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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Week 44 Menu Plan - Using What We Have

AND ... Week 20 of Hubby's Unemployment Adventures.

I have to say, if nothing else, this unemployment stuff is making Hubby a little more frugal minded, and I'm proud of him for that ... but it's a little upsetting in some ways, such as: "You can wash that tin pan out and we can reuse it" ... I say NO, because we have 50 of them, and there's a reason I buy them and use them (when we have bbq's with a group of people, it's just easier to NOT have to worry about washing big bulky dishes, in my opinion) OR "Put the leftover pizza in the ziploc that held the cooked chicken" ... and again, NO, because I shudder to think about cross contaminating foods like THAT, even though both are cooked ... just doesn't fly with me.

Of course, going grocery shopping has taken on a whole new meaning for him too ... which is a HUGE bonus ... before he'd pick up things that "looked good" and now he's thinking twice ... but I also need to stress to both him, me and the internet world, I don't want to go "cheap" ... and those of you who are frugal minded know exactly what I'm talking about :-)

So ... with that ... I've decided to NOT menu plan this week.

Oh my. How can that possibly be frugal, you ask? I would normally ask the same exact question if I was in your shoes!! However, because we only spent about $44 last week on groceries, fed ourselves a pretty damn fine dinner on Saturday night, using what we had on hand, I'm quite certain that if I gave Hubby the reins for the full week, instead of a night or two, he'd do just fine with what we have.

So far, so good:

Sunday night - leftover pizza, leftover scalloped potatoes, a little bit of leftover steak, and brownies for desert.  Yes, a mixture of things, BUT both of us were lazy and had spent the day watching the latest series of Sons of Anarchy ... we were pretty wiped out :-) ... As we each ate a slice of pizza, I went and got a Coors Bullet, divided it between 2 glasses and did one last Happy Anniversary toast ...

Monday night - leftover chicken and then he took the leftover caprese salad and laid it out on a baking dish, sprinkled with italian seasoning and baked it ... ummm, can you say PIZZA without the crust?? (next time, we need to use parchment paper!)

Tuesday night (tonight), I think we are having TUNA MELTS which makes me a happy happy camper!!

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will all be a nice surprise, I'm sure!! I have the utmost confidence in Hubby to prepare dinners ... although, I told him last night, I didn't know what I was going to do when he went back to work as I've sort of gotten use to him making dinner when I come home :-) I really like that!

And NO, we will not be a single income household ... Sonny Boy is being told that he needs to pack his stuff and come home at the end of the semester if he can't find a job between now and then ... at this pace, we can't afford to do it all AND now pay for his car insurance, license and tags, etc.

I would normally link up with Menu Plan Monday, but this week, because it's not really a "plan" so to speak, I'm not ... but go check out MPM anyways ... always some GREAT menus over there!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekly Shopping - October 20th to October 26th

I'm very upset. Publix has suddenly changed their coupon policy. Only one $5 off $30 coupon per person/transaction.

I had $61 worth of stuff. Handed over my coupons and the 2 $5 off $30. The cashier didn't say anything, but when I looked at the screen, I asked if she got both $5. That's when she informed me that they no longer accepted more than one. My first thought was: "when are you going to hand that other one back to me" and then "when were you going to tell me?".  So I said, fine, we can split up the order (it was Tuesday night, 7pm, store was not busy or anything) and the bag girl said they wouldn't allow that either.

Know what I did? Went to the customer service desk, inquired if this was indeed true, and then proceeded to return $26 worth of stuff. Sorry. Had I known that, I would NOT have purchased $60 worth of stuff that night. Trust me, the last thing I want to do is make a scene at my favorite grocery store.

So ... this weeks spending was very minimal: $24 that night and then Hubby picked up some milk and a few other misc. things for about $20 or so ... that would put the week at $44.00 spent.

Nice, huh?

We also celebrated our 23rd Wedding Anniversary on Saturday night. Hubby wanted to go out, but I said no, let's stay in, we have plenty of stuff here to make:

Ribeyes (freezer) with mushroom sauce (canned shrooms)
Scalloped taters (onions and taters from freezer, sour cream, mayo from the fridge)
Caprese salad (tomatoes from counter top, cheese from fridge, basil from garden)
Nice bottle of wine from wine rack. Debated on the taking a bottle of champagne out of garage fridge, but Hubby doesn't drink that so I opted to leave that alone ;-)
Dessert was brownies that Hubby made (premix in the pantry)

Delicious meal, that in the end, probably would have set us back $150, $200 had we gone out. Seriously delicious.

At times like this, I'm very happy to have freezers that seem to be bursting at the seams sometimes ... but I really need to start cleaning them out, seriously. Thankfully, Thanksgiving is coming up and I have the two turkey breast in the freezer that I will contribute to the table this year!

How is your spending going??

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 43 Menu Plan - Using What We Have

Week 19 of Hubby's Unemployment Adventures.

Yes. It's getting a little wiggy around here.


I'll just keep making these yummy Cinnamon Roll Smoothies and pretend all is well in Paradise
 
Grocery shopping would have been fairly minimal this past week on my side ... Hubby stopped at a little gourmet Italian market, only because he REFUSES to give up the favorite things in his life, good food. I don't believe he spent more than $20 but still, I spent about $115  ;-)

I had to do a run on Saturday and stayed very conscientious on prices and what we really needed...this week I will stay even more focused, I promise.

Hubby made a whole slew of chicken on Saturday night so we will be chicken heavy a few nights, along with a few extra burgers that were patted out but not cooked.

Sunday - leftover bbq chicken with spinach dip on the side. Odd, I know but still yummy

Monday - Bacon blue cheese burgers that Hubby made in the cast iron skillet

Tuesday - walk night with Chatty ... will have leftover chicken. I will opt to do a chopped chicken salad ... found a new recipe that I'm kind of diggin at the moment so will need to post that!

Wednesday - trying to convince Hubby to make Salisbury Steaks (sort of) with the last remaining burgers ... it's his call tonight

Thursday - oh my word, I hope the leftovers are GONE and we can do soup and salad as it's our first cold front of the season ... woohoo! Umm, sorry, canned soup most likely

Friday - Hubby's call ... I'm guessing we need to dig out some pork chops or something ... also, friends most likely will be over as it's Fantasy Fest time and we have friends that come through at this time ...

Saturday - this is my 24th Anniversary ... and also so stinkin close to Halloween, my FAVORITE holiday ... IF it's just us, ribeyes from the freezer with asparagus (need to buy if worthy) with sautéed shrooms.

I know, not a very exciting week but I'm ok with that! We need to start getting focused and I'm seriously considering going on a Severely Restricted Spending month in November. I do have 2 turkey breasts in the freezer that we can use for Thanksgiving, PLUS Hubby still has a $25 Honey Baked Ham gift card ... but that might be kept for the New Years festivities ... scary that I'm thinking that far in advance, isn't it?

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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekly Shopping - October 13th - 19th

It's been a few weeks since I gave a breakdown on the shopping trips ... you know, busy, life, etc. :)  I also just realized that I had the previous weeks dates ... ooops!

I was out two days this week ... and Hubby fended for himself. How? The easiest way possible, he went to his favorite Italian restaurant, sat at the bar and had mommas sauce with a side of garlic rolls ... I'm pretty proud of him, actually :)

So, I ended up running to the store at 3pm on Saturday afternoon ... not because we NEEDED anything, but Hubby had requested bone in, skin on chicken ... and since Sonny Boy was here for dinner with a few friends, I said, of course I'll run to the store.

Bad idea!

First stop was Target ... I had these 50 cents off coupons for eggs, but they were NOT $1.59 like a certain website said, the organic eggs were $3.59 ... even with 50 cents off, out of my price range so I passed. However, then I saw $3 off coupons on the chicken thighs and thought BINGO! Nope, it was boneless skinless. I still picked up 4 packages (there was a lot more there) which came to $3.99 for 28 ounces. Not a bad price at all for that ... I passed up the premade burgers and chicken breast they had the same way ($1 off) as it wasn't that great of a deal ... total spent $15.96.

Then to Publix... the place was mobbed (it's been a while since I've shopped in the afternoon) ... had a list ... stuck with it for the most part and picked up:
6canned diced potatoes (this is Hubby's latest craze) $1 each with a $1 off 3 coupon
2 boxes frozen spinach $1.35 each (for spinach dip)
2 pkgs burger buns, b1g1f, total of  $3.29
12 pk Coors Light $10.09
pkg of chicken thighs $7.20 ($1.79/lb)
pkg of chicken drum sticks $8.45 ($1.79/lb)
grape jelly (for dad) $2.59
salsa $3.99
sour cream $2.35
half and half $2.49
2 containers guacamole b1g1f $5.49 total (ok, I didn't see it was that much otherwise I would have bypassed it)
2 red peppers $3.21 (yikes!)
1 lb bag of shredded cheddar cheese $4.99 less $1
2 boxes of cheese its b1g1f $4.29
2 bags of Tostitos chips $3 each
1 green onion 60 cents

Total spent $61.93 (I had 2 $5 off $30 I used too)

THEN ... off to Whole Foods
6 pk Pumpkin Head beer $9.49
bananas $2.49
mango/coconut/sweet pepper sauce $6.49
almond milk $3.99
Honey crisp apples (the real deal!) $6.22
3 naval oranges $3.75
3 lemons $2.67
green onions $1.49 (they looked way better than Publix)

Total spent $37.16 ...

Weekly total with my fuzzy math (sans calculator) approximately $115.00. Way less than my allowed $150 which I realize is extremely generous. To the point where I'm re-evaluating that ... thinking that maybe, just maybe, we should make November a Severely Restricted Spending Month to really force me to clear out the freezers!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

French Onion Soup

Gosh ... I look at the bottom of the recipe printout and see that I've had this since late 1998 .... wow!

I've made this specific recipe a few times, but then I get distracted with a newer recipe and try that ... and ALWAYS have to listen to Hubby ask why I don't just stick with the first one I have... he's right.




So, Saturday, it was a nice, sunny, BEAUTIFUL day, high of around 86. But the nights are getting a little cooler, and this morning it was 72 when I went outside at 8am ... hence, it's FALL TIME in Paradise, time to make soups!

The sprinkler dudes were here making repairs, and since they were digging up in the back yard, I didn't really want to toss on the ole bikini and jump in the pool to float ... just not my idea of cheap thrills, you know? ;-)

So, again, I made soup.  AND I used what we had on hand ... it's a miracle, don't you agree?!



Here's what you need ....

3 lbs of onions, make sure ONE is a sweet onion, and ONE is a red onion
1/2 pound smoked bacon
2 tbs thyme
12 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 tbs sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 tbs dry sherry
6 ounces sliced provolone, gruyere or mozz cheese (whatever you have will work)
6 slices of baguette or other thick bread

Cut your bacon up in 1/2 inch or so pieces and cook in a LARGE heavy bottom pot til crispy.



While bacon is cooking, slice your onions thin, thin, thin. I use a mandoline, and I asked Hubby how on earth I sliced all those onions back in the day so thin before I had this thing? He said it wasn't pretty ... hmmm ... I think I need to hold back a bowl of soup from him ...



Remove bacon to a lined bowl to drain and toss the onion slices in, on top of the bacon fat, add the 2 tbs thyme. Give a quick stir to mix everything up and then let the onions sit there, undisturbed for about 10 minutes, give them them a quick stir again and really leave them alone for about 20 minutes so they can caramelized. The secret is to NOT TOUCH the onions ... hard as it may be.

Once onions are caramelized, pour in the 1/2 cup of vermouth to deglaze. Allow to cook a minute or so and then pour in the broth and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. NOW, add in your bacon and sherry. Let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour and marvel at the lovely, deep color of the broth. Yummm.

When ready to serve:

Toast the slices of bread under broiler. NOTE: I always drizzle a bit of olive oil on the bread just to give it a little more 'richness'

Place oven proof bowls on a baking tray.

Place bread slice in bowl, ladle a generous portion of soup over the top. Add a slice of cheese carefully over the top of the soup.

Place in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve up and warn everyone that a) the bowl is HOT and b) the SOUP is hot ...



Enjoy!

FYI ... we served these with some awesome roast beef sliders ... never got around to making the ham & cheese ones and Hubby said that this soup needed a beefy dish to go along ... watch for THAT recipe soon!

Bacon from freezer. Onions from pantry. Vermouth and sherry from bar (gasp). Dried thyme from pantry. Bread leftover from Princess the other night (which is what prompted me to make this soup in particular). I did make a special trip to buy the cheese, Gruyere this time around, $8.99 less $5 and less another $2 so that made it pretty dang cheap (8 ounces) ... I picked up both marked down packages ...


Looking forward to linking up with some great blog hops ... make sure you check them out!  Mop It Up Monday, Creative Monday, The Scoop, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Dinner Time Recipes, Show Me What You Got, Made By You Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday, Sweet Sharing Monday, On The Menu Monday, Meatless Monday, What’d You Do This Weekend, Marvelous Mess, Making It Cuter, Motivated Monday, Time To Sparkle, Mealtime Monday, Whats In The Gunny Sack, Makin You Crave Monday, Clever Chick, Creative Corner Blog Hop, Make Your Own Monday, Mix it Up Monday, In and Out of the Kitchen, I Gotta Try That, Tempt My Tummy, Memories, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays At Our Home, How To Tuesday, Handmade Tuesday, Making a Home, Show Me The Goods, Totally Tasty Tuesday, All My Bloggie Friends, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Tuesday Talent Show, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, The Gathering Spot, Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday with a Twist, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Show Me What Ya Got, Show Me What You Got, What We Wore/Read/Made, What's Cooking Wednesday, Its a Party!, Recipe Swap, Works For Me Wednesday, Sugar and Spice, Wake Up Wednesday, Wheat Free Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Work It Wednesday, Homemade By You, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Hearth and Soul, Real Fun, What I Whipped Up, Work It Wednesday, Lovely Ladies, Weekly Creative, Domestic Superhero, All Things Thursday, The Weekly Creative, Tasty Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Crafty Thursday Obsessions, Frugal Food Thursday, Thursdays Treasures, Somewhat Simple, Showcase Your Talent, Simple Lives Thursday, Show Your Stuff, Foodie Friday, Get Real Frugal Friday, Frugal Fridays, Food on Friday, Freakin Did It Friday, The Pin Junkie, Freedom Friday, Friday Favorite, Foodie Friday, A peek into my paradise, Foodie Friends Friday, Fun Friday blog hop, Happy Frigay, TGIF BLOG HOP, Weekend Retreat, What’s shakin, Weekend Wonders, Weekend Potluck, Get Him Feed Anything Goes, Dwell on Fridays, Friday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link Party, Foodie Friday, Simple Living Foodie Friday, Inspirations, Weekend Wander, Simply Delicious Saturday, Weekly Roundup, Feature Yourself Saturday, I Gotta Create, Show and Tell Saturday, Show Off Weekend, Show Stopper Saturday, Sweet and Savory, The Weekend Creative, Weekend Potluck, Will Cook For Smiles, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Saturday Link & Greet, Saturday Show & Tell, Super Saturday Show & Tell, Say G'day Saturday, Not Bad Sunday, Potluck Party, Sunday Showcase, Savory Sunday, Sundae Scoop, Super Sunday, Tried and True


Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 42 Menu Plan - Using What We Have

Hubby is entering Week 18 of his Unemployment Adventures. Fun fun fun.

There were a few shops this past week and honestly, I should could have stayed out of the store. Spent a total of $137 ... I really thoughtI had stayed under $100 but then forgot about the last minute run Saturday night for the boat trip ... THIS WEEK WILL BE BETTER!

My dad went back to the hospital again on Thursday because he "couldn't breathe" again. They hooked him up to a BiPap machine which he really hated as the mask is huge, it's strapped on your forehead and around your chin AND forces air down your air passages. Kept trying to tell me that if he could get some nose drops to clear out his nose, he'd be fine. Insisted that it was his stuffy nose. No, Dad, it's COPD. That's the sad truth about it all ... As many times as I've been to the hospital with him, this is the first time I was really scared for him and the first time in the Cardiopulmology ICU ...

Anyways. Needless to say, the menu plan fell on the wayside Thursday, but Hubby had something going in the crockpot from the morning ... he called it "hodgepodge" I called it a simplified version of Shepard's Pie. It was tasty and just what I needed after 8 hours at the hospital.

Thankfully, Dad was released in record time Sunday afternoon ... I was able to get home by 4pm, had my bikini and beer in hand by 4:15pm, and Hubby and I soaked up some rays poolside til 6pm. Great way to end a weekend, let me tell you.

Here's what I'm aiming for this week ... I will be out Wednesday and returning late on Thursday for the annual Halloween Horror Nights excursion with the kids and girlfriends. All of us are in different financial crisis so we are keeping it extremely simple this year ...

Sunday - After our chilling by the pool, we opted to go the easy way out and made chili cheese dogs ... they were delicious as it's been a LONG time since we made them ...

Not a very pretty picture, but it was delicious!

Monday - Smothered Chicken ... new recipe and using what we have (frozen spinach, chix breast, canned shrooms)

Tuesday - French Onion Soup (leftover from Saturday night, watch for recipe!) and Roast Beef Sandwiches



Wednesday - I'm out and Hubby will figure something out on his own

Thursday - back, late and I think Hubby will put something together

Friday - we WERE to be kid free (Princess) as she's off to Key West (as her mother, I'm worried about her and Fanastyfest) but Sonny Boy is hopping a ride back with us girls for the weekend ... burgers on the grill (beef in freezer, will need to buy buns)

Saturday - Same as Friday, although I'd like to keep it just as simple ... maybe do some pork chops or something (have in freezer) ...

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




Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Smoothie - Grain & Dairy Free

I've been on a small smoothie kick recently ... probably in my attempt to use what we have and to fix my sweets craving ...



You do know that I try to Use What We Have, right? For the most part, I'm fairly successful, other times, not so much. But now, as we enter in to Week 16 of Hubby's Unemployment, I'm becoming much more conscious on where my dollars are going ...

Which is what prompted me to finally make this smoothie, which I've had pinned forever under my Vitamix and Smoothie board ...

It's fairly simple, and YES, I had all the ingredients on hand. Even the DATE. How on earth is that possible? Ummm, ALDI, baby. Must have had a recipe (this one even?) that needed, I must have spotted them at ALDI dirt cheap (of course) and picked up a bag. Trust me, I was thinking I would need to add something else to sweeten it up.

Ok ... here's how I did it:

1 cup almond milk (I use plain, unsweetened)
1 frozen banana
1 date, pitted and cut in half
1 tbs of almond butter (or peanut butter if that's what you use)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp of cinnamon plus more for sprinkling top



Guess what you do? Toss everything in the blender and let it rip.  Mine made a funky noise and I think because I had a pit fragment. That's ok, the trusty Vitamix killed it, pulverized it in to non-existence.

Pour into serving glass and sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!



Looking forward to linking up with some great blog hops ... make sure you check them out!  Mop It Up Monday, Creative Monday, The Scoop, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Dinner Time Recipes, Show Me What You Got, Made By You Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday, Sweet Sharing Monday, On The Menu Monday, Meatless Monday, What’d You Do This Weekend, Marvelous Mess, Making It Cuter, Motivated Monday, Time To Sparkle, Mealtime Monday, Whats In The Gunny Sack, Makin You Crave Monday, Clever Chick, Creative Corner Blog Hop, Make Your Own Monday, Mix it Up Monday, In and Out of the Kitchen, I Gotta Try That, Tempt My Tummy, Memories, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays At Our Home, How To Tuesday, Handmade Tuesday, Making a Home, Show Me The Goods, Totally Tasty Tuesday, All My Bloggie Friends, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Tuesday Talent Show, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, The Gathering Spot, Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday with a Twist, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Show Me What Ya Got, Show Me What You Got, What We Wore/Read/Made, What's Cooking Wednesday, Its a Party!, Recipe Swap, Works For Me Wednesday, Sugar and Spice, Wake Up Wednesday, Wheat Free Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Work It Wednesday, Homemade By You, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Hearth and Soul, Real Fun, What I Whipped Up, Work It Wednesday, Lovely Ladies, Weekly Creative, Domestic Superhero, All Things Thursday, The Weekly Creative, Tasty Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Crafty Thursday Obsessions, Frugal Food Thursday, Thursdays Treasures, Somewhat Simple, Showcase Your Talent, Simple Lives Thursday, Show Your Stuff, Foodie Friday, Get Real Frugal Friday, Frugal Fridays, Food on Friday, Freakin Did It Friday, The Pin Junkie, Friday Link Party, Freedom Friday, Friday Favorite, Foodie Friday, Weekend Wonders, Weekend Potluck, Get Him Feed Anything Goes, Dwell on Fridays, Friday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link Party, Foodie Friday, Simple Living Foodie Friday, Inspirations, Weekend Wander, Simply Delicious Saturday, Weekly Roundup, Feature Yourself Saturday, I Gotta Create, Show and Tell Saturday, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Saturday Link & Greet, Saturday Show & Tell, Super Saturday Show & Tell, Say G'day Saturday, Not Bad Sunday, Potluck Party, Sunday Showcase, Savory Sunday, Sundae Scoop, Super Sunday, Tried and True