Tuesday, December 29, 2009

January Eat From the Pantry Challenge

So I'm going to take a stab at the pantry challenge for January. We've actually been eating mainly from the pantry and freezer for all of December, so I don't have much of a stockpile, but I do really want to work through what we have and also put together a donation for a local food pantry.

My goals:
  • Keep grocery spending under $25 a week for the month of January. This will be mostly produce and dairy.
  • Clean out the freezer in preparation for defrosting and a thorough cleaning at the end of the month.
  • Work through pantry to avoid having food expire.
  • Inventory freezer, fridge, cupboards.
  • Gather and deliver food pantry donation.
  • Grocery budget money will go towards supplies for the garden. I want to add another raised bed and we also need to purchase another truckload of mulch/compost as well as plants and seeds.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

24 Days of December

Check out my scrapping blog for lots of tutorials, gift ideas, and recipes leading up to Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Baking Day - Cookies

I'm planning on using this month's OAMC day to do most of my holiday baking. I'll also be trying to find the time to make some tutorials, create gift tags, and get gifts shipped out.

So here's what I'm planning on:

Cranberry Pecan Biscotti
Lemon Meltaways
Pecan Tarts
Ginger Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
Carmello Candy
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies*
Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies*
Homemade Bread

*from pre-made dough

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Craftday - Part One

Not feeling great, so not getting much of my to-do list done for craft day, but here's what I did the first day.

Finished off these kusudama origami ornaments for my etsy shop (all the folding was done already):

Made these altered letters for a gift exchange:

And put together a banner that I don't have pictured yet.

Then, in the middle of the night, dealing with insomnia, I did all the folding for another kusudama. Hoping to get it done tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Indian-Spiced Turkey Burgers

Those of you who know me know, that while I love to cook, I don't buy cook books. Most recipes I can find online for free. But a while back, I did purchase a copy of Anjum Anand's "Indian Food Made Easy" because I really wanted to learn to cook the Indian food that we enjoy so much when we go out to eat. Everything I've made from the book has been delicious and enjoyed by all of us (as long as I make milder versions of the spicy dishes for Autumn).

I adapted her Chicken Burger recipe from the book to make turkey burgers for lunch today and they turned out soooooo yummy. I'd love to try the original recipe as it's written in the book, but adapted it to use what I had on hand in the house. Here's my version from today (oh, and this made about 13 burgers, 10 of which I'm sticking in the freezer for quick lunches):

2 lbs ground turkey
1 1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 small onion minced
2-3 large garlic cloves minced
handful of fresh parsley leaves and stalks finely chopped
2 heaping teaspoons salt
1 1/2 t garam masala (common Indian spice combination - you can find this one in the grocery store)
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 t ground cumin
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 - 1 t ground red pepper
2 T EVOO, plus extra for oiling pan

Pre-heat oven to 400. Mix all ingredients together with your hands until well-combined. Shape into patties and place on an oiled pan. Cook for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve on toasted buns with tomato, lettuce, onion and (herbed) mayo.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Baking Day" Part Four

Wednesday afternoon after grocery shopping, I came home and started browning ground chuck for the pasta sauce in the crock pot. Made sauce with lots of fresh herbs from the garden, then added it all together with spinach to simmer in the crock pot.

Baked two loaves of oatmeal bread and two more batches of muffins for the freezer. (not pictured)

Cooked pasta and assembled baked ziti with lots of cheese and popped them in the oven. Made four-six meals worth of baked ziti. Some below.

Mixed up four batches of pizza dough, freezing three and making BBQ chicken pizza for dinner.

Baked a couple dozen pecan tarts, but the rest will have to be for tomorrow. I'm just too tired! I'm hoping to put together a complete list and how much I spent, but again, just too tired.

"Baking Day" Part Three

Wednesday morning it was great to start with a clean kitchen after cleaning up the night before. Started out by packaging up and freezing five meals worth of black bean soup that had cooked in the crockpot all night! (No picture)

Then I mixed up oatmeal bread dough and set it out to rise.

Mixed up five batches of blueberry waffles and ate some for breakfast and froze enough for five more breakfasts.

Rolling out and shaping bread for baking.

Processed the rest of the garden tomatoes that I had had sitting on the counter to make the beginning of pasta sauce and off to storytime @ the library and the grocery store.

"Baking Day" Part Two

Tuesday evening I started out by removing the bones and shredding all the chicken and adding seasoning to taste. Looks nasty, I know, but it really isn't. Enough for four meals for the freezer, with some left over for dinner Wednesday.

Sauteing sweet potatoes and onions for black bean soup.

Then it was time to chop up the precooked bacon, dice up leftover steamed veggies, and mix up the egg/milk/cheese for quiche.

I had pillsbury pie crusts from a freebie deal this week, so I guess I cheated a bit. :-) Here are the crusts with veggies and bacon layered in them.

And one of them finished. I made four, three for the freezer and one for dinner (and lunch Thursday from the leftovers).

Got everything in the freezer and mixed up a batch of pecan tart dough.

Also put all the black bean soup ingredients in the crock pot to cook overnight - smells good!!!

Oh, and made two experimental batches of muffins, trying to make my own recipe...

"Baking Day" Part One

I joined in moneysavingmom's Bakingday on twitter over the last couple days. Too exhausted at the moment to clean up the mess from today, so I'm blogging some of what I got done.

Tuesday morning I started out by soaking black beans, pre-cooking bacon in the oven, and starting a whole crockpot full of BBQ split chicken breasts, before making lunch and heading to home-school co-op for the afternoon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rain Rain

We've been getting a lot of rain lately. It's too cold now, but a couple weeks ago, it was perfect for playing in. And Autumn loved it. Catching raindrops on her tongue.

Standing under the drain spout to get SUPER wet.

Peeking around the corner.

Using an old broom and puddles to "paint" the floor of the carport.

The artist at work.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Starting School

We got a little bit of a start on school today...at the dentist's office. :-) We did a little reading lesson review and art appreciation in the waiting room while Matt was having some work done.

And tomorrow is our first day of co-op! Autumn is really excited about "going to school", but bummed that she doesn't get to ride on a school bus.

I've always been a big believer in not starting school this early, but Autumn is obviously ready. She asks for reading lessons frequently and is always asking me how to spell things and write letters, so it seems that we're starting school.

So far, this is what I'm planning on doing this year...

Unit Studies - "Teach Me Mommy" (nature, rhymes, songs, activities, read-aloud time, etc.)
Reading/Writing - "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons" (part of this will be review)
Art Appreciation - the "Come Look With Me" series
Bible - probably will just be doing "The Bible Story" series a little every day
Math - "Math Play" and some basic workbooks/activity sheets to help recognize and write numbers

Homeschool Co-op once a week (Playtime, Science, Storytime, Arts and Crafts)
Storytime/Computer at the library once a week

Friday, August 07, 2009

Family Favorite Sweet Zucchini Recipes

Okay, granted, not exactly healthy, but these are super yummy!

Basic Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar (i use less)
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup nuts (i use more)

Beat eggs and add in sugar, vanilla, oil, and zucchini. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Bake in two greased loaf pans or muffin tins at 325-350 for about an hour (less for muffins).

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 T vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
nuts (i use a lot)

Follow directions for zucchini bread, but pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 350 until done, center will bounce back when touched.

Remove from pan and cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or a powdered sugar glaze.

Monday, July 13, 2009

First Cleaning

No Cavities! :-)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crazy Kroger Shopping

Okay, don't ask me how I did it because this one was complex involving the mega-deal overlapping with a catalina deal ending today and TONS of coupons. Oh, and three transactions.

Total Saved: $84.56
Total Spent after cats, etc: $3.38 (and I even included taxes!)

15 bags Kraft cheese
4 boxes mini wheats
3 bottles A1 sauce
4 bags chex mix
1 box special K bars
2 bottles Sobe (one pictured, we drank the other one)
1 bag Quaker snacks

Friday Shopping

So Friday I really made the rounds, but only got a picture of the Publix stuff.

Spent $10
Saved $61

-4 half-gallons of milk
- 3 kashi waffles
- 4 peanut butter
-8 smart balance
-1 pack cinammon sticks
-1 pack dentyne (not shown)
- 2 huggies bath products
- 5 packages of kids yogurt

Spent $4
Saved $17

-8 tubs of starbucks ice cream
-1 box of hefty bags

I don't have receipt info, but basically spent $8 for about 12 pounds of chicken breast and some apples.

-headband ($1 moneymaker)

-lots of free after ECBS febreeze products

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Shopping Trip Wednesday


Okay, so this totally looks like an ad for Smart Balance, but they had some really good coupons out for freebies, so I bought the spread at a discount price and will pass along to family members and friends who use it. We're butter only people. But I'm excited to try the peanut butter, popcorn, and the milk.

Spent: $12.62 after tax
Saved: $49.52

4 large tubs of SB
8 small tubs of SB
2 boxes of microwave popcorn
4 half-gallons of milk
2 jars peanut butter
2 boxes Kashi waffles
2 bottles of Huggies wash/shampoo

Shopping Trip - Wednesday


6 containers Starbucks ice cream
6 boxes of Hefty one-zip bags

total: $3
saved: $18

Friday, July 03, 2009


My Survey - earn cash for easy surveys

I can't remember if I posted about this or not? A couple months ago I earned my first $10 check from My Survey and today I earned another one! It's a totally legit survey site, and I get maybe 3 or 4 surveys a month in my inbox. Sometimes they are really short and only take two or three minutes, sometimes they are longer more in-depth surveys on products that haven't yet hit the market or new advertising campaigns. (Kinda funny, cause I've seen commercials on TV that I saw online through My Survey in advance.)

The best part about My Survey is you earn cash! Every 1000 points can be turned in for a $10 check! Now, it does take some time to accumulate, but it's super easy to earn and any extra $$ that comes in right now, is always great.

My Survey does not have a referral link system, but if you would like to sign up, just let me know and I can send you an email!

Running Water...

...is one of those things you don't really think about until you don't have it. And then you lose your mind. And turn into a crabby monster you don't recognize.

Thank goodness, the plumbers are now officially finished. And there is no more galvanized pipe. The entire house (and the line to the road) have been converted to PVC pipes. And there are new valves, handles, and showerheads in both showers. And new valve and faucet in the sink in the half-bath. And the kitchen sink has FINALLY STOPPED DRIPPING. Oh, and we can actually use our master bath again!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009


If I owe you a phone call or an email or anything, I'm sorry. Life has been way way too busy lately and I feel like I'm going to be playing catch up for a long time.

In an attempt to simplify things, I have resigned from a design team this week. But, things aren't slowing down immediately.

Today the plumbers are coming in to get started on replace ALL the pipes in our house as well as lots of valves. This is also going to involve tearing up the front lawn as they replace the pipes from the road to the house. And tearing up some walls as they get access to the valves. Which also required emptying nearly all the closets in the house, so there is stuff piled EVERYWHERE. Oh, and did I mention that the roofer is coming to give an estimate as well?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Meal Planning

Last week's menu plan got all messed up. Hopefully this week will go more smoothly. It's going to be a crazy busy week though. 4th of July stuff, plumbing stuff, roofing repairs, etc.

Monday (clean house, clean out fridge, make croutons)
Lunch - peanut butter crackers, cantaloupe (leftovers)
Dinner - Baked Potatoes & veggies

Tuesday (bake bread)
Lunch - garden salad with homemade croutons, strawberries (leftovers)
Dinner - pasta with veggies

Wednesday (craziness)
Lunch - Grilled cheese, mangoes/cantaloupe
Dinner - Italian pasta salad with tons of fresh veggies (leftovers)

Lunch - leftover pasta salad
Dinner - quiche, salad

Lunch - leftover quiche
Dinner - pepperoni pizza, salad

burgers, hot dogs, salad, fresh fruit, dessert

-hot dog and hamburger buns

Friday, June 26, 2009

I *heart* SwagBucks!!!

Okay, so maybe I'm a little weird, but I am so excited!! I've been using SwagBucks for a while now, running a search or two on it every day. And I finally turned my points in for Amazon giftcodes...$25 in Amazon gift codes to be exact. They showed up today in my inbox, ready to be redeemed and I went over to Amazon to browse around.

I have wanted an immersable blender since last fall when we made pear butter and I borrowed my friend Michelle's. I put it on my Christmas list and everything. But there never seems to be enough spare cash to get one.

On Amazon.com they had the $55.00 Cuisinart one for $29.95 and free shipping! So I was able to get a blender that was far nicer than one I would have gotten for myself under normal conditions and I was able to get it for $4.95 shipped after my swagbucks gift codes!!!

I LOVE SwagBucks! Want to join? It's so easy. Go here to signup: SwagBucks (this link will add me as your referral.)

How does it work? You just run your searches through swagbucks.com instead of Google or another search engine and you win SwagBucks that can be redeemed for all sorts of prizes and giftcards. You can even install the SwagBucks toolbar so you can have the search box always available at the top of your window.