budget, cooking, cranberry, health, healthy, paleo, recipe, salad, steak, thrifty, tilapia

Three under $20 meals for a healthy body and budget

So cooking is something I’ve never been very good at. My family all are great cooks and there’s just never been a need to really learn until recently. I’ve learned it’s more fun and better on the budget to cook for two. JoeyWaffles and I cooking started more in the last year and it’s going well. 

We try to eat little to no bread save a bagel here and there, low sugar, minimal dairy, basically a modified Paleo. Being healthy is something we both actively strive for so cooking at home is a great way to make that happen.

Everyone says that eating healthy costs more and while that is true, it’s an investment in your health and future. Trust me when I say you don’t have to break the bank to have a meal that’s tasty, healthy, and look fabulous. Here are 3 dishes that are under $20, healthy, and easy to make! 

So everyone needs a go to dish. Something you can bring to a party or a potluck that everyone likes and makes you a hit. So what’s my easy go to? This under $20 Cranberry Goat Cheese mixed green salad with pecans. So how do you make it? Easily. Very Easily.

North Shore Poor’s Fancy like Iggy Azalea Any Season Salad

Grab
-1 container of mixed green or spinach. $5
-1 package of Fisher Nut Pecans $5
-1 package of crumbled goat cheese $4
-1 package of dried cranberries (8oz will do) $3

For a dressing I usually mix
-olive oil
-lemon juice
-balsamic vinaigrette
-some minced garlic, salt, and pepper
-Dijon mustard

Directions (5 minutes or less total time)
For presentations sake, I don’t mix this but put the ingredients on top.
-Place the salad greens in your desired container
-sprinkles pecans, cranberries, and goat cheese on top.
-artfully arrange
-leave dressing on the sides
-voila! you’re done!

As you can see above, that took me about 2 minutes to make and I didn’t even take use a different container. Place in a fancy dish and you are all set!

North Shore Poor’s Easy like a Khardashian Steak Dinner

Sometimes you just want an easy dinner. You don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen but the idea of picking up fast food holds no appeal for you. If you’re like me, it’s actually not even a last resort. Well, unless it’s a DQ blizzard, then that’s always good. So instead of hitting up a fast food joint, here’s what I do:

First, I figure out the nearest grocery store to me on my way home from work/the gym. I go in, grab a my ingredients: steak, an avocado, and some cous cous. I pick a small but good steak, usually grass fed/organic, I eat a lot less because of lap band and I always want quality over quantity. An avocado completes any meal in my opinion. You can get out of the store for under $20 even at Whole paycheck Foods, I usually have a glass of Pinot Grigio or Tempranillo in my fridge but feel free to skip the wine.

Directions (15 minutes total time)
1. Follow directions on cous cous box. Usually involves boiling water with some olive oil and the spice pack. I use Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil.
2. Chop 1-2 cloves of garlic.
3. Coat steak with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder
4. Make a few shallow cuts in steak and put in cut up garlic
5. Flip steak and repeat.
6. Grab a pan and turn stove on medium heat with a little olive oil, I lie adding a little lime juice over mine but that’s a personal preference. Try it once to see. You will no be disappointed.
7. Check on cous cous and continue to follow directions. When the water is boiling add the cous cous, cover and remove from heat I believe, I don’t have the box in front of me but I’ve made it enough,
8. Place steak in hated pan.
9. Start cutting up avocado. I l ike garlic salt and lime sprinkled on mine but it can be plain or even with some lemon juice and/or salt. Again, a preference.
10. Cook steak 3-4 minutes on each side should get you to a medium rare, add more time to get your temperature preference.
11. Plate the avocado and cous cous.
12. Add the steak and enjoy!

North Shore Poor’s I Want to Binge-Watch TV in my Pj’s Tilapia 

I love any and all seafood. I guess this is from my Italian side because my Dad absolutely abhors any kind of fish. This just means at the Japanese steakhouse I get his shrimp which is a win for me. A quick and easy seafood meal is great for being low cal and delicious! Tilapia is great dinner and easy to cook without smelling to fishy.

All you need is:
-cabbage, which can you can get pre-shredded if you feel like it
-olive oil
-mayo
-lemon (bottled lemon juice is fine)
-tilapia filet
-avacado
-lime (bottled lime juice is fine)
-handful of cherry tomatoes
-1 egg

Directions
The Israeli Cabbage Salad (5 minute prep)
1. Chop us a quarter to half of a cabbage and out in bowl. Otherwise use the pre-shredded stuff.
2. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and add to bowl
3. Add a tablespoon or so of mayo
3. Add salt and pepper to taste
4. Add lemon juice, enough to wet the cabbage
5. Mix.
6. Put in fridge. Doesn’t matter covered or not since it will only be there about 15 minutes.

The Tilapia
7. Get a shallow bowl and crack egg into a bowl
8. Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder and put on a plate
9. Coat filet in egg and then dip in spice mixture, evenly on both sides
10. Get pan ready with a little olive oil and medium heat
11. Add filet and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes, until flaky.  I like a char so I use a higher heat for about 3 minutes. Put on plate.

12. Cut up avocado, plate, add lime and/or garlic salt
13. Take Israeli salad out, mix, plate.
14. Eat and enjoy! Use lime juice for added flavor.

Simple easy meals are the way to go to stay healthy and well fed. When you start cooking and realize how easy it is, it becomes a lot easier to make a great meal at home with fresh meat/seafood than go to a restaurant where half the time it’s poor quality and frozen. When I do go out to eat, I make it count and this weekend was no exception. Joey took me to Sabatino’s on Sunday night and I had amazing garlic tilapia and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio followed by a decadent chocolate mousse cake. Quality food in a romantic setting made for a wonderful Sunday night.

Sunday morning was even better.  JoeyWaffles went to t-mobile with his brother and took my phone while I went into home goods. I assumed he was asking about a new case or battery life or something with our plan. I met his up at Potbelly’s and he told me he got me a new case. He handed me my phone in a new case and then I realized it wasn’t my phone, it was the new Sony Xperia Z3. Besy boyfriend ever. I love surprises and I have been getting sick of my phone since I have too many pictures and no memory card slot.

Sabatino’s + new phone + seeing our friends Rick and Sara who came in from Indy= a perfect weekend.

So how about you? What are your easy to make go to recipes? Anything fun happen to you this weekend?

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DIY, garage sales, happy, home improvement, ikea, joeywaffles, laundry, pinterest, renovations, thrifty

You can’t turn a home into a housewife…wait, what?

Okay so you might not be able to turn a home into a housewife but you can make a house into a home and the process is more fun then the end results.
A little back story about myself. Growing up in Highland Park, I had no clue how to pick a Chicago neighborhood when it came time to move out. I wasn’t sure what would be affordable and fun but also fit my laid back style. Honestly, the only reason I lucked out with my great apartment in West Rogers Park was because my Dad owned the building. A 3rd floor walk up in a 1920’s building, arched doorways and built in book shelves, I fell in love.
Sure, I was in walking distance of the best Indian restaurants but parking was terrible. Whether it was sitting in JoeyWaffles car on a sunny afternoon in the summer, watching the local drug dealer in a wheel chair sell his weed who we couldn’t believe we were a)seeing this and b)wow he’s tough, the chair doesn’t even have handles or having to fight with a local curmudgeon about walking his dog on a leash, there was never a dull moment. So when I made the big move to live with JoeyWaffles in Evanston, I said good-bye to sketchy side streets and hello to North Shore yuppies. 
Don’t get me wrong, Evanston isn’t exactly traditional North Shore but it’s apparently where the cools kids who want a mix of urban restaurants with suburban parking are flocking to, That’s as best as I can reckon anyways. Plus with Northwestern, tons of places are open late and these kids aren’t troublemakers because they’re too busy studying or watching their football team. While it’s kind of cool to be living in a city getting a huge amount of buzz, owning a house just means higher property taxes, very NOT fun.
The funnest part of being a first time home dweller (Joey’s the owner) is the decorating. One of the most recent projects we undertook was changing the front bonus room area from a sort of man cave/junk room to a man cave/home office. All I wanted was a corner to have a little office area and with some O.P.I. paint from Clark+Kensington, an IKEA desk and some garage sale finds, I have a wonderful office space. You can see the before and after below. 

So far besides the office, we have: painted the front hallway from a bright red to a yellow and grey and added some molding; bought the  Series 6 LoveSac sofas which the pets can’t get enough of; bought, sanded, and stained the IKEA Stenstorp kitchen island; renovated our heated back porch to become a laundry room and bought a new LG steam washer/dryer set; painted our pantry, and are in the process of renovating our bathroom and turning the second bedroom into a video game display room. 
I love being able to do whatever we want in our home and making it our own. With a lot of my friends settling down, buying their own places, or looking for different places to rent, it would have been great for them to have what New York has, Compass. I love that their site makes is so user friendly and idiot proof. You can click sales, rental, or agent, pretty self explanatory. 
You can also favorite places, request a status, make an appointment, and such. My favorite feature is by far the Neighborhood Guide which lets’ you assess each neighborhood and see where you fit in socially. places to go, and pictures. I would love to see them do a Chicago site and see where my friends fit in. I also think that really getting to explore more areas, getting out of a comfort zone and seeing what your city has to offer is a great thing. 
I’m looking forward to getting our bathroom done over Thanksgiving and posting pictures. What current home renovations/DIY projects are you doing? What have you done to make your home your own?
banana bread, benefit, benefit makeup, cosmetics, criminal minds, food, happy, joey, joey waffles, life, life lessons, love, monday, monday must have's, must have's, recipes, taylor swift, thrifty

Monday Must Haves!

Monday Must Have’s is something that a lot of people participate in and I decided that NoShoPo will be no different. So enjoy the first of (hopefully) many North Shore Poor Monday Must Have’s. It will be a mix of things you can buy, watch, experience, things I just like, etc.

The Worlds Best Banana Bread Recipe I had some overripe bananas and decided it was time to make some delicious banana bread. I added dark chocolate chips,  a teaspoon of cinnamon, and some brown sugar on top and it was AMAZING. JoeyWaffles has something to eat with his morning coffee and I found the only banana bread recipe I’ll ever need. Easy to make and the house smelled glorious. See my instagram for a scrumptious picture.

Benefit Cosmetics Advent Calendar I already emailed this to JoeyWaffles as a pre-holiday gift. He get’s stumped on gift giving, even though he gets me things all year, so usually we make lists for each other. This way we communicate what we want and it’s still a surprise because we give a bigger list then we are going to get. This is top of my list because I love all things Benefit and these would be get things to travel with and keep in my purse.

Criminal Minds Marathons Because sometimes they can’t all be about Law & Order: SVU, as much as you want them to be. Not just because you miss all the Elliot episodes no matter how good Danny Pinto can be but because Criminal Minds is amazing and thanks to ION you have just figured it out. I am pretty much obsessed with this show about the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) and love the character relationships. Starting at season one, while watching season 10 and it isn’t even weird. If you aren’t watching this, you should be.

This weekend I made the above mentioned banana bread and some inside out carrot cake muffins (the frosting was on the inside) so my beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer got lots of love. We resurrected the Keurig for some Saturday morning coffee and breakfast at home. I cuddled with Bella and Dante, went shopping with a good friend, hung out with my Grandma at the nursing home and enjoyed a great Jeep ride Sunday. Went thrifting and grabbed 3 sweater and some books for under $18. Found two fun dresses at Forever XXI…this one is really cute and was on sale for $12.
Living well doesn’t have to mean living large. It’s the simple pleasure that bring the most happiness to my heart. A warm cup of coffee while curled up with JoeyWaffles and a warm blanket. Driving on a gorgeous fall day with the Jeep top down and a great song on the radio. 
Love the life you live. Live the life you love.
bob marley


Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go buy and listen to Taylor Swift new album “1989“.
In the meantime, what are your Must have’s this week?

crafts, DIY, fall, goals, happy, joey waffles, life, noshopo, thrifty, weekend

Falling Into the Season

I love fall. I loves pumpkin spiced lattes, boots, the crisp weather, saying the word ‘crisp’, well…you get the picture. Thanks to the interwebs freaking me out about PSL giving me cancer(yeah google that shit, kinda scary) I have been drinking cinnamon dolce lattes with soy and whip (I like no dairy usually but whipped cream cannot be ignored). Fall in Chicago is pretty breathtaking and I am hoping we can actually commit to a season because we had no spring and a weird not summer summer.

Friday night I made a mixture of the Pioneer Woman’s chili with some help from Jamie Deen. So delicious. I added coco powder, cinnamon, a Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer, and a jalapeno. Made some Bob’s Red Mill gluten free cornbread muffin mix and an Angry Orchard cider and life was real good. 
Saturday was a huge score at the garage sales. Joey Waffles and I had to have hit up at least 15, some duds, some pretty amazing. Also went to my first estate sale, not so great but won’t stop my from trying again in the future. We supported C.A.R.E in Evanston by going to their rummage sale first and I got a new litter box, car seat booster thing for Dante and a picture frame. By the end of the day, I had 2 more frames, a mini muffin top pan, a sewing machine, and a vintage tray with flowers on it. Oh, and a corkboard.
Thanks to pinterest, I found inspiration for my office and used thisthis, and especially this to help me DIY my new frames. With some metallic spray paint from Home Depot and some fabric from JoAnn fabrics, I now have a beautiful corkboard, a frame to use over a dry erase calendar and another I am not sure exactly what to do but it’ll look pretty. Grabbed some extra fabric to make curtains to hide Joey’s random junk on the bookshelves and a matching seat cushion for my chair. Pictures soon of the rest but here’s the corkboard:

I spent Saturday night at the rehab clinic/home my Grandma is currently staying at and had a great time with her. We talk and laugh and play scratch off lotto and watched the new Lifetime Movie Deliverance Creek which was a departure for Nicholas Sparks but I absolutely loved it. I hope they make it into a mini series because I love a show with a strong female lead and a great plot.

Sunday JoeyWaffles and I went to Kauffmans for bagels, Starbucks, and then Home Depot. We are so yuppies in our 30’s but whatever whatever I do what I want. We bought mistake paint at $9/gallon for our bathroom and the new laundry room, which will apparently be a bright lilac. Then CarlitaRosita and I went on a lady date to JoAnn fabrics, Sears Outlet, and the grocery store. Who knew Sears even had an outlet and what great sales they had? Not me! I snagged a cute ress (olive green with light pink hearts) and a fall skirt along with a pair of gloves with the thumbholes cut out for $7.92. Who says you can’t be a baller on a budget? NoShoPo for life #noshame.

We also cooked steak, steak fajitas, chorizo burgers, chicken kabobs, salmon, chicken thighs, chicken leg quarters, and then I baked these yummy carrot cake muffins (sans the cream cheese). I love that we can cook for the week, be healthy, spend time with each other, and save money. It’s all abut balance and I am loving what we’ve got.

This week’s goals are:

  • Completing the laundry room by Saturday for the washer/dryer delivery. 
  • We have to put the new vessel sink and vanity in the bathroom and lay down the new tile. 
  • Sewing my curtains/making the sea cushion/finishing touches on my office
  • Sign up and study for the GRE
  • Work out 4 times
Happy Monday! 
life, noshopo, thrifty

NoShoPo

Let’s be honest, I’m a lazy typist who can be pretty inconsistent when it comes to capitalization and sometimes even typos (which I do try to edit out!), so typing out northshorepoor is like typing out my full name, ain’t nobody got time for that! So for everyone’s sake, I’m just going to abbreviate it to NoShoPo. good? good.

So my amazing, fabulous, handsome, smart, and funny boyfriend, the wonderful JoeyWaffles added to my NoShoPo life yesterday in a fabulous way!! He surprised me with absolutely amazing Maui Jim sunglasses.

Maui Jim sunglasses really are life changing. Seriously, my driving and outdoor experiences are already a million time more enjoyable. The lenses are polarized and seriously go to a SungGlass hut or something and use their little picture thing to see the difference.

He got me the Maui Jim Mavericks and you can see by smile, I am one happy girl. They are incredibly light weight, stylish, and I love the case. Now he has a pair and so do I, all upon a great recommendation on our friends Rick and Sarah, who of course both have a pair. I am not one for jumping on bandwagons but I am also not one to miss out on a great product. If you do a lot of outdoor activities, get a pair!

So my outfit today consists of:

Hunter Boots
VS Bra and Hanes Panties
Kohls Sweater over a Target tank top
Gap Jeans
Louis Vuitton Purse
Maui Jim Sunglasses

See the mix of NoShoPo? It’s a little chic and a little…I wouldn’t say shabby per say but not as fancy as they could be. Truth is, I love the Hanes string bikini underwear as much, if not more, than my VS 5/$26 collection. Tank tops are the same from anywhere but I must have my Gap skinny jeans. My Louie will never go out style and neither will my Hunters because they are classic, quality products that have stool the test of time and fashion.

NoShoPo is mixing new with old, expensive items with thrift store finds. It’s buying the $2 quilted blanket from the Salvation Army and putting it over the back of our expensive, amazing Lovesac series 6 sofas. It’s having my artisan kitchen aid on a thrift kitchen buffet. It’s living in Evanston in a house built in 1889 that needs tons of updating. It’s keeping the integrity of the house intact by only select modern touches on vintage style.

It’s buying the smallest Landrover they have that’s a few years old because I like the car, the design and the reviews. I like that it fits me and the moment I drove it I fell in love.

It’s being me. It’s knowing who I am, where I come from, where I want to go and doing it the way I want.