Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Needed Pick Me Up Picture ...

I started a new diet (just a stricter version of what I've been doing) to give me a jumpstart to loose weight.  I hit the dreaded plateau and couldn't get my body to do anything so I went and saw a local doctor here who has a plan called the Foxkin diet.  He's plan is if it moves you eat it, and no plants.  It's a high protein, low carb and low sugar diet.  Pretty much what I've been doing but no veggies now.  I'm so happy to say I lost 4 lbs this week!  I'm down a 87.6 lbs so far!  I have 26.2lbs to go for my goal, and who knows I may go the extra 10lbs from there, we'll see!  So here is my before and so far picture!  Don't mind the current hair, my hairdresser moved and I'm waiting for her to get the house in order to freshen up my color and my cut.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Before I started this new diet I could eat protein and some veggies.  One of the veggies on the ok list was Zucchini.  (Now this new diet is no veggies - If it moves I can it eat ... lol.  It's by a doc so don't worry).  So back to this yummy dish, I found it on my favorite website Skinny Taste for Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats.   Now I loved this one, the boys were on the fence post, they liked the insides but they couldn't get beyond the zucchini's ... lol.  And Rick well let's just say as soon as I said zucchini he decided he was not having dinner.  Hey I loved it which made for left overs for me!


Ingredients:

For the enchilada sauce:
  • olive oil spray  (I used my Misto)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 or 2 tbsp chipotle chile in adobo sauce, more if you like it spicy
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2/3 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the zucchini boats:
  • 4 (about 32 oz total) medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 8 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 3 tbsp water or fat free chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Topping:
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar
  • chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish

Directions:
For the enchilada sauce: In a medium saucepan, spray oil and sauté garlic. Addchipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

For the Zucchini Boats: Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4" thick. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside.

Drop the zucchini halves in boiling water and cook 1 minute; remove from water.

In a large saute pan, heat oil and add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook on medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini and cilantro; season with salt and pepper and cook about 4 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, chili powder, water, and tomato paste and cook a few more minutes, thenadd in chicken; mix and cook 3 more minutes.

Place 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a large (or 2 small) baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up. Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with 1/3 cup chicken mixture, pressing firmly.

Top each with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce, and 1 1/2 tablespoons each of shredded cheese. 

Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through. 

Top with scallions and cilantro for garnish and serve with low fat sour cream if desired.

Now her's turned out so much more prettier then mine.  I put the cheese on half of it (since I couldn't have cheese on my diet) so it made it look not as pretty.



Hope you enjoy!  Have a wonderful day!

What is on your menu tonight?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Slow Cooker on a $5 Meal Budget (Pork Chops & Applesauce)

Pork Chops and applesauce (anyone else say this like Peter Brady? ... Every time I say it I think of that episode .. lol).  Here is yet another $5 meal idea that was a pleasure with the boys.  I sadly with my diet didn't get to eat this dinner but all the boys loved it (well Caden told me I need to make chunky applesauce so next time I'll make sure to do that!).  Being on a diet and having to eat something different the family sometimes can be a pain but that is the nice thing about the crockpot and not have to slave over their meal and then mine!

First off we come to the Slow Cooker Brown Sugar and Balsamic Pork Roast I found on the $5 Meal website.  This was a very easy one to do and smelled so great.

Ingredients (These are her prices mine were close to this)

4 pork chops, about 1 1/4 lb. ($2.48)
Salt and pepper
2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar ($.20)
4 tsp brown sugar ($.02)


Directions

Place the pork chops in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Sprinkle some salt and pepper onto both sides of the pork chops. Then drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top. Add 1 tsp of brown sugar on top of each pork chop and spread into the vinegar. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bake the pork chops for 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chop.



Second off on the menu was to make the Slowcooker Applesauce that I found on another favorite website A Year of Slowcooking.
4 large apples, skinned ,cored, and cut in quarters 
juice from 1 lemon
 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
 
1 tsp vanilla
 
1 T brown sugar
 
1/4 cup H20
 

The Directions.


Skin, core, and cut your apples into quarters. Plop the pieces into your crockpot. Add the juice from the lemon, and the water. Pour in the vanilla, and add the cinnamon and brown sugar. 

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. When the apples are super tender, mash with a potato masher or large fork. 


And here is what dinner looked like!!
(don't laugh at the Ikea Bowl for the kids .. lol)

These are two great recipes that you can make and have in time for dinner (if you want do your applesauce the day before since it makes so much it will give you a treat for a few days).  Hope you all have a great day!  

What's on the Menu tonight?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan - $5 Meal

On our road to keep meals inexpensive here is another $5 Meal.  I found this Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan on Full Bellies, Happy Kids website.  As you all know I love my slow cooker and this was a easy one to throw together and let it go during the day and it was ready when the boys came home.  I believe I was right around the $5 mark so it was a budget friendly one!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (**I toasted a 2 pieces of bread and put in my ninja)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
egg, beaten
4-6 slices mozzarella cheese
1 jar (28-ounces) favorite marinara sauce

Directions:
 Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the bottom of the crockpot stoneware.
In a medium bowl, beat egg.  In second medium bowl, mix the bread crumbs, spices, and grated Parmesan cheese all together.

Dip chicken in beaten egg and then toss into bread crumb mixture to coat completely on both sides.  Place chicken breasts on bottom of crockpot.  Place a layer of mozzarella slices on top of breaded chicken breasts.  Cover cheese layered chicken with entire jar of sauce.

Place lid of crockpot securely on and turn heat to LOW for 6-7 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.  Serve over cooked pasta of your choice.

** As always I suggest you use a crockpot liner.  They are around $2.50 for a box of 4 and so worth the time and money it would cost to scrub and let you pot sit over night soaking.  All my spices and noodles I buy in my bulk section to keep cost down. **


Hope you have a wonderful day!  What is on your menu tonight?

Friday, January 25, 2013

BBQ Cowboy Beans with Biscuits ($5 Meal)

I have another yummy meal that I found on the $5 Dinners Website for BBQ Cowboy Beans with Biscuits.  Now of course everything in here (except the meat) were items not allowed on my diet so I just had to smell and let the boys and Rick's buddy who came over for dinner tell me how it was.  It was a simple recipe to make, didn't take much time and yet again I was close to the $5 mark on the cost and it feed 2 grown men, 2 kids and there was even left overs.  Now I usually make my own biscuits and not use canned but I was running behind so I used the can but either way it is a nice meal for these cold nights!


Ingredients (**I left her pricing next to each, mine was a bit more)
1.3 lb ground beef ($1.93)
2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.10)
2 cups cooked black beans ($.40) Substitute 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked pinto beans ($.40) Substitute 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup BBQ sauce ($.75)
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained ($.29)
Drop biscuits ($.75)
Directions
1. Brown the ground beef with the crushed garlic cloves. Drain and return to skillet. Add the black and pinto beans, as well as the BBQ sauce, diced tomatoes…and stir through. Let simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes.
2. Make drop biscuits.




Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  It looks like we'll be staying in most of the time for some reason this week is a tight week for money, paid the mortgage and Rick's car payment and suddenly it makes no money ... UGH.  BUT it will get better just have to get threw this week we will be back on track.  Now let's just hope I can make $10 last until next Friday for the whole family ... lol, who needs gas or food right? TEEHEHE.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Randomness in my life ....

We've had some fun things and just life going on here so a break from recipes I show you what the heck has been going on her and with us!

First on my list was a little pampering for me!  My offices is now closing early on Fridays, I start usually at 5am (8am their time) and they are closing up at 12p (3p their time).  So it's actually almost a full day so I'm going to take queue on Fridays and leave at 12p instead of my 3p (my time) like usual.  I went and got my toes done, while there I got talked into a mani that I usually NEVER do and then a gel on top which I SHOULD have asked if cost more which was $10 more yikes!
Then Saturday Rick was working the Metro Parks Let's Play event at the Tacoma done which was FREE for kids!  The kids had so much fun!  Lot's of running around!




Then Saturday night the YMCA had a Kids night!  You drop the kids off at 5:30pm and then you pick them up at 8:30am!  Oh yes an overnight stay.  I thought Caden would hate it so I signed up just Cole (heck for $30 it's worth it and $21 for the second kid).  So we picked Cole up his VERY own 1st sleeping bag and he was ready to go.  They swam, played basketball, games and a movie!!  And YES Caden was VERY upset he didn't get to go, Next month he so will be going next month :).

So Caden and I had a date night with a movie Frankinweenie!  Caden thought it was cute and loved he got to eat popcorn in my bed.  Mom drank her water and wanted to go head first in the popcorn but I was good and said no!

We then had Caden's field trip to the Pantages Theater to watch a play on Eric Carle's books! It was super cool and it was only 2 puppeteers doing the whole play I swear it was like 10!


I tried a Pinterest item and it was my first real FAIL!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Coconut Milk Cupcakes

For the fun Eric Carle Cupcakes I showed you yesterday I had to first make the cupcakes.  I have this crazy thing where I can never make the same type of cupcake as before (I know I said it was crazy just deal with me).  So I looked in the pantry at what I had and saw some Coconut milk that I haven't used and thought what a GREAT idea so I hit up Google and found these Coconut Milk Cupcakes on Group Recipes.

This was a simple recipe that smelled so great and the boys said where very yummy!


Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 to 3/4 cup sweetened coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream the butter until light and fluffy.
Add sugar and cream again until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of the bowl halfway through to ensure even mixing.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
Combine the flour salt and baking powder in a bowl.
In another bowl place coconut milk and vanilla.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix, then add 1/2 the wet ingredients.



Hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Eric Carle Cupcakes (Ladybug, Turtle & Caterpillar)

On to project #2, I did the treat bags yesterday and tonight I made cupcakes for Caden's class.  Thank God they only have 8 kids in his class so it was an easy project to make.  I made 3 different types, the Turtle, the Ladybug and the caterpillar.  I found this really cool idea on Gummy Lump Toys Blogs.

This was a super easy recipe to make, I made cupcakes but I used can frosting (I'm lazy when it comes to frosting).

What you need:

Ladybug -
Red Frosting
Black Gel Frosting
Brown M&M's
1/2 mini peanut butter cup
pearls

Tint your frosting red (I used Wilton Gel).  Add the black gel for the wings and brown M&M's for dots.  Add a 1/2 mini PB Cup for head and add the pearls for the eyes.

Turtle - 
White Frosting
Reese PB Cup
Green or White Gel
Green Candies (for head, tail & legs)

Frost the cupcake with white frosting.  Add the regular size Reese's PB Cup.  I cut green licorice for the feet and a gum drop for head and 1/4 gumdrop for tail.  I used green gel for the pattern on the shell.


Caterpillar -
Green or Brown Frosting
Green M&M's
1/4 mini peanut butter cup
Pearls

Frost the Cupcakes in green or brown.  Add the green M&M's for the body.  I added a 1/4 mini PB cup for head and pearls for eyes.



I hope you enjoy these were fun to make for the class and would be easy enough to do a Eric Carle (The Hungry Caterpillar) birthday party.

Eric Carle Treat Bags

Caden's Kindergarten class is heading to a special play at the Pantages Theater of the characters of Eric Carle (The Author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar).   I got inspired to do something fun for the kids, so I hit Pinterest and saw a birthday party for an Eric Carle theme.  I found an idea to put out treats and name them something from on of his books (found this idea on Catch My Party).  So instead of doing a large bowl that people can grab out of like at a party I decided to do individual treat bags!  I know I'm brilliant .. lol just joking!  I went on to Google to find the images and then add the words.  I started to print on card stock but printer hated the paper so I switched to white copier paper that I then cut and attached to the card stock!

Here are the images I found on Google with the wording
You can copy and paste in word to make your own treat bags!
Very Hungry Caterpillar
Sweet Fruit Slices

The Greedy Python 
Gummies

Baby Bear Gummies

This was a simple one to make, I hit up the bulk section of my Winco (but you can always hit the candy isle and take them out of the bags).



What you need:
Fruit Slices (I used Watermelon slices)
Gummy Bears
Gummy Worms
Plastic Bags
Ribbon (to tie up bags)
Paper (to print your cards - You can use card stock if your printer likes it)
Printer (to of course print the cards)


Fill the plastic bag with the candy that coordinates with the card (Fruit Slices / Watermelon Slices for Hungry Caterpillar - Gummy Worms for Greedy Python - Gummy Bears for Baby Bear).  Tie up with a ribbon and add your card.  Hand out as party favors or like I'm doing for the kids classmates.





I hope you enjoy this would be fun to do as thank you bags for a Eric Carle themed birthday party or heck just like I did for your kids classroom.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to add Pin It Hoover on Your Photos

I have been wanting a pin it button that hoovers over my photos but only have seen it on Wordpress blogs.  Thanks to Google Search I found an amazing tutorial on how to make this happen on blogger.  I tested it out and it works!  I had to share!  This is a great website with tips and easy to understand tutorials on how to apply the changes step by step.  Check out Blogger Sentral for this tutorial on a hoover pin it button!

Hoover your mouse or tracker pad over this picture and you'll see the pin it button.

pinit button on image mouseover hover

Now header and install this!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Santa Fe Meatloaf - $5 Meals

Here is another $5 meal we tried out, well I should say the boys tried it out (I'm not allowed well everything but the meat in this recipe).  But it sure did smell amazing and the boys love meatloaf so it was a winner with them.  Served with some veggies and it was the perfect meal, mine was a little more then the $5 but as we talked yesterday with out the proper coupons also time of year and where I live makes the price flux a little bit but still an inexpensive meal. 


Today we have Santa Fe Meatloaf found on Mom's Who Think.
Ingredients:
Vegetable oil spray
1 onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
½ cup whole milk
2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
¾ cup frozen corn
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
½ cup barbecue sauce
Directions:
1. Line slow cooker with aluminum collar, then line with foil sling and coat with vegetable oil spray. Microwave onion, bell pepper, oil, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, and chili powder in bowl, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Mash black beans, bread, and milk into paste in large bowl using potato masher. Mix in onion mixture, ground beef, cheddar, corn, eggs, cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper using hands.
3. Transfer meat mixture to slow cooker and press into even layer. Brush meatloaf with ¼ cup barbecue sauce. Cover and cook until meatloaf is tender, about 4 hours on low.
4. Position oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Using sling, transfer meatloaf with foil rimmed baking sheet, allowing juice to drain back into slow cooker. Press edges of foil flat, brush meatloaf with remaining ¼ cup barbecue sauce, and broil until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.



Happy Friday, hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Stay safe and warm!  I found a free play zone at the Tacoma Dome so we'll be heading there Saturday day.  Saturday night I was told about the YMCA having a All Night for the kids!  Caden I'm not so sure will be excited for a night away at 5, but Cole being 8 and he did the summer camp for a whole week with the church this past summer I signed him up.  I'm so freaking excited for $30 he gets a great night out and I get a little me time (well with my little one).

So what are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CheeseSteak Sloppy Joes - $5 Meals

As I mentioned yesterday on my quest for meal planning on a budget I tried out the $5 Meals website for some ideas.  Now these ladies have it down to a science with deals etc to make sure they stay at $5 a meal, I was closer to around $7 but heck I say not bad for my first time out trying this.   Now this was a meal I couldn't eat with the carbs and sugar so Rick's friend came over to watch a football game so my meal wasn't missed.  Our guest said it was the best, but I asked the boys just in case since they are my honest testers and they agreed it was a keeper.

So now on to CheeseSteak Sloppy Joes (I'm leaving her cost break down, Mine was a little different):

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground chuck ($1.99)
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced ($.59)
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce ($.20)
  • 2 tsp minced onion ($.05)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic ($.05)
  • 1 tsp vinegar ($.02)
  • 1 Tbsp prepared mustard ($.01)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($.01)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 whole wheat buns ($.50)
  • 4 slices provolone cheese ($.67)

Directions

  • Brown the ground beef. (If you want softer green peppers, cook them with the ground beef.) Drain and let sit.
  • In the same skillet, add the tomato sauce, minced onion, minced garlic, vinegar, mustard and brown sugar. Stir and let simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the brown beef and (uncooked or cooked) green peppers and combine. Simmer over low heat for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until ready to serve.
  • Spoon the sloppy joe meat over the buns and top with slice of cheese. Let the warm sauce melt the cheese, or microwave.
  • Serve Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.
**Alexis Notes: I used Ground Turkey (Since I could eat that before I put in all the extras). 



Hope you give these a try, it was a simple recipe to make plus some veggies in (you could probably even put some carrots & celery in).  Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Beef & Zucchini Taco's ($5 Meals)

On a quest to save money around here I tried the $5 meals for two weeks to see if I could bring our grocery bill down.  I still have to work on it but I did it close to the $5 a meal.  I did find some yummy recipes that the boys and I enjoyed.  This one I could actually eat just modified (most night I fix them a meal and then me what I can eat - which on this diet is so limited).

I found this recipe on the $5 Meal Website for Beef & Zucchini Taco's.  I've included her break down of prices (mine was a little more)

Ingredients
1.5 lb ground beef, browned and drained ($1.95/2=$.98!!!)
2 cups zucchini, diced ($.25) 
1/2 yellow onion, chopped ($.15)
1 tsp garlic powder ($.05)
1 tsp onion powder ($.05)
1 tsp chili powder ($.05)
1 tsp ground cumin ($.05)
Use her homemade taco seasoning mix or substitute a packet of taco seasoning
Salt/Pepper, to taste
Old El Paso – 6 hard shells, 6 soft shells pack ($1.49)
1 large tomato, diced 
About 1 cup chopped iceberg lettuce ($.20)
About 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($.30) 

Directions
1. Brown ground beef with diced zucchini and chopped onion. Drain and return to pan. Add spices and let saute for 3-4 minutes to let the flavors infuse.
2. Prepare taco fixins…chop lettuce, dice tomato and set out shredded cheese.
3. Cook corn cobs in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or in a microwavable dish covered with plastic wrap for 2-2.5 minutes per ear.
4. Assemble tacos


(I used taco seasoning from the bulk isle at Winco.  I used coleslaw kit to add a little extra veggies - didn't use the sauce)

The boys had it in a shell
I had mine naked in a bowl :)

Have a wonderful day, give this one a try a great way to get some veggies in!

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