Mama’s Vegetable Beef Stew

halloweennails

I am so excited about the upcoming holiday this week, Halloween! I haven’t had the urge to do any nail art recently but my excitement about Halloween has inspired me again. These are my nails to celebrate! So this is our first Halloween in our house. I’ve heard rumors that we get a lot of kids for trick-or-treating. I’m looking forward to this. Mostly because I will get to see how it feels to be apart of a holiday that is built around kids.

I am ready for my first child and am ready to start trying! We have decided to start trying in about 6 months. That will give us both time to start taking vitamins and making better choices for our health. I’ve already made some dietary changes as well as some changes in my activity levels. Walking and yoga have become a couple of things that I enjoy doing. Listening to music or talking to a friend have made the walking less tedious and more enjoyable. I have long since had an appreciation for yoga and the benefits of it on the body, now I just incorporate it into my daily routine. I have a night time yoga routine that has caused me to sleep so hard I don’t want to wake up in the mornings, yet when I do finally wake up I am refreshed and relaxed. That is a great advance from the position I was in just a few weeks ago.

With the cool air coming in I made one of my favorite things in this world, vegetable beef stew. My mother makes the absolute best but I took a go at it and was fairly successful, it tasted very similar to hers. (not quite as good mom 😉 ) Now before I post the recipe I want to state that I grabbed things that I had available in my pantry and you are encouraged to do the same. Being a stockpile couponer like myself is very helpful when the mood strikes for something like this.

mamasvegetablebeefstew

Mama’s Vegetable Beef Stew

Cook time: at least 45 minutes – 8 hours
Prep time: 5 minutes… how fast can you open your canned veggies?
Serves: 6-8 people
Calories: 433 calories for 2 cups of soup
1.5 lbs of stew beef
2 cans of tomato soup (i used condensed cause that’s what was in my cabinet)
1 can whole corn kernels
1 can green beans
1 can sweet peas
1 – 1 1/2 cups of carrots (I had fresh so that’s what i used. feel free to use canned.)
1 tbsp of parsley
1 tbsp of onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Brown off the stew beef  in a big stock pot. Cook until the meat is not gushing blood anymore and all sides are brown (about 10 mins). Remember that the whole purpose is to have tender beef so were just pre-cooking it here.
2. I drain about half of the fat off and leave the rest because I have high cholesterol and love to have a little meat juice in mine. Feel free to drain it off completely.
3. Add the meat back, with all other ingredients. Stir together and bring to a soft boil. Turn down to about medium low (you want it to be simmering) and put a lid on it.
4. Cook for as long as possible. (I let mine simmer for about 4 1/2 hours this time and stirred every 30-45 minutes.) While you are waiting for it to cook feel free to check in with friends on facebook and to catch up on pinterest. Don’t worry about the laundry, crying children, or mandatory errands. This is your time to cook so while it simmers away, do something for yourself so that you may simmer in your own awesomeness.
5. I made cornbread to serve with mine. (you can find that recipe on the side of the cornmeal bag 🙂 ) My husband went back for seconds, I had it for lunch the next day. I still have plenty for a whole 4 more meals.

If for some reason your family does not suck up all the goodness within a few days, freeze it! When those deep winter days come and all you want is a great cup of homemade soup, go directly to your freezer and thaw! The great thing about making this stew is that it is never the same twice, especially if you are using your pantry as the ingredients. Another fantastic thing about this, the leftovers get better and better because its been partying while in the fridge.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

September’s Monthly Menu

September meal plans

At the Becoming Conference a few weeks ago I had been given an idea by the Freezer Fairy to make a monthly meal plan. I’ve been really slack these past few years on making meal plans and shopping list. Its ended up costing me several trips to the store, several trips to the local fast food place, and spending way more than my budget. I know how to properly put up a menu, make a shopping list, and stick to it. So when I heard this idea of a monthly menu I figured I’d try it. So last month I planned out, by week, our meals. It was a wonderful thing to come home and know I’m making xyz for dinner. I thought it would bug me because my whims may change but I loved not having to think about anything. I also loved not having to answer that dreaded question What’s for dinner? So I sat down this and wrote out a menu for the whole month of September.

My husband and I decided that we were going to eat chicken and fish mostly. Its cheaper and its healthier. So after Labor Day (we had to cook out on Labor Day) we are not going to eat any red meat, as much as possible. I remember back when I was a child we went through a time where we were eating chicken every night, literally. My mother got very creative with the ways that she made it but I often got tired of chicken. I’m hoping that by mixing in fish (I adore all things fish) and pizza I won’t tire from chicken. Everything gets better in practice so I should be fairly good at cooking chicken in different ways by the end of this month. Now, I am not a great chef by any means. I have a few good meals I can make and only a couple of family recipes. So I enlisted the help of Pinterest for meal ideas. So each week there is a new meal to try from pinterest. I’ll give you guys an update each week with how those turn out.

I love Target clearance

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Every week I love to go by my local Target and see what kind of clearance deals they have. On my way home from my daughter’s volleyball game (proud momma syndrome in full effect) I decided to run by Target and see what they had in store. While searching the aisles I found a great deal in the freezer section. The garlic butter pepperoni pizza Lean Pocket family pack (12 sandwiches) was on clearance for $4.98. Original price on these is usually $10 at least. It was the last one and my frugal-senses starting tingling. “I bet I could get a better price on this,” I thought.

Of course I can with my handy dandy coupon saving ways! I did not have my coupons with me so I used two apps on my phone that I love for saving money. Shopkick is great! They use gps and wireless to give you points when you walk into certain stores. Usually Target gives about 50 points per walk-in. During your time in the store you can also scan items to get extra points. Now when you have accumulated enough points you can buy gift cards to stores.

500 points ——-> $2

1250 points —–> $5

2500 points ——> $10

5000 points ——->$20

It doesn’t take long to accumulate points just walk into stores each week and even scan a few items. This extra few minutes in the store each week is worth a great amount of savings.

The other app that I love to use is Cartwheel. It is a newer app to me but I am loving it. Cartwheel is exclusively for Target. In Cartwheel many everyday items have discounts from 5% – 20% off. You can add items to your cartwheel account and then it generates a scan code for the cashier. The discounts are good for multiple uses until the coupon expires. My husband loves this app because he is an avid movie collector and likes to use the coupons on movies that would otherwise not have any discounts.

So after checking both apps I had a $2 gift card on Shopkick and 10% off from Cartwheel. Which ended up costing $2.49 plus tax for the Lean Pocket family pack, YAY! Great deal!