what’s in your fridge?

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household… vs. 15a

So last night my roommates shared with me this wonderful website that solves all of my problems! Well, kinda.

I love to plan weekly meal menus. However, whenever I do that, I find myself wanting to get recipes that require ingredients that I do not currently have. Well, I often want to do those recipes so badly, that I can’t stop thinking about it. So I just buy the ingredients (which in turn means I spend more money than I need to, when I have food in my refrigerator/pantry/freezer already!).

This website is called My Fridge Food. On the home page, you can do a “quick find,” where you just put main items that you have. Or you can click on “Use detailed kitchen” and put in pretty much any item you can think of that you have in your home. Then whenever you click the magical “Search for recipes” button it will bring up all the recipes that you can make with the food you already have! It will also pull up recipes that you have most of the ingredients for and let you know the one you are missing (in case you think you can substitute or for something or leave that ingredient out). Is that a miracle or what? Okay, maybe I’m a little too excited about this. However, there are SO many benefits to this:

Benefit #1: If you didn’t have time to make a menu for the week yet, simply put in your ingredients and quickly find something to make for your meal.

Benefit #2: You can actually utilize the items you have in your home.

Benefit #3: You can learn new ways to cook. You may think something like, “I didn’t know I could make that using that!”

Benefit #4: It’s organized. And you all know how much I appreciate that.

Benefit #5: It’s suspenseful. Okay, yeah this seems kinda silly. But as I was putting in all the food I had, I found myself getting impatient and excited all at the same time wanting to know what the magical search button would come up with.

Benefit #6: It’s free! I mean, what more could you want?

So props to whoever made My Fridge Food. I wish I would have patented it myself.

Let me know if you try it and if you like it!

Coming soon: Monkey Bread post….a recipe spontaneously found on My Fridge Food!

 

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an introduction to couponing.

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. vs. 20

So I have this friend. She’s probably one of the most hospitable people I know. Whenever I am sick, she brings me a “care package” of vitamins, hot cocoa, soup, etc… She also will randomly bless with me with beauty products. And almost every time I go to say, “thank you,” she lets me know that most of the items she was able to get couponing! And instead of keeping them for her and her hubby, she wants to bless me with them. Gosh, what a friend. So today she is the guest blogger giving us some tips and a simple introduction to couponing. She doesn’t have a blog; however, she will see your feedback through this blog. So give her some love and let her know what you think!


How would you like to start saving money on your grocery bill? Well after the famous TLC show, Extreme Couponing, I decided I would give it a try. I thought that if I could start saving just $50-$100 a month, it would be worth it.  That is a savings of $600-$1,200 a year! Sometimes when we can see the big picture, it makes it more worthwhile. On average, I usually spend about 2 hours a week. However, some weeks I don’t spend much time at all, especially during the holidays. But its up to you how much time you will set aside for this. The more time you put into it it, the more money you will save.

Here are some helpful hints just to get you started:
Where to find them: Start by ordering your Sunday paper. The Southern Illinoisan (for our local region) has a special 20 for $20. If you live in this area, go to their website. Trust me… you will make that dollar up in no time. You can also ask family and friends to save their Sunday coupons for you. Once you have your coupons you can cut the ones you use and put them in a small coupon booklet that you can keep in your purse. You have no idea how many times I am at the store and see something on sale that I have a coupon for! Since I had it with me, I was able to use it. You can also store them is by putting a date on the front of the paper with a marker. There are many websites like Coupon Mom that give helpful tips on couponing.  On her website, all you have to do is go to the store you like, and she will give you a rundown on all the sales with the dates on the coupons for it. Another great resource is Money Saving Mom.

Know Your Stores: Get to know 2-3 different stores and their policies. This will take time and effort, but once you have it down its not that bad. My three stores are Kroger, CVS and Walgreen’s because they are close to home. I also like the drugstores because of their rewards programs. Coupon Mom has a Drugstore video that explains how to save at these stores. Kroger also has what they call “manager’s specials”. These are items that have been price-reduced. If you don’t know where they are located, just ask a clerk. I usually like to go through the items and see if I have a coupon for it. I have gotten some great deals that way.

 Develop a Stock Pile: Buying items when they are at their lowest price is great. However, when you do this, you often accumulate a lot of stuff. You may be thinking, “I don’t have that kinda space!” Well, I don’t have a big home either, but you don’t have to. All you need is a small space in your pantry and/or your closet where you can store these items. If something is on sale, I try to buy at least six items or more. These items are usually nonparishable items like pasta, can goods, beauty products, etc…. My husbands loves that he can just go in our closet and get toothpaste, body wash or deodorant when he is out. It’s like having a little store in your house. Of course, this will take time to build up, but it will be worth it. 

Expired Coupons: What to do with your expired coupons? Well, you can donate them for military families to use. They are allowed to use expired coupons for up to 1 year after the expiration date on base and at the commissaries abroad. Now you don’t have to throw away an expired coupon. Just go to Coupons to Troops.

 Donate: Once you have been doing couponing for a while, you can donate to a local food pantry, family, or friends. I think the best part about couponing for me is that I get to share with others the blessings God has given me.

-Mayra Miranda McHugh

And the winner is…

*Drum roll please……*

Erica! She is the winner of the soap giveaway. About a week ago, I posted about a soap giveaway here. Amy, from A Blossoming Life, was so gracious to donate some of her homemade soap for our giveaway.

Erica: You’re one blessed gal to get some of this homemade goodness! I hope you enjoy it. Once I ship it to you, let the readers here know what you think and give Amy a shout out too 🙂 I’m sure she’d love it.

Readers: There will be more giveaways in the future! So keep checking back.

Bloggers: If you have some crafty project, homemade item, or anything cute and creative you would like to donate to this blog for a giveaway, let me know! I’d love to have you advertise with here and bless one of the readers.

first feature: cozy home scenes.

Hello readers! I have exciting news. I was featured in a blog by Shannon called Cozy Home Scenes. Every Monday she has a Cozy Home Party (link party). I started participating this last week. And then she decided to feature my post Pie in Mason Jar.

Shannon  has a love for making all things in a home cozy. Her blog gives recipes, home decorating ideas, crafts, and lots of creative goodness.

Check her out and give her some lovely comments!

homemade mozzarella sticks: skinny style.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. vs. 27

I did it. I finally made homemade mozzarella cheese sticks. About a month ago, I found this recipe on Skinny Taste: baked mozzarella cheese sticks. Baked= healthy. Well, they are semi-healthy. They are even called “skinny mozzarella sticks.” Needless to say, I’ve been swooning over these.

Well, these turned out surprisingly well! However, it did take a long time. The assembly part and baking part, not so much. The freezing part was time consuming. Oh well, it was worth it when I had that first warm, cheesy bite.

Here are the cast of characters:

Breaking it down:

  • 12 sticks mozzarella string cheese (I recommend skim-milk cheese for a healthier version)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • olive oil cooking spray

Here’s how you make it:

Step 1: Cut the 12 mozzarella sticks in half (to make 24 sticks).

Step 2: Freeze em’ (don’t skip this step!).

Step 3: Set up assembly station.

Put beaten egg in one bowl, flour in another bowl, and italian bread crumbs, panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley in another bowl.

Step 4: Take sticks out of freezer, and dip them in flour first, egg second, and crumbs third.

Step 5: Put the assembled sticks back in the freezer.

Make yourself some hot tea while you wait and watch a short tv show. Or go to Sarah’s blog and leave her a nice comment. Both options are good.

Step 6: Put foil on a baking pan and spray with the olive oil mist.

Step 7: Lightly spray the mozzarella sticks with the olive oil too.

Step 8: Cook on 400 degrees. Cook them on one side for 5 minutes. Turn them over and cook the other side for 5 minutes. Take out of the oven. And smile at your cheesy creation.

Step 9: If you’re feeling it, serve with marinara.

So let me know if you make these and how they turn out! Also, what are other homemade recipes you like to make?

*This is part of Fingerprints on the Fridge link party.

*This is part of Homestead Barn Hop.

*This is part of The Girl Creative link party.

calorie-burning activities.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. vs. 30

As you can tell, I like to cook. This also means that I like to eat. Food is a wonderful God-given creation. So that means it’s important that I like to work out just as I like to eat. I am by no means an expert on this topic. However, I do have a passion for working out and staying fit. Some of you may have a new years resolution to work out. Getting a work out routine is essential, but sometimes you can burn a few calories throughout the day, before you even get to the gym after work. Rather than giving you a new workout routine for you to “shed those calories,” I thought it would be helpful to give you little things that you can do at the office, grocery shopping, or while at home that burn calories. If you combine these small tips, with a workout routine, your body will sure appreciate you. And you will appreciate it too.

Disclaimer: Working out is extremely important for your physical, emotional, and psychological needs. Please do not replace this with a workout routine.  It’s good to do these little things throughout the day in addition to a regular routine.

11 Activities That Burn More Calories

1. Take the stairs.

Every day I go to work, I walk up three flights of stairs. I use to be breathing pretty heavily by the time I finally reached the top. Now, it actually feels good and gives me a burst of energy.

2. Don’t email or instant message a co-worker (unless that’s the office etiquette), instead walk to their desk.

I have worked a lot of desk jobs. It can go two ways: you sit there all day…and feel really sleepy about mid-day OR you sit there for a bit, get up and move, talk to others, and then not feel quite as sleepy.

3. Park towards the back of Wal-Mart parking lot.

Yeah, be that person. You can just pretend it’s that you want to preserve your “nice” car, even if it is a junker. Sport it. Park in the back. And if you can, carry your bags to the car instead of using a cart to pack em’ there.

4. Clean your house.

With my height and weight, I burn 133 calories per hour just by cleaning. I’m sure there’s an hour worth of cleaning you can do. Put on some music while you do it.

5. Pace while you are on the phone.

If you are chatting with your family long distance or catching up with a friend, just simply pace back and forth. It really doesn’t take that much effort, and it keeps your metabolism going.

6. Drink water.

H2O, in general. is good for our bodies and helps us lose weight. Whenever you drink water, your body works to absorb it and burns calories while it’s doing that work.

7. When you walk, make it brisk.

Instead of lazily dragging your feet, walk briskly. Not only will you burn more but also feel more energetic.

8. Ride your bike.

If you are meeting a friend for lunch just a few minutes away, jump on that bicycle. It helps the environment too.

9. Do the dishes, instead of putting them in the dishwasher.

If I do the dishes, I burn 69 calories per hour. Even if you do it fifteen minutes, it’s something.

10. The day the sun starts shining a little brighter, give your car a bath.

Yes, it takes more time to actually wash it yourself instead of taking it through a car wash. But let’s face it, a car wash costs anywhere from $5-10. And if you get a friend to wash it with you, you can dump the soapy bucket on them after you’re done. Now how fun is that?

11. Don’t just do one of these little activities, combine some or all of them.

Being fit is really a mindset. If you say, “I am going to ALWAYS pace when I am one the phone,” that’s great. However, I don’t know if you will feel or even see many results. The idea is that you take these tips and combine them to have a more healthy lifestyle. Think on a daily basis, “How can I change what I’m doing?”

Also, if you aren’t happy with your figure, I want you to know that God made you in His Image. Beautiful. Yes, take care of your body. But don’t be too hard on yourself. Embrace yourself, love handles and all.

lemon breaded chicken.

She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family vs. 15a

Need something quick and easy for dinner tonight? This is the perfect meal!

Lemon Breaded Chicken.

I added roasted potatoes and steamed garlic brussel sprouts with it. It was a good relationship.

I got this recipe from Tasty Kitchen.

I modified it slightly based off of what I had in my kitchen.

The cast of characters are…

(for two servings)

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Pepper
  • ¼ cups Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 pinch Onion Powder
  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

In a bowl, combine the melted butter, a clove of garlic minced, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

On a plate, combine the italian bread crumbs, panko crumbs, and a dash of onion powder

Then set up a little dipping station with your chicken, buttery bowl of goodness, and crumbs…

Dip your chicken in the butter bowl, then the crumb bowl…
Bake in the oven on 350 degrees. The recipe says 25 minutes, but I actually left it in about 35 minutes. Add some parsley for a nice look.
Serve and enjoy! What are you cooking for dinner tonight? Maybe you can add this simple meal to your menu!
*This is part of Slightly Indulgent link party.

homemade soap giveaway.

She makes linen garments and sells them..vs. 24a

Today is a special kinda day. Our first giveaway! Yep, this is something that benefits you. If you liked the post  Saving Money and Being Green with Cleaning, then you will like this! That sweet, crafty friend of mine is donating homemade soap to give to one of my readers!

Amy does a great job at making this soap. She is currently working on starting her own company called Kaia Bear Soap Co. I use this soap on my face every night, and I love it! Makes it as soft as a baby’s botttom….well, close enough.

So now you just have to enter the giveaway! I will be announcing it in a few posts who wins the soap. Then we can communicate via email, and I will mail it to you.

To enter: 

(You must do these three things).

1. Subscribe to my blog via email. You can do that on the homepage, right side of the page.

2. “Like” Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman on facebook.

3. Visit Amy’s blog…A Blossoming Life. Then leave me a comment on this post with your email address (in case you win), and let me know what post you liked on her blog.

So, let’s do this! I am ready to give some away.

This was part of the Homestead Barn Hop.  😀

our first piece of furniture.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. vs. 26

The Mister and I bought our first piece of furniture for the home we will be moving into when we get married. It was an…interesting experience. Fun, yes. But not really like I had imagined it.

First let me start over. He and I have this “vision” of what we want the wedding to look like. Everyone just wearin’  their Sunday best, old looking furniture in the yard, fall leaves on the ground, delicious tasting pie, and lots and lots of boogie. Not booze…boogie. You know, DANCING. Just to be clear.

Anyway, so over the past I don’t know..8 months or so of being engaged we have been on the lookout for furniture that we want to incorporate for the wedding. Well, there’s this new store in Carbondale called Kirkland’s. I kinda thought it was like a Hobby Lobby style place (no offense to the furniture lovers there). I love that store. However, I wanted a little more rustic looking furniture. However, I was wrong about this place called Kirkland’s. They have some stuff we really like!

We agreed not to purchase any furniture for the wedding that we won’t use in our home. Well, we found something we like. Not only thought that, but I also had a Grand Opening $25 off coupon to use. This piece of furniture, at the wedding, is going to be under the big tree that we will be standing under when we say, “I do!” And yes, I WILL be saying it with an exclamation point at the end of my sentence on the big day.

So here it is…

The funny part about this shopping trip was Mister Cook. I kept saying, “Aren’t you excited?! Don’t you love it?” Since he wasn’t giving me the screeching, jumping-up-and-down reaction I wanted, I kept probing him for more. So he decides to start dancing around the store while speaking in a high-pitched girly voice saying phrases like, “I love it! This is SO much fun! This is a great store!”

Ok. I got the point. Later on he preceded to say, “Sarah, just because I love to watch theater shows with you, enjoy dancing with you, and you call me boisterous..does not mean I care about furniture shopping like you do.”

Very valid point, Mister Cook. I must say, I have a great soon-to-be-husband. He’s beyond what I could have ever hoped for. I can’t always expect him to react  in the ways I do. Yes, he was smiling while in the store. He was positive. And he was happy to be there. No, he was not jumping up and down while using the word EXCITED every 3 seconds. And that’s ok. God designed us differently. And I like that.

So needless to say, our first furniture shopping experience was a success. We got a piece for the wedding (which by the way, will be all decked out with flowers coming out of the drawers and such next time you see it), have a nice table for our future first home, and learned a lot about our differences.

good ol’ homestyle chili.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. vs. 11

As soon as the sun doesn’t shine quite as bright and you need to carry a light jacket around, it’s time for chili. Fall, winter, and a little bit of spring…all of those times are chili-eating-seasons.

I like to make it in the crock pot. For two reasons:

1. It tastes really good.

2. It makes your house smell delicious whenever you come home after a long day.

Here’s my recipe for chili:

(I think you will like it. Mister Cook is my biggest fan with this meal.)

1. Brown some ground beef. Notice it is in big chunks? Leave it like that. It makes for a nice hearty soup.

2. Dice up a fresh tomato.

3. Put the ground beef and these ingredients in the crock pot.

(dash of chili powder, tomato sauce, halfway drained kidney beans, parsley, pepper, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder)

4. Let it cook or low for about 5-8 hours or high for 2-4 hours. And enjoy!