Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beef and Broccoli Recipe

A few of you have asked for me to share my beef and broccoli recipe.  I prepared this for dinner a couple of weekends ago when my brother was in town, and was able to take note of how much of which ingredient I was using.  If you are trying this recipe out, use this as a base and play with it a little until you create what you like.  Hope you enjoy!
Beef and Broccoli
-3/4 to 1 lb of meat (I used a petite sirloin - my mom likes to use a round roast)
-1 or 2 heads of broccoli (I like more)
-1 yellow onion, sliced
-1 or 2 cloves of garlic, crushed/chopped/sliced
-Vegetable Oil

-1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
-1 Tbsp Soy Sauce (The brand you use REALLY makes a difference in the taste of your food.  I use the Golden Mountain brand.)
-1 Tbsp Water
-1 Tbsp Cornstarch

-2 Tbsp of Oyster Sauce
-1-2 Tbsp of Soy Sauce
-3 Tbsp of Water
-A dash of Garlic Salt
-A dash of Pepper
-Dried Onion Flakes and/or Onion Powder
-1 tsp of sugar

-1 Tbsp Cornstarch
-2 Tbsp Water

Prepare the beef.  Cut the beef into thin strips and throw into ziploc bag.  Mix the marinade ingredients with the beef, rubbing the cornstarch onto the beef strips last.  Let the beef marinate in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Prepare the sauce and thickener.  For the sauce, mix the oyster sauce, soy sauce, water and spices together and set aside.  For the thickener, mix the cornstarch and water and set aside.
Prepare the broccoli.  Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.  Wash and cut up the broccoli.  (While you're waiting for the water to boil, you can also slice your onion and garlic if you haven't already done so.)  When the water is ready, drop the cut broccoli into the boiling water.  The broccoli will quickly change to a bright green color.  Once all of it has changed to this bright green color, drain and set aside.  This process takes about a minute or two.  I hardly ever cook the broccoli longer than a minute because I like my broccoli crisp.
Cook the beef.  Heat a little bit of oil in the wok.  When it's ready, cook your beef, stirring occassionally.  When cooked, remove from the wok and set aside.
Stir Fry the Veggies.  Wipe out the wok and add a little bit of fresh oil.  Stir fry the onions and garlic until tender to your desire.  Add the broccoli to the wok.  Sprinkle a little bit of sugar (about 1 tsp) over the broccoli and stir fry for about a minute, then stir in the cooked meat.
Add the Sauce.  Make a well in the middle of the wok.  Pour in your sauce, then stir in the thickener.  Mix everything together.
Serve.  Serve over steamed rice.  And if you don't own a rice cooker, I think you should.  :)

Time Saving Tips:
-When meat goes on sale, I purchase what I can fit into the budget that week and freeze it.  In this instance, I already had the meat sliced and frozen in a ziploc bag labeled for this meal.  I just took it out to thaw in the fridge the day before, cutting out the step of having to slice my meat when preparing this meal.  (I also do this with chicken when it goes on sale.)
-I buy a bag of onions at a time and freeze what I don't use. I recently got a 3lb bag of onions from ALDI for $0.75.  I KNOW!  A SUPER GREAT DEAL!  So, I chopped some, and sliced some, and have them stored in my freezer.  The onions I used went straight from the freezer to the wok.  (I do this with bell peppers, too.  Onions and peppers seem to be the vegetables I cook with most often.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Project "Table and Chairs"

We've (well, mostly my fantastic handy-dandy husband) been working on painting and sanding a few things for J-Dub's playroom as of late.  I'm super excited to show you guys the outcome!  I'm loving all the colors!

Back in November, I approached an old co-worker and friend of mine, Dennis, to see if he could build Jack a children's table for Christmas.  He happily agreed to do so and I am so glad he did!  Dennis is a super talented wood worker and let me tell you, this table is PERFECT.  The table top is made from the lumber of Ash trees that were planted in his father's backyard when Dennis was just 2 years old.  His father took great care of the trees, so when Dennis' father passed, Dennis had the trees cut into lumber and brought it with him on his move to Texas (from Michigan).  Every piece he builds with this lumber is a memory of his father.  I am SO grateful to have a piece of his family's legacy in our home, too!  Thank you Dennis!

We've had the table since Christmas and J-Dub has been enjoying it since, but we never took the time to finish it until just a couple of weeks ago.  I wish we had before and after pictures, but we don't.  Bummer.  Just imagine all UNFINISHED furniture.
The chairs we purchased through  I earned a $100 Amazon gift card through MyPoints and had a $20 Amazon credit, so I was able to purchase four unfinished, FULLY ASSEMBLED (this was the best part!) chairs for about $16 TOTAL (that includes the shipping).  I'm kicking myself in the rear end because if I had purchased them the day prior, I would've gotten them for $6.  They just happened to increase their price the day I decided to make the purchase.  I guess I can't complain too much about $16 out of pocket.
Lime Green and Blue...
Red and Yellow...
Do you like?!! :)  The yellow chair is my favorite.

The little guy also got an unfinished rocking horse for Christmas from the grandparents, so we worked on him, too.  We matched the horse and table.

Now I'm ready to start on our next project!  Not sure what it is yet, but I already know Josh isn't as excited about it as I am!

FREE Starbucks and Luggage Tags

I just snagged a couple of great deals today thanks to Money Saving Mom and The Frugal Girls.  WOOHOO! 

First Offer:
Beget is offering a $5 Starbucks gift card to those who register on their site.  Beget is a new daily deal site.  They also have a facebook page.  AND if you 'like' their facebook page, you can earn a $5 credit!

Click HERE to find out more about the Starbucks deal through Beget.  Thanks Money Saving Mom!

Second Offer:
Go 'like' KLM's facebook page and you will be able to upload a photo and create your luggage tag.  They will be shipped to you for FREE.

Click HERE to learn more about getting your free luggage tags.  Thank you The Frugal Girls!

SCORE!  :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Living Room/Kitchen Makeover

So back in January, we decided our house needed a little facelift and took on the challenge of repainting our living room and kitchen (they're kind of connected so we had to paint both).  Because we have a toddler, J and I were only able to work in the evenings after the kiddo went to bed.  On top of that, we only worked on the weekends.  It took us a good six weeks to finish.  Okay, maybe five.  J doesn't count the first weekend where we painted two walls and we (okay, maybe I) decided the color selection was a thumbs down.  J graciously allowed me to change colors and redo the two walls.  ANYWHO, we went from a light tan color (called 'Spiced Vinegar') to a taupe color (called 'Winter Delta').  I forgot to do before and after shots, so I pulled an old photo from Jack's birthda party last year.

BEFORE ('Spiced Vinegar' was throughout the whole living/kitchen area - the ceilings are also 'Spiced Vinegar'):

AFTER ('Winter Delta' on all the walls except the front fireplace wall, which is the color of our bedroom):

I also picked up a few fun pieces to add to our space.

I found this water can at an antique store.  I love it!  It was really gross when I got it, but I have a loving husband that cleaned out all the spider webs and junk that was in it.  YUCK.
I've had this vinyl art for a couple of years now and was waiting to put it up until after we painted.  Yes, we've been wanting to paint for a couple of years now.  It's crazy what a kid can do to your time and schedule!  (The ceilings stayed 'Spiced Vinegar'.)
I got a couple of mexican doors for Christmas to put on either side of our TV in the living room.  They are my favorite!
And I got this canvas made from Franklin Photography and Wide Format Printing (his prices are FANTABULOUS!).  Photo was taken by my sweet friend at Liana Randel Photography.

You'll have to check back soon to see what else we've been working on around here!  Okay, maybe J's been doing most of the work.  He's the handyman.  I'm his little helper. :)  Here's a sneak peak... 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sunday's Paper

Hey Fellow Mommies!

If you haven't snagged a Sunday paper yet (2/27/2011), you might want to.  There were Huggies and Pampers coupons (diapers and wipes), Danonino and Danimals coupons, and a few other good ones.  It was worth it to me to purchase a double issue.  By the way, the double issue Ft. Worth Star Telegram is only $2.89.  You can see what other coupons are in last Sunday's paper HERE.  They've already posted next Sunday's preview, too.  Go check it out!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Today's ALDI Trip

I braved a shopping trip to ALDI today with J-Dub.  Not my favorite place to go, but they have great deals and it's worth making the trip.  If you haven't given ALDI a chance, you might try it out.  And don't give up after the first trip.  You may start finding things you like there.  Four things you should know before you go, though:
  1. You have to deposit a quarter to get a cart, but don't worry - you can get it back when you return the cart at the end of your shopping trip.
  2. They DO NOT bag your stuff up for you (like at Sam's).  You can purchase bags (paper or plastic) at the register, but you will roll your cart over to a counter to bag up your stuff if you choose to.  I bring my own recycled shopping bag.  Usually 1 does the trick for me because I don't purchase very much.
  3. You can pay with cash or debit.  No credit cards.  No coupons.
  4. The store isn't huge.  They don't carry hardly any name brand stuff.  Most of their products are sold under the ALDI brand (Fit and Active, Mercer, etc.).  BUT, ALDI works with big national suppliers to produce their products.  I pulled this from their website: 
ALDI partners with the best suppliers in the country—often the same ones that produce national brands. In addition, we have a test kitchen to ensure that our products meet or exceed the quality and taste of the national name brands.

 So, here's what I typically get when I go there:
  1. Milk - Thanks to ALDI's presence in the market, milk prices have come down.  For a long time, you could get milk just about anywhere for about $1.  I've noticed that just recently, Walmart has increased their milk price to almost $2.  ALDI's price for a gallon of milk is $0.99.
  2. Eggs - ALDI's egg prices have crept up, but I think they are still a reasonable price.  Eggs were $0.49 a few weeks ago and I think are now about  $0.79?  I didn't check because I didn't need any this trip, AND I know I can get them cheaper at Walmart right now.  Especially with my INCREDIBLE EGG coupon I printed a while back! 
  3. Produce - This week (which I think the new ad cycle starts tomorrow, so really through the end of today), you can get a 6 pack of Roma tomatoes for $0.65, a 3lb bag of yellow onions for $0.75, a 3 pack of red/yellow/orange bell peppers for $1.69, and cucumbers for $0.55.
  4. Snacks (mostly for J-dub) - Apple juice, Applesauce cups, graham crackers, chips (their Sour Cream and Onion, and BBQ chips are VERY similar to Lay's brand - I haven't tried their baked chips), dried fruits, nuts, granola bars.... we are NOT a fan of their "goldfish sharks" or their animal crackers.  I'm a cereal snob so I've never tried any of their cereals.
  5. Boxed Pasta - very similar to Pasta Roni.  We fix this on lazy dinner nights.  Usually the Parmesan flavor and we'll throw in peas and shrimp, and fix a salad.  I think it's about $0.69 or 0.79 a box.
I haven't braved getting meat there yet.  And really, I think you can get a better deal elsewhere by checking ads.
I hope this posting gives you some courage to try out an ALDI near you.  If you've shopped there before and have favorites you buy at ALDI, please do share!
P.S. Please don't be like my friend Whitney and buy a CHEESEBALL on your first ALDI trip!  It'll keep you away forever! :)  Love ya Whit!