Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Every few months or so, B has an epiphany. It's usually one of two things. 1: I'm going to give up meat for xx months. 2: I'm going to go to the gym four times a week (Or some other physical statement). This weekended he added a third: 3: I'm not watching TV for the month of June. He actually gave me all three situations for the month of June. I'm used to this. He does this quite often. I support him and all of his somewhat ridiculous statements (not that these are ridiculous). I'll change my menu plan to avoid all meat and fried foods. I'll think of activities to do instead of watching tv and so on. This will last up to a week. Seriously. It usually starts with me making a salad for a meal and he'll stop and get a burger. Why? Because he's busy/coming down with something/tired/or whatever and "needs" protein. Forget the fact that the salad I've made has garbanzo beans or whatever. Then he'll "forget" that he said no TV and will watch something. Before the week is through, it's back to the same ole' B.

So according to him, starting June 1 B will not be eating meat or fried foods and will not watch any TV. Of course, he made it clear that does not include any DVD's he may have at home.

I'll keep you posted as to how long this lasts. My bet is one week...max.

Budget Bust

OMG! I spent so much money this holiday weekend!!! Mostly it was just on eating out and buying gifts for birthdays that fall this week. I'll be back on track in June, and although I didn't charge anything, it still hurt adding up all my receipts!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Menu Plan 05/30 - 06/04

As you can see from next week's menu plan, I am cooking more and more Indian food. I'm actually quite surprised how much it smells like my mom's kitchen! B is enjoying it and I am happy that he is happy. I'll post the recipes to some of the Indian recipes I've made soon.

Dinner: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with potato salad

Dinner: Pav Vada (Spiced potato patties served on a buttered toasted roll)

Dinner: Potato Bhaji (Spiced curred potatoes) and naan

Dinner: Taquitos

Dinner: Utthapum (Savory crepe with onions and chilies)

Dinner: Aloo Mattar (Potato and Pea Curry) with rice

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I used to be an amazing reader. I would pick up a book and not be able to put it down until it was finished. For the past many years, I've virtually stopped reading for various reasons. One being I didn't make the time to read and second, I didn't want to buy books and then have to store them somewhere. I dislike clutter. B is a voracious reader. He always tried me to start that hobby again and I never really did. Last week, he surprised me with the Kindle. He said that this way I won't have the clutter I was worried about. OMG. I love it! Now instead of searching the internet for beauty products, I'm searching for books. Although most Kindle books are around $10, the $10 here and there add up fast! I am watching it, though and for right now I am so happy that I'm reading again. I didn't really realize how much I've missed getting engrossed in someone else's life!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I watch Glee. I LOVE Glee. On Tuesdays, I try to make something quick and easy so I'll be all done in the kitchen in time for me to watch my show. Yesterday, I decided to do a short cut of teriyaki chicken. I have made my own sauce and although it is very easy, I thought I'd take the even easier route and use the store bought bottle variety. BOMB! Whenever I use store bought foods, I always doctor it up a little. So yesterday, I added fresh garlic and ginger, a drizzle of honey, and a little cornstarch to thicken it up and sesame seeds and scallions on top. It looked great! B took a bite and said it tasted just like the restaurant kind. I was elated. He took another bite and winced. He said it was too salty. Now, this is the guy that will put extra salt on just about everything. He likes his food salty, so when he said that this was too salty, I couldn't believe it. I tasted it (about 20 minutes after I cooked it) and I puckered! OMG! It tasted like brine!

It proves sometimes a short cut is not always the best idea. As a result, I had to buy lunch out today. Lesson learned.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pasta with Tuna, Basil, and Tomatoes

The thought of tuna and pasta together used to make me want to hurl. This dish is so different! I used to make this all the time years ago and then it just fell out of my rotation. I'm officially bring it back! It is so quick and tasty!! Who would have thought that tuna and pasta would go together??

3/4 lb of pasta (I used farfalle)
2 cans of albacore tuna (drained well)
2 tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
3 Tbs olive oil
a handful of fresh basil minced
2 garlic cloves minced
Red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan cheese
Reserved Pasta Water

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the tuna and garlic. Cook for approximately five minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook. In the meantime, cook your pasta according to packaged directions. Before draining, reserve about a cup of the cooking water. In the skillet, add the basil, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes. Stir in a bit of the pasta water. Stir it in until it develops a bit of a sauce. Stir in some Parmesan cheese. The pasta water and cheese will create a bit of a creamy consistency. Add the cooked pasta and stir until well combined. Serve!

I know this may sound weird, but it is really very very good!

Menu Plan 05/23 - 05/28

Last week, I cooked only a handful of times. We ate out on some days and other days we ate leftovers. Yesterday, I cooked for the first time in what seemed like weeks. In reality it was only like 5 days. This week, I am back on track.

Dinner: Spaghetti and meatballs

Dinner: Teriyaki chicken

Dinner: Date night out!

Dinner: Vada sambar

Dinner: Pizza


Dinner: Utthapam

Monday, May 16, 2011

Frugal at What Cost?

We all have pet peeves.  One of mine is moochers.  I just can’t stand them.  Of course, when one is on a budget for whatever reason, there are sacrifices that will be made.  This is by choice.  If I choose not to buy something because it doesn’t fit in my budget, it is my choice.  If I do buy it, then I face the consequences if any.  I do not expect others to get it for me or to pitch in on my behalf.  It is my choice and my lifestyle and I’ll deal.

It seems lately, I’m reading more and more about people who don’t want to spend the money on certain things, but expect others to step it.  For example, this young woman is expecting her first child with her husband.  They are able to pay their mortgage, bills, and groceries, but there may be little left for “wants”.  They decided to have a baby and now expect the baby’s grandmother to provide day care…for free.  There was a moment, when they thought the grandmother would not be able to provide this services and she started started to freak out because she is now pregnant and cannot afford day care. My thing is if you cannot afford day care, then please do not plan to have a kid until your finances allow you to.  If the grandmother agreed to day care, then you can take her up on it, but it will be on the grandmother’s terms.  You can either take it or leave it.

Another lady is getting married and has enlisted her mother in law to create gifts for her bridesmaids.  This couple can afford gifts.  She is always “bragging” about how much money she has saved at her young age, yet she won’t dish out a couple hundred bucks toward gifts for your friends!

Maybe I’m in the minority, but it is just so annoying!!  I’ll get off my soap box now….

Friday, May 13, 2011

Menu Plan 05/16 - 05/21

This week, I'll still be cooking Indian for 50% of the meals.  B is loving it!

Dinner:  Asian lettuce wraps

Dinner:  Kobi chi Bhaji (again!)

Dinner:  Tuna pasta -- I haven't made this in years, but it is sooo good!!

Dinner:  Vada Sambar (fried lentil dumplings with a spicy lentil soup)

Dinner:  Pizza

Dinner:  Uthapam (savory "pancake" with onions, chilies, and tomatoes)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sauteed Spiced Cabbage (Kobi Bhaji)

I do occasionally cook Indian food.  The kind I normally make is the rich, decadent variety.  B wanted to eat simple home cooked Indian and while it is tasty, I thought he would be disappointed as it doesn't really resemble the kind you get at restaurants.  I was wrong. 

This cabbage dish is very common in Indian homes.  My mom makes it herself once a week.  It is simple, healthy, and tasty.  B loved it so much that we don't have any leftovers for lunch!

3 C shredded cabbage
1 potato -- diced into small pieces
1/4 C peas
2 Tbs oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper

In a pot, heat oil and add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start sputtering, add the tumeric and potatoes.  Stir around for a few minutes and add the cabbage.  Mix well and cover.  Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.  Once the potatoes are tender, add the peas, salt, sugar, and cayenne.  You may have to add a little water to help steam the potatoes and cabbage. Just add a few tablespoons at at time.

That is it!  I served it with Trader Joe's naan.  B was very happy with it and ate four servings worth in one sitting!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Anyone ever feel they are in a rut?  I think I'm in one now.  There are so many things I'd like to do for a little change and yet I don't do it.

I'd like to lose some weight.  I'm ready to do it and yet I don't and just say "tomorrow...".    I'm tired of being the "girl with a pretty face".

I want to totally de-clutter the house, but when I have a free moment to do it, I'm just too tired to do anything else other than relax.

I've let my appearance go in recent years.  I'm a total girly girl and I do keep my nails and toes done (by me!) at all times, but I feel when the weekend comes, I don't do anything special.  Unless we're going out, I live in sweats, flip flops, and have my hair in a ponytail.  This might be because during the week, I live in semi-professional clothes and heels.  I want to feel more like a girl on the weekends too!

Last summer, I bought an entire new wardrobe.  Today, I feel like I have nothing to wear.  I've already cleaned out the closet and given like four huge trash bags of clothes to Goodwill, but my closet is still overflowing.  I definitely don't need new clothes, just have to find the clothes I already have.

I have a couple of business ideas that I think are really good! One would require continuing education and the other would just require me being disciplined with my time and workload.  I feel my ideas need to be perfect before I take action, but I know that that's not necessarily realistic.

I'm really not a lazy person, but sometimes I just feel so overworked in every aspect of my life that I just don't feel I have another moment for something else.

I have to change that.  I will change that.

Friday, May 6, 2011


In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I made taquitos last night.   I lied.  I was going to make them anyway and it happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo.

1 lb of ground beef (cooked and drained) or shredded cooked chicken
1/2 C salsa
1 small onion -- chopped
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 tsp chipotle pepper -- minced
Shredded cheese -- whichever you prefer
10 flour tortillas

To  your meat add the onion and garlic and chipotle pepper.  Stir until the onions are soft.  Add salsa and stir until warmed through.  Taste and add any salt or pepper as necessary.

Heat about an inch of oil for a shallow pan fry.  Warm up the tortillas so they are just pliable, but not crisp.

Take a warm tortilla and add about two tablespoons of meat mixture on the part of the tortilla closest to you.  Spread it out so it falls in a line.  Don't take it right to the edges, but stop about an inch or two from the edge.  Add a sprinkle of cheese or however much you like.  Roll it away from you, making it as tight as you can without tearing the tortilla.  Fasten with a toothpick.  Shallow fry for a couple of minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Drain the taquitos.  I used a large bowl stuffed with paper towels so any oil inside the taquito dripped away. 

I served these with sour cream and shredded lettuce with chopped tomatoes.  They were very good.  Even B was surprised!!

Menu Plan 05/09 - 05/14

B wants Indian food.  That's fine, but the kind of Indian food I like is the kind with rich heavy curries.  B wants the more home style kind.  Next week, I'm going to do 50% of what I want and 50% of what he wants. He'll probably come back to my side the following week :)

Dinner:  Teriyaki chicken

Dinner:  Sauteed curried cabbage (Kobi Bhaji)  and naan

Dinner:  Chicken salad sandwiches

Dinner:  Sauteed spinach and potatoes and rice

Dinner:  Hamburgers

Dinner:  Curried peas and potatoes (aloo mattar) and rice

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Asian Style Rice

This is a quick one pot rice dish!  B loved it and said it was one of his favorite rice dishes.

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion -- chopped
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 1/4 C uncooked rice
2 1/2 C water
1 C frozen or fresh vegetables (whatever you have on hand)
1 envelope of dry onion soup mix
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
hot sauce and pepper to taste

Brown meat and drain well.  Add chopped onion, garlic, rice, soup mix, soy sauce. Stir for a couple of minutes.  Add water and sesame oil, hot sauce, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.  When rice is tender, make a hole in the rice and pour in the frozen veggies. Cover with hot rice and cover the pot for ten minutes.  If you use fresh veggies, you can boil them with the rice.  Add chopped green onions prior to serving.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Journey

I take after my dad in a lot of ways.  We have the exact same smile and we spend money like crazy.  My dad has always been very generous.  While, my dad is very generous with money, he is also smart with it.  I just spent money but  I wasn't smart with it.

Up until four years ago, I never had debt.  Zero. Zilch. Nada. I used credit cards, but paid off the balance every month!  I came across a certain situation that I will not go into right now that forced me to look at myself.  I realized that I had debt I was responsible for.  Yup, to the tune of $18,177.90.  I still remember the exact figure.When I found out, I flipped out. I cried, screamed, and threw the mother of all tantrums. It also gave me anxiety like I had never experienced before.  I just wanted someone to tell me that everything would be okay.  Yes, some people did, but I needed to hear it all the time. Of course, I was insane.

After about a month of just stressing out (I lost 30 lbs in one month!), I decided to take action. I took on a second job. Yes, it paid peanuts and yes, it was horrible, but it gave me approximately $400 extra month to throw towards debt. I also joined the message board Women In Red.  There, I had my accountability and people telling me that it will all be okay...tirelessly.   For the first time ever, I came up with a budget and I started saving.  I saved before, but it was paltry.  I saved MORE as I was trying to get out of debt! I reworked my entire financial situation.  Every nickel I made from the second job, I threw towards debt.  I cut all things fun from my everyday paycheck and threw that towards debt. It became addicting and I couldn't wait to get paid and then in turn make payments.  I loved watching the numbers decrease. Of course, I took a couple of months off of debt repayment to just live. And then I had car repairs, but I just got back on track.  On November 2, 2009, I paid off my debt.  Two and a half years after my financial upheaval. 

Today, I am still debt free and have more in the bank than I ever did before.  Yes, I still sometimes resent the fact that I threw all that money towards debt vs. my savings/pockets, but if it weren't for that situation, I'd still be squandering money.  I don't think I'd be saving so aggressively now if it weren't for the hell I faced four years ago.

I hope never to find myself in that situation again.  But if, by chance I do, I know now that I can get myself out of it.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I of all people can do it, anyone can.  Trust me.

I did it again!

I went over my weekly grocery budget.  I finally found those Brie Bites at Trader Joe's and then I found miniature goat cheese bites.  I went over budget by $8 and the cost of the two cheeses was $8. I really need to start sticking to the list again!

Yesterday, my family and I went shopping all afternoon.  It was hot and the stores my mom wanted to go into were not close together.  We walked all afternoon in the sun.  I got home and started my laundry and went grocery shopping.  The elevator to my apartment will be out for a couple of weeks and of course, I live on the top floor.  I carried, rather schlepped, heavy bags up the stairs and just stayed there.  I had chicken defrosting in the fridge and yet had no desire to make anything with it.  We ate out at Chipotle.  So, of course, that means, we'll have lunch out today as well.

I'll get back on track.