Just a Girl Trying to Find Her Place in This World

Oh I'm just a girl on a mission…

Tag Archives: Money Saving

“Oh This is the Night, What a Beautiful Night…”

So I think I’m lonnnnnng overdue with a post… and since it’s been SO long, I’ve decided to include a special treat for you… A RECIPE!

However! This is not just any baking recipe, no…. this is a DINNER recipe! I’m broadening my horizon… Today I made Lasagna Cupcakes (which my friend named them, and, lets face it, it sounds so much cooler than individual lasagna cups…) I actually saw the idea on Pinterest.com – a website I have become absolutely addicted to… I just wish I could get my own invite for it… sigh. Anywho… Before I give you this fantastic recipe, a quick goal update.

First off: New Years Resolutions: I’ve lost 2 inches around my waist, and have been eating all healthy (I gave up pizza and only had one piece of lasagna today) other than on Saturday at work, when I ate a macaroni and cheese that contained 123% of your daily intake of saturated fat. That’s right. 123%. We sell them at work, and they’re oh so good… but oh so bad… Anywho, I hadn’t eaten anything all day, it was like 5:30pm….  Let’s just never speak of that again.

Monthly Goals: Saturday was another challange…. after going almost two weeks without Tim Horton’s (Saturday would have been day 11) I got stuck working in the freezer for 3 hours, and was then asked if I was going to Tim Horton’s…so I went. HOWEVER, my friend gave me a $5.00 gift card for Tim Horton’s for going, and told me to use it and keep whatever was left after I bought his tea… So TECHNICALLY I didn’t spend any money on Tim Hortons… I made a $1.95 for going…. So can I still count Saturday as a day I did not spend money at Tim Horton’s…. keep my streak going? Please?

Ok, so, before I bore you anymore, LASAGNA CUPCAKES! Now, if you make your own lasagna already, you can simply use your own recipe for the fillings… if you don’t never fear! I never have either!

So I got my recipe off a lasagna noodle box… but I had a bit of trouble converting the measurements… So I estimated a bit… and it turned out great! I got 3 opinions from school (two people I only met today) and 3 family opinions, and 2 work opinions… and everyone liked it, so yay! The outer shells were a little dry as they stuck out of the cupcake trays and therefore had no sauce on them to moisten them… but they were still edible. I am going to try something different next time to try and avoid the outer shell from drying up.

Lasagna Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 package lasagna noodles
680 ml of spaghetti sauce
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup of water (I actually think I skipped this… my spaghetti sauce was thin enough)
450 grams (1 pound) of Ricotta Cheese
1 egg beaten
2 cups shredded cheese (I bought a bag of 4 cheese Italiano mixed – Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, and Provolone  – but you can also use a mix of just Mozzarella and shredded Parmesan)
12 Cupcake papers

Directions:

(Keep an eye on the lasagna cupcake second from the left on the top row… I referred to it as the ‘perfect one’ as everything seemed to work out perfectly for it right from the very beginning.)

1. Preheat oven to 200C (375F) and line a cupcake tray with squares of parchment paper (I actually prefered using cupcake papers, I did some with parchment paper squares and some with cupcake papers… and I found the cupcake papers helped hold the shape better – the ‘perfect one’ was made in a cupcake paper)

2. Boil your lasagna noodles for 2 minutes less than the box instructs you to (I used oven ready lasagna noodles and boiled them slightly to soften them enough to work with. This may have been my first mistake. Next time I’m going to use the regular lasagna noodles that need to be boiled first… maybe boiling oven ready ones overcooked them?)

3. When the noodles are soft enough, allow them to cool slightly (so you don’t burn yourself) and form them into a circle in the cupcake  holders (the noodle will overlap a bit, about 2 inches) Cut the remaining noodles into squares (You’ll get approximately 4-5 squares per noodle, depending on the size your cupcakes – I also found it was easier if I removed the bumpy edge of the lasagna noodle from these squares)

4. In a saucepan, brown your ground beef. When it’s browned, drain the grease and add the pasta sauce to the pan and bring it to a simmer.

5. While your beef is browning, you can mix up your cheeses. Beat your egg, then add the ricotta cheese and the shredded cheese blend. Beat it all together with an electric mixer. (You can also add salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg if you desire)

6. Put a small drop of your sauce mixture on the bottom of each cupcake tin. Place a square of lasagna noodle on the bottom of the cupcake tin.

7. Add a teaspoon of your sauce mixture into the lasagna cup. Then add a teaspoon of your cheese mixture. Don’t be stingy. Top these two layers with a square of lasagna noodle. Repeat once more.

8. On top of your last lasagna noodle square, place another teaspoon of your sauce mixture, then sprinkle with some shredded cheese (or use half a teaspoon of your cheese mixture if any remains)

9. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven or until the edges are a dark golden/light brown colour and the cheese on top is darkened. Remove from the oven, sprinkle each cupcake with a pinch of shredded cheese, then place them back in the oven only long enough for the cheese to melt on top.

10. Remove from oven and serve hot. (You can add a teaspoon of lasagna sauce to the finished lasagna cupcake in order soften the outer shell a bit if you’d like)

Just as a side note, the next time I try this recipe, I’m going to cover the cupcake tray with aluminum foil to try and lock the moisture in and stop the outer shell from drying out. I may also try soaking the outer noodle in pasta sauce to help it keep the moisture…

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“You’re my Cuppy-Cake, Gum Drop, Snoogums, Boogums, You’re… the Apple of my Eye…”

Oh my Gosh guys!

I have officially made it a full week without buying any Tim Horton’s! I am beyond impressed with myself…. I didn’t even really need to think twice today when I walked past the Tim Horton’s on campus! One week! I feel like I deserve a badge or something to commemorate the moment or something… I haven’t even been drinking that much homemade tea to make up for it…

I’ve also decided to add something else to my bucket list. “Take a Cake Decorating Class”. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I actually enjoy baking… and then when I was watching Two Broke Girls today (love the show) they took a decorating class for their cupcake business. Now, I was joking around with my 12 year old cousin last week when she showed me the 40 cupcakes she decorated in 15 minutes, these are them…

Anywho, I was joking around with her that I should drop out of school, open a bakery, and hire her on to do the decorating…. but then I remembered she’s 12 and I should probably encourage her to stay in school so her mom and dad don’t get mad at me.

But the point is,  it did get me thinking. I could never do something that cool, unless maybe if I took a class. Maybe I’ll see if she wants to go with me. I’m looking into classes though around the city and hopefully I’ll find a good decorating class (for a good student affordable price) that I can go to. It’d be nice to have someone go with me though, so I’ll have to look into that too. Scheduling multiple people is so frustrating though.

Anywho, I hope you enjoy the mouth watering picture of cupcakes, and I’d like to thank everyone who liked yesterdays blog. I had a record breaking number of views yesterday, and my friend was ecstatic that so many people ‘liked’ the post her drawing was featured in. I don’t see why, it’s an amazing sketch.

Ta-ta for now!

“Our Song is the Slammin` Screen Door…“

So I know I didn`t get this post up last night like I had hoped, but I was having a few difficulties getting on. So, here it is.

First off, I want to wish one of my best friends a very happy 21st birthday! I met her in my first year at university, and I simply adore her. We talk all the time, I know she`s always there to listen, and I to her, and I can`t imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn`t eavesdropped on her convos with other people in our one class… 😛

On that note, she also happens to be an incredible artist, and for my birthday last year, did this drawing of Taylor Swift for me.

I love it, and I love her, and I hope she had an incredible birthday full of bananas. 😀

My other update for yesterday was that I have successfully made it through a full 8 hour shift at work without going to Tim Hortons on any of my three breaks, or getting one of the guys to go to Tim Horton`s for me on any of theirs. This may not sound like much… but I work directly across the street from Tim Horton`s and we all go there on a daily work basis… and I`m known to make coffee runs at least twice a shift. I`m known for it. That`s how bad I got at spending money at Tim Horton`s. But, I made it through yesterday! That`s one more day!

“If You’re Happy and You Know it Shout Hooray!”

Hooray!

Guess what!?

I said ‘no!’ to potato chips today! I get it’s not a huge deal, but to me it is. Potato Chips… Mrs. Vickies salt and vinegar mainly, are my downfall. I have major issues with chips. Buuuuut I. Said. No. 😀 Proud moment for me ok.

Instead today I made myself a lovely haddock fillet with brown rice for dinner. And an incredible strawberry smoothie for a late breakfast (since I overslept a bit more than I should have). It was a really good supper though, and like I said I’d do in my resolutions, I turned the tv off while I was eating my dinner, and focused only on it. Little by little I’m going to get myself back on track to a healthy eating habit. Baby steps.

I also didn’t buy any Tim Horton’s today… put $1.60 in my Jar instead and made a tea. 🙂

The highlight of my day however, TurboJam. Today was the first time I’ve gotten all of the moves completely right the first time, and didn’t have to slow down a lot because I was tired. Not saying I wasn’t tired or sweating like a pig, but I pushed myself through it and didn’t give up. I just hope I can keep it up. I know I can.

Other than that today wasn’t too interesting. I went back to classes today at McMaster. I only made 1 of 4 of them…. but it was the most important one. *blushes* In all honesty, my mom was sick most of the night and in the morning, and I can only get my grandma to stay with her for so long, so I chose my afternoon class instead of the morning, because I get participation marks for the afternoon class. It was fun going back though! I got to see some of my cool people, not everyone, and not for long, but I did get to see some cool people.

Also, here’s a treat for you, my friend just got this necklace for her birthday, I think it’s incredible. It’s not this exact necklace, but very similar. Enjoy. 

“I’m Like a Brand New Chick…”

Hey y’all!

So, like I promised, here’s your official New Year’s Day post… Including my January Challenge – Not to be confused with the list you’ll get tomorrow of my New Year Resolutions… Yes, I will write one.

So after looking back at last months challenges, I realized they really were just to general, and there were a lot. I think I got excited about my blog and just kept spitting out more and more goals! So this month I’m going to be more specific, and more realistic. Let’s face it, I forgot my goals a few times last month because I had so many set out.

I thought about focusing on a certain topic each month, say food, or esthetics, or recreation…. but I don’t quite think that’ll work how I’d want it to. So I’m going to look at what I find most important right now, and start there. Seems logical to me.

Before I give my list, I’d just like to thank everyone who was so supportive of last months challenges and overall blog posts… y’all made my day each time I logged on and found a new comment or someone who ‘liked’ my post, and those who gave me encouragement to follow through with my challenges… I really appreciated it! It was so reassuring to know I had people following what I wrote, and it really encouraged me to keep writing, and to keep trying new things. You guys are all so great, and I truly hope I can entertain you all in the coming year.

So without further ado;

January Challenges:

1. Save the Tim Horton’s money: Ok, I know this is revisiting last month’s challenges… but I’ve been taking a harder look at how often I’ve spent money at Tim Horton’s, and why I do. Leading cause, my grandmother. Bless her, but in order to convince her to come over at night, since my mom’s nervous to leave her home alone overnight, I usually need to tell her I’m running to Tim Hoton’s, getting her a coffee, and picking her up on my way home. The Fix: I need to remind myself this month, just because I go for her does not mean I need to buy myself a tea or hot chocolate as well (even if the guys behind the counter start making mine the moment they see me pull into the parking lot). Just. Say. No. And take that $1.60, and drop it into the jar that I will place in the kitchen, beside my car keys to remind myself each time I reach for them, not to make a detour. This month, I know I’ll also be faced with the problem of the six Tim Horton’s on campus: The Fix: Don’t take change to school. Tim Horton’s doesn’t accept debit on campus. I also need to keep an eye on work. The Fix: Stop offering to do the coffee runs!

2. Portion Control: I am one of the worst eaters this time of year, and as you saw last month, I really struggle with the sugar and salt cravings. I’ve noticed however that my biggest downfall has nothing to do with the food itself (ok maybe a little), but more so with the activity I’m doing as I’m eating the food. That’s right, I blame the TV! I have a huge problem with curling up on the couch, laptop beside me, tv on, bag of chips in hand… and I just go to town! One show, two shows, and before I know, chips are gone! I went to the laundry mat the other day, and took the half bag of salt and vinegar chips I had left over from work with me. They had a tv playing some singing competition show for kids – Star something – and while I was waiting for my washer to finish, I pulled out my chips and zoned out. In the 15 minutes it took for the washer to finish… my bag was empty. I don’t even know what the show was called! The Fix: Pay attention! A snack here and there is alright, but I really need to start taking out the ‘recommended serving’ and putting it in a seperate bowl… no more eating straight from the source. Better yet! When I get that urge to chow down in front of the tv, I got to get moving. I know it’s going to be a tough habit to break at first, but with a little will power I think I can do it. I just need to find a way to distract myself better. I mean in all honesty, half the shows I watch, I don’t even like that much…

3. Write at Least One Chapter of my Book: I know this month is going to be busy since school will be starting back up, and I’ll have my own readings and essays to do, but I truly enjoy creating my own stories. Usually I get so fed up with my essays though, I don’t want to write anything else because of it. But I noticed at the end of November, when I was in essay overload, I would use my blog post as a sort of, break. So, The Fix: Use my future novel as a reward. If I start my essays earlier, and I don’t leave them for the last two days, I’ll have time to write them, and time to finish them, and when I finish, I can sit down and get lost in a story from some far off place that doesn’t revolve around victorian poets or colonization. I’ve always loved writing, as long as I like my topic, so if I can use it as a reward, not only will I get that chapter done by the end of the month, I might get my essays done on time as well!

So, I think three challenges for the month are a good start. They’re specific, and I’ve got some sort of strategy mapped out to help me get started at least. I’m also going to dedicate one post a week to updates on my challenges! That will give me more of a drive to focus on them and get things done!

Thank you again to everyone who has been reading and following my blog. I hope you all have a fantastic 2012, and I can’t wait to continue writing for you, and hearing your comments!

“When you’re Fifteen, Feeling Like There’s Nothing to Figure Out…”

Hey all! Guess what! Today’s my FIFTEENTH post! I feel excited! Thank you everyone who’s been following me and reading my posts every day! I hope I can continue to entertain you, and hopefully entertain you better as I get even more familiar with blogging! Y’all are great!

So, the last couple of days, I’ve been trying to organize a few things in my life; trying to figure out a more concrete workout schedule for when school starts back up, figuring out what readings I should start doing for the new semester, New Years plans, Christmas plans with my sisters, organizing my closet (ok, so I dumped all the clothes on the bed today and then something came up, so now they’re all piled beside the closet/in the closet, I’ll need to finish that in the AM). Another thing I’ve been looking at closely is new ways to save up some money (I have every intention to start the Tim Horton’s save jar… I have a clear one now, so seeing the money inside inspires me to keep going).

I’ve also been paying close attention to ways to save a bit on Christmas gifts this year. (Hence all the baking experiments) No Hippopotamus for me this year the way my bank account looks! I don’t have a lot of gifts I actually need to buy, but I also haven’t had a busy work schedule with school, so between the cell phone and groceries, my Christmas budget is pretty minimal.

On my quest, one website I found is called DailyFeats. It combines two of my (currently) favourite things; goal setting, and savings. DailyFeats is a website that rewards you with a giftcard when you acomplish so many goals. The goals range everywhere from ‘iworkout’ to ‘playwithyourpet’, to ‘includesomeone’…. the list goes on. There are so many categories, work, fitness, meals, friends, children (I saw one for ‘tuckinyourkid’) the lists go on. For each feat you accomplish, you get a point, and when you accumulate so many points, you redeem them for gift cards (the values of points and values of gift cards vary). They have a wide variety of gift cards as well, starbucks, bowling, restaurant savings, concert savings, and even charities you can donate to. I really enjoy the site, I’ve been on it for two days and I’ve already accumulated $16 worth of points.

I also saved a bit of money on my phone/internet bill by calling the company, they looked up the amount of internet the house uses on a daily basis, and turns out they were able to cut our internet down from 4GB to 2GB because we were paying for a ton of GB that we don’t use – I think we saved over $20 a month doing that – so I strongly suggest you check in with your internet provider and see how many GB you use and need…. saves a bit of money for sure. We also saved some money on a few tv channels we didn’t even know we recieved. So take a closer look at your bill and give the company a call.

Those are probably two of the best tips I can give right now, if I find more I will DEFINITELY share them with you. Please feel free to do the same – pun intended.

As for my nightly Christmas Movie, tonight I watched ‘Stealing Christmas’ about a bank robber who, while posing as a Santa in a small town while planning to break into the bank, has a sudden change of heart and, well… turns into a really good story. It’s a great story about family, community, and romance, with the right mix of humour to help out. So go check it out!