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Archive for May, 2011

Thank You to the Men and Women in Blue and Green

May 30th, 2011 at 07:23 am

I just wanted to give a salute out to the all the brave men and women out there who are serving or have served in the Armed Forces and thank them for defending our country and the Constitution of the United States of America.

This is a really awesome video by a young, up and coming artist. I hope to see more of her.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhX5ET5PNv8

Upcoming Trip and Food Challenge

May 28th, 2011 at 01:27 pm

Well, I leave by Greyhound bus on a trip to St. Louis for a conference. So that I don't sidetracked into eating lots of junk food and spending lots of money, I am taking all my own snacks. It's a 6 hour bus ride and it leaves at 5:00am, so food is essential. Because of my food allergies, I can't depend on finding food I can eat at the places a bus is likely to stop. So, I have packed Larabars, single serving raisin packets, and single serving nuts. I am also taking a bottle of water and 2 sandwiches.

My bus ticket and conference registration are already paid for. I already have money allocated for the hotel bill and any other food I will buy. I'm so excited!

I don't leave for the trip until Thursday, so I still have to make some food to eat from now until then.

1) Salmon and gluten free pasta salad with salt, pepper, and garlic (3 meals)

2) Spaghetti sauce with rice (1 meal)

3) Stir fry with chicken, peppers, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and hot chili sauce (3 meals)

4) Oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, almond milk, and honey (4 meals)

5) Beans and rice - I am not sure how many meals I will get out of this. I have never made it before and have to look up a recipe.

6) Breakfast at the hotel during my conference - The hotel serves free breakfast, but some of it I won't be able to eat. I will probably be able to eat some fruit and hot tea, but I will have to buy my own cereal and almond milk at the store. (3 meals)

7) Dinners at the hotel during my conference - The hotel also serves free dinners, out of which I will probably be able to eat a salad, baked potato, and some kind of drink. I will probably have to buy some gluten free lunchmeat at the nearby grocery store. (3 meals)

The fact that the hotel serves both breakfast and lunch is an extremely major deal, because my college gives us a per diem (a meal allowance) for attending conferences. Since I don't have to pay for many of my meals, they will reimburse more of my other costs, like conference registration and bus ticket. I am keeping track of all costs on a printed spreadsheet and, of course, keeping all receipts.

7) I will be eating out for any meals not accounted for above. This will probably include my lunches while at the conference. I don't know what they are serving, or even if anything will be available. I have money for that, though, so it's not a problem.

Food Challenge and Weird Ways to Save Money

May 22nd, 2011 at 11:48 am

The Food Challenge is still going great guns and I am enjoying coming up with new recipes and stuff to eat when I see something on sale for a really good price. Like, this past Saturday, I had already planned on buying some kind of rice, as it is one of my gluten free substitute standbys for pasta. I also occasionally buy gluten free pasta. I digress. A box of rice was on sale for $2.00 and it had one of the sticky coupons attached to the box for $1.00 off. You can bet I made a b-line for that box. Wow. I had actually worried a little bit about how I was going to make the grocery dollars stretch this week, as the amount left in our checking was a little skinny. But because of this and other fabulous on stuff I was going to buy anyway, it's all good and I actually spent about 1/2 of what I normally do without a lot of effort! Woo-hoo! So, now I ask myself, why am I worrying about it? It always seems to work out somehow.

Here are my meals for the coming week:

3 meals of gluten free pasta salad with gluten free/preservative free/msg free ham, black olives, fresh tomatoes, 1/2 of a yellow onion, and mayo

6 breakfast meals of oatmeal with cinnamon, honey, almond milk, and flaxseeds

2 meals of gluten free/preservative free ham sandwiches on gluten free bread

3 meals of leftover ham and bean soup

This is going to be great week!

I saw this article about creative ways to save money on the Smart Spending Blog at MSN.com. I find that I save a lot of money by keeping an insulated mug at work that I make tea in every day. And I take my own tea bags and stevia to sweeten my tea. Those two things alone keeps me from going to one of the campus eateries every day to buy a Coke or cup of tea. Also, if I did buy anything (I try to stick to cash for my purchases of iced tea, etc.), I put the change into a special box for the purpose. Once a week or so, I take the box to the Coinstar and cash in my coins and deposit them to a savings account. At different times, I have different goals I am savings for, but I deposit it somewhere for a later use and it adds up so fast! It's really cool and it feels great knowing that my money is going to buying future windows for my house or help me to weather some sort of unforeseen emergency.

http://money.msn.com/saving-money-tips/post.aspx?post=9c96a4...

In July, after I get my pay raise, I am going to increase the amount of money automatically deposited monthly to my savings and retirement. I will also open up a Roth IRA.

Food Challenge Update

May 15th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Well, I am doing really well with my Food Challenge. Except for an occasional iced tea or soda purchase, I have not really bought a meal out except sometimes on the Fridays when I get paid, I will buy lunch and later dinner with my husband. Because I had to attend graduation at my university on Friday, I did not have dinner with my husband, but ate dinner in my office and then went to graduation. Hubby ate a pizza. Arrgh! But he wanted something, and bless his heart, he his been eating oatmeal and boiled eggs for breakfast every day and "rabbit food" with chicken or tuna for lunch and dinner. Have I mentioned he hates rabbit food?

So, my meals for the coming week will be the following:

7 servings of ham and bean soup (homemade) - see link to recipe below

6 servings of oatmeal with raisins, honey, almond milk, and cinnamon

2 servings of chicken and pasta salad

3 sandwiches with Hormel Naturals Ham on gluten free bread with mustard

1 sandwich with almond butter on gluten free bread

1 serving of spaghetti made with rice instead of wheat pasta

Oh, and on the ham and bean soup, I have been dying to have some for ages. I have never made it on my own and while my mother makes it frequently, I have no idea what her recipe is. Recipe? She hardly ever uses recipes or measures anything. Anyway, I wanted to make some and found a recipe online for a basic ham and bean soup. I have to say that for my first try, it is a really excellent soup and way better than the lentil soup I tried around a month or so ago. Oh, and for my fellow frugal eaters, it is a very cheap soup to make, because most of the ingredients are things you might already have at home. I made a big 6 quart pot and that came out to 7 servings. Here is the link to recipe. I did change it up a bit. I did not use a ham bone, but just bought 1 pound of Boar's Head ham from the deli because I need to use meat that is free of gluten and msg. I also did not use a bay leaf, as I don't have any and didn't want to buy it just for this.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/basic-ham-and-bean-soup/Detail....

House Maintenance Update

May 14th, 2011 at 02:27 pm

Well, up to now, we really had not done much of anything with our house maintenance to-do list. When we moved into our new-old house last July, we bought a riding lawn mower from a friend to mow our lawn with. It has turned out to be a bit of a pill because the battery keeps dying and it stalls while my husband is mowing, so we sold it to my brother in law. Also, my husband has been having some physical problems lately, and we decided it would be better to have someone else mow it every 2 weeks for only $40.00 each time. The influx of cash from selling the mower gave us the opportunity to accomplish getting a new ceiling fan to replace our living room ceiling fan/light which is wobbly and old. There are 5 globes on it and the wires on the neck of two of the globes is covered with tape and has been since we moved in. So, for $69.97 plus tax plus eco-friendly LED lightbulbs, we replaced our old ceiling fan/light with a new one.

I am going to convince my husband to use the rest of the cash left from selling the mower to pay off the rest of the lawn mower. Then, we will be one step closer to freedom!

Food Challenge for this Week

May 7th, 2011 at 10:30 am

Hello, everyone. Well, I am changing the name of my Lunch Challenge since I am counting all meals.

Here is the food I have for this week:

6 servings of oatmeal with raisins, almond milk, cinnamon, and flaxseed - 4 Done!

4 sandwiches with Hormel Natural Meats - 1 Done!

2 servings of chicken & vegetable soup leftover from last week - 2 Done!

1 almond butter sandwich - 1 Done!

3 servings of chicken salad with gluten free pasta, boiled eggs, and peas - 3 Done!

1 serving of Romaine lettuce salad with tuna - 1 Done!

3 hamburger patties - 1 Done!

1 serving of spaghetti - 1 Done!


Snacks will include cashew nuts and fresh fruit.