August 25, 2017

Goodbye Spongebob! (Thrifty Find)

While my daughter and I were out today we scored a free small stand. Yes, it is Spongebob Squarepants themed. But not for long! I cleaned it all off and got it ready to paint.


I began with the top since I needed to get rid of his face looking at me. I opened all my windows and had fans running but the paint I used did not have a strong smell anyway. It was just simple white paint you would use on an apartment wall. Maybe not for furniture but it worked! After three coats I no longer saw his face and could move on.

July 26, 2017

Christmas In July Thrifty Find

At the library today and the local Salvation Army my daughter and I came across a few thrifty finds. Our first stop was the library. The first find is a Beauty and the Beast Original Broadway Cast Recording CD for $0.50! My daughter loves it!

April 30, 2017

Yummy-Yum-Yum Applesauc-ium


My daughter tried it and decided to name it. Having her a part of the recipe, or recipe naming process, is always fun! (If she had her way more sugar would have been used in the recipe.)

Ingredients:

The Honey Bee Sandwich



Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 pounds of beef pub style extra lean shaved steak
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dried minced onions
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 cup of barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup of spicy brown mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • lemon

April 17, 2017

Will Always Amaze Me

Today my daughter turns ten, the big 1-0. With it, comes a sense of reality of time, confusion of emotions and the perpetual worry. Growing up I never really saw myself as a mother due to some personal experiences. My goals were not family oriented, instead I buried myself in books, hid in them to escape the world. When I went to college, again burying my nose in books and rarely taking interest in men, I suddenly looked up one day and there was a man. A man who was interested in me. Over time, we fell in love and got married.

April 10, 2017

Slow Cooker Fall Soup



Recently, I posted a video about the following recipe (click here) and realized I should have it down in written form as well.

You will need: 
  • A slow cooker (crock pot)
  • 1 small can beef broth (preferably with reduced sodium) 
  • 6 frozen meatballs 
  • 1/2 to 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 to 2 cups butternut squash cut into chunks
  • half a small zucchini cut up
  • half a yellow squash cut up
  • 2 Roma tomatoes cut up
  • half a small onion chopped up
  • 2 stalks of celery cut up
  • a couple dashes of McCormick Perfect Pinch All Purpose Salt Free Seasonings
  • a little butter
  • dash of pepper
Procedure:
  1. Place broccoli, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash and frozen meatballs in slow cooker.
  2. Add the can of beef broth (do not add water)
  3. Cover and set slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours. (Soup may be done before then)
  4. At about 3 hours in, remove meatballs and cut into fours then place back in slow cooker. 
  5. Saute onions with a little butter and a dash of pepper in a pan on the stove.
  6. Uncover slow cooker and add the McCormick seasonings, onions and cut up tomatoes. 
  7. Recover slow cooker and continue cooking for two hours. 
  8. Enjoy with pasta, rice or on its own. 
*If you want more "broth" you can add a can of water to it at the beginning. 

Single Serve Roasted Potatoes


You will need:
  • 7 small yellow potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper seasoning
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasonings
  • Dash of Salt


April 08, 2017

Spring Cleaning: Laundry Area

Part of spring cleaning for me was tackling the spot above my washer and dryer. It was just a mess to me and I have made it a goal that throughout 2017 I would finally get my home in order. The process is to start small and tackle a section at a time. This was an area I felt I could do quickly.


On my washer, which you can't fully see, were more items, some of which I had stored on the shelf as well. I had been eyeing these pretty blue bins from my local Dollar General for a couple weeks. They cost $4.00 a piece and I finally conceived myself to buy three since they obviously "spoke" to me.


The end result is one I am very happy with. Each bin has a label to let me know what I am storing in there. I used name tag holders I had on hand which I can easily switch the yellow tag (which is a post-it) out if I change up items stored.

The plan is to keep the tops of the washer and dryer clutter free by only keeping what I need to access when doing laundry: laundry detergent and dryer sheets. I make my own laundry detergent which lasts a very long time, anywhere from 6 to 12 months, and costs under $20.00 to make.

I purchased a small flip top storage container to hold the some of the detergent on the dryer and stored the rest in one of the bins. For now, I store tissues and cough drops in one bin, paper towels and miscellaneous in another and the final bin contains the extra laundry items.

Some of the items originally on the shelf have been re-purposed elsewhere in my home and others have found their way into either the donate pile or tossed.

What are your plans for spring cleaning?
If you are looking for motivation check out the following Youtube Channels which have and will help me on my journey to being more organized.


Now onto the next project!



April 07, 2017

Shaved Steak Hoagie



Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of beef pub style extra lean shaved steak
  • 1 cup College Inn beef broth
  • 1/2 cup of sweet petite baby carrots chopped
  • 1 cup of a green pepper chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of dried onions
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasonings
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of seasoned meat tenderizer
  • 1 - 4oz can of sliced mushrooms
  • Sub or Hoagie Rolls
  • Cheese (I picked Provolone) 
Directions:
  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Place green pepper, carrots, mushrooms and garlic in a bowl
  3. Heat a big frying pan or skillet over medium high heat
  4. Once heated, add meat and dry ingredients
  5. When meat is almost all the way cooked add the veggies and garlic. DO NOT ADD BEEF BROTH YET
  6. Cook veggies to desired constancy (I like a little crunch still left on mine.)
  7. Add the beef broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  8. Uncover and continue simmering for 5 minutes. 
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Assemble your hoagie roll with your choice of cheese and any dressing you choose. Add mixture and enjoy!
I topped mine with a little ranch dressing. 

Savory Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken




Ingredients:
  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/2 cup grape jelly
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
  • Cut up chicken into quarters
  • Place in slow cooker (I used a 1.5 quart capacity one)
(I defrosted my chicken some that is why it looks like that.)
  • Combine rest of ingredients in bowl


  • Pour over chicken and stir 

  • Set slow cooker to low and cook for 6-8 hours depending on the slow cooker size. This was done in around 6. If you are making a bigger amount, add extra time.
  • You will know it is done when you can shred (pull apart) the chicken easily with two forks while in the cooker. 
  • Careful put into a bowl and serve over rice, as part of a sandwich, in a wrap or on its own. 

Hope you like it!





April 06, 2017

Quick and Easy Tuna Salad



Ingredients:
  • 1 pouch of Tuna Fish 
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • Half a peeled and cut up medium size cucumber
  • Half an orange pepper
  • 1 cup of pasta (cooked al dente)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Lite Kraft House Italian Dressing
  • Dash of salt and pepper (optional)
Directions:
  1. Cut up all veggies to desired size
  2. Cook the pasta as instructed on the box to get "al dente" or preferred texture
  3. Run cold water over pasta and drain before mixing ingredients
  4. Enjoy!


      


Pepperoni Chili


To me, this has a little more spice to it than the others I have made. First time trying a Green Cubanelle Pepper which is mild but not as mild as a Green Pepper, have you tried it before? Also, first time adding brown sugar to chili. I hope you like it!

You will need:
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 medium Green Cubanelle Pepper (about 1/4 pound) chopped
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms, finely chopped (I used food processor)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 a medium Vidalia Onion, chopped
  • 1-24 oz jar Barilla Chunky Traditional Sauce
  • 3 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1-15.5 oz can of black beans, drained
  • 1- 5oz package of Mini Pepperoni
  • 100% Extra Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Directions:
  • Saute veggies with a little 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt & pepper
  • While sauteing, place sauce, brown sugar and chili powder in slow cooker, mix well
  • Set the slow cooker on low 
  • Add veggies to slow cooker when done then cook ground beef and add to slow cooker along with mini pepperoni and black beans 
  • Stir well 
  • Cook 2-3 hours 
  • Enjoy!
Don't forget to share! 

March 26, 2017

Mint Nut No Bake Cookies



Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Walnuts 
  • 2 cups Emerald Cocoa Almonds Chopped (in food processor)
  • 1 package Mint Chocolate Chips
  • Gulf Wax (about an inch by inch square) 

Kickin' Berry Kiwi Smoothie



My daughter helped in the creation of this recipe and I received a thumbs up!

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup of sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup of sliced kiwi
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup of 2% milk
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • ice 

Kale Alfredo





You will need:
  • 2 1/2 cups Kale
  • 1 1/2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 cup (dry) Penne Pasta, like Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains
  • 1/2 cup  of a Light Alfredo sauce, like Prego Light Homestyle Alfredo
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
  • 3 tsp Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil, I used Pompeian brand 
  • Dash of salt and pepper

March 21, 2017

Italian Sausage Chili


You will need:
  • 1 pound ground beef (90% lean 10% fat)
  • 1 pound ground mild Italian sausage 
  • 1 - 24 oz jar of Old El Paso Mild Thick & Chunky Salsa
  • 1 - 4 oz can of mushrooms
  • 1 - 15.5 oz can of dark kidney beans
  • 1 - 15.25 oz can of black beans
  • 4 TBSP of chili powder
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • A slow cooker

March 16, 2017

Creamy Chicken With Rice


Ingredients:
  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins
  • 1 -14.5 oz can of petite cut diced tomatoes-drained
  • 1/2 cup Lite Ranch Dressing
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Cooked white or brown rice. 
  • Salt and pepper 

Broccoli Tuna Casserole


Ingredients:
  • 1 can of sweet peas (15oz) drained
  • Half of a 12 oz package of wide egg noodles 
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) of cream of broccoli
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) of cream of mushroom
  • 2 cans (5 oz each) of Starkist Albacore Tuna Fish, drained.
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of broccoli cuts  *If you really like broccoli, add an extra cup or two. 
  • 1 tbs dried chopped onion
  • 1/2 tbs Italian Seasonings (pre-mixed blend)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

Bacon Chili



Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef (mine had a 80% lean 20% fat ratio)
  • 1 15 oz can of light kidney beans (I used a reduced sodium)
  • 1 15 oz can Del Monte Reduced Sodium Tomato Sauce 
  • 3-4 Strips of Bacon cut up into small pieces 
  • A half of a green pepper cut up (I cut mine up "chunky".)
  • 1 tablespoon Mc Cormick Perfect Pinch Original Salt Free All Purpose seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of Chili Powder
  • Tabasco sauce (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

March 11, 2017

5 Ways To Get Ready For Spring Cleaning


Spring cleaning is right around the corner! Yikes! I am doing my best to be more prepared this time. I don't think I have ever really "spring cleaned" as most define it. Sure, I can sort through items and purge when needed, along with general housekeeping, but to be focused on making certain my place is completely done, well that's another story.

In the past, I never felt inspired to do a full on "spring cleaning". Honestly, I wasn't the best normal housekeeper anyway. Before my daughter and I moved last summer we lived in a small trailer. Very small trailer. At one point we were a family of three living there before my husband and I separated. Looking back, I don't know how the three of us made it work there for as long as we did. (On a side note, I do contribute where we lived to one of the reasons our marriage ended but I'll save that for another post.) I would try my best but it still didn't look like I had cleaned much and, within a couple days, it would be back to a mess.

Then, the "big" move came last summer like I said. I was determined to do better here than I had there. It worked for a little while. Now as spring is approaching I am certain I will finally get into a rhythm that works for my daughter and I. So, what am I doing to get ready for spring cleaning?

March 03, 2017

Let's "Tide" You Over

Couponing has become a way of life to me, more so in the past few years. Paying "full price" is like saying the dreaded "F" word in my home and getting in trouble for it. Sometimes paying full price is my only option but there has been plenty of times couponing has allowed me to save in one area of my budget so that I can have more for another area.

Also, there's always a great feeling when you get a deal on a product you or someone else uses.  This Monday, during my shopping trip, I was able to score a deal on laundry detergent as a gift to my aunt. This deal required the use of coupons and the Walmart Savings Catcher program.

Tide Pods retail at my local Walmart for $4.47 for a 16 count, the same for Gain Flings.

February 11, 2017

For Single Parents On Valentine's Day and Beyond

My Valentine this year is the most important person in  my life: my daughter.  I often tell her I love more than anything because she is the only one to be the nearest to my heart, to hear its beat, which makes our bond even more special.

She will be turning ten in April and I know my time with my child is precious given how, in a "blink of an eye", she will be an adult. Of course, as with other parents, she will always be my child but the ability for me to fix her problems with a simple hug are slowing drifting away.

This will mark the third Valentine's Day since her father and I separated. I am finally coming to terms with certain aspects of our life now. As a single parent, you want to do more, to make up for what the other parent isn't doing in your eyes.

Stop that.

January 24, 2017

Top 10 Breakup Songs


When going through a breakup, music can become a form of therapy. At least this was the case for me. I turned to music on those lonely nights, I turned to music when I was angry and I turned to music just to have an escape from the overall hurt I was going through when a relationship ended.

Even though time passes, it doesn't mean there isn't songs that don't resonate with me about past relationships. So, what are the top ten songs I would recommend to you?   Here they are in no particular order. (Click on title to listen to song.)