Monday, February 28, 2011

Swagbucks Swidget - Its Swag Bucks Birthday! Look for Codes!

I am so thankful to have learned about Swagbucks a little more than a year ago.  Through doing nothing more than searching alone (and maybe some special offers and daily polls), I've earned over $200 in amazon gift cards!  This cost me NOTHING!  Swag Bucks (or Swagbucks as I usually write), is worth checking out if you haven't already.  Please follow my referral link if you do!

Today is Swag Bucks (Swagbucks) Birthday!  The Swag Guy has promised lots of codes (for extra bucks) today.  Watch the Swidget on the right of this blog to find where the codes are!

Click below to sign up! :)
Search & Win

Friday, February 25, 2011

Freezer Meal Recipe: Hot Wing Chicken

We now eat a low saturated fat diet, and I really wanted hot wings.  Did you know that chicken skin has a lot of saturated fat?  And pulling the skin off each chicken wing seemed really tedious.  So I came up with this super recipe:

1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast
wing sauce
light blue cheese dressing

garlic (optional)
butter (optional)

That's it, really!  Cut your chicken into chunks and douse in wing sauce.  Bake until cooked through and bubbly.  The optional ingredients are what I serve to my children, who don't appreciate spicy food.  I put the chicken chunks in a small dish with butter and garlic.

To prep for the freezer:  Place chicken chunks in a bag and cover with wing sauce.  (In a separate bag I put chunks with butter and garlic for the little ones, and then place both bags in a larger bag so they stay together in the freezer).  To cook:  thaw overnight, place in a baking dish, and bake at 350 until cooked through and bubbly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sanity Saver: Toy Overload

Do you have too many toys in your house?  (If you have kids, I'm pretty sure your answer is yes).

Here are a few solutions I've gleaned over the years (and yes, I still have too many toys in my house).  As I stated previously, when there's too much stuff out, it takes too much time to clean up, taking away family fun time!  So I try my best to keep it simple.


Toys with lots of pieces (such as Lite Brite) stay in the closet until requested to be played with.  This also goes for big kid puzzles with lots of pieces.

Rotate bins to keep interest.  Take half your toddler toys and put them away for a while.  In a month, put away the ones that are out and take out the ones you had in the closet.

Give some away.  My toddler is too young for this, but she doesn't seem to mind when her unplayed with toys go in our giveaway bin.  For my preschooler I ask her to find toys to give to "kids who don't have toys."  This was the simplest way to explain the donation process to her.  She doesn't get rid of as much as I'd like to see, but she does give somethings usually.

Hope this helps you save some sanity and find some time!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Freezer Recipe: Sweet & Sour Chicken

See, I told you this recipe was coming soon!  Its a winner shared with me by my friend Emily, and adapted a little for freezer cooking.

1lb (or however much you need) boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups Italian dressing, separated
1/2 jar of Apricot preserves

Preparation to eat now:
Marinate chicken in Italian dressing (enough to cover, doesn't have to be one cup) overnight.  Place the chicken in a baking dish, and mix the remaining Italian dressing (it was marinading in) with the preserves.  Pour this mixture over the chicken in the baking dish.  Bake at 350 about 30 minutes covered, then uncover until cooked (about 15 more).  Serve over whole grain rice.

Freezer Meal Prep:
Take chicken and place it in a freezer bag.  Pour about 1 cup of dressing, or enough to cover, in the freezer bag.  Squish it around.  In your blender, mix the remaining cup of Italian dressing, and the apricot preserves.  Pour this mixture into a separate quart size freezer bag.  Freeze.  To prepare, thaw both bags overnight.  Place chicken in a baking dish and pour the topping from the other bag over it.  Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake until cooked through and bubbly (another 15 about).  Serve over rice.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Freezer Meal Fail!

I had my first freezer meal fail tonight.  What made it worse was the meal tasted so good fresh, and I have a friend who has successfully made it for our freezer exchange multiple times.  The meal was beef tenderloin horseradish pizza.  It is so good!  You can find the recipe at this site.

So, I didn't wrap it well I guess.  I used plastic wrap, but that was it.  Never having made a pizza before, I didn't realize that plastic wrap wasn't enough.  Trust me, the pizza tasted like pure freezer burn, and it had only been in the freezer for one month!  I'll probably try again, but next time use a freezer bag too!

Look for a new freezer recipe tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sanity Saver: Get Rid of Junk

Go ahead do it!  Go find 5 things in your house right now that you don't need/haven't used in over a year and put them in a box.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

All done?  Good.  I've got hoarding issues...I often fear I will turn into those people you see on TV with piles and piles of stuff.  I simply can't throw anything away if I feel it still has use.  In my mind, it has to be donated or recycled.  So, twice a week or so, I take a quick walk around my house, and try to grab a few things that we don't need or use.  It could be something as small as a fast food toy, or a book, or some shoes.  What still has use goes in a box I keep in our coat closet.  Then, when the box is filled it goes to a place that accepts donations of goods.  It works for me, because the stuff I don't need will still find a home. 

Some ideas for donations:  Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Homeless Shelter, your local Freecycle email group, daycare centers, or church yard sales.

Why is this good to do?  I'm not sure where I heard it, but its stuck.  Each time I have to pick up that McDonalds toy, or move around those shoes we don't use is time wasted that I could've used for something better, like spending time with my family.  I actually have an alarm in my phone to remind me to do this...try it, and save some sanity!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Freezer Cooking 101, or I just bought 16 pounds of chicken

Our local grocery store had boneless, skinless chicken breast buy one get one free this week, and this type of chicken fits in perfectly with our low saturated fat/whole food lifestyle.  So I bought 4 value packs, which came out to be about 16.5 pounds of chicken.  Out of this, I'll probably get about 13 meals, since some of the poundage gets cut off as fat.  So here's my cooking plan for all this chicken:

6 meals of sweet & sour chicken (recipe to come soon)

2 meals of Stovetop Chicken Casserole

2 meals of hot "wing" chicken (recipe to come soon)

3 meals (or whatever is left) of garlic chicken fingers (I love these, because I can just pull a couple out for a quick meal and cook from frozen).

I love the convenience of these meals...I just pull them out the day before (or in the case of the finger, just before cooking) and just bake!  Lots of money saved on takeout when I don't feel like cooking.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hello Again

Hello Again old friends!

Once again I lapsed in my writing...took to writing in my head instead...but I've got a bit of a queue stored up, so here we go again.  I love to share my ideas and those that have been shared with me!  I want to help you be good stewards with the money you have, so that you can in turn help others too!

Look for new posts every Friday and Tuesday.  Coming up this Friday will be my cooking plan for the week...aka I just bought 16 pounds of chicken.