Menu Monday – August 31

Here we go again! Some new stuff and some old stuff on the menu for the week.

  • Smoked Sausage, Tomatoes and Okra Skillet – This was so yummy last time I made it, so I had to repeat it. Plus, chickpeas.
  • Fajita Chicken Bake – I’ve never eaten fajitas before, so this should be interesting. Using some leftover yellow bell peppers from last week.
  • Baked Shells with Pesto and Meat Sauce – Had some leftover pesto in the fridge from pesto chicken a few weeks ago, so this should be delicious.
  • Shrimp, Broccoli and Brown Rice – My standard shrimp recipe, but I thought I’d try it with frozen broccoli instead of spinach.
  • Stir Fry – I’m throwing one together randomly with mushrooms, carrots, broccoli and a green pepper.

Dinner ingredients add up to under $30. I bought a lot of staple foods that I’m using this week, such as minced garlic and brown sugar.

I splurged a little this week and bought some hard root beer that I kept seeing displayed in the store. I’m not one for soda in general, but it’s amazing! And a six pack will last me a bit because I’m such a lightweight that one per weekend is quite enough.

Thrifty Thursday – August 27

Yay my jury duty is over! We went in for like an hour this morning to make our decision and luckily we were all basically on the same page. Glad I won’t have to worry about it again for at least another three years.

Today I’m writing about how I meal plan. As long as I’ve been cooking for my boyfriend now husband, I’ve always planned out what I’m cooking for the week and grocery shopped accordingly. There’s nothing worse than the whole “What’s for dinner?” “I dunno, we don’t have anything” conversation. With a meal plan, I always know what I’m cooking, and I have a few different options depending on how I feel.

The first thing I do is check the sale paper for the store we go to. I see what’s on sale and add everything I want to my list, even if it doesn’t end up on my final list. For my list, I use the Out of Milk app. It’s on my phone, so I’ll never end up at the store without my list. Plus it keeps a record of previous prices I’ve added for my items, and totals up my estimated budget.

Here are some items I noticed from the sale paper this week:

  • Ground turkey – We still have a little left over from Costco, but it’s on sale for $2.99 at the grocery store. We may or may not end up buying it.
  • Berries – Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are on sale for 2/$4, so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that. I’d really like to go berry picking also.
  • English muffins – We have been buying these at Costco as well, but they’re on a B1/G1 sale, so we’ll see.
  • Greek yogurt – My favorite brand (Chobani) is $1 each this week, but a bigger tub of plain Fage is 2/$6, so I’ll probably just grab that and add honey or flaxseed to it.
  • Shrimp – $4.99 for a pound this week, which is a great deal. I always try to snap it up when it’s that cheap.
  • Turkey sausage – As you’ve seen in my Tasty Tuesday posts, we eat sausage usually once a week. It runs $3-4 usually, so $2.99 is a pretty good deal.
  • Whole grain bread – I try to keep one loaf of bread in the freezer at all times, and there’s some decent bread on sale at $2.50 this week.

Next, I pick out recipes that use those ingredients. I keep all of my recipes in the Pepperplate app/website, and they are categorized into broad groups like chicken, sausage, fish, vegetables, and so on. Since sausage is on my list, I look at the sausage category and see what sounds good. I try to pick recipes where I have most of the ingredients already.

I also remember what kind of ingredients I already have, and look for recipes to use them up in, like having a few leftover bell peppers and carrots from this week. I try to keep my grocery budget at or around $50, but it often goes a bit over.

Check in next Monday to see my meal plan!

What I Read Wednesday – Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

Bathsheba

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, which lists its release date as September 1, 2015.

As I said my review of The Touch of Betrayal, I love retellings, especially ones like these. I was raised religious so I read my Bible growing up, and women were so often mentioned in it but their stories were seldom told. These kind of books humanize them and make you realize that people back then weren’t so different than they are now. They had hopes and dreams and made mistakes like anyone else.

Bathsheba grew up under a prophesy, that one day her child would influence the world. She was what was known as a tob woman, a dangerous beauty. When she was of age, a marriage was arranged with a soldier named Uriah, and they quickly grew very fond of each other. What they didn’t have though, was a child. Despite all of their efforts, Bathsheba never got pregnant, and Uriah had to leave her to fulfill his soldier duties.

One day while bathing in the courtyard, she is spied from a distance by King David. He is captivated by her beauty and orders that she is brought to him, where he uses her and sends her home. To her horror, she later finds out that she is pregnant. When David can’t conveniently make the problem go away by blaming the pregnancy on her husband, he has him killed and marries her himself.

From then on, Bathsheba is wrapped up in the daily life at court. The kingdom is surrounded by treachery and sorrow, which follows her, David and his other wives forever. She never asked for any of it, she merely wanted a happy life with her husband. Bathsheba learns to accept her situation and love the people around her, and finally fulfills her prophesy.

This book was full of action and not knowing who to trust. Betrayal was around every corner, and sorrow was closely linked with it. The book was riveting, not quite ‘unputdownable’ but it made you eager to return to see what would happen next. I’d give it 4/5.

Tasty Tuesday – Lemon and Garlic Chicken

I spent most of today as a juror. So exciting… And I get to go back tomorrow too.

I needed something with minimal prep for dinner and something to serve with salad, so this fit the bill. I’ve been cooking with lemon a lot more since being given a juicer (one of the tiny little ones you squish a lemon on by hand). It’s so much cooler and fresher than letting a bottle of lemon juice languish in the fridge for who knows how long. Plus a whole lemon is less than a dollar!


First I had to debone some chicken thighs. These were the last of the Costco supply so we’re going to have to stock up again next week. Then I threw them in a bag with the juice of a lemon, some olive oil, parsley and garlic. Toss them in the oven and you’re done.


My dad brought me some tomatoes and cucumbers from a friend’s garden so we had to make a salad. Our usual salad consists of lettuce torn from a head, croutons, carrots, bacon bits, cheese, with Newman’s Own Lite Italian dressing, the only dressing my husband will buy. I chopped up a cucumber to add to the salad. It’s pretty tasty, especially since I’m not a salad person.

For the full chicken recipe, go here.

Menu Monday – August 24

So I got picked to be on a jury. Boo. At least it’s only supposed to be three days, just a civil case. But I might be there until 4 or 5 in the evening, starting tomorrow. That means I needed meals I could throw together quickly and that make a lot of leftovers in case I couldn’t cook one night.

Dinner ingredients came out to about $21.

What I Read – A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

A Window Opens

This book will be released on August 25, 2015. I received a copy through NetGalley.

Sometimes, a great opportunity isn’t always as good as you think.

Alice Pearse is surprised when her husband isn’t made partner at his law firm and quits without discussing it with her first. Suddenly, the part-time book editor of You magazine and mother of three has to face the prospect of finding full time employment.

When she is approached by Scroll, the new name in book retail, she is thrilled. They are the future, reinventing the way people see bookstores. Suddenly she has an important job that will provide her family with a paycheck as her husband puts together his own firm.

Except, things aren’t always what they seem. She’s old-school, she loves paper books and spending an evening with books and wine at her friend’s bookstore. Scroll is the future, providing a lounge for people to read and purchase ebooks, as well as first edition paper books. Until, that is, they decide paper is wasteful and other things are more profitable. This is not what Alice signed up for.

As she is needed more and more at work, she is neglectful of her home life. She doesn’t see her kids’ everyday changes as they grow up, she doesn’t realize how terrible her husband’s drinking problem is, and she doesn’t make enough time to spend with her ailing father.

Alice has to figure out how to balance everything and still come out on top, or what to drop to make it happen. She gets a lesson on how truly precious life is.

I rate this book 4/5. It’s the perfect book to read on a slow summer day and really get to know the characters. It makes you think about life, but at the same time is light enough for a beach read.

Fashion Friday – Looking Forward to Fall

Still working on what I want to do with this Friday feature but I thought of a good post for this week.

It’s back to school season, so people like me who love fall are looking forward to breaking out the cozy sweaters and boots. I’ve been doing some research on upcoming fall fashions so here are some things on my wishlist, if I had money to spend on clothes.

Sweater

A long cardigan, preferably one that’s thick and can double as a coat. Also, lucky me, gray is a popular color this fall.

Coat

I’ve been drooling over a coat like this for years now. I hesitated buying one in Target the first year I saw them and haven’t had the opportunity since. This year I’m stalking the stores as soon as coats come in and hopefully I can find one.

scarf

A plaid scarf. Plaid is very in for fall and these blanket scarves were very popular last winter.

bag

I need a bag upgrade. I’ll be turning 26 next month and I’d really love a smart looking handbag like this one. I’m still dying for a satchel like I had on my Wishlist, but one like this will probably be easier found on a budget. Right now I carry a tote bag with the school my husband works at on it. It holds everything, it’s just not very mature or dressy enough. I just need my bag to be big enough to hold my iPad or my laptop once I get one.

What are you dying to get for fall?