Healthy Cooking Doesn’t Cost More

I keep hearing on the news that people on food stamps purchase crappy unhealthy food because it costs too much to eat healthier.  Ok, as one who just went to the grocery store for one meal, I am going to have to go ahead and call “Bull-Shit!” on that argument.  I purchased quite a bit of food, and spent about what one meal for my family at some sort of fast food joint like Taco Bell or Burger King.  The list of stuff I bought:

  • The stuff for just this meal: 
    • 3.73 lbs of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Eating Right Chicken Breast Boneless Skinless Extreme Value Pack)
    • A Baguette of Sourdough Bread (We need a side right?!?)
    • A bottle of Cabernet
  • The stuff for this and many meals in the future: 
    • Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (the small bottle)
    • A jar of paprika
    • A jar of dried oregano leaves

Ok, now just so you know, this meal cost me $25 (Not including the bottle of wine, that was $8.99).  The meal will feed us for three nights!  It costs us $20 to get through the drive through.  And now for the kicker…the chicken breasts were not from chickens, I think they were from Godzilla.  I used three of the five chicken breasts, froze the other two, and plan on making slow cooker chicken soft taco’s with them next week!  So really, from the $25, I am getting three meals for two, and then another meal for four (my parents are coming and I plan on making the chicken soft taco’s when they are here.)

Both recipes are from the Fix it and Forget it Lightly cookbook….both take about ten minutes to prepare before work, and at these prices, who needs the drive through?

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Gourmet meals with time to spare.

So many evenings, so little time.  So many mom’s and dad’s work full-time and have to come home to spend another hour on a decent meal.  I have been trying to figure out ways to eat healthier, but not spend half my evening at home cooking.  After all, I hate cooking, and I hate cleaning up after it even more.

My solution, the Crock Pot!  I purchased a crock pot recipe book that was a combination of multiple books brought together.  It has everything from beverages to desserts, healthy eating to game day favorites. I am excited because there are several healthy eating recipes that are easy to make.

I was looking at just getting the healthy version of the book, but then I decided, sometimes a girl needs a good comfort food of chili, lasagna  or whatever comfort foods the bigger book had, for not much more money, so I got the full book. We are talking about 1400 slow cooker recipes, anything you can think of, it’s in this book.  I really like how the index is organized, and the Light recipes are clearly labeled and easy to distinguish.  

I will try out the recipes and share them here as I try them, and let you know what I think, any modifications I’ve made, and any tips and tricks I think you might want to know.  After all, recipes are not a law of cooking for the most part, we will all change it up to our own tastes.  Like for one, I am not too big on artificial seasonings, so I will probably exclude them, and try my own flavorings.

Note: I have decided to do this because hey, my most popular posts are all about food and recipes. And since I am not a big cooker, great meals that take minimal prep and baby sitting are just the right recipe for me and my lifestyle. 

Sick Baby = Sick Day

I have a sick baby at home, which means I have a sick day at work!  It is making me want to stay home with her forever.    She is acting totally normal, like her happy little self.  She is coughing quite a bit and sneezing with a runny little nose.  I want to stay home with her forever, because she is my little precious girl, and I want to keep her out of school where she also could have caught something not only this time, but in the future as well.

On a semi-side note, I have been battling postpartum, and it has turned into this feeling of not wanting to leave her.  It is so weird, and a change from my previous feelings of wanting time apart from her.  Now, especially since she is growing so much and so fast, that by leaving her at school, I am going to miss all of her milestones.  It makes me want to be with her every single day, so that I don’t miss any part of her life and her development.  I was so happy yesterday that she rolled over for the first time by herself, and I was home to be with her.  I am so happy I didn’t miss it.  My husband is a little bummed he missed it, but I took some pictures and sent them to him,  so that he could at least share the moment from work.

I don’t know how I would feel if I missed her first steps or her first stab at crawling, just because I had to work in order to keep our debt on a downward trend.  I know I could quit work, but I am working for a few reasons.  So we can keep with somewhat of a lifestyle that we are used to, and so we can pay off our debt quicker.  As much as I want to stay home with her and never return to work, I know the consequences is a much higher debt for a much longer time frame, and I would rather pay that down for another year.

I wish there was a way I could figure out how to make money with my many blogs, or even finish my book and get it published.  My career of choice is one I can easily do from home, the only bad thing is, with the economy in its current state doesn’t provide for the client pool that I would need in order to afford working from home.  For some reason, when the economy tanks, people are not spending as much money on Kitchen and Bath Designers, or Interior Designers for that matter.  So now, I am here, blogging away and not at work.

I am sure I am not alone, I am sure there are other working mom’s who find that paying off debt is vital.  I want to be able to afford to give her things she wants, and needs, and not have to scrape the bottom of the barrel, and raid the couch for change, in order to afford diapers and stuff like that.  If I stayed home, that is all I could do, because we would have to sell my car to pay off some of the alleged debt, and avoid insurance gas and maintenance charges.  As much as I want to stay home with her, I think it will be better for her in the long run for me to work another year…and just hope she keeps doing her little milestones at home!

Adjusting to Motherhood

I have been a mom for four months now, and I will say, it is a definite adjustment.  It is very hard to get used to, and I have been having some trouble adjusting.  I have thought it was me, that I was selfish, that I am not cut out for this job.  I have been wondering what is wrong with me.  I have wanted a child for so long, and love having her, holding her, playing with her, and being with her, but at the same time, the adjustment is killing me.  I wonder if I am alone, I wonder if this adjustment period is hard on other women too?  I wonder if I am going to be an awful mom, or if I am going to a great mom, and this feeling I have eating me away inside effects other women.

Deep down, I know I am a good mom.  I love my daughter unconditionally.  I know I get frustrated when the sleepless nights are stacking up and there is no relief in sight, but in the end, I still hold her close and we fall asleep together on the couch.  I have been vomited on, peed and poo’d on, and it doesn’t bother me.  I just keep going.  I have held her close during her shots, and kissed her little boo-boo’s.

I have been doing research, and I have found that I am not alone.  This adjustment period happens to a lot of women, not just me.  This feeling of being completely overwhelmed happens to the best of them. Women all over the world experience this, and there are a lot of options out there for women, and support groups.  One helpful site I have found: Postpartum Progress

I won’t let this feeling I have inside, this anxiety of motherhood, this desire to run away from my life, inhibit my ability to be the best mom I can be.  There is help out there for women who feel this way.  There is help out there for women who feel that maybe they bit off more than they can chew in their new road to motherhood, or adding an additional member to their family.  There are a lot of symptoms to Postpartum Depression, and there is also a lot of ideas and ways to help.  Since I don’t want to take the easy way out, and just go directly on medication, I am going to start journaling both privately, as well as on this blog.  I want to feel like myself again, and journaling has helped me in the past with previous cases of depression, so I am hoping that it will help me again with this case.

This is a process, this is a move in the right direction, and I hope that I get from this process what I need.

Halloween Is Coming

Image from Mouseinfo.com

After taking a stroll through some of our local stores, and big box chains, I am starting to see a trend popping up, that excites me, It’s Halloween Time.  Not to copy my favorite place in the world with my favorite time to go there (yes, I am a Disney nut!).  I am so excited about Halloween this year, and since I can’t go see Jack Skellington’s Haunted Mansion Take-Over this year, at least I can have my own…Sarah Mansion….Take-Over and decorate to the gills in my own special way.   Since this is my little girl’s first Halloween, I want it to be something special for our family.  I know she won’t remember it at all, but the photographs will be fun to show her later in life, and fun to add to the photo album!

Like any gal, I opened up Pinterest, and started searching out great DIY Halloween Decor.  It’s hard times, and I am going to have to decorate this place up using as little money as I can muster.  If your like me, and wanting to decorate the new diggs for the festivities, but don’t have much money to spare for silly decorations that will only stay up for a month, you should check out my Halloween Decor and Crafts board on Pinterest.   There are a lot of DIY crafts that may even be able to be made using spare stuff you have lying about the house.

First of all, who wouldn’t want ghosts brides floating around their front yard?  This is a fun way to bring your art and sculpting skills to play.  These gal’s (or ghouls) can be made using simple materials like chicken wire.  They are a bit bulky, but can probably be stored and used for years to come as well.  (I always do like a good decoration that can be used again and again!)

Pottery Barn Knock Off hanging Ghosts by Simply Designing

Another good and simple pin of decoration genius I have, is the quick and simple cheese cloth ghost.  Simply take a styrofoam ball left over from your kids solar system science project, cover it is some cheese cloth, and now you have ghosts to float out of the tree’s.  Don’t forget to add some fun Jack-Like eyes!  These adorable ghouls can be easily stored and used for years and years to come.  These are probably one of the decorations that will be the least expensive to make, and one that I am most excited about making.  I know I know, I am a dork, but what can I say?  You can also use cheese cloth to decorate other aspects of your home, like chandeliers!

Martha Stewart’s Halloween Wreath

Now, if you’re looking for that festive Halloween wreath that is beautiful at first glance, and frightening when you get closer, then a grapevine wreath is the way to go.  Now of course a grapevine wreath isn’t scary, but add plastic bugs, snakes, spiders, and other creepy crawlies, spray paint it black, and you have a lovely display of DIY craftsmanship, that is sure to creep a few of your trick-or-treaters out, while looking good in the process.  The wreath pictured here is just covered in snakes, which blends so well with the grapevine wreath foundation.  It looks like a wreath made entirely of snakes.  I am sure if I hang this on the door, my husband would want me to take it down immediately.  So needless to say, for the price it will cost to make, I will definitely be doing it.

by Thrifty Decor Chick

Now, if you have kids, I am sure it is safe to say, you have a large collection of black craft paper somewhere.  If not, it’s not that expensive to go buy a pack at your local crafts store, and make these awesome bat decorations that can be hung inside the house, or outside on the porch.  These little guys can easily be traced off a template you can print online, or from a cookie cutter, or so many other options.  Hang them across your front door to for a 3D graphical element of surprise.

Now, of course I do have quite a few more pins, and am adding more all the time, so keep an eye out for other ideas that will keep your trick-or-treating friends on their toes.  I know I can’t wait to start decorating and cooking up some spooky decor.

Happy haunting!