Monday, November 30, 2009

HP TouchSmart Give Away at Jolly Mom


My hubby and I were out pricing computers the other day and he fell in love with the HP TouchSmart 600. Well, I stumbled across a fantastic blog and Jolly Mom is actually giving one of these babies away!! Head over to her blog right now to see what you need to do for a chance to win this awesome computer.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Frugal Friday Tip

Set limits for gift giving

This sounds easy, but I have a hard time doing this. I started shopping early this year and have not kept very good track of what I have bought and how much I have spent. Shame on me.

Also, talk to friends and family about using a set dollar amount. Another idea for families is drawing names. This works very well for large families. No one is burdened down with buying 20 gifts. They are just responsible for one.

What do you do to save money around the holidays?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

French Onion Porkchops


I found this recipe on Alyssa's blog at the beginning of the year. I immediately bookmarked it because it sounded so tasty. I finally got around to making it this evening. Boy, was it yummy!! Here is my adapted version:

6 boneless pork chops (1-1/2 lb.), 1/2 inch thick
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. A-1 Steak sauce (didn't have Worcestershire)
2 boxes of stuffing mix (used Aldi brand)
3cups hot water


Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Add pork chops and onions. Allow to cook for 5 minutes and turn the pork chops. Cook an additional 5 minutes.

Remove pork chops from skillet. Continue to cook onions until golden brown.

Add steak sauce and pork chops back to the pan. Reduce heat to low.

Mix stuffing and water. Spoon around pork chops. Cover and let cook 5-10.

Enjoy!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday- Honey Pecan Chicken

Tuesday-French Onion Pork chops

Wednesday- Waffles

Thursday- THANKSGIVING!!!! (My hubby hates turkey day food which saddens me greatly. I LOVE it. I am hoping to score a meal off someone making it. I hate to cook a ton of food that my hubs won't eat.)

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- Island Chicken

Sunday- Chili with grilled cheese

Honey Pecan Chicken


This chicken was so delish. I could definitely see myself eating this on a salad with some sort of fruity vinaigrette. I found the recipe at Elly Says Opa. The original recipe is Balsamic Honey Pecan Chicken. I did not have balsamic vinegar, so I had to improvise.

4 chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. vinegar
5 cloves smashed garlic
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
salt and pepper

I added 1 teaspoon of Old Hickory seasoning. I know it sounds odd, but I thought it would help take the place of the balsamic.


Mix the honey,vinegar and garlic together. Add the chicken, and rub in the marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for about 20-30 minutes. It's best to marinate over night.

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the bread crumbs and pecans. Cover both sides of chicken with nut mixture.

Place the chicken in a baking dish/pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

The Old Hickory wasn't a failure!! It didn't taste awful. I will definitely use balsamic next time though because I LOVE the flavor. I will also marinate the chicken for longer than 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Frugal Friday Tip

Stop Smoking

There are a million and one reasons to quit smoking. It won't be easy. My hubby has been smoke free for 8 months and I couldn't be prouder.
Cigarettes are expensive and many states are talking about raising the taxes on them even higher. Let's say you are a smoker who goes through a pack a day. If you quit smoking, you will save at least $1500 a year! That's a lot of dough back in your pocket.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free Holiday Cards

I just ordered my 100% free Christmas cards. I cannot wait to get them!! I found the deal on Money Saving Mom. She has instructions on how to get this fantastic deal. The second part of the deal comes from Freebies 4 Mom. You don't even have to pay shipping!!! Hurry over soon and make yours before the deals expire!

Bourbon Chicken

I really need to at least keep my point and shoot upstairs. I took a photo of this dish with my phone. Boy, is that thing crappy!!! I will try harder.

This recipe was DELISH!! My hubby said it is his new favorite all time recipe. He means serious business. I found the recipe on My Kitchen Cafe. Of course, I had to tweak it because I just can't leave well enough alone. The only thing I will do different next time is for go seasoning the chicken. The soy sauce has enough salt in it.

Ingredients:
2lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
a light oil (veggie oil works) just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan
cornstarch (for dusting, optional)

Sauce:
4 garlic cloves minced
1 inch section of ginger minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I think I will add a whole teaspoon next time)
¼ cup apple juice + a splash extra
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon vinegar
½ cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Toss with cornstarch (enough to cover lightly).
Put a skillet/wok over med-high heat.
While you are waiting for the pan to heat up, combine the ingredients for the sauce and set to the side.
Fry chicken. Remove chicken from pan and let drain on a paper towel.
Add sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Add chicken to the sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Huli Huli Chicken

The name for this recipe cracks me up!! I found this recipe on Elly Says Opa's blog. My hubby told me he wanted to try some new recipes and this was unlike anything we have made before.

Go here to check it out.

Mine didn't look quite like that. I didn't let it blacken because I knew my kids would not eat it. The boys thought it was tasty. Grace doesn't like anything new, so she thought it was vomit. I haven't talked to my hubby yet today to see what he thought of it. I thought it was AMAZING. I hope my hubs likes it so I can make it again.

Here is the recipe copied from Elly Says Opa in case you are lazy like me and don't want to click the link. :o)

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup pineapple tidbits/chunks
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 knob ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters (or 4-6 thighs)
1-2 tsp. canola oil

Preheat the broiler. Add the soy sauce through the Worcestershire sauce into a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Rub the chicken with the canola oil and then broil skin side up, about 6″ from the element, for 8 minutes. Flip and broil for another 8 minutes. Brush the chicken with the glaze mixture and broil for an additional 16 minutes or so, flipping and basting every 4 minutes.


I forgot photos. Again. Story of my life. Enjoy!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday- Bourbon Chicken

Tuesday- Grilled Chicken Soft Tacos

Wednesday- Waffles

Thursday- Grilled cheese and soup

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- ???? (Girls' night out and boys' night in. The boys will probably do pizza. Grace and I are eating out.)

Sunday- Chuck E Cheese (Splurging to celebrate Crash's second birthday!!)

What are you having this week?

Happy Birthday, Crash!!

Today is my youngest son's birthday. I don't know where the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday we were feeding him bottles and burping him every 4 hours. Now, he is drinking from big boy cups and sitting on the big boy potty. Here are a few photos from Crash's first two years. I don't have any from when he was a baby. They are on the laptop that died. I hope I am able to recover some of them. Here's my little man:


5 months


5 months


Eating the wrong end of the bottle. :o)

Shaking the movies oFf the shelf.


Trying to behave at Tater's pre-k graduation.


7 months


9 months




1st birthday


First trip bowling


First time seeing monster trucks



First time getting his forehead glued.


My little man two years later.

Here is one of the first videos ever taken of him. He likes the music. The second one shows off his new moves.




HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CRASH! MOMMY, DADDY, GRACE AND TATER LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday- Baked chicken with garlic pasta

Tuesday- Stroganoff

Wednesday- Waffles

Thursday- Bruschetta Chicken

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- ??? Tater and my hubby are going hunting, so who knows what Grace, Crash and I will do. Probably just some pbj's.

Sunday- Huli Huli Chicken

Monday's menu is the same from last week. My hubby really likes that pasta, so I decided to make it again in an attempt to make him happy. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Squeel!!!!!!

Saturday night was among one of the coolest nights of my life. I mean, I have many cool nights, but this one is definitely high ranking. I LOVE Joshua Radin. LOVE him I tell you. I became addicted to his music quite a while ago. I became "friends" with Zac Braff on MySpace and started listening to his music player. Joshua Radin was one artist featured. I instantly fell in love with his music and his voice. He has several songs that have been featured in Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy. He has one song "I'd Rather Be with You" that is played on local radio. I have been listening to this song WAAAAAAY before it hit the radio.

Well, my friends, I was fortunate enough to win tickets to see Joshua Radin and attend his sound check!! I was beyond thrilled. I got to meet him. Sigh. :o) He was super nice, not at all snobby or stuck up. He even sang "Cecilia" by Simon and Garfunkel. I melted.












I know, tons of meaningless photos. I don't care. There were about 11 of us all together. We got to listen to 6 entire songs!! Hello!! Awesome!! He didn't play my absolute fav, but that is ok. We didn't actually stay for the concert. I have SEVERE anxiety and it was really bad that night. I have never been to the Loop and it was a little overwhelming. I'm not good with crowds of people. The show was sold out and there was no seating. I knew that I would not be able to handle it at all. I am a little sad that my nerves got the best of me, but the sound check was enough for me! Oh, and in case you are wondering: he sounded AMAZING live. Sometimes live shows can be disappointing, but not Joshua. I think he sounded better live. :o) Great night.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Frugal Friday Tip

Today's Frugal Friday Tip: Drink more water.

Drinking more water will save you money and calories! How about that for a bonus? I stopped buying sodas, juices, soft drinks, etc. a couple of years ago. In our house, we drink milk or water. Occasionally, I will make some Kool Aid as a special treat, but I use as little sugar as possible. A friend of mine told me they go through at least two 24-packs of soda in a week. If they cut out this soda habit all together, they will save over $600 a year!! To maximize your savings, invest in a water filter so that you will stay away from expensive bottled water.

Do you have a frugal tip?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Santa Baby

So, Christmas is about two months away. In my opinion, I have been a very nice girl and deserve each and every thing on my list. :o) Not really. I'm not that selfish. I'm happy with whatever I get. I'm one of those annoying people who would rather give the perfect gift than get one. I think it is because receiving a gift puts me on the spot and makes me the center of attention. We know how much I LOVE that. Nothing gives me great joy than watching someone I love opening a gift they are so surprised and excited to receive. Just in case Santa was wondering, here are just a few items I would enjoy:


Yep, I want an iPhone. I have posted many times about my cell phone addiction. I just can't help it!!


I really, really want a pair of white gold earrings that I can wear every day. I'm not a snob. I can only wear gold and I prefer white gold. I have a pair of hoops that are great for going out, but I want something smaller.

My bff H gave me this stuff earlier in the year. I'm not sure why. I LOVE the scent. It is probably my all time fav.

Slippers!! I know. I should just buy them myself, but I can't! I don't have a coupon for them!! I want fuzzy purple ones.



I wouldn't mind a new purse/purses. I love all styles, colors, designers. I'm also addicted to purses. My hubby hates it.

I wouldn't mind getting Psych on DVD. I love this show. It's so quirky and silly.

I would also like the first season of Rescue Me on DVD. I love this show too. I got my hubby hooked on it. We could snuggle and watch a marathon......if we didn't have to chase Crash.
I really, really, really want a new lens. I have the "beginner" lens for my camera and I think I am ready to step up to a "big girl" one.





I wouldn't mind some literature on my camera and/or photography. I love to read any how, and I really want to learn more about my camera.

What is on your Christmas list this year??

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I was going to post the entire month's menu, but I lost it. I have no idea where I put my menu, my list and a few other papers. It's a good thing my head is attached or I would be in serious trouble. :)

Monday- baked chicken with garlic Parmesan pasta

Tuesday- French toast and scrambled eggs

Wednesday- Tuna salad sandwiches

Thursday- Waffles and eggs

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- hot dogs and tater tots

Sunday- eggs, hash browns, bacon, cinnamon rolls

Yep, I know what you are thinking. Breakfast food three nights? Number 1: it's cheap. Number 2: it's easy. Number 3: my family LOVES breakfast. I'm trying to go super cheap this month. I went WAAAAAAAAY over budget last month. I was horrible. I am going to stick to my guns and see if I can't do better.

What are you eating??