Big Sis Steps In…

Do you have a big sister? If so, you’ll relate to this! If not, you’ll just chuckle as you read along!

Big sisters were first on the scene and they know it! They recognize that they are the eldest and that their advice is, well, simply indespensible.  Big sisters are wiser and more experienced with everything – even those things they aren’t.  We treasure them for that, because, frankly, most of the time, to our chagrin, they are!

I wish I were being fascitious, but, no, I’m not.

Big sisters are also among a girl’s biggest supporters. They may be irritated when we fail to live up to our potential, but they are also there to push us on and make us strive to be better!

So it is with Karen, or, as my birth family calls her, The Matriarch.

I so admire her and value her (sometimes unsolicited, but always spot on) advice, that Karen was, I think, the first person I told when I started my Food Budget Lifestyle and this blog.  She immediately came through with recipes (think back to the Butternut Squash Soup, which you can find under Budget Friendly Recipes), forwarded articles on budgets, and just provided good-old fashioned encouragement.  For that, I love and adore her!

Karen lives a far healthier lifestyle than I.  With a husband who works out daily, and a diet that is low in sugar, she understands healthy cuisine. When I mentioned that I had put on a few pounds after eating just a little too well over our first four weeks of meals, she immediately began to grill me on what the plan for the week was.  That was last week, and the plan had been based upon a turkey I bought.  She began tossing out new recipes that I could substitute for what I had chosen, but, as I had already put so much work into my game plan, I was reticent to start changing things around. This is when the lightbulb went on – Why not let Karen plan a week?  Her recipes are always well-tested, delicious, healthy, and not bogged down by complicated steps. We both shared an appreciative laugh over this idea and, without hesitation, as I knew she would, in true eldest daughter fashion, she jumped at the chance to take over my life for a week!

This week is dedicated to Big Sisters everywhere, but especially mine, who is always there to support me, champion my (often crazy) ideas, catch me when I fall, and cheer me on when I triumph!

February 4, 2018 – February 10, 2018



Green Smoothies for mom, cereal or instant oatmeal for the kids, eggs for dad.  


Tomato soup, tuna fish sandwiches, leftovers, and bottled water for the kids.  As for me, I like my salads topped with some grilled chicken strips or hard boiled eggs that I prepare on Sundays for the week ahead.  




Sheila Kaufman’s  Simply Irresistible: Easy, Elegant, Fearless, Fussless Cooking

2 T. canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 t. oregano

1 t. dried cumin

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 (4 oz.) can chopped mild green chillies

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 C. grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and red pepper for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the salt and pepper to taste, the oregano, the cumin, and the tomatoes. Cook for about five minutes. Add the chopped green chilies and garlic. Mix well and continue cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the black beans. Continue cooking and occassionally stir for about another 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese if desired and serve hot over rice. Yield – 6 servings.

  • On Hand:  White Vinegar, black beans, cheddar cheese, garlic, green chiles, rice, onions, garlic, various spices, 1 red onion, Worcestershire sauce, cod fillets, diced tomatoes, 2 lbs. skinless chicken breast, carrots, ketchup, dark brown sugar.


  • Basics to Stock Up On:  
    • ALDI’S: 1 gal. milk ($2,65), 2 12-count K-Cups coffee ($3.99 each), powdered sugar ($1.49)
    • BJ’s: cereal ($4.99), case of water  (about $3)
    • WINN DIXIE:  bread (XX), 4 cases Winn Dixie Brand soda (4/$11),
    •  WALMART: 5 gal. half and half ($3.98)mayonnaise ($2.98), 2 – 12 count coffee 2- 16 oz. frozen mango chunks ($2.05 ea.), 16 oz. frozen pineapple ($2), 2 -16 oz. frozen peaches ($2.52 each)


  • Ingredients:  
    • ALDI’s:  4 (14 oz.) cans black beans (.72 ea.),  tomato paste (.39 cents), tri-colored pepper  ($1.69 for 3 pack), 3 lbs. ground turkey ($1.89 per lb.), white wine ($2.89), 5+ pound whole chicken ($7.90),
    • WALMART: 1 pt. cherry tomatoes ($2.98), shallots ($1.78),  fresh parsley (.98), jerk sauce ($1.98), orange juice ($2.58), scallions (.58 cents), 12 oz. large shrimp (peeled, deveined) ($5.96), zucchini (.92), 1 can chickpeas (.72), ground coriander ($3.97)
    • WINN DIXIE: 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts ($2.49 per lb), bread (2/$5 and 1@$3.49), 5-2 liter sodas (.79 ea),
    • PUBLIX: Chipotle Chili Spice ($5.99)
    • WILLIAMS SONOMA: Sumac ($7.95)


  • Winn Dixie – $16.65
  • Aldi’s – $33.63
  • Publix – $5.99
  • BJ’s – $8.00
  • Walmart – $40.55
  • Williams Sonoma – $7.95


  • GRAND TOTAL – $112.77



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