I just got a phone call, it was an 800 number. I immediately thought “did I forget to pay a bill?” because that’s usually what those numbers are. I answered the phone and it was Discover Card fraud prevention, wanting me to verify charges. I wasn’t too concerned, because I rarely use my Discover Card, but I used it recently and figured they were calling to check on that.

Still, I never know if calls like this are legitimate, so instead of giving out my personal information, I hung up. Then, I got out my card and I called them. That way, I know for sure that the people I am talking to are calling from Discover. As soon as I got through, I was transferred to the fraud prevention department, so I am pretty sure that first call was legit.

The automated service listed the charge I made and asked if I actually made it. I confirmed that I did. Then they listed a second charge, to Netflix, for $1. One dollar.

A) I don’t have a Netflix account, so it definitely wasn’t me.


B) Who steals a credit card and charges ONE DOLLAR to Netflix?

So I confirmed that I did not make that charge and I was immediately transferred to a real live person. This woman I spoke to, who was by far the nicest person I’ve ever spoken to at Discover, then told me that the Netflix charge was just one charge that concerned them. They just stop using the automation once you say it wasn’t a real charge you made. She then asked me if I charged at an online tech company that I had never heard of….for $800 dollars.

Well, at least that is more like it.

I confirmed that I did not and then she went backward in time through my last charges….all two of them. I confirmed the ones I did.

She told me my credit card number was definitely stolen and that they were canceling that account and sending me a new account, new card, new card number, etc. I don’t have to do anything, they will take care of everything, they will cancel the charges I did not make and refund those amounts to my account and close and open new accounts for me.

Bam. Just like that.

Weirdly, this is the first time this has ever happened to me. Once, my bank froze my account and called me about fraud prevention because of unusual charges, but that was just a wild weekend. Actually me.

I’ve never been hacked before. I’m a little concerned that it’s not just this one account, but I’ve checked all my other accounts and they all seem fine. No new charges, nothing unusual, no red flags.

Now I’m wondering about this last charge I actually made. It was to an online company that I’ve never used before. I can only think that might be where I got hacked. However, I’ve checked my account and the item I ordered (a new swimsuit, in case you were curious) is on its way. I have tracking data and everything. So I’m thinking it might be just one of those weird things.

And I’ve got a new card on the way and am not on the hook for someone’s new flatscreen.

I guess it’s the little things.

Burrito Bounty

I believe we’ve talked a bit, about how I’m not much of a cook. What I am good at is research. I’ve scoured the internet for food blogs, recipe websites, tips and tricks, and I’m making myself better through research. My favorite source is still my mom, but that will never change.

I used to be so bad I couldn’t go to the grocery store without calling my mom. No lie, at least the first six months of living alone, I called her every single time I went to the grocery store. Where do I find…? What does this mean….? Is this the same as…? Things like that.

One of my favorite food blogs is called Budget Bytes. Aside from the fact that she cooks on a budget and tries to keep cooking more cost effective, she also seems to have the same palate as I have. We like the same stuff. I’ve tried several recipes and liked them all. I would say I think I like more flavor than she does, but mostly, what she says is good, I know I’ll like it, too. That’s good to know. I certainly would never make everything she makes, some of it is just bizarre, but this is for certain my favorite.

Now, a problem I have is lunches. I hate lunch, but it is my biggest meal of the day. I don’t like it because I’m having it at work. I don’t eat breakfast, so my first meal of the day is lunch. Then I eat something smaller for dinner at home. But, back to lunch, because it is at work, I can’t cook, it has to be microwaveable. Many of you are probably thinking, leftovers! But, I don’t like to cook every day, so when I cook something, I eat the leftovers for days afterward, so I don’t like them for lunch.

Which leaves me with frozen dinners. I used to buy Healthy Choice steamer bowls. They were very tasty AND good for you. But, they are $3.50 each, if you can get them on sale, over $4 if not. When I still worked at Hamline and had extra money, that was fine, but not on my budget. I can’t be paying $20 a week on lunch. I switched to Banquet tv dinners, which are $1.29 each, but they are often on sale 10/$10. At a dollar a piece, I’m suddenly spending $20 a MONTH on lunch. Much more economically sound, but they aren’t good for you, nor are they particularly filling. I’m usually hungry by 4pm. It sucks.

So, I’ve been casting around for new ideas…what can I do for lunch? Then, my dear blogger at BB put up this recipe about a week ago. Burritos Blanco. (Okay, it was January 16, so I guess it was two weeks ago).

I love Mexican food, that’s no secret, so I was all about these burritos anyway. Then, she said in the recipe, “I can’t tell you enough how great it is to have burritos like this stocked in your freezer. They’re the ultimate grab-n-go lunch. I just take one out of the freezer, put it in a container (to catch condensation) and it’s mostly thawed by lunch time. Then I just heat it up real quick in the microwave and I’ve got a super satisfying and filling lunch.”


It sounded strange to me, but worth trying. So, I made the recipe. First, I had to figure out “pork shoulder”. I had never bought one before. I went to my Taste of Home magazine to read about it and then went to the store armed with my minimal knowledge and-BAM-there it is. Just as described. I was so happy to have bought meat on my own, without calling my mom. (Buying meat kind of scares me, it’s very overwhelming and so particular).

It so happened that she stopped by the day I was cooking the pork shoulder, so I was able to brag to her that I purchased it all by myself, without her help. (It’s hard to believe I’m about to be 33, isn’t it?)

At any rate, after you cook the pork shoulder, you just assemble these. Easy Peasy. Seriously, the prep took maybe 5-10 minutes. Once they were done and rolled up, you wrap each burrito in saran wrap and throw the lot of them in a freezer bag, or two.

The next day, I grabbed a single wrapped burrito out of the freezer bag and took it to work. I left it in my mini fridge for the day and it was still mostly frozen at lunch. That means I cook it about 90 seconds to heat it up. Here’s the real kicker, once done, these are fantastic! The shell stays soft, the meat and beans blend together and the cheese melts and gets all gooey. Delicious. Plus, just one burrito fills me up and keeps me full. Yesterday, I had one for lunch at 1:30 pm (late lunch) and didn’t eat dinner until 9pm and I was fine. I was starting to get hungry, but these babies fill you up!

I have never made a recipe and been so happy with it. Her budget had the individual burritos costing $1.74 each, but I compared her prices to mine and mine were cheaper. Even so, less than $2 for a delicious, fairly healthy, filling lunch is totally worth it.

I’ve had people at work asking me about my lunch. I think they thought I was making a gas station burrito or something and then I’d tell people I made it and I’ve given out the recipe about 8 times. It’s been so popular, I figured I should share it for friends and family. (And you awesome 11 strangers who follow my blog, thank you!)

So there you have it–my current favorite recipe. I’m down to four burritos left–and already thinking about buying another pork shoulder to make it again. I love this recipe!

Thirty Days Hath September

I’m a girl on a budget. The budget is tight, very tight. I’ve learned to manage, but there’s not a lot of room for error. Last week I ended up driving a bit more than expected. Run out to Richfield to pick up a library book (where were you, Lisa?), drive to Maplewood (North) to pick up Kelly, drive to Minneapolis to the Cabooze, drive to Eagan to pick up Simon. It was a lot of driving that I don’t do normally and my Gus is a huge gas hog.

On Saturday morning, after Simon and I left Christian’s birthday party, he said to me, “Auntie Livia, you’re almost out of gas.” This, from his carseat in the back. I asked him how he knew that and he said, “the needle is pointing at E”. I hadn’t realized he could see the needle from where he was, much less know what it meant.

I said, “well, I sure hope we don’t run out of gas, what would we do?”

“Well, we would pull onto the side of the road and you would call a tow truck. The tow truck would come and it would use the chain to hook up to your car and then they would tow us to Grandma Kaye’s”, was his exact reply.

The kid cracks me up.

I told him that what I would actually do is call Pa (my dad) and have him come get us because he has a tow chain on his truck and if we needed a tow, that would be a lot cheaper. Of course, he’d probably just run get us some gas…but that’s a less exciting conclusion.

We had this conversation the rest of the way to my parent’s house.

I stayed there on Saturday and drove home, then stayed in all day Sunday. Yesterday morning, I was leaving for work and remembered that I needed gas. Monday mornings are NEVER good for me, so I checked the remaining miles on the tank and it said “LOW RANGE”. Wow, I’ve never seen that before. It usually gives the remaining miles left before I run out, 42 miles, 67 miles, etc. I was a little nervous because I was headed straight to work and then would get gas on my way home. Overall, about 6-7 miles to drive before filling up.

At some point, I’ll have to check the manual and see at what point it gives that warning. (God bless the internet, I just googled it and my manual is posted online. I read it and it hits LOW RANGE once it dips below 40 miles. So, I still had a ways to go).

Now, you’re probably wondering why it came to this? Why didn’t I just stop, say Saturday, when it was low? Because, I needed to get paid to get gas. In addition to guzzling, Gus has a huge tank and it is usually about $75 a fill up. I had it in my head that I was getting paid on Monday, therefore, Monday=gas.

Once I got to the gas station, before getting out, something, some internal sensor, made me pull out my phone and check my bank balance. No change. Shit! I didn’t get paid. I was frantically trying to figure out what went wrong. Suddenly, it hit me.

Thirty Days hath September,
April, June and November,
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February, with twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine each leap year. 

I actually said that to myself, realizing that January has thirty-ONE days and I was not, in fact, getting paid until today. Which is how I paid for my gas with a credit card. Awesome.