Archive for the ‘Tuesday’ Category

Trimming Tuesday: Made Up Recipes!

07 Feb

This trimming Tuesday is brought to you by the recipe I made up last night and loved.  I’m sure there are similar ones out there, but I used no recipe for mine – just what I had on hand.

The best part is it is a mostly healthy meal, especially when served with a side salad and fruit like we did last night.

So here is my made up recipe.

Mostly Mexican Pot Pie

Dice approx. 3 cups of grilled chicken (this was 1 1/2 breasts we had grilled the night before – could be any cooked chicken)

Add a can of 98% fat free cream of chicken soup

Add a can of mild rotel diced tomatoes and chilis (depending on your spice preference – this was too spicy for girls, just right for me)

Mix all together in a oven safe dish

Use one box of jiffy and prepare as directed (one egg, 1/3 cup milk – we used soy it was what we had)

Cover top.  I used a round oven-safe dish that was probably about 8 inches in diameter and it covered the whole thing perfectly with one box.

Bake at 400 for 25 – 35 minutes.  Ours was about 30 to be the brown golden color I like for cornbread.

Dig in.


I used a recipe calculator to approximate one serving (assuming it has 6 – my husband ate half of the whole thing, but I probably had 1/6).

Calories: 315

Fat: 6 g

Fiber: 5 g

Protein: 20 g


So there you go – high in protein, and a pretty good calorie amount for dinner.

Have you made up anything recently?

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Trimming Tuesday: Groceries

17 Jan

Trimming Tuesday is back.  One of my goals this year was to figure out how to control our grocery spending.  I found that even though I planned some of the time, I did not plan all of the time.  The nights when it was last minute would mean eating out or pizza.  Costco trips sometimes ended up a bit out of control – even if I bought things I would use – eventually.

So for the New Year we decided that was a category that would benefit from the cash budget.  I pulled out cash at the beginning of the month.  It is in an envelope.  That is what is allocated for the month for all food – that means eating out as well, and liquor.  It even includes items like diapers.

It is January 16th and right now I have food through Friday night the 20th.  I then have about $50 of that money left in the envelope for the last 11 days of the month.  Needless to say, this challenge has been eye opening.  Now granted, a large part of why we are down more than I would like is that I had to buy not only diapers, but prilosec… and we decided since the prilosec was on sale, to go ahead and buy two boxes of it.  Those two boxes not being purchased would pretty much double what I have left for the rest of the month.

Now it really isn’t as dire as I am making it sound - I actually have enough meat for the rest of the month (probably) frozen in the freezer, and I have a couple cans of beans too, and a big bag of rice … so mostly that money needs to buy fresh items like fruit and veggies.   So while it will be tight and a close call – I think I can manage fine.  Definitely means no family meals out for this month.

One thing I use to help with the meal planning is E-mealz.  I’ve talked about them before – for $5 month they help you plan your meals based on your grocery and that groceries specials for the week.  What I am getting better at is filling in meals based on what we already have in the house so things do not go to waste.

Also, I am not someone who tends to do extreme couponing.  I tend to only use coupons that are easily found online.  I am however being more aware of the available coupons, as well as the BOGO weeks.  [I love Publix BOGO.]  This month though, even with a tight remaining budget – I did spend the money to buy a Sunday paper to dig through for coupons to help us get through those last 11 days.

Another benefit to this meal planning and budget – I have only eaten out once this month, for a business lunch.  I am eating much less processed foods and haven’t had fast food a single time.  I have lost 3 pounds  in two weeks and that is before I started my exercise training for the 5k (1st workout today felt great!)

So far this challenge is … well a challenge.  However, the results – the feeling good about losing weight, the feeling good about saving money… learning and opening my eyes… has been very rewarding.

How do you save money on your groceries?




Trimming Tuesday Is Back

11 Oct

Trimming Tuesday is finally back and this week its about all around trimming.  After a crazy move, a great vacation and really trying to get my business off the ground… its time to start making our house into a home and getting back into routines.

So things we are looking at trimming around here include:

- Budget: Back to e-mealz which I love.  Glazed pork chops cooking away in the crockpot as I type.

- Waist line:  Combination of e-mealz which is portion controlled and exercising.  There is a 2.2 mile loop near the church were Katherine goes to MMO and its my goal to be able to run that loop.  Not setting my plan and timeframe yet, but its a goal.  Both of these should help me get back on track.  About 15 pounds I want to lose total – gets me to pre-Amelia weight.  Mostly I want to be in shape and healthy and showing my kids a good example.

- Unhealthy habits:  Similar to waist line but more along the lines of habits I am teaching my children.  I have a bad habit of fixing a perfectly good well rounded meal (meat, veggie, fruit & starch) and then throwing another bread along with it.  This bread is unnecessary and really not  a healthy habit.  Other unhealthy habits include tv time and more.

For now Trimming Tuesday will focus on these three areas over the next few weeks – so I’d love if you have comments, suggestions or encouragement!


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Trimming Tuesday: Online Time

19 Jul

A couple of weeks ago I felt…. just behind.  With the girls at home now, and trying to get Amerine Photography running smoothly with the help of naptime and grandparents… its pretty busy around here.  I don’t like taking time away from them when they are awake. 

What I feel behind on was keeping in touch with my online community.  Facebook, Twitter… blogs… groups I’ve formed over the years.  I have August Sunshines (all due the same month as Amelia – Amelia decided to be born in July however), and MyGals (we all had trouble getting pregnant and were starting Clomid around the same time, pre-Amelia).  These are true friends, some of which I’ve been lucky enough to meet in person.  There are blogs I read that truly feel like part of the family.    What happened was this was the part of my life that essentially went away.  Instead of feeling like I was behind, I decided to take a break.  No online interaction for a couple of weeks.  It helped that we were going on vacation and I wanted to be ‘in the moment’ for that.  But that wasn’t the only reason.  I just needed to trim my online time.

You know what – I didn’t comment/respond on anything for almost 2 weeks!  I did occasionally check in to read things and reply to one or two must replies (needed information).  It was nice.  I think everyone needs a break now and then.   The online world has made things so… instantaneous and 24 hours a day.  Remember it wasn’t that long ago you had to have a computer to go online. (Gasp!)  Even our condo came with wi-fi, included.  I don’t remember that from a few years ago – just last year we had to find a Starbucks to get online.

It was much needed to take that break.  It allowed me to focus on my family.  Now I’m back!   I’ve realized that in our new lifestyle, where the kids are home with me and not in school, I won’t be as connected as I was.  I have accepted that.  I’ve realized which things I missed most and so those are priorities (my online groups & a couple key blogs like Woulda Shoulda.)  I still want to be a part of the Twitter community I’ve built, and Facebook too.  I definitely want to keep blogging.  But now if I get behind, I won’t let it bother me as much. 

I think it was a good break and I’m glad I took the chance to trim my online time.  I know others who have done similar things – what did you find?


Trimming Tuesday: Carb Edition

21 Jun

So carbs.  Yeah.  I kind of love them, ALOT.  But carbs & I…. we have a complicated relationship. 

When I was pregnant with Amelia I had gestational diabetes.  So I had to do a fairly strict diet the last 8 weeks or so – mostly meaning I had to eat protein with every meal or snack.  And really had to watch carbs like milkshakes and cake.    I ate tons of nuts.  Peanut butter, cashews, almonds…   knowing what I know now… that Amelia is nut-allergic, probably means I wouldn’t have done that.  We didn’t know that at the time though.

By the time I was pregnant with Katherine, we knew about Amelia’s allergy to peanuts so I avoided peanuts.  Still ate other nuts, but in moderation.  And I PASSED my gestational diabetes test!  So no strict diet.  Though somehow I didn’t learn until week 36 or 37 that I barely passed and should’ve been watching it at least a little.  But until then it was like, woohoo Chick Fil A milkshakes here I come.  Anyway.  Isn’t that why we get pregnant? To eat milkshakes?

A year post that pregnancy I had a physical.  My weight hasn’t been coming off very easily, but that is highly due to the fact that I haven’t manged having 2 kids and eating healthy very well.  I have good days and bad days and I have lost 5 – 6 lbs since that physical but I’m not yet where I need to be.  The main thing being – my a1c # – that # that helps predict if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes later in life… came back in the at risk range.  So I really need to lose a few more pounds and watch the carb intake.  It wasn’t a surprise, but it was a wake up call of sorts.  Apparently not enough though.

Lately I can not eat enough carbs – I am craving them.  Which makes me think at my physical in a week my a1c is going to be still in the at risk range.  So I really really need to focus on eating protein with carbs and eating whole grain carbs not white processed carbs, etc.  I know all this.  This weekend it finally sunk in again, and I’m going to try again.

The hard thing is that one of the easiest ways to have protein is forbidden in this house.  Amelia is allergic to multiple nuts and is about to be at home full-time, not going to a nut-free school anymore – for at least the near future.  So our home needs to be a nut-free haven for her.

So any of you out there have good low-carb snacks?  Meals I can do – not a problem.  Snacking is hard though.  Snacks tend to be fruit (I can add sun or soy butter to my apple), popcorn (um yeah…), carbs….   I can add in some cheese, but that has its own issue in that Katherine seems to be lactose-intolerant so I don’t want to rub it in her face that I’m eating something she can’t.  So I can use some more ideas.  Please share!  Thanks!


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Trimming Tuesday: Our Biggest Budget Cut Yet

14 Jun

This trimming Tuesday is a bit late in the day – but at least its still Tuesday.  And while I am calling it budget, its really about choices and change.  I referred to this on my girls’ blog earlier today. 

One of the largest categories on our budget is daycare for the girls.   That made sense when I was in corporate America, but we are making changes around here.   I have decided to leave that career path.  Really I left it a year ago when I went into indepedent consulting – but that was still dependent on corporate America.  Now I’ve really left.  I’m working on launching Amerine Photography ( and in the meantime, I’m going to take this opportunity to spend more time with my girls.  In just over a week, the girls will have their last day of school at their Primrose, and we will start a new page in our day to day life. 

A year ago, I think I would’ve told you this would never happen.  It wasn’t what I wanted.  Somehow things have shifted though and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to get more time with my girls.  I still want to launch my photography business, but it will be on a slower ramp-up until we move near the grandparents and figure out what school situation works best for us.  I’m still taking photo sessions – so please if you are interested, give me a call – but I’ll also have field trips to the zoo or aquarium each week and lots of visits to the pool as well.   I’m looking forward to cooking more with Amelia and working on teaching Katherine her letters.  I am excited to see what this summer brings and I’m excited to figure it out, while on a budget.  I am enjoying the challenge of figuring our where we can cut out spending, especially when we realize it didn’t hurt to cut it out one bit (our cable for example – haven’t missed it!) 

So what are your best budget ideas of what to do with the kids this summer?


Trimming Tuesday: Waistline Edition

07 Jun

Good morning friends.

While I trimmed Weight Watchers for budget purposes, I still need to trim my waist a bit.    Our meals in general are fairly healthy.  I still use the e-mealz + my own menu planning and try to make sure every meal is balanced since I want my daughters to learn about balance.  My main issue is snacking or anything during the day without them – plus lack of exercise. 

I was off exercise due to my achilles but I was cleared from Physical Therapy and need to get back to it.  And while the occasional snack isn’t bad, I need to reach more often for the fruit.

My goal is to lose 4- 5 lbs by the beach in a month. 

My plan is to add back exercise – swimming and biking primarily, plus stretching and occasional things like push-ups, abs and lunges for overall toning.  3 – 4 times a week.   And to go back to no eating after dinner – that’s when my snacking is the worst – I love a dessert.  I did great during Lent but its slowly crept back and become a habit again.  If I’m truly hungry, I can have fruit and tea. 

Anyone else headed to the beach for the 4th – let’s do this together!


Trimming Tuesday: The Cable Cord

31 May

So hi!  Um… apparently I’ve just missed the last couple of weeks of blogging about well anything.  Life got kind of busy.  I shot a wedding for Amerine ( – my newly launched business.  I was wrapping up work for my old media consulting gig.  Amelia had a recital and a show night for Little Gym.  And then it was Memorial Day weekend and well – we wanted to relax.

But I’m back now and something we are doing, in the next couple of weeks, is trimming our cable cord.  Its ironic since I worked in media for about 6 years – this is how they make most of their money.  But we are in trim budget mode and really, we don’t have time for a lot of tv with two little kids.  Other than maybe an hour of relaxing a night, the TV is mostly tuned to Disney channel, if its on at all.  That’s the hardest part – getting rid of Disney Channel. 

We realized something though – we will be saving $100+ a month to go down to Internet/basic phone line (for security system) – if not more.  We have a Media PC already so we can buy/watch through the Apple iTunes store if we need to (like Jake & Neverland Pirates on Disney – they don’t have dvds of that yet; we have plenty of Mickey Mouse on dvd as well as kid movies) and we already watch many of our hours via Netflix. 

I also recently introduced my kids to PBS.  Well I say that – they’ve always watched some of those shows but now instead of just automatically turning to Disney, I’m turning to PBS.    The result – Amelia is asking for those shows now.  She loves the Cat in the Hat one that is on before her school starts.  And its very educational = win for our house.

The only thing this really does is limit my Duke basketball watching during the winter months.  That will be sad.  But I can do date nights with Chris for big games and we’ll get an antenna and broadcast channels for the really big games.  [And March Madness is online - see above that we have a Media PC hooked up to our TV.]

The real question is – why did we wait so long?  Anyone else trim this recently?

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Trimming Tuesday: Caffeine

17 May

So this is a slightly different take on Trimming Tuesday.  Recently I’ve had to trim down on my caffeine intake – well more specifically, my coffee intake.  Its very acidic and after a month of anti-inflammatories for my achilles, I have found I have to avoid acidic things while I recover from that. 

Sad sad day when I made that realization.  Very sad day.

But I was over-addicted to my coffee.  I was having two mugs worth – probably 4 cups – each morning and sometimes still having tea or another cup of coffee mid-day as well. 

So using this handy Internet-source

A 8 oz cup of generic brewed coffee (we brew at home) is between 95 – 200.  So I’ll just say 150 for this purpose.  That’s 600mg for my 4 cups a day. [Something I just learned - Starbucks Espresso - 1 shot - is only 58 - 75... so a latte with only one shot isn't that bad... ]

An 8 oz cup of brewed black tea is 40 – 120mg.  So say 80mg for this purpose.  So now I’m down to roughly 3 cups of black tea, so 240mg. 

And there is now an occasional coke or tea in the early afternoon.  [Coke is 35, and iced tea is probably similar.]

So even with that I’m under 300mg a day now.  No wonder I’ve had some headaches! 

Realistically I am not going to give up coffee all together – but now that I’ve gone through trimming, my goal is to stay under 300mg of caffeine a day, via drinks.  [Not going to count that chocolate!]

So that means just one mug of coffee – max – when I resume.

How about all of you?  How much coffee/caffeine do you drink in a day?


Trimming Tuesday: Do the Math

10 May

So a lesson I’ve relearned over the last few weeks as I look to budget and only buy things on sale if possible… read the price tag.  Most of them will tell you how much per oz or per serving you are paying.  And compare to different sizes.

The general theory is if you buy bigger, you are saving more money.

I’m here to tell you – that’s not always true.  There are two parts here to watch for…

1) How much do you need?  Is this something for a one-time recipe, or something you make every other day?  That way you can figure out if you need the basic normal package or the supersized package.  Here in the U.S. I think we feel super sized is most always better – it truly is an ‘it depends’ though.  And if its fast food I can tell you right now, upsizing may be seemling a good deal its certainly not going to help you trim your calories.  You’ll pay in health.  

2) Which package gives you the best price per serving/oz/etc.?  While grocery stores are good about telling you that on the price label, some stores aren’t.  Recently I bought some liquor (not a way to save money but …. we do like to have mixed drinks now and then.)  I bought two things: tequila and bourbon.  The tequila came in 1 L and 1.75 L.  I don’t remember the exact prices but it was something like 1L = $30 and 1.75L = $40.   So that extra .75L was at quite a discount – and since we make margaritas regularly and its not something that will go bad – it made sense to buy the bigger one.  However, this is where it got interesting.  The bourbon – say it was the same 1 L and 1.75L.   The 1 L was $30 and the 1.75L was $60 (again I don’t remember exactly but its how the math worked out) – so you were paying more for the .75 extra than you did for just the original 1L.  More per oz overall to be more exact.  So in that case, even though I know we would drink the larger one eventually, I bought the smaller one.  It was a case of they know you think bigger will be cheaper and buy it without doing the math.

Okay I’m adding a 3)… well really 1b.  Bulk stores.  We love Costco.  Just be careful to only buy things you truly will use/need.  Like diapers.  Buying diapers in bulk makes sense.  Things that go bad like fruit?  Maybe not so much.  5o cans of peas?   Um… no thank you.  Just doesn’t make sense to store that much in your house even if it might not go bad.    We buy staples like diapers & wipes and we buy our meat there – which we freeze for use over a long period of time.   Occasionally we’ll buy a flat of apples which we actually go through pretty regularly.  So just be careful.

So in summary, Do the Math.  That’s this week’s Trimming Tuesday – enjoy!  I’d love to hear if you have seen cases where it made sense not to buy bigger.