Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Monday

Well, I'm back from the warm state of Arizona...  I already pre-planned my weekly meals so I won't have to think too hard this week for planning.  I actually have a lot of the ingredients too so I should make out well at the store!

So I know you want your mouth to water with all the yumminess I have planned:

Frozen Pizzas  (I know I know this isn't fun, but since I just got home this morning I do not want to think about cooking tonight!)
Jake eats Home Run Inn Sausage and Pepperoni

I eat Gino's Deep Dish Cheese. 

Crispy Cheddar Chicken
I've blogged this one on a previous Menu Monday!  It was amazing the last time we had it.  I wished that I had made more that time so I will definitely be making more this time!!!  If you haven't tried it yet you should!

Juicy Hamburgers and Homemade Fries

This has been on a previous Menu Monday too!  We do eat hamburgers and fries often but I make them at home so they aren't fast food bad for you! 

This was on a Menu Monday a couple of weeks ago but I didn't have a picture and a recipe.  So I took a picture of it that time and here is the recipe.  Its more of a mock lasagna but it is from an old weight watchers book so it shouldn't be too bad for you!  I also made this Thursday's meal because I can premake it on Tuesday (my day off work) and Jake can just cook it so it is hot and ready to eat when I get home!

Movie Night

Italian Chicken with Provolone Cheese and Smashed Potatoes

No picture.  I will have to take one when I cook it.  Super easy though.  Marinate chicken breasts in Zesty Italian Salad dressing, grilled, and when cooked through top with Provolone Cheese and let melt.  Smashed Potatoes were featured previously on a menu Monday!  Another recipe that if you have never tried you should!!

Homemade Deep Dish Pizza
This is a recipe from a dear friend and it is sooooooooo good!  Another old weight watchers recipe. 

What are you having this week for dinner?

Until Tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

52 Week Organization - Week 8

Week 8 of the 52 Week Organization is:

Meal Planning...  I used to never do it.  Then I tried it for a while and really liked it.  However, I never was good at sticking to it.  Ok back in the day I hardly ever stuck at my plan.  Last year I took it up again, only for about a month.  Once again I stopped.  I never really found my groove and it was too "hard".  Since discovering pinterest I have been bit by the organizing bug and the motivation to accomplish these things...  This is how I actually discovered this 52 week challange.  A friend started it and hooked me to it by her "pin". 

Now I plan weekly.  I have sheets that I found on pinterest that keep me organized.  This is what it looks like:

I found the form (through pinterest) at:

What I like about this form is that it has the meals on one side and a spot to write down the coresponding grocery list on the other. 

I used to put all my meals into a monthly calander.  I had no place to write grocery lists for the cooresponding meals/weeks.  This way combines them so nicely.  I have the list and the menu right there!  I have these made out for about 4 weeks.  Since I go grocery shopping on tuesdays (usually) I always try to make sure I buy what is on next weeks monday menu or have all the ingredients for it! 
Every week's menu has all the ingredients for every meal on it even if I have the items at the time I made the list.  My reasoning can be explained by an example...  This week I have Cheesy Chicken and Rice on my menu.  Back when I made this I added chicken, cream of chicken, cheddar cheese and rice to the list.  Upon reviewing my list for this weeks shopping trip I am able to cross of rice and cream of chicken soup for this recipe because I have these items in my pantry.  I didn't know 3 weeks ago when I made this if I'd have any of those items left, so, instead of forgetting an ingredient because I didn't write it down I am covered. 
This also helps me with my "budget".  I put budget in " " because I try to stay between $50 and $80 every week.  How do I do this you ask?  I usually put an approximate store price of the item next to it on the list.  This gives me an idea of how much I will be spending.  I usually am pretty good at guessing the price.  I always guess high.  I'd rather be happier that it was cheaper.  I also adjust this price while I'm shopping.  I try to not change it if it is on sale, I try to keep the orginal price next to it though.  Below is an example of a past week.  I shop directly off the list on the sheet.  No making another list, its not necessary.  This is why items are crossed off and there is scribble on it. 

I'm not sure if you can tell in the above picture but certain items are highlighted.  Those are items I have a coupon for.  That way I am aware that I have a potential for more savings.  I then can use my coupon ring at the store to its max!  After I am done shopping I attach the reciept for this week to the paper. 

You might think this is redunant because I have my guessed prices on the front, but it actually came in handy this week.  I looked up the exact price of an item that I wasn't sure what it is usually because I only buy it on sale! 

So there you have it.  Menu Planning.  Ease into it.  You might not want to start out with a whole 4 weeks in advance like I do.  (Or maybe you would!)  I would suggest, however, doing 2 weeks at a time.  You don't want to do great for 1 week and then not do it the following week because you don't feel like doing it.  It really is fun to know whats for dinner.  When your husband or kid(s) ask you what is for dinner you know!!  It is also fun for me to pull out my recipe binder while I'm making my menu and list.  It reminds me of things I haven't made in a while and it allows me to add a variety of items to our meals. 

This planning also ties into my menu board that I have on my refrigerator.  (If you didn't see it before you can find it here.)  I love being able to change this Sunday night to the next weeks menu.  Jake likes it too.  He knows what to expect.  No more of him saying I had a buffalo sandwich at lunch because I didn't know you were making buffalo wraps for dinner...  (this used to happen a lot!) 

So there you have it, Week 8!  Do you meal/menu plan and how do you do it? 

Can you believe this was the last of the kitchen organizing in the challange?  Weeks 1-8!  Can you believe we are 8 weeks into 2012?  I can't!  Where has the time gone?!?  If you have been doing this challenge how does it feel to have a clean organized kitchen.  I love it!  I get annoyed now when it gets messy!!

Anyways, they gave us a preview of where we will be heading to next:  
 The next big section of our homes and lives we'll be working on is all the paper that comes into our homes, and that we need to deal with, save, file, respond to, etc. Since this area of our homes also has lots of things to work on we'll break it down into manageable chunks and work on it for several weeks to get it all under control. Next week we'll work on organizing our addresses and contact information.
That will be a fun one, I think.  I know I have my phone, Jake's phone, and my written address book out when I write christmas cards or send invites.  I'm afraid I will forget somebody!  So hopefully the next challenge will kick my rear end into shape and get all these addresses together!

Until Tomorrow!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Monday

This week's Menu is very sparse!  Why you might ask???  Well its because Chrissy and I are heading south to the warm state of Arizona on Friday!!!  I am so stoked.  It will be her first airplane trip.  I am sad Jake doesn't get to go and experience her first airplane trip though...  I guess there are always other firsts... 

So without further ado:

Cheesy Chicken and Rice


Super yummy and easy!  I haven't made this in a long time!!!

Tuesday:  Jake will be in Indianapolis for work so it will be just Chrissy and I...
Tomato soup and grilled cheese


I kind of hope you wouldn't need a recipe for tomato soup and grilled cheese, but JUST IN CASE...  LOL!!!  Comfort food at its best! 



I usually make my sauce with the McCormick Spaghetti packets and tomato paste.  It tastes better to me than Ragu or another brand of canned sauce.  That's how my momma made it so what I grew up on!  I always brown up some hamburger to add to the sauce.  Once again, that's how momma made it! 

Chicken Chili

I don't have a picture...  :(

It is a recipe I got from a friend though!  Super easy!  Here it is:

1 Can Swanson Chicken in Can (the bigger one, if its not the big can just use 2 smaller ones)
1 Can Great Northern Beans
2 Cups Swanson Chicken Broth
1 Jar Salsa (I use medium or hot and I always use picante because I don't like big chunks in my salsa)
Pepper Jack Cheese & Cheddar Cheese (I can't say how much because I really like mine cheesy)

Heat all ingredients until cheese melts!  HEAVEN IN A BOWL!!! 

Friday - Sunday:

ARIZONA!! Traveling to warmer climates!  Can't wait!

Have a wonderful week!!! 

Until Tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

52 Week Organization - Week 7

Week 7 on the 52 Week Organization is:

Now...  I used to be really, really good with coupons...  Not sure what happened and why I fell "out of love" with them.  This is how I used to organize my coupons:

Yes, I was that person you'd see in the store toting around their binder...  However, I hated cleaning it out and coupons got very old in there or even though it was organized well I still couldn't find what I needed.  AND my all time pet peeve....  The ONE time I'd forget to take it in with me...  There would an awesome sale that I HAD coupons for!  UGH!  Anyways, like I said before I "used" to organize my coupons this way...

So what do I do now...  Well...  (shifting her weight and looking at the ground)...  I haven't used them in a long while...  I know, I know... WHAT!!!

Ok so since I've started this 52 week organization I've gotten organized and started meal planning and what not and it has given me the opportunity to get back into couponing...  (speaking of meal planning, that is week 8 so stay tuned!) 

Now what I had been doing was collecting the inserts and searching a few days before I go shopping for coupons that I will need for that week or the following week's shopping lists....  (What, you have 2 weeks of shopping planned out in advance you say?  Well stay tuned again for next week!)

So this method I've had is this...

OBVIOUSLY not organized at all.  I'd take the coupons and paper clip them to the correct week's list...  Well, with this method this is what would happen to me.  I'd go for, lets say, crescent rolls...  I'd have my coupon paper clipped to my list.  75 cents off 3 Pillsbury crescent rolls.  Ok, I get to the store and there is an non-advertised sale for the store brand...  Let's just say its 3 for $3.50 or something...  So I'll get those instead.  Well, my clipped coupon that I want to save because I might need it again before the expiration date will get lost or crushed in the bottom of my purse because after that week's shopping I didn't have a way to "store" the coupons! 

So I had to think of another way to organize my coupons...  How was I going to do this?  I really didn't want to go back to my binder.  I am only vowing to save coupons I use now.  I don't want the mess!  So after much searching (soul and pinterest) I found this idea:

This person has their coupons on a binder ring and a small envelope attached.  So what you do is when you use the corresponding coupon for the item at the store you pull it off and put it in the envelope.  When you get to the checkout all the coupons you will use will be in the envelope to hand to the cashier.  This way you have all your coupons with you and none of them will get lost.  So using my example above I wouldn't pre-pull off my Pillsbury coupon till the item is in my cart so that coupon wouldn't get lost since I bought the store brand sale instead.

Here is what I did:

I condensed the  coupons from the previous picture to only the ones I will use.  (Don't worry I give my "leftovers" to a friend who takes any she wants and then they get recycled!)

I didn't add the envelope yet.  I will.  Right now the ring is just in my purse.  I think when I go to the store I will attach it to the handle of my purse.  This way it won't get lost and I can have it handy since my purse is usually in the kid seat in the cart. 

I think this way will get me to use coupons better.  Even though I just now am organizing them I am happy to report since I've started using them again I have saved up to $25+ every week on my grocery bills! 

Oh, also, don't forget to check your stores websites for coupons!  I know our local store uses Spartan brand and they have their own website for coupons.  Also, Meijers has mPerks.  I use that a lot too!  The best part of that program is you can stack those coupons with manufacturer coupons! 

So I hope I at least inspired you to think about using coupons if you haven't or don't.  If you do use coupons and you just weren't sure of a way to organize them hopefully this helped a you too!

Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day Present

Need a last minute Valentines Day Present that is easy and quick to make?  Here is what I made for Jake this year:

What exactly is this you might say?  It is a way for him and I to show each other in writing daily (or as often as we change it) how much we love each other!  I got the inspiration from pinterest.  (of course, where else?)  http://pinterest.com/pin/64246732153886652/

When I originally saw this I knew immediately I wanted to do this!  I just loved the idea.  We have the perfect place in our bedroom right when you walk out of the door that I want to hang it on!  I don't think I will hang ours from a ribbon though... 

So how did I make this and how can you get this done quickly for a last minute valentines present?

First I headed to Hobby Lobby:
At first I was planning on doing all the sayings with the black letters, but since it is Valentines time they had scrapbook sayings that said I love you!  So I got one of those because I thought it would give it more definition.  I also grabbed a neutral scrapbook paper that would go with our room.  (Our room has a red and gold theme.)  I already had the frame but you can use any size frame you want to.

So I started with the mat on the frame and the paper behind it and added the I love you saying.  (Now I decided to keep the mat in the frame but like you can see in the picture above you do not have to have this...)

Then I added the 'because' out of the letters.  I just eyeballed the straight line using a ruler.  I think I did pretty good!

Next put it back in the frame. 

Next write your message to your loved one by using a dry erase marker on the glass!  (Yes I know I need a new dry erase marker...  )

How simple is that and what a awesome way to tell your special one how much you love them everyday!!!

Jake I hope you love your present! 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Until tomorrow!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday has returned...  So without further ado my menu for the week:

Bacon Ranch Slowcooker Chicken

This is a new recipe for me.  Hopefully it will be as good as it looks!!!  I found it on pinterest.  Here is a link for the recipe:  http://healthifiedkitchen.blogspot.com/2010/08/bacon-ranch-slowcooker-chicken.html

Tuesday:  Valentine's Day
Fillet & Smashed Potatoes
OK, I know that isn't a fillet in the picture but this is the only picture I had...  You get the idea!!!  I'm hoping to have a little candle lit dinner with Jakey and eat this yummy dinner.  The potatoes are from pinterest and we've made them before!  They are amazing!!!  Here is a link for the recipe:

What are you cooking for your valentine?

Italian Wine Slowcooker Chicken

This isn't actually the meal.  Its close to what it looks like.  I usually add some pasta sauce over it and make it into a mock chicken Parmesan!  It is also a recipe I got from a friend so I have no link to it...  Its super easy though!!
  • Dry Italian dressing packet
  • 1 small bottle of white wine
  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • crockpot on low for 8 hours
That is it!  I serve over noodles.  Super moist and yummy!!


Sorry no picture!  I'll have to take one when I make it this time.  It is one of my recipes that I got from a friend.  It is not so much of a standard lasguna though.  I'd call it a mock lasguna or quick lasagna!  Super yummy though!  I will preassemble this wednesday so all Jake has to do is put it in the oven on thrusday so I can come home to a yummy hot dinner after dance classes!


Hamburger and Fries

 The hamburgers are just my premade hamburger patties from the half of a cow we buy from our cousins in July.  We usually top them with sharp chedder!  Yummy!  Then the fries are the homemade ones from last week.  (Well, fresh, just the recipe!)

Sirloin Tip Roast
So I think I might make this Sunday.  I never made it this way but this picture is making my mouth water.  It looks like it might take some time so Sundays are good days to do this...  I found this recipe on pinterest.  Here is the link:

So this is what we are eating this week!  What are you having? 

Until Tomorrow!  (Special quick Valentine's DIY present to make for the one you love!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Monogram Wreath

I can't sit still during tv that isn't my favorite.  So during the Superbowl I had to do something since I only watch it for the commercials!  I saw this picture on pinterest that held my attention for a few weeks! 

It is available on Esty for $30.  You can find it here.

Of course I couldn't ever bring myself to pay $30 for it!  I mean it looks really nice but...  Anyways!  I was at Meijer last week looking for googly eyes for Chrissy's valentines and came across cardboard letters that reminded me of this one.  The best part...  They were on CLEARANCE!  My favorite word!  $1.74 to be exact!  How nice is that!  Well of course my mind started to run!

So this is what I did:

I started off with my letter, mod podge, and twine.  The twine I found when I cleaned out the pantry!  No Cost!  Bonus!!!

So my first step I started wrapping twine vertically on the letter.
This really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Once I got the first bit to stick with the mod podge I just started wrapping. 

Once I was done going that way I started going horizontally.

I just kept wrapping starting at the top and working my way down.
You can see in that last picture my extra mod podge to keep the ends from unravelling!  Once it dried it was hard as a rock and I don't think I will have a problem! 

Next I needed attach the ribbons.
I haven't put any flowers or anything on yet because I think I am going to do items to make this seasonal.  I am going to put a small shamrock on it first since that is our next holiday.  Then I'll do an egg!  You get the idea.

Here it is hanging:
Hanging on the back of my door.

This is where I have it until I put away my Valentines Wreath.
 So total cost for this project was $4.  (Approx $2 for the "H" and Approx $2 for the ribbon, everything else I had.)  So you can make one for WAY less than $30, but yours might be more than $4. 

Happy Crafting!

Until Tomorrow!