Saturday, February 27, 2010


I have two coupons for free items and I can't find them anywhere. I need to find the DiGiorno's 200 calorie pizzas and the Double Stuf Oreo Cakesters. I hope I find them before the coupons expire.

Money out

This is one seriously scary picture. It makes me feel haunted. The good news is that both items only cost me a total of $0.75!! Free Q for Excedrin and $1 MQ for Wheaties.

We were also taken out to eat for lunch today which saved us $17.23. Then we went out for ice cream which was $5.82 and so worth it. I love Culver's!!!

Oatmeal waffles

I finally got some new plates that I have been searching for! I think food looks much better on white plates and I really wanted square ware!

The oatmeal waffles recipe is from the 1999 Taste of Home cookbook. I halved the recipe and changed it up a little bit. I got 2 waffles out of the batter.

Oatmeal waffles
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 T vinegar and skim milk)
1/2 T brown rice syrup (sub molasses if you don't have this)
1/2 T veg oil
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
In a large bowl, combine the egg and milk. Add oats and mix well. Stir in syrup and oil. add flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Use batter to make waffles according to the directions with your waffle maker.
These were okay waffles. I liked the texture of the oats in the waffle, but I like my waffles a little more dense. These were pretty light.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blogging excuse

I may not be blogging much in the next couple of days. I am wallowing in the depths of self-pity and depression.

As some of you know in Dec 2008 I had a big 20 mile trail run and ended up with Achilles Tendinitis. I have been recovering from that for over a year. A couple of months ago, I was really starting to feel good, and then I had a really bad ankle sprain. Now, on Monday night at boot camp, I hurt my knee. I don't know what I did. I felt a little twinge, but no pain and then when I woke up on Tuesday, walking was not a good thing. I'm really hoping that it heals up sooner rather than later.

I am just having a really hard time dealing with this. I feel like every time I make some progress in improving my physicality and athleticism, something like this happens.

I'm just really bummed and may be wallowing for a couple of days.

Slow-cooker Oriental Chicken

No picture today. I didn't eat dinner last night, but I did try a bite of this chicken. It was so moist and flavorful. James just ate it over some rice I had made. The recipe came from the 1999 Taste of Home Cookbook. I didn't have a whole chicken so I just used two chicken breasts.

Slow-cooker Oriental Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 c soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
2 T water
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t ground ginger

1. Mix all ingredients except the chicken together. Pour half in the bottom of the slow-cooker.
2. Put each piece of chicken into the slow-cooker and flip each piece to coat both sides. Pour the rest of the mixture over the top of the chicken.
3. Cook the chicken on high for 1 hour. Then cook for 4-5 hours on low.
4. Cut the chicken in bite-sized pieces and put back in the slow cooker for about 15 minutes. Serve topped over rice.

If you like vegetables, I think this would probably be great with broccoli or mixed vegetables.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We actually had snow!

It's not much, but we actually had snow here in central Texas today. Mary, Daisy, and Marshmallow spent more time looking at a squirrel in the tree than the snow.

They all thought they were getting fed so they were just standing in the snow on the deck waiting to go in.

And surprise, we actually got a good picture of Darla (and Marshmallow's rear)!

Casserole Soup

I took the reserved mixture from my Tater Tot Casserole and added carrots, potatoes, hot sauce, and chicken stock and came up with a really yummy soup. James and I really thought that this hit the spot last night, especially since we had just returned from a really cold boot camp.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We ate out one time last week to mess with the meal plan. I also changed around days because we had more LO than I expected. Here's what we are eating this week:

Monday - casserole soup and cheese toast

Tuesday - BBQ pork quesadilla

Wednesday - slow-cooked Oriental chicken (I am hopefully going to get to try this recipe this week)

Thursday - Oatmeal waffles

Friday - Chili chicken with cornmeal dumplings

Saturday - Grilled tuna and baked potatoes

Sunday - Pinto Bean Casserole

I haven't decided yet what desserts to try to make this week. We'll see what happens and what I feel like.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tater tot casserole

I'm sure everyone has their own recipe for a tater tot casserole, but I have never gotten around to making one. Shame on me since James loves tater tots. I essentially just threw some stuff together and came up with a really good casserole.

Kat's tater tot casserole:
1 pound ground beef
1 can hot chili beans with sauce
1 can Fiesta nacho cheese soup
Enough tater tots to cover the top

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. When cooked, drain off fat.
3. Add in the beans (with juice) and the soup. Fill half of the soup can with water and add that to the skillet. Stir all these together and cook for about 4 minutes.
4. Pour beef/bean/cheese mixture into a casserole dish. I reserved half of the mixture to make a soup later in the week and used a smaller casserole dish (I only feed two people).
5. Top with one layer of tater tots. Bake, uncovered, in oven for 20-25 minutes.

This was so yummy and had a lot of flavor. I can't wait to make a soup with the reserved mixture!

Baking day - Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies

I had a mini baking day today, including a new recipe. I made Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies, whole wheat English muffins, granola bars, and Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies. I also got a lot of housework done.

The PB Oatmeal cookies are based on a recipe I found in the 2007 Taste of Home 100 Best Cookies magazine. I changed a few things and came up with a pretty good cookie.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies:
1/2 c peanut butter
1/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 egg
1/2 egg replacement equivalent (not Egg-beaters, a powdered egg substitute that is mixed with water)
1 t vanilla
2 c quick-cooking oats
1/4 c chopped pecans
3/4 c chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix peanut butter and butter together until well blended. Add in sugars, baking powder, and baking soda; mix until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
3. Stir in oats, nuts, and chocolate chips.
4. Drop teaspoon sized mounds of dough onto a silpat lined cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each mound. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Next time I make these I will try to replace all the eggs instead of just half of one. Yummy!

** I thought I had posted the chocolate chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I can't find it on my blog. I look some more and if I can't find it I'll post the recipe. **

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ramos restaurant

James stated last night, "It feels like a Ramos night." That's code for "I want to go out for Mexican food." I didn't protest too much. OOP = $11.77

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


James has the stomach virus and requested some soup and gatorade. OOP = $4.07 My poor baby.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Warm & Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake - NOPE!

I got the recipe for this dessert from an app on my iTouch. I can't find where they got the recipe from, but I think it might be a Kraft recipe. I have to tell you I am not that impressed with this dessert. I don't know if it is because of the changes I had to make or just the recipe itself. It was not gooey.

I had to change the type of cake mix (I used German chocolate because I didn't have a plain chocolate cake mix), I only used 5 oz of cream cheese because that is what I had left, and I ended up using 5 eggs because one was really small.

I don't think I am going to keep this in my repertoire. They are okay, but not worth making again.

Warm & Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
1 pkg chocolate cake mix
1/2 c butter, melted
4 eggs
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1/2 c peanut butter
2 c powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Beat cake mix, butter and 2 eggs for two minutes. Spread onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.
3. Beat remaining ingredients until well blended; pour over batter in pan.
4. Bake 30 min or until edges are firm.
5. Cool slightly.
We did like these better in the morning after refrigerating the cake overnight.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We did okay last week although I didn't exactly follow the meal plan. This week might be challenging as well because boot camp starts up again.

Monday - Hamburgers (boot camp night)

Tuesday - Hot dogs (boot camp night)

Wednesday - pancakes and bacon (hoping to find a new recipe)

Thursday - slow-cooked oriental chicken (from last week - boot camp night)

Friday - Going to see a show

Saturday - tater tot casserole (from last week)

Sunday - baked tortellini and focaccia

dessert - Undecided for new recipe. I'm thinking I am going to try pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Quick trip

Needed some eggs and hot dog buns (no time to make them myself this week). Oh yeah, I also bought a Reese's Valentine's heart on sale. OOP = Zero ($3.44 on gift card)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Today is a no-calorie counting day and I wanted donuts. OOP = $2.45 They were good!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rebate added in

In December I used part of my grocery budget to purchase some Olay products. I received a rebate of $11.98 so I am going to add that in to our grocery budget for the year.

We also saved $10 because my bosses gave us LO food from a catering and it was about $10 worth. It ended up being enough for three meals for James!

Peanut butter pudding

Why did it take me so long to jump on the homemade pudding bandwagon? Oh my goodness, it is so much better than the box stuff! It definitely takes a little more time, but it is so easy to make. I see some pudding experiments in my future.

The recipe I used is from the 1999 Taste of Home cookbook. The only thing I would change is to decrease the amount of vanilla by about half. I thought the vanilla flavor competed with the peanut butter a little too much. I also made brownies for James to take to work so we put pudding on top of brownies...SO GOOD!

Peanut Butter Pudding:
1/3 c sugar
4-1/2 t cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1-1/2 c milk (I used skim, but it would probably be creamier with whole milk.)
1/2 c half and half
1/2 c peanut butter
1 t vanilla (I'll cut in half next time I make it.)

1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir (I used a whisk to prevent clumps) in milk and cream.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, cook and stir for 2 minutes.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter until smooth. Pour into a bowl or individual serving dishes. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a film and refrigerate for a couple of hours before eating.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lunch out

We had to run Marshmallow into town today for a follow up appointment. Because we were so near to my favorite ice cream spot, I felt compelled to stop for lunch. James wanted Smoothie King. Total OOP = $10.73.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Easy Cheesy Danish Cookies

I finally got around to making these cookies from Betty Crocker this morning. I usually like to do my baking on Mondays, but yesterday was crazy busy.

I changed the recipe a little by adding lemon extract to the filling, but I think it really improved the cookie. These are light on the inside and crunchy on the edges. They are nice mix of sweet and doughy. Most of all they are super easy and quick to make. I will definitely be making these again.
Danish Cookies

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 T granulate sugar
1 T milk
1/4 t lemon extract

2 c Bisquick
2 T granulate sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
2/3 c milk

3/4 c powdered sugar
1 T milk
1/4 t vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Mix the filling ingedients together and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, stir the Bisquick, sugar and butter together until slightly crumbly. Add in milk and combine until a loose dough forms. This is more like a thick batter than a stiff dough.
3. On a greased cookie sheet (I used silpat sheets) drop dough by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart. Using the back of a spoon, make a well in the center of each cookie. Fill each well with about a teaspoon of filling.
4. Bake 8 - 10 minutes (mine were perfect right at 8 minutes) so the cookies are golden brown.
5. Mix the glaze ingredients. Let the cookies cool slightly and top with the glaze.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm late getting this up today. Gym, errands and at the last minute I agreed to tutor someone in math.

Monday - Tuna steaks

Tuesday - Taco Casserole

Wednesday - Tilapia and rice

Thursday - Slow-cooked Oriental Chicken and rice

Friday - Tator tot casserole

Saturday - Greyla event - I'm going to gorge myself on sweets!

Sunday - Baked tortellini and foccacia

Desserts - Easy cheesy danish cookies and Peanut butter pudding (hopefully)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

FREE cookies!

I have had my eye on an old recipe of mine for Oreo muffins, but man those things are so expensive. Walgreen's came through for me this week. I had some other non-food items to purchase there and received a $3 RR plus the 4 oz boxes of Nabisco cookies are on sale for $0.99. Normally these are about $1.83, but with the sale, some MQ and the RR, I was able to "purchase" six boxes for FREE!

6 boxes of Nabisco cookies on sale for $0.99 each - 3 $1/2 MQ and $3 RR = -$0.06!!!

I bought a paper on the same transaction so the paper only cost me $1.94 instead of the $2. What a great day! I love the thrill of a good deal!

Granola waffles and butter pecan syrup

I finally got around to making these muffins after our meal plan has had some challenges. They are based on a Betty Crocker recipe, but I changed it up a little bit. The syrup came from something I saw on the food network, but I don't remember what show I was watching.

James said these tasted a little like pecan pie for breakfast. I thought the waffle was light and tasty. The cereal added a nice crunch to the texture of the waffle.

Granola waffles:
1 1/2 c Bisquick (or whatever brand - this is just what I have still)
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 T vanilla soy protein powder (you could leave this out)
1/2 c Kashi cereal (I didn't have any granola so I just crushed up some of this cereal)
2 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
3 T vanilla yogurt
3 T oil

Mix all ingredients together while preheating your waffle iron. Follow directions for your waffle iron to make yummy waffles.

Butter Pecan syrup (this is a half batch, if you have to feed more than two people double the recipe)
1 T butter
1/4 pecans (I kept mine whole, but you could chop them up.)
1/2 c syrup

In a saucepan melt butter over medium low heat. Add pecans and cook for several minutes. Do not let butter brown too much. Add the syrup and cook for about 2-3 more minutes and then remove the pan from the heat. The syrup will be thinner because of the addition of butter, but it will still be very tasty!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Trip into town

I try so hard to eat before we go into town, but lately I'm hungry all the time. Thus when we went into town for errands today, we ended up stopping at Jamba Juice. I at least talked myself into a smaller size. We also picked up some bacon and milk at CostCo and a bottle of Lemonade for Super Bowl Sunday. Total OOP = $22.79. Terrible I know.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My weak moment today

I have had a bad couple days. I needed chocolate today. James received a coupon online for BOGO for a Blizzard at Dairy Queen. That was my dinner and it tasted good. OOP = $3.45, saved $3.45.

Impossibly Easy BBQ Beef Pie

Third new recipe of the week was this Impossibly Easy BBQ Beef Pie from Betty Crocker. It seems like I live on the Betty Crocker website, but I really don't. I have the Betty Crocker app on my iPod touch and I peruse recipes all the time.

This was a very easy dinner. I could easily see adding in vegetables if you wanted to. Very flavorful and tasty.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More money out

** James decided he needed another splurge, not just a change in meals. He wanted to have guacamole so off to the store we went again. 2 Hass avocados = $1 OOP. **

I decided to change my menu plan because of the Super Bowl. I had originally planned for spaghetti, not realizing it was game day. I know James likes "bad" foods for special events. So, I am going to have frito pie with homemade chili. That meant I had to go get some corn chips. I have to admit that there are a few things that I do not like the generic brand version and corn chips is one of those. Thus I paid $1.98 for a bag of Fritos corn chips. I'm hoping we'll have enough left to make some frito candy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

Second new recipe of the week is Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes also from Betty Crocker. I was looking for another recipe to use up the LO sour cream I had from the HEB deal. As usual, I changed a couple things. I halved the recipe, decreased the amount of chocolate in the frosting, omitted the baking powder (accidentally), added soy protein powder and changed the baking temperature and time.

1 c flour
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 scoop vanilla soy protein powder (you could omit this)
1/4 and 1/8 c sour cream
1/8 c shortening
1/2 c water
1/2 and 1/8 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
1 egg
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled

Rich Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 T milk
3/4 t vanilla
1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled

1. Heat oven to 350°F (because I have a dark pan, I decreased the temp to 325°). Line 12 regular-size muffin cups with paper baking cups. In large bowl, beat all cupcake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.
2. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; place on cooling rack. Cool completely.

3. For the frosting, in medium bowl, stir together the melted chocolate and butter with a fork. Once incorporated, add in a cup of powdered sugar, then the milk and continue to stir with the fork. Add in final cup of powdered sugar and more milk if necessary. Spread frosting over cupcakes.

** I prefer making frosting with a fork compared to a mixer because I feel like I have better control of the consistency of the frosting. You could absolutely make the frosting with a mixer if that is your preference.**

James said these were the best cupcakes he had ever eaten. Really, that was his comment. They are very good and super moist!

White Chicken Chili

First new recipe of the week is white chicken chili from Betty Crocker. I only changed three things about the recipe so I am not going to retype it. First, I halved the recipe. . .it would have been too much for the two of us to eat. Second, I used homemade chicken stock instead of canned because that is what I had in my home. Third, I added several dashes of hot sauce. I also didn't add tomatoes or tortilla chips.

This was a very good soup. I'm not sure why it is called a "chili". I always think chilies are supposed to be really thick. This recipe gave us more of thin broth filled with yummy chicken and beans. We both really liked the flavor and texture of this soup and will definitely be eating it again.

Oh yeah, I didn't completely follow the directions. We can't really have much food out at a time because Marshmallow Man is going through his terrible twos. So instead of cooking the soup on the stove top I cooked it in the crockpot in a different room. Still very good!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

HEB trip

James and I hit HEB for 3 items that I wasn't able to get at Walmart. Total OOP = ZERO ($4.99 on giftcard).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Home-made bagels - WHAT?

I have wanted to try to make my own bagels for a really long time but have just never jumped on it. After finding this recipe on Tammy's Recipes blog and finally finding the time, I decided to give it a go. These were so EASY!!! They are not pretty, but they taste very good. Crunchy on the outside and spongy on the inside. I just made a batch of plain bagels but I would like to try to make a batch of cinnamon raisin for James next time.

I'm not going to retype the recipe because the only thing I changed was to add about a tablespoon of flax seed.

I hope you try these and love them as much as I do! BTW, they are very good toasted with peanut butter and jelly on them!

Walmart grocery trip

Let me preface by saying that I do not like shopping at Walmart. I disagree with all they do and am troubled by the fact that because they do have the lowest prices in my area that I am often forced to shop there. Today I faced my demons and hit Walmart for a few items. We still have a well-stocked pantry but I needed a few items for some new recipes I want to try. I didn't have any coupons for any of the items I bought because I could get the generic for less than a name brand with a coupon.

Total OOP = ZERO because of gift card (would have cost $16.29)

Menu Plan Monday

We had some blurbs last week, but we did pretty well. I had to rearrange some meals and sub some others, but they were all tasty!

Monday - Chicken wraps

Tuesday - White chicken chili (NEW)

Wednesday - Tilapia and rice pilaf

Thursday - Impossibly Easy BBQ beef pie (NEW)

Friday - Granola waffles and butter pecan syrup (NEW)

Saturday - LO

Sunday - Spaghetti

Dessert: Chocolate sour cream cupcakes (NEW)

January 2010 recap and February Challenges

January was a good month for us. We spent $41.40 from our $1200 challenge and saved $61.58.

Our January challenge was to only drink water or milk. I had an easy time of it because I love water. James had a much harder time, but he was successful! Proud of him.

Rebates received: $10 Kohl's and $5 SC Johnson

Freebies received: 8 - Free Yoplait smoothie, shampoo/conditioner samples (survey), free Digiorno pizza Q, dove shampoo/conditioner sample, Fuddrucker's $7 Q, free Marble Slab Q, and Being girl package

Books read: 7

Magazines read: 16

Exercise: 1165 minutes of exercise (a little over 19 hours of exercise)

I was baking a lot more in the month of January, so my reading went down.

We had some debate for the February challenge. We decided on two.

1) I am going to try at least two new recipes every week. They can be meals, bread, or desserts.

2) We are going to try to make it to the gym 3 times a week. We exercise a lot, but don't always go to the gym. We are going to improve on that this month.

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.