Friday, July 30, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I've been participating in Food Waste Friday with The Frugal Girl for a while now; I go through our fridge (and freezer) on Friday and toss anything that has gone bad. I also take a look at what needs to be used up so that it does not go bad and try to work that into our meals over the next few days. This has really helped us to throw out less food (and so we're actually buying less because we're using what we've already bought!).

This week a lone hot dog headed to the trash. I don't even remember when we grilled this particular one! We ended up having several cookouts over the weekend, and took home a good many extra hot dogs, so I guess it was inevitable that one would be left.

I took the day off from blogging on Wednesday to go to the Delaware State Fair with my family. The fair just has 2 days left (today and tomorrow), but it is a great (and inexpensive if you plan to only get a snack there) family outing. Tickets are $6 per person, but children under 9 are free! You can get all the details on the State Fair's Website!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Side Dishes for Dinner

We've found a great alternative for summer meals is to have a few side dishes as our main course. On this particular night, we did have chicken wraps also, though they were more the size of the snack wraps from McDonalds. For our additional items we had deviled eggs with fresh basil (from our garden)...

and cucumber salad (with a cucumber from my dad's co-worker's garden and basil from ours again)!

These two dishes are super easy to prepare and are both great warm weather meals because they are cool.

For the deviled eggs, I use Betty Crocker's recipe (the best!), though I do add some Old Bay seasoning.
The Recipe (for 6 hard boiled eggs)
cut eggs in half and remove yolks; add
1/2 tsp. salt (I use less)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
about 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
Combine and then refill egg whites!

For the cucumber salad I tried a new recipe that I found on a friend's blog (who was actually my RA in college several years ago!). I added very little salt because we prefer less salt usually, but next time I think I will add some more, along with a bit more pepper.

The Recipe (for 1 cucumber)
1 cucumber, cut into cubes (and peeled if you prefer)
about 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
about 1 Tbsp basil, chopped (I used kitchen shears instead of a knife)
salt and pepper to taste (I should have tasted more!)
Combine and refrigerate to allow flavors to set. Also good the next day!

Do you have any cool summer side recipes to share?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food Waste Friday

Well even though I have a little bit of refried beans that are turning fuzzy, this was another great week for using up our produce and leftovers! I think I originally used the refried beans in enchiladas, but there was about 1/4 of the can left. I spread some in a quesadilla for lunch one day, but haven't been super excited about third time leftovers!

How did you do eating up leftovers this week?
If you are looking for a refreshing dinner for the weekend, try this Caesar Salad Pizza (it was excellent)! And you can also check out our recent Craigslist find! Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Craigslist Find: Phil & Teds Double Stroller

When I found out that we were expecting our second child at the beginning of this year and realized that our kids will be 21 months apart, I started thinking about the (dreaded, in my mind) double stroller.

I had some pretty firm ideas about the kind of double stroller I did NOT want; specifically, I did not want to be trying to turn a ridiculously long gun-boat like the front-back doubles, or trying to navigate small corridors in stores with a super-size double-wide.

I was thinking that I had pretty much ruled out all of my options at this point! But then I remembered reading an author on Prayer of Hannah talk about a stroller called Phil and Teds, which was a different kind of double stroller. I began my research!

The first thing I found out was that this stroller is SUPER expensive! As you can see from the Amazon link to the left, a new stroller (with the doubles kit) is about $540...and that is across the board no matter where you go. We decided that we wanted to get our stroller for no more than $ obviously buying new from a retailer was not going to work.

I started looking at eBay, where I have had success in the past finding things that are normally expensive at great discounts. After searching for a few weeks, I found that new P&T were going for at the $420-$500 range and used P&T were still expensive, usually the $350-$450 range. This still seemed like way too much for a new stroller, and most of all, way too much for a USED stroller!

Next, I started looking at Craigslist. In the months that I was checking, there was never a stroller offered less than 30 minutes away, with most being in the Philadelphia area. We live close to an hour from Philadelphia, but I still saw this as our best option, considering the cost of shipping!

The interesting thing I found was that strollers were routinely MUCH less expensive offered on Craigslist! I think this is probably because of the auction nature of eBay; once a person started bidding, they were often hooked on getting that particular stroller, and could have ended up paying more than they originally intended. This is why I think it is so important to have a maximum price in mind before you start looking someplace like eBay or even Craigslist! The majority of the strollers I found on Craigslist were still above my price range, and every time one in the price range appeared, it was snatched up before I could get it.

I ended up checking back 2-3 times a day, looking to see if a new stroller had been posted. Maybe this seems a little too time-consuming, but since I new exactly what I was looking for and was firm on the price, it was easy to disregard any items that did not fit and just check back later. Last week I was so excited to hear back about a stroller that was priced at $285! The whole ride to see the stroller, my husband and I talked about being willing to walk away from it, and we decided that we would not buy it if there was a mechanical problem. Otherwise, we were prepared for somewhat worn and used condition.

We ended up with this beauty:

It is a used stroller for sure; the treads on the back wheels are a little worn, and there are a few stains and scratches, but you could never tell from this picture! I put it to work this week with my daughter in the back and our friends' little boy in the infant seat and it was amazing! This stroller is so easy to push (even with 2 kids), it folds up very small and it lightweight. I am 6 months pregnant and have had no trouble getting it in and out of the trunk of our car.

I should add that the way I am using the stroller in the picture is not technically how it is intended. There is a carseat attachment that you are supposed to use to secure the infant seat, but because of my Graco carseat's styling, I found that it sits quite securely as is. Also, I had to lay the main seat down slightly to use the infant seat. This works fine because my daughter is smaller, but could be a little tighter with a larger child.

If you are in the market for a double stroller, I think this is by far the best option out there! And the great thing is that you can find this stroller used for less than $300. I love the versatility of the stroller - as a single, and multiple double configurations! If you have any questions about the stroller, please feel free to contact me!

To see all of the ways this stroller can accommodate 2 children, visit Phil and Teds or check out this You Tube video! I was in no way compensated for this post or in contact with Phil and Teds. If you know someone at the company who would like an enthusiastic spokeperson, please send them my email!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Caesar Salad Pizza

The hot weather has helped me to get more creative with our meals, including this new one we tried last night - Caesar Salad Pizza. I got the recipe from Annie's Eats and followed her suggestion to only make half as much dough for the flatbreads. I also opted to use store-bought Caesar dressing, instead of the homemade recipe.

It turned out fantastic! We loved the crust, and the cool salad on top of the warm bread created a great meal. We used fresh tomatoes from our garden and leftover homemade garlic bread turned into croutons.


For the crust (half the original recipe):
3/4 cups warm water (105-115˚ F)
2 1/2 tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 tsp. honey
2-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Coarse cornmeal (for the baking sheet)
Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

In mixing bowl, combine water, 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, olive oil, honey. Add the salt and red pepper flakes and mix on low until combined. Add another cup of flour and mix on low for about 5 minutes. Continue to add flour 1-2 Tablespoons at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. I had to knead by hand for 30 seconds or so to get the dough just right.

Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Make sure the dough is coated with oil also, either by turning in the bowl or using an oil spray directly on the dough. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450˚ F. If you are baking on a stone, place in the oven to preheat also. You can also use regular baking sheets. Sprinkle with cornmeal just before putting the crusts on the trays.

Once the dough has risen, divide into 4 equal pieces, cover with a wet towel and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Roll each piece of dough into a circle, about 8 inches in size. Use a little flour to keep the dough from sticking. Place dough on baking sheet and brush with olive oil, then top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 7 minutes until slightly browned.

Prepare your Caesar salad while the crusts are baking. When the crusts are finished baking, serve immediately by heaping salad onto each crust. We cut ours into pieces with a knife and fork and ate it that way, but you could probably pick it up and eat it also.

This was a great homemade pizza alternative for the summer because it does not take a long time to make and also bakes for a short period of time! We loved the crust so much that I am planning to make it again soon, with different toppings. You really should try this amazing Caesar salad pizza!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Food Waste Friday

Again, the summer is proving to be really good for keeping our food waste under control! This week I had to throw out a bit of lunch meat and half a celery stick. The lunch meat was a not-well-thought-through early pregnancy purchase that we recently pulled out of the freezer. I have had no interest in lunch meat, and it was really too much for just my husband to eat. The celery was just forgotton about under something.

Has the summer made it easier to use up things like fresh produce for you too?

Be sure to check out the rest of Thrifty Living for the week: our garden update (I harvested 2 roma tomatoes yesterday) and the Amazon diaper deal!

Thursday, July 15, 2010 Diaper Deals

There is a coupon in the August 2010 issue of Parents for 20% off diapers from (good through 8/31/10). This is a one-time use code that can be used on one item only. The coupon can be found in both subscription issues as well as newsstand issues, but check before you buy to make sure someone hasn't ripped the code out!
You can also get an additional 30% off diapers (for a limited time) by using the 'subscribe and save' option. This is a service that will automatically send you the item every 1, 2, 3, or 6 months. If you want to cancel subscribe and save, you can do so at any time. Depending on the diapers you buy, there are also coupons offered by amazon now! I think only Pampers has coupons ($2 off Swaddlers and $1.50 off others), but this will stack also.
Here is a recap of the different discounts available at this time:
-30% off for using subscribe and save
-Amazon coupon (Pampers - you must be signed in to view, look under the item description and you will see a coupon box link)
-20% off coupon from Parents
-free 2-day shipping!

I did some quick math and it looks like you can get size 4 Luvs for 11 cents/diaper (180 ct box for $20.10). Size 4 Pampers Cruisers come to 15.5 cents/diaper (140 ct box for $21.70). If you have redeemed your Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards, you could reduce your out of pocket expense even further!
Even if you use cloth diapers, its always nice to have some cheap disposables on hand, especially for vacations this summer!
Mercedes at Common Sense With Money is going to have a giveaway of these 20% codes. If you have a copy of Parents and are not going to use your code, check out her site and you could give your code to someone else.

Thanks to BabyCheapskate for the initial heads up!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Garden Update: July

June was a ridiculously hot month here in Delaware, and I fear that my garden is going to be suffering for it this season! Part of it is my fault; my garden gets full afternoon sun from about 1pm-7pm, and its been brutal. Couple that with the lack of rain we've had, and I've had a few plants bite the dust!

Really, just my spinach is completely gone, and I'm planning to plant a few more of the spinach seeds later in the year when the weather is a little more mild.

My basil and parsley have also seen better days. I have one basil plant that has held strong, but several that have sprung up and then wilted.

The green beans have also had some trouble, though now its just that they are getting eaten by some form of pest.

The cute little pepper plant is still cute and very little. This guy is hanging on, but I'm sure the heat has stunted its growth.

We've been able to harvest peas several times, which is very exciting! They've been a great addition to summer salads. But the 4 or 5 days of 100+ heat a few weeks ago have even the peas looking like they've seen better days. They have been looking better recently, so I think they'll hold on!

The cucumber plants are doing very well. There are a ton of blooms, so I'm hoping that will mean lots of delicious cucumbers in the near future!

And the pride of my garden -- the tomato plants. The Cherries are doing great, and I just pulled a handful for the first time yesterday. My daughter LOVES tomatoes, so I'm thinking it was a mistake to let her watch me pick them!

And the Roma plant is doing great too! There are 6 or 8 tomatoes right now I think, and the first is nearly ready to be picked. My daughter did get to this plant and proudly brought me a bright green tomato a few days ago!

How is your garden? Has it suffered any from this crazy heat?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chick-fil-A style chicken nugget recipe

Check out the updated version of this post here!

This is my favorite new recipe! I mentioned yesterday that we were having chicken wraps for dinner...this is the recipe that I used. We all loved them so much, I was even dreaming about chicken last night! (Actually, the dreaming was probably more from the pregnancy...)

I found this recipe a while back posted by Stephanie Lynn on Under the Table and Dreaming, and it just took me a while to try it.

You will need:
Cooking Oil {you can use Peanut but it is not necessary} -- I used vegetable oil and it turned out great
1 Egg
1 Cup of Milk
1 Cup of Flour
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
I Tablespoon of Salt (I used less)
2 Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast, cut in strips or cubed (I used chicken thighs, cut into smaller pieces)

First mix together the egg and milk and let the chicken pieces set in the mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and pepper and stir. Heat oil (I used a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat).

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture until coated. The blog where I got the recipe suggested double dredging them -- milk then flour, milk then flour -- which I did also.

Place chicken in hot oil. Mine took 3-5 minutes per side to cook. The first few I turned before they were quite as golden brown, but they still tasted fine. In this picture, the two pieces in the upper right corner have not yet been flipped.

Remove chicken from oil and place on a paper towel to dry. I couldn't believe how perfect they looked!

And really, they tasted amazing! The only thing I will do differently next time is to use my larger cast iron skillet. Since I wasn't sure how long things would take, I used the small one, which took a while with a pound of chicken...

If you try this recipe, I'd love to know if you enjoyed it just as much as we did!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Staying cool on another 100+ degree day

We've got another day of temperatures over 100 degrees here in Delaware. Everything is getting pretty burnt to a crisp, especially since we have only had a thunderstorm or two in the last few weeks also. We're trying to stay cool, and really having a pretty good time along the way!

The ceiling fans are always on (except for taking pictures of them :-)

We had breakfast in the pool!

It was already above 90 by 9 this morning!

The a/c at our local library felt great!

We picked out some great new books (including Bob and Otto - too cute!)

Leftover pasta salad from last night made for another great cold meal.

And local peaches were a hit too!

And I just set out some sun tea out back for a refreshing treat with dinner, which will be grilled chicken wraps with plenty of cold veggies.

How are you handling the heat? Any other ways that you and your family are keeping cool?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Food Waste Friday: It's another no waste week!

I've been participating in Food Waste Friday with The Frugal Girl for a while now; I go through our fridge (and freezer) on Friday and toss anything that has gone bad. I also take a look at what needs to be used up so that it does not go bad and try to work that into our meals over the next few days. This has really helped us to throw out less food (and so we're actually buying less because we're using what we've already bought!).

For the second week in a row (and the 3rd out of the last 4 weeks!) I did not have to throw anything away today! We've been eating up our leftovers, and I think the warmer weather has contributed to eating more fresh produce, especially raw, which is one of the easiest things for us to waste. We do have a few things in the fridge that will need to be used up over the next couple of days, but thanks to my look through the fridge today, I know exactly what they are and am working on a plan to use them up!

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rebate on Behr and Glidden paints

(image via Home Depot)

Behr and Glidden paints (both sold at The Home Depot) are offering a $5 rebate on a single gallon of paint and a $20 rebate on a 5-gallon container of paint. The rebate is by mail or online and is good on purchases made from June 24, 2010 - July 5, 2010.

The Home Depot ad shows Glidden interior flat paint priced at $10.48 a gallon after the $5 rebate! I am hoping to decide on the color for my daughter's new room by Monday so that we can take advantage of this rebate!
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