Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Storm Juno 2015 baking/cooking and 1/28 Shop-Rite shopping

An interesting row of stormy weather had me home four days in a row.  An unheard of event, even on vacation I am working on something.  Other than updating calendar/voicemail/business facebook page on storm closures, and then completing February newsletter, I was on my own!

I puttered, something I love doing, walking around the house and putting things in order, taking care of scheduling appointments and cutting our pets medication in doses.

I read through a bunch of old magazines, recycling the one's too old to bring to studio (I think November is a bit too old to share in the waiting room) and packing the rest up to bring to the studio.
I did laundry, I cleaned the bathroom, all the kitchen counters and dining room.

I do love what I do for a living/calling, but man did I enjoy a few days of being a housewife.

Here is what I made this weekend



Rosemary Garlic Kefir Sourdough Bread.  I now plan on half of my Kefir production going into bread making.  I like the way the plain dough tastes, but adding a few tablespoons of a garlic/rosemary herb blend took it over the top!  House smelled great as it baked.  Foccaccia Bread at its finest!



My lighter version of Toll House Cookies (a mini batch).  It made 18 cookies.

1 and 1/8 cups of flour
3/8 cup brown sugar
3/8 cup truvia
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
3 egg whites
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips


Broccoli Rabe and Sausage (sausage patties purchased yellow tagged and frozen)  I love greens.  I didn't like the price I paid, (2.99 a pound) but this is part of the price I paid for A) buying off season and B) weather problems out west making all produce even more.   Only one patty was used to season the two pounds of Rabe.  The rest was browned up and refrozen for future meals.

Baked Cod special treat that I have been eating for the last three days.

Sirloin Tips special treat for the DH.  I did taste one forkful.

Zucchini Egg White Quiche, Onion, Ham and Mozzarella Egg White Quiche and Onion, Ham and Cheddar Egg white Quiche.  I used up the last two baggies of diced ham from the freezer and odds and ends of cheese in the meat drawer.

I took a 20.5 lb turkey out of the freezer 11 days ago, putting it into the garage fridge.  It's STILL not defrosted.


I also changed the balance I had left to spend on groceries for the month.  I included the garbage bag purchase in our BJ's trip on Monday, and those are not a grocery purchase.    My balance left to spend on actual groceries is 52.15

Today I went to Shop Rite.  I was hitting myself in the head as I forgot a $5.00 on your next purchase, but since I go to this store almost weekly it will get used way before the expiration.  And surprise surprise, I earned ANOTHER 5.00 off on this trip (from a different company, a welcomed extra)

Today's grocery purchase included 10 yocrunch yogurts ($6.00) for DH, a 16 ounce sour cream, four B and M baked beans, 2 Old El Paso refried beans, 2 Old E Paso salsa, three 24 packs of Poland Spring Water, 4 Betty Crocker Brownie Mix (.88 cents each!)  1 Philly cream cheese block and 2 Barilla white fiber spaghetti (after sale and coupon just .22 a pound!) Total spent on foodstuffs $33.23

For household goods I purchased 2 more Purex, a Brawny Paper Towel, Sparkle Paper Towel and Marcal Toilet Paper.  The Purex will go towards my Savings Star spend $25.00 and earn $5.00 back.  Total out of pocket was 21.67 after coupons but then I received the $5.00 on next order from the paper products....so total spent was really 16.67.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Walgreens Balance Rewards compared to CVS ECB (a problem)


I thought I could use my balance rewards at Walgreens for milk purchases.  I had a bad experience of a rude cashier and uneducated teen assistant manager.  They couldn't tell me why I couldn't use my points to purchase a gallon of 2% milk, a half gallon of organic whole milk and two diet cokes.  They also kept telling me I had no points.  When I showed them the receipt that I had just received from my pharmacy purchase (script) they said I had used all the points.  When I showed them the date and time of the receipt they said I had used all the points somehow in the three minutes from leaving the pharmacy, getting the milk and getting in line for my purchase.  The assistant manager was no help either.  So I wrote to corporate from the parking lot, and when I got home I searched their website, only to find out no dairy.

Unfortunately, they do not allow you to use your rewards on any dairy, or per my discussion with the manager today, no frozen foods, no eggs, and they set limits on how much you can use. I totally understand why it cannot be used for tax and bottle deposits.  However, the limits they set on me today (which was following all the rules) went beyond what the manager was saying, and he couldn't give me any reason.

I found this quite frustrating, as according to their website you can use up to $50 balance rewards.  Today I purchased 4 twelve packs of soda on sale for $10.00 (plus tax and 2.40 in deposits) some beef jerky 3.99 and a total of six Purex priced at $12.00 plus tax.  Total of merchandise was $25.99 plus deposit and tax came to 30.04.  I was told I could use $20.00 in Balance Rewards.  I again asked the cashier I know I have $35.00 worth, why can I not use them?  (DH was with me, and he was silently supportive)  she said right away that she didn't know, but she would call the manager over.

He was pleasant, but couldn't explain why I couldn't use another $5 of my points.  He used the tax/deposit reason which I agreed with....however he couldn't explain why there was a limit on how many I could use on the purchase.   I ended up paying $9.96 out of pocket (which still doesn't add up......)   $5.91 of it was for actual merchandise...........




 At least the free Purex is going towards my SavingsStar purchase $25 and get $5 back.  It will be a money maker if I can purchase the rest of the needed items with Balance Rewards.  Please note that it is registering the sale price, not the presale price as some other deals have done.

I am very disappointed in how Walgreens is running this program.


I have used CVS ECB on dairy. Since the DH and I have four monthly scripts filled at Walgreens and I feel the incentive of having them filled there is crumbling....I'm looking into transferring them to CVS.   For every 10 scripts you get a $5 ECB.  The same deal as Walgreens financially.



As I find I get way more 'deals' at CVS anyway, and I've been having such a problem trying to redeem my balance rewards I will make sure that financially it will be wise to transfer the scripts and then go through with it.

Last purchases of the month grocery budget and household expenses






The last time I shopped I was left with the balances of 19.90 for perishables and 92.89 for non perishables.

If you haven't been reading my goal for January I set a perishable limit of $150 and a non-perishable total of $200 (as it was Shoprite Can Can month).

I decided to combine the two balances as I felt I had done very well.  Balance left for January for grocery budget $112.79.  $11.73 spent on milk and diet coke at Walgreens.

 $63.90 at BJ's wholesale for some things we were out of.  Thomas' English Muffins double pack.  Cream Cheese two pack of 1/3 less fat spreadable tubs.  Cod (for me!) Sirloin Tips (DH had a hankering and this is one item we don't have in our freezer full of local or Zaycon beef) and a huge box of garbage bags.

Total left for January on groceries $37.16.  If I do go to a store again before February 1st it will be for produce.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Amazon Prime on Sale Today Only!





I shop Amazon almost daily.  For my business, for my students, for my household.  I also am an Amazon Prime Member, and though I cannot re-up my membership with this deal, if you are new to Amazon YOU CAN!

I do have an Amazon Rewards card (make sure to pay those off each month!) but I also do alot of shopping with My Points and Swag Bucks gift cards.  (YES!)

What's so great about Amazon Prime?  Free 2nd Day shipping.  Lots and Lots of Free movies and streaming shows.  Free music.  Free kindle lending library.

I sometimes choose NOT to use the 2nd day shipping option in exchange for points to be used for kindle books or music downloads.

Today ONLY you can get a membership for $72.00 a year instead of the $99.00 a year I have to pay.  Here is a link for you to check it out:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/prime/pipeline/prime_gifting_landing?ie=UTF8&ref=Transparentprime

I promise, Amazon is NOT compensating me for this plug, I just truly think it's a great deal and want to share it with my online friends.

There is also a new program called Amazon Pantry that I am just trying to figure out, so will post more about that the first time I purchase from it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Check out the winter survival contest at "Don't Read This; It's Boring

Here is a link...great daily read for you too!  Sluggy really knows here stuff!

http://simpleslug.blogspot.com/2015/01/1st-giveaway-of-2015.html

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Eggs......is this the reason they are so high here on the East Coast?




Photo courtesy of Carrie M., North Branford CT



In my daily reading of my favorite blogs (I know, do I work??...yes ALOT...but I tend to keep busier than most.....and even in downtime of reading I am pacing or folding, or getting ready to teach, or prepping meals, etc.  

Back to eggs. Prices have been slowly increasing.  More and more I see REGULAR prices for a dozen being over three dollars, sometimes almost four dollars for a store brand.  FORGET organic eggs.  It's why I am so appreciative of the eggs I am gifted occasionally from a student.  I also am constantly on the look out for store flyer coupons, savings star, Ibotta, Target Shopping Cart deals on eggs to at least save a bit of money.    I also check BJ's wholesale for their large case of eggs (I did purchase one of these to help with my holiday baking).   The occasional .99 a dozen deal is like finding 'golden eggs!'

Well, in my daily reading of One Hundred Dollars A Month I was directed to read this NPR posting regarding new egg regulations in California.

It seems that the increased egg prices are a trickle down symptom of these new regulations.   You can read this full article here NPR article on egg regulations.

I am totally supportive of chickens living healthy happy comfortable lives.

I won't be grumbling so much about egg prices any more.

Am I staying on household purchases budget this month?

As a refresher, I set a goal for January 2015 of only spending $150 on perishables and $200 on Non-perishables.  Perishables was dairy/fruits/veggies/seafood/GREAT deals.  Non-perishables would include cleaning products/canned goods/paper goods. I set these limits based on full freezers and the Shop Rite Can-Can sale.

As of January 22 my figures are:

Perishable funds left $66.61 and Non Perishable funds left $103.82

Yesterday I spent $7.32 at the produce market on salad ingredients lettuce/pepper/tomato/2 cucumber/package of mushrooms.



At Shoprite I spent $10.93 after coupons on 4 bottles of All Detergent and 4 boxes of Scotties facial tissue.  I also received back a $5.00 on next shopping trip due to the pre-sale price of the All!  Nice triple play!  If I include this kickback into my All purchase that means I paid .44 per bottle.  Not my favorite brand, but cheap is cheap!

The balance of my shoprite purchases were all perishables.  Dairy, Juice, another Cooks Shank Ham for just .99 a pound (limit 1) and fruit.  Total spent 39.39.

I was also gifted a dozen farm eggs from a student.  I plan on tasting one of these eggs this weekend!

Funds left to spend until February 1st:

Perishables $19.90 and Non-Perishables $92.89

So, the question for you is, do I spend it all just to spend it, or do I put it in the savings account?  I admit, I am getting (or already am) addicted to the deal finding and putting money away.


Monday, January 19, 2015

A rare and very frugal pasta dish

We rarely eat pasta in our house (odd for an Italian family, I know).  Since we are eating out of the pantry, and the family is getting tired of Turkey and Ham.  I froze the last of the sliced ham for a casserole in the future (after making and onion and ham eggwhite quiche). and I will also freeze the ham bone for stock.



Back to the pasta.....all items were purchased at Shop Rite

Back at holiday time,  Sorrento Ricotta cheese was on sale for $1.99 a container.  I was lucky enough to get two $1.00 off coupons.  I got two containers for .99 each.   Total 1.98

I always buy Colonna sauce for emergencies when it's on sale for .88 a jar.  I used two jars. Total $1.76

Ronzoni Ziti on special for .88 cents a box.  I used two pounds. Total 1.76

One package of store brand shredded Mozzarella.  $1.47

4 eggs .15 each .60 cents total.

A quarter cup of grated cheese (I'm going to guess) .75 cents.  

Total for two half trays of baked ziti $8.32.  I'm hoping for at least 16 servings.  .52 cents per serving.    

I wrote this before we baked off the two trays and dinner was served. When I got home from work this was what was left of one tray. 


What was left in one tray was enough for me and  my daughter's significant other to have some tonight and perhaps tomorrow.   So I think I was correct in my calculations.  2 servings each male, one for DD and myself.  8 servings per tray.   I am pleased.  

Still one full tray!

Oh, and that quiche I mentioned?   Here is what was left.    I have a hungry household!






Sunday, January 18, 2015

Meals this week Sunday through Sunday

Main Dishes were beef chili with beans (and some leftover refried beans that I had frozen) cod, pork chops (from a whole loin I had prepped myself in December), ham purchased for $1.49 a pound in December (and I will have many more meals out of this ham, and need to make more room in the freezer for prepped packages) turkey breast (last one from the .98 a pound sale).


Side dishes were brussel sprouts, steamed green beans, yellow squash, mashed potatoes, rice, broccoli.

Baking was chocolate chip brownies and two loaves of kefir sourdough bread.

Breakfasts consisted of leftovers (I will eat cod anytime of day) zucchini quiche, dry cereal with milk or Kefir and berry/kale/kefir smoothies.

Leftovers, cheese and dried sausages, turkey sausage and steamed spinach, tossed salad, peanut butter and crackers were lunch sources for the three of us.   Gpa P eats whatever he wants whenever he wants.

I've also made a banana and walnut bread, and turkey soup!

Yum Yum Yum.

I plan on making ham and onion quiche this week, as well as other dishes with leftover ham.

Zaycon will now offer Bacon, Pork Sausage Links and MORE CHICKEN for us here in CT! (contains a referral link)

I have been waiting for bacon and pork sausage to come.  and more Chicken!  Pot Roast, Patio Steaks and Shredded Pork are already available for purchase now.  To read my post about those great products visit http://savingmoneyinnewhavencounty.blogspot.com/2015/01/zaycon-beef-and-pork-coming-back-to-ct.html

Zaycon is really a great way to get US raised products which include hormone free, gluten free, no additives or preservatives and some products come right from the processing locations.  The chicken breasts are so huge that 4 are enough for 16 servings in my household.  Here is the letter they sent me regarding Bacon, Sausage and more chicken!
Zaycon Foods
We Thought You Should Know!
Like us On FacebookFollow us on Twitter

Zaycon Bacon
Zaycon Pork Sausage Links
Zaycon All-Natural Chicken Breast

Refer a Friend!
I do receive $1.00 for each referral that places an order.  If you are interested in purchasing and would like to help me earn a credit my referral link is Ms. Sandie's Zaycon referral link

 
Sign In | Sign Up

  • Our Bacon and Sausage Events are almost here
  • Some events are already selling out, FYI...
  • Guess what sale is opening in February? Chicken!

The wait is really, truly, finally almost over: Bacon and Sausage events kick off all around the country in February! We know we say this a lot, but it's the truth: these events always sell out, and we have a fixed amount of inventory available. So once the Bacon and Sausage sells out, that's that until next time.
Our beloved Medium-Cut, Hickory Smoked Bacon is still just $3.79 per pound, and comes in 36 lbs. cases containing twelve separate 3 lbs. packages. Pork Sausage Links are only just $2.89 per pound, and each 20 lbs. case contains two 10 lbs. packages of Sausage Links.
So now that we've talked about next month's events... let's talk about the sale that's opening in February. Yep, Zaycon Foods' famous super-fresh, all-natural chicken breast is coming back! Events will be open on our website next month, and we'll fill you in with the details about our March delivery dates ASAP, but we thought "Hey, let's share the good news now!" So we did.
See ya in the parking lot!
Team Zaycon

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Grocery and other Shopping January 11 - 18 including Walgreens Balance Rewards deals

Still working from the pantry/freezer, but there are some things I wanted to replenish/replace as well as provide some perishables.   I like to have fish (more than any other members of the household, but I think it's a healthier protein for all of us)

So, today (Sunday January 11) DH and I did some shopping at Big Y and BJ's.

Perishable balance left for month is $147.49 and today we bought Cod 22.57 for two and a half pounds and 3.99 for nine bagels.  Balance left is $120.93

We also bought some snacks for DH lunch and awards watching (it's his favorite TV time of year, and he LOVES his TV) as well as Tazo Chai Concentrate, 8 assorted bottles of Kens Salad dressing (some on sale and some not depending on size..........but it's DH favorite dressing and when I have coupons and a sale I buy as much as I can) and cat food.   $41.52 leaving me a nonperishable balance left of $116.02

Hubby and I have both been dealing with neck and shoulder new old injuries.  I have a disk issue in my neck that effects my noter hand (violin holding hand/arm) and DH is sore from work.  As Gpa P has commandeered the heating pad....DH asked me to look at Walgreens.  As I had a coupon to earn 5000 points if you spent $30, and I was just shy of a $35.00 balance reward in just that amount, I agreed.  I got a very nice shoulder/neck heating pad for 39.99 , as well as a 4 pack of the large Kleenex boxes for $3.99 (less a .50 cents coupon).  Total spent after tax was $42.53.  I now have $35.00 to spend on items in the future at Walgreens.  If you do any Balance Rewards deals please remember NOT to use them to purchase items that you think you will earn more Balance Rewards with.  You won't receive them.  They are quite clear about it, but not all of us read the small print.  The total spent at Walgreen's was not part of my perishable/nonperishable budget, but a household/cleaning/misc expense.

Tuesday January 13th Shop Rite trip Perishable's purchased are 2 cauliflower $5.00 bananas $1.33, three pounds of onions .97, 2 dozen egglands best eggs $3.04 after store sale/coupon/mfgcoupon/ibotta.  2 gallons of milk $5.75 (after ibotta).  Total $16.09.  Balance for perishables $104.84

NonPerishables,  6 campbells soups, 2 dole vegetable soups in cartons, 2 organic vegetable broth and 4 pounds of dominos sugar (.99)  $12.20.  Balance left  for nonperishables $103.82


household/cleaning/misc 4 Arm and Hammer laundry detergent after sale/coupons 4.96 (1.24 each)

BJ's January 14th  Perishable visit  38.23 for celery, frozen berries and kale for smoothies, 4 pack of Egglands Best Just whites, Roasted red pepper hummus, Biggest jug of OJ I have ever seen (3.99) 16 oz of Crab Meat, Herb/Spring Mix.  Balance left for perishables for month $66.61

I almost bought three pounds of ground pork, but remembered the rule, the only protein I am buying this month is seafood/eggs/milk/hummus.  All else would be eat what we already have.  So I put it back.  I also DIDN'T purchase maple syrup.  Though GPa finished what we had (on oatmeal, and not sparingly) and I wanted to use some for a baked bean recipe...........I didn't get it, and I will use molasses that I already have in the house.

Sometimes the victories are in what we DON'T do/purchase.






Saturday, January 10, 2015

Grocery Budget for January and first 10 days of month

Perishable purchases for the month no more than $150.00.  This will include fruits/veges/dairy and fish if I find a good deal.  I did intend on getting some lobster meat (B1G2) at big Y on Wednesday the 7th, but a furnace problem at the studio prevented me from getting there (I read the flyer the last day of the sale)  OH well.  At least we now have a brand new furnace and heat!

 I had a good start using coupons at CVS for milk and cream.  I got a gallon of Garelick (local brand) of 2% milk, a half gallon of Horizon organic skim milk and a pint of light cream for zero out of pocket using coupons and ECB's.

Shoprite non perishable purchase on 1/6.  Broccoli and Onions, $2.41   funds left $147.59


Pantry restock with annual Shop Rite Can Can sale.  Want to spend no more than $200.00 on non-perishables this month.  First trip was January 6th.  

I purchased a case of Tutturoso tomatoes (we now have almost three full of different cuts, this was a case of plum tomatoes.....no more tomato purchases for at least six months) On sale for 7.88, Shoprite coupon for $1.00 off, and then two manufacturers coupons doubled for an additional 2.20 off.  I got a case for just 4.68!  That is just .39 a can!

4 boxes of Special K on sale if you bought 4 or more just 1.50 a box.  Minus a dollar coupon.  $5.00 total or $1.25 a box.  

4 boxes of Wheaties for $7.00 minus $4.00 in coupons.  Total cost per box .75!    

4 boxes of regular Cheerios for $7.00 minus $2.00 in coupons.  $1.25 a box.  

4 boxes of Goya yellow rice $5.96 total. 

10 cans of assorted Shoprite beans (cannellini, white, kidney) $4.90

4 boxes of Shoprite organic vegetable stock and 4 boxes of Shoprite organic turkey stock $11.92.  I like these products, and try to buy them when they are on special at this price of $1.49 a box.  Limit of 4 per variety. 

Total $42.46 balance left $157.54 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Kefir Sourdough Bread

I started with one cup of Kefir and one cup of flour.  Three days later I added two cups of white flour and one cup of wheat flour as well as one cup of water and a tspn of sea salt.  I mixed well and let rise for 8 hours.  



This was the product after baking at 350 for 50 minutes. 





Isn't it beautiful?




I think this will be a weekly addition to our table.  




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Zaycon Beef (and PORK!) coming back to CT *referral link



Zaycon beef AND pork will be in CT in March!    Here is the info, and please consider using my referral link of   https://www.zayconfoods.com/refer/zf289327    (for every person who signs up with Zaycon through my link AND makes a purchase I receive a dollar credit)

I plan on doing the Chuck Roast.  Steaks are to important of a product to DH for me to make such a huge purchase, but roasts I can make the call.  I probably won't do the pork as I prefer to season and cook my meats.  But I am very excited about the Roasts!  Have to make sure we have room in the freezers!


Coming this March and On Sale Now!



USDA Choice Patio Steak
USDA Choice Chuck Roast
Pulled Pork Is On It's Way Too!


It's been a while folks, but Zaycon Foods is finally coming back your way with steak! And not just any cuts: this is USDA Choice beef sourced exclusively from cattle born and raised in the United States. Each cut is prepared fresh but then vacuum-sealed and frozen for your convenience.

Our premium Patio Steaks come in two large and two small cuts per package ranging from 2.5 - 3.5 lbs. Perfect for the grill! Cases weigh approximately 33 lbs. each (in the case of slight weight variations, we will promptly credit your account the difference). Zaycon Foods Patio Steak sells for just $6.49 per pound.

Our USDA Choice Chuck Roast is yours for only $5.79 per pound. We'll deliver cases priced at a 35 lbs. weight (each cut is between 2.5 - 3.5 lbs.) and credit the difference, so you pay for only the exact amount of top quality roast you receive.

Also on the trucks will be a Zaycon Foods classic, our mouthwatering Pulled Pork! Each 20 lbs. case contains four individual packages of our Gold Medal Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork, and it's yours for only $4.49 per lbs. Zaycon Foods Pulled Pork comes fully cooked and ready to heat n' serve.

We know March is still a few months off in this brand new year of ours, but it will be here fast, and our supply is not unlimited. Order your Zaycon Foods steak, roast, and pork soon so we can...

See ya in the parking lot!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dinner tonight



Last night before going to bed I browned off two organic locally raised beef soup shanks for my half of of cow we purchased last June.

I added this meets to my crockpot along with half of an onion unpeeled the end of some celery and the end of the carrot and let it cook on high overnight.

I strained the broth left the meat out to cool the while I ran to the grocery store, and when I returned I added three chopped onions fourchopped carrots and for chopped celery stalks.   The meet I diced up and re-added to the broth as well as the bone marrow.

So Acini Di Pepe pasta will be boiled separately when it's time to serve and people can eat up.


Kefir Granules



So, my friend Margaret and I acquired through free cycle (I found it, we discussed, she picked the items up) and we started our adventures with Kefir creation.   The granules are fed milk (either organic, pasteurized or non pasteurized) and left on the counter overnight to propagate.  You then drain, refrigerate the liquid that you caught and re-feed your granules with fresh milk.

Margaret started the granules in two glass jars.     As she had the jars to take care of for a week, she acquired quite a bit of Kefir.  Her first plan was Kefir Gelato and this is the recipe she chose:

 http://www.canyonranch.com/your-health/food-nutrition/cooking-recipes/desserts/chocolate-kefir-gelato

When I brought my kefir granules home from her house, my first plan for the kefir was cheese!   The next day I drained and re-fed, then poured my kefir liquid into a coffee filter, tied it up, put it over a bowl and in the fridge.

The next day it was the consistency of very thick greek yogurt.  I loved the texture, it tasted very much like sour cream.  I got Gpa P and DD to taste it with me.  I then added some sugar free blackberry jam and it was DELICIOUS.

I currently have some kefir liquid in a jar in the fridge, and I'm very excited to have some Kefir Sourdough starting on the counter!


I also made DD a smoothie using two tablespoons of Kefir, some greek vanilla yogurt, a banana and a splash of OJ blended with ice.  She gave it the thumbs up.

                                                                                                                        

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Chai Pumpkin Bread



I received several free Tazo coupons from a House Party I did (as well as shared some with the attendees).   I didn't use all of the products in our 'taste test'....so I have been experimenting with uses of the chai concentrate.  Today was my second experiement.  My first was gifted to my friend Margaret and her family (though I got to have a taste too!)  I tweaked it a bit today. 




I used one stick of butter softened, one egg and the equivalent of another egg in liquid egg whites, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 2 tspn of baking powder, 1/2 tspn of baking soda, 1 Tbspn pumpkin pie spice, a good squirt of pure vanilla extract and 8 ounces of pumpkin puree.  



Final result!   It wasn't as 'fluffy' as the first one (which had two whole eggs and all white flour) but I liked it a bit denser.  I think I would add more chai concentrate with the next one, and a bit more pumpkin puree.  But I was happy with the outcome!






Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Holiday and 2015 Goals



Well, it's a New Year (I guess we all realize that by now)   Dinner was a planned purchase from Costco of boneless roast of Rib Eye for $105.00.   DH cut off enough steaks for four adults (himself, DD, DD significant other and Gpa P) to have on New Years Eve (I just had one forkful as beef isn't my favorite) and DH and Gpa had additional steaks on New Years Day for lunch.   We also have a roast for at least two other meals in the freezer.  Shrimp that was already in the freezer, frozen vegetables and twice baked potatoes (my only other additional purchase of $4.49 for 10 pounds of very large russet potatoes.)

On New Years morning I baked one zucchini quiche as well as prepping vegetables for future quiches to freeze.  I made 15 meatballs from one pound of ground beef (locally raised beef from the freezer) and one pound of ground pork.   Sauce made and all is bubbling away in the crock pot.  Banana bread will be prepared later in the day.

The tree was taken down.  I know DH wanted to leave it up, but I had my third asthma attack this week, it was time.  He said to me he didn't realize it made me feel so bad, maybe next year we should get an aluminum tree (we love the Peanuts in our house).   I think we might have to as well.  Or get the tree a week later than we did, as I made it three weeks before it started to affect me.

My nativities will stay up and continue to change.  The Kings will get closer, and then they will get put away for the escape to Egypt.    We put some furniture back where it belongs, and we talked about goals.

My goal for 2014 was to lower our grocery spending and to save $1000.00 a month.  I managed to save $416.00 from January through March, and got it up to $781.00 a month.  This while still paying my quarterly taxes of $2500.00 and still having our Sunday adventures (day trips with a maximum of 2 hours driving and a set budget of spending money)

I downloaded a budgeting app to my Pad, and we are going to keep stricter records on our spending. I want to start saving $1000.00 by February.  I know that I can do what I have been doing for January (includng my quarterly taxes) but will make the added stretch to $1000.00 in February.  This includes my SEP and our new HSA.

I wanted to only spend $150.00 on perishables in the month of January, but know it's the big Can Can month (which I already have hit on the preview when I went on December 30th).  I will not be making any meat purchases for the month, and I will use up as many of old pantry items to make room for our new can can purchases.  I mainly purchase Olive Oil and Name Brand items.  Paper goods if they are a great deal.  I will try to spend no more than $200.00 on any of the items I get from the Can Can sale.

We are going to keep track of our heating oil costs better.  We know that we did better in 2014 since we put in new windows.  But we never documented the changes.  The dropped oil prices are going to be a blessing as well.  We will be getting our first 2015 delivery tomorrow, January 2nd.    We also had someone come to the house to give us an estimate on re-insulating our attic.  I just emailed them as we haven't received that information yet.

We are going to choose better with what to do with our adventure money.  In example...we planned on going to two different antique shows today.  But, we also knew we had no money for any purchases.  It would be a total of 2.5 hours driving to get to these two shows (gas) plus entry fees of $14.00 each show (with discount coupon) so, gas plus $28.00 to look.  Not to mention potential holiday traffic.

Instead, we went to the first show of a local movie theater, we paid $11.00 to see a movie we both have wanted to see.  Into the Woods was enjoyable, we got to discuss the differences between the play and the movie, and we spent less than half that we would have if we did the first choice.

I want to start selling off more unused things.  One of the most exciting moments I had last week was selling some no longer used Holiday decorations and using almost the exact amount to purchase an additional Ham for our freezer that my DH and Gpa P really enjoyed.    If I can sell just $10.00 of items a month that is an extra $120.00 for our household.

I want to start planning/purchasing holiday gifts now.  I want to make more things, plan more baking and craft project;  and I want to do more philanthropic things this year.  Part of the things I discussed with my DH is that I was feeling very sad this year.  I didn't feel I had done enough for others.  One of our best holidays was when we adopted a family through March of Dimes.  I want to be more on the ball with giving to others this year.

I want to get better at not letting what others say/do affect me so much.  I have already started to take back some control in my business.  Having more contractors at the studio has too many ideas of how the studio should be run.  I need to start reminding them that it will be the way DH and I feel it should be run.  Opinions and suggestions are always welcomed.  But if they don't respect the decisions that we make...then contracts will not be renewed.

I want to lose 40 pounds.  I lost a total of 127 pounds 4 years ago, and in this last year 40 have crept back.  Not good.  It's affecting my self esteem and my health.

I want to nurture my friendships.  DH is my best friend, and I am very lucky to be married to him.  But I need to spend more time with female friends.  Sometimes I still say no to that, as it will take me away from him.  Yet, I encourage him to do more things with his male friends.  I need to do it more for myself.

Have you set goals for this year?