Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well, lots of leftovers - we hosted Thanksgiving Sunday. So, I'm going to make the most of them this week. We also picked up our hog Saturday morning, so my freezer is bursting with meat - yeah!

Monday - Bennihana (free meal for my B-day month)
Tuesday - date night (free kids meals for the kids that expire today)
Wednesday - turkey pot pie (using up most of the leftovers)
Thursday - beef roast (gymnastics night, so need something ready when we are)
Friday - spaghetti/ bread/ salad
Saturday - leftover buffet
Sunday - pork chops, applesauce, salad

Not much to pick up at the store, some bread, milk and that's about it!

I might make a peach cobbler with some peaches I have in the freezer - we'll see how it goes.

For more great menus, check out Organizing Junkie

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Remember the big picture

So, back to my post last week about making our lives more fulfilling . . .

As I mentioned, I do a good job of taking things in stride. It's pretty simple really - if I feel myself starting to get really stressed out or worried about something, I stop and ask myself a simple question:

Will this matter in 5 years?

Guess what? Almost every time, the answer is no. So simple, and yet so calming. This really helps keep me thinking about the big picture and about what is really important to me.

This got me thinking - how could I apply this same principle to my other "big" question:

What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?

Well, maybe by thinking about it in the same context - if it's something I'm afraid to do, just ask myself if it will matter in five years - in other words even if I royally screw up, is it really going to matter? I bet the answer is probably not.

I'm going to challenge myself to think this way for the next few weeks and see what happens - anytime I stop doing something I want to try, or think about something I'd like to try but am "afraid" to, I'm going to ask that question - and keep track of the results. Should be an interesting experiment!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Wow - how can it be Thanksgiving week already?

Crazy but fun week for us:

Monday - shrimp with creole sauce (didn't get to it last night)
Tuesday - Chicken noodles
Wednesday - fried rice
Thursday - Turkey dinner at my SIL's
Friday - out shopping, so some restaurant with hubby and friends
Saturday - probably out for sushi as kids will be at Grandma's
Sunday - Turkey dinner at our house

Not really much cooking this week, so almost like a whole week off! Sunday I'll just handle the turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberries and pie, everyone else brings a dish. Most of that I'll probably pre-make Saturday so Sunday is a quick put the turkey in before church and then cook up the rest after.

Wishing everyone a terrific Thanksgiving! Check out Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If you knew you wouldn't fail . . .

As I sit here enjoying my Starbucks Peppermint Mocha (yes, I did the deal and gave the free one to my MIL), I'm pondering this question.

What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?

So often I feel like we just live through life doing what is expected of us and not taking steps to make our lives more meaningful or fulfilling.

I know I do.

I do a good job of not getting stressed out or worrying about the little things, but I also don't take action to make any significant changes.

So, over the next few weeks, you'll see a series of posts on this topic - we'll discuss things like how to focus on the positive and the big picture, how to determine what it is we enjoy doing most, and some small steps on how to achieve the type of life we really want to live. I'm going to be participating right along with the posts, so I'm really looking forward to it.

I suppose this is more "January/ New Year" type stuff, but why wait? Why not get a jump start on things now so you can be even more focused come 2011!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Woo Hoo - B1G1 Starbucks!

Yeah! Starting Thursday through Sunday, Starbucks will have B1G1 beverages from 2 - 5. I think we all know where I'll be heading Thursday! A nice warm Chai will be the perfect afternoon treat.

Check your local Starbucks to make sure they are participating and then enjoy!

Might also be a nice treat if you plan on any holiday shopping this weekend.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Fun week of dinners planned - and mostly things I already have, so the shopping trip should be light this week:

Monday - dinner for my son's birthday, so wherever he picks
Tuesday - spaghetti, broccoli, bread
Wednesday - date night
Thursday - pizza (my daughter is reading a book on pizza in school this day)
Friday - burgers on the grill/ potato fries/ green veggie
Saturday - chipolte BBQ chicken/ mashed red potatoes
Sunday - shrimp with creole sauce and brown rice

Lunches will be leftovers, tuna sandwiches, and maybe a soup one day

Breakfasts will be eggs, pancakes, oatmeal and some pumpkin muffins

Snacks will be fruit, veggies and dips, and whatever is in the pantry - not buying any more processed snacks, so once they are gone, they are gone!

For more great menu plans, check out Organizing Junkie!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Almost the weekend! Fiesta Friday!

So glad it's almost the weekend - it's actually been a fun week, but very busy. This weekend we have my little guy's Birthday Party Sunday - he's going to be 4!!! Not so little anymore I guess.

I'm in the mood for kicking off the weekend early, so I'm declaring tonight Fiesta Friday. After work I plan on making up some tacos with some of our yummy grass fed beef and my first attempt at sourdough tortillas - I often make tortillas myself, but these should be much healthier. Hopefully they'll be as tasty.

I picked up a couple of avocados for guacamole and I have a bag of limes for margaritas - should be a fun evening - sometimes just declaring a special day and deciding to have fun creates a great time - give it a try!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Using Birthday deals wisely

Well, as promised, here is my post on how to efficiently use your birthday freebies. If you are like me, you actually ended up with many more than you could (or should use). To get the most bang for the buck, I followed a few "rules" when I redeemed many of them:

1. Only print out the ones you know you'll use - goes without saying that you'll save on ink and paper (plus create less clutter).

2. Evaluate if it is truly a good deal - for example, a free dessert is nice, but if it's with the purchase of an entree and you wouldn't normally go to that restaurant without the freebie, you've just spend $10 - $15 for a "free" dessert you don't want or need.

3. If it's a $ off deal, try to stay very close to the free dollar amount - saving $10 on a $50 purchase isn't a great deal (unless you were going to buy that item anyways), however $10 off a $10 purchase is a great deal - free!

4. Try to map out your shopping so you don't waste time and gas driving all over town.

5. Don't feel obligated to purchase more - this is a tough one for me, I always feel I should "repay" the free item, but I'm working on reminding myself that I only cash in freebies for places I visit throughout the year and do spend money at.

So, how did I apply these principles? Here's my day:

I started out at Starbucks for a free birthday month coffee. I got a Carmel Macchiato - an expensive drink I don't normally treat myself to. I ate an english muffin from home before I left, so didn't need to make an additional purchase.

After Starbucks, I ran a few errands, and near where I was headed was one of the stores that sent out a $10 gift card (Occasionally Yours). I used it to purchase a $12 Vera Bradley coin purse that matches my beach bag (place for id's, money, etc.). So, it cost me less than $3 out of pocket - which I was pleased with since the resale on Vera is great so when I tire of it, I'll sell it for about what I paid for it.

Next stop was JCPenney's as I had a $10 off $10 coupon (not birthday) and I purchased a clearance top and a sale pair of pants for my son. $2.93 out of pocket and he needed the dress shirt for church.

It was getting close to lunch, so I went to Moe's Southwest Grill and used my free birthday entree coupon. I ordered water to drink - which is what I would have ordered even without the coupon. Cost was $0.

After lunch I went back home, and later that evening after we put the kids to bed (with my MIL watching them), my DH and I went out to Bonefish Grill for a drink in the bar. While enjoying our $5 cocktails (special in the bar), we had a free order of Bang Bang shrimp using my birthday freebie. This is a place we go regularly for drinks and appetizers, so it was a nice treat to keep it under $15 including tip for a change.

There are still a few coupons I'll use, although many of them I won't - if I used everything I was sent I'd spend a lot of unecessary money out of pocket (and be eating a lot of dessert). The few left I plan on using are:

Free coffee at Borders Bookstore
Free dinner at Benihana - my husband will get sushi, my daughter a kids meal and we'll still have food to take home!
$10 off $10 at World Market - I'll probably use this to buy coffee next Wed on their double stamp day since I need coffee anyway!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Disposable Lunch Kit $19

Jasmere has a fantastic deal today - Jasmere is kinda like Groupon except that as more people purchase, the price goes down. Right now, you can purchase a $42 Kids Konserve lunch kit (includes cotton sack, cloth napkin, stainless steel beverage bottle, reusable sandwich wrapper and two 5 oz. stainless steel food containers) for only $19! If enough people buy by noon EST tomorrow, the price will go down even more. This is super cute and would make a great Christmas gift for a kid (or their mom!).

Shipping is $7.95 per kit.

I'm planning on picking up one for my daughter - she takes her lunch most days and we could definitely get our use out of this deal!

Check it out! Jasmere

(the links go to my referral page - if you aren't comfortable with that, please feel free to go straight to the main site and sign up that way)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Green Tomato Casserole

Well, this turned into a winner - it's a great way to use up some of those green tomatoes sitting on your counter. I'm not sure where I originally got the recipe - a magazine or website, it's been in my "to try" folder for quite some time. I did make quite a few changes for our tastes:

Green Tomato Casserole

3 strips of bacon
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 - 6 green tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan or mozzarella
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (or Panko)
1 T. butter, melted
handful fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. cook your bacon in a skillet, reserving some of the fat
2. Carmelize the onions in the same skillet, then crumble up the bacon and add it back to the skillet.
3. Place a layer of tomatoes in a baking pan (8x8 is about right), add a layer of onions and bacon, tomatoes, onion and bacon and then one last layer of onions.
4. sprinkle the bread crumbs, cheese and melted butter over top.
5. sprinkle on the thyme and salt and pepper to taste

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cover with foil if it starts to burn on the top.

I didn't need to add much salt due to the bacon, so season carefully and enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Some yummy dinners on the menu this week - lots of comfort food, and we got our 1/4 cow on Friday, so a bit more meat than usual for this week:

Monday - chili, cornbread
Tuesday - roast chicken, green tomatoes/cheese casserole (if it's good I'll post it), biscuits and homemade apple butter
Wednesday - out for my birthday!
Thursday - mexican chicken soup, apple pie
Friday - steaks on the grill, salad, veggies and dip
Saturday - birthday party for friend - I'll take some type of appetizer
Sunday - fish, veggie, sourdough bread (whatever is on sale and looks good at Whole Foods)

Pretty balanced, and I should get some good chicken stock from the chicken which will be nice as I'm starting to run low. If the casserole and the mexican soup turn out tasty, I'll share the recipes later in the week.

Check out Organizing Junkie for more great menus - and check my previous post for some inexpensive organic food - today only!

Nature's Prime Organic $75 for $35 today only

Great Groupon today - for only $35 you can get $75 worth of Organic food delivered to your door. Sounds like a great way to try out some new items, or stock up on the things that never go on sale! You can't use it until November 6th and it expires May 5th, so plenty of time (I'm thinking about my holiday baking).

Check it out!