Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Follow-Up

Are you as happy as I am that Friday is here?! I am so happy that this week is over because I have been tempted a few times this week to spend MONEY! I also learned a few things I didn't prepare as well before entering my 'NSM'.

This week I have had sick children to deal with. Moms you all know how that goes when you have a sick, fussy baby and you have to get dinner going, right? Well that was my Monday! Great way to start out a new week...NOT! Add to that a broken ceramic plate to clean-up, care of 2yr old daughter and my emotions were quickly going down hill. Still, I was going to cook dinner. We were not going to order out as we would before. I had my 13yo take out the meat from the freezer I needed in the morning, we were good to go. Or were we?

As I went into the kitchen to begin cooking I learned he had taken the wrong package of meat out! I about fell apart! Not really but I was getting close. Here I've made this thoughtful menu with items from my pantry and I was going to stick to it! I tend to be very inflexible sometimes...I am trying to work on that. As it was 'Mexician Monday' in our house we had to have Mexican food, chicken mole to be exact. I know, there I go being inflexible again, sigh. My son took out boneless porkchops, not boneless chicken. It was an easy mistake, I know that. But it wasn't going to work. So, I quickly tried to find a solution. I had 1 lbs. of ground beef in the fidge. Not enough to make tacos with and I didn't have tortillas for burritos because of my sick baby (I make homemade). My husband called at that moment to find me a bit 'flustered'. Had I asked him to bring home McDonald's he would have. I so wanted to ask him to but I didn't. Instead, I asked him to spend $2.50 to buy tostada shells. With those we could spread refried beans on them and then a little taco meat. The 1 lbs of ground beef would be enough for our family if we could use the beans as a base. He agreed.

Dinner was great but I still spent money. I felt guilty about it all evening long. But really, when you think about it I did good. I didn't buy take-out that would have cost us atleast $25. I really believe satan was on the attack. He knows I fall under 'emotional pressure' and that is what I was in. I say, I succeeded under the attack...for the most part anyway.

Tuesday was much better. My baby was better and happy. The day was looking up... Then I received a call late in the morning that there was a death in the family. We live out of state from our family and there was no way we could attend the funeral. We usually send a card for something like this, but I didn't have a card on hand. Didn't think to have one before beginning our 'NSM'. I have learned that it is good to have various cards on hand for unexpected events. Maybe one of those boxes that have a card in it for every occassion would be good to have. So, we paid $3.50 for a card.

On Wedsneday I had the brown sugar snag. You can read about that below this post. In short, I was out of brown sugar and I learned (from my Sonlight friends) I can make my own brown sugar...awesome! I didn't spend a single dime!

Thursday was very hard. I am now sick. My head feels like it is going to explode from the sinus pressure. We are out of Tylenol and low on vitamin C because I increased the dosage I give to my kids to build up their immune system. With all my preparations I simply didn't think to check my medicine cabinet. I was more worried about food and toilet paper! LOL

Note to self: check to be sure there is a good amount of basic meds in your medicine cabinet.

I think we will be okay, provided no one else gets sick. Later in the day I took a nap with my baby. It was great and I felt better when we got up, two and half hours later! I still didn't have a good amount of energy but I was able to put dinner on the table (at 7pm which is late for us) and I baked 2 loaves of bread. My husband knew how sick I had been and thought for sure I'd be calling for him to pick-up dinner, but I didn't! Yay for me!!!

Well, that sums it up. The weekend is here. $6 was spent because of the unexpected this week but I think I did really great! Any other time I wouldn't have thought twice to spend. I am pleased with the way my mind is now 'thinking twice'. My plan for the weekend is to get my bills in order that will be paid on the 15th. My husband will be home and can help with our kids so I don't have any distractions.

It should be a pleasant weekend and I hope yours is too. Until Monday...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tip of the week.

Well, we are mid-week here on the NSM. I've gotta ask's it going?

I had a challenge yesterday. I was getting ready to bake some oatmeal bread and learned I didn't have any brown sugar! What I used as my brown sugar container didn't contain brown sugar. It had whole wheat flour in it and I FORGOT! I wondered if there was something else I could use as a substitute for the brown sugar. I would normally have not thought twice about running to the store to spend $1.50 to buy some brown sugar. Well, that kinda of thinking has got to change! So I asked my friends on the Sonlight forum because I know someone there would know. I was right! I learned that all I needed to do was add molasses to white sugar. I had no idea I could make my own brown sugar! I am a hapy girl...yee haw!!! So here's how you do it...

Brown Sugar Substitute
For each 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar called for in a recipe, use 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses plus 1 cup granulated sugar.

To make light brown sugar from dark brown sugar, use 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

For dark brown sugar, use 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon molasses; or 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses.

See ya Friday!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Motivational Monday...

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today is the first day of the week and the first big test for me and anyone else who is trying to do a 'NSM'. I haven't had to leave my home since Dec.30th, which means I've not been tempted by any stores or fastfood joints. My plan when I leave to pick my daughter up from school today is to go straight there and straight back home. Usually I would pick her up and then run into the store. That is not going to happen today.

I have my menu made for the entire month, which you can see one the right of the posts. That menu was created to use only the ingredients I have on hand. I went into my freezer and pantry to take inventory of everything to make meals with. Now, I am still learning myself how to 'not spend' so I anticipate I may need to buy something for our meals, eventually. I really don't think I was able to account for everything but I sure hope I did! If I do have to buy something, I have a money can that we have been throwing our loose change into. It always amazes me how quickly quarters, dimes and nickles can add up. I have about $23.00 in the can right now. I figure if anything comes up, I will use that loose change. Produce is one of those things that just doesn't keep that long. I may eventually buy some later in the month. I am trying to do without which will be hard. I have dehydrated onion that I can cook with and canned fruits for my kids. I think we will be okay.

Every Monday I plan to have a motivational posting. In this post I will also post a couple of our favorite, economical recipes. Just so you know, we love food. Good food. So give these recipes a try...they are all yummy!

Now for the recipes... Everyone I know loves pizza. I know there are some who don't and frankly I can't imagine not liking pizza but to each his own. Up until a month or so ago we always bought our pizza. Not anymore. Making homemade pizza is a lot easier than I thought. I make a double patch of the below pizza dough recipe and one batch of the sauce (stores nicely in the fridge) and it will last us two whole meals of 4 medium pizzas. It is very economical and it tastes GREAT! Enjoy...

Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine the above three ingredients and let stand for 10 min.

Then, stir in
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup EVOO
2.5 cups flour.

Knead well enough to combine and dough is smooth. Over kneading will make the crust more like a cracker. Let rest, rub a bit of EVOO on the ball, place in a bowl and cover for about 15 min. Shape into your desired size or into baking sheet. I leave the crust a bit thick because we like a thicker crust. We double this recipe and get 4 medium sized pizzas. Add your toppings…

Then bake the pizza at 425* for about 20 min.
Pizza Sauce (Cat Cora/Food Network)

1 (4-ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (I use 1 teas. dried)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves (I use 1 teas. dried)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I omit this)
1/4 teas of red pepper flakes (this is my addition)
Mix together the tomato paste, water, and olive oil. Mix well. Add garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Mix well and let stand several hours to let flavors blend. No cooking necessary, just spread on dough.

Have a great Monday! Make a menu for the week and stick to it. Don't eat out for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th time this week. Save that money and put it towards a bill. Just reducing the amount you eat-out each week will help tremendously! Take the first step in becoming debt-free today. I will follow-up on Friday...

You CAN do it!