Sunday, August 31, 2014

meal planning/grocery budgeting (4)

I am so proud of myself for not only getting through week#1 of eating better and being more organized, but actually enjoying it! I also did much better this week with our grocery budget. I stuck to the breakfast menu, and had no problem eating yogurt w/ granola each morning. I don't eat a lot for breakfast, but usually when I do it's toast with butter....and/or cheese (I really love butter and cheese), the yogurt was definitely healthier. I have also done better with the fruit eating. While I LOVE veggies, I have to really make an effort to eat enough fruit. It really helped having it ready to go in single serve containers. Let's just say I've had my weekly fruit allowance this week!


Lunch has gone well too, although I didn't start until Thursday with the planned lunches. We both love the Pita Pizzas, but Peter wasn't a huge fan of the turkey & cheese wrap on Friday. I thought it was pretty tasty, but I'll try to switch that up a little. I plan to continue through part of next week with the pizzas/wraps, until my stuff is used up. More fruit and/or a few chips on the side, which I also separated into single servings.



I started working on planning a dinner menu. Last week, I concentrated on healthier choices and portions. We had already started this summer with just having a meat and one side, usually just a vegetable. We are trying to cut back on potatoes, noodles, and rice to a few times a week instead of every meal. We LOVE potatoes! I pretty much went day by day this week though. Peter asked for Swedish Meatballs one day, which I served with Brown Rice (something we never eat), steamed broccoli on the side and yesterday, we had Steak Packets (recipe below) and squash w/onions. We've also given up sweet tea for awhile....sigh!! :0(

So, this week was big.....we started actually eating breakfast every day, (even though a small one), I cut out butter, cheese, and white bread and choose healthier options for breakfast, we are more fruit, chose healthier lunch choices, cut back on starch sides with dinner, and a biggie, NO sweet tea this week.......major changes for us!!

Today, I'll plan out this weeks meals and make a list for the grocery store tomorrow. I have lunch taken care of for most of the week, and I have breakfast planned.

I not sure if it's all in my head or not, but I actually do feel better. Now, to keep it up!!


Recipe......
Steak Packets: cut steak into pieces ( I use round steak or cube steak). In a large piece of foil, layer steak, onion slices, and mushrooms. Pour Worcestershire sauce over meat and veggies, then season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Wrap tightly and put on baking tray. Cook for 1-1/2 hours @400 degrees. I make individual packets for each person. Serve with steak sauce. Delish and super easy!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

##tbt-moms tag along


##tbt #seniortripmoms #classof2013 #dreamingofdisney
#WDW #cantwaittogoback 


meal planning / grocery budgeting (3)

Week #1- Lunches

Starting a little late in the week, but I'm determined to do better with meal planning. I decided to alternate two lunches per week since Peter will be eating it too. Peter picked up some whole wheat pita bread yesterday, so Pita Pizza it is! My alternate lunch will be a wrap.

Yesterday, I divided single servings of the tortilla chips (that I had used with the Chicken Tortilla Soup) into ziploc bags and filled a few individual cups with salsa (also on hand).
I cut up the rest of the fresh pineapple and few other stray pieces of fruit in the fridge and made several single servings in plastic containers. 

Today, it only took a few minutes to fix lunch! And it was so good! :0)

Pita Pizza:  On a microwave safe plate, top Pita bread with a little pizza sauce (which I also had on hand), and a little mozzarella. Microwave 1 minute (or until cheese melts). Sprinkle with oregano. You can add other toppings too! Lunch in minutes! Chips w/salsa & orange slices on the side.

Tomorrow, I'll fix a wrap, more fruit, chips w/salsa, or carrots w/ranch. I really love the feeling of being prepared, eating healthier/less,  and saving $$......Hopefully, I can stick with this and get into a routine! Oh, btw.....Peter loved lunch too! :0) :0)

Up next......Dinner!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made this today and it was delicious!! Here's the recipe:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I used 3 chicken bouillon cubes + 3 cups hot water)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 red onion - diced
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 T. minced garlic 
  • 3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tomato - diced
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
Directions
  • In large pot, whisk together chicken broth, canned tomatoes, diced onion, chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic, cilantro, corn, and beans, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add raw chicken breasts, cover with lid and cook on medium heat 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Remove chicken and shred. Return shredded chicken to pot and simmer until ready to serve.
  • I topped with shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips. Also good with guacamole, sour cream and diced tomatoes.
I totally forgot pictures, this one is from Pinterest.
One Pot Wonder: Chicken Tortilla Soup | Inspired healthy organized

meal planning/grocery budgeting (2)

When I get something on my mind, I tend to get a bit obsessed. I planned this week's breakfast menu and bought enough for the week. I was very happy that this week's breakfast only cost me a little over $1.00 per day! I was even anxious to eat breakfast this morning. :0)


Up next, lunch. Since Peter normally comes home for lunch, I need to consider what he likes too. My lunch of choice is a turkey sandwich, but I pretty much eat whatever's in the fridge. There are also many days during the summer, I get busy at work and skip lunch. (hmmmm......rarely eat breakfast, skipping lunches.....why am I not skinny???)

While I could probably eat the same thing all week, I know Peter won't. For lunch, I'm going to plan two choices, and he can fill in with a can of soup if he gets tired of the same thing. He prefers soup anyway, so I'll keep a few extra cans on hand. I started pinning some lunch ideas, and here are a few of my favorites. (All photos below were taken from Pinterest). So many awesome ideas there!!

Pita Pizza 




Salad



Deli Meat & Cheese Wraps/ Sandwiches





I'll add fruit/veggies/chips or pretzels on the side.

Now to plan....shop....save.....and get organized for lunch.....but I'll start tomorrow since I'm going out to lunch with my Mom and nephew today!! :0)


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

meal planning/grocery budgeting (1)

Another area of disorganization for me is in the food area.....all of it.....the not planning out a menu, having an unorganized pantry, the lack of being prepared......I'm spending lots of money on groceries each week, and the freezer & pantry are always stocked (well, pretty much so), but since I don't have a plan, I don't use up the food on hand before buying more. Another thing I'm guilty of.....ex. I'll buy celery and use it for one recipe, then I end up tossing out the rest of it weeks later. I need to start planning more meals for the week that use similar ingredients to make sure I use everything up.

Menu planning and budgeting for groceries is something that I've gone back and forth with since we first got married. In the early years, I was an avid coupon user and refunder. I was very proud of how much money I saved on groceries and how much free stuff I got and how much  money I actually made from refunding/rebating (I mean ALOT)! I have always been a meal planner throughout the years, but somehow get too busy to stick with it. Since I've been working at the b&b, I have done much better at menu planning, but that is normally during the winter months when I'm home all the time. Summer.....not so much. I do like having a menu for the week, I need to get back to Menu Plan Monday.


With Nathan working away from home two weeks out of the month, it should be easier to plan meals and we should be spending less on food. Unfortunately, I'm not doing very good on either of these. So, that's my new goal.....plan more....spend less.....get organized!

I'm starting with breakfast. Nobody really eats breakfast at our house, except for me, and it is usually something light. Problem is, I still by several boxes of cereal, waffles, scrapple, bacon, eggs, bagels/muffins......most of which get opened and half eaten.

I'm trying out an idea Mom gave me for cutting back. Instead of buying stuff for several different breakfasts for the week, plan on eating the same breakfast all week. Buy only the items you will use and enough for the entire week. Of course, if you are big on breakfast, you will probably want a variety, but I think this will work great for me!

I'll plan my breakfast around what's on sale each week, but this week I'm doing yogurt w/ granola (and a serving of fruit?) I've gotten on a yogurt kick, but like adding a spoonful of granola to it. I really love the Chobani Greek Yogurt Flips, but they are more expensive, so I'll do my own.

Week #1- Breakfast

*yogurt x 7

*box of granola (there will be lots left- can be put in the freezer until needed for another week....)

*fruit x 7 (if not eaten for breakfast, I'll use with lunch/as a snack/or freeze for smoothies later)

*One container of juice and one gallon of milk per week..... (until Nathan is home!
I measured out the granola in these little cups from Wal-Mart. I put the rest in a Ziploc bag to store in the fridge for later. I also had a half a bag of leftover almond pieces that I added to the granola. 

That's a much simpler grocery list! :0)


next.......LUNCH

Sunday, August 24, 2014

beach walk....

I knew it was the perfect day to finally finish our summer bucket list! We've been waiting for a cool day and time off from work to coincide, and today was the day. It took us a little over an hour to walk all the way to the sand bar and back, stopping along the way to get some really good pictures.

This is our third summer doing a bucket list and we have had lots of fun again doing it. I wish I had been more insistent about doing a bucket list when the boys were little. I can honestly say that Peter enjoys it as much as I do. He used to automatically say no to doing things like bucket lists, but it's funny how he is the one who pushes to complete it.

We haven't walked the entire beach in YEARS! It has changed so much. I think it would be fun to compare the changes each year. We should definitely make it a yearly tradition.

Again, I highly recommend making a bucket list for summer (or all seasons) to do as a family or even as a couple. It's not only fun, but we have some great memories from our summer too!!!

Here are pictures from today......
















{pineapple ice}

Our summer bucket list is almost complete......we finally made a batch of pineapple ice on Friday and Peter is in heaven. He LOVES anything frozen and icy. He has been known to eat a bag of popsicles or a box of kool-pops in one day! Pineapple Ice is his favorite though, and while he buys lots of Pear's Pineapple Ice all summer, he also asks to make a batch at home. I'm not as big a fan of frozen treats, but I must admit, the pineapple ice was yummy!

I dug out my old recipe books and decided on this one:

1 large can Dole Pineapple Juice
1 can water
1 (20oz.) can crushed pineapple-undrained
1 can water
1 large can orange juice-thawed
1 can water
juice of one lemon
2-3 cups sugar (sweeten to taste)

Mix together well and pour in container. Freeze (stirring every few hours for a better consistency). Yummm!!


Almost done.....just need to take that loonnnggg walk down the beach! 
Today feels like the perfect day for it!! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

like/want/need

My pantry is in desperate need of being organized! I want to buy some pretty baskets and containers and put a label on everything....

{like}
I love everything about this pantry.....the labels, the clear glass jars w/silver lids, the flat clear containers that stack, and the white bins on top.
{want}

love this pantry....I like the wire bins, the clear containers with snap on lids, the labels, and all the little cubbies. Great space!!

{need}

I really just need to start somewhere on this little organizing project.  My "pantry" is actually spread out all over my kitchen. I have a tall pantry cabinet with crackers/cereal/ snacks/bread in the top part of it, a pie safe that holds mostly plasticware/storage containers (that really need organizing too!) and a few food items, a couple of shelves of one of the cabinets holds baking supplies/spices, and the bottom of the microwave cabinet holds canned/packaged goods. I want to corral all food together and organize. I need to buy some nice containers and just get started!!!






and I need one of these to hold my Tide Pods in the laundry room....


photo sources: Pinterest and Crate & Barrel

Friday, August 22, 2014

stuffed peppers

Haven't had these in awhile....
Stuffed Peppers

1 lb. ground beef
1 (16 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup rice (not instant)
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 onion- diced
4-5 green peppers
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4- 1/2  tsp. red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste


-Cook rice according to package and set aside.
-Brown ground beef, drain and set aside.
-Wash peppers, cut off tops, clean out and put in greased baking dish.
-Dice onion and tops of peppers (minus stem) and saute in olive oil.
-Add sesonings.
-In large bowl, mix together beef, onions and peppers, rice, tomato sauce,
and parmesan cheese.
-Fill peppers (bake any left over rice mixture in a ramekin).
-Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
-Bake @ 375 for approx. 25 minutes.

*Peppers will freeze well if you have leftovers!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I knew it would happen sooner or later.....after watching tons of videos this week of the ALS ice bucket challenge, Peter and I were challenged to do it. Nathan nominated me, but being the wimp that I am, I chose to donate instead. Peter, on the other hand, is always up for a challenge and decided to do it after being nominated tonight. Here is the video:

video
 
and check this out.....I would love to do this!!
 
Walk to Defeat ALS®...Salisbury, MD 10/18/14.  Please consider making a donation!  Thanks:)
Salisbury MD---October 18, 2014

grilled sausage w/veggies

A favorite [easy dinner] for Peter and I.....grilled sausage w/ veggies.

Line a grill pan with foil (or use a disposable foil pan). Rub with olive oil, then layer sausage (cut in slices), onion and green pepper- cut in strips, and squash - sliced. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Grill about 15-20 minutes, turning frequently with tongs. (This is also delish with fresh pineapple! ) Add a baked potato on the side and you've got a delicious and easy dinner in minutes!