Yeah, so every so often, I have to make myself a list of what I need to do to get this place in shape! Today is that day... to make the list... tomorrow is the actual cleaning day! LOL DS16's girlfriend is coming over tomorrow, and even though she has seen my house a mess several times, wouldn't it be nice for her to see it clean for once!? ;)
Anyway, here is my to do list for tomorrow:
Kitchen: Dishes Stove Counters Wipe down fridge Sweep Mop Clean off table Go through boxes and put things away or box for storage
Bathroom: Toilet Sink Mirror
Shower Sweep Mop
Living Room: Futon, Febreeze
Chair, Febreeze Coffee Table
I am going to join in on the Clean out the Pantry Challenge over at Frugal Follies. My goal is to eat through all the "bad for us" food, so that it can be replaced with "good for us" food! DH and I are embarking on a weight loss journey together in 2011, so we will need to start eating much healthier!
I DO plan to shop tonight(it is not Jan 1st yet, so I can do that! lol) for our New Year's Even celebration, which will just be us and the kids and DS16's girlfriend. I plan to make the following snacky stuff for the night:
Jalapeno Popper Dip
Sweet & Spicy Little Smokies
Garlic Artichoke Dip
maybe some vegies to dip in hummus
and some sort of dessert... not sure what yet!
Now I am off to assess my pantry! I will be back with a list off all the food in my house! Daunting!!
Well, we had Christmas and it was grand! The boys got what they wanted, plus they got money from relatives which they have spent on other things they wanted, mainly video games. Will I ever get my television back? That's hard to tell! lol I got crochet patterns, yarn and hooks from Stephen. I bought him this really cool cross necklace and a little pouch to hold the friendship coin I got him last year because he had worn a hole in his other pouch!
So, we still have baked goods in our house, and I am swiftly making my way through them. I have gained so much weight the last half of this year after losing so much! I'm ashamed! So, once again, I will be making weight loss a huge New Year's Resolution. I will have a plan by the time January 1 comes along! Just haven't decided my plan yet! I could just say I am going to eat less and move more, but unfortunately, I need more structure than that or I will fail! I can't do anything that will cost more money, like weight watchers, because I simply do not have it in the budget.
On another note, I thought I was pregnant... very weird situation, would have been a miracle, but I had gotten very used to the idea. My periods for the last 5 months have been very light and very short. And recently I have been feeling what feels like a baby moving. well, I had 5 negative pregnancy tests, so decided to go see my family doctor. Took another pregnancy test, negative. I don't have insurance right now, so she would not do a blood test. She was going to use the fetal doppler, but hers was broken, so she just felt my uterus and said I probably wasn't pregnant because my uterus was not enlarged. So, there ya go... still feeling kicks, but everything is still inconclusive. Who knows! If I pop out a baby in a few months, I guess I will know.
So, I thought you might want some of these recipes!:) I did not make the chocolate peanut butter surprise cookies, because I just ran out of steam! And I still have chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge, but that's ok, I can make them over the weekend!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c brown sugar
2 c margarine
1 t vanilla
4 1/2 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 package milk chocolate chips
Mix sugars, vanilla, margarine, and eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. I chill the dough and roll them into balls and then bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c smooth peanut butter
1/3 c brown sugar
1/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla
2 T milk
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Hershey Kisses or Hershey baking kisses
Beat the butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Add and beat the egg, vanilla, and milk. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to peanut butter mix. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Roll into 1" balls. Roll each ball into granulated sugar. Place on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Place a kiss(or 3 if using the baking kisses) in center of each cookie, pressing down.
2 c creamy peanut butter
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
2-2 1/2 c powdered sugar
Heat peanut butter, butter and salt in microwave until melted. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar (don't make the mistake of turning the Kitchenaid on high... powdered sugar explosion!! lol). Roll into balls, chill for 1 hour.
9 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melt this. I didn't do this, I cheated and bought dipping chocolate.
Dip balls in chocolate. I used toothpicks to do this, and I left a little undipped to look like a buckeye. Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate until set.
Peanut Butter Balls, ala My Mom
2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c butter
1 lb powdered sugar
3 c rice crispies cereal
Combine peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar. Chill in fridge for a while. Make into balls. Dip in chocolate. (I cheated again, and used Chocolate Coating, and this worked out really well. DH liked them even better than my mom's and that is saying A LOT!!).
Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies (did not make them yet, but have made them in the past and they are sooooo good!)
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
peanut butter, 1/4 c + 1/2 c for filling
1 t vanilla
3/4 c powdered sugar
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda. Set aside. Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, 1/4 c peanut butter. Add in egg and vanilla, and stir in flour mixture. Shape into 1 1/4" balls and flatten. Make filling: 1/2 c peanut butter and 3/4 c powdered sugar. Make into 3/4" balls. Put a peanut butter ball in the center of the flatten chocolate ball. Wrap chocolate dough around the peanut butter ball and flatten again. I use the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar to flatten. Bake 8-10 minutes.
And the best recipe I made:
(Back story, I never liked the store bought ones that taste like black licorice. DH loved them, but apparently Archway no longer makes them, because we cannot find them anywhere! I started making them last year and omitted the anise, and DH still loves them, and the boys and I now like them too! Win win!:) )
1/2 c molasses
1/4 c honey
1/4 c shortening
1/4 c margarine
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t ground black pepper(I used 1 1/2 t)
1/2 t salt
1 c powdered sugar
4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t cardamom (I did not have this and could not find it at the store, I subbed 1 t all spice)
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t ground cloves
1 t ground ginger
2 t anise extract(I did NOT use this!!)
2 t ground cinnamon
Stir molasses, honey, shortening, margarine over low heat in saucepan. Allow to cool. Stir in eggs. Combine dry ingredients. Add molasses mixture and stir. Refrigerate 2 hours. Roll into balls. Bake 10-15 minutes. Cool and dust with powdered sugar. YUM!
So, I went grocery shopping yesterday (that is another post all together! lol) so today I will do my Christmas baking! But I figured I needed a plan of attack! So, here it is!:)
Ok, so, I will start with the Peanut Butter Blossom dough because it has to chill for 1 hour. Then I will do the Chocolate Chip Cookie dough and start making those. While those are cooking, I will make the Buckeye dough, because it has to chill for 1 hour. By the time I am done with the Chocolate Chip Cookies, I should be able to bake the Peanut Butter Blossoms. While those are baking, I will make the Peanut Butter Balls. And then the Buckeyes should be ready to roll into balls and dip.
After that I will make the Waffle Pretzel Snacks.
Sorry I have not put up menus for the week yet. Last night we had chicken and noodles and I think I am going to make the Beef Taco Bake that I didn't end up making last week tonight! I thought I would drop in and at least list the goodies I plan to make this week for my holiday baking!
Chocolate Chip Cookies - my specialty!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise cookies - take a while, but so worth it!
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Peanut Butter Balls(Buckeyes)
My Mom's Chocolate Balls if she will give me the recipe!;)
Waffle Pretzel Snacks - because DS10 wants these! lol
Yeah, we have not bought ONE SINGLE GIFT! Yikes! Well, the thing is... DH doesn't get paid again until Christmas Eve. We had to pay rent and get our DSL back on, so we will be Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. One thing this does is eliminate one of the parties we usually go to and take a wrapped gift worth $15 for EACH person in our family($15 x 5 = $75). But it does make it hard to get any good deals before Christmas.
So, next year, starting with the new year, we will be putting away a certain amount of money each payday for gifts for next year... this will make it so much easier on us! Also, we will be shopping the clearance sections to get gifts for those on our gift list who are not our children(it is almost impossible to shop for them until the last minute, because they change their mind too often! lol)
Once we figure out our budget better, in other words, once I start making more money, we will decide how much to put away!
As for shopping, here is the list my boys have given me:
Red Dead Redemption XBox360
Undead Nightmare XBox360
Red Faction Guerilla XBox360
Doesn't know yet lol
Fall Out New Vegas XBox360
Super Smash Brothers Brawl Wii
Tim Burton Movies
Assassins Creed Brotherhood XBox360
Travel coffee mug
Restaurant Gift Cards
Bookstore Gift Cards
We told the boys we would not be able to do any BIG gifts this Christmas, but maybe when we get our tax return back lol so the big ones will have to wait. I would like to be able to spend between $150 and $200 on each of them, but we will have to see how we are sitting.
I made a huge batch of this, so cut it down if you need to!
2 lbs spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 jar or can of spaghetti sauce
1 lb Velveeta, sliced
Put cooked and drained spaghetti in the bottom of a pan(I used 13x9, you can use 8x8 or whatever). Pour sauce over that. Place cheese slices over that. Cook for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Monday: Spaghetti Pie
Wednesday: Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole
Thursday: Hi Ho Meat & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, and cake, cause it's my birthday!:)
Friday: Homemade pizzas
Sunday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Sorry I'm just getting to this... my internet is making me mad! We hope to be able to get our DSL back on on Friday! Woot!
So, anyway, here are Thursday's recipes:
Chicken Bacon Wraps
Heat oven to 350*.
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1 (1lb) packages sliced bacon, cut into 3rds
3/4 c brown sugar
2T chili powder
Wrap chicken cubes with bacon. Secure with toothpick. Mix together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. (I didn't have any toothpicks... so I dredged the chicken bites first, then just patted one side of the bacon slice into the mixture and wrapped it and put it on the cookie sheet lol) Coat a rack & broiler pan with PAM. Place chicken on rack. Bake 30-35 minutes. (I don't have a rack or broiler pan...I know, right?? So, I just used cookie sheets.)
These were a HIT!! Yum!!
Cream Cheese Rangoon
1 package cream cheese
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 T sugar (I used a whole T)
Combine cream cheese, garlic, and sugar. Put about a teaspoon of mixture in the middle of a wonton. Wet the corners of wonton. Bring opposite corners up together. Deep fry in oil until golden brown, flipping halfway if needed. Drain on paper towels.
The boys LOVED these and they are vegetarian friendly for DS16!
Make according to directions on crust kit. The kits handy because it comes with 2 crusts and 2 sauce packs, it's reasonably priced and actually very good! I make one cheese pizza and 1 meat and cheese pizza! The sausage crumbles MAKES this pizza!! It's probably the best I've ever had!:)
Then, I also made a Chapple Dump Cake:
Preheat oven to 350*
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can apple pie filling
2 boxes Jiffy yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter, cut into 12 slices each
13x9 pan(I used a 9x9 to make it thicker)
Dump apple pie filling into pan. Using a spoon, dump globs of cherry pie filling evening on top of apple(DS10 did this part!) Sprinkle cake mixes over all. Place butter slices over cake. Bake 1 hour. This is really rich and yummy! You can top with ice cream as well!
I also made some stuff to take on our trip to visit Missouri State University, which DS17 loved and has decided it will be his college! YEAH!!
1(8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 C sour cream
1(1oz) package dry fiesta ranch mix
1 C salsa
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar
10 (10") flour tortillas
Mix all. Spread on tortillas. Roll up. Chill in fridge. Cut into pinwheel slices.
Waffle Pretzel Snacks
1(15 oz) bag square waffle pretzels
2(13 oz bags) Hershey kisses or Rolos
1(14 oz) bag peanut butter m&ms
Put pretzels on cookie sheet. Place kisses or rolos on pretzels(we like the rolos better!). Cook in 170* oven until chocolate gets glossy, about 5-8 minutes. Take out of oven and push an M&M into chocolate. Chill in fridge. These are GONE! Everyone loved them!!:)
Well... apparently my DSL got shut off today, so I am having to rely on the cable internet that everyone in the building uses... and the wireless card on my desktop does not like it. So, I am writing on DS10s netbook... ugh! I will post today's recipes tomorrow because they were sooooo good! I poured candles again today, cleaned in the kitchen and finally cleaned the bathroom lol
The Taco Soup was really good!:) YUM! I went and got my hair permed today. Got my bangs done too... not too sure about that... will probably flatiron them unless I find a way to fix them that I like!:) I will be doing a family portrait shoot in exchange for the perm! Love bartering!:)
Went and poured candles for the local candlemaker. Made $25, and am supposed to pour again tomorrow night, so that will be $50 towards our gas money for our trip to visit DS17s college.
Money is so bad right now... overdrawn, no cash... I hope things work out soon... I know God will provide, I just get worried and impatient sometimes.
So, tonight we are having Speedy Taco Soup and Nachos.
Speedy Taco Soup
2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
1 (12 oz) can chunk chicken breast with broth (I'm using the chicken breast I cooked yesterday)
1 (16 oz) jar mild, chunky salsa
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn with liquid
Heat all to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Salsa or Rotel
Melt either in saucepan on stove or in dish in microwave. Serve with tortilla chips.
Like I said, I cooked chicken breasts yesterday. I thought I would touch on that just a little. I used to chop up the chicken breasts into cubes and cook in a skillet. Then I decided to try boiling the chicken instead... so much easier, and it just falls apart when done!:)
Dinner was good! The boys seemed to like it and I made DS16's without meat, so he was happy. The "lemon" tarts ended up being banana tarts because that is what I had on hand!
Had a parent meeting for CYT tonight. That went well. I'm going to go get my hair permed tomorrow. I am trading a photo session for it! I love bartering!:)
Went to the unemployment office today to do my 4 week, so hopefully I will start getting paid again. DH has someone that might be interested in buying a project car of his, I pray this happens so that we have money for the weekend, and our trip to Missouri State University with DS17.
I wanted to throw our beverages of choice into this mix as well!:)
Sweet Tea ala Sullins
I'm VERY picky about my sweet tea... we have tried all the national brands and we like National Cup Tea from WalMart the best! It is 100 tea bags for $1.00!! I like it better than Tetley, Lipton, etc.
So, they come in packs of 100, but each 2 teabags are stuck together. So, we use 6 tea bags, or 3 "bundles".
I put those tea bags in a small saucepan and set aside. Then I take my little piggy tea kettle, that looks like this, and boil water until it whistles. Once it whistles, I pour the boiling water over the tea bags and let them steep at least 5 minutes.
Once steeped, I take my gallon pitcher and add 1.5 cups sugar. Then I take my sauce pan with the water and tea bags(which is now TEA lol) and using a slotted spoon, I hold the tea bags from falling into the pitcher while I pour the liquid into the pitcher. I then take the spoon and "squish" the tea bags to get all the remaining liquid out into the pitcher. I stir the tea and sugar, then add cold water to the top. There ya go! Sweet Tea ala Sullins!:)
Our Iced Coffee
Ok, so we are HUGE Starbucks and Seattle's Best fans! However, our pocketbooks are NOT! lol So, we stopped having Starbucks and started having McDonald's Sugar-Free Vanilla Iced Coffee (NOT latte, coffee... it's CHEAPER and tastes soooo good!), but McDonald's iced coffees are not consistent from store to store, or even shift to shift at the same store, so many times we had to hand back our coffee for them to fix it correctly. I got tired of it, and even though we had cut the cost in half by switching, I figured we could make it at home cheaper and more consistently good!
So, here is what I do:
I use a 32 oz cup from QuikTrip, because it has a lid and I like that size of cup.
I add 1/2 cup of flavored liquid creamer.
Then I add a little over 1/2 cups of milk(I use skim, but it's good with 2% and whole).
Then I add ice to the top of the cup.
Then top it with brewed coffee. I use Folgers, but you can use whatever brand you want!
Stir with a butter knife, because that is just what I use! lol
Since we will be having chicken the next 3 nights(because I have chicken breasts in the fridge that NEED to be cooked!) I think I will just cook all of the chicken up today and have it ready for all of the meals I will be using it with.
Tonight we will be having Cheesy Chicken and Potatoes:
1 (20 oz) package frozen hash browns with peppers and onions, thawed
2-2 1/2 cups bite-sized cooked chicken
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In oil in skillet over med-high heat, cook potatoes for 7 minutes. Add chicken and 1/3 c water. Cook 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve.
Leftover Hot Corn Bake:
Preheat oven to 375*
3 (15 oz) cans whole kernel corn, drained (I used 2 cans)
1 (10 oz) can cream of corn soup (I used 2 cans cream style corn)
1 c hot, chunky salsa (I used medium)
1 (8 oz) bag shredded Mexican cheese
Combine everything with 1/2 the cheese. Pour into buttered pan. (I totally forgot to butter my dish, and it was fine!) Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese.
I cooked this in the microwave and it was just fine! LOL
1 (3/4 oz) box instant lemon pudding mix(any flavor will do, though)
1 package graham cracker tart shells
1 (8 oz) carton whipped topping
Mix pudding like box says and spoon into tart shells. Top with whipped topping. Refrigerate or serve.
So, went to pick up DS10 from CYT, and then we went to get coffee creamer and milk, ended up getting King's Hawaiian Rolls and Mayo for hubby. So, cheated a bit, but not too bad! Spent $13.98.
Had leftovers for dinner! That's the last night that I think I can stand leftovers! lol So tomorrow I will cook dinner!:)
The boys were home from school today because of construction at the school, so I got basically nothing done! Tomorrow, I plan to finish cleaning the kitchen, and clean the bathroom. I'm also going to work on my photography site and blog. And I might bake something!
Ha! My first Monday Weekly Menu Post! :) I love making menus, I always have... now, sticking to them is HARD! lol But I'm gonna try! So, a couple of things... 1. It's after Thanksgiving... so that means leftovers! 2. DS16 has recently become a vegetarian, so I am going to try to make meals that have at least something he can eat. He knows I will not fix separate meals for him, and he is fine with that.
Week of 11/29/10:
Monday: Thanksgiving Leftovers!
Tuesday: Cheesy Chicken & Potatoes
Wednesday: Taco Soup & Nachos
Thursday: Chicken Bacon Wraps & Cream Cheese Rangoon
Friday: Homemade Pizzas
Saturday: We will be on the road, visiting DS17's college of choice, so we will probably bring a cooler of food
Sunday: Spaghetti Pie
Cell Phones: $150
Van Payment: $400
Internet/Home Phone: $100 (our internet is included in the rent, however, it is "shared" with the apartment next door and not consistent or speedy enough for 5 of us! Also, our cell phones do not always work in this town!)
Storage shed: $100
GroceryGame: $10-$35 (I am trying to decide if I want to keep this or just do it myself!)
Stephen - $1698
Me - nothing since becoming unemployed... well, I WAS getting $169 a week for unemployment, but then I took a temp job for 2 weeks and screwed that up... now I have to go back and see what they can do about that! So, if that gets fixed, for a while I will make $732 a month.
Total income: either $1698 or $2430... either way, not enough to pay the bills!
However, right now we are getting help with food, so subtract the $400 = $2070-$2095, so STILL not enough without my unemployment. I AM starting a new little business that hopefully will take off soon, so that would help a lot. We have downsized so much, so I don't see that we can get rid of anymore bills at this point, so we will just have to make more money. I AM unsure on how much we spend on gas each week, so I will start calculating how much we spend each week.
Ok, well, here we go. My first post on a blog is always the most difficult lol. I never know what to say. Let's see... introductions... I'm Steph, I'm married (18 years) and have 3 sons ages 17, 16, and 10. DS17 is going to college next fall. The boys are all very much into Christian Youth Theater. My husband works at an auto parts store. I'm a budding photographer. I don't work outside the home right now, and I actually quite like being at home. But, being at home makes our tight finances even tighter... so it is up to me to get things back on track! (or just on track... things really haven't been on track for... well, ever!)
So, time for:
A BUDGET that we will stick to!
Saving on GROCERIES!
A SAVINGS ACCOUNT!
Learning to MAKE MONEY while being able to have the flexible schedule that I want for my boys!
So, this blog will follow our day to day life, and how we have downsized from a 4 bedroom apartment that cost $600 for rent and $600 for gas/electric to heat or cool the darn place to a small 2 bedroom apartment that costs $750 all inclusive(rent, electric, water, trash, cable, internet).