Monthly Archives: March 2014

Weekly Meals and Menu Plan ~


MEAL APPEAL happened!

Wow – I am completely EXHAUSTED! But in a HAPPY, completely satisfied kind of way!

We just put in 2-12 hour days – running and chopping and running and chopping… on my feet! I am a ‘desk jockey’ and CLEARLY extremely out of shape so there is a BIG learning curve there!

BUT again – getting a group of friends (27 of them) together to make 340 meals – was INTENSE and EXCITING and I honestly can’t wait to do it again!

The feedback has been amazing so far… and really – who doesn’t want to have 10 meals in their freezer, all ready to go?!! We are going to do it again this coming Saturday for anyone else interested and then we scheduled 4/26 to make 10 NEW meals.

Great Example – Today we had the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet and had an awesome spaghetti dinner so that covered today – but yet again another reason I love having these meals in the freezer…. Sunday’s WERE my cooking days and not being home all day would have ruined my meal plan for the week ~ NOT anymore!! I have 10 beauties right in my freezer!

Be sure to like the facebook page and stay tuned for the web site! (Click HERE to link)

So – I planned our weekly menu and of course, the shopping list! Using 5* of my FREEZER MEALS which is half of my stash and cost $62.50 (1/2 of the $125 for 10 meals), the following list is all I will need to buy to complete the meals below and to have AMAZING dinners for my family of 5! And truthfully – none of the add-ons are really needed…. You may eat just the dinner as prepared but I am trying to get more vegetables and fruits in my family! The bread sticks, rice and cheese just round it all out!!   LOL

* We are using 5 of the meals per week since I am assuming one night is generally leftovers or something you prefer – like CEREAL – and also if you are as busy as we are, there will be a 2nd night during the week that you have to order out, or in!



  • Taco shells
  • Melon and Grapes
  • Block of Cheese to slice
  • Garlic Bread Sticks
  • Minute Rice
  • Stir Fry Veggies
  • Asparagus – or other fresh veggie to go with Cordon Bleus




Monday: Scalloped Potatoes and Ham  – using up the left over ham from a meal we made last week. We have salad and bread left from the spaghetti dinner so comfort food all around on the dreaded Monday, back to reality day!  This is an alternate day.


Tuesday: Taco Casserole – the first of my FREEZER MEALS, this was the families universal choice! We have shells – hard and soft and I grabbed a musk melon today to go with it.


Wednesday: Chicken and Biscuits – I have a work meeting and “The Grands” are coming! This will be a perfect FREEZER MEAL because it feeds plenty AND there will be plenty of leftovers for lunches! The remaining melon along with a grape and cheese platter is the perfect addition!


Thursday: Home Style Ziti – Another FREEZER MEAL that can be popped in and baked the minute we get home – gotta be quick and easy so I can get “my TV time on” ~ SCANDAL!! This meal is so hearty that I will simply offer small garlic bread sticks with it.


Friday: Hawaiian Chicken – you guessed it, it’s in my FREEZER MEAL stash and since I will be prepping at the bakery until late at night, my family can still have an awesome meal! K can make some minute rice and we have some canned sweet and sour peppers that we are going to toss in the crock. Or maybe they will heat up some frozen stir fry veggies.


Saturday: Chicken Cordon Bleu – it is MEAL APPEAL workshop #2 day (Wish us luck), I will not be home until late but these babies, from the FREEZER MEAL stash will cook in under 30 minutes – K can pop them in when I am on my way home and I will walk into a delicious meal!! I hope to come across some good asparagus this week that can be broiled and served with these amazing chicken bundles.


Sunday:  TO BE DETERMINED – I will be practicing more new freezer meals!  Alternate day #2.




Rite-aid – especially because of the FREE mouth guard soaks! * Check out the deals HERE


So – there you have it… a run down on the Meal Appeal Freezer Meals we are having in our own Meal Plan, including the shopping list to make it all work. Rite-aid deals are also listed. Now make sure you LIKE the Meal Appeal facebook page and give us some feedback ~ Thank You!!!

Have a GREAT week friends!!

Rite Aid DEALS ~ week of 3/30/2014


I love to find a DEAL on one item my family can definitely use, that works to continue rolling my UPS each week and this week at Rite Aid that item is the Guard Soaks ! We can definitely use these – with all the sports! It also looks like we can grab some FREE Loreal eye shadow and Mitchum Deodorant for only $.99… and if I were so inclined to play with false lashes, I MAY be able to get those for FREE too!!

Check out these deals:


Efferdent Fresh Guard Soak 24 ct or Wipes 20 ct – $5.99

-$1 Efferdent Product – 3/2 SS

Get $5 +Up (limit 2)



Loreal Eye Shadows – start at $4.89 SALE = 40% off

-$2 Loreal eye – 3/23 RP

AND -$1 Rite aid Video Value coupon

= FREE!!


Mitchum Deodorant – $3.99

-$2 Mitchum Product – 2/23 SS

AND – $1/1 “in-ad” coupon

= $0.99


And how about this doozy:

Revlon false eyelashes – many are in the $5 range…

Get $5 +up

= possibly FREE (gold bonus??)


Happy Shopping!!

MONEY Monday, a third try at balancing and a visit to the Utilities….


It’s “MONEY MONDAY” again… if you are following this series, this is a step by step detail of how I am getting my budget under control – and how you can too!

Here was Step ONE

And Here was Step TWO

Both initial reviews had me realizing that my LEVEL 3 spending / “monthly, weekly, daily incidentals” are always WAY higher than I budget for… and in my case, I am talking WAY more!  I had to revamp my monthly budget to include a lot more items that I previously wasn’t counting (see the example in STEP 2) and even after  really trying to get a complete handle on it this week threw me for a curve yet again with a few little things adding up to BIG totals…  My daughter had not one – but 2 – field trips and each one cost a $20 spot and the kids had a school dance that was $10 each plus snack money… not to mention Lu needed something to wear cuz we all know you can’t wear something you already have….  I had to pay for our girl scout cookies and somehow my family managed to plow away 7 boxes in the past couple weeks… and my stupid key fob for my car quit working and I had to replace the battery, which mind you is NOT a $3 watch battery like I thought – and even though I completely redid my vehicle expense category, this was not something I ever thought of!  So $200 later, I am once again revisiting my budgeted expenses and revamping and realizing that the only answer is a sugar daddy I may also have to revisit my level 2 and even level 1 expenses to determine where I can draw the money from to make the Level 3 – monthly incidentals budget out.  This is where it gets very frustrating and I know for me, this is when I get sick of dealing with it and think if I ignore it will somehow fix itself…  WRONG!!! 

Because we have a very TIGHT budget (aka – live paycheck to paycheck) and I now can see why I am always “Robbing Peter to pay Paul”, I have to do one of 2 things:  either reduce my spending – somewhere… somehow…, or increase my income!  Increasing my income at this exact point in my life is not really possible so we definitely need to reduce our expenses! 

Looking at Level 2 expenses – all my monthly “BILLS”, I want to start with investigating all of my utility payments…  we have:

  • ·         Propane
  • ·         Electric
  • ·         Verizon (cellular and internet – UGH)
  • ·         Dish Network
  • ·         Also our vehicle Insurance

I am going to review each one of these expenses to see exactly what we are paying…  right off the bat I can tell you our VERIZON is outrageous and our DISH is useless….  I am thrilled with my insurance agent (HI MT) and I am more than happy that I locked in my propane this year.  So I will start with Verizon and Dish…  I’ll let you know how this goes!

Who’s playing along?  How are your LEVEL 2 expenses?


Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan


Wow – what a week we’ve had?  I don’t know about you, but I am ready to start fresh and new!  I had to travel for a work meeting so I was out in that horrible storm on Wednesday and even though we had already planned on staying overnight, the storm was so bad everywhere that the entire town shut down and we could not even go out for dinner!  We came home Thursday evening and realized we should have called ahead to have someone plow our vehicles out… what a mess, we were all buried!  I was never so happy to get home as I was on Thursday night.  Then – even though I had a planned three day weekend – I never had any down time, except for my special TV hour on Sunday when I watch Tricia and Ree on the Food Network!!  Hey, everyone has their vices – right??!!

I did make some pretty amazing food this weekend… I’ve been prepping and practicing for our FREEZER MEAL WORKSHOPS (Have you liked MEAL APPEAL on facebook yet?).  I made a delicious SHEPARD’S PIE (see the recipe HERE) and then I tried two versions of chicken… stay tuned for the MAPLE DIJON CHICKEN, it was truly amazing!!  Today I made my “sauce” (recipe HERE) and then I made a SKILLET LASAGNA – whoa… if you have never done so, you will have to try skillet lasagna; it was so easy and quick, yet tasted just as good as a lasagna you spent all day on.  I will share the recipe this week as well.

I planned out the HOT deals at Rite-aid… couple freebies and cheap ($.50/pack) pads so definitely worth a quick trip.  See the RITE-AID DEALS here!!

Then I planned my weekly menu ~



Monday:  Chicken Fajitas – using left over chunk chicken from my “Bourbon Chicken” meal last week


Tuesday:  Corned Beef and Cabbage – my family loves it… I do not!  We are having a work luncheon focusing on CB&C, so I am making same day so I only have to smell it and see it one day – LOL!!


Wednesday:  Taco Bar – taco meat is in the freezer, I will put it in a small crock pot and set out toppings since K and I have a dinner date with friends! 


ThursdayReubens – I have a meeting, so K and the kids can eat up the left over corned beef. {BLECH }


FridayPIZZA for all – Lu and I have a Girl Scout overnight so boys are on their own!


SaturdayBURGERSTROGANOFF – the next FREEZER MEAL on my “to-try” list.  I LOVE having these meals all set in my freezer and need the 29th to get here so I can get more in my stash!! 


SundayTURKEY DINNER – more because I need the space in my freezer (for next week’s new FREEZER MEAL stash) and I still have quite a few turkeys in there.



Wow – feeling much better about ANOTHER crazy week ahead now that I have this all planned out… How about you?

 Big shopping plans?  What are you eating this week?? 






Rite-Aid, Deals I gotta have (2 FREEBIES) ~ week of 3/16/14

thCA50QPHQI haven’t been couponing at the drug stores like I should lately, but this week Rite-aid had a couple freebies and the super cheap pads again, so I am all over it!  Anyone can do these few deals; it’s FREE deodorant, FREE toothbrushes and pads for $.50 package – who doesn’t need that??

See you at Rite-aid!!


Sure or Brut Antiperspirant or Deodorant  –  $1.50

-$1.00/1 Brut Classic Fragrance or Antiperspirant/Deodorant Coupon – 3/16 SS

OR -$1.00/1 Sure 2.6oz, 2.7oz or 6oz – 3/16 SS

= $.50

Get $.50 +UP Reward WYB 1 (Limit 2)



Reach Toothbrush 1ct – $2.99

– $1.00/1 Reach Brand Toothbrush (except Crystal Clean) – 1/26 SS

OR -$.75/1 Reach Brand Toothbrush (except Crystal Clean)Rite Aid Load To Card Coupon

= as low as $1.99

Get $2.00 +UP Reward WYB 1 (Limit 2)



Stayfree Pads 14-24ct – 2/$5.00, or $2.50 each (MUST BUY 2)

– $1.00/1 Stayfree Pad – 3/2 SS

OR – $1.00/1 Stayfree Pad – 2/9 SS

 = $3.00, or $1.50 each

GET $2.00 +UP Reward WYB 2 (Limit 2)

= $1.00 or ONLY $.50 each

SHEPARD’s PIE ~ Freezer Meal




THIS…. This is a meal worth making – trust me!  I dilly-dallied around and had the recipe in my file for months thinking it would be an awesome FREEZER MEAL but I never got to it.  I kept thinking it was too ‘plain’, too ‘heavy’, too ‘old fashioned’, BUT you know what is all of these things?  COMFORT FOOD!!  And this,  my friends, TOPS the list!!  It sounds a little daunting, but really it is just three steps;  the “pie” mixture, the gravy, and the potato topping.   Give it a go!! 


SHEPARD’S PIE – me’o’my!!




  • ·         1 lb. ground beef
  • ·         2 TBS butter
  • ·         1 regular onion – diced
  • ·         1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ·         1 cup carrots – sliced
  • ·         1 cup corn
  • ·         1 cup green beans   (I used frozen veggies and they were awesome)



  • ·         2 more TBS butter
  • ·         2 TBS flour
  • ·         1 cup beef broth (I always use water and bouillon cubes to make the broth)
  • ·         2 tsp of worcestershire



  • ·         2 lbs potatoes (about 5 reg. sized), peeled and chopped up into chunks
  • ·         2 MORE TBS butter
  • ·         ½ cup milk
  • ·         2 cups shredded cheddar – divided
  • ·         Salt and pepper





1.       In a LARGE skillet, fry burger over medium heat.  Drain burger on a paper towel covered plate – set aside.  Remove remaining grease.  * OR pull 2.5 cups of cooked burger from your freezer stash!


2.       In same LARGE skillet, melt 2TBS butter, then fry onion and garlic until transparent.  Put in all 3 vegetables and stir as you heat through.


3.       Return meat mixture to pan, with veggie mixture, and mix together.  Pour into a casserole dish or large pie plate.


4.       Now melt another 2 TBS butter and mix in 2 TBS flour until you have a carmel-y color ‘paste’.  Pour in the 1 cup of broth and Worcestershire sauce… stir as you heat it until you have a nice gravy.  * You can of course use prepared gravy at this point.


5.       Pour gravy over meat/veggie mix in casserole dish and run your spatula through it to mix together.


6.       Now cook your quartered potatoes until fork tender, drain and proceed to mash the potatoes adding 2 TBS butter, the milk and 1 cup of the cheese… mix and mash them good – no lumps!!  * Any 3-4 cups of prepared mashed potatoes will work but these homemade ones are the best!!


7.       Dollop the potatoes on the mix and spread over the top… then sprinkle with remaining cup of shredded cheddar.  * At this point you can cover TIGHTLY will foil and freeze.


8.       To Bake –place thawed meal, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.

 shepards pie - end

Serve with a small side salad or a fruit cup – COMFORT FOOD deluxe!!  YUMMMMO

Honey Spice Glazed Pork Chops

Pork Chops

Glazed pork made with a rub that is to die for… and let me tell you, there is just something about the combo of ginger, cinnamon and cloves!  The rub, the sauce… the end result…  OH MY!!!!

I got this recipe from a sweet girl who also does FREEZER MEAL sessions and I, of course, made it my own!  Behold ~



Honey Spice Glazed Pork Chops


 4 -6 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup Dijon mustard


1.       Rinse the pork – I rinse all of my meat…  do you??

2.       Mix all of the seasonings together and sprinkle over pork – both sides – rub it in…

3.       Mix honey and mustard together, refrain from slurping the sauce!

4.       Baste the pork – both sides

*At this point you can throw all of this in a freezer bag and pull out for a dinner down the road…

5.        To cook:  You can place all into a crock pot and cook on high for 4-6 hours (7-8 if frozen) OR you can bake in the oven at 350 for 35-40 minutes.


FYI – WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating its recommendation for safely cooking pork, steaks, roasts, and chops. USDA recommends cooking all whole cuts of meat to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowing the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.




Meal Plan ~ Weekly Menu

Pork Chops

First things first….  Have you seen the BIG announcement??   “MEAL APPEAL” is LIVE!!!

This week I am making lots of yummy dishes as a sampling of what we are going to be offering at the next MEAL APPEAL session…   If you haven’t liked us on facebook yet, please do: 


Today the scents wafting from my crockpot are almost HEAVENLY.  I have Honey Spice Glazed Pork Chops cooking away and I have prepped Bourban Chicken, World’s Best Chicken and Zesty Chicken… I can’t wait to share how awesome these meals are!  Better yet come to one of our classes and see AND TASTE for yourself!

I spent a lot of the day attempting to get myself and my family ready because I have an out of town meeting this week.  Yep, a king size bed and room service all to myself, it’s a tough life!!

I linked to many sites – check them out!!




MondayBourban Chicken (from HERE)


TuesdayPizza Bake (from HERE)


Wednesday:  Taco Bar


ThursdayChicken Alfredo (FREEZER MEAL)


FridayShepards Pie (another FREEZER MEAL)


SaturdayWorld’s BEST Chicken (from HERE)


SundaySauce (My Recipe) and a Bowtie Skillet Lasagna (Recipe soon)



Wow – feeling much better about ANOTHER crazy week ahead now that I have this all planned out… How about you?

 Big shopping plans?  What are you eating this week?? 


MONEY MONDAY ~ revisiting the budget!


New to this “oh so EXCITING” series?  No worries, we are just getting started…  You can catch up by reading the initial MONEY MONDAY post HERE – check it out, then come back… stick with me… misery LOVES company – right??!!  LOL – well we are going to fix that!!! 

AND by the way – I totally appreciate everyone’s concern about my financial self…  The calls and emails making sure we were okay…  * Hi Mom – hahaha!  I totally did not mean to make us sound completely destitute – even if that is how it really feels some days… especially the days you spend $350 to repair your furnace only to learn you need a new one NOW… so much for that tax return again this year – UGH!!!!

So – anyhow, did you detail out your budgeted expenses?  Did you learn anything about your spending?

I learned that my “Discretionary Funds/Spending” is HIGH…  OMG!!  Anyone else??  I knew it was high… I knew that I have issues with withdrawing funds at the ATM…  You know, need lunch money for a planned trip to the city – might as well grab a $100.  OR – Rite-aid has winter scarves on clearance for $3…  I absolutely need 13 of them!!! 

This is on top of:  All 3 kids need lunch money and are already in the hole $10 each…  Boy Scouts Dues  are due @ $35 AND we have to buy candy from the fundraiser (approx. $20 x 2 Boys), so they can request a campership for camp which consequently ~ the registration is due NOW ($40 x 2).  Then we needed a Dump pass ($20) and the dog license is due ($10) and there was a book fair at school ($10) and it is time to sign up for baseball ($50 x 2 – at least it is not all 3 anymore… high school does have it’s benefits!!) and basketball pictures are Friday ($30)… in addition to the Dr’s apt. co-pay ($20) and prescription cost ($10).  Need I go on?  This is in ONE week!!

So do you know what I learned?  SCREW the budget – I need to get rid of the kids! 

NO seriously – even though I think I was kind of serious….  What I really learned and want to point out is that YOU HAVE TO BUDGET FOR EVERYTHING!!!!  NOT budgeting everything you spend money on is only setting you up for failure…  The $415.00 I spent this week blew any discretionary fund right out of the water…  CRAZY??  YES!  But just goes to show that everything has to be budgeted at all times!!

Now go back to that budget again – Detail EVERYTHING!!!

  • ·         LEVEL 1 – Mortgage and home expenses * Have to be paid 1st no matter what!!  Taxes, Isurance… EVERYTHING!
  • ·         LEVEL 2 –  Monthly Payments, Utilities; gas (oil, propane, wood) electric, phone – cell, cable or dish, Internet, water, sewer – all Loans, Credit Payments
  • ·         Level 3 – Monthly Incidentals; groceries, gas, spending money

Here is a list of extra expenses you may not have thought of, but that absolutely need to be made part of your budget if they pertain to you:

  • ·         Food
  • ·         Clothing (Back to School shopping and sneakers for every sport X 3 – UGH)
  • ·         School / Office supplies
  • ·         Pet Care
  • ·         Medical expenses (copays and scripts, optical, dental)
  • ·         Household repairs
  • ·         Planned household purchases
  • ·         Home Maintenance (Lawn Mowing, Snow Plowing )
  • ·         Education costs
  • ·         Gifts
  • ·         Vehicle expenses (license and registration, inspections, maintenance, repairs),
  • ·         Dues / Subscriptions
  • ·         Clubs or Organizations
  • ·         Donations
  • ·         Christmas Club
  • ·         Vacation Fund

SO – what other categories did this make you think of?  It seems I come up with more daily – which is why I felt it was so important to re-visit the whole “MAKING THE BUDGET”.  So, detail it all… every little thing and we can see where we can improve upon the situation!

Okay – Next Money Monday:   How to view your BUDGET as a Profit and Loss Statement ~ Stay Tuned!!



Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan

First things first….  Have you seen the BIG announcement??   “MEAL APPEAL” is LIVE!!!


Are you BUSY?  Do you still need to provide a wholesome delicious dinner?  Struggling to do it all?

Your answer is HERE! 


Would you like to get together, have fun, and make 10 freezer meals to take home…  Don’t miss this awesome opportunity – only 25 spots for our first session, and 10 are already secured!!

When:  Saturday, March 29th at 3:00 PM  (approx. 3 hours)

Where:  Sweet Ecstasy Bakery and Bistro – 201 East Main Street, Batavia

Cost:  $125, covers EVERYTHING for you to take home 10 meals that easily feed 5-6 people each, plus some taste testing will be going on! You bring something to take everything home in…  a cooler or even a laundry basket works.  (*Bring WHATEVER you would like to drink…and yes, it can be wine… what goes better with all this fine food?!!)

How to Pay (and claim one of the 25 spots):  Be sure to tell us via email or facebook that you are coming and then Paypal a payment to – or send a check to – Michelle Kelsey, c/o Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, 201 E Main Street, Batavia, NY 14020 

Here is our first EXCITING menu:  Stuffed Shells, Chicken and Biscuits, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Sloppy Joes, Garlic Lime Chicken, BBQ Pulled Chicken, Taco Casserole, Homestyle Baked Zit, Hawaiian Chicken, and Chicken Pot Pie

One more exciting announcement:  In case you cannot attend or simply prefer to just BUY the meals all prepared for you, you can simply purchase the TEN meals for $135!!

Who is in?  We can’t wait!!  Register now …

FACEBOOK:  Sweet Ecstasy Bakery and/or Michelle Morton Kelsey



Then there is the TOPS Dollar Doubler draw…  I MUST coupon!!!

Rite-aid is looking great this week too…  tons of in-ad coupons – Oh my!

I also picked up my troops Cookies so have Girl Scout cookies to sort and deliver… and sort and deliver….


Then I realized that although I just planned 10 meals for 25 people, I also need to feed my family on a regular basis, and the meal plan came to be ~

Today we had a ham and homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, both with enough left over for this week!




Monday:  Chicken and Biscuits

Seriously – baseball starts… not a break to be had!


Tuesday:  Beans and Wienies

Boy Scout night…  By the way… scout fundraiser – Kutter’s Cheese SalePrices are better than retail!!  Check out the brochure HERE and let me know if you want a price list.  Other than Thin Mints, this is the only fundraiser I truly like!!!  Let me know what I can order for you!!  J


Wednesday:  Ham and Scalloped Potatoes


ThursdayGrilled Chicken – Yumm

Wrestling season end party….  Bring a dish to pass!  Making taco salad and a cookie of some kind!


FridayTaco Bar

Basketball practice…  LAST ONE


SaturdayDINNER OUT – Pizza and Wings anyone??

Basketball day… LAST game of the season


SundaySauce (My Recipe) and a Bowtie Skillet Lasagna (Recipe soon)



Wow – feeling much better about ANOTHER crazy week ahead now that I have this all planned out… How about you?

 Big shopping plans?  What are you eating this week??