Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Monday Nov 30- Dec 6

Thanksgiving went of without too much of a hitch. There was some issue with the shape of my rolls, and my friend was not entirely happy with her pies, but everything tasted wonderful and our kids had a great time playing together.
I just got my Country Life order, and since it was rather large, I am shopping from my freezer for the next two weeks. Also, I have been finding that as the nights get longer, I tend to cook heavier. This results in my scale reading heavier... So, in order to combat that, I will be testing lighter suppers this week in order to see how the rest of the family feels.

Breakfast-Cinnamon rolls (left over from company) bananas
Lunch-Leftovers (Enchiladas or potatoes and ham)
Supper-Noodles & Company (already have these)

Breakfast-Crock pot steel cut oats, peaches
Lunch-Turkey salad, oranges- Hot lunch for kids
Supper-Cream of tomato soup, ham and cheese sandwiches

Breakfast-French toast sticks, apple sauce
Lunch-Salmon salad, apples- Hot lunch for kids
Supper-Potato soup, cheese, no-kneed bread

Breakfast-Cereal, bananas
Lunch-Ham and cheese sandwiches, chips
Supper-Creamy pasta bake, salad

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-PB and J, bananas
Supper-Frozen pizza (we are going to a party)

Lunch-Crispy chicken, salad, creamy mac&cheese, beets
Supper-Veggie soup, bagels with cream cheese

Brunch-Biscuits and gravy, fruit cups, cereal
Supper-Fish tacos, coleslaw, mangoes

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It was quite a deal, deciding what to have for Thanksgiving. I got so many suggestions from the kids that we nearly ended up having frozen pizza. In the end, smarter heads prevailed, and we had ham. It kept the holiday feeling for hubby and the kids, but provided three meals worth of leftovers for mom. Since we celebrate with another family every year, I only had to make half of the food in our photo. Next year it will be at their house, and we are already talking tacos...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Update on 101 things

You may have noticed the countdown on the side of my blog telling how many days are left in my challenge. If you have never heard of the 101 in 1001 days or the Day Zero Project, go here to check it out and see examples of other's goals around the world. I have to remind myself to update what I have done every once in a while. It has really helped to keep me accountable to my goals, and has made me realize that some goals just are not appropriate for a season of life. 101 things seem a bit overwhelming to you? How about cutting it down to 10 things in 101 days? Actually setting a group of goals down on paper helps you to focus on something you really want to accomplish, and setting a time limit encourages you to complete your goals rather than putting them off or just forgetting them. So, what are your goals? Is there a list that has been rolling around in your head and is just dying to get out and be looked at?

Shopping trip for Nov 23

Downtown Grocery
Eggs 4.99
Arthur loops 3.19
Tomatoes 3.89
Tomato soup 3.59
Garlic 1.33
Total 16.99

flour 2-3.58
marshmallows 0.99
milk 1.49
cool whip 3-3.00
oranges 5-4.45
pineapple 3-2.97
pudding 3-2.37
cheese 3-4.98
dish soap 3.19
Parmesan 2.50
enchilada sauce 2-3.58
cottage cheese 1.79
cherries 1.69
bananas #5-3.43
jello 2-1.58
pineapple 2.99
ham 19.54
Total 64.27

Milk 5-20.00
Grand total $101.27
I have to keep in mind that this total includes a rather large and tasty looking ham I normally would not have bought, and ingredients for a fruit salad for 25 hungry teachers since I volunteered to make food for them during conferences. That actually added $10.11 to my bill. So for this week, $91.16 is not too bad with company and the holiday. Definitely under my $125 a week goal! This just goes to show that God does provide (in the form of sale prices) when we practice hospitality.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Absent this Friday

It used to be a tradition, getting up at 3:30 AM and going through the ads with my in-laws to see what bargains we could find on "Black Friday". Since we've moved, I don't go anymore. While I do miss the fun of spending a crazy morning with them, it has been somewhat freeing to not have go through the insanity of standing in line for an hour, or getting shoved by some crazy lady who had to get to the $1 Barbie first. We have simplified our giving so much, that I save more now at Christmas by simply not buying, then I ever would have if I steamrollered some Grandma to get to the toy isle ahead of everyone.
I am grateful to be able to afford to skip the consumer hype and just enjoy the day after Thanksgiving digesting with my kids over puzzles. What are you grateful for? Head on over to Laura's at Heavenly Homemakers and let the rest of us know.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Something new to your table this year

Every year for zillions of Americans (I researched this) families join together to eat the same food on Thanksgiving day. Turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and some sort of roll, bun, bread option.
Not this year! We have spent several days hearing opinions as to what we should eat this year on turkey day. I have heard brisket, ribs, cereal, corn on the cob, crab legs, ice cream, you get the idea. I think that I will have to keep corn casserole on the menu, but we are still up in the air as to what else we would like. We can have turkey any day (read-when on sale), so pork seems to be a popular choice for a main dish. I would like to avoid green bean casserole as I am about the only one who really likes it.
So, this year we will be trying new dishes! I am going to challenge myself to look for new hot sides to serve, using produce that is local and seasonal. This means I am looking in the squash, apple direction, and not the peach, shrimp direction. Local produce is fresh, and because of that, nutritionally better for you as a general rule. We could eat a local turkey, but since we are trying to avoid turkey all together....
So here is the challenge. Take a poll with your family and those who will be spending the holiday with you. Is there a dish that no one would really miss if you, say, "forgot" to put it on the buffet. Next, look for something in the same category of your old dish (salad, hot side, main meat) and replace it with a new, exciting dish of something that is grown or raised within a 100 miles of your house. Really brave people can post their link early and inspire the rest of us. What will you challenge your family with this year?

I will go first. No mashed potatoes and gravy this year, we are going to give Tyler Florence's Ultimate Potato Gratin a try. It is getting rave reviews and with the exception of the parmesan, can be made with all local ingredients.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Menu Monday Nov 23-29

Breakfast-Pb toast, yogurt smoothies
Lunch-Homemade raman, veggie sticks, cheese
Supper-Potato soup, cheese toast

Lunch- Hot lunch
Supper-Subway (in town for gym and swim)

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Creamy mac n cheese, garlic green beans
Supper-Spaghetti, salad

Thanksgiving Thursday
Breakfast- Gingerbread pancakes, yogurt smoothies
Lunch-Ham, Ultimate potato gratin, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, orange salad, garlic green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin and pecan pie
Supper-Crock pot turkey and stuffing, leftovers

Breakfast-Waffles with fruit
Lunch-Cheesy beef and rice, salad
Supper-Pizza movie night

Breakfast-Steel cut oats, peaches
Lunch-Chili, rice, pickles, cheese
Supper-Scalloped potatoes and ham, salad

Breakfast-Sausage egg skillet with hollandaise
Lunch-Sandwiches and tortellini soup
Supper-Beef and been enchiladas, lettuce, tomato, onion, olives

Friday, November 20, 2009


My poor Schwan's man. Every time I hit on something new that works, I drop yet another product from my order. Good for me, but at some point he is going to start taking it personal... One package of waffles is $5.39 and I make that last for 2 weeks by only allowing each kid to have 2 at breakfast, one time a week. I felt like I was sending kids to school hungry, and it killed me to pull the box out, knowing that I could make better ones. I have now made 5 batches of waffles for pennies, and can't believe I didn't start sooner. This morning, I made a batch of whole wheat, two batches of kamut, and one batch with unbleached white flour. The kamut were my favorite.

Belgian waffles

1 3/4 c flour (white, wheat, kamut, oat or a combination of any)
2 T sucanant
1 T baking powder
1 3/4 c milk
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well, combine wet ingredients in a large measuring cup. If you add the eggs last, you can combine and measure all at once, less dishes... Whisk the wet into the dry just until combined, there will be lumps and let it set. This is an important step for me, because I grind my own flour, the grain needs a few minutes to absorb some of the liquid. If I was smart, I would soak them the night before....
Preheat your waffle iron (gotten on sale with coupon at Kohls for $18) and pour 2/3 cup batter (or whatever yours takes) on and cook. We top ours with our neighbors syrup that I buy by the gallon in the spring, or whipped cream and fruit.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When someone ruins it for everyone, or my shopping trip

Don't you hate it when people don't play by the rules. I know I was like that as a kid, because I see it in my children. There are rules, it is fair, you may not like it, but as my MIL says "Suck it up and get back on the bus".
I don't know who ruined a good thing for everyone else, but as a was checking out at the grocery store with my fist full of new found money savers, the checker informed me they don't accept Internet coupons.
I wanted to cry.
Not only was there $8 worth of coupons that I had spent time searching for in order to save more on top of what was already on sale, there was a ton of groceries in my cart I would not have normally bought, if not for the great coupons. Sigh....
Who has time to counterfeit coupons?
Whoever they are, I am not happy with them...
IGA total $145

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks for the turkey

Ok, I swore I was not going to fix turkey this year for Thanksgiving. To tell you the truth, I just don't find it very exciting. We can have turkey any time of the year. Thanksgiving is a special day, why not challenge myself to make something new, different, special (read HARD) on this wonderful holiday?
When you get free turkey, however, it makes it hard not to. We found out last spring that our neighbors raise chickens, so we asked if we could add ten to their flock. Sure, if you come help when it is time to butcher, was their reply. Now if that doesn't take a girl back to her childhood.... We agreed, July came and we helped butcher 75 beautiful four to five pound birds. They cost only $6 a bird, and we knew where they were raised, what they ate, how they died, and how fast they were into our freezer. Our order of ten somehow magically grew to twenty and we were in chicken heaven. We knew they were going to do this again, since the family didn't even take any they had raised for themselves, so we cheerfully told them to call us and we would help with their chickens in November.
Fast forward to this last Saturday. Only 25 birds and nine turkeys total this time, seemed like cake. We started at 8:00 and were done and freezing them all three hours later. Here is where I get really grateful. That wonderful family decided to take only six of these birds. The young couple who came to help their aunt and uncle, took six.... hmmm, what are we doing with the other 13? "Those are yours, and take a turkey breast as thanks for helping. Are you staying for lunch?"
What was I going to say, no?
Now I have 13 more birds, and these were a bit bigger... 9 POUNDS! And what did I pay for this beautiful bounty of birdom? $6 a bird. Yup, you heard me. To sweeten the deal, they threw in a turkey breast as thanks, fed us lunch, told they would be happy to do it again next year, and did I want all the other backs and necks for soup.
You are reading one happy post...
Want to read some other grateful posts?
Head on over to Laura's at Heavenly Homemakers

Menu Monday (on Thursday) Nov 17-23

Eggs and toast
Cinnamon rolls and fruit smoothies
Biscuits and gravy or eggs
Waffles and fruit with whipped cream

Chicken, biscuits, fruit
Hot lunch
Turkey sandwiches, chips, apples
Cheese sandwiches, Arthur O's, dried bananas
Turkey sandwiches, tortellini soup
Company casserole, salad, beets

Noodles & Company
Lasagna, crescent rolls, salad, kiwi
Chili, rice, pickles, rolls, raw veggies
Roast turkey, baked potatoes, slaw, squash, corn, bread

Recipe Index

Steel cut oats in the crockpot
Super Food- Chia
Whole grain waffles
Brown soda breakfast scones

Whole wheat bread and rolls
No need to kneed bread

Bento #1 Angry eyes
Bento #2 Balsamic chicken on focaccia
Bento #3 Egg heads
Bento #4 Pretty flowers
Bento #5 Munchables
Bento #6 Noodle Flowers
Bento #7 Ham Roll-Ups

Soups and Stews
Oyster stew

Main dish
Lasagna rolls-WW
Enchilada casserole
Barbecue beef sandwiches
Pad thai pizza

Taco seasoning
Pumpkin for pie and such
Chicken bone broth

Steel Cut Oats in the Crockpot

Gotten from Ann, grateful for people who share their wonderful ideas!

1 1/2 c steel cut or Irish oats
4 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp salt

Stir all ingredients in a bowl that a) is safe to get hot in your crockpot and b) will fit in your crockpot while still allowing the lid to close completely. Now, here is where it gets tricky and you need advanced skills for this recipe, ha! Place bowl in crock and pour more water into the crock around your bowl. Don't add the water to the bowl, or you will get very soupy oats, and who wants oat soup? Add enough water to reach the sides of your oatmeal bowl at the same level as the cereal. Put on the lid. Set it on low. Go to sleep.
In the morning you will wake up to the most beautiful bowl of chewy, creamy, easily made steel oats you have ever had. At this point, put some fruit in your bowl, I like peaches, and pour some of the oatmeal on top. Add whatever sweetener you like, cinnamon and sugar or honey for me, and enjoy.
On a side note, if your oats call for more or less water per cup, follow your bag... 1:3 was the Bobs Red Mill ratio.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Girls morning out

There are days I really need to connect with other women on some level besides just being a mom. Usually when I get together with my friends, it is for something that revolves around our kids, cooking for them, playing with them (although I am kinda the joke of our group, only attending playgroup once a year), or some activity. If we make a lunch date to go out, we spend $5 and hr on a babysitter, 7-10$ on lunch, and still end up discussing our kids.
Well, a group of us have come up with a different idea. Our YMCA has personal trainers to the tune of $38/hr. None of us can justify spending that on a pair of shoes, let alone an hour to work out. There is another option, however. We can pay $50 and a whole group of us can go. Because I am a volunteer in the aerobics department, my childcare is free, and I spend $12.50 (less than a lunch date, and doesn't cost me a pound of guilt) and work out with a fun group of women. We have our workout in common, but we are so busy disliking the trainer for making us sweat, that we don't have time to talk about the kids. I am sure this is the state of mind I am supposed to be achieving in yoga, you know, no thoughts about the day, but this way I really can't think about anything but how bad my butt hurts, and when is this exercise going to end. We laugh and sweat together for cheap! Even if you only do it once a month, what a great girls morning out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bento #2

I'm packing your angry eyes....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A chance to clean up

It is the middle of November and it is 55 degrees. I am going to clean out my garden today. Need I say more? Head over to Laura's and see what everyone else is grateful for this beautiful Tuesday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekly shopping trip

What a beautiful day to go grocery shopping.

Turkey back and necks 1.30
Sausage 3.41
Bacon 2.99
Brisket 9.78
French bread 1.49
Sour cream 0.99
Cottage cheese 1.19
Ham #1 4.64
Grapes 3.52
Swiss #1 6.17
Romaine lettuce 3.59
Rye bread 2.39
Pomegranates 2/2.58
Garlic bread 1.50
Total $45.54

Downtown Grocery
Kashi 2.99
Eggs 2/5.98
Celery 2.79
Granola 3.69
Kiwi 3.71
Shredded cereal 5.59
Mac n cheese 2.69
Cabbage 2.58
Total $31.71

Gas station
Bananas 5# 2.45

Grand total this week $79.70
Not bad, considering the corned beef and Swiss cheese will last two weeks, and the turkey necks will not even be eaten this week. Didn't need the garlic toast, but sometimes a treat is ok. How did you do?

Menu Monday Nov 9-15

We are back from our whirlwind trip to Iowa and Nebraska to see family. I cleaned out the refrigerator before we left, so I was scrounging for breakfast and lunchbox things for the kids. Freezer waffles to the rescue!

Monday-Bake bread for the week
Breakfast-Waffles with pb
Lunch-Mac and cheese, fruit cups
Supper-Crock pot lasagna, garlic toast, salad

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Hot lunch at school
Supper-Subway (scrips)

Breakfast-Cold cereal, bananas
Lunch-Hot lunch at school
Supper-Roast chicken, root vegetables, salad (bake potatoes for week)

Breakfast-Crock pot steel cut oats, peaches
Lunch-Rice and chicken bento, raw veggies, pomegranate
Supper-Baked potato soup, ham and Swiss panini, apples

Breakfast-Fruit and yogurt smoothies, muffins
Lunch-Pb and j sandwiches, dates, carrot slices
Supper-Pizza, salad

Breakfast-Pancakes with blueberries
Lunch-Chicken with lemon-tarragon mayonnaise and grapes, coleslaw
Supper-Corned beef brisket, colcannon, squash, salad

Brunch-Egg and sausage skillet, fruit smoothies
Supper-Chicken and noodles with carrots, smashed potatoes, salad, apple pie

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Before I lay me down to sleep

I have to agree with Cheryl that the time change as been wonderful. It's not so much that we got an extra hour of sleep for one night, but that my kids have not reset their internal clocks yet. This means no work getting them up in the morning, they just wake up, on their own, early... and so does mom. Despite having that extra time in the morning, I take a couple minutes at night to make my morning that much easier. Ten little minutes before I go to bed makes all the difference in the world.
Flylady has been the best thing to happen to me. My husband will be the first to say he didn't marry my for my cleaning abilities, and to tell you the truth, I was not terribly orgainzed either. Mornings were always a rush out the door with this or that missing and me not starting my day with a very good attitude. Now when I get up in the morning, everything flows perfectly, and everyone has a smile on their face as we drive away.
NOT! It has gotten much better though, and that ten little minutes before I go to bed has made a huge difference.
Flylady calls it her Before Bed routine, and it is wonderful. Before I climb into bed to read, or sleep, I do two simple things.
  1. Lay out my clothes for tomorrow and pack my gym bag
  2. Set out breakfast supplies on the counter and mix up dry ingredients if I am baking
These two things may not seem like much, but in the course of my morning, they save me a ton of time. Now, don't think that I stop there... I do have 4 kids, what about their stuff? This is the Before Bed routine, for everyone. Yes, everyone. Ok, not my hubby, but do guys really care what they are wearing the next day? This simple thing helps us all to avoid the following morning wreaking statement: "MOM! I can't find my..............." Don't be fooled, I still have to say hurry up at least 29 times to #2, but we are working on that too. What do you do in the morning that helps you get out the door faster? Are you already a Flyer, or will you just visit her for the first time today? Let us know!

Two pieces of bread, a slice of cheese and a napkin...

My best friend in high school always joked about how I could make a meal out of nothing. To this day she still comments on how I could take two slices of bread, a piece of cheese and an empty fridge and make a gourmet meal. Wished I would have taken that idea and ran with it, I would be a household name like Sandra. I admire her strength and creativity and wish I could come up with a tenth of the ideas she does for my own house, decorating wise.
I am, however, still blessed with the ability to look in my kitchen for three minutes and come up with a day or two (or week) of meals that require nothing more than milk or an egg to round it out. My sisters tell me they have no clue how I do it, and I am stumped to explain it to them. I think cooking must be my love language. I can't even tell you how grateful that God has blessed me with this gift as it has come in handy, well, every day. What are you grateful for?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Shopping trip for Nov 2

Slim shopping this week so that I can stretch our budget in preperation for my Country Life order due at the end of the week.

Downtown Grocery Store
Panda puffs 5.69
Crackers 4.29
Lettuce 2.19
Wild Rice 4.19
Bananas #13.5 10.64
Eggs 2.99

Raw milk
5 gallons 20.00

Gas Station
1 gallon whole milk 2.29
#6 bananas 2.94

Total for the week 55.22

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Menu Monday Nov 2- Nov 8

I decided to include this under the budget label as I am shopping from my freezer again in an attempt to give the checkbook a breather...until I have to place my Country Life order...

Breakfast-Irish Oatmeal with apples or peaches
Lunch-Sandwiches on no kneed bread, chips, fruit cups
Supper-Noodles & Company (Thai curry soup for me, gotta get a recipe)

Breakfast-Waffles with pb, nectarines
Lunch-Soba noodles with peas and carrots, grapes,
Supper-Subway (already have Scrips)

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-School lunch (pizza day)
Supper-Roasted chicken, root vegetables, cottage cheese

Breakfast-Toast and yogurt parfaits with peaches and blueberries
Lunch-PB&J roll-ups, carrot sticks with dip, fruit cups,
Supper-Buttery Shrimp and Pasta, salad

Breakfast-Blueberry muffins, boiled eggs
Lunch-Cream cheese, banana and honey wraps, apples
Supper-Pizza and salad

Breakfast-Pancakes and fruit
Lunch-Fish sticks, french fries, green beans
Supper-Lasagna and salad

Breakfast-Brunch (kids choice)
Supper-Chicken and noodles, smashed potatoes, salad

Thanksgiving jumpstart

I know it is a month away, but the thought of having to eat turkey this Thanksgiving makes me crazy. Aside from all that I have learned about turkeys this year, I am simply tired of them. So, since I have a few weeks to plan, I am taking suggestions for main dish ideas. I love all food, but can tell you that a vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving will go over with the guys about as well as a fart in church... so think meat! I will also be hosting a "Something New To Your Table" challenge as we get closer. Start digging out those recipe boxes, I know I can't wait!