Friday, May 23, 2014

The Challenge

Well here we go....

I am obsessed with HGTV and Better Homes and Gardens.  Ok I said it. They say admitting it is the first step to recovery. With the addition of Pinterest to my life, I have decided to brave an idiotic  audacious undertaking. I am going to show you how to do 50 Pinterest inspired projects for under $50 each! I will personally be doing all of these projects myself so I am going to be taking this on over the course of the next year! Get prepared for a wild ride and our first project tomorrow! For our first project.....drum roll please.........
Spray painting your brass door knobs oil rubbed bronze

I can promise you won't be disappointed with the results!

Sounds good to me!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chicken stretching

After a sweaty tough workout, the best thing for a chicken to do is stretch! Into about 6 meals that is :)
Yesterday I plum lucked out at Kroger and found 2 whole chickens for $0.64 a lb! That meant that for the 5.78 lb chicken I cooked today, I paid $3.70. This is under what I would pay for 1 package of boneless chicken breasts. I decided to stretch this yummy little chick to its fullest by following a few steps from Heavenly Homemakers and their advice on stretching a chicken to make 6 meals. We will be shooting for 6 between 2 adults (not 6 like them...we like our protein!). Here is the way I've done this. Lather, rinse, repeat....I mean use as you see fit.

Tuesday-7:00 am-Put the chicken in the crockpot with 1 cup of water and poultry seasoning and turned on low. Arrived home from work smelling the lovely chicken all ready to go. I took the chicken out on a platter and took off ALL the chicken from the bones (we do not discriminate in our house...we like the light and dark meat equally) and put it in a bowl.
Put all the bones, skin, and any additional scraps back into the crockpot with all the stuff that had initially fallen off the chicken before I pulled it out and filled the crockpot to the top with water. Add a few bay leaves, salt, pepper, garlic, and half an onion. Leave on low for 12 hours. Refridgerate during time I'm at work to allow fat to rise so I can scrape it off. Then pour through strainer into another pot to catch the bones/scraps.
Bam! All chicken and broth are ready to go!

Now for the good stuff! The meal plans...links are included for all the recipes :)
Our chicken provided about 3.5 lbs of meat and about 6 quarts of broth.
Tuesday-Chicken alfredo pizzas-1/2 lb meat
Wednesday Dinner-Chicken and Gnocchi soup-3 quarts of broth and no meat (the soup has the bits left from making the stock in it which is more than enough)
Thursday Lunch-Chicken and Gnocchi soup-repeat :)
Thursday Dinner-Chicken fajitas-1.5 lbs of meat since I'll be using some for the chicken salad tomorrow
Friday Lunch-Chicken taco salad-some of the meat from last night's meal
Friday Dinner-Chicken Tortilla Soup-1/2 lb of meat and 3 quarts of stock
Sunday Dinner-Cheesy Chicken, Rice, and Brocolli casserole-1 lb of meat

That uses all 3.5 lbs of meat and 6 quarts of stock in one week. Sure we'll be chickened out, but what better way to use in a variety of recipes throughout the week. All for the low low cost of $.16 per serving of the dish with meat. Sure can't beat the price on that!

This is insanity!

I have become truly insane....with Insanity workout that is. So I'm a skeptic by nature, but everyone I've talked to says this workout is for real. Until last week, I wasn't so sure.
I made it through 1 week of Insanity workouts relatively unharmed until yesterday. I have never had soreness like I have from this workout! I played collegiate soccer, tore every tendon in my ankle, and have ripped, bruised, pulled, or dislocated just about anything you can name. I think this tops it all.

I am going to stick with it though...

I miss myself looking like I did in my size 4 prom dress. I miss having the hottest abs this side of Hollywood. I miss having fun shopping. I miss going for a run and not feeling like I am dying. More than any of that, I hate looking at the pictures of myself now and seeing this happy girl inside an overweight body.

So for now my motivation lies in this picture:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Maybe I should start blogging again...

After a long blogging break, I'm back! This year has been chalk full of stress and self discovery and I've got to admit it has been really difficult to balance everything on my plate. Let me first catch you up.
1. I became the head girls soccer coach in charge of rebuilding an entire program.
2. Education in Indiana has become the focal point of non stop attacks from legislators and media alike so my job has become more stressful than I ever though possible.
3. I have fallen in love with an amazing wonderful man named Steve who makes the above 2 points substantially less stressful and makes me smile more than he'll ever know.

In between all these points, I've still been couponing and trying to keep up the house to the best of my abilities, but alas there is always room for improvement. Here are the ways I plan to improve between now and August 2012! I'll be sharing specific ways in which I do each during the week.
1. Get my grocery budget to $35 or under per week for 2 adults and 2 doggies
2. Improve my personal fitness and lose 30 lbs.
3. Spark my creativity by doing at least 4 DIY projects from my pintrest boards per month
4. Organize my house and purge myself of things I no longer need
5. Take care of myself and my soul in ways that help me keep stress at bay

I'll be posting 5 entries per week, one on each different subject from above. Doesn't that sound good?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Save Big Money at Menards

I have to admit that I've learned something new about saving money this week that I didn't quite know existed! I wasn't sure that was possible, but alas a new rock has been turned. It's a fun little thing called mail in rebates from Menards. I know not everyone in the country has Menards so let me fill you in on these smart folks. Menards is kind of like Lowe's, but they also have the typical Walmart like sections with food, drinks, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Every week, Menards has several items that will be free or just pennies after their mail in rebates. It gives you a store credit postcard to use just like $ at Menards. They also limit the amount that you can buy and receive a rebate for on each item (usually ranges from 3-20). You then take your postcard rebates and buy OTHER items that are free or almost free after rebate in order to roll your rebates just like ECBs or RRs at CVS or Walgreens. They also take coupons so it is definitely possible to get overages on your products. Yes it takes a little longer than a week to get your rebate, but you should ideally be able to do this once a month to get free items. You can even get free tools or building supplies as a part of this program!

My plan for this week will cost me about $20 to start, but will give me $27 in rebates back so I can buy other things later on this month or early August. I plan to use some of my rolling rebates to buy some school supplies for my classroom that I hope they will have on sale in the coming weeks :)

Have you discovered any new money saving tips lately? Even if you haven't, what are your tried and true tips to stretch your buck?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Lasagne

I've been experimenting with some cheap, yummy, healthy foods for summer. I've been trying to incorporate as many fresh ingredients as possible from my garden so I can save additional money on produce. Here is my ultimate favorite so far! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Summer Lasagne, found in Everyday Food magazine
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 lasagna noodles, broken into thirds, cooked and drained
1 minced garlic clove
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 30 tomatoes)
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 cup torn basil leaves

1. Combine ricotta, Parmesan and olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high and add garlic and tomatoes. Cook until slightly broken down, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

3. Add zucchini to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes until tender. Transfer to another bowl.

4. Scatter a few tomatoes over four plates. Top with one noodle, a spoonful of ricotta mixture, zucchini and more tomatoes. Repeat layering twice, ending with noodle and tomatoes. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Garnish with basil and serve.

This recipe cost me approximately $3 to make and it made 4 generous servings. I used tomatoes, zucchini, and basil from my garden and I bought almost everything else with a coupon for a reduced price or at Aldi. Yes my Aldi has ricotta cheese :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer lovin'

Well as you can tell it has been another long absence. I always tend to underestimate what all will be on my plate. It seems that somehow summer has snuck halfway by on me. In about a month, we'll be back for another school that will hopefully be substantially less stressful and emotionally draining as last years was. Let me fill you in on how I have been spending my moderately relaxing summer.

1. At the gym: Yes I am trying to lose weight. So far...7 lbs gone. I wish it was substantially more considering that I spend almost 2 hours at the gym everyday. Unfortunately, I like beer so I guess that has come back to bite me in the probably the tummy.
2. Gardening: I had a major flop last year with my first year of gardening. Maybe it was the fact that it didn't rain for 28 days and the temperatures were so hot they made my tomatoes cry, but this year things (knock on wood) are going substantially better. I have 8 tomato plants of various kinds, 2 peppers, 1 eggplant, 1 onion, 6 cucumbers, a big patch of various types of lettuce, peas, and green beans. Lets hope things continue on the right track so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor.
3. Enjoying time with friends: Not everyday, but at least 4 days a week I make an effort to spend time with friends and at least 1 day a week is all about family. I love the summer because every night is like a weekend so I don't feel bad if I'm tired on a Friday and don't want to go out because I could go out on Monday night and not even worry about it.
4. Watching the Women's World Cup: Not quite as many games as last summer's men's world cup, but I'm enjoying every minute of getting to watch the sport I love. I need to soak up as much sports time as possible because it looks like football and basketball will be out this next year...
5. Coaching: The one thing I feel like succeed at when all else fails. World Cup is making me set unrealistic standards for my girls, but what can you do? I love being a head coach and we've got some great plans for this season.

It is my hope that in the coming year I can balance my "cups" much more effectively. Last year, I did a great job filling my "work cup," but I severely lacked in my "personal cup" and "wellness cup." I've found that I am happiest when all of my cups are filled and balanced. This does not mean that I have to balance time between all things evenly, but I need to do so in a way that makes me happiest. For me, the "work cup" was such a huge focus due to (pardon my french) all the shit that hit the fan last year, that I need to set some serious limits this year. I've always felt that I was a fairly effective time manager so hopefully my 4th year will be much better than my 3rd. As much as I hate to say it....I'm not sure it could get worse so the only way to go is up :)