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Had the Whole Week Off - Wheee!

May 18th, 2012 at 05:43 pm

Hello, financially savvy friends and neighbors! I had the whole week off for vacation. Yeah! But don't worry. I wasn't using that opportunity to spend, spend, spend. In fact, I spent most of it at home. I watched some old tv episodes and movies on Netflix, played with my cats, did some catchup filing of receipts, cleaning my house, cooking, and shredding of receipts I no longer needed. Wow. My house really needed some decluging. It needs a lot more. Maybe I will work on it more tomorrow. I will be back to work on Monday.

As always, I am a constant quest to save money and eat more healthy also. I am also trying to eat some meatless meals to see if that helps. Here are my meals for the coming week:

1) Meatloaf with side of veggies - 2 meals

2) Roast beef with side of veggies - 2 meals

3) Oatmeal with raisins, flaxseeds, almond milk, and honey. Juice. Side of ham. 4 meals

4) Scrambled eggs. Juice. Oatmeal with flaxseeds, almond milk, and honey. 3 meals

5) Spaghetti sauce with rice. Side of veggies. 2 meals

6) Lentil Rice Pilaf. Side of raw veggies. 2 meals http://www.food.com/recipe/lebanese-lentil-rice-pilaf-with-b...

7) Spinach salad with tomatoes, flaxseeds, sliced almonds, and tuna (or lentils). Vinegar and oil for dressing. Side of orange or apple. 4 meals.

8) Hamburger patty. Side of veggies. 1 meal

Another Payday, More to Savings, Hubby's Upcoming Trip, and Other Random Stufff

April 28th, 2012 at 07:03 pm

I got paid yesterday, so more went to savings and retirement. I have already paid the water bill, trash bill, and bought gas for the car. I still have to make a payment to the credit card. I have already bought groceries and will begin my weekly cooking spree tomorrow morning.

I will have all-day meetings on Monday and Tuesday and the entire afternoon on Wednesday. Ugh. No fun.

The other cool thing is that I finally got my garden going. I had to work really hard to get the holes dug, Zoom fertilizer put in, and water and compost put in with the plants in. It was starting to pour rain when I had only 2 out of the 4 plants in the ground. They look great and the guy at the farm store swears by the Zoom stuff for making tomato plants produce lots of tomatoes. My goal is to become less dependent on the grocery store so that I can spend more money on getting out of debt, saving for retirement, and fixing up my house. Plus, I will be able to eat vegetables I grew myself that are not polluted with chemicals, so yea!! The weird thing about my garden is that I had a couple of four-legged visitors to my garden (dogs). I just hope they don't dig up the plants!

Hubby is leaving on a 2 day trip tomorrow at about 12:00 just after lunch. He should be back by the early evening on Monday.

Like I said, I have already done the shopping for food and such. After planting those tomatoes today, I was beat and could not manage to do any more cooking but make meatloaf. So, I will start tomorrow with making lentil soup. I will also making some tuna/egg salad for the hubby to eat as a sandwich before heading out on his trip. I will also make some spaghetti sauce and put together salads for my lunches. Here are my meals for the week:

1) Spinach salad with tomato, onion, and tuna or chicken. 3 meals

2) Lentil soup with ham, onion, seasonings, and broth. 4 meals

3) Leftover chicken noodle soup. 1 meal

4) Chicken breast and steamed veggies. 1 meal

5) Hamburger patty and steamed veggies. 2 meals

6) Oatmeal with banana, almond milk, honey, cinnamon, and flaxseed. Side of ham. Juice. 3 meals

7) Eggs and ham or chicken, grapefruit with honey. Side of ham. 4 meals

8) Meatloaf and steamed veggies. 2 meals

Another Payday. More Debt Paid Down. Savings and Retirement Increased.

April 1st, 2012 at 06:06 pm

Hello, everyone. I just got paid on Friday. I have already paid the internet bill, the water bill, 4 other small bills, and went to the bank to pay the mortgage. I also paid the credit card bill, including what I had charged on it plus extra to get it paid down. I bought groceries on Saturday. I also set aside $140 for attending a conference I will attending next month.

Because it has been so hot here lately, I have been trying to do most of the cooking on 1 day of the week to avoid heating the house up too much. So, on Friday evening, we had spaghetti, and Saturday evening and Sunday lunch we had leftover spaghetti. Early Sunday morning, I starting doing the weekly cooking. I made egg salad, Irish stew, meatloaf, and put together my lunches for the week. The egg salad is mostly for my husband, so I doubt I will be eating any of it. My meals for the week will include:

1) Tuna or salmon salad with raw veggies. Side of nuts and orange. Iced tea. 3 meals.

2) Oatmeal with raisins, almond milk, cinnamon, and honey. 3 meals.

3) Eggs with side of ham. Grapefruit. Half of a serving of oatmeal. 3 meals.

4) Peanut butter and gluten free crackers. Cucumber slices. Side of orange and nuts. Iced tea. 3 meals.

5) Irish stew. 3 meals. Here is the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grams-irish-stew/detail.aspx

6) Meatloaf and side of veggies. 2 meals.

7) Hamburger patty and side of veggies. 1 meal.

Got Paid Again. Savings Up. Retirement Up. Debt is Down! Yeah!

March 17th, 2012 at 09:23 am

Hello, everyone. I am starting to love payday. I used to hate it, because that's when I would see a mass amount of my money vanish from my bank account to debt and stuff I didn't really need. But things are looking up and that's good, very good. For example, the hubster and I have gradually migrating our entire house's light bulbs to LED. At first, they were a little expensive, so we would buy 1 bulb a month or something. But the price has come down to about $10.00 a bulb lately. And no, I do not want to discuss CFLS AT ALL. The mercury is bad for the environment, so I don't care how cheap they are. Anyway, on payday, I was paying the electric bill and wanted to see what impact this has had on the electric bill, because we had replaced 4 bulbs last month. From one month to the next, it went down 150 kilowatts! Wow. That's amazing! We just replaced 4 more on Friday, so I can't wait to see what happens next month.

My retirement account has increased quite a bit in the last few months. My house and emergency savings were somewhat depleted due to the need for tuckpointing on our house. Without it, we could have had serious structural issues down the road.

In the second week of April, I will be attending a professional conference in my state. It should only cost around $400 or so to attend, but I will only be reimbursed for $122. My professional savings account will be cleaned out for that. Ugh. Bummer. But I already have a plan for that reimbursement loot. I have agreed when I get my reimbursement that we will buy a ladder so that we can do some maintenance around our house a little easier. Changing light bulbs in some rooms and also outside is impossible without a ladder.

Well, I am still continuing my Food Challenge to be not only healthier but also financially free. Here are my meals for the week:

1) Spinach salad with cucumbers, onion, tuna, olive oil, apple cider vinegar. Side of walnuts and an orange. (3 meals)

2) Chicken salad with onion, salt, and pepper. Side of walnuts and an orange (2 meals)

3) Eggs with ham. Either omelets, scrambled, or fried over hard. Add seasonings and veggies. Smoothie with almond milk, flaxseed, oranage juice, and banana for a side. (3 meals)

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

5) Stew made with ground bison meat, carrots, onions, black beans, and brown rice. (3 meals)

6) Spaghetti made with ground chicken, tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, mushrooms, and seasonings. (2 meals)

7) Chicken breasts and side of vegetables and rice. (2 meals)


March 4th, 2012 at 02:03 pm

Hello, everyone. I have been away for awhile, so that is why I have not been posting. Life has been so hectic here with my job and stuff, it has been tough to keep up.

Anyway, I am still hard at work on eliminating debt, including the credit card and mortgage. I had to basically empty the house savings and also take some out of regular savings in order to get some tuckpointing done on our house. I would have liked to have waited awhile on it, but it was very bad, and unfortunately, only a fraction of what is needed to be done. We waited until our tax return arrived ($1048) and also some survey money (can't remember the amount), then I transferred money from regular savings and house savings to checking to total $1800. That was the amount of the first price quote from a masonry contractor we got. After putting together all the money, somehow we could not get in touch with the contractor. Bad news, but we did find someone different that was highly recommended.

The quote from the second contractor was $600 LOWER than the first. Wow! We were a little cautious, though, as we wondered about the quality of his work. He finished the job and it is superior to say the least - well worth $1200, so we are very pleased and told him we would contact him again in about 6 months or so to begin work on another section of the house.

With some of that "excess" $600, I paid off 3 small bills which will help to free up some cash on a monthly basis to pay off other things. The rest I put back into the house account. I will update the balance in a day or two.

Well, in order to keep pounding away at paying off debt and getting home maintenance done, I have to lower expenses, especially for food. I have been growing some herbs for cooking in a small terrarium. I am working on creating compost in the backyard and will be planting some organic tomatoes, carrots, kale, squash, and cucumber in the spring. I would eventually like to not have to go to the grocery store for produce. This will save serious money, not to mention make sure that I get healthy produce.

I am also giving up drinking soda for the sake of my health, but also money. I will be drinking more green tea, water, and homemade juice instead.

I am also continuing my food challenge. Here are my meals for the week. There is enough here that I will likely have leftovers for next week.

1) Chicken salad - 17 ounces canned chicken (1 can of 12 ounces and 1 can of 5 ounces), 3 tbsp of generic Miracle Whip, 1 bunch of chopped up green onion, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I had actually planned on making chicken soup, but decided I wanted something different. I had bought too much green onion and this turned out to be just the ticket to use it up. (3 meals)

2) Black Bean Soup - 1 pound dried black beans, 1 large onion, 1 bunch chopped green onion, 1 can drained diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup of parsley, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, sea salt, black pepper, and 1 can refried beans. (8 meals) I base this soup on this recipe, but I use chicken broth and also add 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can of refried beans to thicken the soup: http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/recipedepictor7x.cgi?840

3)Eggs and Sausage - (3 meals)

4)Whole grain oatmeal with flaxseeds, almond milk, raisins, and honey (4 meals)

5) Hamburger patty with ketchup and a side of veggies (1 meal)

6) Meatloaf (1 meal)

7) Spaghetti with meat sauce (2 meals) - I eat mine with brown rice.

8) Tuna salad with carrot sticks and gluten free crackers. Side of apple or orange. (2 meals)

Oh, we also won $4.00 on Powerball. I cashed that in for cash. I also took a bunch of spare change to the Coinstar and cashed it in. It totals up to $8.00, which I will deposit to regular savings. I am also depositing $100 to the professional account for a conference I will attend in April and $40 to the car account.

Food Challenge

December 2nd, 2011 at 08:09 am

Well, our bank account is getting a little skinny, so I am doing a Pantry Challenge, trying to make do as much as I can with what we already have. Fortunately, my husband is on a juice fast diet for the next week or so, and the only things I have to get for him are produce items. Here are the meals I have planned for me.

1) green salad with chicken, nuts, oranges, olive oil, and sea salt - 3 meals (using chicken and sea salt I already have)

2) chicken cacciatore and a side salad with sea salt and olive oil - 4 meals (using chicken, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, sea salt, and olive oil I already have)

3) potato salad with eggs, side of cucumbers and tomatoes salad - 4 meals (using mayonnaise, onion, and bacon I already have)

4) chicken curry salad with sides of apples and carrots - 6 servings (using carrots and curry powder I already have)

5) oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, almond milk, and honey and a smoothie with flaxseeds, almond milk, peanut butter, and banana - 3 meals (using flaxseeds, cinnamon, honey, and peanut butter I already have)

6) eggs and ham - 2 meals (using ham I already have)

7) leftover soup - 1 meal

8) lunch out on payday!

Food Challenge Continues

November 27th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

My meals for the coming week include:

1) Chicken Waldorf Salad (the recipe in the source below is for turkey waldorf salad, but I used chicken) - 3 meals

2) Chicken/Turkey Soup with rice, carrots, ginger, garlic, sea salt, pepper, and turmeric (yummy!) - I modified the soup recipe a friend gave to include ginger, garlic, and turmeric for an Indian flavor. - 5 meals - 1 Done at lunch!

3) Curry Spiced Noodles with chicken, carrots, curry, turmeric, and peppers. Since I gluten intolerant, I am going to make noodles using squash that you cut up really skinny like noodles and then boil for a few minutes. - 4 meals

4) Oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, flaxseeds, almond milk, and honey. Smoothy with almond milk, carrot, banana, stevia, and cocoa on the side. - 3 meals

5) Eggs and ham or pork cutlet. Smoothy with almond milk, carrot, banana, stevia, and cocoa on the side. - 3 meals

6) Green salad with chicken and olive oil and apple cider vinegar for dressing. - 2 meals

7) Leftover Barbecue Chicken, side of veggies and rice - 1 meal

8) Chicken, rice, and tomatoes with chili seasoning. - 1 meal

Recipe for Chicken Soup is here:

Recipes for Waldorf Salad and Curry Spiced Noodles are here: http://www.boarshead.com/pdf/DeliciousDishes.pdf

Got Paid Again, More Debt Paid, and Other Stuff in My World

November 12th, 2011 at 07:03 pm

Well, I got paid again. The gas, electric, credit card, and car insurance have all been paid for. I have also allocated for 1/2 of the mortgage. Those are all the bills I have due until next payday. Because of the upcoming holiday, my next payday will be 11/23 instead of 11/25. I have also bought groceries, health supplements, put money aside for replacing my car, and got the gutters cleaned out. You might also notice that my regular savings balance is not going up. That is because after my balance broke $1000, I started sending that money to the credit card instead of keeping it in savings. I am planning on allocating a total of $160.00 per month between my normal payment out of checking and the reallocated savings deposit towards paying off the credit card then starting putting money into savings again. My tentative schedule shows the target payoff date as next October. While I would like to allocate all extra money to the credit card, I also absolutely have to set aside money to replace the card in the next couple of years, as it has several things wrong with it. Most are some minor and just annoying, but the big one is that the heating/ac switch does not work right. Our mechanic said he could replace the switch, but Pontiac does not make them anymore and he was not able to find one from a salvage yard. He manually switched us over from cooling to heat, so we will be good until it gets warm next summer when we could try again to replace the switch. We would like to get a new car or certified preowned car and have the money set aside be equal to at least 1/2 the cost of the car. I don't want us to be locked into huge car payments, so I am doing my best to come up with as much as possible.

I did pretty well with my paleo challenge last week. I ate oatmeal one time when I sort of woke up late and didn't have time to make any eggs. Oh, well, I will do better this next week. I feel really amazing and have a lot more energy. Since I have been eating gluten free for over a year, it was not that big of a challenge. I just eliminated oatmeal, bread, and crackers. Apparently, brown, wild rice is okay in small amounts, though.

Here are my meals for next week:

1) Meatloaf - 2 meals

2) Top Round Roast - 3 meals

3) Eggs and Ham, Smoothie with almond milk, cocoa, stevia, flaxseeds, banana - 3 meals

4) Almond Butter on an Apple, Carrots, Trail Mix - 1 meal

5) Beef Stew w/ onions, carrots, mushrooms - 3 meals

6) Chicken Soup w/ brown rice, Rice, Onions - 3 meals

7) Green Salad w/ chicken, Avocado, Tomato - 3 meals 1 Done Tonight

8) Chicken Leg Quarter, Steamed Veggies - 3 meals

Food Challenge and Other Stuff

November 6th, 2011 at 01:35 pm

Due to a minor miscalculation, I had to move a little bit of money from a savings account to checking. It is not any of the savings accounts on my sidebar, but one where the dh hoards $ for video games and other stuff he wants to buy. I hated to do it, but we might be overdrawn by Friday if I didn't. I have already set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings for the same amount to make sure the money gets back there.

Oh, well. On to other news. Here are my meals for the coming weak. You might notice I am not planning to eat oatmeal this week. I think grains are becoming a little problematic for me, so I am going to cease eating them for at least a week to see what happens. It's going to be a little weird, but I will probably be eating stuff like pot roast, beef stew, and stir fry for breakfast in order to go grain free. I will also eat eggs, but can't eat them every day.

1) Pot Roast - will make at least 2 meals

2) Beef Stew - will probably make 3 meals - 1 Done Tonight!

3) Eggs and ham - 2 meals

4) Spaghetti Sauce - 1 meal - I may subsitute some broccoli or something for the noodles.

5) Chili - 3 meals

6) Chicken salad and carrot sticks - 1 meal

7) Green salad with chicken, onions, and tomato - 3 meals

8) Chicken stir fry - 2 meals

9) Almond butter on carrot sticks and apples - 1 meal

10) Leftover 13 bean soup w/ ham - 2 meals - 1 Done!

Food Challenge This Week

October 23rd, 2011 at 01:43 pm

Well, we are a little low on cash. Counting the $273.31 allocation for 1/2 of the mortgage and Netflix, we have $.08 left in checking. Neither have been actually debited from our account, just allocated for. Making the house payment is easier for me if I allocate 1/2 in the first paycheck and 1/2 in the second. If I have a third paycheck, then I pay a little extra. My challenge this week is to get through the week without using my debit or credit card once.

Here are my meals planned out for the week:

1) meatloaf - 2 meals, one meal with baked potatoes made only 1 meal!

2) Omelets or scrambled eggs, side of chicken or ham - 3 meals 1 Down, 2 to go

3) 13 bean soup with ham, onion, tomatoes, and spices - 4 meals 1 Down, 3 to go

4) oatmeal - 3 meals 1 Down, 2 to go

5) leftover chili spaghetti casserole - 3 meals 1 Down, 2 to go

6) spaghetti over rice - 1 meal

7) salad with a side of leftover chili - 1 meal

8) chicken salad w/ side of crackers and carrots - 1 meal Done

9) gluten free lunchmeat sandwiches

10) lunch out on 10-28-2011!

Planning Next Week's Meals

October 13th, 2011 at 01:09 pm

I have been off sick today with my asthma and allergies bothering me. While sitting at home drinking my tea and taking medicine, I have planning next week's meals. This is what I have come up with and will likely have some left over.

1) Chili with ground beef, tomatoes, onion, spices - 3 meals

2) Roast beef - will likely make 3 meals, including roast beef sandwiches

3) Spaghetti with ground beef, canned tomatoes, beans, onion, spices. I will eat mine with rice. 1 meal

4) Chili Spaghetti Casserole with ground beef, canned tomatoes, onion, black beans, spices, and noodles baked in a pan. This is a great, easy to fix meal when you add sour cream and the cheese of your choice. I will add a side of carrots, apple, and water from home. 4 meals

5) Gluten Free Ham Sandwich, carrots, apple, water from home 1 meal

6) Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Almond Milk, Honey, and Raisins 3 meals

7) Scrambled Eggs with Gluten Free Ham 1 meal

8) Almond Butter Sandwich, carrots, apple, water from home 1 meal

9) Dinty Moore Beef Stew, apple, water from home 2 meals

10) Salad with tuna, carrots, onions, apple, water from home 1 meal

11) Chicken Salad Sandwich, carrots, apple, water from home 1 meal

Food Challenge

June 18th, 2011 at 01:57 pm

I did pretty good with the Food Challenge this week. I only bought an occasional iced tea or soda and lunch on Friday. I had to buy lunch then because the floor in our break room was being cleaned and waxed, making the only refrigerator in the building inaccessible.

Here is something I am trying in order to get away from drinking soda and also to drink cold tea in the summer. I just cannot stand drinking hot tea right now. http://www.vitacost.com/To-Go-Brands-Green-Tea-Energy-Fusion

Well, here are my meals for the next week:

- Oatmeal, raisins, almond milk, flaxseeds, and honey, 6 servings

- Gluten free pasta salad with tuna, 2 servings

- Poverty meal (a.k.a. beefaroni) with elbow macaroni, ground beef, tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices, onion http://www.food.com/recipe/poverty-meal-27520, 6 meals

I don't know why they call it poverty meal, because I have been eating stuff like that nearly all my life.

- Beef stew with hamburger, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices, rice, black beans, carrots, onion, 6 services

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 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.


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.

Improvisation on Tonight's Dinner

April 25th, 2011 at 07:49 pm

Well, I had made up chicken salad for 2 meals worth this week. But tonight, when I got home, I just could not stand the idea of chicken salad. Besides, I had no bread and was going to have to make do with carrots sticks. I improvised by boiling up some gluten free pasta and mixed the chicken salad in with a little extra mayo and spices. Even my hubby tasted it and said it was delish and he hates gluten free pasta, but he is on a diet to lose weight, so he had to eat a tuna sandwich. So, my improvised dinner was a success.

This Week's Lunch Challenge

April 24th, 2011 at 10:37 am

I only had a few hours today to put together my meals for lunches and dinners for this week. I have to work from 3-6 today. I also put together my hubby's salads and boiled some eggs for him to eat.

Here in my lunch challenge for the week

6 servings of beef and vegetable stew - 2 Done!

2 servings of chicken salad with boiled egg - serve with raw veggies 1 Done!

1 serving of lentil soup

4 hamburgers - serve with steamed or raw veggies 1 Done!

5 servings of oatmeal 1 Done!

4 servings of Corn Chex 1 Done!

Update on This Week's Lunch Challenge

April 19th, 2011 at 05:54 pm

In an effort to keep better track of my Lunch Challenge, I decided to document my progress so far this week.

I updated my previous entry with comments in red.

Lunch Challenge - Use it Up Week

April 15th, 2011 at 09:22 pm

Well, this next week is going to be a use-it-up-week. Here are my lunch/supper plans for the coming week.

Lentil soup - 5 meals 2 Done!

Chicken stir fry - 1 meal Done!

Turkey sandwiches on gluten free bread - 3 meals 2 Done!

Spinach salad with tomatoes, onions, canned chicken, oil and vinegar for dressing - 1 meal Done!

Spaghetti - 1 meal Done!

Hamburgers - 2 meals I had to change this one to cereal. 2 Done!

I will add fruit and vegetables, a handful of nuts,
and a bottle of filtered water from home to my lunches.

I may buy my lunch 1 time in order to make it all stretch.

Lunch Challenge Succes This Week and Next Week

April 9th, 2011 at 02:46 pm

Well, the lentil soup was very successful, but I think I will change up the spices a little next time and add a little more salt. It was slightly bland, but still very good. I even had people commenting on how fragrant and yummy it smelled. I have a few bowls left over, some of which I will have this week.

This next week, I have something a little different planned. These are my lunches and dinners. (My hubby is on a special diet to lose weight, so I am fixing separate meals for myself.)

Sandwiches with Boars Head turkey breast on gluten free bread with spicey mustard, apple, orange, bottle of filtered water from home (3 meals)

Gluten free pasta salad with chicken, cucumbers, green pepper, tomatoes, spices, apple, orange, bottle of filtered water from home (2 meals)

Gluten free pasta with spaghetti sauce (1 meal)

Stir fry with chicken, green pepper, onion, spices, and rice (3 meals)

Leftover Lentil soup (3 meals)

Leftover Beef Stew (2 meals)

Payday, Debt Payoff, and Lunch Challenge

March 19th, 2011 at 02:40 pm

Hello, everyone. I got paid again on Friday. More money went to savings and retirement. Speaking of which, I need to update those numbers. Done as of 5:11pm on 3-19-2011.

The repairs to the car should be complete on Wednesday and we can go pick it up. That will be a relief. Hubby and I agree we should immediately start saving for a replacement car. We thought seriously about getting a different car now, but everything we looked at was out of our price range and we did not want to go into debt for a car so shortly after buying a house. I also added more money to the Conference Challenge. I cashed in some survey points, which will get added to the Conference Challenge.

I also hit another major milestone. I PAID OFF HOSPITAL DEBT #2!! Woo-hoo!

This debt was close to $10,000 in 2006. My husband had no insurance and I had to take him to the ER. He has insurance now thanks to my pointing out it might have cost less than 1/2 that if he had had insurance.

In other news, the Lunch Challenge continues. Next week, it is Spring Break at the college I work at. I will be working Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday through Friday I will be on vacation. My progress so far this much is that I have eaten lunch out once on last Friday. I spent about $10.00. I also bought ice tea or soda several times, but I bring my own cup which makes it cheaper because they give a discount for that. Here are my lunches for next week:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday - leaf lettuce salad, carrots, cucumbers, tuna in foil packet, oil and vinegar for dressing, orange or apple, water

Wednesday - Wednesday is the day we expect to pick up our car, so I think we may go out to lunch to celebrate

Friday - maybe an almond butter sandwich on gluten free bread, orange, apple, carrots, water

Another thing I have planned to do on Wednesday is to go to Home Depot and buy stuff to fix our toilet that runs frequently. Our last water bill is $60 and we only have 2 people living in our house. I think the water bill should be about 1/2 that much. Have any of you ever fixed a running toilet? Is it difficult?

Lunch Challenge

March 13th, 2011 at 08:12 am

Well, we had a little family drama last night, which resulted in me being up later than I like and not sleeping well when I did get to sleep. I feel exhausted now and just want to go back to bed.

Here are my lunches for the week:

Tuna salad sandwich, mayo, gluten free bread, yellow apple, raw carrots, snack size ziploc bag of cashew nuts, and bottle of filtered water.

Okay, I am going to drink a cup of tea and then go to bed.

Lunch Challenge Continues

February 26th, 2011 at 02:59 pm

Because of some minor emergencies, the checking was REALLY low when I went shopping yesterday, so I wound up putting the groceries on the credit card.

Oh well, the Lunch Challenge continues. This coming week I am having spinach salads with tuna for my lunches. I have been taking my own fork or spoon for my lunches for weeks. It is a small act sustainability, but I also have 4 other people doing it, too. If enough people do it consciously, we could save our organization a considerable amount of money.

I already had 2 foil packs of tuna from another time which I did not use then. I bought 3 more packets.

Salads: Spinach, sliced, fresh mushrooms, grape tomatoes, sliced carrots, onion, olive oil and vinegar (Yum!)

Sides and Snacks: Yellow delicious apple, handful of cashew nuts, 2 spoons of organic almond butter

This Week's Lunch Challenge is Hot Stir Fry

February 20th, 2011 at 10:16 am

I decided to spice up my stir fry and came up with this recipe. It's kinda spicy, a lot of like jalepenos, so if you don't like spicy, you could use gf soy sauce or something else if you like.

2 lbs. chicken (I used fresh, but you could use canned)
3 cups fresh stir fry veggies in a bag from the produce aisle
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 onion
olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
garlic, to taste
chili sauce (I used about 1/4 cup) - I found it in the oriental food section of my grocery store.

If the chicken is fresh, cut up into about 1 inch pieces. Put some olive oil into the pan and cook the chicken until golden brown. In the meantime, dice the onion and any other vegetables. Toss into the skillet and mix well. Add seasonings and chili sauce. Simmer on low 5 to 10 minutes. Serve over rice. Delicious and spicy.

The Lunch Challenge is Still On

February 6th, 2011 at 05:43 pm

Well, last week, I brought my lunch every day I went to work. I say it like that, because 2 of those days my work was cancelled, so I stayed home. I was basically snowed in, because the roads were terrible, so I did eat my lunches at home. I did get paid for those days, though, so that's good. For the days I went to work, I did buy an iced tea at lunch time, but that was my only real food spending.

And so the lunch challenge continues. I am constantly on the lookout for new recipes and things to eat. My palate gets bored easily. Here's the original recipe that I decided to use.


I read this recipe on the GingerLemonGirl blog that has ground turkey, quinoa, carrots, and spinach in it. I modified it by substituting other ingredients such as cut up chicken breast, frozen broccoli, brown rice, and turmeric. I couldn't find quinoa anywhere, I already had 2 lbs. chicken on hand, and I don't really like cooked spinach. It has kind of an Indian flavor to it. After dishing it up into serving size containers for my lunches, I had some left over, so I gave some to my husband for lunch. He doesn't even like veggies or rice much, but he loved it. Anyway, here's the recipe as I modified it.

1 cup uncooked rice, quinoa, potatoes, or pasta
2 lbs. cut up chicken breast
olive oil
3 carrots cut up lengthwise
1 onion, cut up
2 cups broccoli, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes

This actually wound up being a 2 pot meal for meal because I cooked the rice in a separate pot. Cook rice or other product according to package directions. Cut up vegetables. Fry chicken in a pan with olive oil. Add seasonings and vegetables. Simmer for 5 minutes or so. Mix with rice. Serve. Made about 7 servings for us. Adjust the spices and veggies to your taste and food tolerances.

February Goals Check-in and the Lunch Challenge

January 30th, 2011 at 06:30 pm

Howdy, financial friends and neighbors. I am plugging right along with getting my goals accomplished.

I am right on track to pay off Hospital Debt #2 in March. Because the last payment will only be $52.00, I will have $25.00 to spare. I think I will put this towards my car repair fund. After March, I will put the whole $75.00 to my Conference Challenge until June, then start whacking away at the credit card debt.

I am going to a conference in June with funds I already have put aside. With my reimbursement from work, I will pay off hospital debt #1 and the lawn mower debt. I will have some leftover, which I will probably slap on the credit card.

This coming Friday, I am planning on taking the afternoon off and going to the hardware store for parts to repair our toilet. It runs frequently, and as evidenced by our recent $55.00 water bill, it is costing us money. I also plan on buying some expanding foam to fill in some holes in our walls that are probably making our gas bill higher.

My lunches for the coming week are gluten free pasta salad with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, black olives, and salmon with olive oil and cider vinegar for dressing. I have apples, cashew nuts, and water also.

I have a $20.00 survey check coming in about 5 weeks that I will put towards the Conference Challenge.

And the Lunch Challenge Continues

January 23rd, 2011 at 10:32 am

Well, on Friday, when I was at the grocery store, chicken tenderloins were on sale for $2.49/lb. Not a bad price at all. So, I bought two packages. One went into the freezer, but I am not sure what I will do with it yet. I cut up the other package into little pieces and fried them in olive oil and spices. I also bought some lettuce and tomatoes.

My lunches this week will be the following:

Lettuce salad with tomatoes, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, chicken, and oil and vinegar for dressing. Fresh fruit, handful of nuts, and filtered water.

Next week, I have planned eating salads with a packet or tuna or salmon along with fresh fruit and nuts.

On goes my quest to eat healthy, gluten free, and not go broke in the process!

Beezag Referral, Payday, and Other Stuff

January 7th, 2011 at 07:44 am

If any of you would like to earn a little extra money by watching videos and answering surveys, click here to sign up with Beezag.


I get paid today, so I have pre-allocated money to make payments on Hospital Debts #1 and #2, as well as the mortgage. I have also paid the internet bill and one other bill that I cannot remember. There is more money going to savings and retirement. More money is going to the conference challenge. This is great.

I already have my lunch and dinner menus planned out for the next two weeks and am going shopping today to do that.

My lunches for the next two weeks will be:

1) Chicken salad sandwich on gluten free bread, fresh fruit, handful of nuts, filtered water
2) Chicken cacciatore with rice, green peppers, and spices, handful of nuts, filtered water, fresh fruit

Lunch Challenge Update

September 25th, 2010 at 05:03 pm

Well, the Lunch Challenge continues for me. I took my lunch to work every day last week. I ran out of salad mid week and took peanut butter sandwiches on gluten free rice bread the last two days.

This coming week, I have planned lunches with salmon or tuna in foil packets, as well as zucchini squash chopped up, canned tomatoes, and seasoning. I also have Minute Rice microwaveable packets. It will make a sort of stir fry type meal and be quite yummy.

Got Paid, More Debt Paid, and the Lunch Challenge Continues

September 19th, 2010 at 11:50 am

Well, I got paid on Friday and already most of my paycheck has already been gobbled up. You see, when we were getting ready to close on our house (July 15th!), my hubby went to or called the utility companies about switching over service. We knew there would be some overlap, as we needed time to clean the old house before we could turn in the keys. Apparently, he only told the gas and electric companies that we would be moving out on X date and would need a few days past that to get the house closed up. Apparently, that was not specific enough information and so they charged us for our level payment for August, but also made it our final bill. So, between one electric bill at the old house for $271 and one at the new house for $264, I spent over $500 this month on electric alone. The gas bills were pretty minor in comparison, but still annoying. It's a good thing I got a survey check and also a housewarming gift check from my aunt in the mail. They helped to pay for the excess on the utilities. We will survive. I know that because I have survived worse.

One of the items I paid with my paycheck was $75.00 on hospital debt #2, bringing the balance to $427.60! Yahoo! (not an endorsement of Yahoo!, just my expression of excitement)

Also, my automatic deposit went into savings. It is my goal that when hospital debt #2 is paid off (probably February), that I will be taking that money and putting it into savings. I don't like these issues coming up that leaving me without anything. I will beef it up until $1000 and then pay off some other stuff like hospital debt #2.

The Lunch Challenge continues in my house. I am making salads with romaine lettuce, random fresh vegetables including cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli, olive oil, chopped up boiled eggs, tuna from a foil pouch, tea bags, and filtered water from home.

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