Friday, February 27, 2009


I thought I liked routine.

Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Bake on Wednesday,
Brew on Thursday,
Churn on Friday,
Mend on Saturday,
Go to meeting on Sunday.

I know all about Flylady. I grocery shop every Friday morning. I'm telling you. I thought I liked routine.

And, then I gave birth.

To the most wonderful little boy alive. And the most challenging.

He keeps me on my toes, that one. He stretches me. He makes me look past myself.

And he loves routine.

Yesterday, we spent the day running outside at his Honey's house. Great fun. He fell asleep in the car while delivering a treat to his aunt's house. We dropped Honey off at home, and he didn't say good-bye.

He woke halfway home and cried the entire rest of the way home. Over thirty minutes of crying, whining, and protesting.

Lord, help me.

Today, he is choosing to remind me that he only had a 45 minute nap yesterday. And, how is that sweet little boy doing that?

By refusing to take a nap today. Now, how does that make sense?

I'll tell you. It doesn't. Not a lick.

My grandma used to say that everyone was going to send her to the nut house.

I hope they have clean sheets when I get there.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Publix Bargain Meal February 26 - March 4


You know one of the things I love about Publix? Because they are based in Florida, they get all this great Florida produce, of course, in season. But, because it's Florida, the seasons run a little ahead of us. This week, strawberries!! Around here, the you-pick places aren't quite ready (it'll be April-ish), so what a treat.

A couple of years ago, we joined our first CSA. Since then, we've moved towards more eating with the seasons. It is cheaper (the initial reason), things taste better, better for the environment, and well, after a while, it just seems right. One of the other benefits (that we didn't anticipate) is that we really, really (and I mean really ) look forward to the season for various fruits and vegetables. We've been looking forward to strawberries for a couple of months now. Woohoo!

For this meal: cuban picadillo over rice and of course, strawberries and whipped cream. This picadillo is no where near authentic, but our family loves it. It comes from a great cookbook, The Dinner Doctor, by Anne Byrn, who also wrote The Cake Mix Doctor. But, authentic or not, it's still a great dinner. My toddler is especially fond of it.

1 pound ground beef round--on sale $1.99/lb--use 1/2 pound--$1.00
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine or water
substitute spicy pasta sauce for above ingredients--on sale--$1.25
1/4 cup raisins--$0.25
2 teaspoons dried oregano--pennies
Salt and black pepper--pennies
1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives, optional--$0.25
2 teaspoons drained capers, optional--$0.25
1 cup white rice (that's what we like this served with)--$0.30
hot sauce for serving--pennies

Cost for main dish--$3.30

Strawberries--on sale--$1.67
Cream (about 1/2 cup)--$1

Cost for dessert--$2.67

Total cost for two courses--$5.97 (not too shabby)

Erin at $5 Dinners hosts the gathering of many, many $5 meals, based on sales circulars from all over the country. If you need inspiration for a cheap meal, you're sure to find it in one of those ads. Check it out if you haven't already.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Menu Planning

I love reading all the menus over at orgjunkie. It's so much fun to see what everyone else is cooking this week.

Friday: tacos, blackberry cobbler
Saturday: barbecue shrimp, salad, bread (this makes two weeks in a row of the exact same recipe--very unusual for us. But, it was just that good. And, well, my in laws were paying, too. LOL)
Sunday: pasta with eggplant, sausage, and broccoli rabe, bread
Monday: chicken pot pie, salad
Tuesday: porcupine meatballs, rice, brussel sprouts, salad
Wednesday: lasagna rolls, salad
Thursday: bacon spinach quiche, salad, biscuits

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The best Chinese food ever

My in laws were here this weekend. And, this time of year, it's always a quandary as to how to entertain them. It's a little cool for sitting on a bench at the park, and I didn't expect them to chase little boys to help warm up. No one in the family is a huge shopper. We don't have season passes to the zoo or the like, and with itty-bitty kids, paying full admission price is one of those decisions that leaves you a bit resentful on how much you have to pay for ten minutes of fun. Not a good choice, either.

We ended up walking around Your Dekalb Farmers' Market. This place is always a great choice, for anyone in town. If you come to visit me--please remind me to take you! It's the most wonderful place. Full of cool produce and interesting spices. People from every corner of the globe. Vegetables you've never heard of. Bread baked that morning. The most wonderful cafeteria line you'll ever stand in (and thanks to my Mimi, I am a cafeteria connoisseur). But, this one is the best. Hands down.

My father in law was incredibly generous, and he bought us enough shrimp to have supper that night, plus enough for a future date night. Thank you PawPaw!!

After Your Dekalb Farmers' Market, we needed lunch. So, I remembered that the blissful glutton had mentioned a new Chinese place. We headed up Buford Highway in search of some food. My in-laws lived in Chamblee in the 60s, back when it was suburbs. Ha ha ha. That strikes me as hilariously funny. Kinda like Doraville being a touch of country in the city. But, they liked being able to identify some long ago places and tell us about shopping at Plaza Fiesta before it was plaza fiesta. I always like hearing about Atlanta in the 60s. Things change so fast around here. I like imagining what we'll be telling our kids about Buford Highway way back in the early 2000s.

Back to the food.

Y'all. Y'all.

It might not look like much, but this was good stuff. Just ask my big boy.

I forgot to get pictures of the plates all fresh and steaming, but just use your imagination. We got eggplant, beef, lamb kabobs, and some sort of bok choy/mushroom in this fabulous light sauce.


To mix up a little bit of Georgia with a little bit of delicious kabob...

This Chinese food is so good it'll make you wanna slap yo' mama.

We talked to the owner. She says that this is what real Chinese food tastes like. I don't care if it's real or not. Just that it was good. Really good.

If I don't answer my emails, it's because I'm dreaming of dry fried eggplant.

Kroger Bargain Meal February 22-28


It's time for Kroger bargain meal of the week again! I'm enjoying all the meals that the bloggers over at Erin's $5 dinners are coming up with. Check it out, if you haven't already.

As always, these bargains are based on the southeast area Kroger specials.

I don't know about your house, but at our house, we love breakfast for supper. I borrowed an idea from our pastor's wife early in our marriage, and we often have this meal on Sunday nights. Sundays are just a wash at my house, at least from a food perspective. Between the mad rush to get everyone fed at lunchtime and then the complete and utter "I'm over it" feelings on Sunday night.... Well, if you come to my house, don't expect gourmet on Sundays.

This week's breakfast for supper idea is waffles. Yum! Who doesn't love a beautiful waffle? Crispy on the outside, tender in the middle. Plus, they are one of the 5 meals my husband makes. Oh, how I love waffles. LOL

This recipe is from The Southern Living Ultimate Cookbook and featured on the cookbook junkie's blog.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour--$0.35
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder--$0.10
¾ teaspoon salt--pennies
1 ½ tablespoons sugar--$0.05
2 large eggs, beaten--$0.25
2 ½ cups milk (on sale $2.59/gal)--$0.41
¾ cup vegetable oil--$0.30

Add a package of Hormel little sizzlers (on sale for $1)--$1
a pound of apples (on sale $1/pound) served as apple slices--$1
and maple syrup for serving--$1.50

Total cost--$4.61

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday Night

Friday date night became Friday entertain-the-inlaws night. They are here from out of town to see my boys, who they don't get to see often enough. I promised my dear husband that I would be relaxed. But, y'all.

They stress me out.

Especially when they show up before nap time, instead of after. When the afore-mentioned naptime was supposed to be time to pick up random toys, vacuum the floor, mop the filthy kitchen, um, wash the dishes in the sink. That sort of thing. And, of course, time for my two year old to sleep.

But, it was alright. It turned out alright. For that, I'm thankful.

Oh, and everyone loved the tacos. In my husband's family, tacos make everything better.

And, for that, I'm very thankful.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Publix Bargain Meal February 19-25


Evidently computers need a power supply. Lucky for me, I have a fabulous computer guy in a crazy crowded junky little computer shop that gives you a bit of clausterphobia. Jason can fix anything in 30 minutes, for around 50 dollars. He's a gem. Because, evidently, a computer is really, really important to me. And, when I sat down to blog yesterday and instead heard a pop accompanied by a burning smell, well... It was a sad day.

Jason was true to his promise, though, and 30 minutes later, a new power supply, and I was good to go. Many thanks to my mom for entertaining my boys while that happened. She even took us to lunch to turn my day around! Woohoo! My mom is a gem, too.

So, a day late, here's the Publix bargain meal of the week. As always, Erin hosts a whole bunch of folks with their takes on the sales circular. I'm loving reading them every week. Even the ones from exotic stores like Giant Eagle and Hyvee. If you haven't been over there, check it out.

That said...this week Publix has an Italian theme to their sales. Not only that, but they sent out a $5 off $30 coupon. Woohoo! I'm headed there today. I'm checking out a new Publix in town that caters to a Mexican clientele. I'm excited. ( that weird? Excited about a grocery store? I'd blame it on the whole stay at home mom thing, but truth is, I've always loved grocery stores. Fascinating places, and, hands down, the best part of travel is checking out new stores. LOL)

This is one of my throw together meals. No real recipe. Just put it all in a pot any which-way, and it'll turn out. Browned sausage, wilted greens, pasta, and cheese. Really simple, really good, and very satisfying.

Italian sausage--on sale $2.50/pound-$1.25
Rapini--on sale-$1.99
Pasta--on sale-$0.70
Parmesan cheese--Sargento on sale $2/5 ounces-$1

Total price--$4.94

This is a meal that would be great with a salad or bread, but is pretty darn good plain, too. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Planning for the week

I love the menu plans found over at . There is such a huge variety of meals. Truly something for everyone. I can't help but be inspired as I browse through them. Check it out!

As always, we generally eat the same things for breakfast: oatmeal, grits, cheese toast, and eggs in a frame.
Lunch is almost always leftovers, with the rogue pot pie thrown in there as a cook's treat.

Friday: patty melts, sweet potato fries
Saturday: barbecue shrimp, salad, french bread
Sunday: nachos
Monday: chicken curry over rice
Tuesday: carbonara, salad
Wednesday: hoppin' john, salad
Thursday: chili

Almost, but not quite

I have had this basil on the windowsill in my kitchen since the last frost of the year. I stuck it there just to get it out of the way, and it seemed to thrive. I've enjoyed having the smell of summer every time I wash dishes all winter long. Today, I noticed that it doesn't seem very happy any more. Some of the leaves are turning yellow, some are brown and falling off, and well, my basil is just all wilty. I've been telling her, "hey, hang on! Spring is almost here!! I'll plant you outside!! Just wait a couple more weeks!! You're almost there." And, yet, I don't think the ole' girl is believing me.

Isn't that just like us?

In my former life, I used to see it happen to pregnant women. They'd make it to 38 or 39 weeks pregnant, and they would just be done. Done. Done. Done. Tired of being pregnant. Over it. With only a couple of weeks left.

Or in labor. A woman would make it to 8 or 9 centimenters, and then, she'd cry out, "I can't do this any more." But, we all knew that that very cry was a sign things were happening, and that things were about to change.

I can remember many a night, around 4 am. We'd be so cold, so tired, and we'd think, morning is never coming. And, yet, it was coming. Right around the corner.

There's an old bluegrass song by the Rev. Ralph Stanley that says, "the darkest hour is just before dawn." Isn't that true in so many parts of our life?

The week you think, "I can't take getting up with this baby one more night" is the week before he sleeps through. The day that you think, "I can't do this one more time" is almost always very near the end of doing it. So, we continue to run the race.

'Cause spring is coming!

Kroger Bargain Meal February 15-21


It's time for bargain meal of the week again! If you haven't checked it out, Erin at $5 dinners hosts a huge gathering of specials from all over the internet and all over the country. Check it out! There are some really great ideas floating around out there.

This week, Kroger once again has chicken on sale. Also, frozen vegetables. This is what came to mind. Chicken Creole over rice. What? You went there and the recipe is for shrimp? Oh, yeah. That. This is an old recipe that used to be used in print ads for Ro*tel tomatoes. It became one of my go-to recipes, and it is extremely versatile. I've made it with shrimp, catfish, and mostly, with chicken. It's good any way you make it. This week, it's going to be chicken.

1/4 cup butter--$0.31
1 medium onion, chopped--substitute on sale frozen "seasoning blend"--$0.88
1 large green pepper, chopped--in the seasoning blend
1 clove garlic, minced--$0.05
1 jar (4 oz.) diced pimentos--in the seasoning blend
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (10 oz.) RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies--$0.99 (even better if you caught it on sale a couple of weeks ago)
1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined--substitute 2 pounds on sale bone-in chicken breasts--$1.98
cooked rice--we like a lot of rice--$0.35

Serve this meal with on sale frozen spinach (or broccoli; we just like spinach)--$0.88

Total cost--$5.44

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Happy Hour

Tonight's date night is simple. No movie. Maybe an episode of Law and Order. Probably not even that. Just some good conversation on our back deck before the rain comes through. Of course, it's with one of my favorite people, so not a bad way to spend my Friday night.

A theme? Hmm.... We'll keep with the simple foods of my childhood. Arnold Palmers (although back in the day there was no fancy name) and buttered saltines for happy hour. Have you ever had buttered saltines? They are one of those foods that are much more than the sum of its parts. So much more. Melted butter, garlic, and a little dried parsley. All spread on top of the humble saltine, then toasted until just browned. It's one of those things you'd walk past on a buffet. But, then, you'd be missing out. Cause they are just.that.good. Try 'em. You'll be a happier person for it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Frugal Treat

When I'm on my game, I remember that a frugal treat in the evening or tucked into a lunchbox can go a long way towards making a smaller grocery budget feel a bit more generous. My mom always modeled this with Jello instant pudding served in her wedding crystal (!) for dessert. Today, I'm gathering the ingredients for boiled cookies (which my husband refers to as no-bake cookies). All my boys will be happy tonight.

Publix Bargain Meal February 12-18


It's time for another week of the Publix Bargain Meal. If you missed last week, Erin over at $5 Dinners (a great read!) is hosting a gathering of bloggers all over the internet, creating frugal meals straight from the sales circulars of their favorite stores. Check it out for even more inspiration.

This week, the Publix ad spoke to me. And what it said was that this recipe was perfect. To make it into a meal, I'd add a pound of cooked chicken. And, because it's not corn season around here, I'd substitute chicken broth for the corn cob broth. For the purposes of simplicity, I'm going to leave spices as a charge-off to your pantry.

Corn Chowder (with chicken)
4 to 6 ears of corn (substitute on sale frozen corn)-$1.20
1 tablespoon butter or neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed)-$0.09 for butter
1 medium onion, chopped-$0.40
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced-$0.40
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped (optional)-I'd leave these out this time of year
1 cup whole or low-fat milk (on sale $2.99/gallon)-$0.18
1 cup cooked chicken (whole chicken on sale $1.09/lb)-$1.09
Chicken broth (free from cooking that whole chicken)

Garnish with 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack (on sale $2/8 ounces)-$0.50-and serve with tortilla chips (on sale 2/$6)-$1.50

Total price: $5.36

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bargain Meal of the Week


Over at $5 dinners, she is hosting a blog round up of folks planning meals from what is on sale this week at our local stores. I shop at several stores locally, with Publix and Kroger being my two closest. This week, at my Kroger (Georgia), this meal is what's on sale.

We're having beautiful spring weather here (highs in the 60s all week!), so a meal of chicken salad served on lettuce sounds perfect. This recipe for a lemon blueberry variation looks good.

Blueberries ( on sale $0.99/6 oz)--I'd just use one package in this recipe
Chicken breasts (on sale BOGO--approx. $2.50/lb)--use 1 pound for 4 people
Salad (on sale $0.99/bag)
Lemon (on sale $0.39)--I'd sub the zest and juice of a lemon, plus plain yogurt, for the lemon yogurt
Mayonaise--approximately $0.16 for 4 tablespoons
Yogurt--$0.38 for 3/4 cup plain

In this recipe, I'd probably leave the red bell pepper out this time of year (and eagerly look forward to all the beautiful peppers my dear husband is planting for me!)

Total cost for a taste of spring: $5.28

Lifelong learning

On this quest of life, I'm always learning new stuff. All the time. A lifelong learner, if you will. And, cause I'm just that kind of girl, I'm happy to share those new things with all of y'all.

--if a recipe turns out really well the first time you make it, it's probably because of the every 15 minute basting for 4 hours. If you skip that basting and instead cook it for 5 and a half hours, it's not going to be exactly the same.

--procrastination is not your friend with little boys. Your perfect Valentine's card pictures? They may not get done because your little one has a black eye and your big one has a super-short new haircut.

--if you throw yourself into yard work, it might not be as bad as you are anticipating. You might even have fun outside. Maybe.

Before the black eye:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A plan for the week

Over at, she inspires hundreds of bloggers to plan their menus for the week. She even inspired me!

For breakfast, we tend to eat cheese toast, eggs in a frame, french toast, and oatmeal. Lunches are almost always leftovers, with the occasional ramen when there aren't enough.

Friday: hummus and chips, lentil soup, kofta kebabs, Israeli salad
Saturday: slow cooked pork tacos with pineapple salsa
Sunday: breakfast for supper--migas tacos
Monday: barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, slaw
Tuesday: pork and refried bean tostadas
Wednesday: mulligatawny soup, salad, biscuits
Thursday: chili, cornbread

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday date night

Fridays have been our date night since Mike went back to school several years ago. Having a baby and going to one income put a spin on date nights, to say the least.

So, these days, we tend to have an appetizer and a special drink right when Mike gets home from work. Kiddo #1 loves this part, as he's always included, and it's a huge treat around our parts to have any flavor of coke. After bedtime, we tend to have a nicer meal, and we often watch a movie or listen to music or play Monopoly.

Tonight's Netflix movie (see? I told you a baby changes things) is You Don't Mess with the Zohan . And we still had hummus left from last week's Publix deals. So...a theme meal was born.

We'll have kofta kebabs , hummus and chips, and an Israeli salad. Oh, and Sunkist to drink. Evidently, the Zohan is a big fan of orange.

The big kid is about to jump out of his skin to have some special orange coke. Let's hope that all that excitement ends as soon as his head hits the pillow. LOL

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Brothers are fun to have around.

Publix Bargain Meal


Over at $5 dinners, she has a new challenge to come up with meals out of the weekly sales flyers. Publix has become one of my favorite stores, and their ad comes out on Thursday. I love Publix for their customer service (they take my groceries to my car! Every time!), but also for their great sales.

So, here's what I see for this week:

A perfect meal for Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout (you know you'll be watching)

Chili-cheese fries

For a family of four, purchase potatoes (on sale 5 lb/$2)-- you'll probably use 3 pounds--($1.20), Bush's homestyle chili ($1.50), and Publix cheese ($2.00). You'll need hot sauce (cause, really, a meal like this needs hot sauce), too ($0.25 for half a bottle of Texas Pete).

Oven baked french fry recipe here

Total: $4.95

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Finally, I'm here! My mom is probably the only one that will read my blog, but boy, will she be happy that it's on here. Just a corner of the web to brag about my boys, share my triumphs (and not so triumphs) over taming the grocery store budget, and the joys of learning to be a mama to rapidly changing little boys.