Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bizarro Duathlon - 3rd place overall finish

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

Mini Baking day

My in-laws are visiting for a couple of days so I whipped up some goodies for them.

I made carrot cake, pumpkin-cranberry bread, white chocolate cherry chunkies, and chocolate chip cookies.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Menu Plan

We have family visiting at the end of the week, so things may change.

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 and Pumpkin seeds

After making my first batch of pumpkin puree yesterday, I was very excited about trying to make something with it. Here's the result:

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
2 eggs
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.

Bake for 60 minutes at 350°. The bread is done when a wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire wrack. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely.

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

Pumpkin puree - the real deal!

Over the last couple of weeks I've read about people making pumpkin puree, not just using the stuff out of a can. Anyone who knows me, knows that I would rather make everything from scratch. We picked up a baking pumpkin, these are smaller than the carving pumpkins, yesterday and got to work today.

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?)

This is what the inside of both halves should look like.

Place the pumpkins cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. Most people who make their own pumpkin puree apparently use a pressure cooker. Since I don't have a pressure cooker, I had to use the oven to roast the pumpkins. Put the pan in a preheated 350° oven and bake for 1 hour. The pumpkins are done when a knife easily penetrates the pumpkin.

These are the pumpkin seeds after I cleaned off all the gunk. We are going to save some to try to plant next year and I'm researching recipes for making flavored pumpkin seeds.

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 know I don't eat pumpkin!
The pumpkin cost $1.99 and we spent about 30 minutes of our time working on it. It is probably less expensive to just buy the cans if you factor in the time cost, but to me it is worth it to have something natural in a food I'm giving James.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No pictures

We picked up a few things today while running errands. Extra lean ground beef was on sale for $1.77 a pound at Sprouts so we got a couple packages for $6.21. We also spent $9.40 at Central Market for some Challah bread (we'll get two breakfast meals of french toast out of that loaf), a baking pumpkin, two avocados, and some chocolate covered almonds.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another pic of Marshmallow Man

I can't help it . . . I just can't stop taking pictures of this beautiful boy! He's just so handsome!

No green thumb!

I do not have a green thumb. But I do love to grow things. . .I am just not successful at it with one exception. I can grow jalapenos. This is the third or fourth really good picking of our pepper plants. I washed and dried them and then froze them whole. I use them in homemade salsa, crockpot beans, macaroni and cheese, all kinds of mexican dishes and even when I roast a chicken.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Frugal flaws

Everyone who is frugal has at least one flaw. . .that is one thing that they will spend money on. For me that flaw is my dogs. I can't skimp on them. To that effect, I spent $12.97 on two small bags of training treats for my foster dog. If I had used my grocery budge to pay for those, it would have represented 16% of my monthly grocery budget. I am such a sucker!

Menu Plan

Okay, I am in a rut in regards to meals. I think I am just having a bad couple of days, but I'll try to get past it. As usual, we are trying to eat as "processed-free" as possible, but have a couple of busy nights ahead as well.

Monday - grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and homemade macaroni and cheese

Tuesday - pita pizza (use up LO pizza sauce)

Wednesday - breakfast for dinner, probably wheat pancakes and bacon

Thursday - Tilapia and potatoes

Friday - double decker tacos

Saturday - Tortellini alfredo

Sunday - fried catfish and potatoes

I am going to try to get better about posting the recipes that I make. The meals are usually pretty frugal and I'd love to share them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pedernales State Park Visit

We took a day trip to Pedernales State Park today. It was really nice here's a couple pictures of the day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ARRGGHH another trip

We have awful water where we live. It comes out brown and smells and tastes terrible. We have to purchase filtered water (although we are researching in home filters). We have boot camp tonight and no water and we didn't get to refill the big jugs so I had to buy some.

1 gallon water: 0.88
1 Smart water (just wanted to try it): 1.50
1 bag of dog treats (the beasties only have one type): 1.24
Celery: 1.36
Carrots: 1.88
3 lbs of onions: 1.68

OOP w/ tax: $7.64

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I had several white tank tops left from the last two summers as a lifeguard. They were sweat and sunblock stained, but I hate to waste things that can be reused or recycled. I tie-dyed them yesterday and as soon as I get some time I am going to sew the bottoms together. I'll have four bags that I can use at farmer's markets or for swimming.

Not bad for my first time trying to tie dye something.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quick trip

I had to return some items at the store and decided to use up some Q that were getting close to expiring.
1 Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal: $3.28 - Free Q = FREE (Thanks vocalpoint!)
2 boxes of Kashi GoLean cereal: on sale for $3 each - 2 $3 MQ = FREE (Thanks vocalpoint!)
1 box Kotex tampons: $2.83 - $0.75 MQ = $2.08

Total before sales and Q: 13.25
Total sales: 1.08
Total Q: 10.03
Total OOP: 2.08

Monday Meal Plan

We have boot camp two nights this week so there are a couple of easy quick meals in here. Plus, James took Friday off and a girl from work wanted to take my shift on Friday so we are going out to eat!!!

Monday: Crockpot chili that we will use to make frito pie (use up fritos)

Tuesday: Pizza (using pizza shells I froze the last time I made pizza dough)

Wednesday: Tamale pie (froze half a batch last time I made this)

Thursday: Crockpot chicken in a pita wrap

Friday: GOING OUT!!

Saturday: Chicken spaghetti (using chicken from Thursday and stock I'll make from the bones)

Sunday: Chicken chili or chicken enchiladas

We did really well last week and hopefully can do well again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Frito Candy = YUMMY!

I read about these candies awhile ago and they just stuck in my mind. I picked up the recipe from Here's the link. I did half the recipe which was a bad mistake because we LOVED this candy. It tastes a lot like a Take 5 candy bar. I also changed the recipe by adding more Peanut Butter cups than the recipe indicates. Sorry about the quality of the picture, but as you can see there isn't much left to work with!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pictures from the race

Here's me crossing the line:

Accepting the 1st place medal for finishing first in my age group. (I was the only one.)
Getting my first trophy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dr. Pepper Chocolate Cake

I had a bottle of generic Dr. Pepper that I got for free some time ago. Since we don't drink sodas I thought I would look up recipes using the soda. I found a recipe for Dr. Pepper Chocolate Cake. I wasn't sure about the recipe so I made a half batch and baked the cake in a 9x9 square pan. James really liked the cake, but I'm not sure about something. I will say it is one of the most moist cakes I have ever made. Since James likes it, I'll keep it in my repertoire.

Grocery visit

No big deals on this trip, but I needed a few things. That is Marshmallow man checking out the meat!
1 Diet Coke (for my parents): 1.49
1 pkg of unbleached flour: 2.42
1 pkg of brown rice: on clearance for 0.64
1 Rolo (for James): 0.50
1 pkg Nestle choc chips: on sale for 2.00- 0.50 MQ = 1.50
1 boxes Cocoa Krispies: normally 3.59 each on sale for 1.99, used Q for free item = ZERO
2 Ziploc baggies: 2.11 each, used BOGO Q = 2.11
1 Ziploc sandwich baggies: 1.77
2 Reese's PB cups: on sale for 0.50 each, used BOGO Q = 0.50
1 box Nature Valley granola bars: on sale for = 2.00 - 0.40 MQ = 1.60
2 cans refried beans: 1.28
2 cans tomato paste: 1.00
1 jar pickles: 1.09
1 can pinto beans: 0.56
1 can baked beans: 1.14
2 cans kidney beans: 1.38
2 cans crushed tomatoes: 1.38
2 cans diced tomatoes: 1.38
1/2 lb of tomatillos: 0.80
2 hatch chilies: 0.60
2 limes: 0.33
1 bunch of cilantro: 0.38
1 choc milk: 1.00
1 buttermilk: 0.99
1 pkg beef skirt steak: 3.17
1 bag of pretzels: 1.19
1 bag of corn chips: 2.00

Total before sales and Q: $43.88
Total sales: $4.19
Total Q: $7.49
Total OOP w/ tax: $32.73

I am also going to send in for the $5 SC Johnson rebate if you buy 3 participating products.

Menu Plan Monday

We did great this week sticking to our meal plan. I even managed to cook two breakfasts!

Monday - Grilled Philly Cheese Steak Sausage and chips and salsa

Tuesday - Tilapia and rice pilaf

Wednesday - Baked Rigatoni or Tortellini

Thursday - Fajitas

Friday - Bison burgers and beans

Saturday - LO

Sunday - Catfish and homemade potato fries

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A couple of stops at different stores

We went in to Austin today to get a few items and actually found some surprises.

Central Market
1 bag of Multi grain chips: on sale for $2.50
Chocolate covered almonds (didn't make it home to be pictured): $1.82
2 links of Philly cheese steak sausage: $3.09

Total OOP: $7.56

1 pkg of fig bars: $1.39
2 pkgs of ground bison (my new favorite): on sale for $4.99 a pound = $8.03

Total OOP: $9.42

Bastrop Producers Market (We are trying to buy local when we can and we decided to stop here. We were not that pleased with the selection or prices here. They do however have the best "regular" price for bison meat. Everything at this store is from something within 100 miles of the area and is all organic, no hormone, etc.)

2 squash: $3 (James misread the price)
1/2 lb baby portabella mushrooms: $2.50

Total OOP: $5.50

Total OOP for the day: $22.48

Toad Trot Race 2009

The Kiwanis Toad Trot was this morning. It is a 5K race that I've ran about 5 or 6 times. I finally won the female division today. It was really small and a lot of the local runners weren't there, but considering I'm still recovering from Achilles tendinitis, I'll take the win. My time was 26:12 (which is about a minute slower than my fastest time.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Quick trip

Quick trip to HEB last night.

2 whole chickens: on sale for $088/lb = $8.90
1 Gallon of milk = $2.59
1 Cherry juice = $1.99
1 Promise Land Chocolate milk = $1
1 6-pack of pineapple juice = $1.99
Total OOP = $16.50

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sept Rehash and October challenge

We did okay in September. We ate out a little too much, but not bad. We were successful in our endeavor to not purchase processed foods at the grocery store.

Grocery budget: Started with $80, spent $58.59 which left us with an additional $21.41 for October.

Books read: 7 (James would like to add that he actually read 2 books this month!!)

Magazines read: 14

Freebies received: 18 (numerous free birthday Qs and a ton of samples)

Exercise: 789 min of exercise in various forms. This is not so good for me but I'll get better.

We were trying to figure out what to do for our October challenge. We like to try to do something new in regards to food or budget every month. September's challenge was to not purchase processed foods. One month we only allotted $25 for groceries for the whole month. James came up with the challenge for October. We are going to try to not eat out at any national chain restaurants. No Red Robin, Taco Bell, Culver's, Chili's, Carino's, etc. We can eat at local chains but they can only be based in the central TX region. The exception to this is that we are allowed to eat ICE CREAM from any store since it doesn't qualify as a meal!!!!

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.