How Much is too Much Stuff?

How much is too much stuff?  Here is in the United States we tend to have a problem with buying items, lots of items.  Every time I see the Ebates commercial I want to throw up a bit.  Yes, I use Ebates, and I think it’s a good program, after all, if you are buying something you need why not get a small rebate in return.   If you haven’t joined and wanted to, you can use my referral code, and we’ll both get a little something.  My problem with the commercial is that when those people are bragging about how much money they got back all I can think of is how much money they had to spend that get that rebate.

too much stuff

I have been off of work for the last couple of weeks recuperating from surgery, and I have a few more weeks to go.  Since I haven’t had this much time off since Belle was born, I made a list of projects to work on around the house that would keep me busy but not be too much for me.  This week I tackled Mike’s clothes and the front closet.
Not to throw my husband under the bus or anything, but this guy had over 70 t-shirts.  Yes, you read that right.  70 t-shirts which is too much stuff!  That’s not including his non t-shirt shirts and uniforms.  We won’t even go into how many pairs of shoes Belle has.  That basketful above (and those are only her shoes) isn’t all of them, only the ones in the front closet.  She has probably close to a second basketful of shoes in her room.
Needless to say, Mike no longer has that many t-shirts and he willingly even dug deeper into his closet to get rid of stuff that wasn’t on my radar yet.  Belle is bucking me a bit on the shoes.  While I’d love for her to thin down her shoes, my primary goal is to get the front closet organized.  If she wants to keep a ton of shoes in her room, that’s up to her.  She will only be allowed to keep a few of them in the front closet.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

After a cold, wet weekend here in Wisconsin, I’m hoping that we’ll have some sunny, semi-warm days ahead of us.  After a week of laying low I’d like to get out and start walking a bit.  Walking is always more fun when you aren’t cold and wet!

Last week was my first full week of convalescing since my surgery.  I feel better than I expected which tends to make you forget that you aren’t operating at 100%.  Not working and laying low is harder than you would expect but I did do it.  I want to make sure that I don’t do anything to set me back, I want to make sure that when my leave is up I’m healthy and feeling good.

I’m using this time off work to make some changes to my eating habits.  As you may know, my migraines have been worse the last couple of years, I’m exhausted all the time and have zero energy.  Earlier this year I decided to take a hard look at my diet as I’m pretty sure that the way I was eating could potentially be creating some of my problems.

Eating healthy is certainly easier when you’re home all the time, at least for me! Included in my shopping list this week was fruit and herbs to make spa water.  I’ve been enjoying a variety of different flavors this week.  So far I think the strawberry and basil has been my favorite.

Spa Water

For breakfast I’ve been mixing it up with healthy cereal and eggs, later this week I’m wanting to try some overnight oatmeal.  Lunches consist of either leftovers or healthy frozen meals (I like Amy’s frozen meals a lot.)

Since I’m home all day, Mike and I have decided to shake things up and make lunch our main meal when he’s working second shift.  That way he’ll be home to help me cook, he actually get to eat his meal fresh (i.e. not reheated) and we get to eat together.  It’s a win all around!

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Happy  Spring!  I hope everyone had a great week.  The sun is shining here in Wisconsin and it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I had major surgery last Thursday and wasn’t quite sure what kind of shape I would be in for this week for menu planning.  My assumption was that I would be in a tremendous amount of pain and be out of commission for a couple of weeks.  Fortunately that hasn’t been the case, at least so far!

I had hoped to be better prepared on the food front for my convalescence, but between our vacation and how poorly I was feeling beforehand I didn’t get much in the way of food stocked up.  The good news is I feel fabulous and am up to cooking for the family, although we chose easy meals and Mike is helping even more than normal so that I don’t over tax myself.

Feeling so good after surgery has created a bit of a dilemma  for me.  As you know, I tend to think I’m capable of waaaay more than I really am.  THAT’s what the whole Wonder Woman complex is about.  Because I’m feeling so good I’m really at risk of overdoing it.  I have the next six weeks off of work and I’m going to have to work really hard to rest and take it easy.

Given that I’m wasn’t up for a full blown grocery shopping trip, we’re planning on taking mini-trips to a store close to our house which will allow me to get out of the house a bit for some short walks.  The store is significantly more expensive than our usual place but it’s what we need to do at this stage.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Greetings!  I hope everyone had an awesome week.  Mike and I just returned from a week in the Caribbean.  I wish I could say that I was feeling refreshed and energized but that’s not quite the case.  Between all the things we did and a terrible cold I come down with midway through I’m dragging a bit today.  I haven’t had a chance to go through the pictures yet so I’ll try and share a bit more from the vacation later this week.

This is kind of a weird week for menu planning for us.  Later this week I’m having surgery which requires at least a one night hospital stay.  I’m anticipating that I won’t be up for cooking for at least a week or two post surgery.  We’ll see how I’m feeling after that.  I’ll be off work for six weeks so I’m hoping that while I’m recovering I’ll at least feel up to playing around in the kitchen with some new recipes.

To throw another little wrench in the pile, our oven isn’t working so we’re limited in only cooking on the stove top.  We will definitely be keeping it simple.  Mike isn’t to worried about it, he says that Panera’s is close by and can become our default if need be.

Since I’d rather not spend the money eating out, the plan is to try and get a couple of things cooked up and then keep the rest of it easy as Mike will be handling the cooking. We’ll see by next Sunday how I’m feeling and then decide what we’ll do for next week.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

What a bit of refreshing spring we saw here in Wisconsin this past weekend, high 50’s in February is a gift to be taken advantage of.  Unfortunately, I’m sure it was just a brief respite from cold weather and we’re sure to have some snow before the true spring hits.  No complaints here though, it was just nice to see some sun and warmth.

This week’s menu plan has already taken a bit of a hit, and it’s only Monday.  While I’m a huge proponent of menu planning, I’m also a realist who understands that life gets in the way of our best laid plans.  Although these little glitches can be frustrating, all we can do is roll with the punches and make the best of it.  Menu planning helps me roll with those punches as I have options, options are good.

While relaxing last night I got a text message that was a bit of a bummer.  My friend Melissa (she shared her Water Park Cake here a couple of years ago) has to go in for emergency surgery this morning.  Melissa found out she had breast cancer about a year and a half ago.  She’s undergone chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries.  She thought she was nearing the finish line as she has been working to fill her expanders (which is the precursor to getting implants) only to find out she has an issue with one and needs to have it removed.  It looks like it will be quite a while before she’s able to start the process again.  This has been a huge set-back as she’s also experiencing some major upheavals in her life.  If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for my friend as she’s dealing with all these crazy things that life is throwing at her.  Prayers for her healing and peace of mind would be much appreciated.

It’s texts like the ones I got from Melissa, stories of loss we hear on the news and all the other terrible things that friends and family are dealing with that help me keep my miniscule problems in perspective.  Between my messed up menu plan and migraine that I’ve been dealing with (this has been a bad headache year) it’s easy to become a negative Nellie.  However, I’d much rather be dealing with a menu plan gone awry than breast cancer.

So, it’s day two of my menu plan and it’s already gone to heck.  However, I still have a plan and we’re just re-working it.  Although inconvenient, we definitely will not starve

White Chicken Chili – A Great Way to Stay Warm this Winter

White Chicken Chili is a regular in our winter menu, making its appearance on the weekends and for lunch during the week.   Living in the frigid north means finding those meals that fill the belly and give you that inner warmth.  This chili fits the bill!

White Chicken Chili

 Although my husband loves my red chili, my go to is the white.  As I strive to eat out less at lunch during the week, I’ve found that a crockpot full of White Chicken Chili made on the weekends helps me stay true to that goal.
 Out of curiosity, I’ve tried to find the origins of white chicken chili, but there was no information to be found.  Regular chili seems to have originated in Texas sometime in the 1700 or 1800’s.    It would appear that it was an inexpensive way to easily feed a bunch of cowboys on the range  My guess is somewhere along the line somebody probably tried to healthy it up.
This recipe originally came from Weight Watchers.  At the time (many, many years ago) a cup was worth one point.  Given the changes that the program has made over the years, I have no idea how it would fit into their plan now.  I just know that it’s reasonably healthy and tastes fantastic.
 I’ve shared the recipe as I originally received it, but I’ve made a few tweaks to it over time.  Instead of 2 cups of chicken broth, I like to use a tablespoon or so of chicken base and one cup of water.  It makes the chili a little richer and less watery.  I also use extra mozzarella cheese because, well, it’s cheese! Fresh baked bread or a garlic breadstick is a perfect accompaniment to this chili.
This chili freezes great so get some small freezer containers (personal sized are my favorite for easy meals) and stock up.  You’ll thank yourself when you’re looking for something tasty to eat on the go.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Welcome to another week!  Things have been pretty quiet around here.  Mike has been doing a lot of training so he’s been home quite a bit at night.  Cooking dinner is so much more enjoyable when he’s around!  Unlike when the kids were small and I seemed to be in the kitchen by myself, we’ve found that cooking together (well, I do most of the cooking while he helps with the prep and cleans up after me) is a great way to spend time together.

This weekend we are suppose to be doing our annual “Friendsgiving” so I bought a huge turkey (25 lbs) and started defrosting it for the event only to have my oven quit on me.  A couple of weeks ago there was a big pop and spark but we couldn’t figure out what it was.  Since most of my cooking is stovetop, it took a while to see that the oven wasn’t quite getting to temp.  Sunday while I was cooking bacon it totally shut off.  We’re kind of bummed because the next opportunity for our big turkey dinner is April.  Oh well, I guess you gotta do what you gotta do!  I’m hoping to get the repair people in this week and I’m crossing my fingers that the oven isn’t shot.  It’s not that old and we splurged for the nicer model.  I really would prefer not to have to replace it!

Here’s our menu for the week.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Hello!  Welcome to another week.  Cold weather seems to be settling into Wisconsin today.  Not my favorite time of year, I hate being cold.  Especially the cold that drives right through you and leaves your skin an itchy mess.  Ugh!

Oh well, enough complaining about the weather.  Last week I had quite a few meals that ended up not getting made.  Namely my meals.  I struggled with my migraine all week (and still have it) which meant that there were some nights I just wanted up to cooking.  When I have weeks like that I try to use up the food that will go bad first which was the non-Plated meals.

Christmas is finally gone at our house.  With how crazy and stressful last year was, I’ve shut down a bit in January.  If it wasn’t for Mike, we’d probably still have our Christmas tree up 🙂  Since he did all the work of taking everything down, I had the chore of organizing it in our Holiday Closet.  While I worked on the closet, he put together my new exercise bike.  Although organizing isn’t what I would term “fun”, it felt good to get those two things crossed off the to-do list.

The past few Sunday’s I’ve spent the day cooking, getting ready for the upcoming week.  This Sunday, not so much.  I hate starting the day off a bit behind the eight ball so tonight when I get home from work I’m going to have to do some additional cooking.  This is going to be a good reminder as to why it’s better to do it on Sunday!

Steak Fajitas Recipe With Guacamole

We first tried this Steak Fajitas recipe about two years ago when it showed up in our box.  It was one of those meals that were so fantastic; Mike wanted me to cook it the following week again.  Sadly, since that time I think I’ve only made it a couple of time.  Recently we were going through some of our old recipe cards, and we found this one.  It had been a while since we had made it, so I added it to our menu.  Yikes!  I forgot how much I loved it!  Since I liked it so much (and my original pictured totally sucked!), I decided to update the image and re-share the recipe with you.  This is one of those recipes that is super easy and taste awesome.  My favorite kind of recipe!

Steak Fajitas

The recipe as written below calls for adding some hot sauce into the guacamole but I left it out and put double the hot sauce in the marinade.  That was just a personal preference on my part as I don’t like hot and spicy guacamole.  I also made the guacamole, took out half for me and then added the jalapeno for Mike.  He likes the jalapenos much more than I do. One quick tip, if you want to save time go ahead and buy pre-made guacamole (you obviously won’t need the guacamole ingredients), it may not be as tasty but it will be easier and who can complain about that?

One other recommendation that I would have is to cut the steak into bite size pieces instead of strips.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was more worried about the picture of the steak fajitas versus the eating ability, so I left the steaks in strips. Cutting the meat into bite-sized pieces will simplify the eating process.

If you like fajitas (feel free to substitute chicken for the steak if you’d like), I would highly encourage you to try this recipe as it was one of the best ones that I’ve tried.  You can bet that we’ll be having this again sometime soon!

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

While the rest of Wisconsin was glued to their TV’s watching a heartbreaking game, I was in the kitchen whipping up food for the week.  I was amazed at how much energy I had in the afternoon and was totally rocking it.  And then the migraine hit.  All last week I could feel it brewing (the weather wasn’t helping) and I was doing everything in my power to keep it from erupting.  Unfortunately there are just some triggers I can control and it reared it’s ugly head.  After 12 hours I can at least venture out of my darkened cave (also known as the master bedroom) and eat some food.  Oh yeah, and hit the publish button on this post which was just about complete when I went down.  🙂

I’ve decided this is going to be my last week of Plated for a while (wait a moment while I wipe a tear away….)  Although I absolutely LOVE the service, it has caused my weekly food bill to sky rocket.  My original intent was that the money that I budgeted for groceries would go down at least $72 so that I was status quo.  For some reason that hasn’t happened.  Although slightly lower when we get Plated, our weekly bill for the most part seems pretty consistent no matter whether we are getting a box or not.

So, I made that decision while looking for ways to cut our budget I’ve decided to only order boxes the weeks that the menu options look fabulous.  I honestly wished I would have skipped this week but I missed the deadline.  The good news is that I have plenty of fabulous menu cards to choose from so we’ll still be eating pretty darn good, it’s just that I know have to do my own measuring.  Oh the horror!

I did try a new pancake this week.  Now that I’m trying (again!) to give up my McDonald’s in the morning I need to come up with a variety of easy breakfast meals.  My favorite will still be the frittatas, but unlike my husband, I need a little variety in my life.  I found a yummy (and healthy) looking pancake recipe on, from where else, the Plated blog that I decided to try.  Of course I had to try them so I had a couple for breakfast and will be saving the rest of during the week.

Here’s what we are planning for meals this week.