Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I think chili is a great way to use leftovers so that they are actually delicious. Yesterday I made what was perhaps my finest chili ever, and used up all kinds of leftovers in the process. Here are the leftovers (from the freezer) that I used:
-ground turkey
-ground beef
-marbled steak
-tomato paste
-tomato sauce

Monday, January 29, 2007

Frugal Food endeavors

Last year I started off doing great with the $50/week for food, but then I got quite, how shall we say, flexible, as to what constituted a week. So this year I am trying something new. I am taking out a whole months worth of cash for food ($200) and for non-food items (diapers, shampoo, etc.) ($50) on the first of each month. Then when it is out, I won't spend anything else on food until the next month.

It worked pretty well for January. That is until Ryan and I went to Costco on Sunday with only $11 cash for the rest of the months groceries. I figured this would be just enough for the basics (milk, bananas and bread) and then we wouldn't be tempted to get any extras. I was right, it was enough for the basics, but Ryan talked me into getting one the foods they were sampling, and since we were going to have to write a check anyway...

Monday, January 22, 2007


We went to Ikea over the weekend - which is always a crazy idea - that place is a zoo. But we braved it and bought an entertainment center with glass doors that lock so that lil' Miss Audrey can't open the DVD player at will. So we now have our coffee table back and I am very pleased to have a place to rest my dogs again. :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Yogurt part deux

I love my yogurt maker. My first batch didn't turn out at all - I tried not heating the milk first (the manual says that should work as long as you are using pasteurized milk). The second batch was delicious, but a little thinner than the store bought kinds we are used to. The third batch I added a bit of powdered milk to thicken it up and it turned out perfect. It is so creamy and smooth. I just add a little brown sugar and it is like I am having a brown cow maple yogurt - yum.

I am actually surprised by how easy it is to make. Seriously, you heat the milk to 180, let it cool to 115, add the starter (other yogurt) and any other fixings (powdered milk, fruit, whatever), pour it into the cute little jars and leave it alone for six hours. The hardest part is not disturbing it for six hours. This is a new staple for us - I feel so frugal just thinking about it.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I have wanted a yogurt maker for a long time. I really love yogurt, but I don't really like how sweet or how tart most brands are. The one exception is Brown Cow yogurt. There is nothing better than a little container of Brown Cow Maple whole milk yogurt - seriously a little slice of heaven. But since Brown Cow is expensive and hard to find it is a rare indulgence. I knew there had to be a better way.

As a family (of 3) we spend around $10/week on yogurt (Audrey's Yobaby is $3 for 6, Ryan's Yoplait is $4 for 8 and my Danactive is $2 for 4) and since I try to spend only $50/week total on groceries, this is a significant chunk of our grocery bill. I am so excited to save so much money. The major expense for yogurt is the milk. I figure it takes just under 1/2 gallon to make a batch of 7 6 oz containers and I will probably need to make yogurt twice a week. So I am basically adding one gallon of milk to our grocery budget - which is about $2.50 at Costco. I am feeling so frugal just thinking about it!!

After some research, I decided to order a yogurt maker with my Christmas money. My mom suggested getting one that uses glass jars and I took her advice. I just got the package today and I can hardly wait to make it tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

VA Holidays in review

It seems that it has been a crazy few weeks since I last updated my blog. We had Christmas first in VA - it was lovely. Audrey is at a really fun age for Christmas. Here is a list of the fun things we did:
1. Went to the National Yule Log/Christmas Tree/Menorrah display in front of the White house. After looking at all this stuff, we had a mini car picnic with hot cocoa, cookies, veggies, and fruit. Then we all headed to the Temple to see the lights. Audrey was out like a light at this point, so we just drove through this year.
2. Stayed over Christmas eve at the in-laws. We had our big dinner and program after visiting the old folks home and passing out candy, while my FIL played the piano (which he does at this home every other Sunday evening and they absolutely love him). Then we watched Muppets Christmas Carol (which is the best rendition around).
3. Opened presents Christmas morning with the family. It was fun to watch Audrey's reactions to everything.
4. Ate Christmas brunch at Westfields Marriot. This is one of my favorite traditions that the in-laws have introduced me to. It is always delicious.
5. Christmas evening when we got to our own home, we opened presents that had been sent to us and that we had for each other. I think we should do this the following day next year because we were all pretty tired at that point.
6. We had a girls night out activity (a broadway play at the Kennedy center) and a boys night out activity (hockey game tickets) a few days later.