Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 11.28.2011

Hello friends! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and that it was restful. Ours was relaxing and fun. It will be a little difficult to get back into our routine but having a menu plan certainly helps. Here's ours for this week:

Quiche with a Green Salad
Company Pot Roast and Sauteed Carrots
Chicken with Shallots
Oven Fried Chicken and Scalloped Potatoes

Find other delicious menus right here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We'll be heading out on our road trip soon, so I just wanted to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. My husband and I have each been separately writing down things we're thankful for all month, so I'm excited to read through and talk about these during our drive. It's a tradition we started last year, and I've been looking forward to it for this year.

I'm so thankful for so many things: a husband who is kind and supportive, my daughter who brings me the purest joy every day, and family and friends who make me laugh. I think everyday about how my life is better than I ever dreamt it could be. I hope your Thanksgiving gives you lots of reasons to be thankful as well.

Image from here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Biscuit Pot Pies

I had a reader request to post the Chicken Biscuit Pot Pie recipe from this book, that I mentioned in this menu plan. We tried these for the first time last week and they're definitely going to be a staple in my menu plans from now on. I have to say up front: I don't usually follow recipes very closely. In this case, the recipe called for onion, carrots and celery which I didn't have on hand, so I just ended up using some frozen peas, carrots and green beans. I also didn't have white wine, so I used more chicken broth. I just pour things in the pot until they look right to me. Feel free to experiment.

Here's what I used:
A package of biscuit dough
4 tbsp. of butter
6 tbsp. of flour
1 1/2 c. shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. frozen peas and carrots
Salt and pepper

Bake the biscuits according to directions. While they're baking, melt the butter in a sauce pan (not too hot). Slowly mix in the flour. Cook this for a few minutes. The flour and butter should form a thick paste. After the paste forms, start slowly adding in your chicken broth (and a little white wine if you want). You want it to be the consistency of the filling for chicken and dumplings. Some people like this thick and some like it runny, so go with your own taste. Next, add in your shredded chicken and frozen veggies. Cook those until everything is warmed through. Take a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Finally, take your cooked biscuits, split them in the middle, and put the bottom half on your plate or bowl. Spoon in your filling, and cover with the biscuit top. Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 11.21.2011

Happy Thanksgiving Week! It's a short week here for the menu plan, as we will be packing up and heading to my parent's for the holiday. And I couldn't be more excited! Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday. One of my favorite smells in the world is the smell of my childhood house on Thanksgiving morning. Here's what we're having while we're home:

Parker's Beef Stew
Spaghetti with Marinara

Look for more delicious meal plans right here! Have a great Turkey Day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Braving the Crowds for a Cute Coat?

I'm not usually one who will battle the crowds on Black Friday. But I've been thinking about getting a new winter coats, and in my research I stumbled upon some of the bright, fun coats that Old Navy has this winter. I saw in an ad they'll be 50% off on Black Friday. That just might make me venture out! Here are the ones I've been thinking about. All are around $30 on sale.

What about you? Do you venture out on Black Friday? Are the deals worth the hassle?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UnExtreme Couponing

Here were my bargain scores for this week. I got all of this for $2.12. The chips alone sell at my Whole Foods for $3.96, so I was super excited to get two bags of those for 50 cents a piece! (We ate the other bag before I could get a picture!). The canned vegetables and Skinny Cow candies (stocking stuffers) were from Walgreens. I'm happy with the scores this week!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 11.14.2011

We went to eat out last week unexpectedly, so that changed up our menu a bit. I didn't get to make the Chicken Biscuit Pot Pies, so I've moved those to this week. Here's what we're having this week:

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup I've made this before, and it's delicious. And it makes tons of leftovers, so it's good for a few lunches later in the week. We'll have it with a green salad.

Chicken and Broccoli Packets I'm still trying to find ways to use up all my chicken. I thought this looked delicious.

Chicken Biscuit Pot Pies

PW Beef and Bean Burritos These are a favorite, and so easy to make. Probably will serve them with Mexican rice.

Grilled Chicken and Veggies

Check out more delicious menu plans right here!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Budget Changes

We're trying something new with our budget this month. We typically use a zero-based budget, where every expense is accounted for and budgeted each month. But we've run into some problems lately where a large unexpected expense comes up (this month, it was the pest control people who needed $200 for their yearly termite treatment), and then we're forced to pay from savings because it hasn't been accounted for in the budget. So this month, we decided to just look at the bottom line of what we have to spend. We've subtracted our fixed expenses like our mortgage payment, utilities, insurance, etc. from our take home pay. And the money left over is what we have to spend. I'm keeping a weekly tally of everything we're spending. Hopefully, this will help us adjust in some areas if we're over in other areas. I'll let you know!

image from here

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shopping the Sales: Christmas Stockings

I looked everywhere for Christmas stockings last year for my daughter's first Christmas, but wasn't able to find anything that I liked for the price I wanted to pay. I knew I wanted matching stockings for the three of us, and I wanted them monogrammed. So this year, I started the hunt early. Yesterday, I got the holiday Lands' End catalog in the mail, and it included a code for 25% off any order plus free shipping. And when you order 3 stockings or more, they take $3 off each stocking. And monogramming is free! So I just picked up three monogrammed needlepoint stockings for $18 a piece with free shipping, which I think is a fantastic price for the quality of stockings we're getting. My husband's family had stockings like this growing up, so it's nice to carry on the tradition. I finally found stockings I like for the price I wanted to pay!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: 11.7.2011

It was a pretty busy week last week with Halloween and some travel for us, so I'm hoping to enjoy a little easier week this week. Here's what we have planned for dinner!

Applesauce Chicken I volunteer outside the house one evening a week, and try to have something in the slow cooker for dinner to make it easy on my husband. Thought I'd give this recipe a try. I found it in my copy of this book, which is my slow cooker go-to recipe book.
Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas Trying to find different ways to prepare all the chicken we bought (40 lbs!), and came across this recipe.
Turkey Tacos
Grilled Marinated Chicken I froze about 10 bags of chicken breasts with different marinades that I threw together. I'll just take one of the bags out of the freezer and cook the chicken on our Foreman grill.
Chicken Biscuit Pot Pies I'm using a recipe from this book with a few tweaks. (I've mentioned before that I love this book!) If it turns out, I'll post my version here.

Have a great week, and look for more delicious menus here!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big Bargains

I've said before I'm not an extreme couponer, but I do love a good bargain. Here's what I picked up this week.

I love to pick up things on sale, but I love free stuff even more! The conditioner was $25, so I was so excited to get that for free. The toothpaste was a moneymaker at Walgreens, and the espresso was from a free coupon at the CVS coupon machine. A good week!

And this was my Walgreen's run for the week. My total out of pocket was $1.04 for all of this!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Net Worth Update: October 2011

This month was a lot better on us than last month. Even though we had to dig pretty deep into our savings account because of some unforeseen expenses, we still came out positive because of our retirement accounts. And I'm really glad we have a savings account we can turn to rather than racking up more credit card debt. I'm going to try to dump a little more into savings in the next few months to make up for what we had to take out.

Savings: –2267.39 Ugh. Like I said, we had to dig pretty deep. But I need to sit down and set a goal for how quickly to get it ack up again. All in good time.
Retirement Accounts: +8119.21 Hooray! It's so much nicer to see that number go up rather than down. But I'm not too sure we won't have months of big losses to come.


Mortgage: –239.36 Just plugging away month after month. We're planning on refinancing at some point, but haven't made any progress on that just yet.

Total Change in Net Worth: +6091.98 A positive change, even with the huge withdrawal from savings! Yay!