Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fabulous & Frugal

I apologize for my absence the last few days....  I was cramming to get my taxes in order, and have had a brutal week at work and not to mention a nasty nasty head cold.  So, my week has been a whirl wind.  Good News...  My blog will be 1 year old in April.  Woo-hoo!!!  I am so excited.  I have been reading some really good books and plan to do reviews on them soon, and I will have more tips for saving money and frugal living as well as stellar recipes.

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Enchilada Pie

I made the Enchilada Pie Today......  It is absolutely de-lish!!!!  This is what I will be taking in my lunch.

Enchilada Pie in the Crock Pot

INGREDIENTS1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup ( I also use a can of Tomato Soup)

1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles

1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce

10 corn tortillas (6 inch)

3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (12 oz)


Chopped fresh cilantro

1 In 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in soup and chiles.

2 Spray 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce in bottom of slow cooker. Place 4 corn tortillas over sauce, overlapping and breaking in half as necessary to make an even layer. Top with 1/3 of beef mixture, spreading evenly. Drizzle with about 1/4 cup enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese.

3 Repeat layering twice, using 3 corn tortillas and half of remaining beef mixture, enchilada sauce and cheese in each layer. Sprinkle paprika over top.

4 Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours 30 minutes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Soup & Biscuits

For what-ever reason, it snowed here last night, and we have had hail storms off and on today.  I decided to clean out my refrigerator and make a nice pot of hot soup.  Cleaning out the leftovers and throwing them in a pot, I call it Love Soup.  So today I built a fire, and have hot soup and biscuits for dinner.  I am going to lay around and watch a couple of Netflicks Movies.  This is going to be a Fabulous & Frugal Night.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frugal Dieting

Ah, yes it is that time of year for me to think about slimming down, after this bitter cold, and full of snow winter that we had.  I wintered well....  gained 13 pounds.  I know it will be easier to drop some of it too as soon as the weather is nicer. I like to be outside, gardening, and working in the yard and going for walks.  In the meantime, I have cut back on my calories and upped my fiber intake.  I have been eating a lot of the Progresso Light Soup, my favorite is the Italian Garden Vegetable, Zero Points on Weight Watchers.  Ok, also I have been eating the Laughing Cow Cheese and the Extra Fiber Wheat Thins.  Then, the rest of the time I have been eating apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, and those snap pea pods.  I guess I am sort of rambling here....  but where I wanted to go was to the Websites of National Brands that I have been consuming, I was under the impression that if you visit their websites you can get coupons.  Well I could not find any place on sites to get I am perplexed.  I check out the Sunday paper coupons, and will definitely keep any eye out for coupons for my favorite diet foods. 
I have also discovered that reading labels and checking the fiber, calories and fat in each item has really been an eye opener. 
I have only lost 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks, but I just know that Spring is coming and it will be much easier for me to eat healthier and lighter....  and hopefully keep dropping pounds.

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day !!!! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Save Money at the Eye Doctor

Ok, I find this to be rather irritating......  My daughter goes to the eye doctor for her annual exam, she usually wears contacts but needs to get glasses as back up.  She has not had a new pair of  glasses in about 3 years, so she is completely over due.  She is trying to pick out frames, and comes across ones that she likes and is going to go ahead and get them.  My daughter then calls me at work because the eye tech wants her to get "anti glare" on the lenses, evidently our insurance no longer pays for this, and the cost is 108 dollars out of my pocket.  My daughter calls me to find out if this is something that she should get, and I can hear the eye tech in the background.....telling my daughter that she had it on her last glasses so she should probably get it this time too.....  I AM SO MAD!!!!!!!!!
How in the world are we ever going to be able to save any money?  Our Insurance is expensive enough, and yes, the coverage continues to diminish and the deductibles continue to rise. 
Here is another scenario, at the dentist office ~~Same thing.  We get 2 "free" ...... (and I use the word "free" with extreme caution here because my insurance rates just went up again in January) cleanings in a year's time on our insurance policy.....  every stinking time I go there.... they want to take x-rays, and do a bunch of other stuff.  I finally told them the last time I was in there, that I was only there for the cleaning and that is all I wanted at that office visit and that I am not paying for anything extra.
How can we make these people understand that I do not want payments nor do I want to owe them anything above and beyond what I already pay for Insurance? 
I know that it is important to have insurance and to take care of yourself, I also utilize my "flex" plan at work to help offset some of the other expenses that our insurance does not cover.  But I just find that the ever increasing cost of medical procedures (and lack of coverage) to be ever perplexing.  I feel like there may come a day when you pay your insurance but can no longer afford to see the doctor, dentist, or eye doctor. 

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fabulous & Frugal Potluck

When was the last time you hosted a Potluck?  Potlucks are a fun and frugal way to host get togethers on a shoe string.  You can have a Potluck for just about any occasion, Birthday, Graduation, Just Because....You have all your guests bring a dish.  You can BBQ hamburgers or hotdogs or anything really.  Potlucks give you the opportunity to visit with friends and family and to enjoy some tasty dishes that you might otherwise not be subjected to.

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day

Happy St. Patricks Day.........
Hope you all have green on today so that you may avoid getting pinched. 

Green is the color of money, and I am all about saving money.  I have been on my journey of saving money now and paying off my debt for almost 2 years.  I have made great progress, and have had many trials along the way. 
I started by making a budget.  Recording everything coming in.... and everything going out.  I realized there were a few areas that I could cut back on, mainly groceries and entertainment.  To cut back on groceries I started using coupons with a vengeance, and for entertainment, I just cut back, I also started reading more books for entertainment.  I really don't go out to the bars very often anymore and when I do, I stay away from the Lottery Machines.  My husband and I now only go during dollar beer time.  I also stopped eating out so much.  I used to eat out every week, Now I only eat out about twice a month.  I also started cooking the majority of my meals at home, and packing my lunch to take to work.
In the last almost 2 years, I have paid my car off, and paid off 3 of my credit cards.  I have managed to build a savings account.  I now have a thousand in my savings account, or emergency fund.  I also have a small stash in a safe place.  You just never know when something will come up that you need cash and the bank may not be opened.
It has taken me awhile to pay down debt and establish my savings account, it has taken patience, time and determination.  I would not go back to my "old" ways.  I really put my heart and ambition into becoming debt free, and I am so thankful I did not have to go through Consumer Credit Counseling.

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Enchilada Pie in the Crock Pot

INGREDIENTS1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup ( I also use a can of Tomato Soup)

1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles

1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce

10 corn tortillas (6 inch)

3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (12 oz)


Chopped fresh cilantro

1 In 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in soup and chiles.

2 Spray 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce in bottom of slow cooker. Place 4 corn tortillas over sauce, overlapping and breaking in half as necessary to make an even layer. Top with 1/3 of beef mixture, spreading evenly. Drizzle with about 1/4 cup enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese.

3 Repeat layering twice, using 3 corn tortillas and half of remaining beef mixture, enchilada sauce and cheese in each layer. Sprinkle paprika over top.

4 Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours 30 minutes.

5 Let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with cilantro.

Easy & Creative Food Ideas

Today for an easy and creative change of pace, I made a pancake breakfast sandwich.  1 pancake cut in 1/2 with peanut butter and jelly made a perfect little breakfast sandwich.  For lunch today I am having rice-a-roni and mandarin oranges.  I have my Starbucks travel coffee mug, that I always take coffee in and sometimes I even make tea in it. Bringing my own coffee saves me from having to stop at a quickie mart or Starbucks in order to have a cup of Joe. Money saved right there is about 4 dollars. I am prepared for the day ahead of me. Saving money does not need to be complicated, use what you have on hand.  Utilize left overs, if you just can't do left overs, put them in the freezer and eat them later in the week or the next week.  My goal here is to not waste food, there is real savings here.  Also, it saves me from spending 5 to 7 dollars a day eating out.  I figure with this 5 to 7 dollars that I am not spending on eating out, and the 4 dollars or so I save by not buying coffee, I will pay my debt down faster. 

Have a Fabulous & Frugal day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Packed Lunch = Money Saved

Yes, I am at it again and going to tell you and stress to you how important packing your lunch is while you are saving money and paying down debt.  I am not kidding, I easily save 100.00 a month by making my own lunches, and sometimes including breakfast. 
I won't lie.....  there is some planning involved. 
I check out my weekly flyer's also known as loss leaders from my local grocery stores.  I also use lots of coupons.  I structure my weekly meals, snacks, and lunches around what is on sale and what I have coupons for.  For Instance, my breakfast today was a cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread.  The reason for this is, my favorite bread was on sale 2 loaves for 3 dollars, and my favorite Tillamook cheese was on sale for 4.99 for a block of cheese the 2 pound loaf.  My lunch today is 2 bratwursts, and macaroni salad.  Bratwursts were on sale a couple of weeks ago so I picked up a couple of packages and threw them in my freezer.  This past week I picked up deli macaroni salad on coupon at Safeway and it needs to be eaten so that it does not go bad.  For snacks, I have graham crackers that I spread frosting in the middle of.  Graham crackers were on sale last week, the large box and I had a coupon, so I got a big one for 2.59, the frosting I got awhile back on sale and had coupons from the Sunday paper and believe I paid 69 cents a can for. 
My breakfast today was very tasty and filling.  My lunch is going to be fabulous.
I also snicker to myself when I see my co-workers that have stopped off at McDonalds for their lunch.  I know I have saved my money, as well as greasy fat and empty calories, and that puts a smile on my face, on a few dollars in my savings account every month. 

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Garlic Baked Chicken

Saute a 1/2 cube of butter with a teaspoon of minced garlic. Dip your chicken breast in the butter & garlic and then dip into a bowl of bread crumbs.  Coat the chicken well both sides in the bread crumbs.  Place the chicken breast in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake the chicken at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes. 
This is absolutely delicious~ restaurant quality good.  Serve with rice and a green salad and you have a Fabulous & Frugal dinner....  enjoy

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

31 Fabulous Uses For Vinegar

I found this fabulous information over at  I figure I have shared uses for Baking Soda, might as well add Vinegar to our safe and effective cleaning regimen.  I do use Vinegar to shampoo my carpets and I get fabulous results, and it is cheap and natural. 

This is a post by writer Yazmin Cruz.

In a previous post I wrote about natural cleaners that can save you money. One of those inexpensive cleaners was vinegar. I’ve used vinegar everywhere from the kitchen to the bathroom and below I’ve shared a laundry list (literally) of different ways to use vinegar around your home.

I have tried most of these suggestions with positive results. Before trying them yourself, make sure to test the solutions in an inconspicuous place to avoid damage. To learn about secret uses for ammonia, salt, foil and baking soda, check out Bobbi’s post.

1.Kill weeds in your garden by spraying full strength until they starve.

2.Clean pots with white vinegar before re-potting to remove excess lime.

3.Remove skunk odor from a dog by rubbing his fur with full strength vinegar. Don’t forget to rinse.

4.Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting by dousing the area with vinegar.

5.Relieve itching by using a cotton ball to dab mosquito and other bug bites.

6.Use white vinegar to rinse your hair to remove residue and make it shiny.

7.Make clothes smell fresh by adding vinegar to the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener.

8.Immerse T-shirts in white vinegar to get rid of the yellow armpit stains.

9.Clean your irons and steam irons with vinegar to avoid build up.

10.To remove coffee and tea stains from china, clean with vinegar.

11.Deodorize your kitchen drain and sink by pouring a cup of vinegar in.

12.Cooking smelly food like fish? Vinegar neutralizes odors. Add a couple of tablespoons to a bowl and leave it on the kitchen counter.

13.Clean the microwave by boiling a 1/4 cup of vinegar to loosen splattered food. Afterward use a cloth to wipe the microwave clean.

14.Kill germs in the bathroom by wiping down fixtures with a rag damp with vinegar.

15.Clean soap scum, mildew and grime from the bathtub, tile and curtains by wiping down with vinegar and rinsing with water.

16.Clean your glasses by using a drop of vinegar and a lint-free cloth.

17.Instead of using toner in your beauty routine, use vinegar to clean your face.

18.Deodorized your smelly lunch box by wiping it clean with vinegar.

19.Relieve a sore throat by gargling vinegar.

20.Have itchy feet? Immerse your feet in vinegar to fight athlete’s foot.

21.Toenails turning yellow? Fight nail fungus by saturating your nails with vinegar. Apparently, tea tree oil also helps.

22.Eliminate animal urine stains and odor from carpet by wiping it clean with an old rag and vinegar.

23.Unclog a shower head by immersing in vinegar.

24.Remove decals, bumper stickers, or price tag by wiping down with vinegar. Alcohol also helps.

25.Spray vinegar around doors and window frames, under appliances and along other known ant trails to repeal them.

26.Add to water and food coloring to make dyed eggs even brighter.

27.Rid your toilet bowl of rusty rings with a diluted vinegar solution.

28.Rub on windows with newspaper or cloth to get a clearer view.

29.Kill mold with vinegar instead of bleach.

30.Combine with lemons and baking soda for an all purpose cleaner.

31.Mix with salt to form a paste. Apply to remove discoloration from copper-bottomed pots and pans. Let sit, then scrub with steel-wool.

Have A Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!!!!

The Money Class

Last night on OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) I caught Suze Orman, it was The Money Class.  In this program Suze unveils new and powerful advice to help us get through these tough economic times.  The Motto of the show was to "Live Below Your Means but within Your Needs" This is the "New American Dream."  The Focus is all about you, and I do mean all about you.....  Not about stuff. 
Suze explained real estate, owning it and renting it.  She talked about not giving your kids an allowance, she has another strategy. The other topics covered in depth are home, family, career and retirement.
Suze also has a new book out called "The Money Class" and during the show you could also purchase kits, and other literature that she put together to help you with wills, living trusts, and anything legal. 
Suze's advice will bore some of the more advanced financial pioneers, but if you are just starting out, learning to save and control your spending, or have no financial background, then Suze will teach you basic finance and how to effectively save money.  I love how she talks about Credit Card Interest Rates.....  It is such an eye opener every time I hear it, and I have been working on paying off my Credit Cards for about 2 years now.  Paying Off your Credit Cards requires patience and diligence, and you will not get results over night, unless you have won the lottery.
I highly recommend reading and watching Suze especially if you are just starting out.  My only recommendation is that you buy her books used.

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

25 Uses For Coffee Filters

I found this information over at 
Very useful information for saving money, and utilizing what you have on hand.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10 Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters.

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great “razor nick fixers.”

15. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics.

16. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.

18 Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.

19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

23. Use them to sprout seeds. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a zip-lock plastic bag until they sprout.

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book.

25. Use as a disposable “snack bowl” for popcorn, chips, etc.

Have a Fabulous & Frugal day!!!!

Cooking Weekend

Today is my Monday....  Happy Monday to all of you.....
I spent my weekend driving 5 hours to my parents house.  On Sunday I cooked all day, and loaded my Mom and Dads' freezer with pre-cooked easy to prepare recipes.  They have marinated chicken, pork roast, Hawaiian Pork, Chicken and Navy bean soup, 3 batches of meatballs, and Salmon patties.  My mom has had some health issues lately and is not able to stand for long periods of time (in the kitchen).  My dad hates to cook, so this was a win win situation for them. 
It is frugal and cost effective to prepare food for the freezer, and eat it as you go.  It is much cheaper than eating out or buying pre-packaged food, unless of course the pre-packaged food is on sale and you have coupons.  Another advantage of making your own food, is that you can control the salt, and fat content of your recipes. 
It is hard work, and it took me pretty much all day cooking, but if you are organized, you can really put some delicious recipes in the freezer. 
One of the things I do at home, if I have made extra soup or dinner items, I will put the leftovers into freezer bags (always date and say what the contents of the bag are) and throw them in the freezer instead of having them sit in the refrigerator for a week and throwing them out. 
This is an excellent way to stretch your food budget, and avoid throwing food away.

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Things You Should Buy At The Dollar Store

Ok, here it is.  I have compiled a list of items that you SHOULD buy at the dollar store.

1.  Cleaning Supplies ~ Why pay more for something you clean with that literally goes down the drain?
2.  Personal Supplies or Toiletries ~ Disposable Razors, Deodorant, Toothpaste, Shampoo ~ Unless you can do better with should be buying these items at the Dollar Store
3.  Batteries~ Some people have told me that the batteries do not last as long as name brand batteries, but can you go wrong for a dollar?
4.  Drain Cleaner~ this will be Generic  Drano or Liquid Plumber, yes it is bad for your drains but if you are desperate and need some, I have seen it in grocery stores for $6.00 a bottle
5.  Mailing Supplies~ packaging tape, envelopes, and bubble wrap....yes you guessed it, all for a buck.
6. Condiments~ BBQ sauce, mustard, soy sauce, got the idea, Don't buy this at the grocery store when you can pick it up at the dollar store...  just be sure to check the expiration dates.
7. Dog Treats & Dog Toys~ I am sure this will go for kitty toys as well.
8.  Cooking Spices ~ yes, cooking spices, pick up your seasonings at the Dollar Store.
9.  Fiber Bars~ I just picked up 5 packs of Special K Breakfast Bars...  yes 5 bars for a dollar.

Just remember to be smart when you shop and not buy crap (because we all know there is some pretty cheap crap) at the Dollar Store.  Think of it more like a "Dollar Stretching Store"

Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!!!!