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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Project Food Budget- Week 2

So Week 1- I definitely planned more meals than we could eat (wooweee, that means freezer meals for another time!)

Week 2

I went shopping, and went to the farmers market! I was so excited that I spent a total of $45.06! YES!

Then I went back down to my car and realized I forgot that I had also purchased a gallon each of white vinegar and cider vinegar. So I went $8.51 over. That's not too bad, right? I'll try to make it back in Week 3.

So far this week I made pulled pork (=pork butt in crock pot covered [1/2 root beer, 1/4 cider vinegar, 1/4 h20]) It's amazing. Just ask my dad. I froze half of it so that I wouldn't have to make it again in a few weeks when I have another craving!

I had stocked up on creamed corn and corn muffin mix when Bottom Dollar was going out of business, so i purchased 2 chicken breasts and made chicken tamale casserole.
Here is the "real" recipe:; but I use a real egg, real milk, a bit more cheese, and we each with crunched tortilla chips in lieu of sour cream.
I bought lots of veggies this week and haven't decided what to make yet. Anyone have any good cauliflower ideas that don't involve 1,000+ steps? ;)

I did break down and buy white bread, pb and jelly. Its been so long since I have had one. So that's been breakfast. Not expensive at all ($0.85 bread, $1.89 pb, $1.69 jelly = $4.43 for 7 breakfasts = $0.63 per breakfast)....

Tonight we are having hot sausage with peppers and onions (the sausage was a gift from a neighbor...venison) let's hope it's good!

I never did make the black bean taquitos from goop so I'll do that to finish the week out.

Basic Meal Plan:

Breakfast: pb & j
Lunch: salad and soup
Dinners: pulled pork, chicken tamale, sausage with peppers and onions, spaghetti, black bean taquitos.

It's been hard to cook and have time to make things- 2 shows this weekend!

Friday July 10: 5:30-11 pm Downtown : PDP Night Market with the Gallery Crawl Pittsburgh

Sunday July 12: 9am-2pm Castle Shannon: the Mindful Market (the old McGinnis Market Parking lot on Rt. 88) (farmer's market on awesome!)

xo and happy eating!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Project: Food Budget Week 1

Week 1 : Off to a SUPER start
***NOTE---this was supposed to post on 6/29!***

I have not stuck to the official meal plan yet...but Friday night was sauteed tilapia with roasted potatoes and asparagus. I used Kewpie as the final touch on the asparagus (it is what I regard as Japanese crack mayo) along with some Chinese Five Spice, Sumac, and toasted sesame oil.

I made a big ole pan of lasagna on Saturday because I had everything, and had too much homework than to cook one easy meal. 

The Pappardale Bologniase was Sunday night...and holy yum. Wasn't the conventional, and I was A-OK with that. Had great papperdale noodles from Trader Joe's, diced tomatoes and tomato paste, a good helping of red wine, some African basil and milk to make the sauce. I had some fun chicken sausages from a farm market in Allentown that I browned up and threw in (one was buffalo blue cheese and the other portobello Asiago) ya, it was delish.

I did a MASSIVE kitchen cleaning/organization, and yes, i did pull out the label maker. It made it so much easier to see what we have in pantry stock.
My grocery shopping for the week involved me going to 3 stores: Target, Aldi, and Trader Joe's. 
Not including feeding the dogs or bathroom cleaner, I came in at a whopping $27.65 for the week! That's $17.35 under budget! WOOT WOOT!
What was my splurge? Aldi had a manager special for crumbled feta - $0.99 each! So yes, I got 4. 

Goal this week: Stick to the menu, start thinking about next week's menu, and cook and eat happily!
Dinners:Monday - Pork Loin, Scalloped Potatoes and beans
Tuesday - Pierogies and Salad
Wednesday - Leftover Turkey Casserole or soup or... (it's still a mystery to me...)
Thursday - Who's my last class of the semester and I'll be half way done! 
Friday - Black Bean taquitos and Mexican Rice
Saturday- Mustard Salmon with sauteed Kale

Chia Seed Pudding

Lentil soup
bean burritos
summer rolls

Friday, June 26, 2015

I'm doing it...the food budget begins! Week 0

I am sick and tired of having a food plan...not having a food plan...over shopping...wasting's just not cool! I do work a full time+ job, own my own business, getting my MBA, plus everything at home, so it's not like free time is a relevant term in my life. I have found that if I can focus: ad shop, meal plan, budget, and prepare for insanity, life is a lot nicer and I can find a little bit of free time in there!

Blogger Emily Levinson challenged friends and fellow bloggers to join her in "project: food budget"
OF COURSE I jumped on board. Did I start 4 weeks late? Hell yes. Not on purpose of course.
But here I am: 4 weeks behind and excited to begin. And I'm in finals bear with me!

Did you see all of the hoopla of Gwyneth Paltrow "failing" her $29 food stamp challenge? Well- on the bright side, she made a lot of people now realize what 1 out of 7 of Americans have to survive on! Awareness is key.

On our fortunate side, and my savvy saving skills, we have a super well stocked pantry and chest freezer. My goal for the next 2 months is to spend $45 a week (yes, two adults) while using up what we have so it doesn't go to waste. I do have every condiment, spice, herb that will help. OH, and "urban" gardening helps, too : )

I hope you enjoy my personal challenge. I'll share photos and updates...and grumblings when they pop up throughout each week. Once A week I will share the meal plan and receipt totals so you can keep me accountable!

Let's Do This!


Meal Plan Week 1:
(I'll add recipes as the happen!)

Friday - Tilapia Filets with Potatoes and Asparagus
Saturday - Papperdale Bolognaise (and Lasagna for the Freezer)
Sunday- Mustard Salmon with Kale
Monday - Black Bean Taquitos
Tuesday - Pierogies and Salad
Wednesday - Leftover Turkey Casserole (it's still a mystery to me...)
Thursday - Who's my last class of the semester and I'll be half way done!

Chia Seed Pudding

Lentil soup
bean burritos
summer rolls

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring Fever

Hi friends!
It's been awhile, eh?
You know how it is busy, started school...and alas! You just start losing touch with your world AND yourself.

So hello!
It's time for an all around reconnect.
For me, it involves listening to great Baroque music and wishing it was warm enough to walk around my garden barefoot.....

While waiting for warmth and green, I daydream and plan plan plan: what's in the garden this year?

I got a lemon tree for Valentine's Day (YAY!) and it has teeny tiny lemons growing already! So I thought it would be fun to stay in this general theme.. so I bought a fig tree and a blueberry bush....

I can't wait until they look like this!

Off to figure out what seeds to plant...what are you planting this year?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Making New Things!!!

I just love making jewelry and wares for men...and other gifts.
I get to play with power tools when I am working with bicycle parts and fun vintage goods.
I love my art, but my brain just wanted more to do!

As a lot of you know, I grew up in my family's art and craft supply store. I had great tons of fun always making  - and learning new crafts. So trying something new is always happening.

Also while growing up, I was obsessed with products. Hair, skin, body, and especially scents and perfumes.
(I even had a journal where I kept notes of perfumes I came in contact with!)

Fast forward to today, I wanted to get back into body and glorious essential oil smelly goodness!
I started making solid lotions. 
Perfect for use after a shower- or anytime.
I made mine not greasy and not waxy.
Some with exfoliating properties, some with organic bug repellent and zinc for help against 
the sun's harmful rays.
Shimmering and bronzing with only natural minerals and pigments for a perfect sun kissed glow.

I decided that my best plan of action was to make everything small batch, just like I make everything else - I can pay close attention to each and every part I create.

It started with a line geared and named towards cyclists (pun intended!) (just to be fun)
  but fabulous for everyone!

Gear Up - A natural bug repelling and zinc infused moisturizing bar to have the ride of your life!

Tune Up - A post ride "ommmmm" with sweet birch oil (which is known to soothe sore parts) and ylang ylang.

Riding Queen - You've done the hard part- now enjoy time off the bike with this natural pigment and mineral bronzing and shimmering delight- with a slight hint of grapefruit.

It starts off with measuring all the ingredients and melting them together over heat.

Adding in my perfect mixture of essential oil and goodness, then pouring into molds I have chosen for each type of purpose.

Sure - those were my first two pours, and they don't look fabu from that angle, but they are amazing! I haven't heard from anyone that doesn't love them!

They come in travel sizes to try and travel with.

And full size for a luxurious pampering!

Have you tried one yet?
You should- we're in love with them!

To get started, I am offering 35% off of your order with a minimum purchase of $10 - as long as you have at least one lotion bar in your cart! 
You will be a believer too!

have a great day! have any questions?
nicole @erra

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Forget Flowers for me this Valentines Day

You could say that I'm a hopeless romantic.

You could also say that I am a strong, independent type.

I have often scoffed at Valentine's Day.
The Hallmark holiday.
I always said- you should show your love when the mood hits you, 
not when the calendar tells you so.

But I have become to realize that- life gets busier and busier.
Everything we do has a Google reminder attached to it.
You broke me down.
I'm on board for a day to celebrate LOVE!

Seriously, though.
Who thought giving cut flowers, that are soon to wither, 
that it was a good way of expressing your everlasting love?


Plants are good - but we are out of window space!

So here it is: 
erra's awesome gift ideas for Valentine's Day 2014!

One tandem bike from West Liberty Cycles, please!

matching moop backpacks....seriously love

matching heart shaped bicycle chain earrings and cuff links by erra creations

the best cards ever made from John the Craftist

Pub sweaters for our beers- genius! By Wakula Works

and to make sure your lips are perfectly smoochable- lip balm from Sugar Baby Soaps

happy love-ing!!!
nicole @ erra

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 9 of erra's 12 Days of Christmas!!!

This is by far one of my favorite gifts for cyclists, machinists and everyone alike!

Our 8oz tin is adorned a reclaimed Bicycle gear.
Simple, stylish,  and just $8 today only (that includes free US shipping too!!!)
8 oz bicycle gear tin