What's Cookin' In Your Kitchen? How I Stretch My Meals

I've started to notice Facebook statuses and other comments from young wives who spend a lot of money on groceries each month.  I am a bargain hunter by nature, but I can't stand spending the time to ad-match and extreme coupon down to every last item I purchase.  Since many are the same way as I am, I thought I would do a few posts on how I grocery shop, cook, and menu plan on a budget. 

Stretching my  meals is one of the best things I have figured out since I've been married.
My meats to use are:
a pot roast, ham, ground beef, and chicken.

Pot Roast
Usually I will buy a small pot roast, and prepare it in the crockpot.
I'll do the chopped onion, carrots, and potatoes with Lipton Onion soup mix.
The first meal, that's how we eat it--like a traditional Sunday dinner pot roast.  It's delicious and easy!

When the meat has cooled, freeze it to use for a later time (so you don't eat the same meat for every meal of the week) if you want to.

Other meals I use the left over meat for:
BBQ sandwiches (I love KC Masterpiece Hot 'N' Spicy BBQ Sauce)

There is 4 meals from that small roast.

For the ham, I'll put it in the crockpot and use brown sugar and then top it off with a little bit of glaze (that it comes with) right before serving. 

First meal, we eat this as sliced ham with a salad, green beans, and potatoes (mashed or baked).

When the ham has cooled, chop it into cubes and freeze it for a later time.  SAVE THE HAM HAWK (BONE) AND FREEZE IT FOR A LATER TIME!

Other meals I use with this left over ham:
ham sandwiches
ham and pineapple homemade pizza
ham and bean soup (boil the ham bone with 6 cups of water and then simmer for 3 hours to make a stock)
ham and potato casserole
added to potato soup

There is at least 6 recipes from that ham!

Ground Beef
I typicallly buy ground beef and portion in out raw and place it in the freezer.  When I buy a 2 lb. package (I try to get at least 90% lean), I usually portion it out into 3-4 different bags to freeze.  Usually recipes call for more ground beef than needed. 

A few of our favorite meals to make using ground beef are:
taco salad
*chili (strech this meal too!)
hand-squashed hamburger patties
sloppy joes
spaghetti meat sauce

There are 6 recipes (+1 if use chili suggestion below) for ground beef.

*Another meal I like to stretch, is chili.  This is especially great for the cool weather that is here!
I make a big batch in the crockpot. 

The first evening we eat the chili topped with sour cream and cheese, and some cornbread on the side.  Then for dinner a few days later, we eat baked potatoes with the leftover chili on top. 

Either buy a rotisserie chicken, boil, or use the crockpot to get some pre-cooked shredded chicken and pop it in smaller portions in the freezer.  If you use a rotisserie chicken, be sure to save the bones/skin and boil and then simmer them in water with onions and carrots for an easy and healthy chicken stock! 

Meals we frequently use shredded chicken to enjoy:
chicken noodle soup
chicken pot pie
other soups

Here are 4 recipe ideas to use chicken!
For a previous post on using a rotisserie chicken, check here.

All of these meals are super simple, and only require a little planning to use every last bit!
Brett almost always takes left overs to work for lunch the next day.  We rarely throw leftover food out because of this, and he is the envy of the break room when they get a smell of his homemade leftovers!

And don't forget, you don't have to have meat in every meal...throw in some meatless dinners in between (which usually cost less), and you have lots of delicious dinners on a budget!
How do you stretch your meals?  I would love more ideas!

2 Months Old Already!

Oh what a sweet little boy we have!  

He just turned two months, and is changing so much!

Unfortunately, I couldn't get him to smile in these, but he has been giving us a gummy grin that melts our hearts.  

His stats:

11 lbs. 
23 1/2 inches long

He is in the 25th-50th percentile on everything!  

Such a delight to have around.  

He doesn't even cry every single day (he never has)
He loves his swing (thanks to the Clarks for letting us borrow it!)
He now sleeps all through the night
He loves seeing what is going on around
He is starting to coo
Spittin' image of his father

Oh how we love this adorable little man!

I've Gone to The Dark Side...of Fashion

I was finally brave enough to try out the "dark" nails

And I really love them!

I also darkened my hair and added a few long bangs.

Next "dark" trend I want to try: deep raspberry lipstick!

Etsy Shop Open!

Well, after contemplating this idea over a year, I finally did it! 

I opened an Etsy shop!

I want my things to be affordable, so I am trying to keep prices low and shipping fees minimal. 

And if you don't see something you like, there are still products on the way!  I have lots of ideas swimming in my head.  The more I sell, the more fun, new products I can add!

I hope these will be fun gifts for yourself or a friend, especially with the holidays and cooler weather here!

My two favorite products up so far are the sequined gold and blue pieces--both can be used as a headband or necklace!  Two-for-one!

So go and take a look around, and please feel free to spread the word to your friends! 

I'm also open to feedback on what you do/don't like or something you might like to see for sale!

A Halloween Tradition

Ever since I can remember, we went to my grandma's on Halloween Evening to eat goulash and get ready to trick-or-treat. 

Well now, there are only a few kids left who trick-or-treat, but my grandma still has us over for goulash on the back porch.  With a fire in the outdoor fireplace to relax nearby, and we top off dinner with doughnuts and hot chocolate! 

It seems Landon is the star of the show now, so he usually makes an appearance in every single picture taken.  He just went in a festive onesie, we didn't stuff him in the pinata one more time (pun intended ;)!

Landon with Great-Grandma and Grandpa Clark

Landon with Aunt Cassidy

 Landon with Grandpa and Grandma Brown

Landon with Aunt Haley (who just got her mission call to Lima, Peru!  So exciting!!!)

I love this tradition!
Bless my Grandma, she is too good to us!

Feliz Halloween!

We have had a busy week so far...between Halloween festivities and Brett's birthday. 
One of those festivities was attending the Whiting's annual Halloween party!
(for last year's party and costumes, go here)

With a pretty brand new baby in tow, we had to get a little more creative. 

We went as a Fiesta! 

Landon was the star, he was our adorable pinata.
(found the idea on pinterest)

We won the "funniest costume" award (Brett is holding it in the picture above). 

I just used onesie pajamas that I thrifted from D.I. for $1, and then spent a few dollars on felt.
The only other purchase made was for the mustaches.  We borrowed a few things from my parents and had everything else already!  Talk about inexpensive costumes!

We wish he was better at taking the binkie, so he could've sported his 'stache more often!  Thank you Tara, for the mustache tutorial!

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get pictures of the decor, like I did last year, so I pulled a few off of Aubrey's Facebook.  Aubrey just recently graduated from ASU in event planning, and works at Stonebridge manor.  So you can imagine how fabulous the party looked!  It was "carnival" themed.

Loved their costume...housewife and the milkman!
Food included: build-your-own nachos, soft pretzels, and hot dogs, veggies and dip, apple and toffee dip, IBC rootbeer, spiced cider, hot chocolate, and donuts. 

The centerpieces on each table were balloons tied to a big bucket of peanuts to munch on, and an orange paper table runner to doodle on.

There was cornhole, and a kid's table and games for them as well. 

So glad we were able to go to this fabulous party, it kicked off Halloween week well!