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Archive for February, 2008

Crock pot extravaganza and Side Stream Income

February 28th, 2008 at 07:26 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1509.93 old total
$40.00 babysitting
--------------------------
TOTAL: $1549.93

I made $40 babysitting last night.

I've also been working really hard this month to eat from my pantry and freezer. I should run the numbers and see if my grocery bill was any different this month.

I've also been making great use of my beloved Crock Pot:

Tonight's creation used up some bulgur I've had on the shelf for some time. I skipped the parsley because it would have required a trip to the store. I didn't precook anything and just tossed everything in and cooked on low all day. I also used homemade chicken broth made from a chicken carcass (mmmm, tasty) I had stored in the freezer. The end result of the bulgur pilaf was decent. Not something I LOVED, but good enough. The chicken broth, on the other hand, was great. I really like how the recipe has you puree the chicken meat and vegetables into the broth rather than just toss them. It gives the broth a richer flavor and adds more nutrients.

Free $100!

February 27th, 2008 at 07:56 pm

Did you get your free Suze Orman book on Valentine's Day?

If not, there's another chance for a freebie advertised on page 85 of the book:

Get started on Suze’s Save Yourself Plan by opening a new account with TD AMERITRADE, featuring a special high-yield deposit account with a 2.78% Annual Percentage Yield (as of February 1, 2008). Your cash is held in an FDIC-insured Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA) at TD Bank USA, N.A.

There are no maintenance fees on the account, plus you receive the $100 offer for making 12 monthly automatic deposits of at least $50 each to help you build up your account balance. […] Should you need to withdraw the money prior to the twelve-month commitment, you may withdraw all of your deposits, plus the interest earned. However, you will forfeit the $100 bonus.


I'm game! AMERITRADE's money-market interest rate isn't as good as others, but the $100 bonus makes up for it.

For more info, see A Message from Suze and Jonathan from MyMoneyBlog's post on this offer.

Ripped Denim

February 20th, 2008 at 07:49 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1474.93 old total
$35.00 babysitting
--------------------------
TOTAL: $1509.93

I made $35 babysitting tonight and then fell on the sidewalk after leaving their house and ripped a hole in the knee of splurge jeans. Uggh. Ripped designer denim IS NOT the look I'm going for!

Sidestream Income

February 18th, 2008 at 06:29 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1114.93 old total
$360.00 House / Dog sitting
--------------------------
TOTAL: $1474.93

I received payment for the house / dog sitting I did earlier this month. I've decided to deposit all house sitting money in my Roth IRA to help me reach this year's 5K maximum contribution.

Free Suze Orman "Women & Money"

February 14th, 2008 at 07:53 am

Download a free copy of Suze Orman's book "Women and Money" until 8pm tonight from Oprah's web site.

The related show looks very interesting. Unfortunately I'm traveling and won't be able to watch my Tivo'ed episode until next week!

Leftovers + Creativity

February 11th, 2008 at 06:19 pm

I love being able to make dinner using odds and ends in the kitchen.

Last night I threw the following into the Crockpot:

1/2 diced onion
1 diced green pepper
Tomato Sauce (leftover from a 28 oz can I opened last week for homemade pizza)
1- 8 oz package tempeh, crumbled (purchased for a recipe I intended to make weeks ago but never did)
Leftover black beans from my dried-bean experiment
2 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

I turned it to low and let it work it's magic while I was at work all day.

Any guesses to what this made?

Anyone?

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes! I spooned the "meat" onto a roll with some lettuce... the result was super yummy, frugal, and easy.

Frugal Valentine's Day

February 10th, 2008 at 07:30 am

Even though we're currently living in different cities, I am going to be able to spend Valentine's Day with Mr. Bean this year. That's a special treat itself since Valentine's Day is on a Thursday and I usually can only visit on weekends.

Our Valentine's Day plans are pretty much the same as they are every year: a special home cooked meal and night in. We're both happy with this arrangement. We do have tickets to a performance on Friday night, so that's another something special to look forward to. I blogged about our Valentine's Day last year- it was fabulous, but again, it was the time together rather than any fancy event that made it so much fun.

Read Meredith from Like Merchant Ships post and comments on St. Valentine's Day Without Spending post for more ideas. I particularly liked the one idea in the comments to secretly spruce the guest room as a romantic Valentine's Day suite! What a fantastic idea! We don't have any spare rooms, but if someday we do, I'll definitely keep that idea in mind!

Pinecone Survey

February 6th, 2008 at 05:54 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1111.93 old total
$3 Pinecone Survey
--------------------------
TOTAL: $1114.93

I received my first PineCone check today! The money certainly is better than MySurvey.com-- the only other survey site I participate in. At this rate, I could stand to make $20 / year from surveys ;-)

I haven't babysat in a week, but I will housit starting on Friday for 6 days. That should bring in another $360.

Aldi Love, Aldi Hate

February 5th, 2008 at 06:06 pm

Remember my excitement over the $0.99 boxes of sushi from Aldi? Well, put your jealousy to rest, beacuse that was about all they were worth. The rice was hard, and the fish texture was off. All in all, I was disappointed and glad I hadn't paid the original price of (gasp) $5.99 / box. With that said, I ate all the boxes I purchased and was glad I had them on hand for days when I didn't have leftovers for lunch. I'd say I was as happy with the frozen sushi as I'd be with a microwave meal.

This got me thinking about what Aldi items I do love. Things that came to mind:

Mama Casita Canned tomatoes with chilies, at $0.49 / 14.5 oz can these are a great value, plus the chilies are nice and spicy- unlike my store brand. The plain diced tomatoes are also a great value at $0.44 / 14.5 oz.

Block Cheese, $1.79 / 8 oz

Just Juice (a Juicy juice knock off), $1.89 / 64 oz

Millville Cereal (most are $1.69 / 16 oz. box and taste just like the name brand)

Millville Rolled Oats ($1.49 for a huge canister)

Fresh baby spinach, $1.39 / 9 oz bag. although the last time I was there it was close to expiration and on sale for $0.50!

Butter, $1.89 / pound.

Chicken Broth ($0.39 / 14.5 oz can)

I am disappointed with the Aldi shredded cheese. It has a lot of extra preservatives and it doesn't melt terribly well. Similar issues with Aldi's 100% Whole Wheat. It is 100% whole wheat but also has a laundry list of other ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup.

What Aldi items do you love? What are you disappointed with?

Dried Beans

February 4th, 2008 at 03:59 pm

My blog's title is due in part to my fondness for the humble bean. Legumes are wholesome, tasty, versatile and cheap, what else could you want in food?

Despite my bean penchant, I admit always buying the canned rather than dried variety. Once, as a college student, I tried to cook dried beans and the result was less than appetizing. My local grocery stores sells a variety of canned 15.5 oz beans for $0.55 each, so dried beans hardly seem worth the hassle.

However, yesterday I threw caution to the wind and cooked up some dried beans in the Crockpot. The result was superb! I mixed 1 cup dried beans with 4 cups water and 1 bay leaf, turned the crock pot on high and ~5 hours later, I had a pot of tasty, fragrant beans.

I used about 3/4 in a chili recipe and will use the rest later this week.

I'm converted!