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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Grocery Cart Sunday!

Hey, hey, even though it's a holiday weekend, I'm still trying to stay on task with things around here, so here you are, another Grocery Cart Sunday post!


Where shopping is a pleasure ... well, it used to be anyway. Now, not so much. It seems that their prices are high and the produce is just so-so ... am I getting spoiled from Aldi's you think?

I originally intended to go on Friday after work with the thought process that I'd get out of work earlier since we've been slammed and working late every night, but no such luck, I could have left early but I just had to finish up a bunch of stuff just for my own peace of mind over the weekend.

So, instead, I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, with the intention of going to Publix to buy the paper products and use my $5 off $40, then drive to Aldi's to get my fruits and veggies and then BACK to Publix to by the cold stuff and use my other $5 off $40 coupon. Guess what? It was pouring rain, thundering and lightning so I didn't get out to the store until 3pm that day. So NOT what I wanted to do on a Saturday afternoon!  AND it messed up my whole plan ... I only went to Publix instead of driving all over town in the afternoon.

I spent a lot. I got a lot too, sort of. And I think, yes, I do need to do a Freezer/Pantry/No Spend Challenge in June ... maybe budget $40 a week (that way I can use my $5 off each week and spend $35 ... ideally!) ... yes, I believe we will be doing that!

Ok, here's what I bought:

*remember, we have friends coming over for a pool party this afternoon ... Hubby had picked up the ribs during the week and spent, I believe, $12 or so*

TP $4.99
Paper towel $4.99
2 6 pks Cayman Jack @ $9.49 for both (b1g1f)
38 oz bag of cheese tortillini $4.99
2 pkgs of Nathan hot dogs $6.49 for both (b1g1f)
1 lb italian sausage $5.09 (recipe testing)
2 dozen large eggs $1.59 each
4 large cans of baked beans @ $2.39 for 2 (b1g1f))
2 large bags of chips $4.99 (b1g1f)
2.31 pounds of tomatoes $2.98
instant oatmeal $2.50
tabasco green sauce $2.50
4 lemons $3.38 (!!)
4 limes $3.78 (!!)
12 pk coffee kcups $6.99
2 pkgs napkins $2.35 (b1g1f)
2 pkgs angel hair pasta $1.69 (b1g1f) (recipe testing)
paper plates $3.25 (b1g1f)
Dunkin Donuts Kcup coffee $9.49 (hubby)
garbage bags $6.99
2 boxes sea shell pasta $1.69 (b1g1f) (recipe testing)
2 bottles ketchup $3.65 (b1g1f)
dill relish $2.39 (b1g1f)
bag of coleslaw $1.89
6 ears of corn $1.80
celery $2.79
2 avocados $2.00
barcardi mixer $3.09
limeade $2.09 (recipe testing)
2 containers fresh salsa $2.50 each
2 pkgs burger buns $3.19 (b1g1f)
2 pkgs hot dog buns $2.50 each
pool float $9.99 (my relaxation)
bananas $1.69

Used one $5 off the $40, and then there were three $2 off something or another but still, my grand total was $145.33.

Yeah. That was a lot.

Then Winn Dixie for a quick stop for shrimp (the stuff it the freezer went to feed the fish), garlic, carrots, a pineapple (pina coladas) and beer ... oh and that there almond milk because Publix no longer carries it! $42.21 ... eek.

My budget is blown! So, yeah, I think there is a Freezer/Pantry/No Spend Challenge for June, after all!

How did your grocery shopping trip(s) go this week??

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Oriental Cabbage Salad

*Time for a favorite salad to have at your BBQ parties and holiday get togethers! It's on my menu today!

Most people like this, even if it's based on cabbage. Just an absolute delicious salad for those summer bbqs!

Bag of coleslaw (or just plain cabbage, shredded, small to medium size head)
8 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup peanuts (or other nuts you like), toasted and cooled
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled (can be skipped if you don't have!)
2 pkgs ramen noodles, crushed
1/2 red pepper, chopped


4 tbs sugar. You can use a sugar substitute of choice if desired (I used 3 packets of Stevia in the Raw and it was perfect!! I may do it this way from now on)
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (or oil of choice)
2 tsp salt (I've always used less)
6 tbs rice wine vinegar
*or, you can do like I sometimes do and just use the seasoning packet and omit the salt and pepper*

Place all veggies in a large mixing bowl.

Just before serving, mix in the seeds/nuts, crushed noodles and toss gently with the salad dressing. Serve.

*Feel free to not dress the complete salad. Serve up smaller bowl and replenish as needed (only because the leftovers will be soggy but still yummy!)

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Watermelon & Mint Cubes of Joy

Not very long ago, I shared with you how to Deconstruct a Watermelon. What? You didn't see that yet? Ok, go ahead, click on that there link and go check it out. It's ok, I'll chill here and wait for you to come back ...


E A S Y 

I figured with Memorial Day Weekend here and a bunch of BBQ parties are happening, now is the time to share!

Ready? Let's do this!

1 small, seedless watermelon, deconstructed and cut in to bite size cubes
handful of mint, leaves only, rough chopped
1 lemon, cut in half
Himalayian (pink) salt

Toss the watermelon on a larger serving platter.

I ended up using this mint as there were NO mint plants to be found at the store!

Squeeze lemon juice over the watermelon. Give a quick shake/stir of the watermelon.

Sprinkle salt over the watermelon. I'm not a big fan of salt so I was conservative ...

Sprinkle mint leaves over the top.

Spear a bunch of cubes with toothpicks and serve up!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

It's time for the big start to summer for many this weekend and well, we are like, O M G it's summertime now AND Hurricane Season! Eek!

So, what do we do? We start evaluating the pantry and freezers to see what we have in there that might need to be moved in a hurry and used up in the event of a pending storm coming at us ... 

And then, we see that can of water chestnuts sitting in the pantry and think "uhm, bacon wrapped water chestnuts sound really good right about now" ... and then you just pull the can off the shelf, grab some bacon out of the fridge and go to it ... it's that easy!

*And if you are doing Whole30, use a sugar free bacon (normally MOST low sodium bacon IS sugar free, but read your labels!) and you've got yourself a pretty nifty little appetizer to share ...

Here you go:

2 cans of WHOLE water chestnuts (not the sliced ones!) 
1 pkg of bacon - slices cut in two

Grab a large baking sheet and lay out a large piece of parchment paper over it. Turn oven on to 375 degrees. I think I may have fallen over that Amazon sells Kirkland's parchment paper (Costco)??!!

Drain the water chestnuts and dump them out on the cutting board (or plate, whatever).  Open your bacon and cut it in half.

Wrap each water chestnut in bacon, as tight as you can, secure with a toothpick pierced all the way through.  Toss the bacon wrapped nuts on to the baking sheet and spread out to give a little room between them.

*Yes, I do stand mine up but it's not a requirement*

Bake for 15 minutes or til the bacon is cooked to your liking. Yes, you can burn these so keep an eye on them ;-)

I serve mine naked. I know a lot of people make these and then douse them with bbq sauce or some other glaze (teriyaki sauce?) which is fine and dandy, but for me, I like them just bacon and water chestnutty ;-)


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thai Style Shrimp Salad

*Here's another re-post of a favorite!*

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 can pretty much eyeball the dressing measurements as I chat with Princess about her adventures as an Office Queen Bee while I make it ... a very fun moment for a mom to see their daughter become something more than just the little girl who so needed her mommy all those years ago... what a relief it is that she is still growing into a fine young lady. 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, rough chopped and remove them pesky tails
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, diced
6 radishes, sliced thin and cut in half (totally omitted them this time around and still yummy)
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.


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Menu Plan Week 178 - Using What We Have - Paleo Inspired

Did you see yesterday's Grocery Cart Sunday post? Oops ... that was a lot of money out for not a very good amount of food, don't you agree? And to make matters WORSE is that Memorial Day is THIS WEEKEND and well, I need to carefully consider what we are going to do and cook now! $136 for what should have been a simple stop at the store for breakfast foods (to take on the boat) and sandwich material (to take on the boat) ... and I sooooo over bought which is half my problem!

To make matters worse, for the first time in my whole life, I was seasick. O M G that made for a very long 7 hours ... I was fine for the first 2 hours and then I just felt like poo. Seriously, like poo. And the boat is open with no enclosed cabin and not a whole lot of shade. Had we not been so far out (10 miles?) I would have begged Hubby to take me back to shore, that's how bad it was.  When we got home, I jumped in the pool to cool myself down and then went and tossed my cookies FINALLY!  Put dry clothes on, fell face down in bed and then slept for 14 hours. Whoa. Missed the big shrimp, crab and venison tenderloin dinner my sister in law and friend made :-( Was so bummed but I just couldn't do it! Needless to say, I will be buying some motion sickness pills to keep on the boat bag as we don't have any ... going to also look in to the bracelets they have on the market now. I've never experienced this before and hope to not do so again! Hubby still thinks I might have had a bug as I'm still not on top of my game 100% today but at least I'm able to function. What the heck!?

So ... with that out of the way, lets talk about menu planning and prep work, shall we? 

I did NO prep work on Sunday. I was doing laundry, cleaning the house, watching TV, blogging, hanging out with my guests before they left at 1pm ... and just chillin for the most part. I am realizing though that I do need to get back on a schedule with housecleaning and such ... even though Hubby does the cleaning (sweeping/vacuuming/mopping) and he did clean the windows this past week (38 total!) I still need to dust, declutter and such. I've slacked off a little on the decluttering mode and need to get myself back in to minimize the move when it finally comes around (soon, please, soon, someone, make a decent offer on our house!)


Here's what we got planned for the week ahead:

We are still recovering from the weekend shenanigans so leftovers/sandwiches/whatever

I'm going to break out the Instant Pot and make myself a roast from the freezer with some taters and carrots on top of it all ... if it's worthy, I'll be sharing!

Meatless Tacos ... this will make the Boy happy ;-) I've got that head of cabbage in the fridge from last weeks shop so this will give me some incentive to get shredding!  I will most likely just have a large salad myself

I believe the Boy is planning to be out this evening so time to bring out the shrimp! Bangin Good Shrimp, coming up!

Chicken night ... thinking of some That Damn Fine Chicken to be honest as I've got that package of bone in skin on that I picked up last week (we never got around to the Cracklin Chicken, boo)

It's Friday and the holiday weekend so I'm going to let Hubby decide. I'd say maybe burgers or dogs on the grill since I know we are planning for ribs this weekend ;-)

Hubby's choice again! I really do not know what to suggest for this evening!

What are YOU planning for the week ahead?  Hop over to Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party to check out others!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!
*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Grocery Cart Sunday!

We had family coming in for the weekend and we planned to go offshore fishing on Saturday so when I left the office on Friday, I stopped at Publix.

What a shop that was! Not in a good way, necessarily. I've realized that YES prices have been creeping up ...

I mean, geesh, I spent ELEVEN DOLLARS on white seedless grapes. I didn't realize that until I was home but wow.  I've told everyone that we are eating every last one of those grapes and the stems too!

One stop this week and it was way over what my self imposed, unwritten budget is:


Yes, really.

I had to put groceries away fairly quickly by the time I got home but this
was the stuff going to the other kitchen fridge.

Let's take a look and see what I bought and then we can do an evaluation, ok?

Cracker Barrel cheese slices X 4 @ $2.50 each
Chicken breakfast sausage that were B!G!F x 6 total @ $3.29 for two
Hillshire Farms lunchmeat X 8 @ $3.67 each
Toasted pita chips $3.69
Spaghetti x 2 B1G1F @ $1.59 for both
KCups (Dunkin Donuts) $9.49 (!)
KCups (McCafe) $5.99
2 4 pks of hoagie rolls $2.69 each
2 tubs cool whip B1G1F $1.99 each (gosh, this used to be cheaper?)
Qt half and half $2.79
8 oz pepper jack cheese $2.50
8 oz  sharp cheddar $3.50
2 pkgs raspberries $3.34 each
2 pgs of blueberries $3.44 each
Grapes $11.73 (!!)
2 bunches bananas $1.43 and $1.66
Bag of pre-cooked sausage patties $5.49
pantiliners $1.19
frozen limeade (for next weekend!) $2.09
2 pkgs of mini burger buns $2.50 each
12 pk LaCroix Berry $4.00
2 bags of chips $2.50 each
1 bag of Bugles $1 (should have just bough all Bugles for the price!)

And that is what $136 bought. Seriously??

So, here's the deal: buns and sausage patties and cheese were for sausage and cheese biscuits/sandwiches for breakfast. Problem is that I only made 10 and still have 14 buns left and a lot of sausage too.

The lunchmeat and hoagie rolls were for sandwiches on the boat. Only used 2 pkgs of lunchmeat and 6 rolls. Needless to say, I will be eating a lot of lunchmeat on my salads this week for lunch!

The chips were G O N E within minutes.

The grapes are still here, as are the berries!

I have a new recipe I'm trying that needs the limeade ... hope to be able to share this week before the holiday weekend!

Have you been staying on YOUR grocery budget?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Simple Cucumber Salad

So we had some friends over for the Birthday/Cinco de Mayo/Mother's Day/Air and Sea Show/Kentucky Derby Weekend ... and since it might be our last bash for such a weekend in this house, we went a little bit all out with food stuff.

However, I was trying to be mindful since one of my friends is trying vegan style food right now, another is a body builder, yet another is a trainer and then of course, the majority of us our middle age with that middle age weight issue coming on ...

So I opted to serve a few healthier things and kept the junk food (chips and dip) to a minimum. It didn't help that Hubby served up a nice Spinach and Artichoke Dip ... but at least I said no to the bean dip that we are so infamous for.

I opted to make the cucumber and tomato salad, but I wanted it to be HEALTHY and SUGAR FREE but still yummy.  This totally worked out in my favor!  I will say, if you like that syrupy stuff, this is NOT the recipe for you. BUT if you are looking for a healthier alternative, by all means, give this a shot!

For the dressing, you need:

3 tbs white vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
generous dash of oregano
dash of salt
dash of pepper

For the salad itself, you need:

1 seedless cucumber, mine were sliced but next time I will cut in large chunks
2 tomatoes, cut in chunks with the excess seeds and juice that falls out discarded
1/2 onion, thin sliced

Dump the cucumbers, onions and tomatoes in a large bowl. Whisk up the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and then pour over the veggies.  Toss to coat and place in fridge to chill, covered, for about an hour.

Serve up with all the other yummy foods you have and relax, knowing that contributed something healthy to the table today!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cold Brewed Coffee

Ok, ok, I'll admit it, I'm not a fan of "iced coffee"


I've only been to Starbucks two times in my 52 years. TWO TIMES!

Ahem.  So I'm not coffee connoisseur, you could say.

BUT I do follow food trends. Sometimes that's a GOOD thing, and other times, not so much.

Cold Brewed Coffee?

Good trend!!

It's really easy to make and I like that I can control just how sweet it is.

Mind you ... my first sample of Cold Brewed Coffee was this bottle of Califia ... I didn't realize it was Salted Caramel til I was at a stoplight and snapped a picture of it ... tons of sugar in that. But it was good and at $2.99 a bottle, I figured I owed it to myself to try and make it ...

I'm not sure why I was a little intimidated at first to make it because, in all honestly, it's pretty dang easy and the end results are awesome!

Here's how I made MINE:

3/4 cup ground coffee (I used this Costa Rica stuff I had picked up not too long ago for $8.49 at Publix)

4 cups of room temperature water. Honestly, should use filtered but my filtered water is COLD and I wanted to get this underway since I need 12 hours before I can sample it!

So. Measure out your coffee and place in a large glass bowl.

Slowly pour your 4 cups water over the coffee and walk away for 10 minutes. My favorite thing to do for 10 minutes? Go outside and look at the sky, enjoy the fresh air, cool blue skies and think, dang, I need to float in the pool today ...

After 10 minutes, come back inside ::shiver as the ac is cranking away since it's 87 degrees outside, hence the reason for COLD brewed coffee:: and give the coffee a gentle stir.

Cover the coffee and place in a corner on the countertop, out of the way. If you have housemates (aka family and friends) like me, you might want to put a little note on top saying "do not disturb, science project in process" so no one peeks, jiggles, or just plain touches it!

Wait 12 hours. A long time I know. Do you need suggestions for the next 12 hours? Sleep, clean the house, do laundry, cook, read a book, browse pinterest, or go shopping. Your choice ;-)

After 12 hours, grab a fine mesh strainer and a coffee filter. Slowly pour the coffee through the filter/strainer over a new, clean glass bowl (I love my large measuring glass measuring cups/bowls for this kind of stuff!).  Because it was 10pm at night, I was tired and ready for bed, I didn't get any snaps of this but it didn't take long at all. When the coffee stopped straining through, I used a flat bottom of a glass to gently press the coffee grounds to make sure I got every last drop of coffee out.  Put the container in the fridge to chill.

To serve, just mix equal parts of coffee with water, milk, almond milk, coconut milk or whatever you prefer. Me? I mixed with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and want to try half almond milk and half coconut milk!

Spot on, baby! And a lot cheaper than that $2.99 bottle (which, seriously, was delicious but not for that price!)

Once fully strained, you can store the concentrate mix in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, covered.  This is good for about 8 servings.

Have you ventured in to Cold Brewed Coffee yet? Share your mix with me as I'd love to hear how others are doing!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week 177 - Whole30 / Paleo Inspired

It's been a little while since I've posted a Menu Plan post ... not that I haven't been planning, somewhat, but, man, life has been busy as heck around here ... but I did make time to hit up the grocery store on Sunday morning, do a little prep (salad stuff, made regular mayo and basil mayo and divied up the chicken thighs for lunches) and I also have a few blog post set up for the week ...

This is my morning view Monday through Friday as I drive to work ... it's a great way to start the morning, see those lovely palm trees (and the ocean behind them) and then when I get to work, the next 8 to 10 hours are consumed and just make my mind frazzled ... then I come home, Hubby has cooked dinner 75% of the time, eat, change clothes and then hop on the laptop for an hour or three of my new side gig I've been doing ... which honestly, I LOVE as I'm averaging $20 to $25 an hour which is pretty sweet for a work at home job (before you hound me for details, let me just say that this is what I do for a living those 8 to 10 hours per day at the office) ... but the whole goal with that additional side gig is to pay down debt AND set myself up for a work from home gig when 2016 ends since that is my end date at the office ... I want to be able to enjoy those palm trees for more than just a few minutes each day as I wait in traffic ...

Anyways ... what I was saying is that life is zipping past. Like, seriously, it's MID-MAY!? AND with all that above mentioned stuff, in addition to trying to sell our house, buy a new house and deal with day to day family crisis stuff, I've really been a hot mess ;-) SO this week, I'm planning the menu and giving it to Hubby to execute ... let's see how he does?

We are both tired and will just be eating leftovers (I ate a super late lunch so I will probably just have a small snack of berries or something) Hubby is looking at the fried rice and chicken he made on Friday ;-)

Steak Bites and roasted fingerlings ... will also offer a salad along side

Taco Tuesday ... been a while since we've done this and I have a bit of ground beef in the freezer that's too lean for burgers so Hubby said

Cracklin Chicken from Nom Nom Paleo ... first time making this and it's up to Hubby to perform!  I will suggest that he do it outside on the grill to reduce the cleanup factor!

BLT Boats ... just because it's been a little while!

Turkey burgers on the grill since we have a whole sleeve of them still ;-) Guess you could say we've been avoiding them!

Hubby's choice and fingers crossed it's something healthy with no retaliation for the past week! ;-)

What are YOU making this week? I'm sharing over at Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party ... go check it out!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Grocery Cart Sunday!

It's been a while since I've shared a Grocery Cart Sunday post!  Mostly because I've not been shopping a whole lot ... Hubby's been doing some but honestly, we've been trying to be more conservative with our dollars and using up what we have because ... hopefully sooner than later, we will be moving and well, moving food just doesn't sound like fun, you know?


I am bound and determined to get this sad ole body to a happy place ... and I'm fully aware that WHAT I eat plays a big role in how I feel ... so what the heck, lets load up on VEGGIES this week!

One stop ... Aldi's, of course because my main goal was veggies and eggs...

2 pints of grape tomatoes $1.79 each
24 oz pk of gourmet medley tomatoes $1.99
2 pkgs taco seasoning 35 cents each
4 pkgs of mushrooms $1.29 each
garlic powder 99 cents
onion powder 99 cents
carton of organic unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk $3.49
     *upcoming recipe that uses this*
gallon of milk $2.99
pk bone in chicken thighs $4.14 (99 cents per pound)
2 containers strawberries $2.49 each
2 containers of living lettuce $1.69 (butter lettuce)
3 heads iceberg lettuce $1.29 each
head of green cabbage $1.29
red onions $1.69
pkg of green onions 99 cents
limes $1.99
organic baby carrots 99 cents
pineapple $1.29
large seedless watermelon $2.99
2 pkgs of green beans $2.39 each
3 containers blueberries $1.29 each
2 blackberries $1.49 each
2 bags of fingerling potatoes $1.69 each
organic bananas $1.38
3 dozen large eggs 95 cents per dozen

Grand Total $66.43 with tax.

Uhm, can I just tell you, this is the store to shop for inexpensive produce!  Do you see those prices? The majority of that stuff would have costs me DOUBLE at Publix or Winn Dixie ...

I've already chopped up one head of lettuce for salads, cleaned 1 container of tomatoes, sliced one package of shrooms (which have already been snacked on and all gone by the Princess boyfriend), cleaned 1 container of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Gave away 1 container to blueberries ... and used some of the almond milk for my recipe testing (Cold Brewed Coffee for those of you who are curious ... recipe coming this week and yes, I will be making AGAIN!) ...

And, there you have it ... my grocery trip for the week.

What have YOU bought this week? AND do you shop at Aldi's?

*Yes, I did stop at Whole Foods Friday morning to pick up a container of salad stuff, Tessemaes dressing, a chicken breast, some cold brewed coffee (to compare to my recipe) and, of course, honey crisp apples $22 spent that day but should have been for my lunch that day and a few more days as well*

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Deconstruct a Watermelon

*Sorry, it's another repost from the past BUT this is a GREAT tip to share with summertime coming up!!*

Whenever I walk through the produce section at Whole Foods and Publix, I'm amazed at the amount of prepackage, cut up fruit. Like really? $4.99 per pound for YOU to cut up MY fruit?

No thank you.

That's not very kind to my wallet and well, to ME, nothing beats the smell of fresh cut watermelon in the kitchen ... too bad we can't bottle it and sell it as a room freshener! We'd all be rich!


I do understand the fact that some people just don't want the hassle dealing with a whole melon. BUT really, the mini melons they have now days make it much more dealable!

I picked up 2 melons the other day for $5.

And I promptly cut one up on a Wednesday evening, AFTER I got home from working all day and grocery shopping.

Yup, I did.

Because, really, it's not so very difficult.

Wash melon and dry.

Place on cutting board and get out your sturdiest knife. I am a big proponent of good knives ... you don't have to spend a fortune but certainly toss the dull knives ... they are more dangerous than a good sharp knife, you know? (Costco is my source for these cool knives you see in my posts, and I stock up when I see them to use as gifts).

Cut off both ends of the melon

Stand on end (stand on the larger end if not uniform in size)

Start cutting away the rind. It doesn't need to be perfect unless that's your thing ;-)

Flip over to other end and finish up removing the rind

Cut in half

Cut in half horizontally (please be careful and go slow)

Cut through vertically and be amazed at the nice chunks of watermelon

Take a deep breath and say "ahhh, summertime..."

Now, we generally eat half NOW ... just toss in large bowl and the other half goes in a ziploc bag and tossed in the freezer .... I'm really needing to share what we do with the frozen chunks soon!

How do YOU cut a watermelon? And do you buy the precut packages for convenience?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Shredded Salsa Chicken - Instant Pot Style

We've kind of left the Instant Pot alone for a few weeks and I just felt like I needed to bring it out again ... so what the heck, let's make a super simple meal, shall we?

Just a little inside scoop: Hubby has used the thing MORE than me ... he's become the designated cook lately and well, he doesn't always follow the directions and we've had a few flops ...

Back to an EASY meal that only uses a few ingredients.  All you need is the following:

2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cumin
black pepper
generous dash of oregano
1 jar chunky salsa (about 2 cups worth)


Mix the salt, cumin pepper and oregano in a small bowl and season the chicken on both sides.

Toss them bad boys in the pot and dump the salsa over the chicken.

Secure the lid, making sure your vent is CLOSED and press the poultry button, adding another 5 minutes so you have a total of 20 minutes cook time.

Rule #1 - always make sure the seal is tight  Rule #2 - always make sure your vent is closed!

Let the Instant Pot do it's thing and wait for the pressure to release when done cooking (seriously, this will take a total of  about 30 to 35 minutes. TOTAL time to come to pressure, cook and de-pressurize).

Start time                                    Dishing up

Pull chicken out of pot and either chop chop or shred with 2 forks (I like mine chunkier so I chopped) and add salsa from pot to the shredded chicken.

Serve up any which way you'd like:  over pasta (zucchini noodles!), as a taco filling (or lettuce!), over rice (or riced cauliflower!) ... or eat it as is (like Hubby!)

Another side note: did you know that there is actually jarred salsa out there thats Whole30 compliant? This jar of Chi-Chi's is ... as is Tostitos.  Who would have thought! IF you are doing a Whole30, just read your labels and be prepared to be surprised!


**Yes, this can be cooked in a crockpot instead ... cook on low for about 4 hours**

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Salsa Fresca aka Pico de Gallo

Hey hey, Cinco de Mayo is coming up and it's time to pull out all your Mexican festivity recipes!  And you know me, I like to keep things simple and this recipe more than fits the bill!

It's considered a "condiment" but I can stand at the kitchen counter and eat this stuff by the spoonful!

Salsa Fresca aka Pico de Gallo
Now. It's really easy for me to chop chop chop as I've got that handy dandy Vidalia Chop Wizard! What? You don't have one?? What are you waiting for? Go get one pronto!  This saves sooooo much time chopping AND everything is a nice uniform dice. Go, go go! Go get one right now! $14.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond if you use your little handy 20% off coupon.  Or else you can click that link above for Amazon and if you have Prime, you'll get it in 2 days. Have I stressed how *important* this is (and yes, I am a frugal gal and I highly recommend this little gadget!* (ahem, I didn't realize they've gotten as expensive as that on Amazon! I bought mine probably 10 years ago and it's still going strong, so even at those prices, might be a good deal as you can use it A LOT!)

Ok. Now that we have THAT out of the way, lets move on, shall we?

What you need will vary depending on how much Pico you want floating around. Trust me, you'll want more than you think! But you can start off small with this:

2 tomatoes.  This time around I used regular tomatoes. I prefer roma as they are meatier
1/2 large onion, red, white, sweet, whatever. Again, this time I used sweet because it's what I had
1 jalapeno. Up to you with removing seeds/membranes. These japs were really hot so seeds came out
1 lime, juiced
a dash of salt
dash of pepper
cilantro *optional, Hubby hates. I use sometimes, this time YES*

Quarter your tomatoes, gently squeezing to remove the excess seeds/juice.

Quarter you onion.

Cut jalapeno in half.

Cut lime in half.

Wash your knife, dry and put away. Safety first, Folks!

Grab your chopper and place the large grate on top.

Place ONE piece of tomato on grate and close the lid quickly. Like, slap it down! If you don't do it quick, you'll just smash the tomato and we all know, smashed tomatoes make sad tomatoes.


Repeat with the rest of tomatoes. When done, dump them bad boys in to a glass bowl.

Repeat with the onion.

Look at how nice those little squares are!

Remove the large grate and insert the small grate.  Add your jalapeno to the top and really slap the lid down. Open lid and stand back from that fresh green, potent smell of jalapenos. Whew! Mine are really hot this time, not sure what the heck it is!


Dump the japs in to the tomato/onion mixture. Add your salt and pepper. Squeeze your lime juice over the top.

Grab a large spoon and gently mix all together.  If using cilantro, go ahead and add and gently mix that in.  

Taste and enjoy!

*I used this stuff for the cilantro. Interesting concept and I just noticed they also sell ginger. I think the shelf life is 8 weeks (based on when I bought it) and once opened, 4 weeks.  It's a little pricey at $4.99 a container BUT that's about what I pay for a plant that last only a month and so I think it's a fair trade for ME!

**Oh, and by the way, it's sort of obvious, but this is clearly Whole30 Approved, Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Grain Free**

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)