Leeks, Eggs and Bacon

I really love this dish. It’s quick enough for a weeknight and usually just the perfect amount of food.

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Leeks, Eggs and Bacon
This is one of our most favorite reset dinners. There are only so many nights in a row we can indulge in rich meals before J and I begin craving simple, vegetable-heavy dishes. While this dish is at its peak in spring, if you can find leeks year round, don't be afraid to try it out of season.
Cuisines French
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisines French
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut each leek lengthwise into halves and then cut each half into half circles. Soak leeks in a large bowl of cool water to allow any dirt to settle to the bottom. The best way we've found to do this is using a salad spinner.
  2. In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the leeks to the skillet.
  4. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. It's best to let them brown a bit on the bottoms. Sprinkle with thyme and cook one minute more.
  5. Add stock, reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Braise the leeks At this point you can choose to either cover the leeks or leave them uncovered. Uncovered the flavor concentrates a bit more but covered there is more broth to sop up with bread. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until the leeks are very tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve. We like to serve it with some french bread, crumble cooked bacon and hard-boiled eggs.
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No Spend January 2019 – Final Update

As I mentioned earlier this month, we implement a no spend January (or another month) at least once a year.  It’s February 1 and time to access how the month went. Spoiler: We failed but it wasn’t a complete loss.

To review, below are the “rules” we used to give us structure for the month.

We can spend money on necessities, such as:

  • gasoline
  • groceries
  • rent or mortgage
  • utilities
  • insurance (car, home, etc.)
  • childcare
  • other fixed expenses (for us this is Netflix, Roku and iTunes)
  • halfway through we had to add a car repair*

We avoid spending money on:

  • dining out (lunches or dinner)
  • clothes shopping
  • trips to the movie theater, amusement park, museums, etc.
  • coffee shops (see dining out)
  • Amazon purchases (we do make heavy use of the save for later feature)

For us, a no spend month boils down to: is this a want or a need. If it is a need, then that’s the end of it. If it is a want, then we wait and if it is something we can live without for the 31 days, we reevaluate if it is something that can wait longer.

When I wrote the first update 10 days in, we’d already spent unplanned money on an 80 percent off sale at our local craft store for $11 to make this special snowflake wreath craft during a snowstorm and surprise day off school.

We saved a golden ticket for a free meal at a restaurant and used that to celebrate a milestone event. It was fun going to a place we don’t usually go to. We did pay tip so the leftover $10 went to that but it still means aside from the necessary expenses and J’s trip, we’re meeting our goals.

But after that, it sort of went a bit downhill. Several of the expenses listed below were not necessities. In fact, if I’m being honest, only three were necessities.

  • An online game charge of $22 + $50
  • Pizza for New Year’s Day football watching with friends $30
  • McDonald’s lunch on the road $10
  • Chik FIl A when J wanted to spoil Miss A for a great night $16
  • Chik Fil A (lunch when a friend had to bail and I couldn’t get home in time to make something for myself ) $10
  • A lunch meeting $11
  • Post swimming doughnuts $11
  • One of our favorite restaurants to celebrate a birthday with our family $86
  • JoAnn’s (so my mom could knit Miss A another winter hat and me another scarf, thanks mom!)  $18
  • Special Day celebration at an indoor play place during a blizzard for Miss A $14
  • Amazon Movie (one we are certain we owned but couldn’t find, so had to purchase the digital download again) $10
  • Home Depot $292 to replace the snowblower we sold (so this really equals $0!)
  • Lowe’s (Miss A’s closet door has needed to be replaced since we moved in and we needed to replace to light fixtures that weren’t working, this would have been a LOT higher but we had gift cards to use) $285
  • Car repair (some of it was scheduled maintenance but it still made an impact on our plans to spend minimally) $275
  • Once Upon a Child (I sold a few things and Miss A grew and needed new pants) $17

Added up that was about $865. If you subtract the special day celebration, car repairs and clothes as necessities, it was $559. If we take out the closet repairs, it’s a much more palatable $274. Not our best no spend month but not the worst. Even with the unexpected expenses we still ended up spending about $250 less than our average, which is absolutely something to celebrate!

In reviewing the expenses and where we failed, our Achilles heel is dining out which accounted for $174 this month. It’s something to work on for our family. So while it wasn’t the best no spend month, it was a good reset. In fact, we’ve decided to keep it up through February 2019!

Japanese hibachi style fried rice

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Japanese hibachi style fried rice
After a recent trip to our local Hibachi grill, we realized that copying the food at home wouldn’t be that difficult. So after a quick internet search, we found exactly what we were looking for the fried rice recipe.
Cuisines Asian
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisines Asian
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. The Rice: Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Put in bowl and place in refrigerator to cool while getting the rest of the ingredients together.
  3. Eggs: Scramble the eggs in a small pan over medium heat. Separate the scrambled chunks of egg into small pea-size bits while cooking.
  4. When rice has cooled to near room temperature, add peas, shredded carrot, scrambled egg and diced onion to the bowl.
  5. Dump the bowl of rice into the pan with the eggs.
  6. Slowly add soy sauce plus a dash of salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  7. Cook rice for 6-8 minutes over heat, stirring often. (We actually only cooked it for about another 5. This will depend on the Wok you are using and how hot your stovetop gets.)
  8. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

My opinion: I love this rice. It's simple and filling enough to eat as a meal by itself.

Flourless Banana Muffins

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Flourless Banana Muffins
I'm a rather big fan of banana muffins. Mostly because they're just as tasty as banana bread, but cook faster and are easier to transport. Plus, you can add all kinds of things, like blueberries, to them and they're still wonderful. My usual recipe calls for flour, but some how we were out. So I found this recipe from Chase and Em's blog. With a few modifications, I had some super fast, delicious, friend-worthy muffins.
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line with silicone or foil liners.
  3. Grind the oatmeal into oatmeal flour (we used our coffee grinder for this, a half cup at a time) and put in a mixing bowl. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, mashing the banana.
  4. Pour into the coated or lined muffin tins (ours took about a half cup each) making sure to leave room for the muffins to rise.
  5. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Our oven took a little more than 20 minutes. Just set a timer for 15 minutes, check, if necessary add another 5 , check, and then keep a close eye after that.
Recipe Notes

Just as easy as the old standby box mix, these muffins were wonderful. We ended up freezing about half and they are just as good warmed up in the microwave for about 30 seconds

Best Blueberry Muffin Recipe Ever

I love blueberry muffins. My husband loves blueberry muffins. Our preschooler loves blueberry muffins. We make them nearly every Sunday morning and eat them through the week. To be honest, they are usually gone by Tuesday. J has figured out how to use frozen blueberries and keep them from exploding while baking. I consider this nothing short of genius.

 

 

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Best Blueberry Muffin Recipe Ever
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Recipe Notes

If using frozen blueberries, do not defrost them! Keep them frozen and toss with flour to keep them from exploding in the oven or turning the batter blue.