rugs (??!!) for the doors. Don't ask, we actually spent more than we WOULD have at any other time.

I just need to say enough is enough and NO. But then the real issue comes up ...

I'm Sad.  I'm Lonely (my baby boy is gone). My husband feels the same too. We talk about it. We joke around too. About our pathetic life. How quiet it is and so on. We try not to be too 'serious' about it because O M G we've waited so many years for this day!

But regardless, filling the void, no so much filling the coffers ... just not comfortable right now.

Also knowing that Hubby's company has something going on behind the scenes, but no one can confirm (or deny) ...

I know that my accounts will pick back up again and I'm not 'worried' per se. The fact that I have 4 credit card balances to pay off irks me more than anything. More for my lack of willpower of saying NO instead of saying "I'll pay it off next month" ... yes, I see you nodding your head, been there done that huh?

And more than anything, it's the obvious FACT that I do shop out of boredom. Sadness. Ick. Really? ME?? And I'm beating myself up over it.

So how about it, all of you 'empty nestors' ... how do you deal with the initial phase?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - the Cheap Version

Yeah, cheap. Not frugal. CHEAP. Of course, everyone has a different definition for CHEAP :)

Sonny Boy was here again this weekend, and I'm $70 poorer today than I was yesterday. Not to mention $100 on Monday of last week. And $100 2 weeks ago. Uggg.

Anyways. Yeah, I'm going broke here so this week is my CHEAP menu plan ... basically, what I have in house, which, it should be noted, is quite a LOT of food still ... (and I laugh because Mr. & Mrs. Smith is on and it's where he takes the knife from her to cut roast and she pulls out another to slice the bread) ... back to the menu plan, we have LOTS of food still, but I am getting low on chicken breast, I have no sandwich bread (it's ok, we don't really eat it ourselves!) ... but I do have a variety of meats and such so here's what I'm planning:

Sunday - Hubby is talking of making some pork chops in the grill pan (gasp) and a few leftover steak fries

Monday - Evil Jungle Salad (using leftover steak from Saturday night)

Tuesday - Benihana Onion Soup with some chicken, rice veggie stirfry combo

Wednesday - most likely take out from the cuban joint. I figure $20 should be more than enough ...

Thursday - Chicken/black beans and corn mix (pantry food!)

Friday - We are going out tonight to see a band that I enjoy and who have supported Sonny Boy (letting him play a few songs  with them) ... since they only play close by occasionally, I make it a point to go .. .Figuring it's going to cost $50 to $100 (depends on food and drinking)

Saturday - I believe we will have ranch steaks ... I have another stash of NY strips in the freezer ...

Linking up to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday ... hop on over and see what everyone is serving up!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Those Free Things ...

We all know the saying "Nothing is free in life" ... and for the most part, it is true. Everything has some form of payment to be made.

However, the "free" things listed below, are things that you help pay for with others, and should reap the benefits of whenever you have a chance:

1. Library. I had to dig out my library card as it was tucked away in a drawer. I work downtown and the Fort Lauderdale main library is just several blocks away from my office. I need to get there. I am in dire need of some new reading material. But then I tell myself, rather than get lost in the BIG library, to just go to the little reading room located about 8 blocks from home. The reading room location is SMALL but has GREAT reading material.

2. Beach. Ok, I know, not everyone has access to a beach. But how about a lake, river, any body of water? I live 2 blocks from the ocean and also live off the waterway. I shock myself when I say I haven't felt sand on my toes in x amount of time. Hello? One of God's greatest offerings and I haven't utilized it?

3. Parks. Your tax dollars help build that park, enjoy it! A lot of parks around me are being redone and I recently discovered one that is about 5 blocks from my home in the middle of the neighborhood during my Move It time ... I was shocked that I've not really noticed it before! I can assure you that I've never seen this many kids in the neighborhood, let alone at the park!

Granted, I'm kid-less now. I think for me, at this stage in my life, I am rediscovering myself. Hubby and I are having an adjustment period in that we don't need to 'worry' about the kids, you know, what to make them for dinner, clean clothes, what time will they be home, is there enough gas in the car. Frivolous things I suppose, but such a part of our daily thoughts, we've had to make some definitive adjustments :)

Linking up with Frugal Friday ... making a note to look for Dave Ramsey books when I go to the library where I will take them to either the library or park to read ... enjoying that free stuff!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Doing what you love AND making money too

Most of us blog because we like to write. And well, our lives are also just so very interesting that we INSIST on sharing it with all the unknown people out there! :) Ok, really.

I love to write. I may not be a 'good' writer, but man, I sure can tell a great story. Everyone jokes that they can tell when I walk into an office because there will be loud laughter from others around. It's just that the party has arrived, that would be ME. That comes from a deep down comfort of WHO I am. I believe in myself and know that I am not perfect, but hey, it's ok with ME. :)

So, why am I telling you all this today? Well, because I stumbled across something the other day, signed up with them yesterday, got my score, wrote 5 articles and already made $16. No, it's not going to make me rich, but it sure will help my writing skills. And it's not stressful (to me). And it's going in to my do not touch savings account. And, well, heck, it's kind of cool to do it ...

Even better? I was rated at a *gasp* level 4. Level 5 is considered PROFESSIONAL. Umm...ahem, you've read my blog, right? I am not a professional or do I even consider myself to be somewhere NEAR a professional, but hot diggity dog, they offered me $1.40 per word ...

Ok ok, I know, the suspense is killing you!

It's called There is absolutely NO REFERRAL fees paid to those who refer you (um, I don't believe it even asks!) and there is no fee to you to sign up and do the work.

This Works For Me!

Are you ready to get paid for your writing. I mean, seriously?  Go to Scroll down to bottom on right hand side and click on register.

You will have to submit a SAMPLE piece (I made mine easy and used Roccos Tacos since I love the place so much!) and click submit.

A textbroker associate will review and grade the piece. Then they send you an email back telling you what level you are and the going rate of pay per word. Seriously easy. And I'm a Level 4. Did I already say that??

You must have a paypal account set up and you are paid every other week. Writing is from 100 to 500 plus words, which is really not much. (I've written 383 words so far on this post). You select WHICH project you want to do (some of the descriptions are SO generic that I just ignored them) and each one shows the earning potential. I've even referred SonnyBoy over to it as he needs to GET A JOB of some sorts to help out here. He's bummed that he's a Level 3 but they review your writing after 5 projects are submitted and will either up, lower or keep your level the same. Cool huh?

I'm having so much fun with it so far that I thought about setting up a page dedicated just to the projects I've done, but then again, that will just take up MORE of my time :)

So go on, See if it's Works for you!

*NOTE: I know some people have concerns with signing away the rights to the stuff they write. However, there has not been anything yet that I would want to write about to anyways so I have no issues thus far. 

I did just have a complaint in a revision that was requested: instructions state LEAD (for dog) whereas client complained that I should refer to LEASH and not LEAD. Ok, whatever :) No biggie to fix but if they put me on a blacklist, I will argue then.

You will also need to forward a W9 for tax purposes. As you are considered an independent contract (because you pick and choose what you want to do, when you want to do it) therefore, they will not take any taxes out. IF you earn $600 or more in any year, they will send a 1099 to you. Either way, taxes are your responsibility and I HIGHLY recommend you report the income on your tax return each and every year. Don't forget, there are tax deductions that you can be using if you are making an income working from home, writing a blog, babysitting, whatever, so long as you are reporting the income ... don't mess with the IRS.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cookbook from a now defunct Lender

We were cleaning out a office in the building last week and tossed a LOT of stuff ... more stuff than I care to admit out loud, but to donate from a business is pretty difficult in that no one wants to come and take anything away. And, quite frankly, we were all just "get it done" ...

But one thing that caught my eye ...  Getting It Done: Grilling Fun with Option One.

I have a grilling set that we use on the boat from these same people, so I'm guessing that they gave one of the mortgage brokers a cookbook.

I snagged it and brought it home. Not so much for the recipes, but just the joke (on us) that the lender was doing such tremendous business at the time (2005) that they could afford to print and buy ridiculous amounts of stuff to give away as "thank you for your business" kisses ...

Anyways. I spent a few nights parked on the couch browsing through it. And a few things caught my eye ...

Foolproof Barbecued Chicken, only because it also gives the recipe for Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce
The Ultimate Hamburger, because it mixes equal parts of ground chuck and ground sirloin (and "gorgeous luscious tomatoes")
Lexington Slaw (always looking for a good coleslaw recipe, non mayo based)
And surprisingly, Grilled Caesar Salad Pizzas. They give a pretty good recipe for dough and how to cook successfully on the grill ...

So, keep an eye out, you will be seeing some testing going on ... I promise I will try to keep up to date, but life interferes sometimes!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Costco Trip

It's been a while since my last real trip to Costco. Yeah, we went in Orlando with Sonny Boy and his girlfriend, but the majority of stuff was for them to split between their apartments (perfect time for two Nutella bottles, you know?) ... they split eggs, bread, snack packs, nutella, paper towel, tp, etc. It's really the only way Costco would work for a college kid I think. Although, I'm sure the roomies would love in on the action :)

So anyways ... I went this morning.

I am out of lunchmeat and Hubby paid $6.99 for a lb of CRAPPY turkey ... ick. So I said THAT'S IT ... not to mention, I had to 'steal' a roll of tp from the guest bathroom stand ... I was horrified to find I had NO TP! Horrors!

So, I knew that my membership was up for renewal, and since I'm an Executive Member (oo la la, not all that folks, just get a rebate which pays for the membership every 12 months) I figured $300. I was close.

Membership fee $100
TP $18.79 less $3
2 Starbucks Frapp (12pks) $13.99 less $3.50 each ... surprise for Hubby and Princess although really should NOT have bought them.
Dishsoap pacs $19.39 less $3.50
Paper plates $14.99 less $275
2 pkgs napkins $8.59 less $1.50 each (1200 napkins total, I'm set)
Running shoes (FILA) $19.99
organic spinach $4.29
mini peppers $4.29
romaine lettuce $4.49
cottage cheese $4.99
honey roasted turkey $7.62 and $7.90
black forest ham $6.90 and $6.94
Olive oil $9.99
2 half & halfs $1.79 each
cheese sticks $9.89
5 lbs shredded cheddar cheese $13.89
2 lbs key west shrimp (large boys) $14.89
3 dz xlarge eggs $3.89 (this, after spending $1.99 for 1 dozen large eggs...uggg)

Total was $302.62 but I had a cash card (return) of $19.79 so total out of pocket $288.26.

So not a whole lot of junk stuff, stayed with my list except for the shoes, which is ok because my shoes that I got from Amazon are TOO SMALL and 3 times as much, so I'm ok in that I'm returning the NB's tomorrow. There were things on the list I didn't buy ... the prices seemed to have increased yet again. Didn't even look at the price of milk ... we aren't going through it like we used to.

Menu Plan Monday

This household has got to be on the road to Good Health AND we better not have a sickly winter, as much as we've been through around here.

I found out that YES I am allergic to Amoxacillian ... my mother reminded me that I was 5 when I had a bad allergic reaction to penicillin, but that was YEARS ago...anyways, enough of that already...think HEALTHY thoughts because I refuse to believe in anything less.

So it's Sunday ... and I am so ready to start a new week, trust me! And yeah, there are a lot of repeats because dinner was not happening the way it was suppose to everyday last week!

Sunday - Blue cheese sliders on whole wheat slider buns with celery and carrots to snack on (the sliders came from Publix, they premake them to a tune of $4.99 a lb...not so bad considering it's quality beef)

Monday  - Chicken Cesar Salad

Tuesday - Bangin Shrimp (on shredded romaine)

Wednesday - take out - Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine (Hubby's new favorite place thats cheap with leftovers ... we may eat in but I'd rather take out)

Thursday - soup and sandwich (thinking along the lines of the Panera Bread Broccoli from Lynns Kitchen Adventures)

Friday - Ranch Marinated Steaks (found another stash of NY Strips and Sonny Boy will be home!)

Saturday - Chicken thighs with pasta salad (I'm guessing...we may have a small bbq for the kids if they want)

Linking up with Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday ... 100's of others are too ... go check it out!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guacamole and my favorite PLACE

You may remember that there is a new place in town called Rocco's Tacos that me and the 'girls' have claimed as our place. (Psst...the website is LOUD so turn down or mute speakers before linking through).

Even some men tell me that they were hanging out at my "stomping grounds". They also say that they paid the price. See, Rocco's is unique in a few ways. One: Rocco is really a person, and he's young'er' than most would think. Two: Rocco is a self proclaimed "glorified bus boy" and loves his job. Three: Rocco always always, ALWAYS has a bottle of Patron on ice, will turn on the pee wee herman song, grab his 70's platform white shoes, jump on the bar and start free pouring tequila in your mouth, drink, pitcher, where ever you want. OMG. The consequences are not for the faint of heart. Of course, you could just wait for a table and sit and eat a nice dinner, but heck, it's ROCCOS TACOS!

Alas, since I've sort of, kind of went on the wagon and mentally checked in to Betty Ford, I've not been there and I still have a gift card with $95 on it ... somehow I just don't think the food will be GREAT without the MARGARITAS to go along with it ... oh well.

So anyways, TODAY's food section in the local newspaper has the GUACAMOLE dip recipe from RT's! Wooohoo! This stuff is like $12 for a 4 plus serving and that's an appetizer ... wowee...

Here you go foks:

1 black skinned, slightly soft Haas avocado
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped tomato
1/2 tsp chopped red onion
1/2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp diced jalapeno (remove seeds if you do not want it hot)

Scoop out the flesh of avocado into a firm bowl (or a molcajete, them authentic volcanic rock mortar and pestle things). Mash with the salt until partially lumpy still. Stir in the rest of the ingredients with a rubber spatula til combined.

Serve with warm tortilla chips. *To make it pretty like in the restaurant, just add a bit of fresh salsa (as we call it, the fresh tomato stuff) on top with a sprinkle of cilantro.

*I was just browsing the menu and thought, maybe me and Hubby should go there for LUNCH (safe time, right?) and saw the avocado and jalapeno dressing on the taco salad, did a quick google search to add to my list of things to try ... keep an eye out for my review!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ranch Marinated Steaks

I love our grocery store chain, Publix. Every week, in the sales paper, they always have a recipe highlighted and generally, it's based on sale items for that week ...

My neighbor ALWAYS makes the recipe, every week and Hubby finally asked me to give it a try, because, IF Joan is doing it and Mr. Bill is happy, there must be something to it. Alrighty then.

Luckily, I have most of the stuff on hand, and do not need to worry about saving $10.80 this week. Because seriously, IF you had to buy everything for ONE meal, I don't consider that to be a frugal choice, you know?

Ok, on to the plan:

1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 oz spicy ranch dry dressing mix (yes, I have it, picked it up at Target a few weeks ago on clearance, 14 cents, wishing now I'd taken them ALL)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sun dry julienned cut sundried tomatoes (I did NOT have these, but picked up 6 3oz bags for $1 each, that fell into an excellent deal!)
large ziploc bag
1 1/2 lb bone in ribeye steak (um, I 'm using new york strip as that's what I have in freezer)
1 24 by 12 inch sheet of foil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (Hubby H. A. T. E. S. feta cheese, so he sprinkled bleu cheese, I didn't use anything).

Add onion, pepper to bag. Add ranch dressing, oil, and tomatoes, shake to blend. Toss in the steaks, zip up, turn over and put in fridge for 10 minutes to 2 hours (2 hours for me) to marinate.

Preheat grill (or, gasp, grill pan on the stove top ... but seriously, you just dont' get the same effect)

Transfer veggie stuff to center of foil, discard marinade, bring up sides of foil to make a packet and double fold to seal. Place steaks on grill, 3 to 4 minutes each side for medium rare (um, not for Hubby). Place foil pack along side while steaks cook, 7 to 10 minutes, til tender.

Remove steaks, let stand 5 to 10 minutes.  Top steaks with veggies and cheese. Serve with favorite salad on the side.

Ok, yes we did this. It was tasty. So tasty that Hubby requested we make it again two days later using boneless skinless chicken breast and a handful of shrooms too (which was excellent too) ... here are MY changes:

I added minced garlic to the bag and used a whole onion and a whole red pepper. I also grilled the veggies in my grilling tray on the grill instead of doing the foil.

Used bleu cheese instead of feta. But honestly, it was delicious without any cheese on mine ... so I'd probably opt to skip it all together and save a few fat grams :)

The latest and greatest

Medical news.

I've been to the Rheumatologist a few times now.

Given 5 1/2 tubes of blood.

And numerous hand xrays (which, if you live in Eastern Broward County, just go to Imperial Point Hospital, no more than 20 minutes, in and out with results to the dr. the following day).

The verdict?

Eh. Degenerative arthritis of the both thumbs.

Lab results show a high ANA ... not really sure just what that means, but it points to Lupus.

LUPUS? Well that just scares the crap out of me.

I have symptoms. But they do NOT control my life, nor will they if I have a choice.

We are choosing to treat the issues systematically (whatever the heck that means?) by me taking prescribed heavy duty anti-inflammatory meds as needed, since it's classified as MILD at the moment.

Of course, of these symptoms I DO have, I'm not really sure what they relate to. Heck, I feel like a hypocondriact at times, because just Friday I felt terrific and then 36 hours later I'm laying on the couch, sobbing with my fist balled up into my eye sockets to try and force a headache out.

So, in the meantime, she tells me to read up on all the information she's given me. Said that it will get worse as time goes on. And I just sit there and look at her, saying "Huh? What are you talking about?"

Lupus kills people. I know someone who DIED from Lupus for Pete's sake.

Which of course, now that I had the snot scared out of me, I've started to read. And I start to see that yeah, I do see the 'possibility' of having it. Did you know that Lupus effects everyone differently, and also attacks different parts of your body (skin, joints, muscular, organs, etc.) ...

But of course, I'm still in denial. So in the meantime, we will just treat it systematically.

NOTE: I am not meaning to make light of this whatsoever, trust me. But I also refuse to think that I've got something this serious and life altering. I refuse to let it be. I know that there will come a time when it will have to be dealt with but in the meantime, I will only take the anti-inflammatory as needed. When that no longer works, then we will switch out to something with a little more impact and work our way up as needed. There is apparently NO KNOWN test to 100% confirm that you have it, but certain blood work points in that direction for the majority of those who do have it, along with a list of 10 primary symptoms. Of course, the symptoms Dr. R. points out to me I say are caused by something else (getting old, too much sun, etc.) ... which probably points back to the denial part of me.

If you are really wanting to know more about Lupus, then go directly to the source: LUPUS

I am scheduled to go back December 14th unless something changes between now and then. Thrilled.

Making An Effort

I've been doing something for the most part in September.

I'm Moving It In September.

Because I realize that IF I don't make a concentrated effort, I will never ever have time to work out.

So I've been posting over here a daily (sometimes every other day for the 2 days) update of what I've done to make an effort to MOVE IT.

Some is just ho-hum, such as 20 walking lunges. Others are more extreme, such as P90X Plyo (which I LOVE but man, it's hard), and the walk/jog/run/crawl  to A1A and Sunrise and back (3.4 miles). Just for the record, that youtube link? That's NOT my home, NOT my husband :)

My point being, IF we tell ourselves daily, from the moment we get up to the second we fall asleep, that we will make AN EFFORT to do some sort of exercise, we can fit it in to our busy lifestyle.

Even when we are sick. Tired. Just plain worn out. Make an Effort. Log it. And see results ...

Works for Me. Yeah, I'm linking up ... aren't you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Sock Bun - Update

Well. I wouldn't say it was a FAIL ... but didn't quite work out the way I thought it would.

1. Hard to sleep with my hair up like that.

2. Woke up several times during the night to touchy feel the bun, wanting to make sure it was all intact.

3. 2am Nature was calling. The bun was also calling. NONE of the hair was wrapped around the "sock" any longer, just all up in that TIGHT pony tail.

Took the pony tail out ... OWWWW my scalp was bruised from being up so tight.

The hair was wavy. And full. I went back to bed after fluffing it up and had a hard time sleeping because of the bruising (raise your hand please if you know the feeling!)

In the moring, 4 hours later, it was still fluffy and a little wavy (but my hair is pretty fluffy anyways) ...

It's not a total fail. I will try it again. BUT this time, I may have to sacrafice a sock. And I won't put my hair up as TIGHT ... owww.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sock Buns

I am actually going to bed tonight with a sock bun to see if it will give this old, tired, in need of a cut and color hair of mine a little more life in the morning.

Trust me, it's not difficult to give my hair life. I just choose not to spend the extra free time I may have in the morning to do it :)

So here I am, watching cute little tween like girls show me how to roll my hair before I go to bed tonight. Ahhh, whatever, let me try it!

Of course, being an older person, and frugal to boot, I don't think I can justify cutting a sock, even an odd one ... so I rooted around and came up with ... a knee brace. Ha. Dollar store goodie.

So I put the hair up in a high ponytail.

Sprayed it with the only styling type of stuff I have, used for high heat (flatirons) and rolled it up.

I will be curious to see how it works out only because I couldn't get it TIGHT as I have a hard time getting a tight grip (post coming up soon on THAT issue).

But it's up. And rolled under. And I'm laughing because all these years I've not been able to put my hair up in a tight bun or anything and here it is, a "sock bun" works! :)

Check back tomorrow ... might even share a picture!

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday. Oddly enough, I seem to have a love hate relationship with the's a chance to start NEW yet it's also a chance to pickup the slack from the previous week.

I suppose it falls into the same grey area of is the glass half full or half empty? :)

Moving on ... dealing with migraine the past few days and thankful that Hubby picked up for me. Makes it easier being just the two of us ...

Sunday - Hubby made some pork chops with roasted taters and onions. Delicious, except I had no desire to eat.

Monday - Chicken Cesar salad (no pasta)

Tuesday - Bangin Shrimp (with romaine and shredded coleslaw mix instead of iceburg)

Wednesday - Starkist fishy stuff. I've yet to try it and NOW I have 4 boxes in the freezer. Rice and veggies along side ...

Thursday -  Hubby take me out to Las Vegas Cubano ? He wants to do it one night this week so I'm thinking this is the night (or just switch it out with another night)

Friday - Steak ... I've got some skirt steak in the freezer that I want to try another Publix apron recipe with ...

Saturday - most likely be on the boat as a friend of ours comes back in town so we will probably stop somewhere on the water ....

So what are  you planning to feed the crew this week? Hop on over to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday linkup!

PS ... for recipe links, check back this evening ... at the office and don't have all my favorites :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Conserving .... Coffee

I LOVE my morning cup of Joe ... and really, it's not a good day if I don't start out with the coffee in the  morning.

But have you seen the price of it lately? OMG!

I don't drink Folgers/Maxwell House ... but I also do NOT demand Starbucks either.

I prefer Dunkin Donuts. Which you may as well put in the category of Starbucks when it comes to buying the beans.

So, I settle. For Seattle Best. Or Eight O'Clock (which is pretty good) ...

And a small 10 oz bag cost something like $7.99 now. Holy Smokes Batman! Coupons have been a little hard to come by, or then the sales are hard to come by. The never seem to coinside any longer.

So, I've had to make some modifications to my morning routine.

Instead of using 5 1/2 scoops to make an '8' cup pot, I use 4 scoops to make a '6' cup pot. And actually, it's working out better in the end.

See, the 8 cup would always leave a little leftover at the end of the morning. And since this household adheres to the NO FOOD NO DRINKS in the vehicle (ahem, seriously) I was always bummed to dump it out.

Yeah, I've saved it for ice coffee and such. But personally, I do NOT like iced coffee. The only thing I've found leftover coffee to be good for is steak marinade (shush, it's a secret!) and as we don't eat steak DAILY, it's wasted quite often.

So by doing the 6 cup, I pour the pot EMPTY (even shake it sometimes in frustration) and figure I'm getting an extra pot worth of scoops every week.

Uh huh. That works for me. Linking up to Frugal Fridays!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chicken Piccata

Princess will always make it a point to be home IF I say we are having this for dinner, and the leftovers had better be in the fridge the next day with HER name written on the container...

Chicken Piccata ... She's been asking for it for what seems like forever (yet again) and I will try again to show her how to make it (so she can do it next time!). 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!

Linking up with Ultimate Recipe Swap (this week is favorite quick dinners, which I think this qualifies for)

Move It September

It's officially here, September.

The end of Summer.

The start of school. Sob. I don't have to worry about that so much anymore. But I do have the start of college, which is much more than just a Sob. More like an OUCH and SQUEAL as the money is drained from my accounts.

But that's a post for another day.

What I am here to say, ahem, is that September is the MONTH to Get Moving.

You know. That dreaded E word. EXERCISE.

I'd like to say structured, routine, day to day laid out but who am I going to KID besides myself? And I know better.

So here's what I'm going to do. I am going to post DAILY (darn it, yes, I am. Honestly!) over at the Frugal Fitness bloggy board of what I've done. Anything that is done INTENTIONALLY is going to be posted.

For instance. Already this morning, I've done 20 bicycle crunches, 10 regular crunches (burn baby burn) and 10 countertop push ups. Woohoo. Do I feel any different. Well no, not physically but mentally, hell yeah! (um, this was to have been posted ON September 1st ... goes to show you how life goes!)

So are you in? Want to MOVE IT IN SEPTEMBER with me?? Hop on over and link in the comment section ...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Making a List ...

I am a huge list person.

Constantly, there is a sheet of paper nearby that I write things down on.

Grocery list? Check.

Bill paying list? Check.

Errands list? Check.

And just that general all around To Do list ... check.

Unfortunately, too many list is not real effective ... especially when the grocery list is NOT with the errands list and such.

So here's what I TRY to do (and remember, please, that I am far far FAR from perfect!) ...

Take a scrap sheet of paper (I use the ones that are leftover after cutting off that one coupon on the top from the "bricks coupon printing".

Fold it in half so it's longer.

Now you have FOUR sections to write on.

I generally keep the grocery list and the errands list together in one section, especially now that the grocery list has shrunk tremendously (amazing what the removal of an 18 year old boy does to the budget!) So in addition to the cat litter (with coupon), cat food (with coupon), tp and lettuce, I also have, deposit, library and gas on that side of the paper. I also JUST wrote produce store. I hardly every write down what to get at the produce store, that's more of a 'what looks good' type of shopping for me.

In the next section, you can make that your general To Do List. Yeah. Laundry. Iron. Clean out guest fridge. Wash guest room sheets. That kind of stuff. Mine also has wash west windows. Uh huh. That's how detailed MY list is. Unfortunately, my To Do List takes up 2 columns ... I keep adding stuff, such as upload pics. Post pics to Good Food 2. Update Move It In September under the exercising blog (look to your right, in the upper part of that column and you will see these 2 blogs). Create and schedule posts about this and that (and unfortunately, this hardly ever disappears on my list because I can never do it) ...

Then I have a section just for bill paying stuff. I'm having issues with an American Express charge so that is TOP on the list of the bill paying stuff because I want to get it cleared up before I pay the bill. So mine reads: call AE, balance checkbook, pay bills, transfer funds, remainder balance (for the month).

I do cross off stuff as I get it done but sometimes it seems that I add more than cross off. But that's ok. That sheet of paper goes IN my purse because nothing is worse than being out and about and NOT having that all important list!

Linking up with Works for Me Wednesday because this definately works for me!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Some days

You just have nothing.

Nothing to offer up.

Not from the very bottom of your soul or being. Nothing whatsoever.

It's been one of those days for SEVERAL days.

No. I don't believe it's depression.

I think it's just because I've been sick. And then I gave 5 1/2 tubes of blood for the doctor.

And get a call on Saturday that she's calling in a script for some heavy duty antibiotics for a pretty serious infection.

No. Not the sinus or the cold. An infection that I have NO outwards symptoms of. You know, the UTI stuff.

She said that that is PROBABLY why I've been dragging the "cold" and such for so long. Huh.

What do you know.

So I got some REAL antibiotics going on and aiming for a little more excitement in my life.

I'll keep you posted. And certainly hope I can continue with my Move It In September plan!

Menu Plan Monday - Holiday and catch up week's Labor Day.

The burgers have been grilled, baked beans cooked, pasta salad and potato salad tossed and macaroni and cheese dished.

Time to move forward and hope that we are finally on the road to recovery from our various illnesses ...

Monday - burgers, baked beans, pasta salad, potato salad, mac and cheese
Tuesday - Black bean soup and quesidillas (which, in reality, is probably just going to be leftovers)
Wednesday - parmesan chicken
Thursday - sausage and peppers on flatouts (stop at produce store)
Friday - steak and taters.
Saturday - guessing Hubby is going to want to go boating so I'm thinking pork tenderloin and black beans and rice (easy meal to put together)
Sunday - Hungry Girl's chicken wings (2nd try at these) ...

I have MOST of the food in house already. Playing around with a little mini self imposed grocery challenge of $40 a week for the month of September. This would include paper products, cat stuff, etc. Don't know if its practical (so close behind the July pantry challenge) but I still have LOTS of stuff ...

Check back throughout the week for recipes and hopefully pictures!

Linking up with Menu Plan Monday ... go check it out!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Potatoes and Onions

If you've got yourself a mandolin, this will be so much better, otherwise, slice them as thin as you can without taking off the top layer of fingers :) (original recipe comes from Tammy ...)

Excellent side dish to go with so many different types of meat, and can be done in the oven or on the grill ... just cook til they are tender and a little brown around the edges ...

3 cups of thin sliced potatoes (I used one Coscto size spud and used the mandolin to slice it thin)
1 cup of thin sliced onions (again, Costco sized sweet onion, sliced on the mandolin)
3/4 cup of mayo or sour cream (I used 1/4 mayo and 1/2 cup sour cream)
1/4 cup of Parmesan
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tsp parsley
salt and pepper
dash of Cayenne pepper flakes
clove of garlic, finely minced

Mix the mayo/sour cream, cheese and spices together in large bowl. Dump in the onions and taters, mix well till all coated.

Tear 2 sheets of foil to about 15-20 inches long. Spray with Pam (well) and divide taters between 2 sheets. Fold up and seal well (you know, fold over and over and repeat)

Grill on medium high heat, turning over half way through for about 20 minutes til taters are done. They smell awesome and you will hear them sizzling! (or bake in a shallow baking dish at 375 til tender and a little crusty brown around the edges of dish)

When done, allow to sit a few minutes and very carefully, open foil up and serve. Yummmmm

Linking up with Ultimate Recipe Swap ... all about side dishes today!