Valentine’s Day 2013 ~ Vintage Shabby Chic Style ~

Finally after 4 years of being together, my hubby and I had our “perfect” Valentine’s day. It was relaxing and absolutely wonderful.

We are not too big on spending a whole lot of money, and I have found that I can usually make a just-as-good-if-not-better meal than any restaurant could at 1/3 of the price! So that is what we did. We stayed in and had a delicious meal including dessert (something we never do when we eat out). Even with an almost one-year-old it was relaxing and so we  just had fun!

I wanted to share a few pictures of our special evening.

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I finally got to use my “fancy’ dishes. I have LOVED dishes my entire life, and for my graduation present, my parents gifted me with about 12 sets of Royal Albert Old English Rose Dishes. I love them! So me =) They also gave me beautiful gold wear for Christmas one year to go with the dishes. Also…just in case you didn’t notice, all I did was tea dye a paper towel and let it dry for a fancy napkin (I don’t have cloth ones yet)

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A view of our shabby chick table. Burlap with a lace runner.

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Our yummy food! We had ginger soy salmon with a pineapple, mango quinoa salad, and for dessert, we had chocolate dipped Strawberries and I had made coconut vanilla ice cream with raspberry topping, but when I went to Sam’s Club to purchase the salmon, these “evil” sample ladies forced me to try the coconut cake. Then if that weren’t enough they forced me to buy 4 very large coconut cupcakes! ūüėČ They were delicious and I am NOT a cake person.

IMG_0814And of course the little one loved her card from her Mom-mom and Pop-pop. It made kissing noises every time it opened. She played with it for a very long time!

That was our very relaxing Valentine’s day! I hope yours was wonderful. I would love to hear what you did for your special day with your loved one!

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Pricing Homemade: Bread

Hello! I have decided to start letting you all know (just in case you haven’t set down to do the math yourself) of making some things homemade. Somethings it is more expensive to make homemade, but a lot of times it really pays off with making it yourself.

Today I am going to do the math for you when it comes to making bread. There are so many different options out there for ingredients, but I am going to choose two recipes that I make weekly and show you the cost of those recipes.

I am going to price the bread from Wednesday Baking – Whole Wheat Bread and Homemade Crusty Bread.

These are the ingredients and the prices that I bought them for, therefore what I am basing my information on. If I have made a huge mistake please let me know

I bout Gold Medal Unbleached AP Flour from Walmart at $2.14

I bout Gold Medal Unbleached AP Flour from Walmart at $2.14

I'm pretty sure I bought this at Kroger for about $5 so that is what I will be using. Also this comes in whole wheat which I just ran out of the day before yesterday.

I’m pretty sure I bought this at Kroger for about $5 so that is what I will be using. Also this comes in whole wheat which I just ran out of the day before yesterday.

I will admit that King Arthur Flour is my favorite. It is really expensive in comparison to others, but it bakes really well, and they don’t bleach any of their flours. It comes in Bread Flour, White Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, and All Purpose Flour. So when I have wiggle room in my budget I grab a bag of it.

Kroger Value Pure Honey I bought at $5.57

Kroger Value Pure Honey I bought at $5.57

Bought this from Sam's Club so long ago, but I'm pretty sure it was about $7 so that is what I am using

Bought this from Sam’s Club so long ago, but I’m pretty sure it was about $7 so that is what I am using

Kroger Active Dry Yeast bought at $2.59

Kroger Active Dry Yeast bought at $2.59

I buy this in a 4lb pack at Sam's Club for $9.98 so that would make one pound for about $2.50

I buy this in a 4lb pack at Sam’s Club for $9.98 so that would make one pound for about $2.50

Okay. Whether you wanted to know all of this or not here it goes…

For Wednesday Baking – Whole Wheat Bread:

$0.56 for honey (1/4 cup)
$0.31 for butter (4 Tbs)
$0.29 for yeast (1 1/2 Tbs)
$0.05 for salt (1 1/2 tsp)
$0.63 for Gold Medal Flour  OR $1.44 for King Arthur Flour (5 3/4 cups)

Total for 2 loaves of bread made with Gold Medal Flour = $1.84 OR $0.92 per loaf.

Total for 2 loaves of bread made with King Arthur Flour = $3.05 OR $1.52 per loaf.

So cheap, right?!?!?!

 

Okay, now for Homemade Crusty Bread:

$0.14 for yeast (3/4 Tbs)
$0.04 for salt (3/4 Tbs)
$0.41 for Gold Medal Flour OR $0.94 for King Arthur Flour

Total for 1 loaf of bread made with Gold Medal Flour = $0.59 a loaf

Total for 1 loaf of bread made with King Arthur Flour = $1.48 a loaf

Isn’t it amazing?!?!

Hope this can encourage you to start making your own bread! Even if there is only two or three living in a home, you can make 2 loaves and freeze one. When you are about out of the first loaf, take out the second one and set it out to unfreeze. Still tastes delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pizza time!

I have never been a big fan of ‘fast-food’ pizza, especially after I worked at Pump It Up (the inflatable party zone!) for awhile in college. That is all we were allowed to serve and nothing against Papa John’s, but after you have served hundreds of cheese, pepperoni, sausage, etc pizzas and for the most part were given the left overs by the parents who didn’t want to take it home, it would be to soon if I ever ate a fast-food pizza again!

But I do love pizza, homemade that is. Andrew and I have had pizzas on Pillsbury rolls, whole wheat pitas, subs….but tonight we are having a different kind. One that is completely homemade (except the cheese and I found a simple mozzarella cheese recipe, but can’t find cheese salt, citric acid, or rennet tablets anywhere in our small town).

I mixed and matched recipes to make the entire pizza using other peoples ideas from their blogs and websites so I will give you the links:

For the idea of the pizza, I used the recipe from A Journey to Becoming: Homemade Pizza 

From there I was sent to The Frugal Girl: Wednesday Baking-Whole Wheat Bread where I made the whole recipe, but then made half the dough into the pizza crust and the other half into a loaf of bread (oh my word, her bread is sooo much yummier than the one I have been making!).

And for the sauce, I used my own recipe from my Spicy (or not) Tomato Sauce for Everything

Okay, now that you have all those links, here is how mine turned out.

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This is before I baked it.

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And this is after! YUM! my crust is that dark because I was really bad and brushed it with garlic butter before baking it…shhh!

In case you are wondering what I put on it, well, I used the sauce I told you about, then I sliced up tomatoes, sauteed onions and spinach in olive oil and garlic, then sauteed mushrooms in red wine, then topped it with pine nuts and cheese.

As I made the pizza, I kept sending pictures to my hubby to tease him about dinner ūüėČ

Shopping: Budgeting for Groceries

Shopping on a budget can be very stressful for¬† most people. In today’s world we are taught that credit is a good thing, therefore we need to use it in everything, because we can always pay it back later. NOT GOOD!!!! If you have been raised in that mind set, I challenge you to try a cash only policy.

Having a budget seems silly to a lot of people. One will say, “oh yeah,I have a budget,” (meaning they think they have an idea of how much they want to spend a month) or, “I’m a smart shopper.”

Let me tell you a little secret….if you don’t have a written budget, you will over spend! My hubby and I have had a month like that. We used to always have a budget and stick to it, but we had one month where we didn’t sit down and make a budget because we were too busy. We thought we could just do it on our own seeing how we were ‘good with money’ and we ‘knew how much we want to spend.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA……………….that is about all I can say, because we ended up spending about 150% OVER our regular budget. Yes, I did say 150% OVER!

So we wrote down our next month’s budget and decided never ever to go without a budget again!

Alright, now about my groceries. Last year, I decided to give myself a challenge. I could only spend $50 a week for groceries for my family. That is challenging to do, but not impossible. I stuck to it, but in December, I realized that, though we weren’t ‘bad’ eaters, most of the items I was purchasing were very processed (ex: Hamburger Helpers). I was caught in a trap. These processed foods were the items I could get coupons for and stay within my budget!

So new tactic. Raise my weekly budget $15. Okay, done. Now I have $75 a week to spend for two adults and an almost 1 year-old. Buy mostly fresh food, and try to make as much of items I can.

I go shopping on Saturdays with my hubby, because it is always nice to have an extra adult there to entertain the little one. Also we count it as a fun “date” type of outing…yes, we are so a married couple!

Also, I only shop with cash. I have in my hand how much I am wanting to spend, therefore when that is spent, I can’t spend any more. I also encourage anyone who does have spending issues to only bring in cash, after you have made a budget. Leave your credit/debit cards at home. Challenge yourself to only spend what you plan on spending. Know where every dollar is going!

Another thing I want you to know, I didn’t use one coupon for this trip. So it is possible to be on a tighter food budget without coupons!

So this is my shopping trip for this week:

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What I purchased:

Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk                              Plain Soy Milk

Home Maker Orange Juice                                               3 cans of 28 oz Diced Tomatoes

5 lb bag Unbleached AP Flour                                       Bag of sweet peppers

1 1/2 lb Bananas                                                                  6 Avocados

3 Mangoes¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Moore’s Buffalo Sauce (super bowl Sunday!)

1 Cantaloupe                                                                         10 oz box plain Couscous

1lb sliced mushrooms                                                       2lbs Campari Tomatoes

2, 32 oz Swanson Vegetable Broths                             2 Green Bell Peppers

2 cups quesadilla cheese                                                 set of 2 Wire Drying Racks

Hair Conditioner (not pictured)                                   4 pack of 1 lb Salted Sweet Cream Butter

Mission Tortilla Chips

And here are my receipts:

Walmart –¬† $49.96IMG_0628

Kroger – $10.19IMG_0630

Sam’s Club – $17.36IMG_0629

Total: $75.51    okay, so I went $.51 cents over budget, but that is pretty good!

Meals I plan on making this week:

1. Homemade Pizza – Recipe from A Journey to Becoming
2. My Homemade Tomato Soup and grilled cheese (will post recipe on another day)
3. Cuban Black Beans and Rice with mango – Recipe from About.com Vegetarian Food
4. Flat Bread Pizza (minus the chicken) – Recipe from Lulu the Baker
5. Buffalo Cauliflower (super bowl Sunday!) – Recipe from Daydream Kitchen

Think About It

Hey readers this is Andrew the Hubs. Like this blog’s name I think about my life’s experience and how I can bestow the lessons I’ve learned to help those who want it. I’ve known Katie for four years now and we both have grown as people and as a couple. One of the first things that I’ve learned recently is that I’m not afraid of change as I used to be. I’ve had a lot of change in my life. I’ve transferred colleges, lived in four time zones, had eight different addresses in the last seven years, and most important become a husband and father. To think I was in high school just five years ago just doesn’t seem real. Through all that change I’ve learned that life is all about how we deal with change. I could have been a very bitter lonely person if I chose not to embrace change and be comfortable with where I was and more importantly who I was. When I left Lipscomb University to attend the University of Tennessee I felt I needed a change. I liked Lipscomb but ended up loving Tennessee. The first night I spent in my dorm I knew no one in the whole city of Knoxville but I was happy to be there because I knew I would have the chance to make friends and learn to live on my own. I moved my family to a state I had hardly been to because I felt that it would be best for my career and our family. If you feel unhappy or under achieving give yourself a chance to be happy and make a change. At the very least you can know for sure that you did what you could to make you and your family happy. Change jobs, ask out the girl, stop falling deeper and debt, and yes maybe change churches. Life is too short to stop trying and to settle for less than you know you can have. At least give yourself the chance and think about a change.