Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Repost With Pics - Creamy Baked Ziti

Creamy Baked Ziti


2 cups uncooked noodles (ziti or pasta of choice)
1 - 700 ml can of spaghetti sauce
1 - 250 g package of cream cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Combine spaghetti sauce and cream cheese in pot. Heat until cream cheese is melted. Add diced tomatoes and pasta. Pour into casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350 or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This is one of the most delicious and cheapest meals I cook. It's a definite family favourite, too. This meal generally costs me less than $5.00, if I have a good stockpile of sale items. It also lasts more than one meal. Most times, unless the family is especially hungry, we get two meals or at least a dinner and lunches from one batch.

A general breakdown looks like this:

pasta - no more than $1/pkg
spaghetti sauce - $1/can
diced tomatoes - $.99/can
cream cheese - $1.99
mozzarella cheese - approx. $1.00 (this is a bit harder to determine, but I pay no more than $5.00 for a brick and use about a fifth of the brick.

The main thing here is to really watch the sales and stock up on the basic ingredients when they are cheap. I have about 20 packages of $1.00 pasta and spaghetti sauce in the pantry. Mozzarella cheese and cream cheese both freeze fine if you're going to use them for cooking.

Add a loaf of homemade bread to this dinner or a nice salad and you have a meal your family will love and ask for again and again!

Monday, 23 January 2012

What a Wake Up Call!

And I really do mean that!

I was sleeping away this morning, tucked warm and snuggly in my bed at about 6:15 am. I still had 15 minutes before I had to get up, so I was very much enjoying the extra time, knowing that it was a dark, dreary, rainy winter morning.

My daughter was up, getting herself ready for the bus, as she always does (her bus comes at 7:45am, so she's up every day at 5:30am.) I could hear her roaming about, showering, drying her hair getting her lunch ready......

Suddenly, the blaring sound of the smoke alarm ripped though the house, completely ruining my slumber!

I knew what the problem was, so I wasn't in a big hurry to get up. I knew the house wasn't really on fire.

No, sadly, it was my fault.

The oven desperately needs cleaning.

Why, oh why do I always leave this job until it's this bad?

Why, oh why is this such a horrid little job that I would gladly pay money to have someone else do? That's if I had extra money and if I weren't the one that people pay to do it for them.

So, now, my oven is coated in Easy Off, just waiting for me.

Sigh....

I really, really don't want to do this today! But I guess when my daughter can't cook Pizza Pops for her lunch without setting off the smoke alarm, it's truly time.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Chasing Chickens Wild Weekend Blog Hop!

Welcome everyone to the very first Chasing Chickens Wild Weekend Blog Hop!!



The rules are simple;

1. Add your link below (please no Etsy shops or advertisements)

2. Keep it family friendly.

3. Add my blog hop button to your blog somewhere. You can find it along the sidebar.

That's it! Be sure to take some time to visit some other fantastic blogs and give them a follow too, if you like.

Of course, I would love it if you would follow my blog, but that's not a hard and fast rule.

So, with no further ado, here is the link form!


Enjoy! And be sure to spread the word. The more people that know about this hop, the more traffic to all of our blogs.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Homemade Nutra Grain Bars

Homemade Nutra Grain Bars


Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter, plus
2 tbsp melted butter
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups strawberry jam (or jam of your choice)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish.

In a large bowl combine cake mix, oatmeal, cinnamon and brown sugar; mix with a wooden spoon.

In a small cup whisk egg with lemon juice and vanilla. Add to crum mixture along with melted butter.

Using wooden spoon, toss to combine, then use fingers to finish mixing until crumbly.

Add a bit more than half the crumb mixture to bottom of pan. Spoon jam over crumb mixture in pan and spread evenly.

Top with remaining crumb mixture and pat gently.

Bake for 20 minutes until top is light golden brown.

Cool completely before cutting into bars.

This recipe is incredibly inexpensive to make, serves approx. 16-20 bars, and freezes wonderfully. Generally, I will slice into bars or squares, then freeze everything. I take out one bar for my son's lunch and by the time he's ready to eat, it's thawed.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Squeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness, the cuteness meter in our house just went through the roof!

Last July, a bedgraggled, dirty, underfed female cat showed up on our doorstep. I started feeding her, and planned on fattening her up and finding her a new home. Well, before I could do that, I discovered that she wasn't just dirty and underfed, she was also pregnant. So I brought her in so the babies would be safe and we could find them good homes. You can see photo's of the kittens here.

My plan was, find homes for all the babies and for Mama cat (aka Lucy). We had no problem rehoming the babies, except one, who we decided to keep. Lucy, however was a different story. So, I figured, I'll get her spayed, then find her a home.

Unfortunately, before I could get her in for her spay, she got out.

Three days later, she came home and guess what? You got it, she was pregnant again.

So, I bet you can guess what I'm about to show you, right?

Kittens!!!!

She gave birth this morning to 6 adorable little babies. Are you ready to squee?

This is Grey Kitten. Good name, right? LOL!


Joe Bob (named by my son)


For now, I'm calling this one Porky because before he was completely dry, he looked like a porcupine. :)


This is my personal favourite, Stanley


This is tortie #1


and tortie #2


Aren't they just the cutest things you've ever seen?? They all have such unique markings now, I can't wait to see what they look like as they grow. Everyone is already so much in love with all of them, I can forsee some tears when they find new homes (myself included!). But that is still at least 2 months away, so I'm going to love them and enjoy them while I can.

Friday, 13 January 2012

I've Lost Track Over The Years

My grandmother taught me how to crochet many, many years ago, when I was about 5 years old. Other than a few times in my life where I've lost my taste for it, I have been crocheting steadily since then.

I've made so many afghans, doilies, items of clothing, home decorations, etc, etc. I can't even begin to count what I've made over the years.

I realized the other day how much of a problem that is for me. Seriously, I have no idea how many items I've made and given away, sold, or used in my life. Not a clue.

So, that got me to thinking that I need some sort of a journal for myself of completed items. A place where I can have a photo, description, what yarn I used, any alterations I made to the pattern, where the pattern can be found, or a copy of the pattern if it's one of my own.

Now, I just need a form. I've looked a bit online, but haven't found what I need. So, you know what that means, right? I have to make my own. I'm going to have to design it myself, which isn't a huge problem, I just need to get around to doing it. And of course, I'll share with all of you what I come up with.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Free Crochet Pattern - Daisy Baby-ghan

Daisy Baby-ghan
 Copyright Sunshine and Whimsy, 2011



Materials:

18 oz (approx) light yellow Red Heart Comfort Sport
Small amount white Red Heart Comfort Sport
Hook Size: 4.5

Special Stitches:

V Stitch: Work dc, ch 1, dc in space indicated
Shell: Work 5 dc in space indicated.

Instructions:

Row 1: Ch 117, dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each ch across. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 2 (counts as first dc here and throughout) dc in next 2 ch. *sk next 2 dc, Vstitch
in next dc, sk 2 dc, shell in next ch. Repeat from * across to last 5 dc, sk 2 dc, dc in
last 3 dc. Turn.

Row 3: Ch 2, dc in next 2 dc. *shell in ch 1 sp of next V stitch. Sk next 2 dc, V stitch in
next dc, skip next 2 dc, shell in ch sp of next V-stitch. Repeat from * across to last Vstitch.
Dc in next 3 dc. Turn.

Row 4 – 50: Repeat row 2 and 3 alternately.
Row 51: Ch 2, dc in next 3 dc *(sk next dc, dc in next dc) 3 times. Dc in next dc, ch 1 sp
and dc. Repeat from * across. Turn.

Row 52 & 53: Ch 2, dc in each dc across. Turn.
Row 54: Repeat row 2.

Row 55-70: Repeat row 2 and 3 alternately. Finish off.

Flower (make 5)

Row 1: With yellow, ch 4, join to form ring. 8 sc in ring. Join with sl st to beg sc. Finish
off.

Row 2: Join white with sl st in any sc. Ch 7, hdc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch (6
hdc). Join with sl st in sc.

Row 3: Sl st into next sc. Ch 7, hdc in 2nd ch from hook and in ach ch (6 hdc). Join with sl
st in sc.

Repeat row three 6x (8 petals made). Finish off and sew to afghan as shown in photo.



It is my sincere hope that you enjoy this pattern. Please do not sell or distribute this
pattern on a blog, website or in any other way without my express permission.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Looking Ahead To The Week

This year, our school board decided to change the way the Christmas holidays work. Instead of one week before Christmas off and one week after, the kids both stayed in school until December 23. That meant two weeks of holidays after Christmas.

That meant, for me, two weeks of not being able to keep a schedule the way I like. But, they go back tomorrow, thankfully (I know, that sounds horrible, but I really want to get my schedule and home back the way I like it! LOL!)

And, not only do they finally go back to school, this week coming is my short week, which means that I have a whole day off on Tuesday. An entire day of just me and the house. I really can't wait! I'm going to clean in the morning, and lounge in the afternoon, crocheting. It's going to be wonderful!

I'm also able to get back to scheduling our meals for this week. No more snacking and eating on the run. The kids need set mealtimes and healthy eating again. And it will cut down on the grocery bill drastically as well. I have $100/week to spend on groceries and household needs for a family of four, so it's essential that I plan out everything.

Our meal plan for this week is:

Monday - frozen pizza (they were on sale last week, $2.97 for two pizza's. Two feeds my family, so it's a $3.00 meal.)

Tuesday -      salmon loaf
                     potatoes
                     corn

Wednesday - cottage roll
                     potatoes
                     carrots

Thursday -     pork chops in soup
                     potatoes or rice depending on what the kids prefer
                     brocolli if the prices is ok

Friday -        beef and rice

Saturday -    leftovers

Everything for next weeks menu we have on hand, other than the fresh veggies. So, that will help cut the grocery bill down substantially.

I will be getting back to using my morning, afternoon and evening routines this week as well. This way, I can get my house back in order and actually feel ok with surprise guests. Honestly, it's not too bad, but with as many pets as I have, things do tend to get a bit dusty and hairy. I have a couple of rooms where I don't ever want people to go or see, so they will be my emergency room rescues for this week.

One is my den/computer room/craft room/music room. It's a smallish room that has to fit all my quilting and crocheting supplies, my computer, books and two piano's. Oh and it serves as the office for my cleaning business as well. As you can imagine, it's a bit crowded. And it's getting messy and out of hand as well. This room is a definite challenge.

The other big job for this week is tackling the mountain of laundry that is threatening to take over my laundry room/washroom. It won't take all that long, it's just a matter of getting to it.

So, that's my week. I promise my next post will be more interesting. :)

Friday, 6 January 2012

SUPER Easy Upside Down Pinapple Cake

My grandmother was one of the most frugal (some called her cheap, but I plan on learning from her) people I have ever known. Having lived through the Great Depression as well as WWII, that lady knew how to stretch a dollar, let me tell you.

One of her biggest treats for me when I visited was her pinapple upside down cake. It wasn't like what my mom made, which was fancy and not something I ever really enjoyed, this was simple and to me, absolutely delicious. And knowing my grandmother, I knew it would be very inexpensive to make. I have one cooking in the oven right now, and it cost me $1.50 to make.

Are you ready? You're going to want to have your printer all primed for this one. :)

You need:

1 white cake mix
1 can crushed pineapple

Yup, that's it. You make the cake mix according to the directions. Pour the can of pinapple into the bottom of a greased cakepan, then pour the cakemix on top. Bake at 350 and voila! You have a very cheap, very delicious dessert that your family is sure to love. You can of course, serve it with icecream if you have any on hand, but that's up to you and will increase your cost.

My cost:

cake mix - $.99
pineapple - $.50

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

I Got My Geek On

Yesterday, my daughter showed me a quiz that she had taken on TheFandom.net. It was so cool, I had to go take one of my own.

Now, here is where I have to admit my shameful secret.

I am a geek.

My favourite channel on TV is the Space network. I watch Stargate and Star Trek every day. Yes, you read that right, every day. Well, every week day. Over the weekends, I go into withdrawl, moping around the house, wishing that Stargate was on. Seriously, I miss it. My favourite books to read are fantasy, and I have a very large collection of them. I can beat just about anyone in a Star Trek or Harry Potter trivia game. And you know what? I'm kind of proud of that.

So, when my daughter told me I would have a chance to answer a series of 50 questions to find out answers like which Hogwarts House I would belong too, and what charactor I would be on Doctor Who, I of course, ran to the computer.

I poured over the questions, aswering each one as honestly as I could. Here are my results


The absolute coolest part of my results? I'm The Doctor! I mean, who wouldn't want to be a two hearted Time Lord? I know I sure would!

So, anyway, if you're like me and you love to get your geek on, head over to TheFandom.net and click on the get your identification card. Choose the 50 question quiz, it's more indepth and will give you better results.

Have fun! And if you do go, stop back here and let me know. I want to see your card. :)

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Frugal Recipe - Creamy Baked Ziti

Creamy Baked Ziti

2 cups uncooked noodles (ziti or pasta of choice)
1 - 700 ml can of spaghetti sauce
1 - 250 g package of cream cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Combine spaghetti sauce and cream cheese in pot. Heat until cream cheese is melted. Add diced tomatoes and pasta. Pour into casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350 or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This is one of the most delicious and cheapest meals I cook. It's a definite family favourite, too. This meal generally costs me less than $5.00, if I have a good stockpile of sale items. It also lasts more than one meal. Most times, unless the family is especially hungry, we get two meals or at least a dinner and lunches from one batch.

A general breakdown looks like this:

pasta - no more than $1/pkg
spaghetti sauce - $1/can
diced tomatoes - $.99/can
cream cheese - $1.99
mozzarella cheese - approx. $1.00 (this is a bit harder to determine, but I pay no more than $5.00 for a brick and use about a fifth of the brick.

The main thing here is to really watch the sales and stock up on the basic ingredients when they are cheap. I have about 20 packages of $1.00 pasta and spaghetti sauce in the pantry. Mozzarella cheese and cream cheese both freeze fine if you're going to use them for cooking.

Add a loaf of homemade bread to this dinner or a nice salad and you have a meal your family will love and ask for again and again!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

A New Year...

Well, I have to say that things haven't been the best around here the past few months, but we're getting through it. Because of the stress of the situations, and the fact that I've had to start working again, my poor blog has been completely abandoned and neglected. The poor thing... :(

I'm not making resolutions this year. I refuse to. Or, maybe that is my resolution. Either way, I promised myself that I wasn't going to set myself up to fail this year by making an unrealistic resolution that I was going to forget about in a week.

I do have a couple of things I want to try to refocus on, however. (ok, am I fooling myself? Is this a resolution in disguise??)

I am going to get this house in order. It's not bad, it's just..well...messy. I need a new schedule to get things done. Returning to work really threw a wrench into my life and my house has suffered horribly because of it.

So, I've decided to retry Flylady, even though it hasn't worked for me in the past. I'm hoping to be able to take a bit of her method and mix it with what really works for me, to come up with my own way of doing things. I'll be sharing my progress and/or lack thereof here on the blog.

Finances...oh my Lord, the finances are a mess!! We've been dealing with so much the past few years that rather than dealing with things, we just used the credit cards and pretended they didn't exist. Big mistake!

But, the credit cards are gone. Gone! Yay!!! We got rid of them the first of December and paid cash for Christmas. So, we're starting the New Year off right, with no bills to worry about. What a fantastic feeling. We even have a very small start on a savings account. It's not much, but I'm planning on putting a bit into it everyweek. Once we have a base of about $1000, we're going to start saving for a new tv. Imagine that, saving the money rather than just charging it and paying it off. I'm actually going to feel like I've earned something rather than feeling like it's owed to me. I can't tell you how great this feels already.

So, those are the two things I'm not resolving, but am planning on improving. I'd love to hear your thoughts on these, as well as hear what your non-resolutions are for 2012.

Have a fantastic New Year! I hope the year is filled with enough of what you wish for to keep you happy and satisfied, and leave you wanting just enough to keep you motivated to improve.