Sunday, December 12, 2010

MPM 12/13

I understand that life can throw us curve balls, but in the future?  I would like to avoid the one that contains the stomach flu.  This week was awful in our house.  It started with Monkey on Monday and Tuesday, followed by David.  He came home from work early on Wednesday, and by nighttime, I was also down for the count.  So far, Jordan is the only one who hasn't been sick, and I hope we can keep it that way.  I'm bleaching and Lysol-ing everything in sight to avoid him getting it, or it revisiting anyone else in the family.  It was brutal.  One of my friends said it was like wildfire.  She wasn't kidding.  So, based on our week, meals weren't according to plan.  We did get to the Thai Beef on Monday - - super easy and wonderfully delicious!  I can't wait to make it again.  I highly recommended it.

I've decided that even though there are a number of meals that didn't get made for two different weeks now, I'm tired of putting them on the menu.  Instead, I'm redistributing the ingredients into a different plan.  Here's what I came up with this time.  Maybe this time we'll follow it!

Monday - Cowboy Spaghetti
Tuesday - Kris Kringle Pancakes
Wednesday - Loaded Baked Potatoes and Salad
Thursday - Pot Roast with Potatoes, Carrots and Homemade Rolls
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Dinner with friends
Sunday - BBQ Chicken Burritos

For more menus, check out Orgjunkie.com.

Monday, December 6, 2010

MPM 12/6

Dear Last Week,

Where did you go?!  I remember seeing you for just a moment, and then you were gone.  You didn't even have the decency to introduce me to this week, you just threw it at me.  I don't appreciate that.  A little warning would've been nice. 


Me...

Anyone else feeling like this?  Please tell me I'm not alone!  Last week was so busy that the only meal that went according to plan was Monday.  Oh, and Saturday.  So, since I had done my shopping for meals that didn't get fixed, I'll be revisiting that menu. I've tweaked it a touch, but not by much at all.  In case you didn't see what we had going before, here it is...again...

Monday - Thai Beef (turkey) over Rice
Tuesday - Chicken Fajitas
Wednesday - Lasagna Soup
Thursday - Pancakes
Friday - Pizza Bites
Saturday - Prime Rib
Sunday - Soup and Sandwiches

More menu plans are over at Orgjunkie.com

Friday, December 3, 2010

Clean Kitchen equals Saving Money (Frugal Friday)

Eating out is something I love to do.  I get to look at the menu, see what hits my fancy, and order it.  If I'm out with my family, we can all have something completely different.  Then I get to enjoy eating my meal, knowing that I wasn't the one who slaved over the stove to fix it.  Then the best part about it is someone else does the dishes!  How awesome is that?! 

Well, until the bill comes.  Not so awesome.  Quite detrimental to the bank account actually.

Want to know when the urge to go out to eat strikes me the most?  When my dishes are sitting dirty in the sink.  And on the counter.  And the dishwasher is full of dirty dishes.

So if you're looking for a way to save some money, I say do your dishes.  When the dishes are clean, I have everything available to use.  I don't have to wash anything first.  I also have counter space to do the cooking.  There is another benefit to this - I'm less likely to be in a foul mood.  Having to clean first makes me mad...and in an attempt to avoid getting mad, I offer up the prospect of one of our favorite restaurants.  And in the end, I'm $40-$50 lighter.  And it's depressing.  And I still have to go home and face the mess.

That's my money saving tip for you.  Trust me, it works!

*This has been linked to Frugal Fridays over at Life As Mom.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Broccoli Turkey Supreme

Our day after Thanksgiving tradition is this casserole.  It utilizes the leftover turkey without feeling like I'm being forced to eat leftovers.  I love it that way.  Now that I've said that,  here is my big however.  Although we have loved the flavor of it, we've always had an issue with the rice getting cooked all the way through.  It always took more liquid.  More time.  More...something.  This year, I wasn't going to deal with crunchy rice anymore.  I was going to figure out how to tweak the recipe so that I wasn't going to have crunchy rice.  By golly, I got it!  Now I feel confident sharing the recipe with you, so here it is. (Photo from Taste of Home)

4 cups cubed, cooked turkey breast (we have also made it with chicken before)
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 package (10oz) frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained (I usually use a 16oz package)
1 package (6.9oz) chicken flavored rice mix (Rice-a-Roni)
1 1/3 cup milk
1 cup chopped celery
1 can water chestnuts, drained
3/4 cup mayonnaise
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules

In a skillet, cook the rice according to the package directions, minus the flavor packet.
In a large bowl, combine the turkey, broccoli, celery, water chestnuts, onions, and the cooked rice.
In another bowl, whisk together the soup, mayonnaise, milk, rice flavor pouch and chicken bouillon granules.
Pour over the turkey mixture and stir well to coat everything.
Pour into a greased 3qt casserole dish.
Bake uncovered at 325° for 30-40 minutes or until heated through.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

MPM 11/29

I'm aware that as of late, my posts are weekly, and only about my menu plan.  Mom, I'm sorry!  I've just been in a blogging funk I guess.  It's not intentional.  In fact, I think all week about writing this post or that post, and next thing I know, it's Sunday and time to get my menu posted again.  Rinse and repeat.  And so the rut is formed.  However, I will try to sidestep it.

If you are curious how our Thanksgiving went, it was wonderful.  We spent the day at my sister's in-laws.  I know, sounds a bit different.  And our grandparents were there.  The boys were able to play with their cousin, and that's always a good thing.  Food?  Yes, there was a ton of it.  Literally.  It was almost a shame there was so much food, because after dinner, just about everything looked like it had hardly been touched.  And everybody's plate was overflowing full.  I was informed that I needed to bring my rolls (or else don't show up!)  I obliged by making 6½ dozen.  We only came home with about six rolls.  I think they were a hit. =)  I also made Ruby Pears - another crowd pleaser.  (I'll post the recipe for this soon.)  Because we weren't home for Thanksgiving, we weren't going to have all the turkey leftovers that we'd want, so we cooked our own turkey on Friday, and then the dinner consisted of the turkey and all leftover side dishes.  It was a beautiful thing!

 I'm pretty sure that after the gluttonous day we had, we don't really need to eat this week....my boys on the other hand would disagree.  They feel as though I'm torturing them if they don't eat every 15½ minutes.  Poor pathetic growing boys! *wink*  So, since I'm not going to get away with not feeding them, here is what I've come up with for the week.  Three of the recipes are new to us....fingers crossed!

Monday - Pinto Beans and Rice
Tuesday - Mexican Eggs
Wednesday - Lasagna Soup
Thursday - Thai Beef over Rice
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - David and I are at a Dining Out (formal military ball) and the boys are at a friend's house
Sunday - Chicken Fajitas

For more menus, check out Orgjunkie.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

MPM 11/22 Thanksgiving Edition

My favorite holiday is almost here!  I'm so excited!  This year we will be spending the holiday with my sister's family, so my cooking/baking responsibility is greatly reduced.  That will be nice on the wallet.  And since we won't be home on Thanksgiving, we'll still need to cook our own turkey so that we can still enjoy our share of turkey sandwiches and our day-after-Thanksgiving dinner tradition.  We just won't fix all the helpings with the turkey.  Well, maybe we'll have some mashed potatoes...can't have a turkey without the mashed potatoes!!

Monday - Pancakes
Tuesday - Taco Pasta
Wednesday - Leftovers and/or sandwiches
Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday - cooking our own turkey
Saturday - Broccoli Turkey Supreme (our family tradition)
Sunday - Pizza Bites

Hop on over to Orgjunkie.com for more menus.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

MPM 11/15

Wow, another week down.  This is getting to be a bit crazy, the speed in which the days are flying off my calendar.  If anyone has any suggestions for slowing it down, I'm interested.  Last week went well, menu-plan speaking.  We stayed on track, so that's always a good thing.  Jordan's birthday party was a success.  That's good.  And then on Friday (his actual birthday), things went downhill for me.  We took him to see Megamind (which was a surprise), and I spent the day getting sicker and sicker.  Stupid cold....I'm now on day #3, and only feel like I'm getting worse.  Lovely...  Right now, I'm very thankful that I was feeling extremely adventurous a few days back and had my menu for this coming week already planned out.  Simply sitting here typing it out is about all the energy I have for today.  So, I'm reserving the right right now to change anything on here at any given point of the week, should the need arise.

Monday - Pinto Beans and Rice
Tuesday - French Toast
Wednesday - Shepherds Pie and carrots
Thursday - Broccoli Cheese Soup and Baked Potatoes
Friday - Quesadillas
Saturday - Grilled PB&J
Sunday - Spaghettios or sandwiches

For more ideas, check out Orgjunkie.com

Sunday, November 7, 2010

MPM 11/8 Birthday Edition

Earlier this week while we were sitting at the dinner table, Kelton asked me why we never have BELTs anymore.  I replied with "no one has asked for them".  I should have known better.  Both boys asked if we could have BELTs the next night for dinner!  After a good laugh at their enthusiasm, I told them that it wouldn't be this week as the menu was already set (and I didn't have any bacon) but that I would add it onto the menu for the next week.  I bet they'll be excited to have dinner Monday night!

A winner from the week was the Pizza Bites.  Screamin' good I tell ya!  I'd say they are like Totino's pizza rolls, but those are little.  These are more like a dinner roll with cheesy pepperoni goodness hidden inside.  They were quite yummy, and when I get rave reviews from my lactose intolerant husband, I know it's a keeper recipe.

Well, as you can tell by the post title, someone in our house has a birthday this week.  It's a big one, too.  Double digits!  I can't believe my baby is going to be 10 - - but they've been the best ten years of my life, being Mom to an incredible boy.  The kids don't have school Thursday and Friday, so we're being a bit unorthodox and doing his birthday party Thursday night.  He is having a couple friends spend the night.  Should be fun...movies, Wii, bunches of snacks and no bedtime!  Isn't that what kids love?!

Without further ado, here is the plan for the week...

Monday - BELTs
Tuesday - Omelet Roll (we didn't have it a couple weeks ago - there was a parchment paper issue)
Wednesday - Chili
Thursday - Pizza and Texas Sheet Cake
Friday - Tri-tip, mac and cheese, salad and peach crisp (J's requested meal)
Saturday - Sandwiches or leftovers
Sunday - Bacon Potato Chowder and rolls (new recipe - I'll post it if its any good)

For more ideas, check out Orgjunkie.com

Sunday, October 31, 2010

MPM 11/01

Each week, I'm amazed at my ability to somehow forget to do an important step for a meal.  You know, like forget to take the prime rib out of the freezer?  Or forget to soak the beans over night.  Oh, and my personal favorite is forgetting to read that the meal should be in the crock pot early in the morning.  I seem to notice that one about 4pm.  It makes executing the meal plan a bit difficult at times.  Last week I decided to note on the menu what I would need to do in advance in order to get things done.  Problem with that is, I have to actually read the menu to see my notes!  I don't really like scrambling around the kitchen at dinnertime trying to figure out how to salvage my costly errors.  Especially when I've taken the time earlier in the week to "prepare" so that I'm not scrambling.  Forgetting key pieces of information is so counterproductive. 

With all that being said, we didn't have the prime rib (can you guess the reason?)  We also didn't have the Rice and Beans, but that one was because I chose to do leftovers instead.  I was actually thinking on that one!  We ended up having scrambled eggs instead of the omelet roll because I didn't realize I only had about 6" of parchment paper.  Oh well, we ate.  That's all that matters, right?!  The week's highlight was the Meatball Subs.  I couldn't decide what kind of roll to make, so finally settled on homemade pretzels.  It was such a good choice.  They were so delicious, and our guests enjoyed it too.  We'll definitely be serving them that way again.

What will we be eating this week?  I'll tell ya...however, by next week, life could have thrown me a monkey wrench and it could be changed.  We shall see......

Monday - Kielbasa and potatoes
Tuesday - Chicken (whole)
Wednesday - Burritos
Thursday - Chicken and Dumplings
Friday - Homemade Pizza Bites
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Pumpkin Pancakes

Want more ideas?  Check out Orgjunkie.com.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

MPM 10/25

I know I didn't get my menu posted last week.  In a nutshell, it was roughly a repeat of the week before.  The week before turned into the week of never ending leftovers.  We had made Chalupas and baked spaghetti that were like the loaves and fishes.  We really enjoyed it, and it seemed silly to leave the leftovers sitting in the refrigerator so we could make another meal that would possibly have leftovers.  So we took the blessing and ran with it.  I will say that it really helped the grocery tab stay low...another blessing.  We thoroughly enjoyed the Baked Oatmeal - very homey and comfort food-ish.  We all agreed that it was only missing apples.  And the Cattle Drive Chili was yummy, however, I wish it had made a lot more.  (I made it with only 2T of chili powder, but we would have liked it with all 3T of chili powder - we like flavor!)

This week we are only trying one new recipe.  Although, I am changing one recipe up a little bit, so it'll seem like a new one.  Maybe.  The grocery money is gone for the month, so the whole plan is based on what we have on hand.  I'm also throwing in today's meal.  You know, change things up a bit.  Keep you on your toes.  Something like that.

Sunday - Wet Burritos with Chipotle Pork and Spanish Rice (homemade enchilada sauce)
Monday - Chicken Tortilla Soup
Tuesday - Pinto Beans and Rice (using the red beans and rice recipe)
Wednesday - Oven Omelet Roll using sausage(new recipe)
Thursday - Soup and Sandwiches
Friday - BBQ Chicken Pizza
Saturday - Prime Rib, baked potatoes and homemade rolls
Sunday (Halloween) - Meatball Subs (I swear, we will eat these yet!  Meatballs are in the freezer, so no biggie!)

Breakfasts for this week will be any of the following: pancakes, oatmeal, cream of wheat, apple pancake, scrambled eggs or egg in toast.

If you are looking for more menus, check out Orgjunkie.com.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why oh why?

Why does nobody want me to buy ground beef at a sale price? 

I've been needing a sale (preferably a loss leader sale) on ground beef for about seven weeks now.  This is getting a tad irritating.  I'm completely out. 

Yes, I could pay full price, but that goes against my grain. 

Did I mention I have three stores that could possibly put the meat on sale?  So that's like twenty-one chances for a sale in the seven weeks I've been needing it.  This is sad.

I'm sad.

I want tacos...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh My - -

I love oatmeal creme pies.  They are one of the most perfect morsels of yumminess.  I just found this recipe tonight, and I can't wait to try them.  They aren't oatmeal creme pies, I think they could beat possibly beat them.  It's pumpkin creme pies!  Hello!  Could it be any better?!  We'll see, won't we! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

MPM 10/11

If someone tells me that tomorrow is New Years Eve, I'm going to cry.  Where has the year gone?  I'm very happy that Fall is finally here, but it's already nearly the middle of October??  This is crazy.  Oh well, I still need a menu plan, so here it is for this week.

Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Pretzel Dogs
Wednesday - Cattle Drive Chili
Thursday - Baked Oatmeal
Friday - Red Beans & Rice
Saturday - Meatball Subs on homemade rolls
Sunday - Homemade Pizza

For more menus and recipes, check out Orgjunkie.com.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What to do, what to do?

I'm thinking I'm in a pickle.  Or will/could be.

We'll have a birthday boy next month - the big 1-0.

And another birthday boy in January - a whopping 6 years old.

All sandwiched around the holidays.  Yay.

Jordan has only had one "friends" party...for his 7th birthday.  I was fortunate in the most bizarre way.  His friend's birthday is two days before Jordan's, so his mom and I split the party.  It made sense - they would have invited all the same boys.  And rather than accidentally set the party for the same day and make kids choose which party to go to, or coordinate the dates and fill up an entire weekend with birthday parties, our combined party worked out for the best for everyone.  All the fun and half the cost (and no clean up)...brilliant!

However, this year he'll be 10.  (His friend will be 9.)  TEN!  A whole decade old!  I think this one is a really big deal.  I think it is one that deserves a party.  With his friends.  Not sharing it with anybody else.  And something FUN!!  One he'll always remember.

Kelton has never had a birthday party.  Ever.  Not even one for his 1st birthday that he'd never remember anyway.  Daddy came home from Iraq ten days before Kelton's 1st birthday, so we kept things quiet for Daddy's sake.  And then the day after Kelton's birthday, Daddy left for a two week school.  So the "1st Birthday Party" never happened. 

Now Kelton is in kindergarten.  He's spent the last two weekends in a row at friends' birthday parties...one at a huge indoor jungle gym and the other at an indoor bounce-house haven.  He's seen what the all the hoopla is about.  And he wants that for himself.  I don't blame him, he had a blast!!

Sadly, this isn't where my quandary ends.  Oh, I wish it were. 

Right now, we are very committed to our new 10-month plan ~ credit card paid off by March 1st, and then save the money for a trip to Florida to spend a week at Disney World in July (yes, Mom, we'd be driving!).  They are very ambitious goals.  I know that.   But I needed a fun goal for after the credit card was paid off. ☺

So, technically, we could afford a $350-$400 party in November and another one in January.  The problem is I don't want to afford that.  I've done some looking into those kinds of parties, and that seems to be the going rate for taking the parties on the road.  (Our house isn't big enough to handle 15 (screaming) kids, so I don't want our house to be an option.)  November and January birthdays rule out the possibility of an outside party, so that brings us back to booking a party elsewhere.  But doing so would derail forward progress on the credit card.  So now what? 

I've thought about holding off until spring or summer to have an outdoor party and combine it for both boys, but then I'm still spending  money that I'd rather apply to my credit card or vacation.  I'm feeling like I'm in a no-win situation right now.  Is this a product of my own desires that the kids wouldn't care one way or the other?  Or am I depriving them of something?  Do you see the predicament I'm in?

Any suggestions???

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Homemade Italian Dressing

I enjoy making my own mixes.  It seems silly to me to buy something that I have the ingredients to make.  Especially a spice packet.  Sometimes the "convenience factor" just isn't worth it.  I've been making my own Sloppy Joe Mix and taco seasoning for a while now, and I always have the ingredients on hand.  Here is a wonderful Italian Dressing mix:
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon white sugar
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon celery salt

Mix everything together in a bowl.   Store in a tightly sealed container.
To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix.

It tastes best if you let the flavors marry overnight. I don't normally like Italian dressing, but this one is delicious!

MPM 9/27

I have to say that I'm quite proud of myself for last week - we stayed on track.  It seems the norm that something will happen and the menu gets thrown off, but it didn't happen this week.  It felt really good.  Can we go two weeks in a row??

This week is my poor mans/eat from the pantry menu.  The grocery money is gone for the month.  David just went and spent the last of it on two gallons of milk.  But I have no fear!  We're really well stocked and won't be hurting for anything - milk was the only thing we needed.

Monday - Tijuana Torte and green salad with homemade Italian dressing
Tuesday - Pasta Bake, green salad, and homemade French bread
Wednesday - Breakfast for dinner
Thursday - Ham & Cheese Frittata and home fries
Friday - Red beans and rice
Saturday - Leftovers/FFA
Sunday - Chicken and Green Rice (not sure how we'll cook the chicken, BBQ maybe?)

Breakfasts - Pancakes, Eggs, Oatmeal, Baked Oatmeal, Smoothies
Lunches - Sandwiches (PB&J, Bologna, Egg salad), baked potatoes, leftovers
Snacks - Homemade granola bars, hard boiled eggs, banana muffins, yogurt, applesauce, raisins and graham crackers

Friday, September 24, 2010

Keeping my money in my wallet

There is a blog that I check daily.  Multiple times a day.  Well, there are a few of them that I check multiple times a day.  But one in particular - LifeAsMom.com - and especially on Fridays.  She has a weekly thing called "Frugal Friday."  Other bloggers can link up their own blog post with tips for saving money.  Sometimes its a recipe, other times its a helpful tip like reusing your old peanut butter jars.  Whatever it is, it's going to be something frugal.

This morning, I was reading over the quick link notes and thinking to myself "what do I do to save money?"  My answer was simple:

Don't Shower.

Ok, before you jump to any conclusions, hear me out!!!

If I get up in the morning and get a shower first thing, there are a couple things that happen (past being clean.):  1) I do my hair, and 2) I put on makeup.  Those simple things can be a recipe for disaster.  They mean that I'm a pair of jeans away from shopping!  I live in comfy pants while at home.  If I'm post shower, and otherwise "put together", it's a simple change of the pants, grab the keys and purse and out the door I go.

HOWEVER!  When my will power is low and the urge to run to the store to buy this or that hits me...and I'm in pajamas, and my hair is mess and I look like Tammy Faye Baker after crying...I know it's going to take some time and work to get to a point that I could run out the door.  It makes me stop and think about what I was going to go buy.  Do I really need it?  Can it wait until I'm out running other errands?  Am I just caving to instant gratification? Shopping, for me, isn't down the street.  It's at least 20 minutes away for basics, and 45 minutes for everything else.  That's a lot of gas to not be combining multiple errands.

**Now that I've explained that, let me say this...I normally do get up and shower and "get ready"!!  But if I'm struggling to stay home, stay out of the stores and save money, this is something that works for me. =)

Monday, September 20, 2010

MPM 9/20

'Tis that time again - time for the menu...

Monday - Leftover Carne Asada
Tuesday - "Clean-Up" soup
Wednesday - Slow-cooked shredded chipotle pork tacos
Thursday - Stroganoff
Friday - Leftovers/FFA
Saturday - Dinner with my sis
Sunday - Turkey and roasted potatoes

If this wasn't inspiring enough for you, check out orgjunkie.com.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

MPM 9/13

As I sit down to hammer out my menu for the week, I wonder how other people handle their menus.  How do you figure out what you are going to eat?  Does the family have input in the menu?  Does the menu get determined during the weekly family meeting?  Do you cycle through the family's 18 favorite meals and then...start over?  How do you post the menu for the family to see?  What do you do??!

Since I was wondering what all of you do, I thought maybe you wonder how my menu comes to be.  Let me start by saying I am very fortunate that my family will eat anything and be excited and happy about it.  Ah, I ♥ them!  I could just about deep fry a "road apple" and they'd eat it...and like it!  (Funny, that is actually an old family story, and yes, it did happen ~ and LONG before my time!!)  That being said, I don't normally involve them in coming up with what to eat for the week.  If someone requests something or suggests something, I try to incorporate it into the plan for the week.  If I can't get it in this week, I definitely try to get it into next week's menu for sure.  Sometimes it just doesn't work, but I'll try my best to accomodate.

Where do I get my recipes?  Some of them are from family, but mostly I find my recipes from blogs like yours.  I also have a love affair with Taste of Home since their recipes are submitted by real people in real kitchens.  We try at least one new dish each week, sometimes it can be as many as three or four new recipes in a single week.  One thing is for certain -it's never boring!  And there aren't a lot of repeats.  How many ways can we have chicken?  I don't know, but I'm willing to try to find out!  A common "problem" I experience is having too many ideas for a seven day week, so to counter that, I have a list on my desk (oh how I love Post-Its!) that I jot down dishes that I want to do soon.  It keeps those ideas front and center in my mind when I sit down to determine meals for the week.   

Once I have the meal planned out, there is the grocery shopping that has to be done.  I explained here how I handle that phase of menu planning.  That brings us to posting the menu for the family.  I have a magnetic weekly planner that I write down what we'll be eating each day (dinners only).  Each page is three weeks worth of plans.  Once the page is finished, I tear it off and I keep it on my desk, paper clipped to the other menus.  That allows me to look back through them for inspiration.  What haven't we had in a long time?  What were "keepers" that we loved but haven't had again?  I started menu planning October 19, 2008 and I can see all the meals we've had since then.  It's all at my fingertips, and it's what has worked for me.

Now that I've explained that, what are we eating this week?  We are going easy.  Sometimes simple food is the way to go.  Actually, it's how I roll when David is TDY!

Monday - Sub sandwich (Mondays are baseball nights, so I pick up a sub from Winco and call it done)
Tuesday - Chicken...not sure how I'll prep it, but it's thawed and needs to be used
Wednesday - Mac & Cheese with tuna and peas
Thursday - Burritos
Friday - French Toast (but it could turn into eating out since we'll be picking David up about dinner time)
Saturday - Pasta
Sunday - Ground Beef Gyros

There you have it.  How do you plan your meal?  Leave me a comment and share your strategies.  If you want more meal ideas, check out Orgjunkie.com.  You'll be glad you did!

Garden Report 9/12

Holy Cow!  Check out the bounty!  I can make a single serving of really hot salsa!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

MPM 9/6

Now that we've been back to school for a few weeks, I thought I was starting to get the hang of this new routine.  Then I found out about fall baseball.  Guess I'm going to have to re-figure my routine.  Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm all for Jordan getting practice and exercise...but who came up with this schedule? A man, I'm sure.......Saturdays from 4-7 pm and Mondays from 5:30-7:30pm?  Really?  Looks like we're going to be eating really early or really late on baseball days.  Goodie. 

Ooh, I'm trying to plan breakfasts better these days.  In the past, they just ate cold cereal for breakfast, but I'm trying to actually fix them something.  They need brain power, and I figure it starts with a good, solid breakfast.  Right?! So I'll be fixing pancakes, apple pancakes, eggs and toast and oatmeal - in no particular order!  As for dinners, we'll be trying three new recipes this week.  I sure hope they are as yummy as they sound!

Monday - BBQ Tri-tip sandwiches on sourdough rolls
Tuesday - Tijuana Torte (double batch and  freeze)
Wednesday - Sausage Crepes (double batch and freeze)
Thursday - Lemon Chicken (new recipe)
Friday - Mexican Potato Casserole (new recipe)
Saturday - Leftovers/FFA
Sunday - Pizza Bites (new recipe)

For more menus, check out Orgjunkie.com

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MPM 8/30

What?  Another week gone?  Is anyone else surprised that it's flying by at such a fast pace?!  Good grief....

*rubs forehead*

Ok, I think I'm ready.  Maybe.  Well, probably not.  But it'll happen whether I'm ready or not.  Right?  One of the best ways to set myself up for success to have a menu plan.  Last week we had a few changes which were reflected in the meals that actually got  prepared, but it's all good - I just moved them to this week.

Monday - Apple Pancake
Tuesday - Turkey Broccoli/Cauliflower Supreme
Wednesday - Oven Omelet Roll
Thursday - FFA (It's Back to School Night at the school, there will hardly be time to eat!)
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Prime Rib (my birthday dinner since Thursday will be crazy)
Sunday - Tijuana Torte (2x batch and freeze)

What are you eating this week?  Don't know?  Need some ideas?  Check out Orgjunkie's page.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

MPM 8/23

Wow, we survived the first week of school.  Which is to say that I remembered to get them to school (with lunches) and I remembered to pick them up.  Well, actually, I had no problem remembering to drop them off at school, it was remembering to pick them up that would be the challenge.  I have relished the silence...I grocery shopped.  Alone.  And it was amazing!  Who knew!?

To be honest, I'm enjoying my routine again.  I'm still working to get it back on track, but so far, it's working.  It needs to be tweaked a bit.  Now that Jordan is in 4th grade, he gets out of school an hour later,  but Kelton still gets out at what I consider "normal" time.  Since it's still nice outside, we just wait for Jordan on the playground.  However, by doing this, I've realized that I lose an hour every day.  It's going to take some adjusting, but I'm sure I'll figure it out soon enough.  We stuck to the menu plan, and that's a good start.  The highlight of the week was hands-down, the Cowboy Spaghetti!  I also tried a loaf of bread machine garlic bread and served it with the spaghetti.  Yum-my!  We will certainly be keeping both of those recipes on our menu line ups!  So, what are we eating this week?  I'll tell ya!

Monday - Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta
Tuesday - Chalupas
Wednesday - Turkey Broccoli-Cauliflower Supreme
Thursday - Eggs, Biscuits and fried potatoes
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Monte Cristos

Swing by OrgJunkie's page for more menu ideas.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of School

It's official.  My baby started kindergarten today.  My oldest baby started 4th grade. 





Sunday, August 15, 2010

Menu Plan 8/16

The school year is upon us...they start on Tuesday! It's time to get back on a schedule. Back to reality, so here's my menu for the week -

Monday - Cowboy Spaghetti (this is a new one to us)
Tuesday - (boys' special request) BBQ tri-tip, homegrown zucchini and rice
Wednesday - Pancakes
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - BBQ Chicken Pizza (homemade)
Saturday - Split Pea soup and rolls
Sunday - Meatballs with gravy over rice, and carrots

For more menu plans, check out OrgJunkie.

Garden Report 8/15

I know, I'm woefully behind in posting my report.  I was gone last week, and I still can't believe how much everything has grown in that week!  My watermelons that were the size of olives before I left are now bigger than softballs.  One of my tomato plants that was lucky to have 3 flowers on it has about 9 tomatoes.  My cherry tomato plant is going to be covered in tomatoes.  Nobody is crying over that prospect!  The other two tomato plants are doing well too.  I will also be picking cantaloupes and tomatoes outside of the kennel since they've grown outside of it.  I'm glad that my family enjoys zucchini; we have tons of it, and still have a bunch on the plant.  Oh, and the cucumbers are taking off.  We picked one the other night, and it was delicious.  There are a couple more nearly ready to pick as well.  Oh it tasted soooo  yummy! =)  I'm enjoying the homegrown veggies.

However, my pepper plants are covered in aphids.  And ants.  So yesterday we went out and bought ant traps to get rid of those pesky buggers.  We have officially launched Operation Aphid Overthrow.  We deployed hundreds of lady bugs into the garden last night.  As of this morning, I didn't see any ants on the pepper plants -- but I did see lots of lady bugs.  That makes me happy.  Very, very happy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Garden Report 7/27

I've wanted a garden for a while.  Like, a couple years.  This year, I was determined to have one.  I spent a lot of time trying to decide what I wanted to grow.  I asked a lot of questions.  However, now I realize that I may have needed a little bit more information in the answers I was given.  Simply hearing that a zucchini takes up "a lot of real estate" did not prepare me for what it would turn out to be!!  I so hope that it doesn't get any bigger than it is, the thing is huge!  It's lopping over into my extremely narrow walkway!  And maybe I shouldn't have planted a zucchini, a watermelon AND a cantaloupe in the same bed!  Ah, but we live and learn.  I'm already making plans for next years garden!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

MPM July 26

Wow, Monday already, huh?  Hard to believe...school starts in three weeks.  Summer can't really be nearly over, can it?

The highlight of the week clearly goes to the Cilantro Pork Tenderloin, hands down!  It was de-lish!  We love cilantro in our house, and a lot of it, so this was one I was looking forward to.  I know the directions say "or until a meat thermometer reads 160°", but David went with his gut and went by texture instead.  I'm so glad he did that, or else the pork would have been shoe leather!  Probably rather tasty shoe leather, but shoe leather nonetheless.

Also this week, I was able to stash away a few single serve meals into the freezer.  The boys and I will be gone for a week in August, and I thought it was only fair if I left David a few quick and easy meals.  He can either take them for lunch or have them for dinner.  Granted, he is perfectly capable in a kitchen.  But I also know how much it sucks to cook for just one person.  Whatever he doesn't eat while we're gone will be perfect for FFA (free for all) meals later.

Here's my plan for the week.  If you want more ideas, swing by OrgJunkies page.

Monday - Cinnamon Bun Pancakes
Tuesday - Recycled pork tenderloin, probably sandwiches
Wednesday - Spaghetti
Thursday - Pot Roast
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Honey Hoisin Chicken
Sunday - Tri-tip Burritos

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Swagbucks

Search & Win

They're so cool - you get swagbucks for doing searches.  Make it your homepage, download the tool bar.  It's so easy to do!  I redeem my swagbucks for Amazon.com gift cards.  I then get to shop for free!!  How cool is that?!  Check it out....and I'm talking to you MOM!! =)

Search & Win

Garden Report 7/20

I can't believe how much everything has grown in the last couple weeks.  We seem to have an earwig (??) problem, but we're not sure.  Some of the leaves on the zucchini and cucumber now look like lace....  We're trying to take care of it, and have our fingers crossed that we are correct.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, July 19, 2010

MPM - July 19

It's been nice having the monthly list hanging on the fridge.....if I'd look at it!  Thankfully the pantry is stocked enough that making a few significant changes to the plan hasn't hurt me any.  And I'd probably be more successful getting some of these meals executed if I paid attention to what needs to be done the night before....like tonight.  I kind of forgot to soak the beans last night, so no plan for dinner tonight.  It's ok, the kiddos were quite happy to eat spaghettios =)...  So here's the plan for the week -

Monday - Red beans and rice, turned spaghettios
Tuesday - Red beans and rice, take deux
Wednesday - Chili and Cornbread
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Ham and Onion bowties
Saturday - Cilantro Pork Roast
Sunday - Balsamic chicken OR leftovers (we'll play this one by ear!)

For more menu plans, check out OrgJunkie's page.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A lesson I'm still trying to learn

I spend a lot of time searching for ideas on ways to save money.  As I read list after list, I see that I've already implemented most of the ideas and suggestions.  We only drink water at restaurants, turn lights out, unplug unused electronics.  David takes lunches to work; I shop sales and use coupons.  I'm religious about submitting rebates. We budget, use meal plans and don't have a land-line phone.  Trust me, this list just skims the surface, but what else can we do?

The answer to that would require me to take a good look at myself.  

I've realized that I was never content with what I had.  
 
I want the latest iPhone.  
 
I want a new laptop.  
 
I want a flat screen for the bedroom. 
 
I want a new SLR camera. 
 
But I have an iPhone.  It's only seven months old.  It works just fine.
 
I have a laptop.  We rarely use it and I can still take it with me if I need it.
 
I have a TV in the bedroom.  It's not a flat screen or high def, but it shows the same TV shows as a new one would, and this TV is paid for.
 
I have a really good camera.  A few of them actually.

I can still want all those things, but I need to let them just be wants...for now.  They aren't needs.  I can start saving for something, if I want it that badly.  But none of those things are worth more debt. 
 
In fact, there really aren't many needs on our list right now.  We need to get the bike serviced, so that it continues to run correctly and efficiently.  We can't afford to let the commuter vehicle go down. We need to build an emergency fund.  We need to save for a cash Christmas.
 
Right now, those things are far more important than a few things I want.  The goal is to get out of debt, not continue to push ourselves farther into it.  It isn't the easiest, but I'm learning to be content and happy with the things I already have.  
 
It's far cheaper this way!
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Garden Update

I can't believe how much everything has grown in just two weeks.  I'm out there a few times a day, checking it all out - amazed at how it has grown since I had been in there just hours before.  The zucchini has taken off!  My pepper is already turning purple, and David keeps eyeballing the jalapeno, watching for it to cork.  I'm probably most excited that I now have a sweet Italian pepper growing.  I can already taste it in eggs!  I have also been able to enjoy the herbs, and that makes me happy.  Check it out - -

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Deals This Week

Want to know how much I paid for all this?

Nothing.

No, that wasn't a typo.  Here's how I did it...

Rite Aid:
Crest Toothpaste on sale for $2.99
- $.75 coupon
Out of pocket $2.49 (tax included)
Rebate of $2.99
= $.50 profit

Target:
5 travel Axe deodorants $4.85
- (5) $1.00 coupons
OOP $.25 (tax only - I also had Q-tips on this transaction to buffer the .15 overage with the coupons)

CVS:
Transaction #1
4 cans Scrubbing Bubbles @ $2.50 ea = $10
- (2) $2/2 coupons
-5.00 ECB
OOP $1.83
Got back $5 ECBs for buying $10 in Scrubbing Bubbles
Profit $3.17

Transaction #2
8pk Bounty $6.99
9pk Charmin $5.49
-$2 CVS coupon for Bounty 8pk
-$.25 coupon Bounty
-$.25 coupon Charmin
-$9.00 ECBs
OOP $1.60
Got back $2.00 ECBs
Profit $.40

So, all said and done, I was paid $3.82 to take all of this out of the stores.  I love bargain shopping!