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Monday, December 31, 2012

Ending 2012

My thoughts have been all across the board lately. I sometimes wonder if I'm not talking out loud when my brain is having a conversation with itself. Anyone else ever have that?

2012 certainly has been a year to remember. Good and bad.

I pretty much lost my brother.

But gained my sister.

My baby boy has grown into an even finer young man.

My daughter is also growing into a fine young woman (curves and all).

My father has adapted to his new 'home'. So much so that he has himself a "girl" named Rose. Who is a blessing in my eyes.

I lost my Florida Mom, Joan in May. In return, however, I've gained her Husband, Mr. Bill, who I've always thought was a crabby old man. Turns out that's not the case IF he knows you ;) ... silly Mr. Bill! He has actually turned out to be a very kind, caring and generous neighbor.

My Husband and I have had a few moments but have always come back, face to face. Like most couples, I suspect, its financial driven ... we make a lot of money but it's committed to help others in the family live comfortably. This past year of giving $1000 a month to my dads living facility, plus $60 spending cash, PLUS miscellaneous stuff throughout the month has been draining ... then we have the 2 kids colleges which they TRY to help with but it's not easy and it cost a lot of money. My point is: a strong relationship can survive ANYTHING so long as both parties are willing to meet, FACE TO FACE.

I've learned a lot about compassion from visiting the VA Medical Center this past year with my father. To be thankful, and to see my father be thankful for what health he DOES have. Some are so much worse off and making it look fine.

I've learned to say no. To stand up for myself when I have nothing more to offer up.

But more than anything, I've learned that I've got a lot of GOOD PEOPLE in my life...which is why my new motto is "I BELIEVE IN GOOD PEOPLE AND MIRACLES". Because I've seen both this past year.

And today, I will raise my glass to the sky and give a very special nod to the big guy up there who has overseen so much in my life. Even on those days and weeks when I couldn't even acknowledge him, he was still there, pushing me forward.

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful, healthy and prosperous 2013 ...


Menu Plan - Week 1

Yup, I started over ... this would have been Week 53 but it's a new year, and well, I want a NEW start!

So ... whats the deal, you ask? I'll tell you all about it ...

I am going to continue trying to use what we have on hand. Yes, I do go to the grocery store, weekly, every 10 days, sometimes every 2 weeks. I ALSO shop at Costco every 4, 6, 8 weeks or so.

But by menu planning, I at least have an idea of WHAT to make at any given time. Because when I do the plan, I mentally (and sometimes even write it in) what is where in the house (freezer, pantry, fridge) or if I specifically need to pick it up.  With the Fiscal Cliff stuff and the new year tax potential issues, it will be even MORE important, in my opinion, to properly plan ...

I need to get back on track with the Sunday prepping for the week. I've fallen off that for the month of December so in my attempt to get back on track in more ways than one, I prepped a little today even though I've got a reduced work week ahead of me (half day or so Monday and off Tuesday) ... so I boiled a dozen eggs, made some mayo, and I was going to do the Salads in Jars (which I just ordered 12 wide mouth quart jars, $22, way more than I thought they'd be), but got side tracked with laundry.  I really need to get the three fridges cleaned out and the freezers organized too, which will help me along with the 2013 Grain Free plan I'm working towards.

Sunday - leftovers, still. Was hoping to convince Hubby to make a modified shepards pie to use up the balance of the ham and mashed taters but we ended up just eating whatever looked appealing in the fridge.

Monday - we are hosting a small New Year's Eve gathering so appetizers: meatballs (f), will need to pick up rotel if Hubby wants to do spicy, spinach dip (f and p), probably will do warmed since I did cold for the Boat Parade party, warmed onion dip (f and p), cheese (fridge) and crackers (pantry), chips (pantry) and dip (from scratch), veggie platter (fridge).  I also have some shrimp in the freezer that I may bring out for a shrimp cocktail. I may also do a meat platter with lunchmeat that I have on hand (costco). Of course, Hubby wants to do something totally different and time consuming, like, grill a beef tenderloin ... doh, nooooo.

Tuesday - whew. It's officially 2013. Time to become accountable and snap pics of ALL my receipts ... hoping that I won't be hung over today and hoping to make chicken parmesan. I have everything on hand. I am planning on making a batch of chili too for lunches this week.






Wednesday - I'm jonesen to make this onion soup so tonight will be soup and sandwiches (for Hubby) ... the soup recipe is so simple and I have everything on hand, sandwiches will be with lunch meat (fridge) and bagels

Thursday - Thai'ish shrimp salad (will need to pick up coleslaw but rest on hand)





Friday - end of the FIRST week of the New Year and well, it's going to be Chicken and Veggies on the grill. Chicken in freezer and plenty of veggies in fridge.

Saturday - Hubby's call ... may have friends over Friday or Saturday so things COULD change out ...

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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thai Style Salad with Shrimp

I believe this COULD be grain free/paleo ... just need to swap out the soy sauce for coconut amino's (and well, I've not gone there because I LOVE my soy sauce that I use).



Original recipe found on Pinterest (of course) and slightly modified for our taste.

I knew the minute I added the diced avocado and mango that Hubby wasn't going to be in love with it, but Princess and I devoured it, therefore, a HIT and keeper for us, but only for the girls ...



Easy enough to do, and surprisingly, I pretty much eyeballed the dressing measurements as I was chatting with Princess while I made it and we were laughing ... a very fun moment was had between the two of us. Can I tell you what a relief it is that she grew into a fine young lady after those rough years we had? Makes me love her even more than I already do ...

Ok, back to the recipe ...

1 bag of coleslaw mix ... the one with carrots and such in it
1 lb of cooked shrimp, if larger, cut in half or bite size (I think next time I'll rough chop them), remove them pesky tails
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, diced
6 radishes, sliced thin and cut in half
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
for the dressing you will need:
3 tbs soy sauce (or coconut amino's)
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
juice from 1 lime
2 tbs honey
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (I used the chili paste I have on hand and definitely wanted more)
1 fresh ginger, minced (I used the ginger paste I have and could have used more)
1/2 cup olive oil

First up, mix up your dressing by adding everything in a bowl and whisk in the oil. Alternatively, just dump all in a jar with tight fitting lid and shake it like you mean it.  Set aside.

Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine all.

Refrigerate for about an hour and then dish it up. I had this for lunch the next day and it was DELICIOUS.


Enjoy!

Linking up with some of these GREAT blog hops ... go check them out!
Not Bad Sunday, Sundae Scoop, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Mop It Up Monday, Mangia Monday, Creative Monday, Potluck Party, Sunday Showcase, Savory Sunday, Made By You Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Show Me What You Got, , Hunk of Meat Monday, Meatless Monday, Marvelous Mess, Mealtime Monday, Mix and Mingle, Making It Cuter, Motivated Monday, Whats In The Gunny Sack, Makin You Crave Monday, I Gotta Try That Mondays, Clever Chicks, Creative Corner Blog Hop, Monday Mania, Make Your Own Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Tempt My Tummy, Tuesday At The Table, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Timeout, Handmade Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Teach Me Tuesdays, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, The Gathering Spot, Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Show Me What Ya Got, Show Me What You Got, Work It Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Show and Tell, Wheat Free Wednesday, Whatcha Whipped Up, Its a Party!, Recipe Swap, Works For Me Wednesday, Sugar and Spice, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Homemade By You, Lil Luna Link Party, Whole Foods Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesdays, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Hearth and Soul, Super Link Party, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Full Plate Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Somewhat Simple, Showcase Your Talent, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Fridays, Food on Friday, Freakin Did It Friday, Show Your Stuff, Anything Goes, Dwell on Fridays, Foodie Friday, Friday Foodfight, Foodie Friday, Simple Living Foodie Friday, Weekend Warmth, Inspirations, Weekend Wander, Simply Delicious Saturday, Weekly Roundup, Feature Yourself Saturday, I Gotta Create, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Saturday Link& amp; Greet, Saturday Show & Tell, Say G'day Saturday

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Menu Plan - Week 52 - The Week of Christmas

Merry Christmas to EVERYONE!

At last ... it's here .... the day that Sonny Boy comes home ... the day that Hubby opens his eyes and momentarily realizes what life is REALLY about.

The day that I weep ... I have no clue why ... but I do get very emotional on Christmas. I may have to make a doctors appointment to have this evaluated. I'm hoping not to make a spectacle of myself in front of my dads girl, Rose.

Anyways.

Its also time to Menu Plan ... just because it's the holidays is NO reason to be unprepared when it comes to food!

Sunday - Sonny Boy home! He should be home by 10pm. I originally wanted to make Tacos but Hubby was feeling a little under the weather earlier, so we opted to do tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (hey, it's been COLD here)

Monday - Christmas Eve ... family tradition is McDonalds today or tomorrow. I'm opting for today ... Hubby h a t e s that we do this, but every since the kids were little we've done it ... so the family tradition continues. I will be working at least a half day so I will swing by on my way home

Tuesday - it's CHRISTMAS! Hubby is making a hunk of beef (roast like), mashed potatoes and gravy salad, cookies, deviled eggs, spicy meatballs and so on. I will pick up my dad and his 'girl' and bring them back for the afternoon festivities. *I bought a ham to make originally but then Hubby pointed out that Rose may not eat pork so we opted to save the ham for New Years Eve festivities



Wednesday - back to work for me and the next 3 days will be BUSY with the end of the year hitting us ... leftovers and fend for yourself

Thursday - if Hubby is off, I'd like him to fire up the grill and make dinner franks and tater tots. I spotted a bag of the Costco size dinner franks in the freezer and want to eat them before they get mushy

Friday - Steaks on the grill. I have a few t-bones and a lot of strip steaks in the freezer. Since Sonny Boy will be leaving most likely this weekend, last chance to feed him well. We may have friends over tonight or tomorrow so might switch up the 2 nights

Saturday - Hubby's call ... thinking of chicken on the grill in some form ;-)

What are you planning for Christmas and the balance of the week??

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

Costco Time

I've been wanting to get out to Costco all month long but just have not had the time nor the funds ... but heck, Saturday, I told Hubby I was going ... was hoping he'd come along too ... but noooooo thank you, said the Man. So off I went on my own.

I had a list. Fairly detailed too. AND I stayed away from the interior section ... you know, where all that STUFF that sucks you in is at ... what sort of excellent gift opportunities did I miss, I wonder? I will never ever know ... and I'm fine with that.

So, with my trusty list and the American Express card, I shopped. I ran over a few souls that were wandering from sample station to sample station and may have even snatched a hawain roll with ham out of an unsuspecting shoppers' hand ... or may be not ...

I opted out of a few items as the quality or price were not what I expected ... I'm always disappointed when the price goes up quite noticeably but it's the way the economy is rolling now days ...

35 pk bottled water (on a quest to get back to drinking lots of water) $4.99 *increase
box of swifter wet pads $15.89
box of swifter dry pads $15.79
Dawn dishsoap $9.29
TP $14.99
Papertowel $14.99
6 pack romaine lettuce $4.29
5 lbs of beefsteak tomatoes $7.99
100 pk Kirkland Kcup coffee $37.99 *New item and strongly recommend! A lot cheaper than other brands and 100, no 80 cups
5 lbs shredded mozz. $13.99 *increase
5 lbs of shredded cheddar $14.99 *increase
10 lbs yellow onions $5.99
20 lb baking potatoes $6.99
bag of Cashew Crunch $9.99 (this stuff is HIGHLY addictive)
Bag of protein powder (muscle milk) $32.99
20 oz crumbled bacon $9.99
10 lb organic cane sugar $8.99
balsamic vinegar $10.99 (this was one of the main reasons for my trip, I love the Kirkland brand when I make my salad dressing)
Twin pack of Franks Hot Sauce $5.69
Twin pack of Worcestershire Sauce $6.99
Twin pack of grey poupon mustard $6.69
wedge of Locatelli cheese $10.15
wedge of Coastal Cheddar $6.99
8 pk of black beans and rice $8.99
3 dozen xlarge eggs $4.99 x 2 *major increase
pkg of hard salami $5.80
pkg black forest ham $7.10
half and half $1.79
chicken thighs (bone in) $10.40 (99 cents/lb)
roasted turkey breast (lunchmeat) $9.89 x 2 *increase, I thought it was less money
cooked bacon $11.99 x 2 *increase
boneless spiral ham $24.39
5 lbs organic ground beef $16.99 x 2 ... this was $4.99 lb. I've been wanting to try it since ground beef is expensive anyways so why not spend an extra 50 cents per lb to try?

Grand total $427.58 with tax.

Yes, that was a LOT. AND I went to Publix on Sunday and spent another $122 ... BUT I'm set ... for a while anyways.

Stay tuned ... my bosses got me a  ... VITAMIX for Christmas ... um, not just ANY Vitamix either ... looks like I'm gonna have to stay with the job for another year  ;)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Potato Soup - Crockpot Style

*This is a repost from a while back ... since it's getting cool out again (well, not HERE), time to get the Soup On! Not to mention, Princess is going to be in a non chewing mode for a few days at least with the 4 extractions taking place on Tuesday ... what better time than now to make a soup for her!



The original recipe is here. AND this is how I do mine ...

1 large bag of frozen, shredded hash browns. I have to hide them in the very back of the freezer as Hubby automatically assumes that its breakfast food (b1g1 this week at Publix)
2 cartons (32 oz each) of chicken stock (pantry, Costco buy)
1 can cream o' chicken soup (pantry, real deal, campbell)
1/2 onion, chopped fine (fridge, who doesn't have an onion?)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper (pantry)
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese (fridge, bought last week for another recipe ... keep an eye out) Sorry, apparently NO FAT will not melt, so don't use unless you want clumpy stuff


Optional for topping: bacon bits, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, diced red onions, etc.

Personally, you gotta have toppings! So we will have all but red onions as I'm not buying THOSE.

This is like stupid easy ... just toss everything except the cream cheese in your crockpot. Mix it up a little (just because), set on low, and go to work for the day.

Come home 8 hours later, praise the Lord that you thought to make dinner before you left this morning and throw in the cream cheese. Personally, because I'm different, I cut mine up in cubes. Go ahead, be different with me. Put the lid back on and wait another hour (more or less) til the cheese melts.

I wanted mine to be creamy, so I grabbed the immersion blender and went to town.


Which makes me ask the question, should I remove that label thingy after TWO years? What do you think??

Note: Next time, I think I'll try the country style diced potatoes ... just sayin.

Serve it up and top with choice of toppings! Enjoy!

Linking up with some of these GREAT blog parties ... go check them out! Mop It Up Monday, Mangia Monday, Creative Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Show Me What You Got, Made By You MondayHunk of Meat Monday, Meatless Monday, Marvelous Mess, Mix and Mingle, Making It Cuter, Motivated Monday, Mealtime Monday, Whats In The Gunny Sack, Makin You Crave Monday, Clever Chick, I Gotta Try That Mondays, Creative Corner Blog Hop, Monday Mania, Make Your Own Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Tempt My Tummy, Tuesday At The Table, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Timeout, Handmade Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Teach Me Tuesdays, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, The Gathering Spot, Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Show Me What Ya Got, Show Me What You Got, What's Cooking Wednesday, Its a Party!, Show and Tell, Recipe Swap, Works For Me Wednesday, Sugar and Spice, Wheat Free Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Work It Wednesday, Homemade By You, Lil Luna Link Party, Whole Foods Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Whipped Up, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Hearth and Soul, Super Link Party, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Tasty Traditions, Thrifty Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Somewhat Simple, Showcase Your Talent, Simple Lives Thursday, Show Your Stuff, Foodie Friday, Frugal Fridays, Food on Friday, Freakin Did It Friday, Anything Goes, Dwell on Fridays, Friday Foodfight, Foodie Friday, Simple Living Foodie Friday, Inspirations, Weekend Wander, Simply Delicious Saturday, Weekly Roundup, Feature Yourself Saturday, I Gotta Create, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Saturday Link& amp; Greet, Saturday Show & Tell, Say G'day Saturday, Not Bad Sunday, Potluck Party, Sunday Showcase, Savory Sunday, Sundae Scoop