Saturday, August 29, 2009

This Weeks Menu

This weeks waste was minimal since we ate everything on the list. I had a some leftover parsley, cilantro and celery left over from a few weeks ago that I had to throw out but other than that everything went according to plan.

hot/cold cereal
Banana Blueberry muffins

Pb&J sandwiches
string cheese
granola bars

Enchiladas with beans, chips and salsa
Chicken Cesar salad wraps
Orange chicken and stir fry rice
Pizza with chicken wings and salad
Taco Salad

We should have one night of leftovers and one night Adam will be out of town so I will just throw together whatever for dinner. If you haven't noticed lunch is pretty much always the same for us. We very the type of sandwich sometimes but the rest remains the same. Simple is better when it comes to lunch.

How much prep time do you spend trying to figure out what your going to do for the week meal wise? Planning, shopping, preparing in advance?

Recipe of the Week

This week I made my first batch of homemade Spaghetti Sauce. I would say for how simple it was it was amazingly yummy. It was also very cost effective. I made meatballs in addition to the sauce and it will create three meals for us. First night with the spaghetti, then meatball subs and then I froze the remainder to serve another night.

Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs
2 cans (28oz each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (12oz) tomato paste
1-1/2 c water, divided
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp grated onion
1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
2-1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp minced garlic, divided
3/4 tsp pepper, divided
1 bay leaf
6 slices day old bread, torn into pieces
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 lb ground beef

1) In a Dutch oven, combine tomatoes, tomato past, 1 c water, sugar, grated onion, oregano, 1-1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 1-1/4 hours.

2) Meanwhile soak bread in remaining water. Squeeze out excess moisture. In a large bowl combine bread, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and remaining salt, garlic and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into the size meatball you like, I prefer 1 in.

3) Place meatballs in a shallow baking pan. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until no pink. Transfer to spaghetti sauce, simmer until heated through, stir occasionally. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Most would say it's easier to buy the canned sauce and I would agree but theirs nothing that tastes as good as the home made variety!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Losing that Weight

So today's the end of my first full week trying to lose the weight. Again.

It was not too bad. I wasn't great but I didn't expect to be. I wanted to ease myself into the process. I didn't get on the scale to judge my progress because I don't want this to be a "weight issue." I just want to be healthy, their is too much focus on the number. What I want it is to just be OK with what I'm serving my family every night and what I'm doing to keep my body healthy.

Everyone always talks about the stewardship of money which I think is very important but people don't really talk about stewardship of you body as much. Gods dwelling place is inside of me and I don't want him living in a rundown shack I want to make sure he's at least hanging out in a nice 2 bedroom condo with all the fixings. The Lord knows that I've tried to lose weight many times but its always been without him, this time I trying to make sure its with him, hopefully that will make a big difference.

A girlfriend of mine pointed out that I was making brownies this week and that wasn't exactly health conscious food. She's right its not. I chose to eat a small portion of anything I want to, depriving myself is never a smart move I always go back to eating the deleted food in a large portion when my self control wanes. Deleting any food item or group of items is not balanced or healthy, in my opinion its best to learn how to incorporate all foods into your diet while maintaining control. Unless of course your diabetic or some other disease which cause items to be deleted then you have to work with whats allowable for you body.

Something Different today...

Last week when I was out with a girlfriend I mentioned to her that if you aren't vigilant then life just passes you by. I noticed this because while I was cleaning my house I kept getting a sense of deja vu, it was as if the interceding week had never even occurred. So this week I made it my mission to DO something different, no matter how small it was. I needed a change.

I decided to do a hike! I'm not in the greatest shape yet so I was a little worried to try anything too rugged. So I chose one that I didn't think would be much of a challenge; it's just down the street from my apartment and it starts next to a del taco.

At first when I got out and started with what I thought was the beginning of the trail I was quickly disappointed because it made a sharp circle into a "zen" garden with a few benches and butterfly art pieces. I was sad so I packed Isabella back up in the car and started to drive to the lake. I didn't get very far because not more than 10 yards up the street was the trail head. So I parked at the nearest center and began my exploratory hike at Oso Creek Trail.
( You can use this link to check out my hike and others near you. I enjoyed myself and I got to experience something different besides my normal lake walk.

God said he wanted us to live life abundantly, I think he would want to make sure we all got to experience something new on a weekly basis. Don't be passive, hoping for new experiences to land in you lap we are all creature of habit. If you don't go out and try new things, life experiences will pass you by.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grocery Shopping

Went shopping yesterday and I did pretty good. I spent $70.90. I didn't want to spend over $70 so I did good. We also had to make a trip to Cost Co. for some beer. That added to are total for the week with an additional 24.13. Still doing good for the month. I still have $75 for next week. Yippee! Maybe I will actually stay within the food budget this month. I never seem to be able to stay within it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This Weeks Menu

Last weeks menu went fairly well. The steak in my fajitas didn't get tender enough so those weren't that good. I had to throw those away but for the most part dinner went well.

This weeks menu is:
hot/cold cereal

PB&J sandwiches
string cheese
granola bars

Crispy chicken cutlets w/ egg noodles (leftover from last week)
Tuna sandwiches w/ salad
Baked Chimichangas w/ beans and rice
Hawaiian baked chicken w/ stir fry rice
Spaghetti & meatballs w/ garlic bread
meatball sandwiches

Candy Crunch brownies

I want to hit below $70 for groceries this week. Hopefully I'll be able to pull it off. Only a couple of the dinner I need to buy items for. Since dessert and one dinner I already had the items to from last week.

Recipe of the Week

Chicken and Rice Dinner

1broiler/fryer chicken, cutup
1/4 to 1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 -1/3 cups water
1-1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
chopped fresh parsley

1.) Dredge chicken pieces in flour. In large skillet, brown chicken on all sides in oil over medium heat.
2.) In a large bowl, combine the next six ingredients. Pour into greased 13in x 9in x 2in baking dish. Top with chicken.
3. Cover lightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until rice and chicken are tender. Sprinkle parsley before serving.

I had to cook this dish an additional 30 minutes so beware. But the rice was super yummy and the flavor of the whole dish is delicious. You can use whichever type of chicken that you please.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Halloween Costumes

Just wanted to take a moment and ask what is up with women's Halloween costumes. It seems as though you can either dress up as a witch, a slut, or a witch who is a slut. I don't get it. Why are men's costumes funny or scary, whereas women have to be provocative?

What started this trend? Did women make the trend popular, where we buying slutty costumes only so the corporations started producing more and more? or did the corporations decide for us that we are only eye candy so they changed the costumes to suit what they deemed appropriate Halloween attire?
The costume to the left was labeled Charm School Dropout. Is that what any female wants to go to a party as. This was the most covered up costume I could find. The rest was basically fetish lingerie.
Would you let your 16 year old wear this out of the house to school? I think not. So why is it ok on Halloween?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Workout

So, I called my girlfriend Christina up this morning and we met up at the lake for my first workout since vacation,which was at the beginning of July. It was excruciating. I don't think it would have been so bad except for my daughters stroller weighs like 20 lbs plus her so going up hills while pushing 40+ lbs sucked. But I feel better now that I did it. I now know what it will feel like if I ever have a heart attack. I can't wait until I am at a point when it doesn't hurt so much to workout.

Does anyone actually enjoy working out? If your being honest, do you get jazzed for your workouts or do you only like the after effects of the endorphins and the way it makes your body look?

I personally can't stand working out, it takes everything I have to actually get my booty out of the car to workout, but once the workouts done and somewhere in the middle of it I begin to enjoy the experience. But always at the beginning it sucks and I don't want to do it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Baby Weight

Oh.... the dreaded baby weight. I was able to shed a large portion of the lbs that I gained with my daughter very quickly due to breastfeeding. I was shocked after I had her, within' like 2 weeks I had dropped the first 20 lbs, then by the time she was 2 months I was down 40 lbs. But that left the last 10lbs of weight for me to work on getting off.

I waited until May before I really started to work at trying to relinquish the last 10 to the diet gods... because I so didn't want to deal with it. Fortunately by my summer vacation trip to Maryland to visit the in-laws I was able to drop 4 lbs which left me with 6 to go. Unfortunately, by the end of that trip I was back up to 10. Now 5 weeks later I am back to 6 lbs left to drop. Which isn't so bad except that I still haven't been able to get focused to try and lose it.

Also, when I got pregnant with Isabella I was trying to lose weight. So just a second ago while I was sitting on the couch enjoying my afternoon cookie I realized I technically have 36lbs to lose because originally I wanted to lose 30 and then I have to add the 6 baby lbs left. While I sat staring dejectedly at the last of my cookie crumbs I wondered if I was going to be able to really focus and finish getting the darn weight off.

I have done weight watchers before but due to a tight budget actually signing up for the program is not a possibility. So now I am going to be conscientious eater and lose this weight. I'm sure we've all made the effort before to lose weight and we all probably only succeed maybe 10% of the time. But I don't want to go to the pool or beach next summer with a roll of baby weight still attached to my middle and dimples where there shouldn't be any. I want to look like the 24 year old that I am.

My cousins, Tessa, Nic and Jen and my Aunt Kim are the perfect example for me. They have all lost the baby weight and look great now. Tessa, especially lately, has been doing outdoor exercise (mountain biking) which is my favorite. I don't think I could do mountain biking because I'm an absolute klutz but I need to start really taking care of my body and lose this darn weight. Plus I need to take greater care in creating dinners that have great taste but less calories. I have a huge sweet tooth since being pregnant so nixing all dessert treats is a no-go but I will try and find ones that are less in calories and fat.

Is there anyone else who wants to try this mission with me? Losing weight is always easier with a friend. We can swap recipes that we find and we can check in on progress every Wednesday. Leave a comment if you want to help each other out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Comleted Grocery Shopping

I never got to go grocery shopping Saturday like I wanted to, so I went this afternoon and I wanted to say that I came out under budget with the help of a store preferred card and a store coupon for $5 off the entire purchase I walked out of Albertsons for $79.89 with tax.

Rice 1.89, Spagehtti Sauce 1.29, Jelly 3.19, Bread 3.99, Salad Dressing 3.69, Cheetos 1.69, Tortilla chips 2.50, No Yolk Noodles 1.29,Black Beans (2) 2.38
Total 21.91

Baking Goods
Chocolate Chips 2.99, Yeast 2.89, Vanilla Extract 5.99, Flour (2) 4.58, Corn Syrup 3.39
Total 19.84

Soda +crv 5.10
Total 5.10

Milk 1% 2.99, Whipping Cream 2.50, 12 Eggs 1.79
Total 7.28

Chicken Thighs 1.0lb 3.71, Blade steak 1.08lbs 3.23
Total 6.94

Bananas 1.13, Peachs 1.97, Limes 1.95, Avocado (3) 5.97, Garlic .50, Onion 1.41, Serrano chile .04, Cilantro .89, Romaine lettuce 2.99, White Corn .50, Bell Peppers(2) 1.58
Total 18.93

Sandwich bags 4.49
Total 4.49

Full Tota(without coupon)= 84.49
43 items
Hopefully we'll have no food waste this week. Some of the items can be transfered over to next week and beyond. But most of all will be consumed this week.
Have any of you tried to list your food like I did this week? I've heard it can help with trying to cut your food bill because you see item and category of where your overspending? It takes a little time to in put (like 5 minutes) on your computer but it may be worth it if you can learn to cut your grocery bill. My groceries are my largest expense besides rent, so it may be worth it for me do this everyweek. I'll try it for a month and see.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This Weeks Menu

So this weeks menu will consist of :

Hot/cold cereal

Pb&J sandwiches
String cheese

Tortellini with bread and salad
Chicken and rice dinner w/ mixed veggies
Steak fajitas bowls with black beans rice and guacamole and chips
Steak fajita salad with leftover guacamole
Crispy chicken cutlets w egg noodles

Candy Crunch Brownies

All right off to the market. I have $250 left in my budget for groceries for the rest of the month. I want to spend $90 or less for groceries this week.
Who uses coupons? How do you stay within your grocery budget?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Joy of Parenting

Last night as I started to go to sleep at 11:00pm my daughter decided to wake up. At first I was annoyed but then I began to remember that God says that all children are a blessing. I have tried to remember this every day when I begin to become tired and run down.

God didn't say that she wasn't a blessing when she wasn't pooping up her back and all over her clothes, or when she bites me while nursing, or when she decides she wants to play at 2:30 in the morning. He didn't say that Isabella was a blessing just between the hours of 9am-6pm when it's convenient for me, I don't get to choose when shes a blessing in my life or what she's doing while she's a blessing. Each and every cry, dirty diaper, midnight wake up call, spit-up down my top, laugh, smile and new skill she learns teaches me how to be a better mom by her blessing me with more patience, perserverance and the ability to find the joy in the middle of it all.

Sometimes it's not always possible to remember that I have so much to be thankful for especially when its been days since I've had more than 4 hrs sleep but everyday I try to look for the joy in the moment. I remember that she's isn't always going to need me for so much, eventually she'll grow up and not want me around; but for now she is dependent on me.

I have been blessed each and everyday with a beautiful, healthy, happy little girl. I can say Amen to that!

How do you remember that your children are a blessing, even when they are having a mega meltdown?

Recipe of the Week

Hawaiian Baked Chicken
Yield 6 servings

12 boneless chicken thighs
2 cans (8 oz each) unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 tsp paprika

Step 1:
Arrange chicken in a shallow baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. In small bowl, combine pineapple, broth, mustard, honey and butter; mix well.

Step 2:
Spoon over chicken; sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 30-45 minuets. or until temp reads 180 degrees.

This was the first time I made this recipe for my family and we really enjoyed it. Its simple to make and very delicious and healthy. You can change the quantity and type of chicken to suit your family. I made it with 2 chicken breasts and cut down on the quantity of the sauce to suit just my husband and I. I made it with fried rice to compliment the pacific islander style of the chicken. Most of the ingredients are normally in my pantry so this was a successful and cost effective recipe.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Grand Debut

I've never posted before, but after reading some very fun and imaginative posts I feel like I can do this too. I don't think too many people will ever read this but who knows maybe my struggle will help someone else in a similar situation. I have been a wife for 2 years 2 months, and a mother to Isabella for 6 months. I plan on writing about my life, on how I plan to use God's sovereign will to navigate my life, while being the best stay at home wife and mother I can be. My family lives on a modest budget and we struggle, but with God, family and friends we try our best to live life abundantly and with love. I hope you enjoy reading about my journey, it may never be called an epic story by most... but it is my life.