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Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

After a rainy, flooding, dreary weekend (which really put a cramp on my Halloween Party plans Saturday evening) I am looking forward to Monday ... which of course, means Menu Plan Monday in this house!

I did the big shop on Wednesday last week and did another run to the store on Saturday morning ... spent a little bit too much money (saved a lot too) but at least now we are set for quite some time on food ...

Sonny Boy played at 5pm this evening and they all headed back to Orlando at about 8pm ... a little too late for my own comfort but they insist on doing it that way.

As I sit here (9pm Sunday), I'm totally drawing a blank as to what I should do for dinners this week. I've got SO many options to choose from yet nothing is grabbing my attention. I suppose I am just lazy at the moment and the brain is taking a break =D. So here's what I'm throwing out there and hope to stick with it.
Sunday - um, lack of motivation here. Grilled cheese sandwiches and Halloween candy. Just keeping it real ...

Monday - Tuna melts ... Hubby will complain as he does not like hot, canned tuna (tuna casserole? I thought he was going to divorce me after THAT meal). I will make his on toasted bread instead because that's the kind of gal I am.

Tuesday - leftover blackened chicken and broccoli. I am going to try and save the salad stuff for lunches only this week ... Hubby likes to eat a HUGE salad after the gym, so I'm going to pursued him to do the broccoli.

Wednesday - This our night out normally, but may convince Hubby to stay in and make Chinese as I've been craving that lately. Otherwise, do a take out of Chinese ... under $20? IF I do make it at home, I want to try this Sesame Ginger Chicken in the crockpot (I have everything but green onions and carrots, but will improvise with stirfry veggies and serve with the basmati rice).

Thursday - Pork chops and more stirfry veggies. Not sure what I want to do yet with the chops. Grill? Crockpot? Stirfry? Hmmm...need to decide soon.

Friday - Pizza and wings. From the pantry and freezer. The wings are precooked and seasoned, but frozen so they need to get toasted up in the oven. The pizza will be a simple garlic crust (which I need to find the recipe!) that is made in the bread maker. Will probably be a pepperoni based pizza...

Saturday - so hoping that the weather finally clears up by now ... chicken thighs and veggies on the grill with my favorite teriyaki sauce!

Linking up with Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday ... check it out!

Friday, October 28, 2011

It seems to be hard to catch up. At least harder than I remember it.

Money wise, that is.

Yeah, chore wise too. I'm not sure how THAT happened.

Back to the subject at hand.

It's Friday, two days after Wednesday, which means I've missed the WFMW linkup and it's time to link up with Frugal Friday ... I've missed a few of them lately just because TIME seems to be getting out of hand lately too ...

Wow, no wonder I've felt slightly off ... Money, chores, time, work, kids, animals, and oh, the Hubby. What about me??


You probably already know about my love of lists.

For everything. From chores, to bill paying, to errands, to suggest MEALS!

As I was waiting for Sonny Boy's bus to arrive (yes, he took a Greyhound on a Thursday for $37 from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale, said it was way better than the student bus program), I grabbed my handy dandy little book and pen and started to write out a list of meal ideas based on what I have in house at the moment.

It's a little difficult when you are not standing in your kitchen looking at your available ingredients, trust me.

But being that I just did a big shop earlier this week, and that I pretty much browse the remaining contents of the freezer daily, I had a fairly good idea of what was on hand.

So like these two lists, I believe I have everything on hand to make each meal without needing anything special, other than the usual salad and milk items. we go:

chicken (f) stirfry with rice (p) and stirfry veggies (f)
Starkist fish (f) and yellow rice (p)
pork chops (f) and boxed scallop taters (p)
pepperoni (p) pizza (p) and garden salad with olive garden dressing
cobb salad (fridge) (p)
Bangin Shrimp (f) (p) (fridge)
teriyaki (p) chicken thighs (f) with stirfry veggies (f)
burgers (f) and grilled fries (p)
salisbury steaks (f) with egg noodles (p)
sausage (f) and peppers (fridge) (f) and onions (p)
ranch chicken (f) (p)
turkey (f) tacos (p)
blackened chicken (f) sandwiches (p)
hot dogs (f) with potato salad (p)
chicken picatta (f) (p) (now that I don't need white wine!)

Like that, 15 meals. And of course, nothing spectacular (except that chicken picatta stuff) but stuff that Hubby and I both enjoy (Princess counts too, but only home 10% of the time for dinner) ...

This one is a multi link up with Works For Me and Frugal Fridays! Should check them both out!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Costco, Oh How I love Costco!

I've tried really really really hard to go to Costco with a list and a specific amount of money dedicated to just that trip.

Trust me, it isn't easy. But for the most part, I do ok.

So my list this time around has been accumulating for, oh, about 3 to 4 weeks. And of course, we had the little coupon book which is probably what really prompted my list.

I stuck with the list pretty darn well. A few things I said no thanks on as yes, like everything else, the prices have gone up. The carnation instant breakfast is now $9.99 a box (30) and granted, that's still 1/3 less than the store, it was not justifiable in this trip (I think I paid somewhere around $7 last time?)

And of course, as you wander walk the aisles looking for that item on your list, you spot other things, like the basmati rice, in a 2 serving bowl, that's ready in TWO MINUTES! Um, yeah. 6 pk for $7.99. And I got 2.

My cashier's name was Kia. I had a very difficult time not having fun with her and the reference to the SOUL Hamsters =D. Yeah, I'm odd like that (it's called humor, I believe??). She was funny regardless so she probably would have went along with it.

Ok, here we go:

Basmati rice bowls $7.99 each x 2
canned shrooms $7.49 (about 50 cents a can)
2 large bottles of lemon juice $5.79
2 pk nutella $8.99 less $  coupon
crumbled bacon $9.99 (whoa, this got pricey)
8 pk bumblebee albacore tuna $13.89 (ok, I would have sworn this was to have been cheaper ... tempted to go back and look. It's why I didn't grab the Costco stuff like normal)
bag of Ruffles (big bag) $5.29
bag of tortilla chips $4.89
B/S chicken thighs ($1.99 lb) $15.60
B/S chicken thighs ($1.99 lb) $16.32
large container cottage cheese $4.99
5 pk bacon (I think it's 5, I need to check) $11.99 (again, another pricier item!)
36 pk water $3.75 (we were still watching Rina at this time)
100 paper plates (or more?) $14.49 less $3.20
6 pk (32 oz each) organic chicken stock $10.89
346 count bath wipes $14.99
4 pk toothpaste (large tubes) $12.99
14 ct bath soap $14.49
quart size freezer bags $9.99
black forest ham $5.27
honey roasted turkey breast $7.58
honey roasted turkey breast $7.74
4 lbs frozen organic brocolli $5.99
90 ct mega red vitamins $18.99
5 lbs of frozen stirfry veggie $7.29
6 ct romaine lettuce $3.99
string cheese $9.99
4 lb butter $8.99
mini peppers $4.49
half & half $1.79 x 2
3 dozen xlarge eggs $4.49 (umm, another notable price increase)

then I had coupons, and none of the items say what they are for, except the bath soap:

$2.50 off Nutella
$3.00 off  Dove
$4.00 off Colgate
$5.00 off Mega Red
$3.00 off Cottonelle wipes

Grand total? $274.51. I'm bummed as the calculator put me around $250 but a few things I may have rounded down and I was not sure of the toothpaste. Plus the tuna is about $4 more than I thought too.

So. I would say I'm set for a while.

But you know how that is. Publix has some decent deals this week =D .... oh geesh. How am I ever going to incorporate my new 2012 plan??

Do you shop Costco? And is there a method you use?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I've been in Orlando visiting Sonny Boy for the past 3 days, doing Halloween Horror Nights, taking the kids to Aldis (the one girl was like "Oh, is that where you get the really good chips??" Yes Bri, it is) ... we got everyone fairly stocked up on food for a few weeks I think.

Then I walked the whole campus of UCF several times over, walked the apartment complex and marveled at all the different types of students that are around.

Saw lots of wildlife, and no, not just college kids =D

Spent a lot of money, but glad I went. Had a blast at Universal, can't wait to do THAT again! But I'm back and ready to get back in the groove of things and prepare for my upcoming 2012 challenge ...

Sunday - breaded chicken tenders from the freezer. Made some homemade honey mustard dressing for dipping (as this is baking, Hubby is asking if I'm sure I don't want to just go out .... NO!)

Monday - Chef Salad

Tuesday - Starkist and rice ... I have 4 boxes of those Starkist Sensations and need to try them! Rice is bagged season yellow mix in the pantry

Wednesday - our 21st anniversary AND the night we normally go out ... so I'm letting Hubby choose, although I'd like to try a new Brazilian restaurant in town ...

Thursday - chicken with broccoli (both in freezer, maybe use some of the philly cooking creme I have) Sonny boy comes home this evening as they have 2 gigs over the weekend so I might also add in some pasta and rolls

Friday - Sonny Boy has gig this evening, leaning towards pork chops on the grill ... (chops are in freezer)

Saturday - slight dilemma. Halloween party down the street at Shooters. Lots of alcohol involved, although I am aiming not to overindulge. All the kids will go with us adults as it is really really cool. But not sure what I want to do about food yet. Pizzas? Which would mean ordering out ... don't really want to do that.

I would really prefer to stay out of the stores again, but need to get cheerios and milk for hubby, I think I just pulled the last pkg of lunchmeat from the freezer and the salad stuff is extremely low ... so I need to go to Publix ... but I'd like to do maybe $20 in and out!

Linking up with Organising Junkie and Menu Plan Monday ... hop over and check it all out!

Of course, a lot of things could change depending on the latest Tropical Depression soon to be Tropical Storm Rina

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pantry Salad

I'm trying REAL hard to post more pics of the foods I make, just to show you, yes, we made it and we ate it :) And also, because we DO eat with our eyes, right?

Anyways ... this is an old recipe that I had pulled from our local newspaper several years back, under a headline reading: How To Use Up Your Hurricane Supplies.

Since the three main ingredients are usual staples, it's easy for me to make and easy to improvise for those items you don't have.

Pantry Salad (aka chicken, black beans and corn salad)

1 can of chicken breast, drained and flaked (I've used 2 in the past for a more meaty filling)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of corn, rinsed and drained
1 tbs cumin

juice of 2 limes (I LOVE that handheld gadget!)
1/4 oil (olive, canola, whatever)
salt and pepper
red or orange bell pepper, diced
4 scallions, chopped fine

(optional if you have)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
jalapenos, sliced, to your preference

avacado, diced
cilantro finely chopped
(of course, Hubby hates both of these so it's a no go for my household, but I'd love to do that!)

Mix all in bowl, let sit for an hour or more (flavors get better the longer you let it sit).

There are so many ways you can doctor this up to your preferences, and this makes a great quesadilla filling!

Hubby prefers to eat it straight, the way it is ...

Linking up with GCC Recipe Swap ... check it out!

Take 10 - Clutter Spot

Have I ever mentioned how HUBBY is a freaky neat freak? I mean, as in, NO clutter, NO piles, etc.

Everything is in it's place.

Sometimes, lately, he's been a little absent minded and 'forgets' where he put something. It's comical except that he gets REAL irritated with that as everything has it's place. (I know it's the medication he recently started, and I'm sure I need to say something to him about it, but for now, faintly amusing)...

Back to the story ...

I, however, can be a total and complete slob. Make piles. Make lists. Put the list on the piles. When the pile gets too tall, that's when I would prefer to deal with it. Which is stupid because it's more work at that point.

So when I went to pick up my purse one morning, I must have just had a moment because I stopped, scolded myself and asked, OUT LOUD:

Just when did THIS become acceptable?

There, on the floor, under the beautiful table, was my purse, the exercise mat, the coupon binder, the coupon bag, the amazon box, the shoe box, and another bag that I carry to work with me most days (it's my To Do bag folks). The cooler? Ummm, that had been from 2 WEEKS ago when we went to a friends ...

Ha. Hubby heard me. Peeked his head around the corner and said:

REALLY? You are finally SEEING that? need to jab me with it buddy :)

So there I was that evening, taking 10. Seriously, only TEN MINUTES. And wow. I'm thrilled.

I put the receipts away where they belonged. I gathered all the extra cables and stuff from the TV / Surround System Experiment and put them in the amazon box, and put that in the garage on the work bench for Hubby to do his thing with. I put the shoe box in the closet with the shoes (doh).

And then, I dusted my picture frames. Arranged Audrey with the pretty seashells as she'd like to be (she's the neatfreak that instilled this way of living in Hubby).

And I still need to do something with the text books ... the school no longer buys these back because they say they've upgraded (college stuff).

Yes, I know it's nothing spectacular, but this is probably my favorite space in the whole house just because of some of the special pictures on there, my mother in law, father in law, hubby and princess, family portrait, boats, Princess group army photo, Sonny Boy and the band ...

And whenever I do one of these Take 10 tackles, I'm always amazed that it only takes a few minutes to make it all better.

Works For Me (yet again!)

NOTE: that beatiful table that weighs a ton? Picked it up from a girlfriend that was moving northward for $20 four years ago ... makes it a little more special!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chicken Marsala - Easier

I have a love hate relationship with Pinterest lately. Do you have any idea how many NEW blogs I've found that are dedicated to cooking?? AAAAAHHHHH

If I continue, I could be the size of my house, which is NOT small.

So anyways.

Today's feature recipe is brought to you by Savory Sweet Life and is an easier chicken marsala recipe.

I, of course, double it because: a) we love leftovers and b) if it's really good and we don't have any leftovers, there will be repercussions and c) we love leftovers ...

So here's MY version:

4 chicken breast ... these are from Penn Dutch and they are like GIGANTIC whole breast. That sounded borderline xrated but seriously, these must be some large chickens
1 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken broth (I used bouillon granules)
1/2 cup white wine (dry)
6 tbs olive oil (originally states 1/2 cup oil but I used butter too)
6 tbs butter
1 lb sliced mushrooms
flour for dredging
salt and pepper

Notice a few things I changed up?

Take the chicken breast and slice them in half so they are not super thick. I don't normally pound mine thin as it makes a mess, it's loud, and well, I have other ways to vent my frustrations!

Heat large skillet over medium high heat and melt 3 tbs oil and 2tbs butter.

Season both sides with salt and pepper. And if you are like me, you do this ahead of time, stick them in the fridge and wait til its time to cook dinner

Place flour on paper plate for fast and easy cleanup

and dredge chicken in flour, shake off excess.

Cook chicken 3 to 4 minutes on one side and flip over when golden brown. Cook on other side til fully cooked, remove to dish and cover with foil. Repeat with all chicken, adding more oil and butter as needed.

Once all chicken is cooked, add 2 tbs butter to pan, add mushrooms and cook 5 to 7 minutes til they start to give off liquid.

Add marsala wine, chicken broth and remaining ingredients.

Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook about 10 minutes.

Add chicken back in and let simmer a few more minutes to warm thoroughly.

Pour all in serving dish OR individually over pasta.


Of course, it should be noted: this was Friday night. My girlfriend/neighbor had been gone for 2 1/2 weeks and was back home. She came over about 8'ish, dinner was cooked and being kept on warm as Hubby was still messing with his new obsession, so I went outside and sat on the patio with Helena while we shared wine and beer (her wine, me beer). Hubby finally ate his dinner and I made this measly plate at 11:30pm. Ummm. It was good but so not how I planned. Just keeping it real!

Do you like Chicken Marsala?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

It's a dreary, rainy and humid Monday and of course, that means menu plan day, regardless.

I'm upset in that I had hoped to be having French Onion Soup leftover from Saturday's batch ... but, unfortunately, the recipe was not all that and more. It was none of that and then some. To the point where it went bye bye. To feed the fish. I'm so bummed.

Have you ever pulled a recipe off line that LOOKS great but somewhere along the line, either something was left out of the typed up and posted instructions or the picture was just doctored up? I've had it happen a couple of times ...and the soup was one of them. Really makes for a bummed mood. I'm still wondering, was it the organic beef 'flavored' broth? The flour to be added (that seemed off to me when I did it!) or just everything? :(

Anyways ... on with the menu plan. Not very exciting whatsoever, contributing that to the weather (gee, what's my excuse for NEXT week?)

Sunday - after shopping that morning, spending roughly $100 total, we STILL ordered Pizza for $22 total (after tip and all). I have to attribute it to the rainy, windy weather we were having.

Monday - Leftover chicken marsala and a salad

Tuesday - Pantry Salad  (chicken, corn, black beans etc.)

Wednesday - our night out but I'm thinking I will try to get Hubby to stay in again.

Thursday - Cobb Salad

Friday - I'm off to Orlando to see Sonny Boy and Halloween Horror Night. Obviously, wanting to eat in but will be out...Hubby has his cooking class this evening.

Saturday - may be in Orlando still, not sure as of yet. If so, eating in, if not, eating at home ... Hubby's choice regardless.

It's really going to be an off week for us in the end. Weather is crappy and that adds to the other woes of the household.

I need to STAY OUT OF THE grocery stores until at least Monday of next week. Seriously. I don't see the money woes fixing themselves, as much as I tell myself they do ... I just need to commit to it.

What are you feeding the masses for dinner this week? In a rut, hop over to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday link up ...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Whole Food Stop

It's not like I need food or anything .... I just bought another 10 lbs of chicken breast, 2 tbone steaks, 2 lbs of shrimp and alot of veggies the other day.

But I came across this recipe and dang it ... I have ONE lonely onion in the house (don't ask, onions have not been looking healthy in the store lately, plus they cost a lot more than they used to)... so anyways, you know I don't normally buy ingredients SPECIFICALLY for a recipe ...

BUT THIS one ...

It's for a crockpot.

It's Soup!

It's my all time favorite type of soup.

It's French Onion Soup. In a crockpot!

So, yeah, I needed sweet onions.

And some Gruyere cheese.

And some LOW sodium Beef Broth (never mind that it says "beef flavored", need to look at ingredients ... its only 140mg sodium)

So yeah. I stopped at Whole Foods.

And got some nice looking spinach, 2 lemons and 2 limes, and a big container of stonybrook yogurt. And 2 pizzas. For Princess.

I was under $30 until I spied the pizzas for $5.29 each. So I snagged 2 and that put me over $40. Drats.

Obviously NOT linking this up to Frugal Fridays but maybe NEXT week we will have a crockpot french onion soup recipe to share!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak - Sort Of

Hubby LOVES his philly cheesesteaks ... and whenever he goes to Philadelphia for business, he ALWAYS makes sure to stop at Pats and at Genos ... said that they are both worth the trip.

In our recent foraging of the freezers, he pulled out a bag of "shredded beef" from ... February 2010. We were going to toss it but then opened it up and smelled and O M G it was so yummy smelling. So he heated a small amount in the microwave and asked if I remembered how I had made it.

Ummm...crockpot? A few seasonings? Tomatoes (I think those red things are tomatoes. Maybe they are red peppers?) ... the answer was no.

We decided to stay in on Wednesday evening instead of our usual night out so Hubby could finish his TV/Surround Sound project and I made Philly Cheesesteaks using that beef.

Here's the 'recipe' (trust me, the only authentic thing is the whiz):

Shredded Beef, cooked. I let mine simmer in beef broth to make it juicy as that's part of the allure

Cheesewhiz. Yeah. That jar of yellow weird stuff.

Nuke in microwave bowl in 15 second intervals until pourable

French bread. I managed to find baguette size, 3 to a pk for $1.29. Offset the $4 jar of cheesewiz (which we didn't use but half) Slice bread in half but not all the way.

Slather some butter on the cut sides and place butter side down in hot pan to toast. Flip over and toast the unbuttered side just a little.

Place a generous amount of beef on the toasted bread. Pour over some cheesewhiz. Close sandwich, squish a little (authentic) and serve.

I can't believe I ate the whole entire sandwich! I really need to try and find HOW I made that beef!

It has been sort of fun at times to pull stuff out of the freezer and discover something we had completely forgetten about ... yeah, some stuff has gotten tossed, and I hate that I wasted something, but then other stuff like this happens and it's like, wohoo!

Acceptable Behavior?

This has been bothering me for several days.

I was in the grocery store the other day ... it's a store that has a high clientele of non-english speaking individuals (and heavy cash usage) ... alot of different cultures and backgrounds in that store.


I was standing at the fish counter to get some of the $4.99 per lb shrimp (does not go on sale to that price very often anymore) and there was an older lady, maybe late 60's next to me, getting a big slab of salmon.

To my other side is a young mom, with a little boy about 3 years old. He's messing with stuff at his level, as kids will do ... and she just reaches out and cuffs the kid on the side of the head, right over his ear.

The little boy screams bloody murder, hand to ear and starts kicking at the wall in anger. Umm. Ok.

Tears flowing and just howling. I'm trying to ignore the kid, not sure what I've just witnessed.

They go to walk behind us, and the older lady is making shhh shhhh shhh sounds ... in a soothing way, not at all a SHUSH type ...

The young mom? Turns around looks right at us and says "Shut the f!*#%% up you old b*!#%&".


Wow. I couldn't help myself. I shouted (yes, shouted) back "You need to learn some manners yourself before you can teach your child manners!"

Oh. Boy.

I was just appalled that she would say such a thing to an older woman who was obviously acting by instinct to soothe and console a crying child (I don't believe she saw what happened to the child) ...

And I just reacted. And really and truly thought this young mother would be waiting outside in the parking lot to take me down. ACK!

Alas, I checked out, everything was fine in the parking lot.

But still.

I can't believe that this was such behavior and that no one else thought much of it that I could see. I mean seriously.


Baked Potato Bar ... Easy

I had one kid who was fairly picky about food. So to find something that HE liked that everyone else would enjoy too, and HEALTHY'ier' on top of it, well, I'm all in!

I buy the potatoes at Costco usually ... a big honkin 20lber. About $8. They are nice and big (size of your hand) and for the most part, pretty fresh and decent ...

Scrub the taters like wild. Um, I hate to say it, but they've been living in dirt for quite a while. Prick them with a fork, or cut an x shape in the skin (don't forget to do this, exploding taters in the oven really is a pain to clean!)

Place them all on a baking sheet and drizzle a little oil over them. Give them a massage with the oil, rubbing it all around.

Sprinkle all with coarse salt.

Bake at 400 for 45 to 60 minutes, til they squish a bit when you gently squeeze them.

Set up your bar. Go ahead, use some nice bowls ... don't just toss the containers on the countertop :)

Show a little love here:

Shredded cheese of choice
Bacon bits
Sour cream
Steamed broccoli (personally, I don't but if your gang likes, go for it)
green onions slice thin (or chives)
chopped tomatoes if handy
salt and pepper
and of course, soft butter
*Whatever you like or even just have on hand, add or omit to the bar. That's the beauty!

Slit taters on top, but not all the way to bottom or end to end. Now, with your hands (in towel, oven mitt, etc. as they are hot!), pinch the ends up and towards the middle to fluff up the slit part. Does this make sense? Thumbs on one end, pointer & middle finger on other end, and gently squeeze towards the middle of the tater. This is just how I was taught to do it all those years ago in a restaurant. It makes it a "fluffy" baked tater.

OR just cut the dang thing in half, fluff with fork/knife :)

Dress as desired and enjoy!

Hop on over to Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap ... today's link is all about Taters!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take 10 - Spice Cabinet

I have a spice cabinet. In the corner and it has 2 shelves that rotate around. Oh wait, is that a Lazy Susan? Ahhhh...

Anyways. It's a big corner cabinet and we are constantly moving stuff around in there trying to find the celery salt, or that BIG container of chili powder I bought not that long ago.

And sometimes, we come across things ... which is what prompts me to do today's Take 10 ... seasoning salt that has a use by date of ... are you ready? 02/01/1999.

Yes, 1999 ... just like that song. Uggg.

So here we go.

This is just the bottom shelf that is suppose to be for all the TALL containers. Notice some little guys back there? Those are the ones we lose.

I was getting a little ruthless ...

And I can't believe I'm throwing out ginger and curry ... ack! But alas, those were from 2005 and as they say, old spices loose their potency so let's see if I have to adjust my seasoning at all (yeah, I was using some of those!)

And then a mere 10 (ok, maybe 20) minutes later ... I had this:

Fairly organized and fresh spices ... go ahead, Take 10! Works for Me!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day

I sort of, kind of, really did, PUSH for the day off today.

Heck, the banks are closed.

Federal courthouses are closed.

Post office is closed.

I know the local courthouse and recording office is open (in Broward County), but heck, I'd be working with less than three-quarters of my necessary operating team.

It worked.

So what am I going to do today? Well, first off, I'm fighting a monumental urge to SHOP. Ack. I have no free, unaccounted for money so to speak at the moment. And them damn credit cards are screaming my name, saying "USE ME" but I am resisting.

I did do my microdermabrasion this morning.

That's 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp water. I added a little drip more to make it a little less dry. I love this stuff. It makes my skin feel so smooth and and soft. I still have some left in there to add to my heels later today.

I also posted the weekly Menu Plan Monday and got it linked up too!

I even made the bed today!

I do need to get the wiley eyebrows waxed today. And the lip. Ummmm...yeah, it happens folks :) If you start to see a shadow, no matter how faint, trust me, you need to take action NOW :) Nothing worse than your husband asking if you want the razor :)

I also cleared off the wall unit so we can move it out for Hubby to finish his tv system installation. He will pick up the surround sound today (and drop off the 100 plus pounds of old tv) ... I'm hoping by the time I get back from the gym, it will be FINISHED but I know better than that.

It's silly in that Columbus Day is not really celebrated as a holiday anymore. Most schools are in session, as are colleges and universities. Even though banks and federal governments are closed, Wall Street is open (which means them protesters are out too). And I had to sort of, kind of, really PUSH for the day off :)

What are you doing on this special day?

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Columbus Day! I am off, sort of. The banks are closed as is the post office, but yet the county courts and recording offices are open, so I'm anticipating a little time in the office just to be sure nothing needs tending....

It's also Monday which means Menu Plan time!

Sunday - Chili that Hubby made in the crockpot. Great way to end the crappy weather weekend.

Monday - as I'm meeting a girlfriend to try out a class at the gym, gonna be home later than normal. So leaning towards Chicken Cesar Salad using the leftover Chicken from Chicken Piccata. (yeah, it will have the piccata flavor, that's perfectly fine for us)

Tuesday - Hubby does gym, and I may too, although, I've been doing running so maybe I'll do that, depends on how I feel ... dinner will be salad related, thinking of Chicken, Corn and Black Bean salad to get some more pantry food out of the way.

Wednesday - Our night out ... we are going to try a new place over on 33rd Street ... local.

Thursday - Hubby does gym, I do run, dinner will be easy with just a small tuna salad to go with it some whole grain crackers.

Friday - Grilling out (hopefully) ... sausage and peppers (bumped from last week due to rain and wind). We ended up going to our friends who made burgers and fries anyways.

Saturday - Hubby chooses.

What are YOU making for dinner this week? Hop on over to Organizing Junkie and check out hundreds of others!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The highlight of my weekend

Oddly enough, was the crockpot, Hubby, and chili.

We've had a rainy blustery weekend. As in, nothing is being done outside (til today, late Sunday, finally calming down!)

So after we did the new TV and digital cable box installations (um, nothing is easy in this house, ok?), Hubby went and dug out the BIG crockpot, 2 pkgs of ground beef from freezer, a bag of diced onions and a bag of green peppers (also from the freezer), chili beans from pantry, a few cans of tomato sauce from the pantry, a can of roasted tomatoes, and various spices and whipped up a chili in the crockpot. Sweet.

And then, texted Princess and told her to be sure to stop at the store and buy a gallon of 2% Publix milk and 2 bags of frito corn chips, ORIGINAL. See, with Princess, you have to be specific, as in 2% and ORIGINAL, otherwise you will get something totally different :)

Anyways. That's Sunday's meal. Woohoo. He did that Saturday and I'm set for Sunday.

Princess, overload on the fritos and below all the chili? Hash browns leftover from breakfast.
And the girl still weighs under 110 lbs.

Gotta love the guy which is why I said I do almost 21 years ago.

Easiest Chicken Piccata - tried and true

I love capers, which means I love chicken piccata. AND so does Hubby and Princess.

As Princess was home Saturday night, and I had just picked up some chicken ($1.49/lb for b/s breast), I had everything I needed for piccata.

Except. WINE. Well, that's not true. But I didn't want to use the $40 bottle that my boss had given me recently. That's for sippin baby, not cooking. And yes, I know, you shouldn't cook with wine you wouldn't drink, but there are some $5 bottles I'd drink!

Anyways ... off to Pinterest to find myself a new recipe to try! And of course, I found one ... and it's a keeper. So much so that Hubby asked me to use THIS recipe from now on. Huh.

4 chicken breast, sliced in half (so you have 8 pieces now)
salt and pepper
flour for dredging
12 tbs of butter (slice each tbs off a stick and set on plate)
10 tbs olive oil (just have tbs and oil handy)
2/3 cups lemon juice (yup, I squeezed the lemons, 2 1/2)
1 cup chicken stock (I used the granules and 1 cup hot water)
1/2 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup parsley, chopped (had to brave the wind and rain to go cut it from the garden)

Salt and pepper the chicken. Dredge in flour and shake off excess.

Add 3 tbs of oil to skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbs butter. Once the butter is melted and sizzling, add 3 chicken pieces. Do not move for 3 minutes. Flip over and brown other side. Remove from pan and place on dish.  Repeat all over again til all the chicken is done (NOTE: I did not need to add anything on the last batch to pan so I only used 8 tbs oil and 10 tbs butter)

When done cooking chicken, cover plate with foil. Add lemon juice, chicken stock, capers to pan and bring to boil and scrape up brown bits from bottom of pan.

Add all chicken back to the sauce and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer 5 minutes and once again, remove chicken to dish.

Add 2 tbs butter and whisk vigorously. Pour over the chicken.

Top with the chopped parsley.

We served over Rotini garden linguine (multi-colored). And we didn't have a LOT of pasta on the plate, but more than enough chicken and sauce, just the way I like it, the exact opposite of a restaurant!  Hubby and I added just a touch of Parmesan cheese to ours. NOTE: Do you know, this dish would have been, minimum, $12 a plate? Seriously.

TIPS: I premeasured everything earlier in the day (except the oil) and had it all on standby to make my life easier since I wanted to eat dinner EARLIER than normal for a Saturday. So the chicken broth, lemon juice and capers were in one LARGE measuring glass.

This recipe is doubled as we LOVE leftovers!

Original recipe adapted from Food TV.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I love bread. Seriously. Whenever I would feel the need to punish myself to lose a few pounds, the thought of doing Atkins or low carb would make me start eating HEALTHIER just so I could still eat bread ... yummmm ...

But have you noticed how the price of a cheap grocery store bakery loaf has gone up? I believe we are currently at $2.49 to $2.99 for a white loaf. Ack! That's a lot of dough (pun intended!) to fork out for something that only has a few pantry ingredients, you know? All it really takes is just a little knowledge ... so read on.

I make this in my bread maker just because I like to be a little lazy at times in my life :) Of course, if you are up to it and all about being more tired than necessary, then, by all means, grab yourself a large bowl and mix it up by hand!

Here's what you need:

1 cup of warm water
3 cups of flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg of yeast

Turn on the dough setting, dump all ingredients in per your machine's instructions (mine is water, flour, salt - I mix my flour & salt before putting in - sugar, add yeast in a little well), turn on and walk away.

When done doing it's thing, take it out and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. NOTE: For years, I would use too much flour because my dough would stick which caused the dough to be dryer ... just sprinkle flour if it's sticking ...

Once it's rolled out, place on a well greased baking tray (I use butter, why not?) and cover with a damp towel (cloth napkin) til double in size.

Go back and take a peek at how mine is looking after about 40 minutes ...

Make your three slashes to release the steam from inside while baking. Make yourself a little egg wash (egg white a dash of water, whisk til foamy) and brush the loaf and you will have a beautiful shiny golden brown crust when baked. Bake in a preheated oven set to 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool before slicing ... and can I recommend that you have some slices slathered with butter and GRILLED with your dinner tonight?

Linking up with Life As Mom - Ultimate Recipe Swap!

Original recipe adapted from The Frugal Girl

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Frugal - At Home Microdermabrasion

It’s Wednesday, and you know that means!?

Works For Me Wednesday!! I love some of the stuff I can glean from those that link up! If you haven’t been over there, you really should check it out …

Of course, that’s not what MY WFMW is … I can only wish that I could find something that will relax and soothe my brain and blood pressure.

Been an extremely rough week so far at work. Way busier the past two days than the whole month of September. Ugg. But never fear, I will pull through and still manage to laugh and have a mini party! What I wouldn't do for a full day at the spa to get me some pampering done … but alas, real life interferes, not to mention financials!

So, on with What’s Working For ME!

A frugal, super easy microdermabrasion facial cleaner. Got it through Pinterest of course! Tried it Saturday night while showering and will do it again this evening.

3 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon water

Mix the two well in small dish to make a paste. I actually added a tad more water to make it a little smoother because at first it was hard to apply (leaning face over my hand and rubbing) and ROUGH!

Apply by rubbing in small circular motions and rinse.

You know, it just makes your skin glow, and it does clean. But if your skin is sensitive, definitely don’t rub HARD like I did! I had a little leftover so I took to my feet, and now I'm thinking, dang, this would be a great, invigorarting treatment to the feet, so thats being added to my list of things to try!

Another frugal beauty tip brought to you by a not so beauty queenish gal J

Hop on over to the Works For ME Wednesday link up and find some more awesome tips!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Ummm, Hi!

A few days late on the menu plan, huh.  Yeah, join the club!

It's been busy around here. Getting the garden ready (because we garden in the fall and winter!).

Getting a new blog set up for 2012 (The Year of Zero).

Balancing the checkbook and budgeting for the month of October.

Trying not to stress about the lack of REAL available cash (to think that this used to be NORMAL for me).

And well, trying to be creative in the kitchen too ... but I seem to have temporarily lost my mojo. Huh.

Sunday - chicken thighs (deal I picked up Friday, $4 for 5 lbs of thighs) and steamed broccoli (gag)

Monday - chef salad (6 heads of SMALL romaine for $6 at Whole Foods, good lord, this will feed us for maybe 5 meals?)

Tuesday - steak salad (using leftover steak from Saturday night) - steak from freezer)

Wednesday - OUT (Hubby and I've decided to make Wednesday night our local dining experience ... we try to keep it under $40 maximum)

Thursday - Cashew Chicken stirfry and garlic rice pilaf (recipe to post soon) (all in freezer and pantry, yes!)

Friday - Sausage and Peppers on the grill (bread or not?) (sausage from freezer, may have to buy peppers and onions by this time)

Saturday - Hubby's choice as I'm not sure if we are boating or not?  Could be sandwiches, pasta, something boring, possibly gourmet, depends on his mood!

The freezers are getting a little more emptier each week. I am at least able to comfortably put ice cream in there now (Eggnog is now available at Publix!). Hubby wants to get them E. M. P. T. Y. which causes me major anxiety in that "what if" mode!

Yeah, so it's a boring week. What can I say? I'm not motivated whatsoever!

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