Showing posts from October, 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.…
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.


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 r…

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 S…

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 choppe…

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, …

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 …

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 morni…

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…

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. T…

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 s…

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 b…

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 late…

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 w…

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.


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 be…

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 …
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, fl…

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 …

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 …