Budget Update

I have been a total slacker when it came to going to the grocery store this week.

It is great that I have not spent a lot of money on groceries.

BUT, what it meant was, I ate out way too much last week.

Let’s see if I can remember everything.

Wed…Pizza Place, Thursday at home…Friday…Mexican Place….Sat breakfast at home…Sat lunch pizza delivery….Sat night Chili’s….Sun morning at home…Sun after church a Japenese Grill place…sun night TGIF…..

How embrassing!!!!

Mama said I would have days like that……….

n the bright side, I do have a bunch of yummy left overs in the fridge though…..

Anywho….here is what I did manage to buy.

Toilet Paper, 6 boxes of Mac and Cheese and 3 bags of the new flavored Lays Potato Chips.


I spent $4.70 at Gerbes for the chips. They were on sale for 2 for $5.00 and I had $1.00 off coupons for each one.

I spent $2.98 at Schnucks for the mac and cheese.

I spent $5.00 for the Cottonell toilet paper, but I had a credit of $7 and something from a previous mistake and I used the credit, so I did not spend anything out of pocket.

Total for the last 8 days, I have spent $7.12 UOP

I had a balance of $288.80

Now I have a balance of $281.68.

I can add another $75.00 for my Sunday update.

This gives me a grand total of $356.68 in my grocery budget.

The new sales add start tomorrow, which means this total might not stay this high for long.

How is your budget going? Have you ever blowned your budget by eating out? Did it make you feel guilty?

Here’s to a better week for me eating at home.

Do I have to count the Subway sandwich I had for dinner?????

I am not off to a very good start.

Blame it on Monday and the time change.




Whew….where did the weekend go?

How was your weekend?

Did the time change put you in a bad mood?

I am still recovering from the time change.

It usually takes me a few weeks for it to sink in that I really do have to get up an hour earlier each day.

Photo credit

Anywho, it is Monday! Yippee….

I left for work when it was dark and I came home from work when it was dark.

So where did the Daylight Savings go?

Photo Credit

Did any of you have this problem : D.

Happy Monday!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Grilled Steak Burgers

Am I the only one out there missing the smell of smoke, waifing up from the barbecue grill?

The delectable aroma of barbecue smoke that makes you want to guess what is grilling on the grill.

If you are like me, you love the taste of food cooked on the grill.

I love the charred parts, the grill marks and the distinctive smell that grilled food produces.

I am always jealous when I come home from work and my neighbors are grilling and making the air smell so delectable while  my grill sits cold and empty.

I just want to follow the smell of the smoke and invite myself to dinner.

I use this strategy to meet my neighbors.

I know this has happened to you.

Or do you have a better strategy?

If you do, please let me know.

Anywho, as I sit here watching the snow melt, I am day dreaming about a eating a grilled steak burger.

A few months ago, before central Missouri was blanketed with snow along with blowing cold air freezing our ear lobes, at went to my brother Robert and PIC’s house for a visit.

I love to go there for a visit.

We usually go to the outlet mall to shop, buy sweet goodies to eat and my brother barbecues for us.

That weekend, I brought with me a recipe for steak burgers that I found from America’s Test Kitchen.

It is a steak experience on a bun.

Since fat is one of the things that make a burger taste so great, and since ground steak is really lean,  you  add melted butter right in with the ground meat. You get the great taste of steak, the juicyness from the butter and the added bonus flavor of sauteed garlic.

Spring is right around the corner. You will want to save this recipe to bring your grill out of winter hibernation.

Your grill will thank you and so will your taste buds.

Here is your step by step instructions:

First off you will need some steak burger. I just happen to luck out and find some on sale. You will also need some fresh garlic, unsalted butter, onion powder, peper, salt and soy sauce.


You will need to peel 2 cloves of garlic and mince them up. I had more ground steak so I had to use three.

Measure out the onion powder, pepper and salt.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the garlic, seasonings and soy sauce. Saute for one minute. Cool for about 5 minutes.


Add the cool butter mixture to the ground steak and gently knead in.

Form into 3/4 inch thick patties. Looks like some pork steak wanted to sneak in on the grill action.

Now, it is time to go find a smokin hot grill.

 Place burgers on a hot grill.

Grill on both sides until you get to the done-ness you prefer. I like mine medium to slightly pink so that would be approximately 8 to 10 minutes on the grill. Flipping the burgers half way through the cooking time.

Here is your plate of perfectly grilled steak burgers. Can you see the speck of garlic peeking out. Sorry….that is my bite : D

While Robert was grilling PIC and I sliced up some tomatoes, sweet red onions and tore some lettuce leaves.

We used onion buns to top on our buns. See that little drip of sauce. That is Robert’s secret sauce.

 I would give you the recipe, but it is secret.

Hence the name, “Secret Sauce.”

He won’t even tell me how to make it. He reminds me of a mad scientist when he makes his secret sauce. I know it has brown sugar in it and that is good enough for me.

I keep telling myself spring is almost here. You can put money on it that as soon as I get my grill ready,  I will be grilling these steaks burgers first thing.

Or, maybe I will just make another visit to my brothers house and have him grill them for me.

Get your grill ready and invite your friends over for grilled steak burgers.

It will be a steak experience they will not forget.



Here is the recipe:

Grilled Steak Burgers

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 and 1/2 pound ground steak or 90 percent lean ground sirloin

4 onion buns or regular hamburger buns if you prefer.


In a sauce pan, melt the butter. Add in the minced garlic, pepper, salt, soy sauce and onion powder. Saute for about one minute. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl put in the ground steak. Add the cooled butter mixture. Gently knead the butter and ground steak together.

Make into four 3/4 inch thick steak patties.

Place on a hot grill. Heat grill for five minutes  before placing the patties on the grill.

Carefully grill the patties. They will be tender and they start to cook and firming up.

Grill for around 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until desired done-ness.

Serve with fresh lettuce, sliced onions and tomatoes.

If you have some secret sauce that is great too.

If not, you can use your favorite barbecue or steak sauce.








Tornado Drill Waffles

It has been hard planning my lessons for schools because we have only had school 2 to 3 days a week the last 3 weeks.

Because of the snow days I was unable to have the students make their waffles until I knew for sure we would have school 2 days in a row. My classes only last 47 minutes. By the time the students come in, I take attendance then give directions to the kiddos, I have lost 10 minutes. We are not able to make batter and cook all the batter off in the waffle irons with the amount of time left in class.

So, we make the waffle batter one day, wrap it up tight in the refrigerator and then cook them all up the next day.

It is a win win. The students have more time in the kitchen to make their batter and clean up. The students also have more time to cook their waffles and enjoying eating them while still having plenty of time to clean up.

This system works really good unless there is a tornado drill in the middle of class.

Yep! We had a tornado drill about 10 minutes into class.

It is weather awareness preparedness week, or something like that this week. Which means that we need to have a tornado drill.

I knew it was coming. I was warned the day before.

But, I had promised the kiddos that we would make waffles, tornado drill or not.

When the alarm sounded (actually the alarm did not go off so they used the intercom) my munchins went down stairs to the correct classrooms and as soon as we got the all clear, we headed back up stairs to make waffles.


I was afraid I would need red shoes and wish I was Dorthy and want to go home. But, the kids did great, albeit some dirty dishes I had them wash up today.

We did have one little misshapen. One kitchen left a waffle cooking in the waffle iron. By the time we found it, it had turned into a very brown waffle Frisbee.

Cooking with kids…..you gotta love it!




Update, Update, Update

Does this look like a future garden spot?

Imagine it without the snow. What do you think now?

First off, I want to tell you that I did not drop off the side of the planet. As much as I missed everyone here, it seemed that snow, meetings, teaching, and a really bad cold hindered me from adding a post.

I am going to take a few minutes tonight to give you; Garden Update, Budget Update and School Update.

First off the Garden Update.



Can you imagine seeing, 4 raised garden beds here?

I have been looking my back yard over, trying my best to figure out the best place to put 4 raised garden beds.

It has good drainage. It has enough hours of sun. Most importantly, it is close to my outside water hydrant. I could put the raised garden bed way down the other end of the yard. It is level there. It has full sun. But, it is really a long way to drag a hose to water it.

I do have some things to work out. I have two buried lines. One is the water drain from my gutters and the other is the buried cable wire.

The Super Hero is going to dig up the water drain from my gutters. I am  going to replace it and rebury it. I know (pretty much) where the cable wire is buried and we will just leave it alone.

I have horrible grass in this whole area. My plan is to put in the raised beds and then mulch around the beds and whole area from the tree to the fence.

I still have time to decide while I wait till the snow melts away.

Now it is time for Budget Update:

My shopping has pretty much been a mess the last two weeks.

It pretty much depended on who could get their car out in the snow.

I did make it to the grocery store twice and spent a total of $42.03.


I had two $5.00 gift cards that I received a few months ago at one of my shopping trips. Sometimes  Target offers gift cards if you buy certain products. I used $5.00 from one and then $1.00 dollar from the other one. So I bought all of this and did not pay anything for it. I still have $4.00 left on one card.

After using my the $4.00 left on my card, I paid $4.36 for everything here.

So, the total amount I spent on groceries and toiletries for two weeks is $46.03.

The only reason I did not spend more was because my car was buried in the snow (thanks to the snow plow) and my totally fab children was able to get out and buy some groceries. Getting prepared for two  snow storms, you always need extra milk, bread, eggs, ect. My oldest daughter who does not cook bought all of those items plus fresh veggies and fruit. My son the super hero, bought a big roast for the crock pot (I still manage to get it cooked the day we lost electricity) and more perishables.

Thanks to my children, they stocked up for us for the storms.

Here is my total so far since when I first started keeping track in January.

I had a balance of $262.83 on February 17th.

I added another $75.00 on February 24th.

Giving me a total of $332.83.

I have spent a total of $44.03 in two weeks.

Right now I have a balance of $288.80.

Today is Sunday and I can add another $75.00 but I decided not to. This is because of the snow storm and my kiddos bought the groceries.

It just seems fair.

This means, that of Sunday May 3rd I have $288.80 in my grocery budget.

Now it is time for school update:

For Valentine’s day my club made chocolate covered strawberries to take home. I think they ended up eating most to them before they took them home : D.

For Mardi Gras the foods class made king cake. I hid a bean in each cake for the kids to find. You are suppose to use a plastic baby but I was afraid the students might eat it by accident.

My foods class also made, no bake cookies, pop corn balls and egg frittata. I was unable to get pictures of those. Those pesky kids ate them too fast : D!

Tomorrow we are making waffle batter. The students will cook the waffles on Tuesday. I will try to get photos to show you.

Ok, my dear friends. I know this was a long post. But, now you are all updated on my little adventures from A Small Town Kitchen.

Thank you so much for following my blog. I appreciate each and everyone of you!

Rachel, I know you asked about my artichokes. I have transplanted them to bigger pots and they are doing great. I will have picture updates soon. You will be surprised how big they are getting.

Have a great start to a new week!