The Quicksand Story

Our story through the quicksand of our own financial crisis

Archive for the tag “groceries”

Cranberry Cornbread Dressing

Well Thanksgiving has past and we are now all back to our normal lives.  I have had some people ask me for my stuffing recipe so here goes.  Enjoy.  The most expensive item on this list is the cranberries.  Everything else is very economical especially if you shop a sale.  The sausage can be frozen if you find it on sale and want to buy it in advance.

Cornbread Cranberry Dressing

1 package of sausage, the kind in the little roll you find by the hot dogs.

1 package of Cornbread mix

1 package of Pepperidge Farms Herb Stuffing

2 Celery Stalks, chopped.  Even the leafy part.

1 Medium Onion, chopped

1 package of dried Cranberries

½ c white wine

Make the cornbread according to directions and set aside. When cool enough to handle, dice in medium-sized chunks.  It will fall apart, that is okay.

Cook the entire package of sausage on medium high, breaking it up as you go so it is in small pieces when fully cooked.  Drain the fat and set it aside.   Turn the heat to medium and add Olive Oil to the pan to cook the onions and celery until soft.  Once they are cooked add white wine to the pan to get all of the yummy good stuff off the bottom of the pan.  Add the cranberries at the last-minute to heat up in the wine and veggie mixture.

In a large bowl add all the ingredients together mixing gently to preserve the cornbread.  Everything is all cooked so taste it and add salt and pepper if needed.  Just try to not eat the whole thing before dinner.  I know it’s difficult not to.  As you cook your turkey add some of the turkey juices to the dressing and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.  Broth will work too if you are not cooking a turkey with it.  I also serve this with a pork roast.

Enjoy.

Best Darn Meal I Ever Had

I guess to know me is to understand that I love food. I love the whole dining experience. The service, the ambiance. I love the way wine can be paired with cheese. I love the way a filet minion can taste wrapped in a little piece of bacon. I have eaten in some of the best restaurants in Manhattan, Miami, LA and Paris. I have spent over $700 on dinner for two. I will remember them, and talk about them for the rest of my life.

I was completely out of work and money. The only thing we were doing was working with a company called Melaleuca. We were trying to make it big there. But it was hard. I didn’t know it then but the people we were trying to get involved saw our desperation. I don’t know if they knew what they saw or just saw that something was off. Normally our checks were $20-30 dollars. I went to mailbox before I had to pick up the boys at school and saw the oversize envelope from Melaleuca. I knew it was money and a sense of relief swept over me. I figured I could get about a week’s worth of Pasta and Milk for $20. I opened the envelope and found a check for $405.00 dollars. Seems a couple of the people underneath us had introduced some new customers. It was awesome. I sat in my truck and cried. We had food. I called Karen and she jumped in our Excursion and ran and got the boys. We rarely used that truck because it was a V10 and expensive to run. Probably looking back on it now it probably wasn’t insured and the registration was suspended. I took the check and ran to the pawn shop. I couldn’t take it to our bank for two reasons. One it was an out of state check and it would take 4 days to clear and two we were over drawn by the same amount, so if I deposited it the check would be gone. So I would cash it at the pawn shop and pay 1.5% and get cash. I cashed the check then I immediately went to Burger King because it was close. I went to the drive in and ordered a Whopper meal with a Coke. I paid the cashier and pulled away. I didn’t even put the truck into park I tore open the wrapper and bit into the sandwich. I was awesome. The “special sauce” squeezed out the backside of the sandwich all down my shirt. I really didn’t care. To this day I can still taste the fresh crispy onion. I drank the coke like it was just given to me by Jesus Christ himself during his Last Supper. Just last week I went to a different BK and got a Whopper meal. I flashed back to that day. It tasted just as good as it did that day. Out of all the places that I have eaten, of all the delicacies I have dined on none of them tasted as good as that Whopper Did that day.

Rice Salad (Yummy Yummy)

Like any one eating on a budget is not an easy thing to do.  Or at least eating well and healthy on a budget.  Fast food always seems to be the fall back when on the run with children.  Even fast food isn’t always cheap or fast.  It takes forever for our children to decide what to eat when faced with any menu.  It can be frustrating at times.

When going to a picnic where you need to bring an item I became really good a digging in the pantry to put something together.  This recipe I recently brought to a function and I was asked for the recipe.  So I am giving it here.  I got it from a friend and adapted it for us and what we like.  Most everything I get from the farmer’s market.  One of those little holes in the wall that have fresh local produce at inexpensive prices.  I love going to these places and buying a weeks worth of fruits and veggies for about 20 dollars.

1 Onion

1 Pepper

2 cups Wild Rice medley

1 or 2 sticks celery

1 Apple

1 cup Garbonzo beans (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Balsamic Vinaigrette ( You can make your own if you want)

Cook the rice in 4 cups of water for 20-25 minutes until the water is absorbed.  Rinse the rice under cold water when done cooking and put into a bowl for mixing.  Chop the vegetables  and apple small so that bits of veggie get through the whole salad.  Mix all of the veggies, rice, beans and apple together with the dressing until it is all coated.  Add Salt and Pepper to taste.  (It may need a little more than you expect.  The rice can get bland.)

This is a really hearty cold salad that I find goes a long way for me.  Enjoy and feel free to play around with it.  Add whatever your family will eat and enjoy!

 

 

No Matter How Much I Love My Children

My children are the light of my life.  They have in one instant change my life forever and do so again and again everyday.  I would do anything for them, but our minds play evils tricks with us.  We have been through hell and back.  We have survived our quicksand and yet I torture myself with the; What If…..

Really it is about Emily.  We chose to have Emily and I am so happy for that decision.  But, what if we had made a different decision.  Sometimes when in my darkest times I would look at her beautiful sleeping form and wonder how our life would be different, easier without her.  I gave up so much to have her.  I could work like normal if not for her.  Getting a house would have more options without her.  Because of her we need at least 3 bedrooms, yet, 2 bedroom homes are so much cheaper…..School is so expensive and we haven’t started saving for college yet.  Usually at this point I am crying because I love her so much that even the thought of life without her is physically painful.

If we never had Emily I would not have the giggles when the three of them are goofing around.  We would never have the flowers picked by her from the yard.  We would never have the little pink shoe hanging from our Garage door to remind us of how stinky her feet would get after wearing Crocs.  I never could understand how such a compact, cute, bubbly little girl could have such smelly feet.

After following this line of thought and having a good cry, it is at this time that I know that we are on this path for a reason; to help others.  I am not alone in having these feelings.  I am not alone in knowing that I would trade everything again for her, it still doesn’t make it easy to swallow.  It helps to know I am not alone.

Life is as tough as you make it

Life is as tough as you make it and boy had we made a mess! Choosing our reaction to our tough life is a choice. For years I had read books about changing your mindset and changing your life. It wasn’t until I was in my darkest days that it all clicked. I began each day saying my mantra over and over again:

I would like to believe that I can make a million dollars.

I am open to imagining that I can make a million dollars.

I trust that I can make a million dollars.

I can make a million dollars.

I am making a million dollars.

Those five lines kept me going. I chose to react to my tough life differently. I didn’t even believe it could happen (at first) that we could have more than $50 a week for food or that we could see light at the end of our dark tunnel but I said my mantra.  Over and Over again I said it until I began to believe it.  Then one day I did believe it.  That is the day Paul came home with a raise.  It was small but it was enough, and it was a start.

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