Thursday, December 31, 2009
Spiritual: Using the book, The One Year Chronological Bible, read the Bible this year. I've read the Bible before, but I really feel that my relationship with God is lagging the last couple of years. I'm really struggling and hope this will help.
Health: I had trouble narrowing it down to one goal in this section. 1) Do yoga/meditation at least twice a week. 2) Complete another duathlon or triathlon. 3) Take my vitamins every day.
Financial: 1) Save at least $200 from each of James' main checks and save at least 3/4 of his second job total amount earned.
Household: 1) Continue vacuuming every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (with 5 dogs in the house this is a must). 2) Help James with the dishes more in order to remove temptation from Marshmallow's counter surfing habit.
Okay, now it's out there. Hopefully I can succeed this year.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
So here is the two part challenge:
1. We are going to have $1200 for the entire year for our food budget. Obviously, this is essentially $100 a month. This includes eating out and snacks. Here are the caveats: A) If we eat out with our friends, without our spouse, money has to come out of our individual allowances. B) Food costs during vacations come out of the vacation budget. C.) Because we often take a friend out to eat with us and pay for her food, that meal will come out of our entertainment budget. Essentially, all household food and meals we eat out together have to be covered by the $1200. Personal hygiene products, household cleaning supplies, and dog food comes out of different budgets. The $1200 is only for all food related costs.
Any gift cards, reward cards, or rebate checks can be towards food and not apply towards the $1200. For example, I use several websites where I complete surveys for points or rewards. . .these points can be cashed in for gift cards and I can use these during the course of the year to save money from the $1200 total.
2. No fast food restaurants. Here are the caveats: A) If we eat out with friends and they choose fast food, we can eat there. B.) On vacations, we can eat fast food if we have limited options. C.)If we receive gift cards or certificates for fast food restaurants we can use them.
I'll keep you updated on how much we spend and save. It should be an interesting year.
Our January month long challenge is going to be only water, milk, or tea as beverage choices.
Stay tuned for the updates!
Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday - Double Decker tacos
Tuesday - Tilapia and home fries
Wednesday - Chicken fajitas
Thursday - I have to work so LO and snacks to bring in the new year
Friday - sandwiches
Saturday - Roast and potatoes
Sunday - Chopped beef sandwiches
Stay tuned for a new year long and month long challenge introduced soon!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Total before sales and Q: 35.53
Total sales: 15.28
Total Q: 7
Total OOP (w/o tax): 13.25
I will also submit the SC Johnson Rebate (my last time out of the three) for $5.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Our last boot camp for this session ended last night. When we started the first session I could not even do one "man" pushup. Now I can do a lot. If we do sets of 10 - 20, I can do about 5 sets of "man" push ups before having to switch to "girl" push ups! I've always wanted to be able to do "real" pushups!
I hope everyone is having a good holiday season.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday - (Boot camp night) LO steak
Tuesday - Tuna and fries
Wednesday - Homemade pizza
Thursday - (Boot camp night) - hot dogs and chips
Friday - Chicken fried steak and baked potatoes
Saturday - Our 11 year anniversary so dinner out!
Sunday - Crockpot chicken and roasted turnips and potatoes
I bought a 10 pound bag of potatoes a couple of weeks ago, and it is really difficult for 2 people to eat all those potatoes. I'm trying to use them up this week.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
This is Darla belly up in one of the chairs. She heard me come in and moved her head.
Darla and Daisy are lounging in the recliners.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Monday - Hamburger steaks, potatoes, and turnips
Tuesday - Chicken Ole (New Recipe)
Wednesday - Tilapia and potatoes (I'm trying to use up a bag of potatoes)
Thursday - Gnocchi (homemade and frozen) and flatbread
Friday - James has to fend for himself because I have to work a catering
Saturday - Tuna steaks
Sunday - Grilled chicken sandwiches
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Kat's Overnight Pancakes:
2 1/4 c flour
1/4 c brown rice syrup
2 1/2 t yeast (equivalent of one pkg)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t fresh ground nutmeg
1 1/2 c milk
1/3 c cooking oil
1. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add the milk, eggs, cooking oil, and brown rice syrup and combine thoroughly. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.
2. In the morning, warm your griddle and pour 1/4 c of batter onto a greased griddle. Cook until little bubbles form and then flip and cook another minute or two.
James liked these pancakes. The spices and brown rice syrup give the batter a little different flavor, but it was nice and not overly sweet.
I got this recipe from the 2000 Quick Cooking cookbook. The original recipe had sour cream and onions in it but we don't eat sour cream so I omitted it. Also the recipe called for a corn bread mix, but I make my corn bread from scratch.
Taco Corn Bread Squares:
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Grocery budget: $13.01 left over
Rebates: received Kellogg's $10, Palmolive $2.50, and SC Johnson $5; sent SC Johnson $5, Kohl's $10
Freebies: Aquafresh sample/Q, Homemade simple Q book, Pantene Q, Kohl's card, and Delmonte fruit Q
Magazines read: 24
Books read: 12
Number of minutes spent exercising: 1055 which is about 17 and half hours. Not as good as I would have liked, but not bad - still recovering from injury.
I also did really well on our monthly challenge. We challenged ourselves to not eat any sweets for the first three weeks of the month. James failed miserably but he did eat a lot less that he normally would have. I was successful!!! It was hard at first but it got easier. I actually ended up drawing it out for most of the month and didn't have a sweet until Sunday! That was my only sweet for the month! We are foregoing a challenge for December, but we have a good one coming up for the first of the year!
1/2 - 3/4 c blueberries
1/2 c sugar
1/4 - 1/2 c water (your preference)
1 T light corn syrup
Put all ingredients in a pot, and cook over med-high heat until the blueberries break down and the syrup thickens.
Steak and Baked Potato Soup
3 med sized potatoes, baked, cooled, skinned and diced
4 slices of bacon, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 jalapeno, diced
1/4 c flour
2 c chicken broth
1 c half and half
milk (used to thin out soup if gets too thick)
1 t dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
cheese for topping
1. In a pot, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and place on paper towels to drain. Keep about 3 T of bacon grease and discard the rest.
2. Cook onions, carrots, celery, and jalapenos in bacon grease until soft. Stir in flour and basil and cook for about a minute.
3. Add in warmed broth slowly, stirring constantly to ensure there are no lumps. Allow this to continue to cook over med-high heat to just start thickening. Add half and half and potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking this until it is the desired thickness. I like mine really thick and creamy.
4. Spoon into bowls, top with cheddar cheese and bacon pieces. Enjoy!
Monday, November 30, 2009
1 stick butter (1/2 c)
2 c blackberries
2 c dewberries
1 c sugar and extra for berries
1/4 c Splenda
1/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c flour
2 t black powder
1 c milk
1. Put the stick of butter in a 9 inch deep pan (mine was a little too shallow) and put it in the unheated oven. Turn the oven to 350° and let the butter melt in the pan.
2. Mix the berries in a bowl with sugar. I had to use about 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 c Splenda because my berries were tart (I remembered James told me that awhile ago), but you might be able to use less.
3. When the butter is almost melted, mix the flours, baking powder and 1 c sugar in a bowl. Add 1 cup of milk and stir well.
4. Remove the butter pan from the oven and pour the batter on top of the butter. Add the berries and any juice that formed to the batter. I sprinkled them around to disperse them evenly.
5. Put pan on a baking sheet and put back in the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is nicely browned.
If you try this please let me know how it turns out for you!
Monday - Baked potato soup
Tuesday - Tamales and rice
Wednesday - Taco Corn Bread Squares (new recipe)
Thursday - Tilapia tacos
Friday - Taco soup using LO items from Wednesday
Saturday - Chicken Ole (new recipe)
Sunday - Grilled hamburgers and home fries
I need to use up a couple of lemons given to us so I might make a lemon dessert.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
$505, 5 hours, and about 11 stitches later this is what my precious Fancy looks like. She is definitely working the pitiful look.
And she finally laid down. Now we are just waiting for the pain pills to kick in to knock her out so she'll get some rest instead of fighting the E-collar.
We did get a couple of good deals shopping on Friday, but since they are gifts I can't really post about them!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Here's the view from my porch about 20 minutes ago.
Here's what's left of the trees.
Friday, November 20, 2009
2 chicken breasts
Mozzarella cheese (sliced or grated which is what I had on hand)
1 Roma tomato, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Butterfly chicken breasts and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the chicken breasts until they are just a touch away from being completely cooked.
2. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and top with pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, and slices of tomato. Sprinkle a little parmesan on top and bake in a preheated 400° oven until the cheese is melted and the chicken is finished. I cooked the chicken for about 10 minutes.
James really liked this meal. He loves it when I make pesto and so I knew he would enjoy the chicken. I made him some fresh green beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic as well as some zucchini cooked the same way.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
1 apple, peeled, chopped, and diced
1. Toss the apple with the lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.
2. Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet and then add the apple mixture. Cook over low until the apples are tender and a little bit of syrup forms. Pour over waffles or pancakes and enjoy.
James really liked the apple concoction and I think I was encouraged to make it again or use it in a pie!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
1. Pour a little olive oil over the crust of your choice (dough or pita), sprinkle a little garlic powder on the crust and top with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
2. Put the following items on the pizza in an amount of your preference: finely chopped tomatoes, finely chopped onions, kalamata olives, chicken (we didn't have any cooked last night so I omitted this), and feta cheese.
3. Bake in a preheated 400° oven until the cheese is melted and the crust is crispy.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
1.5 pounds of ground beef
1/4 cup very finely chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic very finely chopped
1/4 c teriyaki sauce
1/4 t wasabi powder
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Form into patties and grill to your preference.
2. Pour another 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce into a saucepan and reduce to a thicker sauce. Top a hamburger bun with your choice of toppings and the sauce. Pictured below is James' plate. . . mine did not have vegetables on it.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I have no idea why I can never seem to take a serious picture. The zoo has a little train that families can ride and children had to be a certain height. We did not take the train.
There were tons of peacocks roaming the zoo. They were all brightly colored (well the males were) and not people shy at all.
Our favorite part of the zoo were the tigers. Neither one of us had ever seen "active" tigers, or for that matter any animals other than monkeys and birds, in a zoo. Today the three tigers were actually playing together! It was so much fun to watch. They took turns stalking each other and jumping into and out of the pool. Gorgeous animals.
When I walked up to this bird, it was like it wanted to get it's picture taken.
After the zoo we did a little Christmas shopping and then James suggested eating lunch at a restaurant we had put on our "list" of places to try. (Yes we actually have a list. . .I'm type A remember.) We ate at Tarka Indian Kitchen. James had the Lamb Mirch Masala at a medium spice level (you get to choose your spice level). He really enjoyed the blend of flavors. For $8.25 he recieved a generous portion of the masala curry and a huge serving of basmati rice. I tried the Chicken Curry Tarka "Naaninis" for $7 which came with a side of marsala fries. Basically it was curry in a naan bread. Mine was good, but not what I was thinking it would be. I was expecting a tomato based marsala curry and instead got a cilantro based curry. Plus although it was not stated on any of the menus, there were vegetables in the wrap (cabbage, tomoatoes and onions). After I picked off the vegetables it was pretty good. The fries were awesome!!! Next time we go, I think I am going to try the Chicken pakoras or the tarka aloo.
I bet you thought you were going to see a picture of a huge pile of groceries and a little paragraph with me bragging about how much I saved. Nope, not this time. We went to the Sunset Valley Farmer's Market yesterday and picked up the items above. The zucchini and tomatoes cost a total of $2 and the honey was $11. Yes, the honey is expensive, but James and I both prefer local honey over the highly processed stuff that can be bought at Walmart or HEB. Because it has a better, stronger flavor, we end up using less of it and it lasts for a much longer period of time.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
2 spices: $1
Ritz Crackers: $2.35, on sale for $ 2 - $1 MQ = $1
Total before sales and Q = $3.35
Total sales = $0.35
Total Q = $1
Total OOP = $2
1 box Panko bread crumbs: $1.62 (these were $2 something at HEB)
1 box All-Bran cereal (for the beasts): $3.16 - $1 MQ = $2.16
1 bag butterscotch morsels: on sale for $1.78 - $0.50 MQ = $1.28
2 bakery reduction products: originally $4.50, reduced to a total of $2.70
Total before sales and Q = $11.53
Total sales = $2.27
Total Q = $1.50
Total OOP = $7.76
1 10 lb bag of potatoes: $3.59 on sale for $1.49 (less than the cost of a 5 lb bag)
1 pork loin = $4.20
1 tub of butter spread = $0.74
1 dz eggs = $0.98
1 block cheddar = $1.67
1 c yogurt = $0.39
1 bag tortilla chips = $2
1 Clif bar = $1
1 container of salt = $0.34
1 baking powder = $0.99
1 bottle teriyaki sauce = $1.44
1 can tomato = $0.60
1 box baking soda = $0.51
1 bag Flamin Hot Cheetos ( I wonder why those aren't pictured?) = $0.99
1 jar Bama jelly = $1.25
1 can black beans = $0.62
Total before sales and Q = $21.61
Total sales = $0.35
Total Q = NONE (Depressing I know)
Total OOP = $19.21
2 boxes of Kotex tampons: on sale for $3 each - 2 $1 MQ = $4 (I was supposed to get a $1 RR, but the cashier didn't give it to me, and I forgot about it until I was at a different store.)
1 tube of Garnier Nutrisse exfoliating cleanser: $5.99 on sale for $4.49 - $5MQ = $0.51 overage
Total before sales and Q = $12.57
Total sales = $2.08
Total Q = $7
Total OOP = ZERO ( I found an old gift card and it still had money on it = $3.78 on GC)
I also bought some dog food and bones. This is the depressing part, I spent $107.67 on the dogs and that will only last about 3 months.
We are still doing really well. Last week I even made a lasagna on a day I told James he would have to fend for himself.
I am also doing well on this month's challenge of no sweets. It is easier than I thought, but my first thought after every meal is still "What's for dessert?". James has cheated TWICE!!!
Monday - Bacon cheeseburger soup (I'm just going to make up a recipe for this . . . wish me luck!)
Tuesday - BBQ pork loin wraps (pork cooked in the crockpot)
Wednesday - Pork turnovers and rice
Thursday - Fish and chips (Boot camp night)
Friday - Black bean quesadillas
Saturday - Teriyaki burgers and homemade fries
Sunday - LO
2 c buttermilk
1 c quick cooking oats
1 T molasses
1 T vegetable oil
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and buttermilk then add the oats and mix well. Stir in molasses and oil. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and soda; stir into the oats mixture. Drop batter onto a lightly greases griddle to form the size pancakes you prefer. Turn when bubbles form on top of batter.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Cook up some pasta to al dente. I used whole wheat rigatoni and spirals. After being cooked it was probably about 3 cups of pasta. While the pasta is cooking, saute some onions and carrots. Season the veggies with your choice of spices. I used poultry seasoning, dried oregano, and dried basil.
Put a layer of pasta on the bottom of a casserole dish. Then put layers of veggies, shredded chicken (I baked a chicken breast seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper earlier in the day), and cheddar cheese. You can decide how much cheese you would like to use. I ended up with two layers of each.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday - James is fending for himself because I'm going to the Kelly Clarkson concert with a friend!!!
Tuesday - Tortellini (boot camp night)
Wednesday - Chicken and cheese pasta bake
Thursday - Tacos (boot camp night)
Friday - My friend's wedding so eating there!
Saturday - James has to fend for himself again because I have to work
Sunday - Crockpot chili and cornbread
Sunday, November 1, 2009
For the first three weeks of the month we are not eating SWEETS! No cookies, cakes, pies, candy, or ICE CREAM! Because of the holidays we are only attempting the first three weeks. We are also amending the challenge so that we can include gum, mints and protein bars. I'm hoping to be successful at this one, but I am the one most addicted to sugar so we'll see!
Books read = 10
Magazines read = 19
Freebies received = 5 (Secret sample and Q, Kashi Q, Olay regenerist sample and Q, Honey Nut Cheerios sample and Q, and Garnier samples)
Exercised for 1181 minutes or roughly 20 hours this month. (This does not count the amount of time walking the dogs or moving at work.)
Our challenge for the month of October was to not eat out at any chain restaurants. This was very easy for us and we were successful.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I "competed" in a duathlon this morning. This was a reverse duathlon so the format was a 9 mile bike ride, a 3 mile run and then another 9 mile bike ride. My time was 1:22:02 and was good enough to finish 3rd overall in the female division. I finished first in my weight division.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Monday - Catfish and potatoes
Tuesday - Taquitos
Wednesday - Tortillini
Thursday - Breakfast (eggs, bacon and bagels)
Friday - Bison burgers and chips
Saturday - Sandwiches
Sunday - Spaghetti but this may change
Pumpkin - Cranberry Bread:
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c packed brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t ground ginger
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c milk
1/3 c shortening
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c dried cranberries
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, reserving one cup of flour.
Add in pumpkin, milk, eggs, and shortening and then mix together with a mixer. Once that is all incorporated add the additional cup of flour.
Add in the cranberries and then put in a slightly greased loaf pan.
James liked the bread. I modified the original recipe because I didn't have some of the ingredients (I posted the recipe I used). I think I would like to add some walnuts to this bread the next time I make it.
We also used the pumpkin seeds. I mixed some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together and then added the seeds. Baked them for 20 minutes at 350°, stirring several times during the baking. James really liked them although I think I overcooked them a little.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
First we washed the pumpkin and cut it in half. Then we cleaned out the inside of the pumpkin. Those are James' hands because I was quite disgusted by the smell. (Why can I dissect any animal, but a fruit or vegetable instantly makes me nauseous?)
When the pumpkins come out of the oven, let them cool a little bit and then scrape out the insides into a bowl. The picture above is what they looked like after I scraped out all the pulp.
Using either a food processor or a mixer, mix the pumpkin until it is pureed.
We got about 4 cups of pumpkin puree out of one pumpkin. I kept one bag out and froze the other three. From what I've read, pumpkin can't be canned at home, it has to be frozen. I currently have a pumpkin bread baking in the oven and I'll let you know how it goes after James tests it...you know I don't eat pumpkin!