Friday, January 27, 2012

Gone to the Dogs

Last night I decided to make my pooches some dog bones.  I have made them in the past, but not since we moved.  They are easy to make and usually require few ingredents.  Below is the recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter bones. (They can easily be made in a double batch, which I did, since I have 3 hungry puppies)

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Dog Bones

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease your baking pan.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and oatmeal. Once mixed, add the peanut butter and milk. Stir until dough forms.

  3. Put your dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead  and then roll out until 1/4″ thick. Use a bone-shaped cookie cutter or a cookie cutter and cut the dough into the desired size and shape.

  4. Bake on lightly greased baking pan and cook for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

  5. Cool completly. Be sure to store in an airtight jar or resealable freezer bag. 

Doggie Approved!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weekly Menu - January 21-27

As I stated in my resolution post, we are now grocery shopping on a weekly scheduled basis with a $65.00 budget.  My shopping day is Friday (because that's payday).  This is the menu for the week:

  • Shepard's Pie
  • Tacos
  • Egg Salad
  • Homemade sandwich bread
  • Sinckerdoodle cookies
  • Sweet Tea
Shepard's Pie

You can find the recipe here.

This was absolutely delish! 


Really, who doesn't enjoy tacos??  My version is pretty quick and easy and does not include a little seasoning packet.

  • 1 lb ground beef, 85%-90% lean
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large jar of salsa (feel free to use any flavor or temp)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • finely minced jalapeno, if you like it spicy
Saute onions in olive oil, add meat, season with salt and pepper, brown.  Drain meat.  Add salsa and rest of ingredients.  Put on simmer, stir occasionally, taste for any flavoring additions.  Feel free to simmer this for a while, it will allow the flavors to meld together. 

Enjoy with taco shells, tortilla shells, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, and sour cream, yum!


Sandwich Bread

Find the recipe here.

Sickerdoodle Cookies

These really are some of the best sickerdoodles that I have had.  They are flavorful and chewy.. mmm!

Find the recipe here.

Sweet Tea

If you have an iced tea maker this really is the best way to make iced tea quickly.  I have also found that Luzianne Tea works best.  It really does have a great flavor.  I would recommend using the "family size" tea bag to make the iced tea and after it brews and is hot add your sweetener.  This is mostly to your taste.  Remember, you can always add more, but you can't take away.

"So a man walks into a bar..."

Well not exactly... After John and I moved into our new house we noticed that there was an odd void in the pantry area.  Originally, this space was deemed as the entry from the garage to the house.  They decided to scrap those plans and move the entry from the garage to the back of the house.  (A much better placement in my opinion)  This reconfiguration however created an empty space.  If you have ever seen a real estate show you will hear how they feel that a usable space adds more value than an empty one.  Plus, if I have the empty space I might as well make it useful.  So we decided to construct a bar area.  We found our matching countertop and a close best to our existing kitchen cabinets.  Unfortunately, the cabinets we have are custom order and honestly we weren't going to shell out $700 for one base cabinet. 

We placed an order for our countertop about 2 weeks ago at Home Depot and it came in on Saturday.  We ran up to Home Dept to pick it up and to pick out a new ceiling light fixture as well.  Builder lighting is SO ugly and gives off a firefly amount of light.  After our trip Home Depot we ran back home, dropped off the countertop and got back in the car and headed to Lowe's to buy the base cabinet.  We found the closest match to our existing cabinets and headed back home to install everything.  

All in all it wasn't too hard.  We switched the configuration around a few times to see which way we liked it best and then screwed everything in.  I will have to say that John did take off some finishing molding in order for the cabinet to fit more flush to the wall.  I would say the install took about 2 hours, not too long and viola!  We have a bar.  

If you're thinking about doing something like this I say, do it!  It's really not that hard.  It just takes a little money and time.  Plus, just think how much money you saved by doing it yourself.  Although, I'm not saying all projects should be tackled DIY style.  i.e. our next project - fence installation.  


Friday, January 20, 2012

A 2012 Resolution (Let's hope it lasts!)

Resolutions.. many made, few kept.  However, this year (yes, I know I am about 18 days late) it's time for a budget.  You may ask "What?  You don't have a budget?"  Well no.  John and I  never really had to have a budget.  When you are a DINK (Double Income No Kids) there is not always a need for one.  Want some ice cream on a whim?  Sure! No problem.  Off to the local store for a $7.00 pint of premium ice cream.  Need a Saturday morning coffee but the coffee maker just won't do?  Easy peazy!  Take a ride down to the Sbux grab 2 coffee's and that'll be another $7.00.  By the end of the month those $7.00 trips really add up.  Not to mention the trips to Target, which usually ends up costing $80.00 a pop!  So at the end of the month we were left scratching our heads wondering where all our money went. 

Since we are adults I thought we should get with the program and learn how to budget and reign in our spending urges.  Starting back in November 2011 I started to calculate all of our expenses and figured out what we have coming in and going out.  Mind you, I had done this in the past about a million times, but it never stuck.  I was determined to make it a sticking point in 2012At the beginning of January I made us a budget separated out by a weekly and bi-weekly budget.  One thing that we had never done in the past was grocery shop on a specific day or within a specific budget.  Every week we now have a grocery budget of $65.00 or $260.00 per month.  Again, we are only a family of 2 so this is possible for us however it may not be a reality for larger families.  

I thought that this venue would be a good place to keep me in check and share my weekly budget friendly recipes. 

After work, last Friday, January 13th, I decided to hit up the local Super Walmart for the weekly groceries.  I bought enough food for 3 meals to eat over the week and something for lunch.

Here was the menu for this week:
  • Chicken Chili
  • Chicken Noodle Soup 
  • Ground Turkey, Pasta Bake
  • Cheddar Bay Biscuits
  • Egg Salad 
There is a little time and energy that is needed to make a $65.00/week grocery budget work.  What I mean by that is there is some preparation that goes into the meal planning.  

I did not buy any sandwich bread while at Walmart.  I did however make my own sandwich bread.  Find the recipe here for King Arthur white sandwich breadI don't know how much this cost to make but it's probably a few cents.  It's delicious, homemade, and no preservatives.  

I purchased a roaster chicken for my chili and soup but needed to prepare it before turning into a dinner.  

Flavorful Shredded Chicken
Items needed - Crockpot
  • 1 roaster chicken, washed, salted and peppered
  • 3-4 carrots washed and quartered
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3-4 celery stalks washed and quartered
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
In your crockpot place veggies on the bottom.  Place chicken on the veggies, salt and pepper the bird.  Add the chicken stock.  Cook on high 3-4 hours.
After the bird is done remove it from the liquid and remove meat from the bone and hand shred.  Take the cooking liquid and strain out the veggies.  Keep the cooking liquid and use for the chicken noodle soup.   

Chicken Chili
Items needed - Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot
  • Take 1/2 of your shredded chicken, put aside
  • 2 table. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 table. chili powder
  • 1 table. onion powder
  • 1 table. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 can pinto beans (Drain and rinse)
  • 1 can dark kidney beans (Drain and rinse)
  • If desired, sour cream, shredded cheese
Over medium heat add diced onion and saute in 2 table. olive oil. Add garlic and chicken, cook for 2 minutes.  Add the rest of ingredients and reduce heat to simmer.  Season chili to taste.  Remember you can add but you can't take away!
Simmer for 20-30 minutes.  The longer it simmers the more the flavors will meld. Enjoy with a dollop of sour cream and cheese!

Chicken Noodle Soup
Items needed - Large pot

  •  Leftover chicken
  • Leftover broth
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 lb of carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste (taste broth before adding salt as it can be salty)
  • Egg noodles, small pasta, or wild rice
  • 2 table. olive oil
Add olive oil to pot and saute carrots, celery, and onions with a pinch of salt.  (If using rice add it to the sauteed veggies) Add broth.  (if using rice cook until al dente).  Add chicken and rest of the ingredients.  Simmer until warmed through.  If using noodles or pasta add just before serving until they are soft, but not over done. 

Ground Turkey Pasta Bake

Items needed - 9x9 glass casserole dish

  • 1 box of macaroni
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pint Ricotta cheese
  • 1 jar Spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 table. olive oil
In a separate bowl mix the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, pinch of salt, and 1/4 tsp. of pepper.  Brown ground turkey in olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, add Italian seasoning.  Drain.

In a large bowl add cooked pasta, browned turkey, tomato sauce and combine.

Spread half of the macaroni mixture over the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with 1 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 of the ricotta mixture.  Add the other 1/2 of the macaroni mixture on top, add remaining ricotta mixture and remaining mozzarella (Mozzarella should be on top).  Cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for additional 10 minutes.  Enjoy! 

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I borrowed this recipe from here The Girl Who Ate Everything

I made mine kind of large.  I didn't have patience last night.  If you want them a bit smaller make them as the recipe states.  They are still tasty at any size!