Thursday, January 29, 2009
Asian Pasta Salad
16 oz cooked pasta (any kind is fine)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
3-6 sliced green onions
1 cup sweet peas
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 package crushed up ramen noodles
1 1/2 cups oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 packet ramen noodle seasoning
Mix together pasta and veggies in a large bowl. (You can add any veggies you want, the ones listed are the ones I usually have on hand.) Mix in most of the dressing to coat noodles. Add ramen noodles (uncooked) and almond slices right before you serve. Add the remainder of the dressing. Toss everything to coat.
This salad has a sweet and mild flavored. I made this up when I was looking for a last minute salad to take to my in-laws at Christmas. (Yes, I knew ahead that I was to take salad. However my dear hubby was the one shopping and decided we didn't need some of the things on my list - namely the broccoli - which was for a broccoli salad I was supposed to take. So ........I had to improvise.)
Thank you, Miriam, for the award! I like that the award doesn't have to go to anyone for any particular reason, other than you like them and their blog. I am going to pass this award on to Sarah at This Beautiful Mess. I had lurked her blog for a couple months before finally signing up to be a follower. I spent days reading through her archives and was hooked! I love that Sarah tells it like it is and doesn't make any apologies for it. She seems to be a sincere person who would be an absolute blast to be around. And she seems like the exact kind of person I would be friends with.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Since I recently started getting on the treadmill I decided I should see how many minutes I still have on my account at the local salon so I can get a little thinner and a little tanner. Now I know that there is a lot of controversy about tanning beds. But I'm not going to debate that and I am asking that anyone who opposes it keep their opinions to themselves. I don't intend to be a tan bed worshipping person - I just want a little color. Besides tanned fat looks better that white fat. : )
Another thing I am trying to do is drink more water. I am terribly addicted to diet coke. It is my main source of caffeine - that said I typically drink 2-3 cans of soda a day.
Tip: I have had a problem with acne since I was in my early 20's. As you know the products are pretty spendy and adds up quickly. I was looking for more affordable, less chemical options. And came across this tip on using Witch Hazel for your facial astringent. It doesn't contain alcohol which is a great bonus because I hate how alcohol dries my skin out. If you page down till you come across to January 24, 2008. Gayle has got some great tips that are very affordable.
Monday - chicken chunks & homemade sweet potato chips
Tuesday - chicken patty on a bun, peas, lettuce salad
Wednesday - hamburgers on a bun, corn, lettuce salad
Thursday - cod nuggets, green beans, lettuce salad
Friday - chicken fajitas, tortilla chips & salsa
Saturday - Asian chicken salads
I did have to dip into the remainder of our budget to pick up the buns ($0.88 on sale) and lettuce ($0.59 on sale and with a coupon). I also splurged on my favorite dressing to make the Asian chicken salads - it's on the shelf and is made by Marzetti's, it's called Oriental Sesame and it is AWESOME! The dressing was $2.19. So my remaining balance for this month is $15.32. Woohoo! I've still got many left and only 3-4 days together.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
After picking up Angel Food my husband and I went shopping for curtain rods for the living room. Luckily my mom watched April for us so we didn't have to worry about her getting impatient and grouchy. We found curtain rods at Lowes for $25 each. AND we splurged and went out for supper!! Which I did feel a little guilty about - but it was well deserved since we hadn't gone out for so long.
Today we had church, which was awesome because my childhood friend, Lana & her kids, came up and went to church with us. After church we did go to Burger King so the kids could play and we could catch-up. Lana & I have been friends since I don't know when. We grew up together and I can't imagine my life without her having a place in it. We don't talk frequently, but it's one of those friendships that we can not talk for months and then pick up exactly where we left off when we do - as though no time has passed at all.
When I got home from church I found that my husband had gone to Younkers and picked up a new knife set (which we desperately needed) for $48 - regularly $170!!! How awesome is that?!?!
My appointment at UNMC is only about 10 days away!!! I can't wait - I really hope they find what is wrong with me. Please say a prayer for me!!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
After supper I picked as much meat as I could off to use for turkey sandwiches, turkey and rice, and whatever else came to mind. I thought I really did a great job - until I boiled the bones Sunday after church and saw all the meat that had fallen off into the stock!
After I made the stock on Sunday I used some of it to make turkey and rice for supper. (Similar to the chicken and rice casserole.) Instead of using Cream of Whatever soup I used the left over gravy to give it creaminess. Also, I used all the meat from that came off in the stock for the casserole - then I didn't have to add much from what I picked off the bone the night before.
Since I was on a roll in kitchen I decided it would be a great time to cook up some hamburger that I had hanging out in a 10-lb roll on the front porch for the last few weeks. (Wow does that make me sound like a hillbilly! Please, let me explain. We have a screened in porch off to the side of the house that really doesn't get used unless it's summer. Since the weather cold enough to keep items frozen and I didn't have adequate space for a 10-lb roll of burger in it I put it on the porch. I did wrap it in a couple layers of plastic too though.) Anyway, yesterday it was really nice out, so the ends of the roll were starting to defrost. My husband cut the entire roll up for me. I browned the ends and broke them up to use in meals this week. The rest was wrapped up and put into the freezer. These sections were still froze so it worked out well.
I also cooked up a pound of bacon from the freezer and a dozen eggs that my mom gave to us. When those items cooled I wrapped them in tortillas for my husband to take along and eat for either breakfast or lunch during the week. I left one out for Monday and froze about a dozen of them.
Here is our dinner menu for this week. This is mostly just the main dish - we are kind of spontaneous with the sides! (This is probably the only spontaneous area of my life. Seriously.)
Monday - turkey and rice
Tuesday - spaghetti
Wednesday - steaks, peas, & bread
Thursday - lentil pottage* & biscuits
Friday - cod nuggets & fried potatoes
So what do we have for breakfast and lunch?? For breakfast April & I will usually eat cold cereal, oatmeal, or pancakes. Layne - well, Layne is on his own kind of. I did feel a bit guilty about that - thus the breakfast burritos which are now in our freezer. : )
For lunch we are all in separate places - so it's separate lunches as well. Layne occasionally takes leftovers. April usually eats the school lunch, sometimes she takes lunch. Where I work we are lucky enough to have a hot plate, a grill, a set of pans, etc. So the gal I work with & I usually make some type of lunch. There are 4 of us in the office (2 guys and 2 gals) and the guys a lot of times will buy the food, since us gals make the food. Works out very nice. I usually keep bagels in the fridge and peanut butter in the cupboard in the off chance that our cooking system doesn't work out for some reason.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I ended up getting:
2 gallons of milk @ $2.88 each
3 boxes of Multigrain Cheerios (my favorite!) for $1.00 each (after coupons)
1 box of Special K (vanilla almond) for $1.00 (after coupon)
1 box of Quaker Oats Simple Harvest for $1.50 (after coupon)
Our balance remaining for the month is $32.14.
Tip of the day: This is probably common sense but when using coupons use them only on things you would buy anyway. And when going to a store, if possible, look through the flyer(s) to plan your strategy. Match up the coupons with the sales to get the most out of your coupons and to maximize your savings.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
For supper last night we had 'Cheesy Potato Broccoli' soup. It was amazingly easy. Here is the recipe:
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 qt chicken broth
3 cups milk, divided
2/3 cup flour
8 oz frozen broccoli
8 oz frozen hashbrowns
2 cups cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Saute onion, celery, and carrots in oil on medium-high heat. When onion becomes translucent add chicken broth, frozen broccoli, and frozen hashbrowns. Mix half of the milk with the flour. Add to soup mixture. When soup starts to thicken add remaining milk and cheese. Add salt and pepper to soup till it is to your liking.
This recipe honestly took all of about 20 minutes to cook. It was a great way to use up the remaining 1/2 bags of broccoli and hashbrowns. I think we actually used closer to 16 oz each of the broccoli and hash browns. The consistency was closer to a chowder. But the soup was really pretty good and it reheated for supper tonight quite well. I think next time I would maybe do the 8oz of broccoli and potatoes and another 8 oz of mixed veggies or something. Oh - and I would add a crusty bread for dipping!
Today's tip: Most houses have an extra binder or two laying around. Use one of these to make an organizer for your home. Mine consists of several sections. 1. Phone numbers and addresses of friends and family. 2. frequently used recipes. 3. cleaning checklists (these are in plastic and I have a dry-erase marker to mark off things as I do them) 4. frugal tips 5. other household helper information 6. an envelope where I store receipts from purchases so I always know where the receipt is in case something needs to be returned!
My total amount spent: $28.35
Products purchased: 7 12-packs of sodas, 2 packages of femine products, 1 very large bottle of witch hazel, and my prescription. Not too bad!
By the way, the soda works out to be about $0.18 each. : )
Sunday, January 11, 2009
$120.00 monthly budget - $61.90 spent so far (this includes the $51 for the Angel Food)
= $58.10 remaining.
The good news is that we have a well-stocked freezer and decently stocked cupboards. We also have Angel Food on the way. We do have 20 days remaining but I am feeling very inspired right now!
Todays tip: When you use the items you've canned up don't toss the lids! You can use the jars and lids to hold the contents of bags of rice, pasta, and assorted dried beans. It's easy to see what you have left and they jars are easier to stack and store than those bags! This is also a good use for the jars that have a chip out of the top and won't seal up properly anymore.
Friday night for supper we had chicken chunks and lettuce salad. I honestly only choked down a couple chunks before I quit eating. I had a migraine and it was making me nauseated.
Saturday for breakfast we had cereal or oatmeal. For lunch we had grilled cheese and tomato soup. For supper we had boneless chicken breasts, cheesy potatoes, and lettuce salad. For a snack we had popcorn.
Sunday for breakfast we had either cereal or Carnation instant breakfast (bought with a $2 coupon and only had a couple packets left). For lunch we had bagels with cream cheese. We had supper at a friends house which consisted of prime rib and cheesy potatoes (with various items for snacks).
Suddenly Salad - 1 box
brown rice - 1 box
instant rice - 1 box
long grain rice - 1 bag
pinto beans - 1 bag
lentils - 1 bag
tomato soup - 2 cans
sauerkraut - 1 large can
apple sauce - 2 jars
rotel - 1 can
madarin oranges - 1 can
cranberry sauce - 1 can
cream of chicken soup - 1 can
evaporated milk - 1 can
chicken & rice soup - 1 large can, 1 regular can
butter & herb potatoes - 1 pouch
cheese stuffed tortellini - 1/2 bag
spaghetti noodles - 1/2 bag
penne pasta - 10 lb bag (yes, you read that right)
mac & cheese - 1 box
spaghetti - 1 can
potatoes - 1 can
corn muffin mix - 2 pouches
Jiffy cake mix - 1 chocholate, 1 yellow, 1 white, 1 fudge
Hawaiian bread mix - 1 box
beer bread mix - 2 boxes
pudding mix - 1 coconut cream, 1 pistachio, l chocolate, 1 fudge chocolate
Duncan Hines cake mix - 1 marble, 1 tres leches, 1 funfetti
assorted mini pasta - 2 cups approximately
hot sauce (homemade) - 3 jars
marshmallows - 1/3 bag
Miracle Whip - 1 squeeze bottle
pineapple - 1 small can
ketchup - 1 bottle
raspberry preserves - 1 jar
Kraft Asian dressing - 1 bottle
cilantro lime marinade - 1 jar
sliced almonds - 2 small bags
Cereal - 2 boxes honey nut Cheerioes, 1/2 box Life, 1/2 box generic Rice Krispies, numerous single servings of cereal (our daughters school sends a small bag of food home with each kid so the kids have snacks for the weekend)
Assorted teas and coffees
chocolate chips - 1 bag, 3 bags white chocolate
dates - 1 box
coconut - 1/2 bag
There you have it. You now know what I have in my cupboards. We also have our spices, flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, etc. I don't know exactly how much of these items I currently have, but I do know that none of them need replaced right now.
I probably won't get to take inventory of our freezers until next weekend.
Friday, January 9, 2009
You may be asking "what about the other 3 bags?"
Well, I will hold these to giveaway at a future time.
So Miriam, please email your address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big Mama, since you gave birth to me I think I kn0w where you live. : )
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tonight we had leftover vegetable soup. Since Layne didn't want that (he's not much for soup usually) he made himself 2 poached eggs on top of a bagel (?!?!?). He used the last of the eggs and we have less than half a gallon of milk, I'm hoping I can get it to last till Friday.
I have two goals for this weekend. 1 is to go through my coupons and toss any that have expired and use any that I really need that are about to expire. 2 is go through the freezer, cupboards, and refrigerator and make an inventory list so I know where I stand on all the staples. Then I can make a meal plan for the next week or two based off of the inventory.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Today's tip: Well, it's more of an environmental tip. I don't know about you but I hate carrying a dozen plastic bags when I leave the store. Often there are only a few items in each one. The best investment I have made is in reusable bags. They are typically a dollar each and my local grocer even gives me a $0.05 credit for each bag I bring in and reuse at the store (per visit). I can guarantee that I have already used my bags more than the 20 times needed to get my money back. The best part is that you can fit TONS of stuff in these bags and the ones that I have also have the longer straps so I can actually carry them on my shoulder. And I am keeping a plastic bag from the landfill or blowing around town in the wind!
**************Now for a Bloggy Giveaway**************
As part of a promotional piece to get people to sign up for my blog I am going to give away 5 reusable bags to 5 lucky people! To be in the drawing you must sign up to be a follower on my blog. (The people currently signed up will automatically be in the drawing.) I know there are some lurkers - which I love and do often with other blogs! But sign up! Get in the drawing for a free bag! And you can read about my glorious life! How much better can it get????
Results from the drawing will posted Friday evening around 7pm CST.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
So in light of this challenge - I will post my receipt EVERY time I stop for any groceries - along with a picture of my purchase. It will be somewhat similar to Miriam's blog and Gayle's blog. Except that at this point I am not planning on posting a weekly menu. I will probably post daily what we are having along with the recipe for it. I am really psyched for this challenge. I think we will be surprised by how much money we save!
Our strategy is to put $30 in an envelope each week for the shopping. That is the only money allowed for shopping - debit cards and checks stay home! If we have money left over at the end of the week it stays in the grocery envelope for future purchases.
Tonight for supper we had vegetable soup, rolls, and milk. The soup was made with a small beef roast I had in the freezer. I laid it out yesterday to thaw. I cut it into bite-size pieces and browned them. I then threw them into the crockpot along with some frozen veggies, beef bouillon cubes, and water. I used up some sacks of veggies in the fridge that were stashed in there just waiting for such an occasion. You know the kinds, the ones that have a handful or two of veggies, not really enough for a serving but you can't bring yourself to throw them out! I also had some little alphabet pasta that I added in during the last half hour.
The rolls were made from frozen bread dough. I let it defrost and rise a bit then broke it into several pieces and rolled them in balls. I placed them in a greased circular cake pan and baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I have to say the rolls were my favorite! With a little butter and honey or jelly - YUM!!
Yesterday we did go to the store and we spent right at $30 dollars - so this week I can't buy anything else. I will do my grocery shopping on Friday evening or sometime Saturday and will post my purchases afterwards.
The tip of the day will still remain on the blog along with my regular ramblings. : )
Speaking of which - today's tip of the day: If you buy a jar of pickles that you just love the taste of you can duplicate it when the jar is finished. Simply save the juice and slice a couple cucumbers really thin. Put the cucumber slices in the jar for a couple days. Voila! You have another jar of your favorite pickles! With only the cost of the cucumber - unless you grow your own! : )
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I also made some laundry soap today. This container will probably last us a couple months. It's so easy! Just mix together a box of Borax, a box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, and a grated bar of either Ivory or Fels Naptha. I am able to find the washing soda and Fels Naptha at my local Hy-Vee store in the laundry section.
I guess you could say that today was pretty productive! In addition to roasting a chicken and making laundry soap I made a loaf of "Mix-in Bread". This bread is so easy and yummy. I wish I had taken a picture but we ate the whole loaf before I thought of it. To make this bread you need one loaf of frozen bread. Place it in a greased loaf pan. Allow it to defrost and start to rise. When the loaf rises about 1/2 an inch above the pan you punch it down and "mix-in" an egg and what ever ingredients you would like. I'm not sure why exactly you need an egg, but I think it helps to bind everything together. This morning I added bacon bits and shredded cheddar. It's easiest to mix everything together using to butter knives to kind of chop the bread and get the little bits of food all over in the bread so it doesn't just lump together in one place. Then let the bread rise till it's about 1/2 an inch of the loaf pan again. Place it in an oven that's been preheated to 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. I have made this other ingredients such as an assortment of peppers, other cheeses, onions, ham, etc.
Today's tip: If you feel like eating food from your favorite restaurant but don't want to actually eat at the restaurant and have to pay for drinks or tips then call your order in and pick it up to go. My husband and I both like the Buffalo chicken salad from Chili's but when we go there to eat we often spend $25 or more. To satisfy our craving I'll phone in an order for 1 salad, a side of chips and salsa, and an order of steamed broccoli (for April). The total is around $12 and we get the food we want and pay far less than we would at the restaurant. The salad is massive and the food is more than enough to satisfy us. If you don't want to share a meal with your significant other then order two kids meals. They are usually under $5 each and are enough food for an adult! We have a folder in the kitchen by the phone that we keep all the menus for area restaurants in. While we don't eat out much, it is nice to have just in case.... : )