Friday, April 30, 2010

Food Friday: Filling the Freezer

This weekend Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom are hosting another freezer cooking day.  I haven't participated the last few months because life has just been too crazy.  I could easily have benefited from having the food in my freezer but there simply was not time to cook.  This month I planned to participate and I had a list of items to fix ready to go but we received some news last night that have changed what I'm cooking this time. My husband found out last night that as soon as he graduates in two weeks he will be traveling for most of the next month and a half.  When he is home, he will be working nights and weekends at his second job.  We are extremely thankful for the income but wish we had a bit more time to recover from school before life happening.

In view of this news, I've changed up a bit what I am going to cook.  You have heard me lament for years now how picky of an eater my husband is.  I get discouraged trying new recipes because he rarely ever likes them, yet I would try a new recipe everyday if I could as I love to experiment in the kitchen.  This month, I'm going to make some of the stuff I want to eat and freeze it in two person portions.  This way I have quick meals for when I'm home alone with the kids and I get a new variety of food to try.  Here is what I hope to make, spread out over the next few days:

French Toast Sticks - made using Cola Bread
Banana Bread
Quiche in a Bag - using leftover turkey and all the veggies I like (my husband isn't a veggie fan)
Quick Cheese Biscuits
Ground Beef and Chicken (cooked for quick and easy meals later)
1-2 casseroles to be determined

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Moms Nite Out

National Mom's Nite Out: the Ultimate Celebration of Motherhood

This is the second year for the National Moms Nite Out and this year the event is Thursday, May 6.  Our local mall is hosting a Mom's Nite Out and I encourage all of my local readers to head out to the mall for the evening.  There will be swag bags, discounts at several stores, a drawing for a makeover, food and beverage tastings, a fashion show, and more.  The event is from 6-9 pm so tell your husbands they get parenting duty for a few hours while you spend some much needed time with your friends at the mall.

To find an event in your area, check out the Moms Nite Out event page.  In many cities, the event takes place at Children's Orchard or a Simon Mall.  If there is not an event in your area, it is not too late to create your own in your home or use the power of the internet to have an online Moms Nite Out via Twitter or Facebook.

*I have partnered with my local Simon Mall and MomSelect for Mom's Nite Out.  I have received no payment for this post.  I will receive one table at the event to display information about my blog and my business.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Identity Crisis

My blog is having an identity crisis!  When I first started blogging I was so anxious to get started that I didn't fully think things through.  I came up with the title of my blog and was determined to keep it.  However, the name was not available as a Blogger URL so I picked an alternate name.  Currently, I'm all over the internet as both Living on Less and Life With Less.  Seeing as I worked in marketing for six years, I knew better than to do this but I did it anyway.  I did not properly brand myself and now I'm regretting it.

Also, I've been wanting to buy my own domain name for awhile now but I'm too cheap to pay for it and the thought of figuring it all out kind of intimidated me.  After receiving an affiliate check a few weeks ago I decided it was time to use a small portion of that check and take the plunge.  I did a quick search and Living on Less and Life With Less were both taken. I pondered on this for a few days, asked my husband for ideas, and asked Twitter friends for ideas too.  After a bit more searching I decided to combine both names.  From here on out, this blog will be titled Living Life With Less - meaning less income and less stuff.

As I've mentioned before, I have great ideas for this blog but life has been incredibly busy lately.  This is just the first step in improving this blog and I hope to take many more of those steps in the near future as time allows.  In the meantime, feel free to let me know if there is a topic you would like covered, a question you have, or suggestions for this blog.

Also, check out the Facebook Like button that I recently added to all posts.  If you like a post, click this button and let your friends know about the post too.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Food Friday: Fiber One Crunchy Fudge Cookies

I first made these cookies when I was expecting our second child and wanted a few things in the freezer for when he arrived.  They are delicious and I almost always have some on hand for those days when nothing but chocolate will satisfy me.  I can pull one or two out of the freezer, microwave for a few seconds, and I have an instant treat with easy portion control.  Fiber One often goes on sale so this is a fairly frugal treat too.

Fiber One Crunchy Fudge Cookies

1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix
2 cups Fiber One original bran cereal
2 Tbsp mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/8 tsp ground cinammon
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.  In large bowl, mix ingredients with spoon.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes until set.  Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack.  Cool completely.  Store in tightly covered container.  Freeze up to 2 months if desired.

Make about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.  One cookie is 70 calories and 1g of fat.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day & My Random Garden

Today is Earth Day and I would love to be outside playing in the earth (planting my flower garden) but it is rainy and icky here today.  Since I can't be outside, I thought I would share about my very random garden this year.

I started tomato and pepper seeds indoors this year.  The peppers never sprouted and the tomatoes were doing great until I hit a few busy days and totally forgot about them.  By the time I was able to check on them, they were dead.  Being that it is planting time right now I decided to simply restart everything in the ground.  I have several other seeds that needed to be started in the garden too so my oldest and I went to work outside last week.  He picked out carrots to grow this year so this is where we started.

I keep all of my seeds clipped together so I can find what I need easily.  I was digging up a rock (we live in a very rocky area) when my son decided to help himself to the seeds.  He wound up dumping half a package of tomato seeds in random places in my garden before I had a chance to realize what he had done.  At that point, we quickly finished his carrot planting and decided to call it a day.

The next day, he was at preschool so I figured that was a good time to finish the garden alone.  I was doing good until I decided it was time to plant the lettuce seeds.  After opening the package, I accidentally dropped it and lettuce seeds went everywhere.  I picked up what I could but I know there are plenty still out there.  

Now, I am anxiously awaiting this years garden to see where all of the random tomatoes and lettuce are going to pop up.  I joked on Facebook that next year I should just mix up all of my seeds, sprinkle them around the garden, add a layer of soil and see what happens.  It sure would be easier and make for some great stories!

How is your garden going this year?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Giveaway: Yoplait Greek Yogurt Gift Pack

Yoplait has recently come out with their version of Greek yogurt.  I've always heard Greek yogurt is delicious but the only brand I have seen at my grocery store is very expensive.  I was excited when I noticed the Yoplait version as it is much more reasonably priced and I've seen several coupons for it lately.  Speaking of which, there is currently a .30 coupon you can print so that you too can enjoy this new yogurt.

To celebrate their new Greek yogurt, Yoplait is giving away a "Nourish Your Inner Goddess" gift pack.  Included in the gift pack are two coupons so you can try the new Greek yogurt too.

To enter, simply leave me a comment stating which flavor you would like to try (Plain, Honey Vanilla, Strawberry, or Blueberry). 

This giveaway is open until Monday, April 26 at 8 pm CST.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond.

For extra entries (please leave a separate comment for each):
* Subscribe via RSS (if already a subscriber, let me know)
* Tweet about the giveaway and leave a copy of your tweet in the comments section

Disclaimer:  Yoplait provided me with free product, gift pack, and information through MyBlogSpark - no other compensation occurred.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food Friday: Tom's Favorite Pasta Dish

If you will remember, my husband is super picky when it comes to food.  The author of this recipe said her husband loves it so I figured if it was man approved I had a good start already.  My husband wound up liking it but asked to have some meat in it.  Now, when I make it I add a little leftover chicken, pork, or ground beef to keep him happy. And by the way, Tom is not my husband but rather the recipe author's husband.

  • 1 (1 lb)  penne pasta, cooked and drained (or any tube shaped pasta)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes with seasonings
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • cheddar cheese, for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together all ingredients and pour into casserole dish.
  3. Pour as much cheese as you like on top.
  4. Cook for about 25 minute or till edges are brown and bubbly.
  5. I don't really have an exact recipe since I usually just use my 8x8 dish for it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Iced Coffee & The End is Near

Sorry I was absent from the blogosphere last week - I was a bit busy losing my mind. We are now five weeks from my husband graduating and I'm starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.  I have tons of ideas for this blog and even a few giveaways coming up but please hang on as the next few weeks may remain light on posting.  Our family is looking forward to life settling down just a tiny bit once my husband graduates.  This has been the hardest semester yet and we are all thankful it is the last.

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you my latest indulgence - iced coffee.  I never liked iced coffee before but something changed when I was pregnant with my youngest.  I would occasionally crave it and still do. I love a morning cup or two of coffee but many days do not have time to finish it (I make half caff by the way).  I've started putting the leftover coffee in my refrigerator for an afternoon treat.  Here is my "recipe":

leftover coffee
flavored creamer
dash of Splenda

I add a bit of flavored creamer to the leftover coffee and then top off with soy milk until it is light brown.  I finish it off with about 1/3 packet of Splenda and then pour the coffee over ice.  

Tastes like it came from a coffeehouse but at a fraction of the price and I don't even have to leave my house to get it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've always considered myself fairly frugal but I do draw the line on how far I will go to save money.  Making my own laundry detergent used to be on that list of items I would not do but changed my mind some time last year.  After months of hardly any sales on the few laundry detergents my son can use without breaking out in a rash, I decided to give the homemade detergent a try.  

I think one thing that turned me off to it was most of the recipes I had seen were for liquid detergent that made massive amounts.  I'm a liquid fan but I didn't want to have to store that much.  I'm not a huge fan of powdered detergent but ran across and easy recipe and decided to give it a try.  I'm so glad I did because it is easy and is saving our family a bundle.  There are literally hundreds of variations of this recipe on the internet but this is the one I've found that works best for us.

Dial Corp. 04303 Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap

1/2 bar Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Super Wash Soda
1/2 cup Mule Team Borax 

Grate the Fels-Naptha soap then mix with the Wash Soda and Borax.  Use 1 tablespoon per each load of laundry.

I tend to make a double batch so that I always have plenty on hand.  I've also learned that it is easier to grate the soap if you take it out of the wrapper and allow it to dry out for a few days.

All of these ingredients were found at my local grocery store and with the exception of the soap, they will last a long time.  I've been using this detergent for about six months and I'm still on my original box of borax and washing soda.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Food Friday: Grilled Hamburgers

We love to grill hamburgers and I always get compliments on them when I serve them to guests.  I have one secret weapon that makes them taste delicious with hardly any work - Emeril's Essence. You can make it yourself or buy it at the store.  Sprinkle some Essence on your meat and then mix it in with your hands.  The seasoning makes them taste like you fussed.

A great tip I learned from Rachael Ray for dividing out burgers is to take a pound of meat and score it into fourths then patty out your meat.  This way they are fairly close to the same size and will cook more evenly.

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