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I had a fairly good week in terms of Weight Watchers losses and I am back on a downward trend! Next week barring a major issue I should earn my official 25lb sticker (I am only.4lbs away) which is exactly where I was a few weeks ago when I got off track. I feel good getting back on track. I am also busy writing posts from last weeks cooking, there were some very good things. Look for those to go online throughout the week.

BBQChickenSandwich
One of the amazing things I cooked this week was 4 chicken breasts that I had previously frozen in a marinade a few weeks ago. I have made no less than 4 meals out of those stinking chicken breasts, and that is a very important point when it comes to cooking healthfully and frugally. You can lose weight and not break the bank and eat delicious food! It is not super easy, you have to use coupons, watch sales and plan for those essential healthy items like higher priced bread, tortillas, etc.

However, a good example is what I bought this week. If you got Sunday’s paper you got coupons for Nature’s Pride bread (a good choice) for $1.98 with Safeway coupon. Also, I pay close attention to sale produce. I tend to spend about $20 per week in produce . . . I eat my 5 – 6 servings of fruits and veggies! This week you can get 2 cantaloupe for $4, giant artichokes for $1, BOGO raspberries and blueberries, and zucchini for $1 per pound. All of these items are in my fridge waiting to be used in my menu. By shopping this way I save the most money and eat what is in season and freshest. And that chicken I used to make 4 meals this week, I got for $.99/lb . . . that’s $.50 per meal for 2 people!

I am also very proud of my shopping this week! I started keeping a price book, a concept that I have seen on a lot of frugal blogs. I just needed to write out a list of the items I thought were thrifty deals and have a space to match in my coupons and track the rewards. This also helped me budget out what I am spending. This worked really well for me this week. I also pulled all my coupons prior to shopping and stuck in the price book before each stop. This saved me a lot of time, instead of spending over an hour in Walgreens, CVS/Longs, Nob Hill and Safeway. I did the first 3 within 2 hours (including driving) and Safeway in about 30 minutes! And I only spent $70 out of pocket at all 4 stores!

This coming week there are a lot of deals and CVS/Longs is finally using the extra care bucks, so I am going to want to start collecting those. But I already have my price book going for the week and am matching my coupons. Next week, if I have time I will even take a photo of what I get to share with you all. I mean it is amazing how much more I am able to get. Just to give you an idea I got a large pack of paper towels, large pack of TP, 5 boxes of cereal, canned goods, mustard, boxed mac and cheese, toothpaste, tooth brushes, plus all my weekly groceries and produce for that $70!

And now . .. after all my blathering on about sales, my menu!

Menu for 5/31 – 6/6

Sunday: The best chicken sandwich ever (pictured above: toasted bread, fat-free ranch, chicken mixed with bbq sauce, tomato, mixed greens, 1 piece crispy bacon), and to finish up my chicken . . . BBQ Chicken Tortizza and a salad (look for my Tortizza post on Monday!)

Monday: 6 Week Raisin Bran Muffins, OAMC Taco Shells (last of my once a month cooking in April), Mexican Zucchini, Guacamole

Tuesday: Pork Medallions, Rice, Roasted Vegetable Salad

Wednesday: Honey Mustard Chicken Legs, Sweet Potato Fries, Broccoli

Thursday: Homemade Whole Wheat Hot Pockets (using TJ whole wheat pizza dough), Salad

Friday: Dinner Out or Leftovers

Saturday: Out with my friend (belated birthday celebration!)
Sunday: Wicked in SF with my Sis!!!! (another birthday celebration . . . I am having the longest birthday ever!!!)

For more menus visit: Orgjunkie.com

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Happy Memorial Day Everyone! And Happy Birthday to me! After the big festival this weekend here in San Ramon, I am a little pooped! But I took today off and my son ended up spending most of the day at a friends house . .. this was a treat! I relaxed, had coffee with a friend, did laundry and went to Safeway! Then in a few minutes we are going to meet my family for sushi and frozen yogurt (my healthy dessert request!)

This week will be a little crazy at work (believe it or not!). Working in Parks & Rec means we are getting geared up for summer, plus with budget issues and pending retirements we are doing a little reorganizing . . . so it should be an interesting week to say the least! I am keeping my menus simple and trying cook from some of my newer cookbooks and magazines. There were some great pork and beef sales this week so I do have some treats for us in store, plus there is a chocolate section of the new WW cookbook that you can buy at the meetings called “Hit the Spot” so I am giving that a whirl with a recipe for Brownie Thins that is only 2 WW pts per serving . .. I will fill you in if it is as good as the picture in the book!

Monday: Sushi and birthday fro yo!
Tuesday: Turkey/Lean Ground Pork Sliders, broccoli slaw and oven onion and zucchini rings and brownie thin (can you say yum!)
Wednesday: Grilled steakwith black bean, corn and tomato and quinoa salad and a skinny margarita (I know it is a Wednesday but I told you it is a crazy week!)
Thursday: Mexican Tortizza and jicama slaw
Friday: Marinated Grilled Chicken with roasted pepper and bulgar salad

For more menus visit: orgjunkie.com

After all of the Kraft Foods online coupons last week (what you didn’t get yours? . . . click here! or register and print here) there are some great sales at all three major grocery stores this weekend! Don’t pay anything for BBQ sauce, salad dressing and lots of crackers for under a buck!

Here is my must buy list!
Safeway
Ground Turkey 2 for $6 (this beats the costco price!)
$.99/lb bone-in chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks
$4.67/lb Rib-eye or NY Strip steaks (seems pricey, but this is my price point for steak as it is over half off at this price)
Life Cereal $1.99 (using recent printable $1 off coupon or ones from inside oatmeal box!) = $.99
Ritz/Wheat Thins Crackers or Toasted Chips $1.88 ($1 of coupon see above) = $.88
Duracell battery super coupon for $2 off stack with $.50 from 5/17 SS
Colgate Toothpaste super coupon $1.99 stack with $1 off from 5/10 SS
Mangoes $.77
Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs 2 for $1.98 with Super Coupon use $1.00 off 2 printable
Bar S Franks $.99 use $1 off 2 from 5/10 RP
Best Foods Mayo $1.99 with Super Coupon
Kraft Singles .99 with super coupon in Sunday insert ad, use $1 off 2 printable

Nob Hill
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts $1.77 per pound (a decent price and I am out!)
Nabisco Crackers $1.69 use $1 off from printable coupons = $.69
Cool Whip $.99 use $1 off 2 printable
A1 Sauce $2.99 use $1 off printable = $1.99
Kraft Salad Dressing 3 for $5 buy any 4 kraft products get a FREE Bull’s BBQ Sauce, use $1.50 from 5/10 SS
McCormick Marinade Packet $.79 use $.50 off 5/10 SS
Weber Marinade Mix $.69 use $.50 off 5/10 SS

Lucky’s
Sargento Cheese $1.79 Friday, Sat, Sun only
Sweet Baby Ray BBQ Sauce 2 for $3 use $1 off 2 coupon
Kraft BBQ Super Coupon $.79 limit 2 use $1 off printable = Free plus $.21 overage
Planter’s Peanuts $1.99 use $1 off printable coupon

The great thing about having all the stores with great deals is they shouldn’t run out. Also if you are looking for chips, sodas, etc there are great deals . . . I am just overstocked at the moment and there isn’t anything I can’t pass up! Plus I am trying to avoid the unhealthy . . .although I promised my DS that this weekend we could do some hot dogs, I am hoping some of the turkey dogs are on special! Pretty much by this weekend I won’t need to buy salad dressing or bbq sauce till next summer!

This week started off good, but ended not so good. The good news is I tracked everything, but I had way too much snacking, junk stuff. This week I am going to focus on eating whole foods, fruits, veggies, lean protein and whole grains. Staying within my daily points and using my weekly points very sparingly. After making a big cake this weekend I am kind of sweet food out anyways. I am determined to break that 25lb mark . . . it has become a barrier and I need to charge at it and knock it down and never look back. I am using mostly weight watchers/hungry girl recipes as that will definitely give me a solid plan for staying within my daily points!

Also, with Memorial Day coming up (and my birthday) I am totally in the mood for summer food. It was really hot this weekend so I made grilled chicken and greek orzo salad and grilled corn on Sunday night with a big dish of watermelon. It was like summer on a plate! So I have lots of casual summer food this week on my menu. Plus I just got Hungry Girls new cookbook “200 under 200” and there was a buffalo chicken recipe in there that sound right up my buffalo lovin’ boys alley!

Our big local festival is this weekend so I will be very busy on Sunday with its kick off and then on Monday I plan on getting up and going to see the hot air balloon launch! And then enjoying the rest of the day! I don’t have any major plans, but I am going to try and keep the festivities in check so I don’t blow my hard work this week and then next week will really watch it to make up for some birthday splurges. There are a couple of new WW desserts from the new cookbook (only available at the meetings) that I might try instead of just getting a crazy dessert at a restaurant! But we shall see . . . I will let you know how it goes!

Monday: Cajun Chicken Stroganoff (didn’t get to it last week), whole wheat egg noodles, salad
Tuesday: Turkey Burgers, Onion and Zucchini Rings
Wednesday: Hungry Girl Boneless Buffalo Chicken, Butternut Squash Fries, Veggies and dip
Thursday: Jambalaya, rice, broccoli
Friday: Pizza!
Saturday:Turkey Dogs, Baked Beans, Light Potato Salad, Tomato Cucumber Salad
Sunday: Art and Wind Festival!
Monday: My Birthday!

Snacks This week: Watermelon (mmm!), WW Haystack Cookies (1/4 cup choc. chips, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1 cup fiber one), and because the boy requested chocolate chip cookies . . . I thought I would give this recipe a try!

For more great menu ideas visit orgjunkie.com

Menu Plan Monday

As promised, I thought I would share some of the things I do with those money saving large size meat packages that go on sale and are just too good of a deal to pass up! I know in my area Safeway has a sale on boneless, skinless chicken breasts every 4-6 weeks, usually down to $1.99/pound and a couple times a year they go down to $.99/pound! I always scoop up a couple of these packages. And I used to just break them up into meal sized bags and add them to the piles of mystery items in my freezer. Now, I do lots of different things with them so that a) they don’t just sit there waiting for inspiration on what do with them and b) make my life easier by having meals ready to go!

Here are some things I did with my recent chicken and ground turkey purchase:

1. Freeze it in a marinade
This is probably my favorite thing to do with any meat purchase. If you like grilled marinaded meat you can make (or buy) your favorite and freeze it in that marinade. The reason is that as the chicken (or beef or pork) defrosts in your refrigerator it will marinade. Otherwise you have to defrost the chicken and then marinade it . . . this saves you a step! Here is one of my favorites:

Garlic, Lemon and Herb Marinade
9 -12 Chicken Breasts
6 Garlic Cloves minced
Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons
1/3 cup of chopped Fresh Herbs (I used a combo of parsley, rosemary and thyme)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO
Salt and Pepper

2. Grill, poach or roast
If you make casseroles, pizza or salads that use a lot of pre-cooked chicken, you can cook and freeze it and then defrost what you need. You have probably bought the expensive pre-cooked chicken strips at the grocery store or costco. They are very convenient, but very expensive when it takes a little bit of time to cook and freeze yourself. This works well with whole chickens, I will even stick this in the crock pot which is very little effort for a lot of chicken meat for casseroles, etc!

3. Turn ground meat into meatballs, meatloaf and burgers
If you have a favorite burger, meatloaf or meatball recipe you can freeze these either cooked or uncooked. My meatballs I tend to cook, that way I can throw them into sauce or soup for an instant meal. My burgers and meatloaf I tend to freeze raw. For my taste they are much better cooked fresh, and the burgers thaw out in minutes for a great last minute meal!

I hope you like some of my suggestions, and I know I would love to hear about yours! What do you do with your bargain meat?

Menu for 5/11 – 5/16
Monday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Grilled Shrimp, Salad
Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Pizza (leftover bbq chicken, whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joes and veggies!)
Wednesday: Pesto Burgers and oven fries (recipe to come!)
Thursday: Cajun Chicken Stroganoff, whole wheat egg noodles, zucchini
Friday: Taco Shells, salad
Saturday: My nieces birthday party, making a surfboard cake . . . probably order pizza :0)

For more menu ideas visit: orgjunkie.com

I have been gone a long time! This time of year is insane at work and it was everything I could do to keep my head above water. As you can see I am still going on my weight loss, but with travel and craziness I have been hanging around the same weight (up then down, rinse, repeat) for about a month. I think a lot of it has to do with not tracking as diligently as I was and a big part of my tracking success is menu planning. And posting your menu online is one sure way to make sure you create and follow one.

Also, I have developed a new hobby which is helping towards some long term financial goals, couponing! I am becoming a deal queen and learning from some great women bloggers! I haven’t found a lot of fellow SF Bay Area frugal bloggers, so I thought I would share my deals when I find them!

To quick off my return to blogging I thought I would share what I made for Mother’s Day. My mom is out of town (touring Greece!), and I spent a much needed day off on Friday with my sister and nieces, so it is just me and my guy today! You can tell what life stage he is at by my requests for Mother’s Day this year. All I wanted was some help around the house, to make or order whatever food I wanted and no complaining about anything . . . he gave me a look out of the corner of his eye and said “Ok mom!” . .. sigh . . . teenagers!

But so far my day has been great. Did the majority of my errands yesterday, so I took myself out for coffee (and coupon scavenge) while he slept in and then I picked up a few things at Safeway. Which by the way I got 2lbs of strawberries today for FREE!

Strawberries
How?

I downloaded and printed the 1lb free coupon from the Safeway website, then they were on sale for Buy One Get One Free! Do free strawberries taste sweeter, yes . . . yes they do!

Now for my healthy, easy carnitas!

Carnitas

This was inspired by a sample at Trader Joes! They mixed their ready made carnitas with green salsa and it was so tasty. But they use pork shoulder which is too fatty for WW. So I made my own version in the Crock Pot with pork tenderloin . .. oh . . . my … goodness! This the real deal!

2 lbs of Pork Tenderloin (2 tenderloins approximately)
1 large onion sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp worcestershire
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp Cumin (I am such a cumin freak!)
salt and pepper (I used 1 tsp of each)
slice fresh jalapeno (remove seeds and membrane if you like things mild)
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 jar Green Salsa

Layer onions in the bottom of slow cooker. Top with tenderloins and sprinkle on remaining ingredients (except salsa). Cook on low for 4 hours. Shred and toss with salsa. If you like them crispy, spray your non-stick skillet with olive oil spray and crisp them up. Then remove from heat and toss with salsa after they cool for a minute (this is to preserve the texture you worked so hard for!)

6 servings at 4 WW PTS per serving

The great thing about this is I took about half of the recipe and threw it in my freezer for another day . . . it will be great someday in the very near future for quesadillas or burritos! I can’t wait!

For other great recipes: http://www.lifeasmom.com/

I will be posting my menu tomorrow and will include some suggestions for small families who buy the family packs of meat to save lots of money!

Happy Mom’s Day to everyone!