Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finally being honest about my own weight issues.

This is a hard entry to write. I spent a long time turning it
over in my head.

I was talking with a good girlfriend of mine last week about
the sudden realization that I had when I hit the heaviest I'd
ever been. And when I had this realization, it about stopped
me cold, because I'd never really said it out loud to myself
because....we'll....who really wants to hear the cold, hard
truth about themselves? I mean, it hurts. Bad.

My name is Sarah and I am a food addict.

You can laugh, but it's true. And if I'd had the cojones to say
this eight years ago when I started putting on weight, I would
not have gained over a hundred pounds. Food for me is an addiction.
I cannot say no to almost any kind of food. I have no cap as
to what is "enough". And it's not like eating or having food is
illegal. So, it's not like being overweight is as socially unacceptable
as using drugs or drinking to oblivion, so I thought I was okay.

Until I wasn't.

And it's really that I looked in the mirror and I could not
recognize who I was anymore.

I can literally count on one hand the people I've talked to who
really have been honest andsaid "Oh my god, yes. That's exactly
what it's like." And though it's refreshing to have people
that I can talk about this to, it's terrifying how close this
is to any other addiction. For me, it was. All I thought about
all the time was food. Eating. When the next meal was. What I was
going to cook. How I would get the food I would be cooking/eating.
I'd eat more than I was supposed to eat and beat myself up all
day because I overate. And then, when I gained more weight, I
started to isolate. I didn't want to do much with my family or
friends because I was not the weight I wanted to be and I was
embarassed to have others see what I had become. But, because I
was isolating, I would go right back to comfort eating and the
cycle would start all over again. I hated myself so all my personal
relationships suffered. I figured because I hated myself that
it was just pity that others wanted to spend time with me as
I really had noone else.

Isn't that an awful way to live? I am so angry and disgusted
with myself because I just couldn't be honest with how I was
living my life and just face it, start to heal and move on.
This is no different from friends/family that I've seen struggle
with addiction. It's not exactly the same, but the cycles are.

Why am I blogging about this? Honestly, I can't let someone
else feel this way. I felt so isolated and really thought that
noone could feel like me. Or if they did, they would never
be honest about it. I mean REALLY be honest. And I'm telling
you that I don't hate you. Because I've been there. I am there.
And I understand. I've found that I've got to keep this active
in my mind. That I've got to keep reminding myself that this is
like any other addiction and that it's a daily (sometimes I've
even got to take it by the hour, minute and second, too. Depends
on how difficult the food-issues are for that day.) With keeping
this active, I've got to talk about it. Find others who feel
like me so that we can get it out there so we don't feel
this way alone and go back to our triggers.

Now that I've faced my truth, the weight is just coming off.
I'm learning about what works for me, food-wise. I don't keep my
trigger foods in the house because...we'll....I'd eat it all
in one sitting. I don't bake as much as I used to. I don't go
to fast food restaurants. I've eliminated all sugar, processed
foods, all sugary drinks, and binge/bored eating. It's been
almost four months and I'm down 46 pounds and six pants sizes.
I finally got under 200 pounds a couple days ago and that was a
HUGE milestone for me. I hadn't been under 200 since my oldest
son was two.

I can't take the credit all for myself, either. I now have eliminated
most of my unhealthy personal relationships from my life and
since starting this weight loss journey, I got up off
my couch and formed new, healthy friendships with a great
group of women who all love and support me and are honest with
me about their food issues, too. That was huge. (Nothing makes you
feel more powerful than having a conversation with your "girls"
and having them either say something that you are too afraid to
say out loud or you vocalize how you feel and have them say yes,
I feel that way, too. It's like, you aren't carrying the burden
alone anymore. And that's such a wonderful feeling.) My dad has
always offered his love and support when needed which has always
been a blessing.

So, now that I've put all this down on paper....kind of.....if
you feel the same way, leave a comment. If you'd rather not air
your dirty laundry for everyone to see, leave a comment that you'd
like my e-mail address and I'll get it to you. I really just
wanted to finally have this said and out there so that maybe
my struggle can help someone else as well as be
a little cheap therapy for me, too.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Loyalty......yes or no?


Still feeling a little blah. It's been a crazy week, to say the least.
Lots of health issues that both my husband and I are struggling with.
Nothing we can't handle, but with a normal weeking work for him and
a couple wrenches thrown in my week of housewifing/mothering, come
Sunday, I'm wiped out.

Go figure. Sunday is my busiest day. Or every two weeks, it is.

That's when I figure the budget for groceries for two weeks, get
my couponing in check, refine my shopping list/checklist for the
week, round up the rest of the laundry and all the loose ends
I couldn't get to during the week. Weekends mean time off for
Husband, not for Wife/Mom. Seems like my work is at least doubled
on the weekends. Anyone else with me?

Anyway, we've had to change our grocery shopping to once every
two weeks and have one mother of a trip, with one or two trips in
between for extra produce. I've noticed that we spend less this way
and I'm more likely to stick to a list. The last month I've
been lucky to have one of my favorite cashiers who's SUPER
attentive on how I shop, she's an EXCELLENT bagger, and she
makes my work when I'm unloading at home at least half. (For
those of you who are a Type A like me, this is HUGE. I can't
tell you how many times I've gotten my groceries home and half
of my produce is banged up or squished. If I'm spending time
picking out great produce, I want it to come home close to the
way I found it. If it's smushed or bruised, it'll go bad that
much quicker. Or, that's been my experiance.)

I have to say that I've been pretty loyal to my local grocery
store. I've strayed here and there, but I keep coming back to
them. I've noticed that their produce is better than what the
other stores carry, they have a higher selection or organics,
they've gotten better about their pricing so it's more of a
draw to spend because I save more AND they've almost always have
sales on what I need. But for me, what it comes down to is the
personal relationships I have with the staff. This store opened
locally when my oldest was just walking. He's a pretty loving
kid, really forms solid relationships with about everyone
he knows and the core staff all know him and make sure to touch
base with him every time we come in. Same with my younger boy
and my husband and I. I will tell you that I will sacrifice a
little bit more of my money to have that personal relationship
with the employees.Sounds silly, I'm sure,'s more of
that small town feel. We're far from a small town so much anymore
but for me, it matters. Because they notice we shop there.
And we're not just flashing dollar signs to them.

I really want to know if others feel the same way.

Do you stay loyal, for the most part?
Do you coupon and what are your best couponing tips?
How much do you spend usually and how many people are in your family?
How often do you shop?

And you know, thanks to those who read and comment! I do read all
of them and do my best to comment back to everyone. I do appreciate it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mix tapes like your first boyfriend made......but better.

I've renewed my love of mix tapes again. Kind of.

Let me explain.

I own a Blackberry. And this is after having the most basic of
phones for over a year and how I would go on about how I would
*never* own a cell phone. EVER. But, I heard from friends about
how GREAT the Blackberry was and I drooled over everyone
else's.....until I bit the bullet and got one last February. And
I love it just as much as I did the first day I got it. Even more.
It's like my own wife. Honestly. I do everything with
it. It remembers all my appointments, my mom meetups, holds all
my favorite ringtones and games, takes pretty boss pictures (or
it does compared to my first phone, the Kitana), it holds my grocery
list (and other various lists, because I am an avid list maker....
seriously I've got an issue) and it keeps me connected to all my
friends and family.

I have a point. With the mix tapes. I didn't forget.

The best thing about my Blackberry is Pandora. What's Pandora,
you ask? OMG, you don't know? Seriously? (Okay, so I'll be honest..
..I didn't really know-KNOW either. I mean, I did. But not like
I really know now. Anyway....) Pandora is like the best mix tapes you
ever heard. Like the ones you and your friends would make off of
the radio or with your killer system, which was really only a turntable
with a tape deck. Basically, you start off your search for your
favorite artist (mine yesterday was Melanie, like Brand-New-Key-Melanie)
and it will generate songs that are close to that sound or
the time period and will let you thumbs up/thumbs down or just skip it,
if you aren't feeling it. Super freaking cool. I really started
listening to it on Friday and I've been pretty much listening to it
non-stop since.

This is even more exciting for me because....we' MP3
player bit the dust last week. It'll do that when it's been through
the washing machine twice. (I know, I'm a MORON.) I had just started
walking my two miles in the morning again and having Pandora going
while I'm walking got me to my happy place and I actually walked two
and a half miles! Having Pandora instead of my MP3 player is just
wonderful. I can make a new "radio" at any time and I don't have to
worry about loading all these different songs on my MP3 player when I
want a change. It does all the work for me and you know, it does it
better. Because you're listening to these songs and it's kind of
like....oh, yeah....I LOVE that song.

So, anyway. It really is great. I can't say enough good things about it.
And it's so nice to have a new motivation to get me walking and happy.
Because when I'm happy about walking, I'm more apt to do it and
that'll help me that much more in my weight loss.

For those of you who have a Blackberry and use Pandora, what are
some of your "radio" mixes that you've come up with with your beginning

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sure, it smells like mothballs but I had THE best time.

I haven't talked about the whole single wide budget, double wide
skillet frame of mind I have while raising/feeding two kids and a
husband in a long time.

I apologize.

I am a hardcore thrifter. I started when I got a job at Value Village
at seventeen and it was over from there. Dude, they used to give you
50 percent off all your purchases. How can you NOT be hardcore and act
like a child let loose in a candy store? Come on now.

I have a friend who discovered not long ago that there is a local by
the pound thrift store. Seriously? How did I not know this? She'd been
once before and really scored and she thought we could go together and
check it out. I did end up going without her for the first time with
the family and that was a huge mistake. For a hardcore thrifter who gets
"into the zone" when she's looking for bargains, bringing her three men
was an EPIC mistake. It's just a bunch of clothing and housewares/toys/
books dumped into bins and you dig for what you're looking for. Whatever
IT is. Sometimes, you don't know until you put your hands on it that
that was EXACTLY what you needed. It usually smells really bad (like
fourty boxes of old mothballs, urine or the rare bins that smells
like old vomit), there are a few lurkers who are waiting to grab
what you discard, and there's no air conditioning. Oh, and most
important? Watch out for the clothing with nasties. You'll find at
least one. But it's a hardcore thrifters dream. You have to trust me
on this. When I went for the first time, I had a half hour before
the family gets bored and I get ImhungryImboredthisplacesmells
Never again. I'll head with my friend next time.

Her and I headed out yesterday and got to the store right as
they opened. Four and a half hours later, we came out with two
huge carts full. HUGE. But, our kids' school clothes were
all taken care of. And it wasn't all nasty, stained clothes. There's a
lot of high end clothing that's just sitting there waiting for you to
find. You just have to dig for it. I spent $67 and I think my friend
spent ten dollars more. The great thing about this place is the more
you buy, the cheaper per pound it gets. I didn't really understand that
until I realized that the price was going down. (I wished I'd kept
some of the gems I threw back, I don't know why I didn't get it.)
For my 67 bucks, I got six huge bags packed full of clothes and one
bag of books. Not bad. And there was a ton of name brand clothing.
I even was able to find some clothes for my youngest that I could put
away until he could fit into them. Not bad. I highly suggest
you take a friend. Her and I kept throwing clothes back and forth
for each other. You find something great, you want someone you know
to have it. Trust me. She found this great almost new pair of Aeropostle
jeans that she couldn't just leave there, so she walked them
over to a girl that she thought would fit into them. You just can't let
it sit there!

Because I spent time digging, I was able to afford groceries next month
instead of spending money on brand new clothes. I still have to get the
school year basics and new shoes, but everything else is taken care of.
For 67 dollars.

Oh! And to tie in the weight loss, I did buy two pairs of pants for the
next size down I go for a small portion I would have spent elsewhere.....
even at the regular thrift store. (OT, I'm down 40 pounds!)

So. Yesterday was a productive day. Thrifting owns. Seriously.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pillow Talk.....kind of. In a different way.

I've kind of plateau'ed again.

It's not because I'm lazy. Gosh no. I've just realized that I
like sleep and am kind of in this whole passive aggressive
relationship with my bed.

It's warm and cozy and quiet. We'll, kind of quiet. My husband
sounds like a gosh-darn buzz saw when he's sleeping. And we also
share the bed with our ten pound mini-doxie and she's a bit of a
cover/bed hog. (How is it that little dogs can seem like they're both
50 feet long but also 50 feet wide. We only have a queen bed but
she makes herself ginormous so we're both huddled up while she's
spread out over precious bed real estate.)

I don't have a lot to share about what I'm doing with my weight loss.
It's nothing huge. Still not drinking soda. Still eating super healthy
and eliminating all sugar/white flours. I've even recently decided I'm
going to cut out my nightly sleeping pill that I've been taking
for years just to kick everything I can that's unhealthy. I started
last night. I slept better than I thought I would but the two things
that took me by surprize were 1) I don't act like I did before kids
and get "the munchies" an hour after taking the sleepy-ni-ni-pills (why
does that happen? Someone PLEASE tell me) and 2) I didn't wake up
and act like a Linda Blair before her exorcism. Two very strong
bonuses in my book.

I have a point.

What I'm getting to is now that I don't have two little ni-ni
sleepy pills to knock me out at night, I'm hoping that I get back
into the swing of things and get up early and do my two miles again.
I miss my morning walks, more than just for weight loss sake.
And I want to really enjoy sleeping and wake up refreshed, instead
of taking two pills and conking out an hour later and waking up six
hours later more tired than when I went to bed. I like my bed, yes.
But I want to LIKE my bed.

So. That's all I really have to share. Oh, and I'm now down 35 pounds
and two pants sizes. Even if I'm not walking two miles in the morning.

How is your weight loss journey going?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I may take the scenic route, but I eventually reach my destination.

My body took a road trip the last couple days.

No, not really, but the time I take to figure out what works for
my diet and what doesn't is kind of like a road trip. Think about
it. When you get in the car with the whole family, you're super
excited about your destination because it's going to be OMG, fun. Dad's
secretly dreading it because he'll be driving most of the way and
will become the family pack mule. He just wants to get there and
get it over with so he can relax. Mom wants to check out all the
side bonuses on the way, like the Biggest Ball of Twine and she wants
to take pictures of the kids in every state. The kids are just excited
to be going somewhere new, until the excitement wears off in the
first few hours and then they have to stop at every rest stop to

Dieting is kind of like that. It's super exciting in the beginning,
but once you get going, you hit all kinds of bumps in the road. Like
all the extra peeing due to the water you're drinking. Or the pitstops
your body makes when you've leveled out. And it's true that you get tired
of being a pack mule for your extra weight and you just want to relax.

It's not that I'm lazy. Goodness no. It's just it gets to be that
"time" and I get sluggish and I want to do things like lay in bed
in the morning instead of doing my two miles and I want to have lovely
things like white flour and processed food in bags. Which I did both.
In moderation, so it wasn't too awful. But still, my body was angry
and protesting. It's really no different than being in a hot car with
all your angry family members who want nothing to be somewhere where
everyone else isn't because they've just had enough.

Nothing about me is subtle.

My friends joke that I'm a little slow. It's the god-honest truth.
I am. I'll believe most any untruth I'm told. And my body told me a
HUGE one. I got on the scale yesterday morning and saw I put on
six pounds in....two days. I seriously thought it was a joke.
Come on, I had a few slices of veggie "pizza" and a portion of
Smartfood white cheddar popcorn. And I didn't do my morning walk
for two days. Okay, three. But I was tired. I jumped off the
scale, all the while giving the scale a talking-to for lying to me.
Got back on and the same six pounds were there, taunting me. And
then, I was cranky because I was sure that pizza and popcorn were
coming back to haunt me. Serves me right, yes? I knew that my body
can't handle it but I didn't want to listen, then am surprized
when all my inside organs go juvenile and just let go of everything. A
ll at once. And sit pouting because they'd warned be right before that
if I didn't get to a rest stop soon, they'd sure show me.

I have a point.

Once I got to thinking about it all day and crawled into bed and
REALLY thought about it, I was just about feeling as slow as all get
out. Because yes, I did put on six pounds but only one was really
something I could have controlled. Because I didn't think, oh yeah....
uh,you have five pounds of bloat EVERY MONTH. Doi.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I want to be the change. I
know a lot of you are like me who constantly torment yourself over
"falling off the wagon" and indulging in something now and then. I
know that you've got to let yourself have something every once and
a while or you'll never get to where you want to be, weight-wise.
I know now that processed white flour and packaged popcorn dosen't
work for me but I can find a way to make those things healthier
again so I can have them and enjoy them without my whole body going
on strike. And once I do this a time or two, I eventually find out
these shortcuts so the trip isn't quite as long and hard on the whole
body-family. This way, we enjoy the trip and it dosen't turn out like
a really bad version of National Lampoon's.

Do you know what I mean? Eh. Play along anyway.

So, for those of you who are also traveling to a new weight
destination, how's it going for you?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Still going strong.....though my pillow is calling to me.

I'm still going strong with my new way of life. So far, down 28 pounds.

I only have one issue.

I cut out soda a week ago. Which is freaking HUGE for me. All
I had were a few small headaches and I was a little tired-er than
usual. Which, considering all the new things I'm doing with my
Mom's group and the responsibilities at home were just a little
more for me to juggle. I'm Supermom, right. My job is to juggle
everything, right, and just kind of roll with it. And most of
the time, I do alright with this.

And I thought I was doing okay, but once I hit two in the afternoon
the last two days, I hit the wall and am completely out of energy.
I took a nap at two yesterday. I NEVER do that. EVER. But I had to
because I was just wiped out. And when I got up, I was even more
exhausted. I asked around about what I could be doing to help with
this and it turns out that I might not be getting all I need by just
taking my D vitamins (which are a GODSEND by the way.).
So, I'm going to be adding in B12 and a good multivitamin or prenatal.
And, I've just got to give my body time to ride itself of all the
nasty toxins I was taking in from the Diet soda.

(And let me tell you about that evil diet soda. As soon as I
dropped it, the scale started moving down again and I lost three
pounds by the next day. Holy cow....can you believe it? I got off
the scale and got back on because I thought I was hallucinating.)

Why am I telling you this? Because even Supermoms who think they've
got it all under control could use a little help. If you are on
the weight loss track and all gung ho about "Woo-hoo, I'm losing
weight. One step closer to skinny jeans!", you might be missing out
on something that you need along the way. And even Supermoms get
lost now and then and need to ask for directions on where she
should be going.

So, if you are doing this weight loss thing and either have
commented or are lurking, how's it going for you? Are you struggling
and need a boost or are you a rockstar and want to gloat?

I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Craving-squashing soup, my way.

What a busy week.

I'm glad to have one day at home before the madness starts all
over again.

We spent most of the week at the lake, which was wonderful.
Washington only has about a month of hot weather and when it
is finally hot, we do it up. At least to Washington standards.
This meant a lot of juggling my meals because I don't do sandwich
with thick deli meats, sliced cheese and lots of mayo from the
cooler or packaged treats, like chips or crackers. I mean,
the ones I buy for my boys are organic and all low in sugar/fat,
but I try not to eat much out of a box/bag/package if I can
help it.

I ended up throwing together a soup from a suggestion that I got
from a friend and just kind of making it my own. It was too hot
to roast broccoli for soup so I skipped that step and just
steamed 4-5 cups of broccoli. (If you can do it, roast your
veggies for your soup. Just toss your veggies with a little EVOO,
about a tablespoon, and a little salt/pepper and roast for about 20
minutes at 350*. Super simple and really bumps up the flavor of your ingredients/soup.) If you'd rather use cauliflower, I've done that
instead of broccoli. Just use a whole head.) Anyway, once you get
your broccoli just barely steamed, let it cool just a bit and
puree in batches with enough organic chicken broth to make it
into a thick puree. Set that aside for a second and get going
chopping whatever veggies you have on hand. Last batch I made,
I used zucchini, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms and
cabbage. I sauteed my veggies in a large saucepan with a tbsp.
each of UNsalted butter and EVOO until just a little limp, then
added it to a medium-large pot with the pureed broccoli adding just
another cup or so of organic chicken broth or so. It's really
depending on how thick you want your soup. I like it a little
thicker so I use just a cup. I warmed it through and added 1 cup
2% sharp cheddar, some red pepper flake and about a 1/4 cup fat free
evaporated milk. (If you don't have evaporated milk,
you can also use fat free milk or fat free half-n-half) I just
warmed it through to melt the cheese
and wa-la.....a creamy vegetable soup that's both filling and
fooling because you think you're eating a fattening soup but
you're really not. Sometimes, I add a tbsp. of dijon to give it a
little twang. I find that a cup of this is filling enough for lunch
and the little cheese and butter curbs all my wanting for foods that
I shouldn't have. One pot of this will do lunch for me all week OR will
go about three days if I eat it for lunch and dinner, which I did
last week as it was too hot to cook and again, I didn't
want a sandwiches with fattening cold cuts and processed cheese.

And you know, it fits into the "single wide budget" because it only
uses a smidge of cheese and all the veggies were bought from my local
produce stand and really only cost me a couple bucks to make a huge pot
of soup that fed me very well for up to a week. Just think how much
you'll save making a pot of soup from home and brown bagging your lunch
for work every week!

So, that's what I ate last week. I plan on making the soup again and
roasting the veggies as it's a little cooler in Washington next week.
I love that I am cooking with all these local fresh vegetables that
last month, I would have completely passed over for a less healthy
choice. I have tried this with the cabbage soup diet and as it's
a very tasty soup, it didn't have the little touches of the
creaminess that I love in soup. My soup has a just enough of that
where I can have my creamy-cheesy goodness without gorging myself
on a high-calorie, carb-laden soup. I hope you try it for yourself
and let me know how it works for you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cheating in any way always comes with consequences.

Hey. Guess what?

My "visitor" is gone. Glory be. I've never been more glad
to see something end. We'll, that's not entirely true. I've
felt that way about more than one thing in my life a time or two.

I admit. I kept at it. I really did. And I was down almost another
five pounds. Almost.

But, I fudged last night. Big time. We'd had a long day yesterday
and I was bone tired when I got home and didn't have the energy
to juggle the kids until bedtime and cook dinner. So, when the
kids asked if we could do pizza for dinner, I caved. They make
it so easy now, you don't even have to call it in if you don't
have to. You can order pizza online!

I've got a secret, though. I think the "diet" gods were waiting
for me to eff up. Honestly.

I don't know how I did it but when I ordered my Veggie Lovers
pizza minus the green peppers and plus jalapenos, it came back to
me exactly how I ordered it. Supposedly. Only it didn't. Half my
Veggie pizza had cheese and extra jalapenos and the other half had
the veggies and extra jalapenos. But, of course, I was too tired
to pay attention and notice that something was different. And,
my saint of a husband said nothing to me while I kept stopping
for a while between bites and remarking how hot it was. Noooooo,
he waited until I'd finished my first piece that he thought I'd
ordered my pizza really different from usual but that he thought
I "knew what I was doing". (Lord. When do I ever really know what
I'm doing. I fake it REAL well.) I will fess up that I was suffering
for that pizza in more ways than just one last night.

And this morning, too.

My husband, of course, thought this was a RIOT. And kept singing
a particular Johnny Cash song all morning to me. What a guy.


Let me be a lesson for you. If you plan on swerving off your new
path for a healthier body, make sure you don't bring passengers.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dieting stinks sometimes. Trust me.

Hey. It's me.

I'm still doing my best to eat healthy, walk an hour a day
and generally treat my body as a temple. Even though my body
looks like it could seat 100. Easily.

I was doing great. Down another five pounds since the last time
I wrote a blog. Then, I go to weigh in this morning and I'm up
the five pounds I dropped, basically overnight. I chalked it up
to water weight gain and went along with my day.

Then, I realized what that really means. Aunt Flo is coming.
And she's like any pain in the ass visitor who brings everything
in her closet and puts her feet up for the whole danged week
while you run around cooking her her favorite fatty snacks and
sugary treats. By the time the week she stays is over, you're
ready to drop kick her all the way back where she came
from. I don't need her luggage in my closets, I've got more
than enough baggage for the both of us in my trunk.

I've got news for that bitch, Aunt Flo. I'm not cooking her
any calorie laden treats. I'm not making any special trips to
the grocery store for her favorite ice cream or that one
brand of kettle chips. She can stay and be comfortable but
I won't appease her excess weight or mood-induced cravings.
Screw that.

I have a point.

Yes, being a woman stinks sometimes. And "dieting" stinks even
more when you're raging because Aunt Flo's come over again and
made it danged near impossible to go on with your life as planned.
But, I won't let her own my body and my common sense. I have not
caved. And I don't plan on it. I can't promise that I won't eat my
weight in SF jello, but that's a heck of a lot better than a whole
gallon of full fat ice cream and a bag of chips in one sitting.

Check in with me next week and ask me how it went. Who was left
standing after I kicked Aunt Flo's butt to the curb.

Put your money on me. I fight to the death.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week one down......ten pounds lighter.

School has let out for the summer.

And I swear, I am more tired now than I was before it let out.
But this is a good thing. Because it's a different kind of tired.
The kind of tired that you feel great that you
accomplished something to make yourself a better person.

So far, I've been doing great with my weight loss. I'm down ten
pounds, have almost completely kicked sugar and feel better than
I have in years. I even walk with my olderson in the morning
which is truly a blessing because we can catch up about the day
before and we can spend time together just the two of us before
anyone else gets up. (He told me yesterday that it's really
about coming home and having a hot cocoa and quiet but I know
he just dosen't want me to get a swelled head about how much fun
we're having.)

With all this extra energy, I get things done. I want to go out
and PLAY. Before, I didn't really do that. I just sat around
and felt like crud all the time. No fun for anyone. It's really
been an eye opener for me how much I couldn't get accomplished
because I was so tired.

I don't know why I ever went back to eating the way that got me
this way. It's like.....what in the heck was I thinking? If it feels
so good to eat better and exercise, why in the heck did
I stop? And you know, I don't know why. I really don't.
I could tell you all that it was my Mom brain and because I
juggle so much on a daily basis that it was just easier but we all
know that's a load of poo. Sure, I had two kids and I got married
but I didn't gain the weight because I was a happy new mother or a
happy newlywed. S**t happens.

So. Make it unhappen. Whatever the reason.

Am I making any sense? I tend to babble and talk the long way
around most of the time. First week went well. Making recipes
lighter isn't all that difficult. And yeah, I miss butter
and sugar but 1) not enough to keep on bein' overweight and
feel sick all the time 2) it's almost like a fantasy, where the
idea of eating sugar and fat is better than it really is.

That's kind of where I'm at lately. Trying to get my shit together.

Whatcha think?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summertime....and the livin' is easy......

Hey! It's summer!

We'll, kinda. For those of you who live in the Northwest,
you know what the weather's been like here. This weekend was
actually the closest to summer weather we've had in almost two weeks.
And it's been glorious. Sunny skies, perfect temperature and the
outside is ripe for all kinds of fun times.

I've actually gotten up and out of the house. You see, over
the winter I kind of hibernated. I stayed in and played board
games, cooked winter-y dishes and just enjoyed the whole
sweats and blanket mentality. Which means I gained back a
lot of the weight I lost last spring/summer. I was kicking my
own bootay for a while, doing the whole talking shit
deal to myself about how stupid that was until I kind of
took a step back and was all "Uh, stop complaining and get off
your ass.

So, I'm getting off my ass and exercising. I walk two miles in
the morning, I've cut out all energy drinks from my diet over
two weeks ago (and LORD, that was hard.....I loved
my Cherry Bombs.....), and I've started to trim my diet down
to include even more fresh local produce, lots of water instead
of coffee/soda and cutting WAY back on the sugar.
It's really a pain in my backside right now because I miss all
my butter, carbs and lord help me, sugar. I'm a serious sugar addict.

I have a point.

I'm going to try to sit around less. Which means I'm going to have
to really bust my butt to get my blogs out in record time so I can
be out doing things. And, I've got to start revamping my recipes
again to suit a healthier lifestyle. going to suck.
I'm afraid the fat girl inside of me is just waiting for the skinny
girl to close her eyes for just one second......this way
she can have her full fat cream and butter in exorbant amounts.

Lord have mercy.

These are the changes I've made so far. I now use FF cream/sour
cream/yogurt, whole wheat pastas, half the butter, healthier
cuts of meat and even cauliflower subbed for potatoes in my
potato salad. Some of this stuff I already did before, to a point
but it can't help to do more. And you CAN do this on a single-wide
budget. You'll actually find that you're spending less when you buy
more healthy ingredients and less "filler". It's already been almost
a week and I feel GREAT. If this interests you at all, stalk me!
(Okay, not REALLY full-blown stalking. A little stalking would
be okay.) Or shoot, give me some pointers on what works for you
and we all can be the body-happy people we want to be, whatever
our shape. Shoot. I'd be happy with being a size 12 jeans again.

I like junk in my trunk. Ain't NO shame here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Take-Out Fake-Out, Mexican-style numero dos.

I did it again.

I won't take total credit because I had help. And it wasn't
originally MY recipe. But I did make a few changes and now it's
mine all mine.

We'll, no. Not really. I'll share it with you. Because what's
the point of making great food and not blabbing all over about
how good it is?

How did I not know about Carne Adovada? Ohmaigawd. So good.
And really, easier than it looks. When I read over the recipe
I was stumped by two things. What in the heck is New Mexico chili
powder and do I have to not only marinade the meat but do I have
to roast it in the oven? (Okay. My secret's out. I'm always
looking for the easy way out. If I can find a shortcut somewhere
......GREAT. I know there's more like me so why not
just say it flat out so we can all celebrate shortcutters everywhere!)

Anyway. I have a point.

The original recipe wants you to marinate the meat for at
least twelve hours or overnight. Pshaw. Right. Like I'm going to
remember to do this. Please. My house is chaos. (And if I'm telling
you the truth, I read that in the recipe and seriously meant to
marinate it. I DID. But I forgot. You know how you forget?
I forgot.) And I was all sideways about the kind of chili powder
it called for. When I was growing up and first started cooking
on my own, I knew of only one chili powder and if you use too
much of it, it blew your socks off. This recipe called for New
Mexico chili and FOUR TABLESPOONS worth. Oh lord. I was
concerned if my husband and I would be able to eat it, forget
the two kids. I did ask around and eventually found out that
New Mexico chili is much tamer than the regular hot chili that
you buy and it's really not an issue. Phew. And for all you
wondering where to find New Mexico chili, you can find it hanging
from a j-hook in the "ethnic" or "mexican" part of your grocery store.
It didn't cost me any more than about 60 cents and it's the
perfect amount for the recipe. If not four tablespoons exactly,
it's danged close.

So, this is what I did. I followed the recipe as close as I
could, only adding sauteed onions in with the garlic and using
tomato juice instead of water. I took another reviewers advice
and adapted it to the crockpot. I braised the pork stew meat
in the oil, added it to the crockpot, then sauteed the onion and
garlic and layered it over the pork meat, then added
the tomato juice (think V-8) to the hot pan and scraped all
those good bits off the pan before adding the spices. After
pouring the sauce over the pork meat, I cooked this meat on
high for most of the morning. By dinner time, it was perfect.
Nicely flavored with quite a kick. We ate these wrapped up in
soft taco tortillas with all the fixin's. Good stuff! It's
kind of like eating chili, but it's not chili.

And you know, everyone loved it. We'll, almost everyone. My
littlest projectile vomited all over the kitchen table but he's
a stubborn child. He did that on purpose, only because he
didn't like the looks of dinner from the start. (He's got an
thing against most food wrapped in tortillas, unless it's coated
in peanut butter and wrapped around a banana. He's not my
child, I swear.) My oldest boy raved about it all night and
how good it was and he couldn't wait to have it again. I want
to believe him only because 1) it was that good and 2) I
hope against all hope that he wasn't kissing my behind over
his temper tantrum that lasted all day.

Projectile vomiting and behind-kissing children aside, it was
off the charts good. Like something you'd get from a mexican
restaurant. My husband actually suggested that the sauce that
I made for this recipe would be good as an enchilada sauce or
even a taco meat sauce, if you are so inclined. I urge you to
try it for yourself. Because it's awesome. Either with my own version
of Mexican Rice or my Cilantro-Lime Rice, that's a little tamer
and a good mouth-cooler-offer against the Carne Adovada.

Give it a go. You'll love it!

Carne Adovada

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt/pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
One large onion, cut in half and sliced
4 tablespoons New Mexico red chile powder
12 ounces tomato juice, like V-8
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
3 pounds cubed pork stew meat

1.In a skillet or deep frying pan, heat two tbsp. oil over
medium heat. Toss pork stew meat with flour, salt and pepper
in a large bowl and brown in hot oil until light golden brown.
Layer in the bottom of your crockpot. Add the remaining two
tbsp. of oil to hot skillet and saute onion and garlic in
oil until translucent. Layer over pork meat in crockpot.
In the hot skillet, add tomato juice making sure to scrape
up all browned bits off of the bottom and edges of the skillet.
Blend in chile powder, stirring until lumps are removed,
then add oregano and cumin. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour over pork meat and onions/garlic in
crockpot. Cook on HIGH for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
Serve with tortillas and all your taco/burrito fixings.

Take-Out Fake-Out Mexican Rice

3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. minced onion
2 tbsp. sofrito sauce
1 1/2 cup long grain rice

1.In medium sized skillet, melt butter and saute onion in
butter until translucent. Add chicken broth and wisk in
sofrito sauce. Bring ingredients up to boil, stir in rice.
Briefly stir rice and cover, reducing heat to low. Cook rice
over low heat for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Take Out-Fake Out, Mexican style numero uno.

My birthday was last week.

The ONE thing I wanted to do for my birthday, other than have
a drama-free family day was go out for mexican food. Even though
I hoped, I knew this wouldn't happen for two reasons.

1)Even if we did have the money to go out, I wouldn't do it
anyway. I'm cheap. And honestly, I have a hard time paying someone
to make something for me when I could make it cheaper and
pretty close to the real deal. Sure, it's nice to have someone
to cook for you once in a blue moon. BUT, I just can't get past
that I spent all this money when it could have paid a bill or bought
groceries. (Sometimes, I wish I could just tie up the penny pincher
inside of me and just boot her off a cliff. She's a real pain in
my backside and no fun at all.)

2)I share my life with three boys, one of which is my husband.
All of them possess little to no table manners and they are loud
and obnoxious and generally make me want to spork myself
whenever I take them out. If I'm spending money on a dinner
for me, you best behave. Otherwise, I feel no different than
when I'm at home, disgusted with their record-breaking burps/
farts and the bickering back and forth. I feel like I'm running
defense. And my husband has no freaking patience for two boys
in a restaurant. So, if we do go out, even if it is my freaking
birthday, I'm still the main parent in charge. So, I either
wolf down my food because I stress eat, then get a huge
bellyache and feel sick for the rest of the night
or I pick at my food and it gets cold which means I won't eat it.

So, anyway. My favorite place to go out for a "me" meal is Mazatlan.
Other than the best freaking Cadillac Margarita I've ever had,
they make this Pollo Con Crema that is to die for. Don't ask me
what else is on the menu, I couldn't tell you. Every time, I order
the same danged thing. And it's always SO good. And it's a gazillion
calories. And I eat myself silly and complain about how much I ate
but it was SO good......

And then I get the bill. And it's fifty bucks. And I want to cry.

I decided I wasn't going to do that this year. That I would
save the money I really didn't have and make Pollo Con Crema myself.
I've done it before and it wasn't quite right. Close, but not
quite there for me. (Props to the people before me who attempted
their own personal versions, if they hadn't given me a
jumping off point, I would have NEVER made my own.) I played
with the ingredients and what I thought would be right and just
kind of went balls out and just did it. I also made a mexican rice
that is pretty close to what Mazatlan serves on the side of
their platters. I found this wonderful sauce called sofrito sauce.
Why had I not heard of this before? It's like my new BFF condiment.
Freaking wonderful. Just wisk a couple tbsp. into your rice water
and cook like normal and wa-la, mexican rice. Seriously made of
win. I found mine at Fred Meyer for just a couple bucks
but you can order it online, too. I will warn you that it
does contain MSG, so if you are sensitive,
you can find copycat sofrito sauce recipes if you google.
Really looks easy to make.

Oh. Em. Gee. Words can not express how freaking good it was.
Like a religious experiance. And I was just beside myself
because I freaking did it. I made it myself and it was perfect.
And it cost me well under twenty bucks to make a whole pot of it!
I was riding that high all night. And this morning, if you want to
know the truth.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to try it,
too. And be happy with me that food like this exists. And,
honestly, you owe me a birthday present anyway......;) Go make
it and celebrate with me, though a little late.

It is seriously SO good. You'll thank me later. I know you will.

4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
2 large red bell peppers, cut into chunks
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons ketchup, or to taste
2 dashes hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot®), or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground dried Anaheim or California chiles (optional)
12 (6 inch) flour tortillas

1.Sprinkle chicken cubes with salt and pepper. Heat 1
tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat,
and cook and stir the chicken until the juices run clear,
5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl, and heat
1 more tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
Cook and stir the mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, and garlic
until the vegetables are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables into the bowl with the chicken.
2.Melt butter over medium-high heat in the same skillet,
and whisk in the flour. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly,
until the roux is lightly browned and gives off a toasted fragrance,
about 2 minutes. Whisk in the broth, bring to a simmer, and whisk
until thickened. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in the cream,
sour cream, ketchup, hot sauce, cumin, and ground dried chiles.
Cover the skillet, and simmer until thick and the flavors
have blended, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Gently stir in the chicken and vegetables. Serve rolled in
flour tortillas.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My bigger master really.

(I'm a little more scatterbrained than usual today.
Please bear with me and perhaps
pretend that I make sense today.)

This weekend was really great. Weather was perfect, we had a
lot of good quality family time and really packed a lot into
two days.

Including the weekly grocery shopping.

Now, it's Monday. And I'm like my littlest boy all fit-tastic
and am just not wanting to make my weekly menu. And it's nagging
at me because I didn't make one last week. I made it work
but it was a lot more work than it should have been because
I'm flighty and would think that I had my meal planned out
and it was the one area of my life that was settled for the day
but at the last minute, I'd look at the blueprint I made for o
ur dinner and decide that I wanted a bigger master bathroom.

Lemme explain.

Picture yourself on a pasture and you're looking at blueprints
for your house and seeing how the plans for your house work to
fit your pasture. It's got all the typical rooms for your home
all mapped out and it's just a basic family home. But, then you
get that nagging in the back of your mind thinking that you want
to change it just a bit. Like you'd like more closet space and
a bigger master bathroom and a skylight in the kitchen.
So, you start erasing and drawing in new plans and the house
just keeps getting bigger and you get excited with the new additions
you make on your blueprints. Then you get to work on the finished
product you had all worked out on paper and you didn't add in all
the extra work, materials and time it'd take when you were making
all these plans on paper.

I have a point.

I have a basic family. No frills. My boys are pretty cut and
dry when it comes to food. But me? I have all these lofty ideas
to how to make a recipe better and to just take your typical
menu for a dinner and just turn up the flash just a bit.
Sometimes this works, most of the time my boys look at me like
I'm growing an extra nose on my face. So, without a meal plan and
a SET recipe for every day, I do this every day. And it's tiring.
And sometimes it works out and you feel accomplished, but most
of the time you're just disappointed with yourself because you
just couldn't keep it simple, stupid. Sometimes, you need the
house built already so you can just be done with it.

So.....I know I went the long way around but honestly, that's
how I roll. So, from now on, I'm sticking with blueprints written
in permanent ink unless it's a special occasion. Because all
these lofty plans are just wearing me out. No need to imagine you
can build a mansion on a single wide trailer budget.

I mean, REALLY. How's that for a mental picture?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Relating lasagna to my personal life.

I'm having a bumpy week.

Just rough weekend heading into stormy weather, personal-life
wise. Ah, we all get there, don't we? Have some personal
tribulations and just kind of mope. I hate to admit that I do
this myself, but.....I pout worse than my own kids some days.
And to make this week my own shiny penny, my husband is thrilled
because my emo-ness comes with treats.

(I love my husband. I do. But, he's just like a big kid.
Awwww, I'm sorry you're sad. Oooooh, cookies! God bless him, the twit.)

So far this week, my cooking has been really good. I don't know
about you but when I'm stewing something over, I really hone in
on what I'm doing and work it out in my food. My husband will tell
you that is the god honest truth. And it always seems to me that
I pick the recipes with as many steps as I can. Like.....lasagna.

Now, I can relate lasagna to my life. Don't you walk off in a snit
thinking I'm an idiot. I've got a point. In the beginning of my life,
I viewed everything as too much bother. I didn't want kids or to
be married, I just wanted to be young and dumb and fart around.
Anyone who is a beginning cook will look at lasagna and just
kind of pshaw and pass it off as too much work.
Once I found the man who would eventually become my husband,
I could see myself having kids and being a wife and mother and
perhaps I could handle it. But, LORD, was it difficult.
I fumbled around our first few years together and really
struggled with my first child. And it's the SAME with making
lasagna. You take on the recipe thinking that it really won't be
all that difficult and all the steps will be a piece of cake.....
and then you over cook the noodles and the sauce is too runny and
when you go to cut pieces out of the pan, they flop all over
and look like a big ol' plate of throw-up on your plate. And
your family dosen't want to eat it. And you feel like crying
because you thought it was gonna be SO easy and you feel like
you failed.

Now that I've been married for quite some time and my kids are
getting older and more dependant on themselves and you get
into a routine, life gets a little easier. It's not as hard
as it was when you first started. Sure, you stumble here and
there. Everyone stumbles. But the bumps and bruises don't hurt
as bad as they did before. Just like making lasagna. I've
made more since my first disaster and they always get better.
You learn what works. You don't add as much to your sauce so
it won't be so runny. You don't overcook your noodles.
You add your own personal touches to make it your own. And what
used to take hours in the past now really only takes an hour.
And you feel better because you've accomplished
something that really was so daunting before.

I really DO have a point.

I'm sharing this with you because I know I'm not alone. And
I want you to know that you aren't alone. We're all entitled
to have our bad days and work it out in our minds to make
sense of it all. And we ALL have to eat. So......


Monday, May 3, 2010

Savingmoneylicious. (Hey, I made up my own word!)

You all like to know what other people are buying at
the store. This is a guarantee.

You know why I know this?

Because half of America (and other countries included) are
Reality TV junkies. Sure, you make scoff and say that it's
not really an issue. You can quit at any time. You aren't
REALLY that dependant on the drama of others. And if it's not
drama, you want to know what all the current It person is
wearing, buying, eating, wiping their behind with. Hey,
don't shoot the messenger. If it wasn't true, all the checkout
mags would be making zilch off all us daily.

I say, let your freak flag fly. If that's what makes you happy,
shoot....who's it hurting? There are worse habits you could be
trying to kick. Reality television, low on the radar.
(If it makes you feel better, I have a new fascination with this show, Jerseylicious. YES, I know that's not typical behavior and it's
not really truth, but that doesn't make it any less
entertaining.) Honestly, aren't we a little glad that
it's their drama and not ours?

I have a point.

I'm not your next It girl. Believe me. BUT, I know you all
want to know how I save money every week and still be able to
say that I have a "Double Wide Skillet, Single Wide Budget".
It really does all work out. And you get your fix for reality,
because what's more real than having fifty bucks to feed your
whole family for one week. And I'm going to give you a
look-see into my wallet and show you how I did it. Just
leave my change where it is and don't be snooping at my
driver's license. You REALLY don't need to know my age and
weight.(Disclaimer: This does not count for small stops at
the store for small items, like bags of flour. This week, my
kids want to make cookies with Mom and has a couple more
homemade flour-using items than usual. I usually will buy a huge
bag of flour on my big grocery trip but with all the kids'
birthday expenses and homemade cakes for both boys, I don't have
extra for a big grocery trip.)

I know you can handle it. Hike up your big girl (or big boy) panties.

This week, I was able to buy all this for fifty dollars
(with a couple odds and ends):

Two loaves bread
One pkg. hoagie rolls
Two pkgs. salad mix
Really big bag broccoli
Four packages off brand "Buddig" beef
7 pounds bananas
4 pounds tomatoes
2 meals worth ground beef
2 meals worth fresh chicken breasts
4 cartons XL eggs
2 packs off brand soda (husband's lunch)
4# carton strawberries
Fresh mushrooms
Couple cans Campbell's double-strength beef broth
Couple three packages of yeast

Really not super fabulous, but with my pantry ingredients,
I can make this work to my advantage. How? I'll show you.
Keep in mind that if I don't show a vegetable side, that
we're most likely doing a vegetable platter with a low-calorie,
homemade dressing. Also it's safe to assume that for the pasta,
I'm using a whole wheat pasta I've bought on sale and for the
baked items, I'll either use half or mostly whole wheat flour
when I can.

This week's menu plan:

Carnation Swedish Meatballs
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed broccoli

Snooty Chicken, White Trash Style (made into sandwiches)
Buenisimo Garlic Fries
Vegetable platter

From-Scratch Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Buttermilk Parmesan Ranch Bread

Creamed Eggs on Toast (with the "Buddig" beef)
Homemade biscuits
Sunday Best Fruit Salad (with low-sugar peaches instead of peach filling)

Harwood Family Salisbury Steak
Onion Rice
Creamy Green Beans Parmesan, lightened up

Simple-spiced Fried Pork Chops
Penne, Tomato and Mozzerella Salad
Harwood Family Favorite Cornbread

Buffet Night aka Clean Out the Fridge Night aka Mom's Night Off.

Now, I know it really dosen't look like much. But to me, with
the pantry items I have and the pork chops I buy when they're
marked down and stick them in the freezer really helps out on tight
weeks when I really don't have a lot of breathing room.

And you have to realize that I get to the store EARLY, like
when they open. I've been known to get all Springer-like and
knock another person down for marked down meat and bread. I
have three boys living in my house that like to eat! There's
no shame here. I find that if I plan ahead and make menu's
and outline everything I'll need for the week (and fill in
the gaps at my favorite Grocery Outlet store.....NO, they
are NOT paying me to hock their merchandise.....I just
love their business.), everything will be taken care of.
Both the boys' bellies and my wallet. Even if I got to
strong arm someone now and then.

Between you and me, you can get all Jerseylicious in your
head that you're the scary beeyotch that saved money while
you're eyeing the woman next to you and the items
in her cart who's paying twice what you did.

Aw. Come on, now. We ALL do it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cooking with Alcohol on a Budget OR Drunken Cookery.

I'm a drinker.

I don't hide that I like liquor. Pretty much everyone who
knows me will straight up tell you that I love alcohol. Not
just to drink with, I love to cook with it, too. Only
recently, have I discovered that I love to cook with alcohol.
I'm not about sharing my liquor, even if it's going in food
that I'm going to consume. Because it's not giving me a buzz.

Hey. At least I'm honest.

I'm a broke mo-fo. I can't spend a ton on alcohol. So, I shop
discount. It's nothing new finding out that I love Grocery Outlet.
I seriously love it there. I'm there so much that I should just
move right in onto the loading dock and just open my trunk and
dump everything in.

No, not really. But, close enough.


Grocery Outlet carries some killer local wines for a quarter of
what you would pay elsewhere. I buy mine there, a few bottles at
a time and just stock them. And hope I don't drink them. ;)

One recipe I make at least once a month is Snooty Chicken,
White Trash Style.<
Now, I will say that the original recipe, not mine. The original
recipe, very good. I just adapted it to work for my family.
Almost all the ingredients for this recipe can be bought
at Grocery Outlet on the cheap, or if you don't have a discount
grocery store near you, you can get most of it at your local store
cheaply. Just check out your flyers and clip your coupons and
do your homework. It takes a little practice, you'll get there.
It really only cost me about five bucks for the whole meal, and
that included the cheese and wine. That's for......six sandwiches.
Just think about how much you pay at Quizno's for ONE sandwich.
Or for one plate of chicken, rice and steamed veggies at
Applebee's, I got six plates. I bought the wine for this chicken
dish at Grocery Outlet for $2.99. Local wine maker, decent
flavor and it's drinkable. People always say that you shouldn't
cook with an alcohol that you can't see yourself drinking, that's
absolutely right. Why would you do that?

We like this recipe in two ways. First, is as written,
with a side of steamed rice and veggies. I prefer it this way,
but my boys....not so much. Second, is in sandwich form. If
you have boys in your home, like me, they'll eat just about
anything stuffed in bread. I make the chicken as directed,
then use the "sauce" ingredients to make an au jus. I broil
some hoagie rolls, then pile the sliced meat, sauteed onions/mushrooms,
top with the swiss and broil again. Serve with a side of homemade
jo-jo's (very simple, just cut your potatoes in wedges and toss
with EVOO and a couple choice spices) or a side salad with a
homemade salad dressing:<
(Little plug of another recipe of mine, heh. Just thin out
the dip with a little low-fat buttermilk
and you're golden. The dip is GREAT to dip your jo-jo's
in, too! Just ask Hubs.)

Really cheap to make and super filling. And a real family pleaser.

Super easy to have a snooty dinner on a white trash budget.

(I'm kind of all over the place lately. Thanks for hanging out
for the whole thing.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thinking outside the typical "box" meal.

There's not one person I know that doesn't have a
fond memory of those "Helper" meals Mom made for us kids
growing up.

Good OR bad.

When I first moved in with my husband and I was pregnant
and he was newly unemployed, I switched over to the clever
budgeting that I was taught basically from birth. One of the
cheapest meals we ate was a skillet meal, pretty close to the
"Helper" meals that all the other kids I knew ate. Sure,
Mom made them for us every once and a while. She particularly
liked to make Tuna Helper, one in particular that had a sort
of cornbread-pie topping that really made you vomit in your
mouth at the look and smell. Nevermind the taste.
Mom didn't buy those ready made mixes all too often because
she knew that she could make a better tasting meal and really
make the most basic ingredients stretch to feed the kids for
a couple days.

Living with two growing boys and one husband who works.......
construction and likes to eat big, I'm thankful for that lesson
darn near every day.

Now, having two growing boys and a hungry husband does have
it's setbacks, aside from the constant empty leg syndrome.
My boys can be a little picky, especially the youngest. I LOVE
vegetables.....sadly, they do not always share the love. Which
blows. BUT, I make it work.

I'm sneaky. I hide veggies, darn near every day. I serve a
veggie side along with the meal so they can see what they're
eating and try a whole array of textures and flavors BUT
I do sneak them into meals. And lemme tell you, I think my
kids are on to me. I KNOW my husband knows the score. I will
tell you after a while, they just kind of shrug now
and just chalk it up to me being "experimental" and eat it
anyway. (A few nights of You'll Eat What I Make Or You'll
Starve works well, too. Especially on the husband, who
can't really cook anything aside from BBQ or ramen noodles.)

You can do this, too. And it's really not going to cost any
more than what you're already paying for meat and a packaged meal.
And you're family will survive, even if they complain and tell you
that you're killing them with all these vegetables and
lack of processed ingredients. (My husband especially loves
to complain about this.)Tune it out and keep on keepin' on.

I come bearing a gift today. One of my own personal skillet meals
for you to try on your family, just to see what they think. I make
the basic formula with the WW noodles, tomato sauce and meat, but
it varies every time with what veggies I have in the fridge/what
I found on sale. Experiment. If you have another kind of fresh
veg that you think would be good, chop it up and throw it in.
Nine times out of ten, you'll like what you make. And
really, so will your kids. Don't we lead by example? Anyway.....
here is one I make about......twice each a month.

1 lg onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1# extra lean ground beef (or ground chicken/turkey)
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 can (14.5 oz.) low-salt canned tomatoes, rinsed and drained
3 cans (8 oz.) low salt tomato sauce
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
3 tbsp. dill pickle juice
1 tbsp. worchestershire sauce
1/3 c. bacon bits (packaged or homemade)
1 1/2 c. uncooked whole wheat pasta
8 oz. lowfat sharp cheddar, shredded
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, cook together onion, garlic and meat until
browned. Drain well. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Liquid
Smoke, dijon mustard, dill pickle juice, worchestershire sauce
and bacon bits. Heat through. In seperate pot, cook pasta to
box instructions. Drain well. Stir into meat mixture.
Heat through. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese.

We like this with cornbread and a platter of fresh
veggies and my Zesty Ranch Dip.

Really only pennies to make these meals and a whole lot healthier
than the "Helper" meals.

I mean, they're great. Don't get me wrong. But it's always
a little tastier homemade.

And cheaper. Isn't it?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Birthday! Guess what......You're old!

I've been fretting over this new blog entry.

Only because I'm not really in a writin' mood lately.

Not a lot has changed excepting my boys are getting older.
I'm getting older. We're all getting older. And the sense
of my own mortality has kind of gripped my psyche and hasn't let go.

(I go through this every Spring. My family members all
have birthdays right after the other and it's a constant
reminder that we're all maturing. Some of us faster than others,
in the case of my adolescent husband. You think I'm being too
hard on him? Great. Then you can come for dinner one night and
witness him both farting and burping without apologies, and
encouraging my boys to clap if he's beat last dinner's record.
Then, we'll see what you have to say. But, I digress.)

We're broke as heck. Worse than before. So, that single wide
budget has shrunk down to about the size of our Subaru. I'm
trying to remain positive. This means, I get to make the
boys' birthday cake this year instead of paying $25 for a bakery
cake that has a a**ton of dyes and artificial mess that make
my boys yak all over the carpet in a array of colors. I like
to bake and my boys like to eat cake. It all works out. We've
spent all our excess "fun" money on small gifts for the boys
and I'm researching on how to make my own party decorations on
the cheap. And, we're doing a "special" dinner at home instead
of dinner out. This means the birthday boy gets to pick out
their birthday dinner.......that I get to figure out how to make on
the cheap. They've all clammored to me with suggestions, and I'm
doing my best to figure out how I can do what they wish on the cheap.

I'm determined to keep a positive attitude. Even if I don't have
a lot to say on the matter.

So, anyway.....pretty soon, it'll be Happy Birthday to Me.
And when I blow out the candles on the cake I make for myself,
I will make sure to thank Whoever for the blessings I've
been given: Each new day I'm presented with to spend time with
the people that matter to me the most. The ability to do the best
for my family I can, no matter what the budget. The ingenuity I
was shown by my parent that you can do anything you set
your mind to. The friendships I've made that get me through
the hardest times. And the state of mind that I can just open
my mouth and tell anyone about it.

So, yes. I'm older. But, I think with each passing year,
I'm more thankful.

How's that for turning a heck of a negative into a shining positive?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Grocery Shopping with less than 40.00.

I'm feeling a little down this week. Nothing that won't be
fixed in a couple days and some good medication. Not me. My
youngest. Thought he was over his last humdinger of an ear
infection only to get him to the hospital last night and
find out that it was worse than before. Poor little man.
So.....after a couple rough night's sleep, I'm ready for a
comforting meal and a good night's sleep.

I digress.

I don't know if any of you live close to a Grocery Outlet.
I pray like heck you do. If it wasn't for them, I swear, I
would have gone broke buying groceries for my family AGES ago.
I hear Aldi is pretty close. I've never been to one, so
I can't swear on my firstborn. From what I've seen from the
receipt's of my friends, they're at least kissin' cousins.
(If you're in Washington, I've found that Tacoma
Boys is a good place to shop for good priced produce.
They especially rungreat sales during the summer.)

I had to get a week's worth of produce today, with a couple
extra's thrown in for lunches. I had some produce already
here that will work with what I bought,
I just needed to round it out.

For those of you who like reciepts, this is what I got today:
(2) 16 oz. packages fresh mushrooms
(4) 16 packages sharp cheddar
Large package roma tomatoes
(4) Small bags organic baby carrots
(4) Bags salad mix (with the cabbage, not lettuce)
(2) Boxes Wheatable Nut Crackers
Container sour cream
#3 Dole bananas
(4) Cans mandarin oranges
Red potatoes
Really nice big container of green grapes
Bag frozen chicken tenders
Couple big cukes
Bag of apples (just your basic apple, for applesauce)

Now. Dosen't look like a lot. But four big bags for around
thirty bucks is pretty sweet. And with the chicken tenders
in there, too.....those can be pretty pricey. Sometimes, I'll
get spinach there, too but I had a couple bags from an
excellent sale this week. You have to admit that at your
local grocery store, unless you're shopping from a circular,
you ain't getting $30 worth of groceries no way, no how.
I would much rather buy my produce from a local stand but
this week just wasn't possible. (Isn't it great buying all
that fresh fruit from an open stand? There's nothing
like it.)

Couple secrets for you. If you live close to a discount store,
sometimes you can get really great deals by signing up for an
e-mail list. Grocery Outlet is great because they'll do printable
coupons on reciepts, they'll have a drawing a couple times a
month to win what you save and you can even sometimes find
a coupon or two in your blue envelope with.....we'll.....most
of the coupons that you completely disregard and recycle.
(Come on. You know I'm right. I've done it in the past.) I've
found that Grocery Outlet even has a Facebook page! They'll
offer tips on how to extend your food bill, work on revamping
your leftovers and what the deal of the week is. The great
thing about Grocery Outlet is they've even started carrying
organic brands for about half the normal price is. If you
don't want to commit, just go in. Look around. See
what they have to offer. There's no charge for window shopping.

And there's something I have to tell you that I'm a little
ashamed to admit. I usedto be a brand name junkie. Anything
that was store brand would have never made it into my cart
before kids. Now, I can say that most of the time the store
brand is just as good as the name brand counterpart. I'll
happily grab a store brand over any name brand item hands down.
And it costs about half what the name brand does! Try to lower
your standards and embrace the person inside who misses
the white boxes with the black lettering!

I'm really tired, so I'm probably leaving some things out.

I'm sure you'll remind me later.

Tonight's dinner is Hamburger Stroganoff. This will use some
of the mushrooms I bought today, some of the sour cream and
I'll serve it over mashed potatoes. You can
make a very simple mushroom soup base from scratch:
(< )
which is super cheap to make or you can use Cream of soup.
Or, you can just skip the middle man and just saute your
mushrooms in EVOO/butter and just salt/pepper and add a
little cream. Whichever is best for you. I tend to cook
the mushrooms in a seperate pan, then add it to the browned
hamburger and then add the milk, 1/3 c. lowfat sour cream,
little worchestershire sauce and sometimes, a little beef broth
if I'm low on milk. Almost all the ingredients (ground beef
aside, which I bought at Walmart last week and froze until
needed) were bought at Grocery Outlet. Served over mashed
potatoes with steamed broccoli or a side green salad is
really comfort at it's best for me. And it always seems to
make just enough for lunch the next day. Super cheap, and
really freaking tasty. For all you vegan's out there, there
is a portobello mushroom stroganoff
(< )
that is to freaking die for and it uses vegetable broth.
And I know that they make vegan sour cream, too! (And you
also can get portobello mushrooms at Grocery Outlet!
They even sell big containers for about four bucks at Costco.)

And honestly, just because you bought your regular
groceries at somewhere a little cheaper, does it make it
any less tasty?

So, did that help any?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Come on people, now. Smile on your brother!

Normally, I'm quite the little pisher.

Got a smart remark for everything.

Today, I'm taking a break.

In times like this, we're all pinching pennies. Every one of
us. Some have it a little easier than others. I was not only
raised with a single parent that had a good eye for
budgeting and stretching money, but also a caring heart.
Because of this, I have a soft spot for other single parents
trying so hard to make ends meet.

Ah heckfire, I have a soft spot for almost anything. Shoot, I
saw a commercial yesterday that had me crying. I just bubble over

Today, while out getting something special to make with my
boys at my favoritediscount store, I saw a single mother of
three kids walking through the store. You could see her working
out her budget in her head and how she was going to feed
her kids this week with the deals that were offered this week.
I knew this face. And I silently followed her around, not
necessarily stalking, just.....being quiet and taking it in.

Her and I reached the checkout line within minutes, but she
stepped aside to look through her cart and kind of do the
math in her head. We've all done this. My heart just couldn't
take it. I took aside the cashier and quietly told her that I
wanted to pay for her groceries, because she had so little
and I just couldn't not help in some way. She smiled and said
it wasn't a problem. As I loaded up my car, I looked through
the glass of the doors and glanced at the surprize and....utter
relief on her face. I sat in my car and broke down. I
couldn't help it. I hope she was able to get just a little
bit more with the money she had budgeted that week.

I don't come to you asking for a pat on the back or to
say I'm a good person. I'm human and know that sometimes
everyone needs a little help. I've been there a time
or two and there's always been someone with a helping hand
and kind heart. I know you're struggling, but there's always
someone who's swimming upstream against a hell of a current
and just needs a chance to pause and take another big breath
before fighting the current again.

So, if you can, help. You don't have to do what I did. It
dosen't always have to cost money. It's the little things.
Think outside the box and really hone in on your surroundings.
There's a chance every day for greatness. I see it constantly
and soon, so will you.

That could be the hand up that changes the world.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sloppy Joes. Completely unpretentious but really freaking awesome.

You ever learn to crochet?

I have. Several times. We'll....TRIED to learn. And you know
what, I'm terrible at it. I've bought magazines, how-to books,
watched tutorials on youtube and had several people try to sit
down and try to teach me step by step. I had a hair laying across
my backside a few months back and decided I needed a hobby. I
tried counted cross stitch and ended up throwing the whole mess
across the room over the inability to count and make tiny little
squares. Then, I decided that maybe I should try crocheting.
Again. After I couldn't get it the first time. I've put it down again
for the umpteenth time in.....three days and thought maybe I should
do something constructive instead of glaring at my yarn and
crochet hook and calling it foul names.

Yes, I did that. No, I'm not proud of it but gosh darn it, it's the truth.

So, anyway......yeah.

I've finally decided on my first recipe to go over with you. It's not
SUPER healthy but you can make a couple changes like I have to make it
a little better and kind of mask the changes you've made for the people
you love in your life. (If your family is anything like mine, you've got to
work to prove that vegetables and things like ground turkey and spices
are a good addition to food. It'll take some work but lemme tell you,
remind them that you love them and they will eventually fall in line.
A couple times of "eat what I cook or you go hungry" will make it go
a little quicker, trust me. If not, the Evil Eye works real well, too.)

Sloppy Joes aren't everyone's bag. They WEREN'T mine. The
canned sauce or the packet of seasoning just weren't for me. That's
putting it nicely. I made this recipe:
and I was converted. According to my husband, it was close
enough for him to the sauce but it was like a step up. My kids even
liked it.....and I HID VEGGIES IN IT. Shhhhhh. Don't tell. You
may say that it's not for you, but try it. You might find that you
actually like Sloppy Joes, only it's redefined the food for you. So,
for those of you who like bargains, pay attention. First
thing in the morning is usually when you find the best deals on meat.
Marked down meat does not always mean bad or rotten. Use your
bestjudgement....if it looks okay, then you're probably alright. If
you feel comfortable, call your local store and find out when they
mark down their meat. There's no shame in it. You aren't the first
person to do this. This morning, I paid $20 and got two weeks worth
of ground beef, ground turkey, BLSL chicken thighs, and pork
chops.....all for being their early. If you don't like that, maybe a
cost club is the way to go? Buying into a membership
like Costco is always a good thing to have just for meat. I find
that if I buy the large packages of ground beef or BLSL chicken
breasts, I can portion them out into ziploc bags and pull out the
right amount I need for my meal. (Great thing about Costco is
they sell the Foster Farms BLSL chicken breasts already vaccuum
packed in little packages....usually six or eight to a package. Two
of those breasts are big enough to use in one meal,
stretched out with vegetables and pasta.) It's really all about
what your budget can bend to. Try out what feels good to you.

I have a point.

I have a 1.5 package of extra lean ground beef that I bought marked
down from my local grocery store this morning. Take that and
brown it real nice and once it's cooked, drain it real good and set
it aside in a warmer or something so it's not just sitting there.
Chop up a couple carrots, a couple peppers, fresh garlic, a big onion
and if you're feeling adventurous, maybe grate some zucchini or
have a bunch of spinach ready to throw onto the Joes at the last.
It's all about what you have on hand. (Eye your
grocery store's ads for the week. It's really not all that expensive
to get the paper in your area on the days when they circulate their
weekly ads. Here, I usually see them on Wednesday and Sunday.
If you can, try to buy from your local produce stand. Usually the
produce can be a better quality, sometimes comes from your local
growers and is more reasonable in getting what you need for less
than you're paying at your grocery store. Find out where they are
and do a walk-thru. Dosen't really cost anything to look and you
can take notes. An informed shopper is the ruler of all. I think you
might even qualify for a tee-shirt.) Saute the veggies together in a
large skillet with a little oil, whatever you have is fine. Once they've
started to look "done", throw in the beef and mix it together.

Now, what I usually do is use half ketchup, half chili sauce.
Or even partial BBQ sauce. I'm one of those people who thinks the
flavor of hot ketchup is gag-worthy. You may not feel this way,
and that's okay. I still like you. I buy my ketchup in the BIG tubs
either from Costco or my local discount grocery store. Depending on
where I am financially for that month. BBQ sauce comes from the
same place. Chili sauce usually dosen't cost all much either to make
or buy so depending on how much time I have, I'll do either.
Same with BBQ sauce. There are some great recipes on this site,
all very simple that most ingredients are pretty cheap to acquire
and really make a fabulous product. I like to make my own salsa:
because it's really freakin' simple and once you try homemade,
the jarred stuff just dosen't cut it anymore. I use that in this recipe.
I don't add the brown sugar. I feel that the ketchup is sweet enough
on it's own and my kids don't really need the added sugar. It's all
a personal preferance. You get excited over it, add it. This recipe
dosen't need much else....I like to add a little liquid smoke but I
love the stuff. If I could have it with ice cream, I probably would.
That's also pretty cheap to buy and good to have on hand when
you make your own sauces at home. With all of this said, if you
have a big family and you do use the amount of ground beef
I do and add in another healthy amount of chopped veggies, you
might want to double the sauce. Or at least make a recipe and a half
of the sauce part. Heck, the leftovers are just as good so you might as
well make extra. If you can't eat it all, it freezes well. Any kind of
veggies you want to throw in, go for it. I'm sure you could add corn
and have it come out well. Or use ground turkey. I've done it. You
could even use half black beans. Beans are always cheap and make
a great filler for almost any meal. Add a bit of shredded cheese on
top and a side salad, you've got a great filling meal. I've made
homemade jo-jo's or sweet potato fries and they make a good
side for this main dish as well. Potatoes cost next to nothing and
tossing them with a few choice spices and a little oil and baking
them.....really simple and just super comforting. I don't know if
I was able to help you in any way. I feel like I've been sitting here
rambling on about nothing for a half hour. If I was able to help,
lemme know. So at least I'll know if I was on the right track.
Now, I'm going to try to go back to trying to learn to crochet.
Pray for me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buying a car that was made in the last two decades.

Buying a car is always an experiance, no matter who you are.

I come here hoping to share my experiance with you so that maybe
you'll learn something, too. Maybe you'll laugh because you'll
understand the importance of leg room and coffee holders and LEATHER
INTERIOR. This is all new to me. I've NEVER had my name on a title EVER.
I've never bought a car. (This isn't new to my husband, but it's always
good for me to learn so that I can be the clearhead to his child-like
abandon.) And dosen't life experiance lend to a good story?

You know that it's Murphy's Law that when you FINALLY get the money
to pay something off or buy something new, something's gonna break.
You know this. And when you've started life at the bottom of the well
and are working your way out, you realize that you've got to scream to
the top of that well and tell the man yelling at you to "put the lotion
on the skin otherwise you'll get the hose again" that this is IT for you.
You're gonna learn from your mistakes and veer around the hole to that
well next time.

I digress.

So, as soon as we get the mobile paid off, our car gives us it's
notice. Hey, at least we taught it manners. She's got the courtesy to
say "please" before she dies. We're still hobbling her around, but
barely. So, we're looking for a new-to-us car. Something made in the
last two decades. Hey....we're working our way out of the well. The
first car D. and I bought together was an '84 Camry, I think. Then,
we moved up to a '89 Astrovan. Then, it was the '91 Subaru. (Don't
quote me on this. I stink at cars birthdays as well as make and model.
Forget it. I just notice the color and wether it smells like monkey
buttflap or not.) We set our eyes on a '96 Ford Expedition. (And I
had to ask my six year old boy to remind me what kind of car it was.
Like I said, I'm terrible at remembering.) And lemme tell you,
it's freaking GORGEOUS. I'm not one for pretty cars. Everything we've
bought has been to get us from Point A to Point B and really has been
about substance, not glamour. But, girls.....GOD. It's got LEATHER
INTERIOR. I've never had LEATHER INTERIOR. I'm movin' on up. (And I
know you all watch Roseanne like me. When her and Dan were going back
and forth about wanting to buy a car made in the last decade, he
guffawed. I GET it. Because, not everyone can set goals that high. the last two decades, that's doable)

So, we go back today and hopefully get the thumbs up from the
finance company. I'm not getting my hopes up, but lord, it would be
nice to have a reliable car that's pretty. And for all you women who
have men who work in construction and have boys for children, you
KNOW what kind of havoc that they can wreck on a car. My Subaru
is hammered. I'd like to have a clean car for once. Something where
you can just wipe the seats and you're golden. And leg room. And
coffee holders inside the car, so you don't have to wedge it inbetween
the seat and the parking break and pray to God that it dosen't
dislodge on a turn and douche everything in it's wake. If we don't
get it, it's okay. We'll work it out. But, you know......I REALLY
want it to work out, you know?

This does tie into a Double Wide Skillet. Honest. Because, we're
going to have to make a hefty payment because of our credit. IF we
get approved, that is. And this is going to bring our budget tight
once again. And, you know, I think we can do it. I'm excited for this
new challenge because down deep, we've all got the inner Survivor to
climb out the well and really give it to the man holding the lotion.

Ain't it the TRUTH?

EDITED: Not quite enough down payment for the vehicle. So, no go for today.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Double Wide Skillet, Single Wide Budget

I've always identified as white trash.

Not that it's bad. I always thought it was kind of cool. Not the trashy
behavior, I mean. The whole laid back, no frills, genuine kind of people.
I mean, I'm sure I fit into the box of trashy....but we'll not go into that
here. Wait until I know you a little better.

When I moved into "The Park", I have to admit that I wasn't thrilled.
I'd kind of started out my life on the bottom and kind of wanted something
better when I was older. Living in a mobile home was always associated
with being trashy and poor and dirty. I've changed my opinion NOW,
six years later, and now have formed new opinions but that comes with
saddling up my big girl britches and grown up somewhat.

I have a point. I just go the roundabout way of getting to it.

Living in a mobile home park, you learn a few things. It's not
like buying a home. It's like buying a really big car you can live
in. The longer you live in it, it decreases in value, just like a car.
And if you sign a contract to buy a mobile home in a park, using
the owner as a bank, you might have a balloon payment in a couple
years for the remainder of the down payment they didn't get all
of up front. And, no lenders will loan for less than 10 grand
and even if you get someone who MIGHT lend you the money, they
won't lend against a "car" that's decreasing in value. With that said,
we were doing really well when we signed to buy our mobile home. We
thought we'd be sitting pretty, have it paid off in three years and
be able to move into a stick built home and use the money we paid for
the mobile home outright for a down payment.

Right. Didn't happen that way.

We could not get a loan for our balloon payment. We negotiated a
deal with the mobile home manager and owner to make double payments
on the mobile until it was paid off to save our butts from losing
the mobile. (Which wasn't put in our name the whole six years we'd
been paying on it, but that's a whole other can of worms. Lesson to
you, read your paperwork well. Pay a lawyer to help you if you can.
And if you ever buy a mobile, make sure it's not in a Park.)

Long story short, our budget for everything changed. No more date
nights. No more paid babysitters. No more extras. And our food budget
was cut in half. everyone else, it was cut back in a third
when the economy tanked. And it SUCKS.

But....does it really?

So, back to this whole white trash way of thinking. I was raised on
welfare with a savvy parent who tried the best to make sure my sister
and I were fed well on a small budget. And he sure could stretch food
to make it work for whatever was needed. Sure, it was "trashy" but it
was healthy, too. You don't need a TON of money to eat well. It's really
all about the mindset that you can have a double-wide skillet on a
single-wide budget. And it. can. be. done. You'll find yourself buying
marked down meat, buying at discount grocery stores and perusing day
old bread racks. If you have no clue how to do this, no sweat.
I am pretty danged good at what I do. And I don't mind showing you. And,
it might turn out that you have a thing or two to learn me, too. Shoot,
as long as someone's getting something out of this, I'm a happy girl.

Who knows, you might have a little extra money at the end of the month
to live it up and go thriftin'. Or buy a latte that someone else makes.
Or whatever makes your skirt fly up.

Let's all have fun and keep a sense of humor in the kitchen.