Saturday, July 28, 2012

Technical Difficulties

aka, My computer hates my face.

Keep your fingers crossed that I don't end up breaking my toe drop kicking this bad boy into the Savannah river.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Call the po po, ho!

Despite my earlier warnings on keeping a cool, couponing head, I might have gone on a spree.

You see, in addition to his gatorade/powerade habit, mr man is also a huge fan of Coke Zero. In my money saving zeal, I talked him down from his can preference and showed him the wisdom in switching to two liters. I still have to buy two containers every few days, but a $1.50 two liter is decidedly less expensive than a $4 12 pack.

Dude, that was a really long way of saying that I need to buy this man a couple two liters every few days in order to save my poor children's lives from the wrath of caffeine depravity. So of course, when confronted with bright red coupons dangling from the cap of that tell tale bottle, I snatched one, delighted by my find. $1 off 2 two liters!! The heck I will!

Then I got to the aisle and suddenly it occured to me that I could take more of these coupons. I mean I always grab more than one when they are affixed to a glob of glue on the shelf, yes? So why not just pluck them right off the bottle?

Yeah, I stole coupons and I'm glad, glad I tell ya!!

Okay, so perhaps this is way more exciting in my own mind but I told you couponers were crazy, mmmkay? Don't be surprised that I caught a case of the savings sniffles myself.

Let's just talk about this week's grocery list instead.

$48.03 forr one week!! This might be my most glorious grocery related accomplishment yet! (Oh the joys of parenting, right?) But it's pinky's birthday party this weekend and I need the extra scratch. So lest you think my poor babies are eating ramen and stone soup like some sort of English orphan, without further ado, I present, my menu.

Sunday: Smoked sausage with squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and rice

Monday: Stroganoff Hamburger Helper with salad

Tuesday: Spaghetti with salad and garlic bread

Wednesday: Dinner at church but since mr man works nights, I'll be feeding him leftover Sunday dinner

Thursday: Split pea soup with cornbread

Friday: BLT's/grilled cheese and tomato soup

Saturday: Vaguely Spanish rice with chorizo and peppers

So how exactly did this miracle occur? Weeeeellllll, take a deep breath and prepare for grocery store strategery/hot mess word vomit.

Smoked sausage was on sale for $2.50, I had a $ .55 off coupon, and I only use half in any given recipe so I split it between Sunday and Tuesday meaning I spent a dollar for the protein for each meal. Also for both meals the squash and zucchini that was 10lbs for $10 that I only needed half a pound each, which works out to two each, one for each night. Add $1.67 for eight oz of mushrooms, also split between the two meals. I'm sitting on a jar of prego in the cabinet and added a large can of crushed tomatoes to the cart for for $1.15, half of which I'll be reserving for the Spanish-ish rice on Saturday.

Also already in the cabinet, a bag of split peas, boxes of cornmeal and spaghetti noodles, and a couple cans of tomato soup. I've had half a tube of chorizo in the freezer since the Awesome Cuban Stew Discovery of June and the new crop of peppers in my garden will be ready to harvest by Saturday.

Just to round things out, I added salad instead of my usual frozen veggies as side dish for two of my dinners when I decided to have BLT's. It helps that I forgot to make guacamole to grace my quesadillas last night leaving two avocados in the crisper drawer.

Add two boxes of cereal, powerade, the adorementioned Coke Zero, some powerade, and a couple other extras and there you go, $48.03.

Coupons, coupons, everywhere!!

    I've come to a rather uncomfortable conclusion that no one, especially the people who run TLC want you to admit. It isn't just the extreme couponers who are crazycakes. Pretty much anyone who has more than a passing interest in the fine art of couponing or sale shopping is likely off their rocker and out of their mind. And quite frankly, they probably spend more than the rest of us do, certainly more than they need to.
It's all starts out innocently enough. You say dude, I'm gonna save me some money and lookit here, this little stack of newspapers will show me how. That newspaper leads you to the interweb where you sign up with some wide eyed chick who looks like she's been hitting the dexatrim circa 1986 who promises you that you can cut your grocery bill in half, IN HALF I SAY if you only sign up for this free newsletter/RSS feed. You get on the Facebook pages, you find couponing message boards and you see all the money people are saving, saving, I tell you by switching their car insurance to Geico adding just a few easy steps to their weekly routine.

They lie.

Once upon a time, my mama gave me some really good advice that I rolled my eyes (when she wasn't looking of course) and promptly ignored: If you don't need to spend the money, you didn't save anything. Clearly someone should have shared this with a woman on one of the Facebook pages I liked last week. Homegirl was elated to share that she bought eight bottles of shampoo you guys for like $2 each. Isn't that amazing???

No, honey, actually it's not. Who is using eight bottles of shampoo? Granted, I don't wash my hair daily or even every other day so perhaps I don't have the proper perspective on this but exactly how long will it take the average person to use that much shampoo and what other items could I have purchased on my grocery list had I gone with another brand or that brand at the regular price?

Don't get me wrong. I love me some coupons. I buy a paper along with my weekly coffee on my way to church every Sunday and gleefully clip clip away with my trusty coupons only scissors once I get home. I also plan my weekly shopping trip around the store's weekly ad and load up on digital coupons on the store's sight. But at the end of the day, or shopping trip as it were, my goal is to get what I need for the week for the least amount of scratch, not to score the most impressive deal.

I know conventional wisdom says you shop wherever you need to to get a good deal but look, your time is just as valuable as your money and unless you live in a teeny little town where everything is located on two blocks, your time is money, aka your gas money. So sure, I can buy milk and bread at Kroger, steak and eggs at Food Lion, toothbrushes at walmart, and Pantene at CVS with my little rewards card but I'm just too much of a lazy heifer like that. And honestly, you should be too.

You should also be careful with store gimmicks. I tend to shop at Kroger where they have this kind of cool little deal where if you buy ten items off a list, you get $5 off your entire purchase.

So far, I've identified two problems with this campaign. The first is that often times, you really aren't saving much. For instance, Mr Man drinks powerade/gatorade at work every day with his lunch so I'm forever searching for the best deal. Last week, Kroger pulled me in Michael Corleone style by suggesting that with this nifty little dealio, I could get his gatorade this week for $5.49 for a six pack, which is actually not a bad price. His brand of coffee also fell under this promotion, again at a pretty good price, as well as the Fuze drinks I like if they are on sale. By the time I got to the end, I realized that to get that nifty price, I would not only have to buy three items I didn't need but that I could get a six pack of powerade for $4.99. When added all up, I would have to spend almost ten dollars in order to save $5.

Uhm, no.

The other issue I've run into with this promotion is that the items included often changes. Remember that aforementioned Fuze I love so much? Yeah, on the list sometimes, and sometimes not. So I chirp my happy behind up to the front under the assumption that I'm getting my precious Slenderize Fruit Punch for $.79 a pop and what do you know? Not included. And so not only am I paying $1.29 a bottle for something I don't even need but now I only have six items instead of the ten required and lose the savings on the rest of the listed items.

Big fat boo!

However, it can be a good deal so just pay attention to the ads and the fine print as well as keeping an eye on what you actually need verses what your store ad tries to lure you into purchasing. Ice cream is delicious  but even at half off, you'll save that money if you don't buy it at all.

While we're on the topic, am I the only person who ends up with more in their cart than they planned but buys it anyway because by the time you realize it, you honestly can't recall what the crap you meant to buy anyway? Well if I am, feel free to point and laugh. If you've done the same thing, here's how to solve it. You know that grocery list you walked in with? That pencil you brought to mark off all those items? Yeah, use that to write down each impulse/previously forgotten/didn't know I needed it until I saw it item you chuck in the cart. Then, when you look up and realize you're trying to buy the entire frozen food section because you made the mistake of shopping while your stomach was gnawing at your small intestines, you'll know what to put back.

But how do you  know you've gone over? Alright, here's where I share my own couponing/sales shopping neurosis. When I'm being extra thrifty heifer, I actually keep track of how much money I'm adding to my cart. My mom used to use a calculator sometimes but I'm sure you recall by now my extreme laziness. I just use tally marks and round out. So $3.49 for cereal? Three tally marks. $1.79 for pita bread? Two tally marks. When I'm feeling less harried I actually write down the prices of each item as I mark them off in addition to the tally makes so I have some sort of idea of how much I'm going to spend when I make my next shopping list.

At the end of the trip, before I get to check out, I add them up and if I'm too close or even ::gasp:: over my budget, I start pulling out the extra crap that wasn't on my list but looked good. As an added bonus, you might even find extra room to accomodate those items, like the fudge striped cookies I was able to slip in when I found that my zukes and squash cost $1 instead of the $4 I assumed they would cost.

So, just to reiterate (and maybe even add):

1. Consult your preferred circular first. I find this is the most important way to save on the cost of meat. They just don't put out any coupons for stew beef, mmkay?

2. Don't trust a sale offer just because it's written in bold print and features overuse of exclamation points.

3. Coupons usually work on sale prices too.

4. Some brands are still cheaper than a sale/after coupon price on other brands. This is especially true on cereal.

5. Don't buy things just because they are on sale, especially if they aren't on your list this week. I can pretty much guarantee you there will be another sale/coupon later.

6. Keep track of what your putting in your cart.

7. Note the real price of items for future reference.

8. Incorporate some but not all of the items already in your kitchen.

9. Try to use items for more than one meal.

10. Decide how much time and energy is worth devoting to shopping around.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Snug as a bug

Watching Jimmy Neutron as you do.

My poor pudding. He's already a tv casualty.

Friday, July 13, 2012

You can't keep a good plant down

Like the rest of the country, it's hotter than a racist during Black history month. I've had to really keep an eye on my plants. My poor mint was the first heat casualty. However, mint is like that stage five clinger you dated in high school. Ain't nothing getting rid of that bad boy. Maybe I'll get to try the minted margarita recipe I've been saving since before I became pregnant with pudding.

"And that's why there's no White Entertainment Television station, Virgina
because we are becoming an endangered species."


Thursday, July 12, 2012

This week's Sunday Dinner

There is nothing better than beef. Bacon, of course, ranks pretty high but a good piece of beef is a thing of beauty. When I was a kid, my mom used had a cookbook with a burgundy cover that I loved to peruse. The pictures looks like something the Two Fat Ladies would come up with but the results were divine. One of those recipes was called London Broil and instructed you to marinate a nice side of beef for a few hours and then save part of it for a follow up recipe called Buckingham Beef Salad.

I'd completely forgotten about this particular blend of awesomeness until my grocery store circular offered a sale price on London Broil. Immediately, my insides demanded I stuff it with deliciousness, never you mind the fact that I don't have the recipe and haven't made it since I was fourteen or so. I would figure it out if it killed me.

And figure it out I did. This stuff was the bombdiggity or perhaps I was simply giddy on lighter fluid fumes and the thrill of managing my first perfect grill fire of the season.

Either way, it was good eats at Casa de la Hot Mess and I managed to approximate the flavors pretty well. I made it a family affair and served it with garlic green beans in the style of my father in law and rounded it out with yummy sour cream and herb potatoes.

Meat and potatoes.

Does it get any better for a Sunday Dinner??

Why yes it does. May I present to you a cake that tastes and feels like a tagalong Girl Scout cake??

The exact recipe isn't important. You just need three things for success here, one yellow cake slightly warm from the oven, a half cup or so of smooth peanut butter, and a tasty milk chocolate icing. You just nuke the peanut butter for a few seconds until it spreads easily, about 30 seconds by my count. Slather it all over your cake. Next, freeze it until the peanut butter is nice and solid, then spread your icing on top. Pour yourself a glass of milk and try not to eat the whole pan.

You're welcome in advance.

Before I go, wanna see my shoes??

They were free courtesy of a credit I don't recall earning but took advantage of nonetheless. It's a wonderful color, one of my favorite colors as I'm a turquoise, aqua, sage, mint loving heifer.

And because my hair felt like cooperating, here's a shot of that too.

Even Tigger approves.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How netflix costs me extra money

I watch a lot of netflix instant. I won't say how much but let's just put it out there that I could probably recite you the first five picks in half the categories by heart. Mr man works nights so I either watch while he's asleep during the day or I watch after he's gone to work and the kids have gone to bed.

Sometimes I come across delicious goodness, like the Forsyte Saga.

Well, hello there,
Captain Douchecanoe  Mr. Soames Forsyte

Sometimes I come across absolute crap that not even pretty little Orlando Bloom can save. (I'd provide a link but I don't want to be responsible for your sudden case of depression.)

I thought about jumping too,
until I remembered I had the remote.

And then sometimes I come across a movie that should be immediately forgettable were it not for one amazing garment that makes my life.

Uma totally looks like a Stepford wife here, amiright?

Okay, perhaps that's an exaggeration. After all, this dress is not the most clever of designs, nor does it use any sort of new color scheme, nor are the fabric choices very inspired. Nonetheless, I was striken with a case of acute Gottamakethisnowitis that would not be cured until I did a little click click over at Fabric Mart and ensured a couple yards of grape charmeuse and black lace netting were speeding their way to my home.

That belt is terrible. Perhaps a sash?
And the length is a bit too long for my tastes.

While I wait for Mr Postman to bring me my goods, I have to figure out how to put it together. I've got the sleeves and the skirt down pat and even the neckline but the whole bodice is still a mystery.

No matter. I cannot wear it until I no longer have to share the sisters with my five month old. That gives me seven months to come up with something.

Btw, if you're curious, the movie is called The Accidental Husband. Unless you simply want to see the dress in action, do yourself a favor and skip this massive, nearly plotless, anticlimatic turd of a movie. It's an insult to my intelligence, to women in general, to Jeffrey Dean Morgan's opportunity to headline a movie, and most of all, to the awesomeness that is Colin Firth.

Look, I think Mr Firth is the bee's knees and apparently, a nice dude in real life to boot. But unless you have a raving addiction to the former Mr. Darcy/Uncle Jamie/King George VI, do yourself a favor and watch this instead.

That's right, you walk  home,
you dirty, dirty boy
and in leather too.

Not enough Colin? Skip right over to the Best Week Ever archives and take a handful of napkins along to deal with that drool problem you've suddenly developed. I see you. 

Speaking of Mr. Firth, if you haven't seen A Single Man, please get on it. It's beautifully shot, so very pretty, and quite lovely. In fact, it's the prettiest movie I've seen since Girl With a Pearl Earring, also a Colin Firth flick. Except the former is a fantastic movie while the latter forces you to endure a particularly glassy eyed, opened mouth Scarlett Johansson while waiting for Colin sightings.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week One: For real

Can you read my chicken scratch? This is what my grocery list looks like, or at least that's what it looks like when I actually stop being a lazy heifer, sit my behind down, and come up with a menu plan.

Again, it's not a difficult prospect. I simply look about the kitchen to find out what ingredients I'm sitting on then dig out my myriad of cook books and "ladies" magazines and try to work at least some of those ingredients into my recipe choices. The key to the last part is some of those ingredients. If I worked them all in, I'd only spend $60 for the week. However, I'd end up spending $200 the next week replacing them. There's probably some deep thought I'm missing that would keep this phenomenon from occuring but this works.

So here's what we're eating/have eaten.

Sunday: London Broil aka my mama style, sour cream and herb potatoes, and garlic greenie beanies (yes, I call them that. I also call pinky greenie beanie.) There was also a Tandy Cake involved which may or may not be 2/3rds decimated already. Look, a dessert that tastes like a Tagalong is a dangerous thing, mmkay?

Monday: Steak Salad featuring leftover London Broil, feta, grape tomatoes, cucumber, romaine, and balsamic vinaigrette

Tuesday: Grilled Pork Chops and Spanish Rice

Wednesday: Vegetable Beef Soup with cornbread. This is one of my favorite recipes as I can usually make it on the cheap using tidbits from other meals. The half a box of chicken broth that remained when I made the pinto beans, leftover meatballs/manwich/meatballs, or in this case, a quarter pound or so of ground beef nicked off the meat I'm using for sloppy joes. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and a bag or two of frozen veggies and you're golden. You can also clean out leftover veggies this way.

Thursday: Sweet and Tangy Chicken with barley and peas, recipe courtesy of an issue of magazine. It's my first time trying this and if it tastes decent, I'll post the recipe. If not, we'll forget this ever happened. LOL Ooo, it just occured to me that I can put some barley in my soup. I adore double duty.

Friday: Sloppy Joes, Parmesan Oven Fries, and yes, MORE BROCCOLI SLAW!

Saturday: Possible leftovers/Undecided

My grand shopping trip total was $135.00, a number that doesn't exactly please me. I prefer to come in at about a hundred or so, leaving me $50 for more milk and stupid items I managed to forget (like the queso fresca that is responsible for the return trip to Kroger mere hours after the big shopping trip.) However, when you need diapers, charcoal, batteries, paper towels, and toilet paper all in the same week, these things happen.

So there you have it. At the end of the week, I'll update with how it went and if we spent any extra money.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

An accidental border crossing

Dude, ma, I'm trying to watch Jimmy Neutron!

I owe peteybird as many kisses as I can fit on his grimacing little face. After the success of the Cuban bean stew, my oldest says to me in the same wistful tone he uses when he's trying to weasel his way into some Playstation 2 time, "I wish we had some over so we could have bean burritos. I love bean burritos."

Lucky for him, not only am I a nice mom, but the stars seemingly aligned for this kid in a big way. For starters, I had half of the ingredients sitting in my kitchen without a dinner plan to call their own. I can't recall exactly why I bought pinto beans three weeks ago. There are at least three varieties of dried beans I like better. I'm also not sure what I was planning to do with the can of tomato paste that was up there either. It didn't hurt that there was a pound of stew meat in the freezer as well as tomatoes, a lone tomatillo, a wandering jalepeno in the crisper drawer and a grocery run in the near future.

When I was threw, I layered up that burrito and wouldn't you know it, there was a Taco Bell grilled stuffed burrito IN MAH MOUTH!!!!

Run for the border, indeed. And yes, I realize that Taco Bell tastes nothing like real Mexican food but that's their slogan and I'm sticking to it.

I'm willing to consider that perhaps I'm simply high and deluded myself into this conclusion but I swear to you, it tasted straight up like a Taco Bell grilled stuffed burrito. Oh nom nom nom!

Wanna know how I did it?

Taco Bell-ish beef and bean burritos

First, you'll need a crock pot and about a lb or so of stew beef.  You could easily use pork instead of the beef. Because pork makes everything better, duh. Anyway, drop that hunk of whatever in there and add the following items:

2 tbsp of chili powder
1 tbsp of ground cumin
2 tbsp of lime juice
3 tbsp of tomato paste
1 tbsp paprika.
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 c water

Try to remember to turn it on before you leave for the farmer's market/grocery store so you don't feel like an epic dumbass when you return to a house that still smells like febreeze and irritation instead of yummy mock mexican goodness. This epic dumbass was forced to cook it at high for 4-5 hours but if you aren't a hot mess like me, you could probably go for 6-8 hours on low.

While that's cooking, you can move onto the pinto beans. I can't take full credit for the following as I incorporated some of the ingredients and techniques from petey's inspirational item, the black bean stew.

Vaguely Taco Bell Pinto Beans

half green pepper, finely chopped
half a yellow onion, chopped
four cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh oregano
1 lb of pinto beans, soaked according to pkg directions and rinsed
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 bay leaves

Heat about 1 tbsp or so of oil or butter in a fat pot. Add green pepper, onion, and a sprinkling of salt. Stir on high until sweated down and yummy. Toss in the garlic and oregano. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the spices. Pour in the beans, chicken broth, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about an hour and a half or so or until beans are tender. Pull out about two cups of beans and either mash with a fork or pulse in the food processer/blender before stirring back into the beans. This will make them thicker. Otherwise, you're going to end up with burrito soup.

Seasoned Rice

Next, it's onto the rice. You'll need two packages of Goya Sazon seasoning. Add to a heavy sauce pan along with two cups of rice and four cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low until  cooked through.


In a food processor, pulse two tomatoes, half an onion, one tomatillo, jalepeno, a couple splashes of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. You could also add cilantro but I didn't have any and it wasn't on sale this week so there you go. For mild salsa, you'll want to use half a seeded and deveined jalepeno. If you like more of a kick, go with a whole jalepeno, seeds and all. If you're a brave soul with a teflon tongue, skip the jalepeno and toss in a habenero.

To top is all off, you'll need sour cream, shredded lettuce, and crumbled queso fresca from the "ethnic" section of the cold stuff. The only think I wish I added was a healthy smearing of avocado.

"Because this is what you do
when something is really awesome," she says.

Pinky was thrilled with dinner as evidenced by her exuberant use of devil's horns. Do not ask me where she got that. As far as I know, she's not been watching VH1 Classic behind my back. I could blame it on her father. He was in a heavy metal band in his younger, follicular awesome days. Or perhaps she was temporarily inhabited by the ghost of Ronnie James Dio. You think he had a thing for Taco Bell?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rough draft

As previously mentioned, the plan is to share my attempts to get the ragamuffins I live with back onto some semblance of a grocery budget. I haven't quite worked out how I intend to post but I know it will involve two posts a week, one with the plan, the other with how it all worked out. I'll throw in average cost of the meals as well as overall grocery spending, complete with follow up trips for forgotten items, sudden cravings for ice cream, and pretty much any and all food planning/spending either intended or spur of the moment.

I realize that reading this made some of you think about pouring yourself a big old glass of Jonestown Kool-aid and for that I apologize.

But here's this week's menu, just to get the ball rolling. I spent about $90.00 on Sunday afternoon and a combined total of $35 bucks on extra trips for missing items and light bulb items, aka things you didn't know you needed but suddenly couldn't live without.

Monday's dinner was a Cuban black bean stew with what pete lovingly refers to as orange rice. The stew came from my previously mentioned America's Test Kitchen Cover and Bake cookbook and let me tell you, that ish was BANGING! It was well work the effort of chasing down a tube of chorizo. Yes, it was meat and it was in a tube. Make the stew anyway. Oh, the orange rice you say? You just throw a couple packages of Goya Sazon into your usual rice preparation and presto, bammo, orange rice. I'm sure there's a technical term for it but that would take effort and I'm all efforted out today. Blame it on the beach.

There was so much stew, we had repeats on Tuesday. It should  be noted that this recipe becomes even more awesome when given a day to meld flavors. My mouth is salivating for more as I type. I've already promised pete Cuban black bean stew will be a regular rotation from now on.

This is what you get when you
google funny plantains.

Wednesday was the 4th. I planned the picnic previously mentioned but for a refresher, we had grilled chicken skewers with balsamic glaze, broccoli slaw, fried plantains that I'd planned to make with the Cuban stew but weren't ripe enough at the time. We followed it up with white cake, strawberries, and blueberries topped with lemon cream.

Yesterday, I used the leftover chicken from the fourth to make chicken fried rice instead of the Sweet and Spicy Chicken thighs I'd originally planned. Look for that recipe next week.

Tonight, we made grilled steak kebabs which turned out less than stellar thanks to my sub par grilling skills. Apparently, this heifer done forgot how to light a damned grill and keep it lit long enough to produce something worth eating. Thank God I live in an age where you can just use a damned oven. I would never cut it in an agrarian society, tyvm.

Tomorrow, peteybird has requested bean burritos in lieu of the bacon and mushroom quiche I was planning to make. I'll be squeezing this into the budget/plan with no issues thanks in part to leftover chorizo, a bag of pinto beans I already had in the cabinet and the tortillas and shredded cheese I'd bought for Mr. Man's breakfast but he's conveniently forgotten to eat.

So there you go, one week of dinner for under $150.

Challenge met.

Perfect Timing

Today, I packed three squirming, yammering kids up in my car and strolled on down to the beach for the first time since we moved here five years ago.

I know, I know but look, the only thing less appealing than spending the day amongst other people's children is the fear of finding your place or any place be it a parking spot or a lounging out spot amid throngs of people. I mean how hard is to say excuse me or I'm sorry?? Ugh, but that's a rant for another time. The fact of the matter is the only reason we ended up at the beach today is because p&p's school gave them free passes for the Tybee Science Museum and I promised I would take them.

I should amend my first paragraph. It wasn't a stroll. It was more like a steaming trip along the highway in my sweltering heatbox of an air condition-less car. The poor baby was sweating up a storm, a little frown puckering his eyebrows. Pinky's wispy little curls were plastered to her face and pete was thisclose to hanging his head out of the window like an old hound dog on a road trip. I was beginning to regret leaving the house without stopping at the gas station for my usual bazillion ounce vanilla Fanta when wouldn't you know it but the perfect song came on the radio.

How does that work, I wonder? How are there just certain songs in this world that just make you feel instantly cooler?

I swear I could even feel a deliciously cool breeze on my face.

Thank you, Otis.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A new endeavor

I've decided to try something new and likely mundane and boring but before we get to that, let's discuss the 4th. Did you enjoy yours? Aside from some majorly sore legs thanks to the city's dumbass idea to stop bus service before the end of the fireworks, the kiddie means and I had a faboo time. Unforch for mr man, he was forced to work. Boo.

So what exactly did we do? We had a picnic dinner of course. The grilled chicken skewers with balsamic glaze recipe I tried from my last All You magazine was underwhelming. It didn't suck but I could have used my standard marinade of teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger with more satisfying results. But that's okay because, dude, can we take a moment to discuss broccoli slaw??

My MIL introduced me to this awesomeness over Easter week and let me tell you, this chick is HOOKED! Yes, yes, some people are offended by the mere presence of mayo but we call those people fun suckers. Just take a cup of mayo (shaddup), a couple tbsp of sugar, and a couple more tbsp of vinegar, mix it up, and then toss it with a bag of shredded broccoli, carrots, a big handful of craisins, and a couple strips of crumbled bacon. I tell you, this stuff is like crack. CRACK I TELL YOU!!!! If you don't have a husband who balks at the idea of "nuts in his mouth" because he's forever twelve, you can feel free to add a sprinkling of slivered almonds or sunflower seeds.

After dinner, we power walked it down to River Street for the fireworks. In hindsight, it would have been a better idea to pick out our spot on the waterfront and eat down there while waiting for dark. But a good time was had by all, except for the fifteen minutes between when pudding's hunger pains started up and we were able to find a place to sit down.

So what's this new, rather boring pursuit I will be adding to my blogging repertoire?

Well, it seems the world believes that broke folks cannot eat decent food on a budget. Apparently, we are regulated to Micky D's on the regular and thus, it's up to someone, anyone to swoop in and save us from Hamburger Helper Hell. First off, I like hamburger helper so all you haters can hush it. Actually, that's beside the point. The point is that with the exception of urban areas and/or people without access to any sort of transportation, broke folks can eat decently. What I will concede, however is that is does take some foresight, time, and energy to do so. And so I've decided to add meal planning to my blogging.

I am a housewife after all.

Not only will I be sharing recipes and menus, I'll be posting about my grocery budget, sharing my successes and failures. My goal is to feed us for about $150 a week, probably $200 when you add in non-food grocery items like dishwashing detergent and paper towels. So stay tuned for more details.

Until then, wanna see more holiday pics? I know my mommy does. Please ignore the fact that I look like a knocked up Jessica Simpson at the county fair if you please. I had a choice between cute but sweltering and freedom loving schlump and I chose the later.

Look at Pudding, trying to sit up like a big boy!

Let freedom ring indeed.

A little brotherly love

What's more American than red, white, and blue shortcake?
Marvel superheros, that's what.

Live long and prosper, America