Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recipe of the Week - Lemon Glaze Lemon Bars with Blackberries

Hmmm, am I motivated enough to start a new feature on this blog....Recipe of the Week? We shall see. I tried this a while back on my regular blog but I never could keep up. For this blog's Recipe of the Week, I plan to either elaborate on a recipe I posted on Menu Plan Monday or offer up something new and different that I made but didn't post on Menu Plan Monday.
Last week when I made tons of cookies for Tom's lab, one of the things I decided to bake was Luscious Lemon Bars. I happened to have some leftover lemon drizzle from a box of lemon-poppy seed muffin mix (I made the muffins without the drizzle). I heated up the lemon bars in the microwave for a few seconds, drizzled a little lemon glaze on top, then added some blackberries, and drizzled a little bit more lemon glaze. Nom nom nom. A sweet snack with a tiny bit of healthiness!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I *heart* turkey leftovers! There are so many yummy things to make and I love that the meat is already cooked!

Sunday: Best Ever Turkey Noodle Soup
Monday: Chicken Casserole from an Amish cookbook Tom's mom gave me last year for Christmas (But with leftover turkey)
Tuesday: Crockpot Pizza Rice Casserole (from Fix it and Forget it), salad
Wednesday: Company Mac & Cheese, Garlic Cheddar Chicken, Sauteed Apples
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Dinner with The Drankas! Happy New Year!
Saturday: Stuffed Pork chops, Some sort of veggie mix, orzo

As always, be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie's site. Over 300 bloggers link up which means lots of new recipes and ideas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Weekly Savings - Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas!! We only did a little grocery shopping at the beginning of this week. Notice I said "We." Tom came with me to help carry everything on our trip to Aldi. It was supposed to only be a small trip but then I bought some extra items to make cookies for Tom's lab and then of course, we picked up some extra things as we were strolling down the aisles.
Spent: $43.77
We also swung by CVS because I had some ECB's that I needed to use up. I spent $1.60 OOP (out of pocket) which was basically all tax! Before tax my total came to $0.01!! And then I received $11.99 back in brand new ECB's! I think that's the best scenario I've ever done!

We also ran into Jewel real quick and spent $6.66 (yikes!) on sausage and some nose pad things to fix Tom's glasses.

Total for the week: $52.03 Not too bad!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

First of all, allow me to recommend the Hot Chicken Salad Sandwiches from last week. Yum! I heated everything in the microwave for time's sake and it was SO good! I imagine it would be better in the crock pot (if you have the time) because it allows the flavors to blend together a little longer, but it was amazing in the microwave alone.

Sunday: Spinach stuffed chicken
I'm kind of going to wing this one. I found the recipe in a magazine. Some spinach, some cheese....I'll let you know how it turns out :)

Monday: Cha-cha's White Chicken Chili, pineapple

Tuesday: Crock Pot Amazing meat loaf (from Fix it and Forget it), salad

Wednesday: Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Fiesta Surprise
I made up this last year with some leftovers I had on hand and it ended up being an instant favorite.

1 can rotel, 1/2 pound ground beef (cooked), 1-2 cups cooked rice, shredded fiesta cheese, broken up tortilla chips. Mix all ingredients, sprinkle cheese on top and put in oven for ~15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Christmas: Two hour Turkey (which always takes longer than 2 hours!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, asparagus

As always, be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie's site. Over 300 bloggers link up which means lots of new recipes and ideas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekly Savings

This week was crazy with me going back to work. I am kind of cheating on this post and am going to post my shopping trip from last Friday. 1 - Because I didn't go to a single store this week and 2 - I went shopping an additional time last Friday even though I already spent a lot because the deals were really good and I knew that would be my last big shopping trip for a while!

We keep getting flyers from a store that I've never heard of, Tony's Finer Foods, and everything always seems so cheap! So last Friday I decided to check it out. Total Spent: $34.76
Bought: 1 pizza, 6-pack Magic Hat, 4 gallons of milk, 1 eggplant, 2 cartons blackberries, 2 boxes waffles, 1 gallon apple cider, 1 margarine tub, frozen veggies, 4 small whole chickens

I lied - we stopped at Target one night on the way home to get creamer, vitamins, scrub sponges, and popcorn kernals (I only had coupons for the creamer and we missed a sale on the popcorn kernals by 2 days! I hate paying full price for vitamins!) Spent: $19.81
I don't really plan on doing a lot of shopping the next few weeks. We are stocked up on so much so the only things I see us buying our things like milk, eggs, bread and maybe the occasional super good deal. We'll see how that goes!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars

I had seen a couple of other bloggers post about this and came across it again in one of my magazines, so I decided to give it a whirl. I need to eat something in the morning before work but I am also extremely pressed for time in the morning so cooking or even heating something up is out of the question. (Yes, I need that extra 15 minutes of sleep. End of discussion).

So I thought homemade granola bars would be a good way to go. I can put whatever I want into it, make a big batch ahead of time, and just grab 1 or 2 on the way out the door in the morning. (The link wants you to sign in to Taste of Home's website, but if you don't click it anything, you can scroll up and down and still see the recipe). So good, so easy, and relatively healthy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I think I want to start posting more about food and recipes on this blog. Every time I post a "Menu Plan Monday" post I really want to elaborate more about some of my meals and/or post recipes for the meals that I don't have links to, but I never seem to have enough time. I'm going to try and post at least one recipe or "kitchen adventure" a week. Here is our plan for this week. I'm plenty stocked up on food so we should be good for a while!

Saturday: (this changed from last week so I wanted to include it): Butternut Squash soup, salad
Sunday: Crockpot Whole Chicken (I just seasoned the chicken with some paprika, butter, garlic cloves, salt & pepper, threw it in the crockpot with a little chicken broth, and let it cook for 7 hours), mashed potatoes, peas
Monday: Eggplant Parmesan
Tuesday: Hot chicken salad sandwiches (from Fix-It and Forget-It: 5-ingredient favorites with leftover chicken from Sunday)
2 Tbsp. onion, minced, 1 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1.5 cups shredded cooked chicken, 1/2 cup slivered almonds or pecans. Mix all in slow cooker on low for 2 hours or until heated through. For time's sake I might just mix this all in the microwave.
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Something with tortillas and leftover chicken...quesadillas or fajitas maybe?
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Dinner out

As always, be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie's site. Over 300 bloggers link up which means lots of new recipes and ideas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekly Savings

I should start calling this "Weekly Spending!" I went to A LOT of stores again this week, but there were a bunch of good deals on meat so I figured I better stock up! Also, once I start work next week I won't have as much time to run to 100 different stores to get all the best deals.
Here we go:
Dominick's Trip # 1 $16.05
I combined Frugal Tip Numbers 13 and 15 (Freeze perishables and Stock up!) I divided up the meat into 1-meal-portion-sizes in small ziplock bags, then put 6 bags in each large freezer bag to protect against freezer burn. I also used a pound for dinner on Sunday night, so $16.05 worth of meat will stretch into about 13 meals for us!
Jewel Trip #1 - $5.52
Nothing fancy about this trip, just a few things that were on sale.
Below is a combined picture of the 5 stores that I went to while participating in my own "Super Errand Monday." I wasn't really planning on going to this many stores (if any) but some Chicagoland Frugal Bloggers were posting about really good deals! I spent $36.06 (with tax). My favorite were the 12 Nestle Nutcracker chocolates I got from Walgreens...all I had to pay was tax! Don't tell Tom, because they are going to end up in his stocking for Christmas :) (They were on sale for 3/$1 and I had two $2/3 coupons from last Sunday's paper. I bought 12, they totaled $4, I used 2 coupons, and Voila! Free chocolate :)
Jewel Trip #2 $2.79 (Left)
Target $9.40 (Received $5 Target GC for next purchase) (Top Left)
Aldi $10.24 (Top Right)
Dominick's Trip #2 $13.21 (Bottom Center)
Walgreens $0.39 (Bottom Right)

Total: $57.63

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Hmmmm, what to make this week. This is my last week before I go back to work so I feel like I should take advantage of actually having time to cook and whip up some good meals. We'll see...

Sunday Hamburger Noodle Bake (It says you have to log in to see the recipe, but you can still see it by scrolling down, just leave the "log-in" box there)
Monday Chicken Cheddar Chowder, spinach salad, crusty bread
Tuesday Broccoli Quiche
Wednesday Salsa Chicken & Black Bean soup
Thursday A1 Mozzarella Burgers, peas, mashed potatoes
Friday Buffalo chicken pockets, salad
Saturday Leftovers

As always, be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday over at Org Junkie's site. Over 300 bloggers link up which means lots of new recipes and ideas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekly Savings

Ok, since my last confession, post, I feel the need to be completely honest and post all of my purchases for the week. Usually I just post the best deals of the week, and leave things like "Bought 3 gallons of milk at Aldi" out. I can't promise pictures for everything, but if you're anything like Tom, you skim the blog and just look at the pictures so I'll try to remember to snap a few when I get in the door. (Although once I start working again I really can't guarantee pics, because, who has time for that?! ;)

So, here we go!

Aldi Trip #1 - $11.70
Home Depot Trip #1 - $16.42
Jewel Trip #1 - $7.06
Jewel Trip #2 - $4.76
Target Trip #1 - $15.73
Walgreens - $5.37
Aldi Trip #2 - $14.64
Target Trip #2 - $9.55
Home Depot Trip #2 - $ 35.23
TOTAL: $120.46 (Under our budget of $150/week to spend on everything. But honestly, our budget has kind of been out the window lately with the move and me not having a paycheck!) And that's a lot more trips than we usually do, but it's easy to run around the corner to the store when you're not working!
This is Walgreens (on top/left) and Jewel Trip #2. At Walgreens I spent $5.37, saved $7.24, and received $2.99 back in RR to use the next time. The chicken was on sale for $0.78/lb at Jewel. I plan to use it for one of our favorite's....Beer Can Chicken.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I need an Intervention

Ugh, I am addicted to bargain shopping!! I suppose it's not the worst thing to be addicted to, I mean, we get a TON of stuff for super cheap (or free).

So what's the problem?

I am always spending money! Today I went to three stores and dropped $25 like nothing! (I did get some good deals, and it was mostly stuff we needed...2 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner, an 8 pack of soap, a shirt ($5), painting materials, creamer, butter, and a 6 pound chicken.

I do usually stick to our weekly budget, and rarely go over, but I'm thinking I might want to try the beloved "Envelope Method" and just use the cash. When it's gone, it's gone.

Part of this revelation is coming from me being out of work for 7 weeks, and part of it is from us really wanting to buy a house in the next year and me feeling strongly about putting 20% down. I think I'm going start the cash only system in January, once I start getting regular paychecks and we can get back in our budget groove. Until then, I'm going to carefully consider every purchase and assess whether it's a "necessity" or not. (BTW, my favorite champagne that happens to be on sale for $4.49 at Jewel now through January 3rd is most definitely a necessity ;)