Pinterest Part 2 - Garlic Pull-A-Parts!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
   Now I can leave the sweetness of the hot chocolate behind and move on to some savory, garlicky, goodness!

   I had a very specific recipe I wanted to use for these. Then I lost it. I was sure I had pinned it somewhere but it just disappeared! So I went based on what I could remember and made up my own recipe! Please don't judge my pictures too harshly, we only have fluorescent lighting in the kitchen!

1 can of buttermilk biscuits (not the flaky kind!)
1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup parmesan
Dried Oregano
Dried and Fresh Basil
Minced Garlic.

 Preheat your oven to whatever degree the biscuit package says.
 Take out your muffin or cupcake pan and spray it with oil (I used olive).
 Put your butter and garlic in a microwave safe bowl, heat until melted and you can smell garlic.
 In a small bowl mix the flour, parmesan, and dried herbs together.
 Pop open your can of biscuits and cut/tear each biscuit into 4 pieces.
 One by one roll each piece into a ball and dip it into the butter.
 Roll into the flour/cheese mixture
 Press into the muffin tin.
 Repeat until your muffin tin is full!
 Sprinkle with finely chopped fresh basil.
 Bake until golden brown, I think it took around 8 minutes  

These were pretty much amazing! They were also super easy to make as well, we will definitely be using this recipe again!

Pinterest! Part 1 - Hot Chocolate!

  On Monday night I decided to try my hand at 2 pinterest recipes that I'd had my eye on for awhile. I was a little chilly which means it's perfect weather for Hot Chocolate right???

Stolen from: Honey and Fitz

   It's super easy to make in a crock pot, just dump in 2 cups of chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1.5 cups of half and half, 6 cups of milk, and vanilla. Turn on your crock pot and away you go! If only it were that simple...

  Apparently I have a much smaller crock pot than the gal who made this recipe. Unfortunately I didn't find that out until it was time to add the milk and everything else was already in the pot ready to go. Can't turn back now! So the mister and I sat down and watched some Firefly to wait for the chocolate to melt. We waited...and waited...and waited. The recipe said 35-45 minutes, it was more like 2 hours. When it was finally done I ladled it out and gave it to Phillip without tasting it first. Bad idea. Because I wasn't able to add all of the milk the recipe called for it was like drinking sludge.

    So I cut the cup with milk, heated it in the microwave and the results were much better!! I really thought this was going to end up being a Pinterest fail but it was a win after all! I dumped in the rest of the milk and stashed it in the fridge overnight, took it to work the next day and reheated it in the office. It got a thumbs up from everyone!

    Final verdict: This recipe is awesome if you have a big crock pot and have lots of people to give it to. Otherwise I would suggest cutting the recipe in half.

    I'm going to post the second Pinterest project in a new post, it's for garlic knots and something about hot chocolate and garlic knots together makes me a little queasy!!

Get Paid for Cleaning Your House!

Monday, September 24, 2012
I mailed out this package today: 

 When Phillip and I put all of our stuff together we realized we had a lot of it. Apparently during our teenage years we amassed quite the CD collections. It was kind of cute to find out we had a lot of duplicates. I was really attached to my collection in high school, I would organize them at least once/week and every allowance pretty much went to buying new ones. Now several years later here we are with Pandora and Spotify. I haven't really touched my CDs in years except to move them from one place to another.

 We also amassed quite a few DVDs that we didn't watch very often. So we toted them all off to our yard sale and sold what we could. Then we brought the rest home. Most of my CDs went untouched by our yardsale patrons, apparently no one listens to Hanson or Clay Aiken. *shrug* I'm sorry you're not as awesome as me.

 So last night I did what I hoped I'd be able to avoid. I went through the pile and checked out the trade-in program. I entered every. single. one. individually. It was a pretty slow process and there were quite a few items that they were not accepting at this time. What you see in the picture above is the stuff they accepted. So what was our payoff?
 $49.50 in Amazon credits! 
 This works out well because we're crafting some Christmas gifts and were planning on buying the supplies from Amazon anyway! Also the Amazon program offers free shipping, you can choose how you want to ship it (UPS, USPS, or FedEx) and print a prepaid label, tape it on an you're ready to go!

 I'm going to try to sell the rest of the CDs to, they don't pay as well as Amazon and you have to wait to be reimbursed for shipping but I'm going to see if it's worth it. If it isn't they're going to Habitat ReStore. 

Now I'm off to make dinner! Trying a new recipe from Pinterest tonight, we'll see how it goes! 

Our Little Garden

Sunday, September 23, 2012
   Did you know that if you ask nicely you can get away with an awful lot? Also it helps if you pay your rent on time and bake treats to take the ladies in your apartment office. Plus have an obnoxiously adorable name makes you memorable and they think of you as "that sweet couple that just got married."

  I digress. Back in the spring before we became Mr. and Mrs. T (and started pitying fools together), Phillip decided he'd like to start a gardening project. We set a budget of $50 for plants and various materials we would need and set off the the rental office to ask for permission. Since I'd be moving into his apartment after we got married we asked to put by his building. We explained a layout of what we wanted to do and they called us on Monday with the go ahead.

 So off we trekked to Lowe's, we really knew nothing about when to plant stuff. We just assumed "if it's for sale it must be time to plant it!" This is actually not true. I suppose it's like "Hey it's September, Wal-Mart has Christmas trees for sale, we should put one up!" We had 2 frosts after planting our little patch but they somehow survived.
So cute!
We decided to plant tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, basil, and mint. Everything has flourished except for the strawberries, our basil even started dropping seeds and making new plants. I'm not sure if this little adventure saved us any money but we haven't bought tomatoes or peppers all summer! We've also had plenty to share with friends.  Next year we probably won't plant so much, and will definitely put our tomato plants in cages because they got a little unruly.
This is what happens when your plants become teenagers, partying it up in the garden. For shame. 
 We have a few green tomatoes left but after they either burn or turn I think I'm going to clear them out and consider them finished. They're so ugly!!

  Once we get a house we're hoping to do a bigger garden

First Day of Fall!

Saturday, September 22, 2012
We celebrated our first day of fall by heading to the zoo! In Missouri we always went to the St. Louis Zoo so I would say I'm pretty darn spoiled. I took some pictures to share with you guys, enjoy!
This guy was waaay bigger than anything we've encountered biking in  the mountains! Thanks goodness! 

Just in case the raccoons have learned to read...
I'm pretty sure this guy would have let me hold him if I had some food for him!
Phillip is going to kill me for posting this. Shhh don't tell him I did it! :)

The reptile enclosures were awful , it didn't even look like there was any way for the snakes to stretch or move around. I did have to stifle a giggle when a lady next to me looked at the corn snake and turned to her husband "it's pretty but definitely deadly".'s not. Many people keep them as pets, but that baby copperhead that you're calling cute? Yeah, that one's actually dangerous.  

We enjoyed ourselves for fairly little cost. I bought our tickets at Kroger for BOGO $20 plus we paid $5 for parking. Did you know the St. Louis Zoo larger with better exhibits and it's free? I mentioned I was spoiled right?

Autumn Air & Envelopes!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
 Yeah so Autumn Air and Envelopes really have nothing to do with one another, they're not even an alliteration, but we'll let that slide. The weather has been really awesome here (minus the past 2 days of constant rain and flash flooding!) here are a couple of picture of the sunrise from Saturday morning, we were on our way to finish setting up our yard sale:
A few days later that field flooded and became a pond. The geese were swimming, so cute! 
And that's why we call them the Smokies :) 

 It's nice to come home and open up the back door and all of the windows! It just feels so good outside! I work in a fish bowl and if we crane our necks we can see outside, today it was very difficult for me to fight the urge to go lie in the grass somewhere on campus.

  Enough gushing about my favorite season...on to the envelopes!!
 An integral part of using the Financial Peace University play is paying cash for certain items in your budget. We've been doing this for awhile and used ugly bank envelopes that got grimy and fell apart, when we got our FPU kit in the mail it came with an envelope system, but they're not pretty at all! So I took matters into my own hands. I took my scrapbook paper into the office one day and had an arts and crafts session. Here is the end result!
I used a tutorial found here
   By using cash for groceries and our spending money we don't have so many miscellaneous things on our bank statement which makes it easier to go through at the end of the month to see how we need to edit the budget for the following month. I am finding that having to spend cash for things I want really does make me think twice about purchases. I know that once I break a twenty it's as good as gone! When using the debit card I was nowhere near as disciplined and spent way more than I intended to!

  Have you used the envelope system? Has it worked for you?

I smell like feet...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I kind of feel like this: 

And I'm pretty sure I smell like this:

I decided to ride my bike to work today! Well I rode my bike halfway to work today (4.4 miles each way). I also didn't think very much about packing my backpack this morning. My work flats smell like feet (because that's what I put in them), I stuffed those and my cardigan down in the backpack. So when I got to work guess what else smelled like feet? My happy pink cardigan :( I wore it anyway, it's really cold in our office! 

I didn't so much enjoy the ride to work, it's mostly uphill and it took about 45 minutes on my 1-speed cruiser. The ride back to my car was much better, it still took about 35 minutes but I was going at a pretty slow/meandering pace. I also stopped for about 5 minutes to watch a juvenile Great Blue Heron. 

I added it up and if I were to do this 5 days/week it would save $8/week on gas which adds up to over $300/year. Not a whole lot but I'd also get my exercise in and enjoy this beautiful fall weather we've been blessed with this week! I also know that I won't be able to keep it up because I'm a wimp and I don't do cold well but I think I'll enjoy this while it lasts!

Biking also helps out my hip, I have developmental dysplasia of the hip (yes like dogs get) meaning my acetabulum is too shallow for the head of my femur to fit properly. I'm a little gimpy, and I can't run/walk long distances at all without feeling like my leg is going to fall off but biking makes it feel better! 

Today I made crockpot potato soup from this recipe, I've not calculated the cost but it's cheap and will probably feed us for awhile.

I hope you're enjoying this awesome weather! I'm going to go sit outside and eat my soup!

$3.98 Dinner for 2 - Pesto Chicken Paninis/Baked Fries

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
In an effort to get into the habit of cooking at home instead of opting for convenience, I've decided to start breaking our meals down into cost of the meal or cost/serving in hopes that seeing how cheap it is to cook for ourselves rather than to go out and eat. For example tonight our dinner cost $3.98, if we were to go out it usually costs at least that much for one of us.

This is a variation of this recipe from
Makes: 5 sandwiches + Oven fries

You'll need:
   1 boneless skinless chicken breast ($1.94)/cooked and shredded
   1/2 loaf of French Bread ($.84)
   1 potato ($.45)
   2 tbsp Pesto ($.40)
   1 cup of cheese ($.35 - Still using the 5lb bag I bought last month!)

From your Cabinet:
  Dash of Oregano/Basil/Garlic Powder
  Olive Oil

  Preheat oven to 300 degrees, drizzle oil over cookie sheet. Slice potato into whatever size you'd like. Sprinkle with herbs and place in the oven. Cook until golden brown.

  Slice French bread into 10 slices.
  Spread butter onto on side of the bread and place onto preheated griddle.
  Spread pesto on the inside, layer with some of the shredded chicken and cheese.
  Place second slice of buttered bread on top. Grill until both sides are brown.

 Total Cost = $3.98

 They ended up being pretty tasty! If you try them out let me know if you like them!

These were pretty good and we had some chicken leftover that I'll be using for fajitas later this week.

Progresso Recipe Starter - Final Review

Monday, September 10, 2012

I used the Progresso Parmesan Basil Recipe Starter to make chicken similar to this recipe. If you remember my last post about shopping at UGO I mentioned that I picked up some Kraft Parmesan Seasoning packets. I used that on this recipe as well.

Here's what I ended up doing:

1 boneless skinless chicken breast/halved 
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 packet of Kraft Parmesan Seasonings - Tuscan Herb
1 can of Progresso Parmesan Basil Recipe Starter (Divided)

Pour about 1/4 of the can of the recipe starter into a shallow bowl.
Sprinkle parmesan seasonings into a second shallow bowl. 

Heat olive oil in your skillet on medium heat. 
Coat the chicken breasts in the recipe starter then roll in the parmesan seasoning. 
Place chicken in preheated skillet. 
Cook until seasoning has browned and chicken is no longer pink. 

While you're cooking your chicken bring a pot of water to boil and add your noodles. Use the remainder of the Recipe Starter as sauce for your noodles. We made baked sweet potato fries to go along with this also.

The Verdict:
   We both liked the chicken a lot, the  starter plus the parmesan coating seemed to make it really moist and added a lot of flavor. I didn't really like the starter as a sauce for the noodles, it's pretty thin tastes a little bland, I prefer mixing a bit of alfredo sauce with pesto. 

Would I buy this product?
  Possibly, some of their recipes using the other flavors of starters look pretty good so I might end up trying them out. 

 I'm looking forward to my next BzzAgent Campaign! 

New BzzAgent Campaign! {Glade!}

Saturday, September 8, 2012

    So I still haven't used that can of Progresso, it is destined to become lunch tomorrow.  I ended up cooking quick dinners last week instead. So I'm going to put that aside and move forward!

Instead of sending actual products for this campaign I received a booklet with a voucher for a free oil diffuser and a free spray starter kit. I had looked for these products before at WalMart but they only had the pineapple mangosteen scent, I already had this in our office at home and wanted something different. I decided to look for them at Kroger and I picked up the diffuser in the Juniper Berry and Lavender scent and the spray in Cotton & Italian Mandarin.

 The oil diffuser is $5.99 at WalMart and $8.49 at Kroger.
 I believe the sprays at Walmart were $2.99 and they were around $4.99 at Kroger.

Kroger was also running a promotion on the products, buy 1 Glade Expressions product and get $2 off your next order. Even though I had the BzzAgent coupon that made these free I still got coupons worth $4 off my next purchase. Pretty sweet deal!

   I tried out the spray as soon as I got home from the store and I love it! I've always been a fan of their linen scent but this wasn't as overwhelming. You really can't smell the mandarin but it's a very nice light scent. It seemed to stick around for awhile too.I wish I had been able to get the oil diffuser in this scent.

 I took the diffuser to work on Thursday, it was too strong of a smell for my tiny office. I really couldn't smell any of the lavender. We decided if it didn't calm down by Friday we were kicking it out. When I came in on Friday morning I expected it to still smell super strong...but I couldn't smell it at all. The box says it's supposed to last 30 days so I'm not sure if my nose was just accustomed to it or if it really did fade so quickly. Not really impressed with this product at all, the scent was just too overpowering, one of my student workers compared the scent to a fresh urinal cake, I really can't comment on that but I'll take his word for it!!

  It would be nice if the Cotton and Italian Mandarin were available in the scented oil warmers. I find that I forget to use the sprays and I really didn't care for the diffuser. I'll probably just stick with their scented oil warmer refills instead. If you have some coupons that make these product free they're worth a shot but otherwise I would save your money and use the warmers instead. They are less expensive and the scent lasts  a long time. If you're looking for a really nice fall smell I recommend Cashmere Woods, it's my absolute favorite!

 What's your favorite way to make your house smell pretty?


Friday, September 7, 2012
    Last week I spent some time making a pretty adorable chart of our loan disbursements from smallest to largest. Today we get to cross one off!

   Phillip and I sat down and looked everything over and submitted an online payment to FedLoan servicing to pay off my smallest student loan. This morning they took it out of our account, I should recieve a paid in full letter in about 30 days!
  Tomorrow we're sending off a check to WellsFargo to pay off one of Phillips loan disbursements. I hate that we can't do an online payment because I feel like mailing in a check is going to take forever to process. So we'll get to cross off another one soon!

 Between those 2 payments we will have paid off $3600! Pretty exciting stuff :) This frees up $75 a month from the minimum payments to put towards our disbursement which should take less than 2 months to pay off. It feels pretty good to see some progress made!

New BzzAgent Campaign! Progresso Recipe Starters

Monday, September 3, 2012

BzzAgent is a website where you can sign up to receive invitations to try new products. This month I've received invite to 2 promotions, I'm pretty excited about this one!

 As I've shared before, I love getting cool stuff in the mail! I'm excited that my newest BzzAgent materials arrived today.

This is a new product from Progresso called Recipe Startes Cooking Sauce. 
The sauces come in 5 different flavors:
      Creamy Parmesan Basil
      Creamy Three Cheese
      Portabella Mushroom
      Roasted Garlic
      Fire Roasted Tomato

The one I'll be trying this week is Creamy Parmesan Basil. You can find lots of recipes. The info I received states the suggested retail price to be $2.49 and they can be found in the soup aisle. These are available at Kroger. You can find lots of tasty recipes using the starters here. I think I'm going to try this recipe for Crispy Garlic-Parmesan Chicken. It looks pretty easy and We'll have enough leftovers for Phillip to take some to work for his lunch! Keep an eye out for a follow up post!

 If you'd like to try new products for free head on over to and sign up! If there is a referral option please tell them that sunnybunny86 sent you :)

 Have fun!

Mug Swap!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012
 This post is a little late because Phillip had our camera with him while he was out of town last week. I can finally share the cute mug that came in the mail!

The card was absolutely adorable! My mug came from Sara over at

Now for the mug!

So cute! I love Paisley print, this color scheme is just so cheerful! 
I also received another surprise:
I saved it in the proper direction, not sure what's going on!

I love fancy/local coffees! So excited to try these!
Her blog has some awesome cupcake recipes! Head on over there for some sweet inspiration, her Beach Cupcakes are completely adorable! I can't wait to try some of her recipes!