Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Home Made Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

Have you ever made your own chicken broth? I did for the first time this weekend and it was really easy. It was so easy I feel pretty stupid throwing away chicken bones for the past decade.
Many times I have thought about making it, had ever intention of making it and then was just to lazy to actually do it. However, now that we are being super frugal, stretching our food budget as much as possible and trying to eat healthier, it seemed like a no brainer to make our own chicken broth.

I chose to use our crockpot, but you can also do this on the stove top.

First, I oven roasted a free-range chicken from our local CSA. We ate on this chicken for at least 5 days! I topped my salads and made sandwiches with the meat. So yummy and tastes so much better then factory farmed chickens.

With all the meat pulled off,  I placed the carcass in my largest crock pot and then added chopped up onions, carrots and celery. About a cup of each.

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Next I added enough water to cover all the bones and veggies.

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I stirred in 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The acid helps extract the calcium from the bones.

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I left the crockpot on low for approximately 12 hours. 

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The next morning I removed the veggies and bones from the broth, making sure to pick out all the extra meat that was now falling off the bones.

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I set the meat aside and discarded the rest (the veggies have released all their nutrients and aren’t worth eating).  Let the broth cool so that the fat would separate to the top and could be ladled off. Once I had removed most of the fat, I poured the broth through cheese cloth, leaving me with this delicious and nutritious chicken broth.

Chicken Broth

Wow does it taste good!

Tomorrow I will share with you the hearty chicken noddle soup I made using this broth. Liam loved it too…and I love knowing that I can feed it to him without worrying about the nasty preservatives and sodium found in canned soup.


Do you make your own chicken broth? Do you have any tips or tricks to share to make mine even better?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Frugal Fridays: No More Wireless Contract!

Welcome to my first installment of Frugal Fridays!! 
 

At the top of our list of goals for 2013 is to pay off a LOT of debt. There are many things that we are currently doing, or talking about doing, that will help contribute to this goal. It is not just a dream, it is something we are GOING to do and we have plans of how we are going to do it.
 

I plan on trying to post each Friday about one of the actions we are taking to meet that goal. Ways we have cut back, eliminated or adjusted our spending habits. I am going to call these “Tips to saving money,  and getting out of debt!” 
 

Ok on to the first tip! End your relationship with your wireless phone carrier, or amend your relationship. We broke up with Verizon wireless over six months ago and are saving SOOO much money!
 
Ditch the phone contract


Here is our story…
 

The hubs and I started dating in the summer of 2006 and within a few months signed a two year phone contract with Verizon. I remember him being sooo nervous. It was such a HUGE commitment for him. It was a no brainier for me, I wasn’t planning on going anywhere and since we basically talked to each other most, it made since to take advantage of the “family plan” with free minutes mobile-to-mobile. Two years later and we were married and I got to upgrade to the Motorola Envy (1). This were a HUGE upgrade, with a decent camera, QWERTY keyboard and ability to get online (which I never used). I loved that phone. This was also about the time that everyone was getting the Blackberry. I didn’t see the appeal and thought they cost too much, and why in the heck would you need to be so connected. Hah! 

2 years later and it was time for another upgrade. Since we were on Verizon (iPhone still was not available through them) we decided to try out an Android (2). The very first Android phone had just been launched and we were fortunate to get it during a great promotion, Buy One and Get One for Free. And somehow we didn’t seem to mind the additional $60 a month it cost for the data. 

A year and half later, we were pregnant and I was having the panic moment of “how are we going to afford a kid” and pay all the student loans that are going to go back into repayment VERY soon. We had to start really budgeting and finding ways to cut back and live on less. I started contemplating ditching the smart phone and going back to a normal phone. It seemed strange to give up something that had become such a huge part of my daily life. How could I LIVE without it?!! Hmm…the same way I lived without it for MOST of my life. We changed our plan back and reactivated our older phones. I missed the convenience, but it wasn’t that bad. I just had to be more intentional and plan a head (print directions before I leave or look up a recipe at home and make a shopping list!). 

In the last few weeks of my maternity leave and the impending start of child care costs, I started scrutinizing our budget again. It was sickening to realize that we still needed to cut more costs (by this point we had already gotten rid of cable and internet, Hubby was riding the bus and our food budget had been slashed in half). It seems like the only thing that could go were the phones. We were paying Verizon around $110 a month for 700 shared min and texting. Seemed pretty expensive, there must be something cheaper. Our contract had just expired, so we weren’t tied down to them. I started researching pre-paid phones and realized that we could save bookoo bucks if we ditched Verizon. 

In July we cut ties with Verizon and started using Tracfones (3). I got a smoking deal. $100 for a phone and 1600 min. This was going to save us so much money (or so I thought). I underestimated how much I actually talk on my phone and text. I went through those 1600 min in 4 months and realized I needed an unlimited phone plan. Hubby on the other hand, STILL hasn’t used all his minutes up. The problem was, at the rate I was talking on the phone, it was going to cost around $35-$40 a month to keep buying additional minutes. As I did research on pre-paid phones, I realized that an unlimited plan would probably be a better deal for me.  

By luck, I received an email from Wal-Mart advertising their Straight Talk pre-paid plan . OMG…it runs on AT&T towers (so I have coverage in rural Washington) and I could have a smart phone again, all for only $45 a month. What?! Sounds too good to be true…but it isn’t! I scoured the internet looking for reviews and honest feedback on this program and everything I read was positive and the best part, I could use it on an iPhone (with their $15 Sim Card)! OMG…an iPhone?! Yes! I could have my cake and eat it too! Then I got lucky and found out that a co-worker had just upgraded to the iPhone 5 and had an iPhone 4 that he wouldn’t be using anymore and was willing to sell me. Merry Christmas to Hailey, I got an iPhone!! 

four phones

I have now been using the iPhone (4) with Straight Talk for a month. It is awesome! (Ok…maybe not as awesome as an iPhone 5 on 4G…but still awesome compared to what I was using). I haven’t had any problems with the call quality or the 3G service. 

Oh…and speaking of switching. I have been able to keep my original Verizon phone number (porting your number is very easy and simple and they have great instructions on how to do that). 

So…if you think that a contract is the ONLY way you can have a smart phone, think again! Ditch the contract and use a pre-paid phone!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Body Turnaround Challenge!

Baby weight it is time to say Good-Bye!

I am almost 9 months post postpartum and my body is holding on to the last 10 lbs of "baby weight". In the first half of 2011 I lost 30 lbs, and subsequently got pregnant that summer. It was very important to me to get to a semi-healthy weight before I got pregnant, so that I could have a healthy pregnancy. Now I need to get to my ideal weight so that I can be a healthy mom and wife for my family. My ideal goal would be to lose 60 lbs over the next 12 months. At 5 lbs a month, this is very reasonable and manageable. 

So how am I going to lose these 60 lbs??

I am committing to the Body Turnaround Challenge !

Do you want to join me??

We tell you exactly what to eat & show you how to exercise (in 3 minutes a day) for 90 days

You lose your fat FOREVER!!!!

The whole program is 180 days!

{90 days to lose the weight and 90 days to learn how to keep it off for good}

THERE WILL BE:

NO Expensive Gym Membership
NO Embarrassing Classes
NO Tasteless Diet Food
NO Getting Up Early
NO counting calories all day
NO starving
NO Yo-Yo dieting

Here is what you will get when you join:

  • Your favorite flavors of yummy healthy smoothies and snacks - packed with protein and fiber, they will leave full without weighing you down. Using Leucine, they are designed to help you burn the fat while maintaining your muscle. This is the key element of Shaklee 180 that sets us apart from other plans!
  • Simple-to-follow plan - Shaklee 180 is a meal-by-meal program so you can start losing inches without thinking about it. No calorie or carb counting here!
  • You set the goals, we set the plan - Each plan is designed for you! We have plans for you to turn around your body and shape or stay lean and mean. And the best part is our maintenance plan, so you never gain it back! EVER!
  • Online accountability program to track your progress - Here you can post daily updates directly to Facebook. We love to see pictures!
  • Body Turnaround Challenge online forum - You will be a member of our online community with other like-minded and focused people to help keep you motivated and on track. You will also have access to a personal trainer who can answer your fitness questions.
  • Exercise three minutes a day! -Yep, that's right! Three minutes! Crazy!
  • Wear your skinny jeans again! -This is the only program that guarantees you will only lose fat.
  • Rewards program - Shaklee 180 has created a terrific rewards program as incentive to keep you on track! Prizes will be given away, and for sharing the program, you can earn your program for free!

FEEL STRONG, MOTIVATED, AND DETERMINED!

YOU WILL FEEL THE BEST YOU HAVE IN A LONG TIME!

This is a proven and simple formula, and those who commit are more likely to finish and GET THE ABSOLUTE BEST RESULTS!

WHO IS THIS GROUP FOR:

  • Someone who is serious about taking control of their health & fitness
  • Someone who wants to drop a clothing size or more
  • Someone who wants a step-by-step plan of how to achieve a healthy weight
  • Someone who wants to be join a supportive group of people on a similar path
  • Someone who is willing to invest in themselves
  • Someone who wants to get off of hypertensive and/or cholesterol medications
  • Someone who wants/needs a low glycemic eating plan
  • Someone who wants a lifestyle change
  • Someone who wants to workout but doesn't want to spend all day at the gym
  • Some who wants to be a health example to others
  • Someone who wants to stop the yo-yo diet cycle once and for all

How to Join:

1. Visit my Shaklee 180 website - Click Here

2. Read through the info

3. At bottom of page, click on Get Started

Easy Peasy! Can't wait to see you there!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Goals!

Instead of setting resolutions for 2013, I have decided to focus on setting goals.

2013 Goals

Back in business school, we learned about S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Specific: The goal has to be specific and not general or ambiguous.

Measurable: There has to be a way to measure your progress towards the goal.

Attainable: Is the goal realistic and attainable? Can I actually accomplish this goal?

Relevant: Does this goal really matter, does it help me grow and develop into the person, family and business I need and want?

Timely: You need to set a target timeframe for when the goal will be accomplished. Deadlines help you focus on the completion of the goal.

So…what goals have I set for 2013?

1. Take charge of our finances and pay off debt!

2. Lose 60 pounds

3. Simplify our home life! Unclutter and purge every room of the house

4. Meal plan

5. Finish yard projects

6. Finish our basement – creating family room/play room

I can’t wait to start tackling these goals and creating a better life for our family. I plan to discuss these goals in more depth over the next few weeks/months.

 

What are your goals for 2013??

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