welcome. thanks for visiting. i love sharing my stories, so regardless of who you are, feel free to look around. this blog is about my adventures and living on purpose. i hope it provides you with some entertainment... even if it's at my expense!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ziti with Vegetables and Sausage

I made this Tuesday night, and it was a big hit at work the next day! I got some Ziti with Chicken from Olive Garden on Sunday, and it struck me how incredibly salty and greasy it was. I told the boy what I was making and he said, "Didn't you just have that?" But I thought I could make it better!

1 15 oz. box ziti or penne pasta (I used Barilla Whole Grain, yummy!)
1 bell pepper
1/2 onion
1 pkg. turkey link sausage
1 ea. 12 oz. can diced tomatoes (I always use the no added salt kind)
1 ea. 12 oz. can tomato sauce
2 eggs, beaten with 2 Tbsp milk
1 8 oz. ball fresh mozzarella cheese (Of course you can subsitute not-fresh. But why would you want to? :)
2 Tbsp italian seasoning
2 Tbsp Garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
(And a tad bit of cayenne pepper, if you like to keep things a little spicy!)
1/4 C parmesan cheese

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Money Month: 23 Days in

Thus far, in money month I have:

Cooked nearly every meal I've eaten.
Almost bought a car.
Listened to about 6.5 of the total almost 14 hours of my audio book, 4 Hour Work Week.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Amazing Banana Bread

I've always loved banana bread. My mom didn't really made it often, but whenever I could manage to sink my teeth into some, it was a real treat. I have a "Fake it, Don't Make it" recipe that I got from my boyfriend's momma, and have worn it plumb out. However, it always bothered me that it was incredibly unhealthy. The main ingredient is a cake mix, for crying out loud, and you add a pudding mix! Beyond that, it's bananas, some eggs, oil, and nuts, so, very easy. (I will send it to anyone who wishes to try it, but on behalf of your blood sugar, I don't recommend it.) I wanted a better recipe. I had some over-ripe bananas. Let's try this.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Do Good, Feel Good

I can't justify the fact that I haven't done a whole lot of volunteering in my life. I used to help with stuff at church, like Vacation Bible School every year, and I have done a little tutoring, but I can't defend the fact that my weekends 99% of the time are purely pleasure seeking. This past weekend was different.

My boyfriend and I signed up for Habitat for Humanity. Here's what I was thinking going into it:

1. There are going to be a ton of people! (I thought it would be very impersonal.)

2. I hope they like me.

3. I hope I don't make a fool out of myself.

4. I'm scared.

After our first go-round, there are some things that really struck me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homemade Pizza Night

No spend month has been great so far but challenging. Because I love to eat, and sometimes get pretty busy, it's hard for me to deal with wanting to have something other than leftovers... again. I miss the convenience of hitting up a good restaurant. Last night, I was fed up and decided I was making something amazing. Here is the recipe I used/created. It takes around 2-1/2 hours to make, but you could probably make the dough for the crust ahead of time and be able to knock it out for dinner in no time. I, on the other hand, am very stubborn and ended up getting off work late, working out, starting the crust, heading to the store for toppings, then finally settling in for my piece with a glass of wine at about 11 o'clock. The pizza I recommend. My other methods, not so much. Recipe after the jump.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Measure Twice, Cut Once

I've heard this adage my whole life, and certainly considered it to be true. However, sometimes we forget that rules apply to everyone - yes, including us. Planning and careful consideration are such an important part of any decision-making or execution. Otherwise you could end up with two placemats that look like this!

See the placemat peeking out from the other one? That's only, oh, about an inch or so. Even before this happened I had basically come to the conclusion that I won't be selling this one - after all, it's been 100% by hand. The first time I appliqued, I did it a little differently than I did later, never mind this little size issue, so it's got "character". How could I let it live somewhere else? Besides, the whole reason I started making it in the first place was because I actually wanted a tablecloth, and wanted one that was my style. I have that, so my plan is to photograph it, and post it as a "made-to-order". Then in the future, I'll measure twice. And use a sewing machine.

Welcome to hodge-podge week, because I don't have just one idea on my brain today. (Honestly, when does that ever happen?)

Even though my resolutions helped me start working out, and develop some good habits; even though I'm employing the ideas I've had that I mentioned in Goal Attainment, I came up with something else.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Less is More Time, Money, and Clarity

It's officially "No Spend" month. I'm going to make myself relay here everything I buy. Last night at Brookshires I got one bag each of rice, black beans, and lentils (1.50 a pop). I made soup so I will have something to eat the next couple of days... turned out fairly well. I threw in a can of corn, diced tomatoes, a cup each of brown rice, (rinsed) black beans, and lentils. Maybe a little much, I'll probably cut it to 3/4 cup of each next time. It's pretty thick! But so filling. I seasoned it with italian seasoning, garlic, chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and chili powder. An eclectic mix, to be sure, but it's savory and yummy. Besides being super nutritious.

One more thing - I had two dollars left in my wallet. So when the Super Bowl squares came around, well. I partook. Wow, only day two and I'm screwing up! I figured that little bit of cash shouldn't count, especially because, originally, my plan was to convert my birthday and Christmas money to cash and have that available to spend, which I decided against. I'm glad I did, because I realized that not thinking about things to buy has freed my mind. When I get $10 off coupons in the mail, I normally hem and haw, feeling bad about the money I could save on things I might need, or gifts I could buy. Last night I checked the mail and brought one in - I took one look at it and chucked it. It was empowering!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Hamster Wheel

Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it. – Ellen Goodman

When did this become the American dream? I want to break free from this vicious cycle.

I was talking to a gentleman whom I respect and admire recently and got to talking about my dreams and also the dreams of certain others. My dreams don't really have anything to do with making any money - in fact, I probably dream more of needing less money than I do of actually making more of it. He reminded me that we all have to consider our retirement, and need to make more than a measly paycheck that will barely pay the bills from week to week. That's certainly true. I thought about it for a couple of days, then came back to him and said, "You know, I thought about what you said. But to retire, you don't have to make a lot. You just have to save a lot."