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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Uh oh...

Thanks to my friend Sam, it looks like I have a new addiction. Just loaded up Words with Friends on my iPhone. As if I don't goof off enough already. Oh well. Wanna play? My screen name is michelle961. See you there!


I have been playing around with my pancake recipe since I started making them from scratch. I don't really like the big fluffy pancake. I prefer a slightly softer and thinner pancake. I think I've finally gotten the consistency and texture down to my liking.

2 cups white flour (or half and half wheat and white)
3t baking powder
1t salt
2T sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla
2 cups milk
3T oil

Heat pan or griddle to medium heat. Meanwhile, put dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Mix eggs, vanilla and milk in a small bowl, and then add to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add oil and whisk in like you would salad dressing.

Place batter by spoonfuls onto pan and cook until pancake is bubbly with dry edges. Flip and cook another minute or so. I like to keep my pancakes warm on a plate in a 200 degree oven.

Looks like we have a winner!

This recipe is linked to the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap. I love Gayle's blog, and it looks like there are some awesome recipes linked up this week!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Willpower, baby!!!

Another day at the desk, eating a thrilling lunch. But I'm proud of myself. I'm eating this.

Instead of this.
Or this.

Or one of these.

There's about 4 boxes of those muffins at the front desk and I'm having to walk past this stuff all day. Torture. I looked at the info on the muffins...33g of fat in one little muffin. Ack.
I'm proud of myself. I'm eating salad. And if I get a wild hair afterward, I'm gonna eat this-

That's me. Living dangerously.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The better late than never menu plan week of 5/17

I normally put together my menu plan and post on Sundays--- this Sunday was pretty hectic, though. I spent a couple hours in the kitchen making food for a friend that just had hip replacement surgery, then went to visit. I spent some time in my garden (after helping some friends plant their garden on Saturday), and then Sunday night we ended up having dinner with some family friends.

So here's what the rest of the week looks like-

chicken w/ gravy $2.25
mashed potatoes .50
buttered carrots .50
spinach salad .75

skillet nachos $3.50
corn on the cob $1.00

grilled pork chops w/ orange glaze $1.75
baked sweet potatoes .75
spinach salad .75

cheese manicotti $3.50
salad .75
green beans .40

grilled chicken $2.00
buttered orzo .50
asparagus .75
salad .75

smoked pulled pork sandwiches $3.00
french fries $1
cole slaw $1

Angel Hair w/ Sundried Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

For anyone that thinks you can't make healthy, sophisticated meals on a budget, I present you this pasta dish. It also points out how valuable a garden really can be, all year round.
I'm gonna call this more of a "method" than a recipe, because it's very flexible to what you have and like, and feel like throwing in. We make some variation on this dish pretty often, depending on what we have. Here's what I used tonight:

1/2 box whole wheat angel hair pasta (.40)
1 small zucchini (.40)
1/2 medium vidalia onion, chopped (.25)
8oz. button mushrooms, sliced ($1.29)
1 cup rehydrated and diced sundried tomatoes, reserve the liquid you rehydrated them in (.00- homemade from my garden last year)
1 small red sweet pepper, sliced (.20- I got a 1lb. bag of these for $1.99 and they are awesome- I am actually growing a few of these plants this year- can't wait)
1/2 container of pearl sized fresh mozzarella, drained ($1.98)
2T olive oil
2T balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper, garlic powder
2T fresh chopped oregano from garden
1T fresh chopped basil from the garden

Get your water boiling for pasta. Meanwhile, heat your saucepan to medium-high, add 1T olive oil, onion, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once onion is translucent, around 4-5 minutes, add sundried tomatoes, garlic powder, balsamic vinegar and a little bit of the reserved tomato-water. Let simmer another 5 minutes, then add fresh herbs, and an additional pinch of salt and pepper. Turn heat to low. Drop pasta into boiling water, add a pinch of salt, and cook according to time on box. Drain. Return pasta to your pot, add 1T olive oil, your tomato mixture and toss. Add some more of the reserved tomato-water if you need to, then toss in the cheese.
Yum! This made enough for 2 adults, 2 kids that like pasta, and enough leftovers for lunch (or for a hubby emptying the fridge at 1am)

I paired with a light caesar salad kit ($1.50) and bread and butter (.30)

Total for this meal was $6.02. You could reduce the cost by about $1.25 by substituting grated mozzarella or parmesan for the fresh mozzarella. You could also make your salad from scratch, or serve a vegetable. If you don't have sundried tomatoes, you could certainly use canned, diced tomatoes...or you could use fresh roma tomatoes that have been cut in half, placed on a cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil and baked at 450 for about 30 minutes. I am using roasted tomatoes more and more in dishes, and I just love them!

Check out many more affordable, healthy meals at The $5 Dinner Challenge.

Anyone else married to a late night snacker?

As I sit here this morning, I am waffling back and forth between trying to calm my anger, and trying not to laugh. I was just planning to upload the meal plan for the week, and had opened the fridge to discover that 1) the leftover pasta from last night that I had planned for my lunch today was gone, and 2) the meatballs I made for tonight's dinner are nearly gone.

One little night. So much damage. Guess I'll be reworking tonight's dinner :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Garden Update- The fence is in!

Those bunnies are not going to get into the fortress this year. No way no how.
Hubby even built a really nice gate that swings back and latches nicely.

We still have a little more tilling to go in front, but I've started planting in the back, and will share more pictures when it's all done.

My Target Trip 5/17

Visit Target.com and coupons.com for some nice matchups. I had fortunately found some Kashi coupons on an end display a few weeks ago, so I was able to buy 5 Kashi products and use 5 $1 coupons. I paid less than $9 and got a $5 Target gift card.
The total was $18.71, plus I now have $5 gift card for my next trip!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I hate allergies

Yup. Must be spring in Omaha. Dang. My throat has been itchy the past few mornings when I've gotten up, so I figured something was brewing. This morning I could barely get out of bed, and now even after my sinus rinse, nose spray, Allegra, and 2 Sudafeds, I'm still all out of whack. My left eye keeps threatening to pop out of my head.

And I'm planting this weekend. Oh, this is going to be so fun.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


My sister bought the boys a home science kit where you collect and grow bacteria, just like they would at the doctor's office. I swabbed my nose. Hubby swabbed his ear. R swabbed the sink. K swabbed the foos-ball table. Which do you think grew the nastiest stuff? Tell me what you think. I will post the photos tomorrow. EWWWWW!!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 5/10

Bacon Chicken Sandwiches $3.25
Curly Fries .75
fruit salad $1.00

angel hair w/italian sausage & fire roasted tomatoes $3.25
salad .75

burgers $3.50
corn .50
apple slices .50

southwest steak and rice skillet $4.25
salad .75

grilled pork chops $2.00
salad .75
sweet potatoes .75

Chicken Pesto Penne Casserole $3.00
salad .75
bread and butter .75

meatballs in mushroom gravy $3.00
garlic mashed potatoes $1.00
asparagus $1.00

This week's dinners comes out to $31.50 for a family of 4.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ideas for food dishes to take to friend

I have a friend getting hip replacement surgery next week, and will be home for 6 weeks. First 10 days or so will probably be the roughest, so I volunteered to sign up for 2 days of meals for him.

I will probably make 2 penne pesto chicken casseroles this week, and take portions of one to him in easy to reheat containers. I also want to include some snacks and goodies, and easy breakfast items that won't require much effort for him. He lives alone, so I need to be mindful of that.

Ideas? Suggestions of things that you've done? Would appreciate your help!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Amazing deal at Fareway this week...

It was already pretty awesome. 5lbs. of potatoes for .72. 72 CENTS!!!! But it gets better. Now through Mother's Day you can print this coupon and take it to Fareway here in Omaha for 2 bags for .72. 7 cents per pound. That rocks.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I was naughty tonight (yay me)

I am beginning to surprise myself about just how disciplined I've become with our diets here at home. I usually make all of our salad dressings from scratch. I love homemade vinaigrette, no sugar, and less oil. Plus it's cheap to make. Win win, right? I do, however, keep a few bottles of dressing in the pantry for quick marinating or quick dip options (hubby is a dipper). Using bottled is a rarity for me though, particularly in a salad.

Tonight, though, as I looked at my options for a salad and thought about the perfect dressing for said contemplated salad, this bottle called to me from downstairs on the shelf. Number 1 ingredient? High Fructose Corn Syrup. (shudder). I decided to pretend that I didn't read that and threw all discipline to the winds (sorta). I used about 4T over the family salad, and then added about 2T of balsamic vinegar before I tossed the salad. I must say, not using the bottled dressing very often is a good thing, but this stuff rocks!

Here was the ingredient list that made this a perfect match:

romaine lettuce
1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup 2% milk cheddar cheese, grated

I logged all of this into Calorie Count tonight and got a decent grade, and my total fat grams for the day was actually surpisingly low- 36. So I guess in the end, not super naughty, just naughty enough :)

***By the way...this is why I surprise myself....bottled salad dressing for me is now a "naughty splurge" LOLOL. Too funny.

Oh, and...I was going to take a picture of that salad, but I scarfed it so fast I totally forgot. My bad.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fun Mail Day

Got my P&G coupon mailer. $31 in coupons. Hope you scooped this up when it was available! You can stay on top of these kinds of offers HERE.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Monday, May 3, 2010

I met my favorite quarterback of all time today

I got to meet Kurt Warner today. You know. Amazing quarterback. Three time Super Bowl visitor. Father of 7. All around faithful Christian and good guy. Although I need to make one adjustment...

There...much better. He was speaking a luncheon today, and I got my picture taken with him---it was a professional photographer though, so I have to wait to get it back...hope to be able to post it here!

About Me

When I had my first child in 2002, I had a goal to stay home for at least his first year, and was really loving being a stay at home mom. In early 2003, however, a fantastic opportunity landed in my lap, and with the realization that my career path would offer the family better financial security, my husband and I switched places. He's been a full time stay at home dad to both of our boys ever since.

Me? I've continued on a pretty agressive career path and had lots of success. I have also never gotten over my taste of being a stay at home mom, and have tried to maximize my time with my boys, and with things like cooking, gardening, canning and scrapbooking.

Here you'll find recipes, meal plans, and our day to day adventures as I don my daily super woman cape and continue to be MOMSTOPPABLE!

Have a question? You can always email me at mrigden at gmail dot com.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Menu plan Week of 5/2

Between the meals on the grill, and the meals on the smoker, I'm excited to use the MPM grill logo for the first time this year! I kept the meal plan pretty well last week, except for today. Didn't feel like dealing with pizza, so we did brats. I have tonight's menu, along with the rest of the week, below. Monday through Sunday's meals feed a family of 4 and come in at $30.

Grilled brats in buns w/ cheese $3.75
beans $1.50
apple slices .50

spaghetti w/ turkey meatballs- $3.75
salad .75
green beans .40

grilled pork chops $3.50
cheesy broccoli rice $1.00
bread & butter .50

Wednesday- Cinco de Mayo
bean and cheese nachos $1.75
super sweet corn .50
guacamole $1.00 (thank you .39 avocados at Aldi!)
pineapple $1.00

ham .00 (free w/ a gift certificate to Honey Baked Ham store)
au gratin potatoes $1.00
salad .75

grilled chicken $2.00
rotini w/ alfredo sauce .75
broccoli .50

brisket $5.00
sweet potatoes .75
bread and butter .50

smoked pork butt $3.00
buns .50
fries .50
corn .50

Week's Total- $29.90


Man. I hurt. I would have taken pictures, but quite honestly, who wants to see deep narrow holes in the ground??? We have almost all the holes dug for the fence...hubby will be putting in posts this week, and hopefully by weekend I'll have a functioning gate and fence so I can plant.

Each ache reminds me how excited I am about fresh veggies this summer!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Coolest sample box I think I've ever gotten

It was like Christmas here today! I signed up for the first Sample Showcase through the USPS last week, and was absolutely stunned to see the box show up today. It had even more stuff in it than I had expected! Some of the brands are things I've tried and liked...everything else I'm looking forward to trying. (Already nibbled 2 squares off the Dove chocolate. Heaven!)

You can join the mailing list to be made of aware of future opportunities HERE.

Aldi Trip May 1st

This is why I LOVE Aldi. Everything in this photo- $9.45. Great produce prices this week!

pineapple- $1.99
bananas- .74
tortilla chips- .99
skim mil- $1.79
sweet potatoes- $1.59
roma tomatoes- .79
4 avocados @ .39 each
Total- $9.45

I had a great shopping week- I will share my other trips tomorrow.

I'm digging today!

Today we are digging posts for the new gate on the new fence we are putting up around the front side of the garden. I'm sure I'll be hauling some more compost as well, and I hope to get the cucumber trellis up and secured.

I will post the pictures when we're done!

My May Challenge

At least a blog a day in May. Lord knows I have enough to say and share. And May will be packed with lots of things to talk about! The garden is about to go in. My "baby" graduates preschool. The school year ends and I will be planning for daily lunches at home again.

So here's to May 1st!!!