Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Challenge Day 25

I just realized that I have saved over $78 this month by not buying diet coke or bottle iced tea...

I truly believe I have saved over $200 thus far this month by not going out to dinner or popping by a fast food joint for a quick soda....

Thought that was pretty cool..........

This recipe lasted us a few days - so yummy - 2 dinners and 3 lunches for two (2) people and the neighbors had a bite too!

Cream Cheese Chicken Casserole

6 Chicken breasts
2-10 oz packages frozen broccoli
2 cups of milk - I used non-fat - tasted good
2- 8 oz packages cream cheese - I used low fat - tasted great
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook the chicken and then break into bite size pieces. Cook broccoli in salted water. Place the broccoli in a 9x13 greased (I used Pam) casserole dish. Heat the milk, cream cheese, salt, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese over low head, stirring till the mixture is smooth. Pour 1 cup of sauce over the broccoli. Add the chicken into the pan and pour the rest of the sauce over it. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minute.... And enjoy!

Kara my youngest helping me - stir the sauce until it's creamy

Yummy cooked broccoli
Broccoli with sauce

Chicken covering the broccoli
The Finished dish - with croissants

Friday, January 20, 2012

January Challenge Recipe - BBQ Beef Sandwich

This morning my daughter glanced at the calendar and was in complete shock that it was already January 20th - How did that happen???? Wasn't it just a few days ago that I was taking down our Christmas decorations?

The first week of my January challenge I mentioned either on this blog or on my Facebook the days and events are running together and I am completely going nuts that I was making a BBQ Beef Sandwich recipe... I later mentioned it was really yummy and even my picky kids ate leftovers... Many friends asked me for the recipe - so finally - I'm sharing... The picture is from the recipe book - I forgot to take pictures -but mine looked just about the same...

1 boneless beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds) - purchased buy 1 get 1 free -net price less than $4
1/4 cup ketchup
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp liquid smoke (this is what the book recipe called for - I put 1/8 tsp - not fond of smoke)
10 to 12 rolls or buns...

Place beef in Crock-pot - combine ingredients (except the rolls of course), in a medium bowl - pour over meat - Cover; cook on LOW 8-9 hours

Remove beef from Crock-pot and shred with 2 forks.

Combine beef with 1 cup sauce from Crock-pot - and voila!

Tonight I'm making a Cream Cheese Chicken Casserole - left overs for lunch and possibly dinner the next day?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting What You Want Out Of Your Credit Card

Last summer - I took my girls on a Mom/Daughters trip to the East coast from California. My airfare and rental cars were covered... I did not have to pay one red cent to fly or drive! You know why? I had earned points using my Chase Reward card and racked up enough points to cover all three of us. It's FREE money!

Not many people know where to look to get a credit card that is best for them. There's a site that takes the leg work out of calling every credit card company out there. CreditCardCity does ALL the work for you. They are an on-line unbiased company that gives you all the information you need to find the card that is just right for you.

CreditCardCity gives you credit card advice on all you need to know about Airline cards -Cash back cards - low interest cards - no interest cards -cards with rewards - gas cards - any kind of card you can think of - it's there. All you need to do is answer a couple of questions on what you are looking for and click the button and there you go - All the cards that fit your criteria pops up. It's so easy.

I think it's great when you can use a credit card to buy your everyday needs and at the end of the month - you have free stuff... My card took me to Washington DC and back. What has your card done for you?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January Challenge Post 5

Scroll Down To See Our Kitty On A Leash - So cute

I have to say that January has started off to a very busy beginning of the year - I have a few new clients that have given me some really good loans to process... It looks like a few will make me money at month's end and next month fingers crossed will be an excellent one... But I still need more to keep up a flow of work... Craig's List is a great place to advertise - I place two (2) ads each Sunday and it's FREE.

I need to reconnect with my older clients that I had to let go beginning of last year - I had to complete a bunch of classes - take a few tests - get a broker license - a couple of endorsement certificates because The Department of Real Estate required all this stuff so that I can stay in business and do what I have been doing for over 20 years... Crazy I know... So it kind of sucks that a few of my awesome clients I worked with last year - most likely found a new loan processor or two and have developed good relationships over the past year... But I will do everything I can - to remind them on how good we had it.... ha

So Now To the January Challenge...

I have been writing down everything we spend -everything... I am in complete shock on how much money I spend - AND I'm not buying random stuff! It seems that I live at Target and Albertson.. Two weeks ago - I shopped for two week's worth of dinners.. That so far has worked out really well - My other shopping is to get milk - bread - school necessities, cleaning supplies, and other items we ran out of...

I did purchase a Shark Floor steamer for $69.00 - We have tile floors and a cat and a dog... My biggest thing is I want my floors clean - and I think about the cat using the liter box and walking around the floor and my dog stepping in her poop and tracking it around the house... The bathroom where the cat's box is hidden in the shower (no one uses it) - I once or twice weekly wash the floors and the shower with bleach water - the living room floors - I'm not as good as I should be - once a week at most... Thus the steamer AND - To save $200 a month - I will have to let go of our housekeeper -yes, I've been spoiled and I love a clean clean house - but I have two teens, a husband, and me - I think we can handle it... At least until our savings is replenished...

Cleo The Handsome Cat

My poor dog Charlie has had a bad week.... I took her in on Monday for her annual shots... She is gaining weight and she is not overfed - so the Dr. examined her - She has another ear infection.. so antibiotics - oral and for the ears - While I was waiting for the Dr. to come in with the shots - I was petting her and found strange grown on top of her paw under all her hair.. The Dr. did not like it and she will be going back next month to have it removed and a biopsy.. Oh and she has a urinary tract infection - First Dr. bill - $480 and next month will be around $700 - OUCH...

Charlie The Expense Baby Girl

So Today - I'm fine tuning our menus for the next 2 weeks - I'm trying to find ways to save more money - but I do believe in the long run - the savings will show itself - it's hard to see it now due to the residuals of past year....

On Monday - We had homemade pizza - Less than $5 - Tuesday - Beef tacos and Mexican Rice - $6.00 Wednesday - Left over tacos and grilled cheese sandwich - less than $4. Thursday - Meatball subs - less than $5 - Friday enchilada pie About $6 - Tonight Teriyaki chicken and rice. Tomorrow -Left overs...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January Challenge To Save Money Post 4

Don't you just love a good sale???

Today is Saturday - Day 7 of my Challenge for January and for the most part - I am on track... I haven't had an impulse buy - nor have we visited a fast food.... We did go out to dinner last night - my beautiful niece from Australia was out on business and our entire Southern California family met up with her at Mimi's Cafe in Long Beach... Before we arrived - I asked both of my girls to not order soda - I'm the ice tea queen of the world but I also opted for water... I asked that they share a plate due to the portions at Mimi's are huge... I enjoyed a cup of my favorite soup - French Onion and a small dinner salad... I learned that although the "soup and salad" meal is a lunch special - most restaurants will let you order it for dinner - Imagine that!

During my last post - I was making grilled pork chops, rice, green beans, corn, and apple sauce... I grilled them to perfections... They were so tasty in fact both of my girls ate everything on their plate... Granted my oldest gagged a little on her green beans - At that moment I realized that I have not introduced my kids to the joys of vegetables... Thankfully - it's not too late and before I am done - my kid will crave those green beans... instead of ice cream... Yup.. I can dream...

Tropical Mum - shared some of her ideas with us - The recipes sound fabulous! Thank you Tropical Mum

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January Challenge To Save Money Post 3

I learned something today..... When you don't eat out - You run out of the basics more quickly -ie: Milk, and bread.... This morning - I did a Target run.... Usually when I go - I take a circular route - through the shoes... to the book section... to the DVDs... and then to the food... Many times along my journey - I would randomly throw books or movies into my basket.... I made the decision when I walked in the door - that I knew what I needed... and that is all I'm going to get...
Bread - $1.99, Brown paper lunch bags (I can't get my kids to use lunch boxes) $1.02 (on sale I bought 2 packs of 100. Target brand Sweet n low - on sale - bought 2 boxes (1/2 the price as the brand name product and tastes the same), 1 gallon of milk - 1/2 the price than Albertson's... Now I did make a purchase that I did not intend to make - Frozen fruit... I'll tell you why on my next post.

Last night - was the last night to have "kid favorites" - yummy - Cheese burgers - I personally like barbeque sauce on mine... How do you eat yours?

Tonight it's Grilled pork chops, rice, green beans and apple sauce..

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January Challenge to Save Money Post 2

Be Sure To Go To Scroll Down For Something Cute

Well 2012 is off to a somewhat good start - I've been working a lot of hours - this is a good thing... I have finished gathering my business tax information for our accountant this is also good. My goal is to get more organized... and PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE MY MONEY IS GOING!!!! With that said - Here are a couple of things I am doing...

I am keeping receipts of all money I spend.. Grocery - gas - whatever... I have also created an accounting program/process for our home spending - Household (groceries) Credit card, Ebay (my husband's addiction clothes shopping, gas, mortgage, insurance, and everything in between...

The Menu plan is always good - Sunday was Chicken Fried steak - always a winner with the family.. Monday was a complete FAIL - Crockpot Chicken and Rice - with broccoli, and salad - smelled good but very bland, Wednesday (Just me and the kids) Spaghetti, and tonight Thursday (Just me and the kids) cheese burgers and fruit... Tomorrow the plan is Grilled pork chops, rice, green beans, and apple sauce.

The chicken - looks good, doesn't it? Scroll to the bottom - you'll find a cute video of my kids and their young cousins with Nana - dancing on Christmas - so sweet and a good memory...

Christmas Musical

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day One - January Challenge to Save Money

Happy New Year!!! It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I have not had a chance to blog... The good thing about being too busy is that I have gotten a couple of new clients and I am starting to make some money again.... Just in time for the new year!

One of the presents my loving husband gave me for Christmas was a compact chest freezer - it's perfect!!! Yesterday - I set it up in my office - it's small enough to not be in the way and close enough to the kitchen to not be a pain in the back side to reach.... After it cooled down - I tossed all the meat bargains I had purchased in December... My goal is to keep my weeks food in the freezer in the kitchen so I have exactly what I need on hand.

Today - I clipped some coupons... Went to Target and shopped for groceries for two weeks... In addition to food - I purchased kitty litter - laundry detergent (coupon $2.00 All detergent) - dog food (coupon $1.50 Pedigree) - and a couple of other household necessities.... With the coupons - I saved a little over $10 and using my Target credit card (I pay the balance each month) - I saved an additional $ 5.88... The only thing I could not find at Target was garlic cloves, biscuits (they were sold out), and frozen hamburger meat..

By the way - the month of December we ate fast food once and it was last night - My daughters and I went to Carl's Jr and got cheeseburgers and fries.. January was to start the no fast food rule but I decided to try and cut back in December and I did pretty good... - this is a family that eats fast food regularly.. Last night - When I purchased the cheeseburgers I did not buy sodas like I typically do and I realized that just by doing that - I saved almost $6.00.. crazy isn't it?

So tonight's Menu... Chicken Fried Steak, mash potatoes, country gravy, corn, and biscuits..

The steak - I purchased cubed steak in a buy one get one free at Albertson's last month...

4 steaks = $3.80
Mashed potatoes = I used the bag of frozen potatoes I had in the fridge since Thanksgiving.
Corn - $.90
biscuits = $1
gravy = $1
Flour = $1 or less
eggs - 3 = .75

Total: $8.45

Recipe for easy chicken fried steak..

Season steak lightly with seasoning salt.
dip steak in flour - tenderize steak by lightly pounding
dip steak in flour again.... dip in egg and then dip in flour..

pour 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in skillet - heat skillet till it gently pops if you flick a drop of water in it.. (that's how I test it any way.. lol)

Cook each side approximately 4 minutes until a golden brown using med/high heat..

I really did not get a chance to take a final picture - the potatoes were ready to be mixed and the biscuits buzzer was going off and the gravy was starting to boil... You know how it gets....

Tomorrow - I'm trying a Chicken and rice crock-pot dish with broccoli.... And the chicken I also purchased on a buy one get one free... Love those!


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