Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Goals

I fail at resolutions. . .it is just the way it is. Even calling them goals doesn't really help, but I'll try it. In order to help myself hopefully succeed, I've narrowed it down to one or two goals in each classification of goals.

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

Our 2010 Challenge

In addition to our monthly challenges we have decided to attempt a two-fold year long challenge. I've been reading Erin's blog about living on a $800 food budget for the entire year and have pondered if we could do it. We only have easy access to Walmart, HEB, and Walgreen's so there are no big deal stores like Kroger, Publix, etc. We also don't eat a lot of processed foods which is where a lot of the good deals and coupons apply. The other big snag, James was not going for $800 a year for all food related items. We eat out a lot even though neither one of us really wants to go out.

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 Meal Plan

As I suspected, we did not do well following the meal plan last week. This week should be better.

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

After Christmas shopping.

James and I did a quick trip to Walmart this morning for some sale shopping. I actually got more than this, but some of it will be used as surprises.

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

Non Menu Plan Monday

We are just not sure of our plans for this week. We are being very indecisive on what to do and where to go or if we are going anywhere. I know today is spaghetti and meatballs, but that's all I have right now. Hope everyone else has better luck.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's going on?

I'm hoping to blog more often soon. I've been sick so I haven't felt like writing. We have also been busy so I haven't tried any new recipes.

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

Menu Plan Monday

I am not feeling the holiday spirit. I am not feeling meal planning, but I have done it anyway.

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.

A little shopping yesterday

We were out running errands yesterday and stopped in to pick up baby wipes since Marshmallow has been messy lately. I decided to take advantage of the Olay rebate while I was at the store.

2 Olay Quench with free body wash - $5.99 each - 2 $3 MQ = $5.98
1 target baby wipes = $1.88
Total OOP w/ tax = $8.45
I will send in for the rebate and get $11.98 back!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A little crafty

I started to get ready to address Christmas cards when I noticed that I was short the number I needed. So I whipped up a few cards. I am really into blue Christmas cards for some reason. I also appreciate the simplistic look of cards instead of a "busy" look.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where do I sit?

I'm feeling better today so I wrapped some presents. When I finished, I grabbed a book and went into the living room to read only to discover there was no place for me to sit except the floor! My spoiled beasts had taken all the chairs and the couch.

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.

Fancy and Mary taking up the entire couch.

Marshmallow on a floor pillow, but he was cold so Mommy covered him with a blankie.

I know I'm totally biased, but my spoiled beasts are just adorable!!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I am still not feeling well, so blog posts may be few and far between until I feel better.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We did okay until the weekend when I got sick and didn't feel like cooking. We'll see how I do this week.

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

Overnight pancakes - no white sugar (No Picture)

I like to experiment with different types of sweetener as a substitute for white sugar. I've used brown rice syrup to make vegan cookies and different types of muffins. To me it has a little bit of a molasses taste, but not as strong. When using brown rice syrup I always use more than the amount of sugar indicated by a recipe and decrease the amount of liquid to compensate.

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
2 eggs
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.

Taco Corn Bread Squares

Sorry about the picture I just can't seem to get the hang of this lighting thing.

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:

Make a batch of corn bread batter of your choice or use 1 pkg of corn bread mix (8-1/2 oz), 1 egg and 1/3 c milk mixed together
2-1/2 c taco seasoned meat (mine had onions, jalapenos, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder)
1 can refried beans
1-1/2 c cheese of your choice (I used cheddar)
1. Pour corn bread batter into a 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
2. Combine taco meat and beans and gently spread over the top of the corn bread. I just used a tablespoon and spread drops of the mixture around. Top with cheese and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
** The original recipe mixes 1 c sour cream, the 1-1/2 c cheese, and 1/4 c chopped onion and then spread it over the taco meat. Then top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and what ever else you would like.**
These were awesome and had a good "taco" flavor. I think I would like them more as an appetizer or as a side to something than a main entree, but live and learn.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November Recap

We did really well in November.

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!

Blueberry syrup

In my on going quest to make sure James has a hot breakfast I tried something new today. I made this syrup (just threw it together) and put it on top of homemade waffles we had on the freezer.

Blueberry Syrup:
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

I love baked potato soup and have made it before using my own recipe. I had some LO steak so I decided to toss it in the soup. I have made this on the stove and eaten it right away or made it and kept it warm in the crockpot all day. Either way this soups tastes really good!

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!

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.