Today I Avoided McDonalds, Sorta


Most days are “one of those days.” From the moment the feet hit the floor to the time where they come back under the covers at night. Busy. The last few days have been kind of crazy simply because Frank’s been working doubles back-to-back, two days in a row. I’ve been the sole taxi driver, chef, planner, cleaner, laundry maid… and everything else being the only one at home entails. Yesterday, thankfully was my day to work at home. It was busy, but I was able to get more done around the house, which always helps. Today was an office day.

Feet hit floor and the frantic morning dance begins. The twins are usually gone to school by the time I need the bathroom, but I still share it with Dante and Carlito. It is a popular place in a 1-bathroom home, as you can imagine. Beyond getting myself ready, I  remembered that last night I put some black beans (slightly expired ones, so I’m hoping they will turn out fine) in to soak, preparing them for a day of the crock pot. This morning, as I went to attend to them, I realized I hadn’t had breakfast, hadn’t packed a lunch (for myself). That trumped the beans since an angry stomach doesn’t go well with a day of work.

And, I was determined NOT to go to McDonald’s for breakfast.

Two reasons: body and budget. McDonald’s would mean oatmeal and coffee. It would mean money I didn’t need to spend. It would mean, also, sacrificing my calories (I’m trying to get back under control again) on something I didn’t want to sacrifice them on.

Frantic, I made up a sandwich, wrapped it sloppily, grabbed a peach and headed out the door. No time for coffee; I would have to stop. At. McDonald’s.

I did and was tempted by the oatmeal. Restraint. Self-control. I slowly counted out change from the ashtray (I keep my pens and change in there), grabbed a medium coffee and a glass of ice water (which fits perfectly in my water bottle).

Battle won, my temptation was not over.

On the way home from work. Once again. Tempted. See, I drive right past the crack house that is McDonald’s. I know how many calories the salads have, and desperately wanted the ease of not having to make my own.

Grumbling, I went into the grocery store instead. Bread, milk and a container of Organic Girl 50/50 in tow, I head home. I am already anticipating the salad I will make, since I had a fabulous one last night.

Here it is, crappy phone picture and all. But you get the gist. I think there are 2 servings in that container, but I made it into 1. I added 1/4 cup of navy beans (soaked and cooked a couple days ago – tossed them with some salt and pepper first), 1/4 cup shredded parmesan/romano mix, some cherry tomatoes, and topped it off with Simply Dressed balsamic dressing (my new favorite).

So. Dang. Good. I think my pants are going to split, but I got my greens in. Much better than a McDonald’s salad, if you ask me.

I Need More Days Off

When I was a stay-at-home mom I didn’t feel like I got anything done, and now that I’m working part-time, I realize that I did. I got a lot done around the house. My home was cleaner, dinners were ready, made and planned ahead most of the time (we survived without a microwave – something I don’t think I could do now). But, we needed more money. My resources tapped as far as “what more can we do?” —  Every book I read talked about strategies we were already implementing. Chances are we will never be in the position of having so much money we don’t know what to do with it. Adapt.

Make the best with what you have.

Today is my day off. So far I’ve accomplished taking the kids to school, eating breakfast. Checked emails, checked voicemails. Voicemail-checking is a BIG DEAL, because I’ve gotten very bad at it. I’ve never been good at checking voicemails on my cellphone, but checking them on my home phone? Fuggeddabaddit. The only time I did it with real frequency was when we had a telephone that had a speakerphone on the base. I had our voicemail number with a pause, and then a password programmed on the speed dial. All I had to do was hit speaker, push a button and voila. There it was. Once that went kaput, so did my daily checking of the voicemail on the landline. I’m not quite ready to give up the landline yet, but I did shop around for better options. We recently bundled our landline with our cellphone plan, saving $27/month (and adding the option of long-distance). We’ll see how much we still use that line, and maybe – just maybe – we will get rid of it. Slow moves in that direction. Still, the switching of plans hasn’t helped stimulate my checking of messages.

Back to what I’ve done so far today.

Bathroom. Cleaned it. Not the whole thing, just the toilet and floor. This is a BIG DEAL to me, because of my toilet issues. I broke out the pumice stone, the baking soda, I did it all. I hated every minute of it. I almost cried.

One load of laundry; washed.

Shower – soon.

Dinner? I think we will be having chicken patties (the pre-breaded, frozen kind) on buns. Simple dinner. Noting to self that I still need to get the buns.

Pick out senior picture for Dante? Today. Will do.

Balance checkbook. Hate. Will do. Need to write checks.

Need more days off. I don’t know how women who work full-time manage a home, too. Maybe they make such good money that the time spent clipping coupons and pinching pennies (which can be substantial) is out of the equation. True, if we had a better household income my energy could be spent elsewhere. But there is no use thinking about what could, should, or what I wish to be. It is not my circumstance right now. Right now I will be intentional with the time I have off today, try to get some of the items on my To Do list moved to a Ta-Done status, and be satisfied with that.


Sarcasm and Couponing

… just a dash of sarcasm.

Well at least my washer waited until I had the majority of my wash done before it completely broke down.

Thank goodness for 3-day weekends. Even more time to spend hunting down deals, making up shopping lists.


I’m trying not to be bitter, angry, sad or whiny. It doesn’t always work that way. I don’t know if it really is true that when it rains it pours, or if when it is pouring out you just take more notice of each, fat drop.

Lots of fat drops going on right now. Good, bad, normal… it’s all a part of life. Sometimes it just gets more difficult to cope with it when it continues to hit.

Yesterday I said “goodbye” to my parents. Not that I won’t be seeing them again, but we just won’t be living in adjoining zip codes. My father retired from being a pastor; my mother retired from a lifetime of lab work at the hospital. Somehow I thought it would happen around the same time, but not literally within the same week. Since my father was a pastor living in a parsonage (the church’s house), they moved. Not to another time zone, but another area code, hours away. A sad, but still somewhat exciting adjustment. Emotions.

My boss, a pastor, was recently assigned to a different church. 6-weeks notice, and her “going away” day was the same as my father’s retirement party. Again, sad, but exciting. A new boss means new experiences, and hopefully ones I can learn a lot from. Emotions.

My oldest son is taking off on a trip a couple states away for a camp. Quite an honor and exciting adventure. Teenaged angst and personality. Emotions.

My daughter, almost 20, continues to make life choices that are difficult to stomach. Emotions.

Searching for something predictable, I have found some joy in couponing (again). Not stockpiling like a freak whose stash will expire before making a visible dent. Not like that. But… like, going to Walgreens with a plan (researching a few sites– probably too many, printed coupons), saving money on items and walking away with a load of good stuff and not a bunch of money spent. My second trip (yeah I said it) was the best because I totally stacked coupons and got some stuff for cheap-o cheap (4 body washes for the boys who use them like crazy, pantiliners, a few other goodies). I like to know I’m getting a deal on things and am stocked up. I can see how some people go insane with it. Eh.. sort of.

My mother was a couponer. She had a tin recipe-card holder with her coupons filed in it. She was a SENSIBLE COUPONER long before there were shows about people with Coupon OCD. I guess I learned from her. That makes me smile. My ability to scrape together a meal from what seems like nothing, and my coupon skills are both from mom. And I’m adopted. Monkey see, monkey do.

So anyway, I also made out of Target saving more than I spent (go to and scroll to the bottom, click on the “coupons” link). That is a cool feeling. Contact lens cleaner, Colgate toothpaste, Crackerful crackers, 2 Dove deodorants, pens (for .02!!!), more pens, travel-size Tide, more pens… all for $10. The contact lens cleaner itself was $8 originally. I felt like a bandit. They let you stack coupons. So, for example: Contact cleaner $7.99 originally, Target has $2/off coupon, I also have a $1/off manufacture coupon — I get to use both for $3/off. I purchased everything by stacking. It does take time, but for me time is money and this is money worth working for.



Making Yogurt in the Crockpot – First Try

I remember reading about making homemade yogurt eons ago. Never gave it a try. Contemplated it. Had my mother tell me, My goodness, I made yogurt for you guys all the time when you were little. — No wonder I have this “granola” strain in me. Even though I’m adopted, I have this mutated homemaker gene. I see where I get it. Through the baked breads, homemade yogurts, creative playing, scrap-saving, able-to-whip-up-a-meal-from-the-pantry mother of mine.

Back to yogurt. A cruise around the web turned up many similar posts regarding making yogurt in the crockpot:

You Can Make Yogurt in Your Crockpot!
Crockpot Yogurt (foreshadowing… also see bottom of post, “what to do when yogurt fails” – ahem)
Make Yogurt in Your Crockpot

Obviously tons of people are doing this. Should be easy enough for a cavewoman, right?

Whatever. The title, “first try” hints to the end result of my first experience with crockpot yogurt making.

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Homemade Deodorant Trial

There is a ton of information on the web regarding trying homemade deodorant. Here is my experience with it.

Why try homemade deodorant?

Because I’ve struggled for years to find the “right” deodorant. Because I’ve tried “natural” ones and they never made the cut. Because I don’t like the idea of slathering chemicals on my skin constantly. Because I am a product slut. Recovering, that is.

Armpit Profile

Commonly used: Dove, Secret, Arm & Hammer, Sure. Tried Tom’s; gave me itchy rash. Tried it again; same thing.

Sweaty, but not overly sweaty.

Concerned with odor, but it hasn’t cramped my lifestyle.

Shave? Occasionally. Winters, rarely. My pits are sensitive and I’m not a priss about having clean-shaven pits.

Homemade Deodorant Recipe Used

This is the recipe I started with. It is a common-found recipe on the internet. Search long and hard and you’ll find all kinds of variations and recommendations.

5 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 c. cornstarch (alternative – arrowroot powder)
1/4 c. baking soda
Optional: Essential oils. I couldn’t quite tell you the percentages because it was not precise.

The CCO (coconut oil) has a low melting point, so if you make this in summer, you might not have to even put it in the microwave. I made it after the temperature in my house was above the melting point, so I needed to put in in the microwave, briefly.

Homemade Deodorant

I stored mine in a small lotion container after frantically searching for something, anything to keep it in.

Homemade Deodorant


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Bread Maker Pizza Crust

#1 Happy Holidailies!

Once again, I’m blogging daily from December 6 to January 5. Live with it. They’re using a slightly different system this year and I hope I can get the hang of it before the end of the Holidailies run, but who is to say. I don’t think I like it already, but maybe it will grow on me.

OK so pizza crusts in the bread maker– or rather, momma hasn’t done much of meal-planning since Thanksgiving and she’s flying by the seat of her pants. That’s probably more appropriate.

Wednesday I made a quick run to Costco while Sal was at goalie practice, and I worked hard not to buy for the sake of buying, but to be thoughtful in what I needed. Of coarse, that means I needed to recall just what it was I needed. Need, need, need. Noodle bowls. Ham. Shredded cheddar cheese… gum, sour cream, Sobe. I didn’t so much need the peeled baby carrots, come to find. But I picked up a HUGE bag anyway (sigh). I’ve been spreadsheeting it out to see what really IS a deal and what IS NOT a deal at Costco. So far it looks like I’m getting decent deals. Just don’t buy the vinegar there. Not a deal.

As I was walking the isles, I decided that I would be making pizzas. The huge bag of shredded mozzarella was calling me to make some pizzas and possibly a casserole. In the cart it went (I did end up making crockpot lasagna and I WILL post the recipe this week).

Back to the pizzas. Now that wrestling season has started (and winter soccer trainings, indoor soccer leagues), life has swung back into crazy gear again. The plus is that Frank coaches and all 3 younger boys are in wrestling at the same time. The not-so-plus is that Dante is just finishing up wrestling (for high-school, they use the same mats as the youth wrestlers), and needs to come home just as Frank is arriving with the boys for their mat time. That means I have to go pick up Dante. Before the youth wrestling started, I’d have dinner ready to go when Dante got home (ravished), and we’d all sit down to eat. Now that we’re on different schedules, it isn’t so easy. It’s only 2 days a week, though, that that happens, so I can’t complain.

Basically what I’m saying is, even though all the boys are occupied, it isn’t a real down-and-dirty “work time” for me because I’m running around in between cooking dinner. Last week on one of those days, I thought I’d be all Ms. Smarty Prepared and start a pizza crust in the breadmaker before I left, come home and start up some pizzas. That would have all been find and dandy had I not set the bread to “Quick Bake” instead of the “Dough” setting.

I didn’t actually realize that was the problem, not right away. I thought that maybe there was simply something wrong with my bread maker. I mean, it is a little bit on the older side. But I had made calzone dough in it not too long ago, so I couldn’t figure what went wrong and why my bread maker was so warm. The kids munched on the “bread” and said it was good (they were just hungry). I turned into Maniac Mom, panicking, stressing, hyper-cooking. Refusing to change directions. We were having pizza if it killed me. And it nearly did.

I worked on mixing up a dough that didn’t need to rise or be beaten, thinking that at least they could start on that, and if nothing else worked, their bellies would be satisfied. But, in tandem, I also put another batch of dough in the machine. Well, that’s not true. I intended to put a batch in, while the kids hovered, squawked and asked questions that my brain had to work to answer. Everyone asking me questions and getting in my way makes my head start to sputter and blow smoke. The distractions caused me to add the ingredients to the machine in a fashion that would have rendered yeast-less dough. I had to toss that batch.

Next attempt went fine, although I realized I screwed up the other no rise/beat dough, adding double the yeast. At this point I was about ready to glug down some spiked eggnog and go lay in a snowbank somewhere. Forget dinner.

The first pizza to arrive on the table was the no-knead. Pepperoni and banana peppers. No picture.

Second pizza was another no-knead (still waiting on the bread machine to finish its job). Italian sausage and banana peppers.

Third pizza was with the “regular” knead-and-rise dough, though I didn’t quite let it rise all the way because we were hungry and I was sick of playing pizza-maker. I used half the dough on 1 pizza and the rest I put in the fridge.

They were all OK, but I prefer the knead-and-rise dough. Frank liked the sausage and pepper one, but got horrid heartburn from it. Sal liked everything. They must have all liked the pizzas enough because what they didn’t eat for dinner, they ate the next day. Every time I make homemade pizzas I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Story of my life.

I made a breakfast pizza with the remaining dough. It was also a hit.

Again, Bowzer wondered when he would get his.

Don’t judge us because we don’t take our dog to the groomers. All the boys have long hair at some point.

Light Switch Cover Decorating

This is an older post, but as I was coming up the stairs today, admiring my lightswitch plate, I was quite pleased, thinking that I should make some more of them. They have lasted years and look as good as when I first made them. Still can’t believe it. This project is a totally cheap and easy way to spruce up something in a room  for pennies.

Light Switch Decoration

After re-painting the livingroom and entryway, I decided to change the light switches and electrical covers. After looking around at Home Depot, Menards and the like, I figured it was going to be more money than I wanted to spend to get all new ones with the colors I wanted. So I decided to revamp the prominent ones by using supplies I had on hand . The one new thing I did get was the scrapbook paper, the rest I had on hand (and you should, too). My pictures didn’t turn out so hot, but you get the gist.

scrapbook paper (or paper of your choice)
glue (I used craft glue)
razor blade cutter (man I can’t think of the name right now – exacto knife, maybe?)

I took the scrapbook paper and made an outline of the lightswitch cover.


step2.jpg step2z.jpg

Then I took the glue, mixed it with water (about a 1:3 ratio, glue:water). With a paintbrush and some fingers I smeared glue on the back of the paper, placed that over the lightswitch cover and smeared generous portions of the glue/water soluntion on that as well. I let that dry a bit, then repeated that 2 more times.


After that dried I put a clear protective spray over it that I had on hand (2 coats). I don’t know if it was necessary, but since I had it If figured I might as well use it for extra protection. I also did a little trimming of excess paper at some point during the process.



They look pretty good, but I can see things I may have done different, like trimmed a little more or maybe even did a couple more coats of the glue water to make it even more durable. But oh well.

Preparing Pumpkin Puree With A Crockpot

In making my Pumpkin Dump Cakes, I found myself continually amazed a the price of canned pumpkin. Nearly a dollar and a half for a small can seemed steep to me. Now that Thanksgiving is a little closer, I’ve found them for about .99/can, but, being the happy homemaker that I am, I decided to go through the process of preparing and freezing fresh pumpkin myself. I don’t even really know why I felt it necessary to go through, but I am a curious woman.

I wish I could remember how much my pie pumpkins were. I think they were about .99/each, but I really can’t honestly say. I’ll have to check the prices next time I’m at the store. My real experiment in this case was only partial cost-curiosity.

I decided that I would prepare my pumpkins in the crockpot rather than the oven. I got out my big crock to do this and quickly realized that they weren’t going to fit. I took the pumpkins out and left them on the counter. Days later I had a brilliant idea: do them one by one in the smaller crockpot. Aha! Momma didn’t raise no fool.

Since I have a habit lately of throwing things in the crockpot before bedtime, (beans mostly, to freeze and use) last night with nothing to throw in I looked at my two pumpkins. Plop! In went one.

I set it on its side, poured in about 1 cup of water and put the pot on low, brushed off my hands and walked away.

Prewashed, fear not.

(Notice crazy hair reflected in the lid?)

The next morning I have to say the pumpkin smelled pretty darn good. It was a nice aroma to wake to. Since it had been about 8 hours, maybe 9, I wondered if the pumpkin was ready. The outside didn’t get soft like I thought I would. A fork test didn’t work. A quick jab with a butcher knife didn’t work. A more forceful stab with the knife and I was in like slim.

I didn’t save the seeds for this one. I probably should have, but I was lazy and not really “feeling” the whole pumpkin seed thing. If I really wanted to get my bang for my buck I would have, though.

I took a stickblender to it after gutting it out to puree it, and then put it in the fridge.

I’ve read you’re supposed to let it sit overnight to drain any liquid, and then you can freeze it. In eyeballing I’d guess there’s about as much puree in one pumpkin as there is in the can (or maybe 1.5 cans worth), but I haven’t confirmed that yet. Going to weigh it tomorrow and see if it comes out to 15oz. I suppose I’ll have to make some pumpkin bread with it, too, just to try it out yanno.

Update: Pumpkin #1 was about 15oz. right on the nose. So 1 pumpkin = 1 can of pumpkin

If I were making multiple pumpkins, it would have been better to just stoke up the oven, but this was an easy fix-and-forget method that I would definitely use again.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Challenge

I realize I have an obsession with laundry and laundry detergent. I’ve swung through so many phases of brand name, generic, homemade, eco-friendly… it is shameful. I don’t even want to dig up the archives that reference it. At this time I have a jug of Tide, Gain, Charlie’s Soap, Downy dryer sheets, Gain liquid softener, Ecos… So we will move forward (after one quick digression). The only recipe I could dig up from my archives was this:

Marthat’s Homemade Detergent
Here’s another laundry detergent recipe, sent in by Martha. I haven’t made it yet, but she tells me it’s easier than mine:
1 quart water (4 cups)
1/6 bar fels naptha or other soap grated as fine as possible (now I soak the cube for a week or two in a cup of water).
¼ washing soda
¼ borax
½ quart hot water
cold water
Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. (now I nuke it for 5-6 minutes in the microwave). Stir in Washing Soda and Borax (pop back in the microwave for a minute or two– but watch it as it does bubble up. I really don’t think this part is necessary if it is stirred real well.). Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 1 Gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water, and mix well. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.

I don’t know if it was “Marthat” or “Martha” but the recipe is what it is. At that time, I remember using a liquid version of homemade detergent. Since I’m not still using it, I’d have to say that I wasn’t head over heels in love with it. I still have the bucket that I kept that homemade glop in, though.

At any rate, I wanted to do a powder this time. Less hassle, easier to make and store. The internet has a gazillion recipes, and most of them are the same (Fels Naptha, Borax, Washing Soda). Same ingrediants, different ratios. I went with this one:

Homemade Laundry Powder
4c Fels Naptha (almost an entire bar of it, grated, you can use Kirk’s or Zote’s, too)
2c Borax
2c Washing Soda

Mix, store, use.

Simple to remember. I have a hunk of the bar leftover, though, so it isn’t the best ratio for complete usage. But I can store it and grate it for next time. I also didn’t use any scent in mine because, from my experience, the scent doesn’t stay anyway. So what’s the point in wasting it?

I had help in the grating. No, he’s not naked. He’s still in his shower towel, though. He insisted on helping to grate the soap, and stuck with it until the bitter end, something I am entirely grateful (get it – grateful?) for. When it came time to mix the two powders I had two “helpers” who wanted to get their hands in there. Lootie’s always one who likes to feel, and learns by touching. I am still amazed that he hasn’t had his hand completely burned off from Don’t touch the burners (touch). He’s just one of those kids.

grating away mixed and ready to use

I kept it in one of those plastic shoe boxes. You can see my scooper. You may also notice my empty wine glass in the background of these pictures…

The hard part of the whole laundry thing is figuring out how much to put in each load. With this ratio, I’ve read anywhere from 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup. I’m still experimenting and will let you know how it works out for me. There’s a great post here from Frugal Upstate that breaks down the costs per load on homemade (using same formulation above) vs. Tide.

So here’s my challenge: I’m going to use my own homemade laundry detergent powder for two weeks (exclusively).

For what it is worth, I have an HE washer, top-loading (NEVER get a top-loader, I really don’t think it cleans that well), soft water.

I know it won’t be easy, at least not for me. I thoroughly enjoy my highly-scented detergents. I’m a scent driven person. If it weren’t laden with chemicals and didn’t skunk up my washer, dryer and clothes, I’d probably be one of those Tide/Downy people that you can smell across the room. In fact I have been, off and on. But the more I read about it, the less I like. And the more build-up I see on my washer and feel on my clothes, the more I steer away. But, I do fall off the wagon. My lust is severe. Hence the line-up of product I have sitting by my washer and dryer.

My routine for the next couple weeks will be my homemade detergent to wash the clothes, and vinegar to soften (I add this to the softener dispenser – this has been my main source of “softener” for quite some time when I’m not gucking it up with commercial softener, though sometimes I mix the two – don’t ask), bleach occasionally. We’ll see how it goes. Today was Day 1. I’ve got 13 more to go.

Day 1 observations: First observation is that it is really Day 2, since I threw a load in last night. But I need to stop. This isn’t all that technical. I’ve done a couple loads of darks, 1 white, 1 blankets/jacket. All have been fine as far as I’m concerned. Not much unlike Charlie’s Soap, really. I dug my nose in a few different items and they all smelled clean. I even plunged it in some pits. Take one for the team, I do. One bra still smelled faintly of Tide. None smelled like the bar of Fels-Naptha. None smelled like vinegar or the essential oils I put in my vinegar hoping they will smell of the oils. This is not new to me, but I’m letting you know about it. Why I keep wasting my EOs? Slow learner. My whites looks as dingy as they always have. I blame my washer for that. My 2nd load of darks that I removed from the dryer today were laden with static. Not sure why. Stay tuned.

Spicy Beans

This rice recipe (a variation of it) has made itself a staple in our household over the past couple years.

Spicy Red Rice

  • 2 tablespoons oil or bacon grease
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon dry onion
  • Dash red pepper (optional)
  • Dash black pepper
  • 8 oz can or 1 cup chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups water

I double it for our family. Generally I heat the rice and spices in the oil for a few minutes, and then add the water. Simmer for 20 minutes, remove from heat. I take the lid off for 30 seconds to allow the steam to escape, but I’ve yet to see a rice recipe that calls for that. Doesn’t stop me, though. I let it sit a while before fluffing.

We’ll eat this the first night, sometimes with sausages mixed in, but usually as a simple side. Last night we had the rice, warm tortilla chips, corn (from Costco, organic and frozen – very good) and tilapia. Decent dinner.

I had about 4 cups of rice leftover from the meal so last night I put 2 pounds of black beans in to soak overnight. Today before work, I rinsed them and threw them into the crockpot, covering them with water, adding about 1/8 cup dehydrated onion, 1 T. dehydrated garlic, a bit of black pepper and a bay leaf. I let that sit on low for about 6 hours, then kicked it up to high for another 2 hours when I got home from work.

After that, I removed 3 bowls full of beans and some liquid (about 2.5 cups each) to freeze for when I need black beans, and added some sausages in to the remaining beans. This cooked for a couple hours. After it was done I removed the sausage. The beans I fished out with a slotted spoon and mixed in with the leftover rice. I put that in a small casserole and topped with a bit of cheese, set it under the broiler to melt the cheese.

Dinner was the sausages, rice and beans, corn, warm tortilla chips. It went over well, and was a very cheap meal to eat. The sausages were from Costco (it was a 12-pack that I split over 2 meals), as were the chips (priced as a substantial savings over bying the same chips at our large grocer).

It is so nice to be able to sit down at the table with the kids to a warm meal. I feel spoiled!

The past couple days I’ve intentionally “shopped the freezer” to whip up a couple of meals. Tomorrow I head back to Costco, and possibly the regular grocer (time allowing) to pick up some items for some of the meals I have planned.

This all makes up for the complete glutton-fest I had today as I stopped by my favorite little restaurant to get my Peruvian chop bowl with cilantro rice and arepas, spending $10. Thankfully it was enough food to allow for 2 lunches for me. But still it was totally unnecessary. Old habits are hard to break.