Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kimmie in Real Life Returns!

"You can't force simplicity; but you can invite it in by finding as much richness as possible in the few things at hand. Simplicity doesn't mean meagerness but rather a certain kind of richness, the fullness that appears when we stop stuffing the world with things."
Thomas Moore

I can't believe how fast time is flying by!
The tulips in my yard are blooming once again.
It seems like it was just a few months ago that I did
my "three months of no shopping" challenge, but it's been a year.

After a few months of finishing up some home improvement projects
Tracy and I are challenging ourselves yet again and we are
TIGHTENING our belts a little tighter
as we have given ourselves a goal of paying down and ridding ourselves
of our student loan debt by June of 2012.

We have been paying the minimum payments for the past 11 years and it has only gone down $3,000. That is just pathetic.

It is going to be the best feeling to get this ball and chain gone from our lives forever. It's going to push us, but it will be good and will give us SO much FREEDOM with our lives and jobs, once it is gone.

After this is paid off, we will have paid off over $100,000 worth of various debt in a little over 8 years. We will then be down to just the balance of our mortgage... and in a little over four years, that too will be paid off.
We are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and it feels SO good!
It will be nice when our Student Loans get paid off, so we can put a little bit of money to once and for all finish putting in our yard and to pay cash for a car that doesn't have over 200,000 miles on it,
but, first things first.

I had so much fun doing this last year, that I wanted to do this again this year...
SO, Mondays for the next 3 months
are going to be "Kimmie in Real Life"
as I document what we eat and the frugal things we do
to keep from spending money so we can put every extra penny we can towards debt.
It's also my way to journal how much FUN you can have with inexpensive activities and just how WELL you can eat, when you are frugal.
(here for last year's challenge)

Rather than purchase a Bountiful Basket each week this year, the rules this year are:
I am allotting myself $20.00 to buy weekly fresh produce
and we will purchase a gallon of milk every other week
and make our milk stretch the way we always have
The rest of our food we eat will be from what we have in our food storage/freezers and garden. SO, I will show what I purchase for produce each week and the share how I put it to use and the creative ways we eat, using what we have.

So join me on Mondays from now
until September 1st for "Kimmie in Real Life"!

Here are some of the highlights from our week of May 29th to June 4th.
Such a fun snack.
I make Caramel Apples at the end of the school year for teachers and people that have influenced my kids lives during the year.
We always have a little bit of caramel and crushed M&M's left over that I cut into small chunks and we enjoy with some apple slices for a snack. Such a YUMMY treat this is!

Peas, beans and legumes
are some of the most frugal and nourishing meals.
Just a few basic ingredients and you have a yummy pot of soup to enjoy. I forgot to mention in the photos that I added in a package of ham (from our Easter Breakfast). I always freeze little bags of ham (1 cup per bag) when we cook up a ham so we always have ham on hand for future soup and egg dishes.

These were the week's favorites...
Bowls and bowls of fresh fruit, homemade guacamole from ripe avocados and chips to dip in it, and Gourmet Roast Beef Sandwiches with all the trimmings!

MEMORIAL Weekend Getaway!
Tracy splurged and got a new frying pan
with a folding handle
so we can enjoy yummy meals when we head to the hills or on camp-outs. While he has a wide array of different pots for cooking, he hasn't had a good frying pan to take on our adventures.
I love our cooking system for camping and
I love my awesome chef and hubby who always takes SUCH great care of us!

Rain, gloomy weather and all
we decided to head out on a getaway to enjoy some family fun.
We cooked our first evening meal over Tracy's camp stove, which consisted of leftover Split Pea Soup. Absolutely delicious!

Breakfast consisted of a Breakfast Scramble that Tracy prepared for us over his camp stove and with his new skillet and we enjoyed it in Pita Pockets.

6 eggs beaten well
2 large slices of onion finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper finely chopped
4-5 link sausages cut into small chunks
(Here's how it's made)
Cook sausage until browned well and then set sausage aside
Add in onions and bell peppers and sautee until tender
Add in sausage and eggs and scramble all together and cook until eggs are done.
Enjoy in pita pockets or tortillas.
We always take a cooler of yummy things to eat when we head on our weekend getaways. We made delicious baked chicken, tomato and lettuce sandwiches on Homemade Hoagie Buns.
Before we head out, I always mix our mayo/mustard together in a container so we save room in our cooler AND it makes it easier when we make our sandwiches. We just spoon it onto our rolls, spread it around top with toppings and we're ready to enjoy eating.

I took the leftover chicken carcass put it in a pot,
filled with water and let it simmer for a few hours on the stove.
I then divided it in to 2 cups per bag and froze 2 of the bags for future chicken broth for soups.
I then took 2 cups of broth along with ham I pulled from our freezer and onions, celery, carrots and cauliflower and cream cheese and made a delicious pot of Soup!

Thursday I cooked a roast in the crock pot all day.
That afternoon I made a batch of Hoagie Buns
and that evening we sauteed up onions and bell peppers and loaded our buns with roast beef, onions and bell peppers and enjoyed the most delicious sandwiches that tasted like they could be served in a restaurant!
We enjoyed leftover sandwiches for lunch the next day and
I took the remaining beef broth and roast and froze it for future Vegetable Beef Soup.

May 29th - June 4th 
Sliced Apples
Chips and Guacamole
Split Pea Soup, Hoagie Buns

Breakfast Egg Scramble in Pita Pockets, fresh pineapple
Homemade Hoagie Buns topped with baked chicken, lettuce and tomatoes, watermelon
String Cheese

Steel Cut Oats
Chicken Sandwiches (like we ate yesterday), watermelon, carrot sticks, apple slices
Cauliflower Soup, Cheesy bread sticks, No Bake Cookies

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy) Chicken sandwich on Multi-Grain bread, carrot sticks, cut up cauliflower, watermelon, No Bake Cookies
(Kids) Grilled Cheese sandwich, watermelon, cantaulope and pineapple
Guacamole and Chips, more fresh fruit

Steel Cut Oats
Leftover Cauliflower Soup for lunch, toast, watermelon
Roast Beef Sandwiches on homemade hoagie buns with sauteed onions and bell peppers, steamed carrots and pickles

Steel Cut Oats
Leftover Roast Beef Sandwiches, apple slices with caramel chunks
No Bake Cookies
Ranch Popcorn

Last of fresh fruit
Whatchagot Soup
(had salad, sandwiches, fresh fruit and cake at the Craner Wedding Reception)

"Voluntary simplicity means
going fewer places in one day rather than more,
seeing less so I can see more,
doing less so I can do more,
acquiring less so I can have more."
- John Kabat-Zinn


Our Paper Plates said...

Yay for Kimmie in Real Life again! Its so fun to read and gives me some great ideas on how to cook while we are getting our business off the ground. I just have to find a way to convince my toddler to eat soup and veggies! :)

I saw you had pita bread on the menu. Do you make it yourself? I have been dying to see it made and get some tips on how to do it. Gracias!

Garden of Egan said...

Woohoooooo! I'm pretty stinkin' excited that you are going to do this again. It is so inspiring to me.

You are so committed and motivated.

It looks too cold to go hiking and camping. Can we please get some warm weather here???????

You're amazing my friend, very amazing.

Jandawoman said...

I really enjoy reading your blog and all your fun recipes! Great idea to pay your student loan off. You will enjoy freedom from that bondage!

CrisKrinkle said...

I'm excited you're doing the Real Life again! Yay! And I love your lessons on how to be frugal and save money.
Can you please post your recipe for the homemade hoagies. They look so yummy!! Thanks!

Connie said...

YES!!! I'm so excited to be inspired by Kimmie in Real Life! Your food ALWAYS looks so delicious. You are such a good example to all of us! Love your quotes.

Cherie said...

You GO GO GO girl! You are such a great example of frugalness and eating well!!

It will be fun to see what you do this summer!

One question: You depleted alot of your food storage last summer - Have you built that up already through the winter?
That is my biggest challenge with food storage - keeping it built up.

LKP said...

you're so versatile in EVERY way! NGL, i'm envious of your many talents. especially in the cooking department & the creative ways you make your meals stretch. i used to think i was getting good at it until this gluten & allergy thing hit and now my kitchen brain feels very, VERY scrambled and plumb out of ideas. :( someday maybe i'll get better again. lub u! ::hugs::

C Smith said...

I love that you do the carmel apples for the teachers. I totally want to do this for my kids when they are in school. I thought this idea was cute too that I found on another blog I follow.
Here is the link (you can cut and paste).

We went camping this weekend, well kind of, it was cut short since the baby got hurt but I packed up our cooler and took your advice on the mayo/mustard mix. I used to eat at this sandwich shop Port of Subs in Boise and that is how they served it...I love it...I think I ate there 5 nights a week when I was finishing up college. They knew my name and my order when I walked in. :)

I started collecting my lint for the fire starters too. Can't wait to make those.