Saturday, September 20, 2014

Frugal Activities #30 - Very Off Week

I like doing this post every week as I think it keeps me more accountable and makes me thing twice about some things ...

This past week was just off. I've had feelings of discontentment (not to be mistaken for depression, by any means!) ... most likely because Mother Nature decided to come visit after being MIA for a little while ... I mean, come ON already, I'm done with this!  So yes, I've been crabby, and when I'm crabby, I shop. Oddly enough, I shop for FOOD so I don't know what to make of that ...

So ... lets see what we kind of Frugal Activities we did this past week and then move on to the next category ...

1.  Prepared and ate 19 of the 21 meals at home. Well, sort of. I did NOT cook one dinner this week. Yeah, I know. I did Menu Plan but just never put anything in to play ... we ate leftovers and junk all week long.  I did make my salads every day and my breakfast so that counts for something, doesn't it?

2.  Slowly making my way through the pantry. See Pantry Inventory page (above) for the progress. Still have the bottom half to do. The freezers have not been touched.

3.  Picked up some boneless chicken thighs at Fresh Market for $2.99 per pound. Using this method, I packaged each individually and stuck in the freezer. I most likely will buy more as they were pretty fresh and clean (not a lot of fatty stuff and cut neat).

4.  Tonight (Saturday) is a girls night out for Chatty's birthday. I will take her to Greek Islands first for a yummy greek salad and a drink (most likely water for me) and hopefully spend under $30 and then walk across the street to bar hop 4 bars. Fingers crossed the rain stays away as I promised Hubby I would not bring all the girls back to the house. I have cash in my pocket and when it's gone, it's gone.  Sadly, one of the girls that is coming along is not "fair" or "generous" and does not contribute to a bar tab the way I feel she should. No, it's not because she doesn't have the $ but just because she's cheap (not to be mistaken for Frugal). If drinks are $5 each and she has 3, she will only give $15 and let someone else pick up for the birthday girl and tip. That sort of irritates me so I think I will just pay cash for each round I get.

Surely there is something MORE that I did to be Frugal this week ... but apparently not (and well, I warned you I was crabby) ...

And then, of course, full disclosure of our NOT so Frugal Activities:

1.  Lunch out on Friday ... well, it was ordered in. New York Grilled Cheese ... delicious. $10 out of my wallet.

2.  My company shelled out $500.00 to the IT guy to buy more bitcoins to unlock my computer files. Yup, got myself a NASTY VIRUS and I still say it came from Pinterest ... spent 5 minutes (first time in weeks at work) and shortly thereafter, all my documents had the google chrome emblem instead of the usual "W" for Word or "E" for Excel. I called the IT guys immediately and they were able to shut down the network before it took over the WHOLE network. It did encrypt some but luckily not more. Thankfully, the scammers have sort of good business practice in that they deliver what they promise after you pay your pretty bitcoins. Uggg. I've already resigned myself to most likely paying for this as it's stupid on my part and personal browsing. Although my IT guy said it most likely came from something OTHER than Pinterest, I still suspect it did. Just be careful out there folks.

3. Winn Dixie on Sunday for $40. Publix on Tuesday for $50. Fresh Market on Thursday for $30. And Whole Foods Saturday for $80. Yup.

4.  Pedicure and Manicure. Why yes, I do want the Deluxe Treatment. $70 with tip.

5.  Eyebrow and lip wax. Not sure WHY it cost $28 this time. Last time (4 weeks ago) it was $20. Maybe because I misunderstood when my appointment was and they penalized me??

6.  Forked out $305 for TWO tickets to see John Mellencamp at Broward Performing Arts Center on March 17, 2015. It's a big day for us (Hubby Celebration of Life) AND it's his favorite performer. I believe the money will be well worth it in the end just because. We got some great seats, Opera Balcony Box A. Sweet!

7.  Pizza on Friday night because of Hubby. HE was feeling discontent. ;-) Spent $49 and still have tons leftover (had some for lunch today) ... way too expensive, especially when I have pizza dough and stuff in freezer!

That's all I can come up with. I think it's more than enough, don't you?

Looking forward to sharing over at Money Propeller and The Prudent Homemaker ... go check them out!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ranch Style Pork Chops in the Crock Pot


I make this quite a bit with thick cut boneless pork chops ... it's tasty and super easy to make ... and you know me, I like EASY and TASTY!



Those items above? That's all you need in addition to the pork chops.  Seriously.

One packet of ranch dressing
One can of cream of chicken soup
1 tsp fresh garlic chopped
black pepper



You are chopping your garlic in mass quantities, right?


I mean really. All you do is spray the crockpot with spray, toss in the chops. Mix up the balance of ingredients in small bowl and spread over the chops.

Go ahead and toss in any chopped onions you see in the fridge ...


Put a lid on the crockpot and make yet another mental note to find a new handle to replace the broken one ...



Set the timer to low as long as it goes. In my case, it was 10 hours, which, sorry, it was NOT going to cook THAT long ...



Come home and marvel at the fact that a mere 10 to 15 minutes that morning created THIS ... a meal worthy of cloth napkins and fine china ... 

Yes, really. It's pretty damn good! Go ahead and give it a shot! (PS ... no, there was NO green stuff on my plate, or Hubby's either ... I took a small break from forcing veggies on myself!)

NOTE: Are some of you scratching you head thinking this looks vaguely familiar? Yes, it does resemble another popular recipe of mine ... you CAN interchange the pork chops with the chicken. I honestly prefer the chops as they seem to hold up a little better after a long day in the crock pot!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these great parties ... make sure you check them out! Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and SpiceWake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWhat I Whipped UpWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic Superhero, All Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday ObsessionsFrugal Food ThursdayShowcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayFoodie FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFood on FridayFreakin Did It FridayFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseFoodie Friends FridayFun Friday blog hopFriday FavoritesTGIF BLOG HOPWeekend RetreatWhat’s ShakinWeekend WondersWeekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything GoesDwell on FridaysFriday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie FridayTGI Friday Friday with Friends, Simple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend WanderWeekly RoundupFeature Yourself SaturdayThe Party BunchI Gotta CreateShow and Tell SaturdayShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff SaturdaySaturday Show & TellSuper Saturday Show & TellSay G'day SaturdayNot Bad SundayPotluck PartySunday ShowcaseSavory SundaySundae ScoopSuper SundayMop It Up MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth MondayPin It PartyDinner Time RecipesShow Me What You GotMade By You MondayHunk of Meat MondaySweet Sharing MondayWhat’d You Do This WeekendMarvelous MessMaking It CuterMotivated MondayTime To SparkleMealtime MondayTime To Sparkle, Makin You Crave MondayClever ChickCreative Corner Blog HopMake Your Own MondayMix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayLou Lou GirlsInspire Me MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie FriendsShare Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination TuesdaysKitchen Tip Tuesdays 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 90 Menu Plan - Using What We Have

It's that time of the week again where everyone on blogsphere links up with Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday ... I love clicking through the links to see what other folks are planning ... great ideas come about this way!

The gym plan is sort of working for me. If I could only get the work plan to work a little more efficiently. I missed TWO classes last week due to work and of course, that made me even more crabby than just having a crabby day at the office. I am starting to realize that I'm getting burned out and that's just not good. So. I need to change my attitude, and quick!  But that's for another time, another post ...

I am really wanting to get the pantry inventoried, and THEN the freezers ... there were some great deals on some canned items this past week, but I just didn't know what the status was of same at home so I opted NOT to buy ... which now I wish I HAD. Uggg. Being unorganized does NOT go hand in hand with being frugal, you know? So that's my goal this week, gym 2 times this week and pantry cleaning 2 nights. Lets see how things go ...

Here's what I'm looking forward to making and eating!

Sunday - It was just me and Hubby and we were drinking these lovely peach bourbon cocktails and enjoying the pool :-) So we opted to use the rotisserie on the grill and make some Mojo Wings ... nothing better than floating in the pool at night and eating wings on a raft. Seriously. :-)  We also cooked up about 8 bone in chicken thighs for the week ... fed 2. (them wings were really really tasty and I'm so glad I got a big bag of wings in the freezer to make this every weekend we are in the pool at night!)

Monday - leftovers ... we have crock pot italian beef (from Friday), bbq chicken thighs (from Sunday) and then the usual stuff that floats around in the fridge ;-) feeding 3

Tuesday - I've got the gym at 7pm (yikes!) and will be home by 8:30 ... I'd like to have everything ready to make Black Bean Tacos with a corn salsa on the side (this is already made) since neither was made last week ;-) ... all ingredients in pantry and fridge. Feeding 3.



Wednesday - Thinking of rice bowls, Chipotle style ... I really liked that place ;-)  I have rice and beans in the pantry, beef and chicken in the freezer and whatever else is needed (salsa and cheese in fridge, 1 avocado if someone wanted to make guac?) and I probably have all the seasoning. Feeding 6

Thursday - gym night ... Ranchy Chicken in the Crockpot with mashed taters on side. Chicken in freezer, balance of ingredients in pantry/fridge AND the mashed taters are premade in the fridge although probably NOT enough for all 5/6 of us.



Friday/Saturday - at this time, I have NO clue if I'm going out this night or Saturday for a girls night out (birthday girl) ... so ... tonight and tomorrow could be Feed Yourself Nights ... and the other night will be Hubbys choice, just to make my life a little easier! I'd like for Hubby to feed us all, but not so sure he's going to be receptive as he just wants to put us in a cab and get us out of the house. Not a fan of 50 year old woman partying like they are 21 ;-)

What are YOU making this week?

Meatless Taco Tuesday



Sometimes when I get home late from work, all I want to do is scrounge up a bag of chips and make a plate of nachos ... although, we all know that is NOT the smartest move ... 


And then, when I'm running behind schedule, or just plain tired after leaving the office to go straight to the gym and then home to make dinner, I have a tendency to NOT follow the recipe, but usually, things turn out right, just depends on what you expectations may be at that very moment!

Either way, these were good, and it was an excellent way to use up the bag of coleslaw I had hanging around in the fridge ... 


Ready to find out what you need and how to do it?

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 tsp cumin 
1 bag of coleslaw mix
1 lime
2 tsp olive oil
2 wedges Laughing Cow Queso and chipolte
8 corn tortillas
cilantro, finely chopped, optional


Empty the beans into a small bowl and add the cumin. Lightly mash beans and set aside.

In another bowl, add lime and oil, lightly mix. Dump the bag of coleslaw and toss (with clean hands) to coat. Set aside.



Take a griddle and place over medium heat. Add a little oil and let heat up.

In the meantime, spread each of the 8 tortillas with a 1/4 of the wedge of cheese. Add tortilla to griddle (cheese side UP) and add about a 1/4 cup on bean mix.


Fold over in half and allow to cook til one side is golden brown, flip and continue til golden brown.

Remove to board while you fix the rest.

When ready to serve, open each up gently and toss in a generous amount of coleslaw mix. Garnish with cilantro if using and serve up.




Princess came in and was like "yummm...what are those!?" even though she had just eaten! She ate 2 ... Hubby ate 4 I ate 2 ... I seriously don't think Hubby missed his usual protein, MEAT and they were pretty filling!



ENJOY!


Looking forward to linking up with some great blog hops ... make sure you check them out! Show Me What Ya GotWhat's Cooking WednesdayIts a Party!Works For Me WednesdaySugar and SpiceWake Up WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayWednesday WhatsitsReal FunWhat I Whipped UpWork It WednesdayLovely Ladies, Weekly CreativeDomestic Superhero, All Things ThursdayThe Weekly CreativeTasty ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayCreate It ThursdayFabulously Frugal ThursdayCrafty Thursday ObsessionsFrugal Food ThursdayShowcase Your TalentThink Tank ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayFoodie FridayGet Real Frugal FridayFrugal FridaysFood on FridayFreakin Did It FridayFeature FridayThe Pin JunkieFreedom FridayFriday FavoriteFoodie Friday, A peek into my paradiseFoodie Friends FridayFun Friday blog hopFriday FavoritesTGIF BLOG HOPWeekend RetreatWhat’s ShakinWeekend WondersWeekend PotluckGet Him Feed Anything GoesDwell on FridaysFriday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link PartyFoodie FridayTGI Friday Friday with Friends, Simple Living Foodie FridayInspirationsWeekend WanderWeekly RoundupFeature Yourself SaturdayThe Party BunchI Gotta CreateShow and Tell Saturday, Saturday Night FeverShow Off WeekendShow Stopper SaturdaySweet and SavoryThe Weekend CreativeWeekend PotluckWill Cook For SmilesStrut Your Stuff SaturdaySaturday Show & TellSuper Saturday Show & TellSay G'day SaturdayNot Bad SundayPotluck PartySunday ShowcaseSavory SundaySundae ScoopSuper SundayMop It Up MondayCreative MondayThe ScoopMelt In Your Mouth MondayPin It PartyDinner Time RecipesShow Me What You GotMade By You MondayHunk of Meat MondaySweet Sharing MondayWhat’d You Do This WeekendMarvelous MessMaking It CuterMotivated MondayTime To SparkleMealtime MondayTime To Sparkle, Makin You Crave MondayClever ChickCreative Corner Blog HopMake Your Own MondayMix it Up Monday,  Save Money MondayLou Lou GirlsInspire Me MondayIn and Out of the Kitchen, MemoriesTasty TuesdaysTuesdays At Our HomeHow To TuesdayHandmade TuesdayMaking a HomeShow Me The GoodsTotally Tasty TuesdayAll My Bloggie FriendsShare Your Stuff TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowFat TuesdayPenny Pinching PartyThe Gathering SpotAnti-Procrastination TuesdaysKitchen Tip Tuesdays 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Frugal Activities #29

I really like doing this post weekly, it keeps me accountable and does make me think twice about some things!

So, it's been another busy week but I'm really trying to stay focused at the end of the day. Some are easier than others, let me just say!

The days that I do the gym, I have absolutely NO ambition or hunger ... the days I come straight home, it's more like, oh, it was a crappy/busy/s*itty day, lets go out to dinner, lets go have a cocktail ... but luckily, my kids are starting to come around and say "mom, no, lets make this" only because they don't want to be out til 9pm on a work/school night ... I guess maybe I DID raise them right afterall? :-)

1. Held out til Tuesday night to hit up the grocery store ... went to Aldis, which "should" have been cheap ... spent $88 for a bunch of stuff! Beans, chilies, m&ms (I'm making my own trail mix from here on out, the Kirkland gypped us out of the m&ms last bag, we are convinced!)

2.  Paid the rest of the bills online that were due. I didn't have everything last week. Cable and water, paid. Also tossed in $250 towards the mortgage payment. Need to watch the next statement they mail to make sure it's not sitting there "unapplied". Really, Greentree? If someone sends an oddball payment outside the monthly payment YOU take automatically, you have it just sitting there as "unapplied"? It's not like there is additional money being due! Dopes! Don't forget, Hubby also put the $6900 from the Tahoe towards the principal.

3.  Really tried hard to stick with the menu plan. Success in that breakfast and lunches were all from home for me. Hubby, not so much, but he's got an expense account, lucky dog.

4.  Hubby and I opted to have pool night one night during the week instead of doing our usual bail out after a long day and go to the little local pub we like to go to. Instead, I cooked chicken on the grill, LOW, while we hung out in the pool and a had a few couple several drinks. It was nice and a heck of a lot cheaper in the end. I was smart enough to turn on the rice cooker and steam a bag of frozen broccoli in the rice cooker while we floated. Princess said the chicken was really good too, so that's a good thing, right?

5.  Went with Hubby to return 3 dress shirts that didn't fit him all that great. They were on sale when we bought them for $19 each, he was going to exchange them but couldn't find the size he needed so we just got a refund instead. We talked about getting something to eat while we were out, and then agreed, nah, lets just go home and eat some leftovers (chicken, ribs, burgers, etc.). We had a nice chat on the drive there and back, a perfect wind down to another hectic day.

6.  Had to have my dad to the VA by 8:30am on Friday, which meant I had to have him in the car by 8, that means no breakfast for him at his place. INSTEAD of being coerced into going out for breakfast afterwards, I made him an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich on 12 grain bread. I remembered to slather it with mayo so he wouldn't complain about it being dry. I apparently did NOT use enough mayo (??!!) but saved myself a minimum of $15 by making that for him. I've come to the conclusion that he will always nicely criticize any and all food ;-)

And of course, full disclosure for some of our not so Frugal Activities:

1.  Last Saturday, after I posted Week 28, we went to a little Italian joint we like, Umberto's of Long Island ... they raised their prices, A LOT since the last time we were there. Should have been the end after that $90 tab (after tip), but NO, Hubby wanted to go the local bar that we like as they have a Rat Rods and Classic Muscle cars on Saturday night. It's called 4:30 Boardroom Bar. I can't find a website for them, only facebook. Doesn't say much. Can I just tell you, it's usually a great place to meet people OUTSIDE my normal day to day interactions ... I love the place and Hubby loves the guys that run it so yeah, we agreed to ONE drink, $20 after 2 drinks, tip and a bucket toss for the band (don't forget the musicians!) ... date night = $110.00 but we were home by midnight. And again, we skipped right past Bokampers.

2.  I had a bit of food waste this past weekend ... the guest kitchen freezer had a few small zucchini's that I completely forgot about and some turkey lunch meat that was in the very bottom of the drawer. Uggg. This is exactly WHY I need to take more time when I come home from Costco to put the groceries away in a neat and orderly way instead of cramming stuff in every little nook and cranny ;-(

3.  Hired a house cleaner for every other week. First cleaning will be $200. She quoted me at $150 the first time and I said, no, I'll give you $250 if you get a 3rd person to help you so you won't be here for 7 hours. Sold.  Every other week will cost me $120 (divided by 4 people is $30 or $15 a week). So. Is this really NOT SO FRUGAL? Well, no, it's not Frugal, but to me, it's a choice that I make to spend my money on ... only because I will have more time to do the things that are IMPORTANT to me (like cooking, organizing the freezers/pantry/fridge, etc.) ... we like a clean house but I dread the 4+ hours it can take me on a weekend to do it. Not to mention, my feet kill me come that evening.  Plus, as busy as I've been at work, and then going to the gym, the last thing I want to do is clean house! And yes, a CLEAN HOUSE is a very big priority for both Hubby and I, and well worth the total of $240 a month that it will cost the household.  THE HOUSE IS SO CLEAN!

4.  Stopped at Publix on Friday night to pick up "beer". Umm, $65 later for mayo, corn, bananas, cheese, Gatorade, rotel, cabbage, etc. Really. Geesh.  Thankfully I had a few coupons on hand to toss towards the total ($5 off $30, $1 off 2 mayo and $1 off 2 Gatorade). Rule #1, no list in hand, don't go in store!

Looking forward to sharing over at Money Propeller and The Prudent Homemaker ... go check them out!