Saturday, December 19, 2009

Partially Raw Stir-Fry, Raw Hot Chocolate, Black Bean Brownies

I had a yummy stir-fry tonight, and i learned that I LIKE PURPLE CABBAGE! The rice was cooked, of course! and i did heat up the veggies but not for long: big bowl full of cabbage, mung bean sprouts, grated carrot, marinated portabellas. Scattered about 1/2 cup of brown rice on top and spritzed well with Bragg's. Yum!! Did end up getting more rice later though :)


<3 1/2 cup hot water (just heated to hottest comfortable drinking temperature, not boiled)
<3 1 tablespoon raw coconut butter or oil
<3 1 tablespoon raw wild honey, preferably local
<3 1-2 tablespoons raw almond butter
<3 3 heaping tablespoons raw cacao powder
<3 1/2 teaspoon raw vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon other form of vanilla
<3 Pinch whole sea salt

In a blender, combine the above ingredients until smooth, adjusting all to your palette’s preference. This makes a concentrated chocolate sauce, which you may then dilute and enjoy with others (it would be quite a lot for one person all at once!) or save in the refrigerator for use as desired. Before serving, thin the sauce by at least half with more hot water. I usually drink this at about 1 part the above recipe to 3 or 4 parts additional hot water.


Flourless Brownies

Makes 16

No one will ever guess that black beans are the secret ingredient in this recipe!


1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed (I cook and use my own as I always have some on hand)

3 large eggs ( I used egg substitute)

1/3 cup melted butter, more for the baking dish ( I used raw coconut oil)

1/4 cup raw cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cane sugar ( I use raw cane sugar)

1/2 cup gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Oil an 8-inch baking pan. Place the black beans, eggs, melted butter/oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and sugar in the

bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Remove the blade and stir in the chocolate chips and

walnuts. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Bake the brownies for 30 to 35 minutes, or until just set in the center.

Cool before cutting into squares.


Per serving (1 brownie/about 2oz/60g-wt.): 160 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 50mg

cholesterol, 35mg sodium, 17g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 12g sugar), 4g protein

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Basic Raw Formulas, mostly from Boutenko


The base
Five flavors
Something to float (for example, grated carrot or other root, chunks of avocado or some veg, chopped parsley or other herbs)

The base for the soup is always the same:
1 c water
1 stalk celery
1T olive oil

mix everything in the blender except the floating chunks; add them afterward.

Yield: 2 cups of soup.


1c any nuts
1c any vegs
1T oil to make it stick together
five flavors

Mix in a food processor

If you want a heavier burger, put more nuts. For a lighter burger, use more vegs.

Yield: 2 c of burger pate.


1c any nuts
1c any dried fruits
1T oil to make it stick together
Spices (optional)

Mix in food processor. Roll candies or use as crust layers for cake.

Yield: 2c delicious dough.


1/2 c water
2T olive oil
five strong flavors

Blend well.
Yield: 3/4 c delicious dressing.

FIVE FLAVORS; selected suggestions

Sour: lemons, cranberries, rhubarb, lemon grass, sour grass, sorrel, tomatoes, sauerkraut, nut or seed yogurt, apple cider vinegar.

Sweet: dried fruit (figs, dates, prunes, raisins), fresh fruits (ripe bananas, mango, peach, pear), apple juice, orange juice, agave, honey, stevia

Spicy: garlic or onion shoots/cloves/bulbs, ginger, mustard greens/seeds, radish, horseradish, cayenne, wasabi, seaweed, herbs (cilantro, rosemary, basil, dill, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, peppermint)

Salty: celery, cilantro, dill, parsley, sea vegetables, sea salt

Bitter: parsley, celery tops, endive, garlic, onion, dandelion, bay leaf, sage, poultry seasoning, cayenne.


1 part mashed dates (dried, pitted, quartered, food processed to mush)
3 parts dry ingredients (chopped nuts, dried fruits)
knead really well. ball>snake>bar. sesame seeds to keep from sticking.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Raw Meal Prep Day

Weellllll, i dunno.

Background: For about a month now, since starting the Young Living cleanse, i've been living mostly on Green Smoothies. No cravings, no appetite. A little bad eating, but due to habit & psychological issues, and the pizza & chips didn't even taste good!

Was excited about the book "Living on Live Food" by Alissa Cohen. Decided i should have some raw meals up my sleeve just in case i ever do feel like eating again, plus my kids can't live on cheap canned soup and free pepperoni forever! Like, cooking is kinda my job, right?

So i took her advice and bought the items for Week 1, then came home and started "cooking". Here's what i made and what i thought about it.

Mock Salmon Pate. First, let me say i don't know why anyone would want to make Real Salmon Pate. However, i was feeling lost and seized upon her convenient weekly plans. I think a better name for this is simply Veggie-Nut Pate. It's a mix of walnuts, red bell pepper, scallion, celery, lemon juice, and maybe a couple other small things? Soph was happy to work the food processor. Had some smeared inside a lettuce leaf & rolled up; wasn't bad. Had more on top of a romaine salad (see below for dressing); that was good. Not something i'd eat alone, but would be good w/ raw crackers or... not raw, but outstanding w/ rosemary-olive oil triscuits!!

Alissa's Dressing. Raw honey, raw AC vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, salt? Good but could use some herbs for depth. Didn't know which ones. Pepper would be good.

Fettucine Alfredo.

Why sure.

Well, i really wish we hadn't tried a substitution, but we just didn't have raw macadamia nuts. We did have dry-roasted, but were unsure whether to sub those or raw sunflower seeds, so we went with the latter. I'm sure it tastes good? but it's so grey and oily that i can't bring myself to try it yet. disappointing since it contains 3c of expensive nuts. **update!** Renea suggested adding spinach, to make it green instead of grey. Now it looks EXACTLY like noodles parmesan from the package!! Needs onion powder though, and lots of Spike, and cold is not so hot.

Recipes I'd Like To Try:

Pesto Dressing, 1/2 c pesto plus 2T lemon juice
Pasta al Pesto, zucchini noodles tossed w/ 2T pesto
Ranch Dressing
1c soaked cashews
3/4c water
2T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp each garlic & onion powder
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
1T , or 1t dried, each, minced fresh basil and dill weed
Creamy Cuke Dressing, from Raw Food Made Easy p 100
Miso Soup, p 81
Zucchini Hummus, p 73
Salsa p 69

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What I'm Doing

Time to write down what i've been doing to get my BP down, in case i backslide. Thanks for the idea, Renea!

  • 24 oz water upon waking
  • wait 45 min, then green smoothie w/ ICP
  • low sodium, low meat, low dairy
  • logging meals on daily plate
  • walking daily
  • high raw/vegan by preference
  • Essentialzyme with solid meals
  • I try to remember comfortone daily, but especially w/ dairy.
i credit the ICP for lack of cravings & appetite.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

i want to try this one!

Green Apple Glory

For sweet creamy goodness.

1 ripe banana
1 large apple cored
1/2 medium ripe avocado
1 cup packed spinach
1 cup packed romaine (about 3 large leaves)
~ 1 pint of water

i'll have to use frozen spinach, 2 small apples, and substitute borage for the romaine, but should still be good...

Green Smoothie!!

Here's the yummiest one i've put together so far:

1/2 c @ milk, frozen mixed berries, and strong-flavored juice -- i used northland pomegranate blueberry
1T flax meal
1c greens -- i used parsley and swiss chard
2T Ningxia Red
1 scoop Balance Complete
2 t ICP

it wanted bananas!!! next time, i will add half a banana.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Started the cleanse today!

At the last big Young Living meeting, we learned a lot about cleansing w/ YL products. My friend Nikki and I left inspired! She ordered the cleansing trio right away. i was a little later and already had 2 of the 3; my ICP arrived yesterday! Just in time, because DD and i have been overweight, under the weather and low-energy, and i decided a cleanse was just the thing for both of us.

you need to know, i tried this cleanse years ago. I still have an old jar of ICP, which must be an acronym for "disgusting nasty torture", rotting away in my cabinet. but -- Alhamdulillah!!! Nikki came up with a way to get it down. She makes it into a smoothie with other strongly-flavored ingredients. Following her lead, i used Ningxia Red, blueberry-pomegranate juice, frozen berries, Balance Complete (another YL supplement), and a little greek yogurt because that's what i had. Turned out great! Even DD drank it right down. A little sweet for my morning palate, but it's great to feel like i'm on the way to feeling better! I cannot imagine doing this for 4 months, but i'll just keep at it one day at a time...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wk of Nov 8

Looking at the blogs, i'm reminded to pull it together for the week. Here's this week's plan from month of Nov, and carry-over ideas from last wk:

chili (Mon)
broiled cheese, top w/ leftover or canned chili & tomato slice: homemade bagel bites?
fast food coupons (Thurs since getting tooth pulled)
cajun chicken fingers/ oven-fried chicken strips
gyros burgers **update: pre-made these to have manwich-style! cooked up all the ground turkey, onions, garlic, and seasonings. drained; froze. will re-heat & stir in greek yogurt, grated cukes, feta and/or tomatoes if i have 'em, and stuff into mini-pitas.
baked potato bar
spaghetti (homemade marinara in frzr)
Weds had sick kid: homemade chicken noodle soup for bkfst & lunch. canned for dinner LOL

i do have a ton of ground turkey in the fridge, so will make gyro burgers and chili. someday. can't we just live on popcorn and ice cream?? **update: did the turkey before it spoiled! yay me!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Meals

I'm going thru old meal plans and pulling stuff that was easy and popular. Would like to get a whole month's worth of ideas. Have LOTS of chicken in the freezer; some could be cooked up ahead, with pesto or salsa, then frozen for easy use (like chi-chi's).

When Bisquick Heart Smart goes on sale, check here for recipe ideas!


chicken pesto quesadillas
homemade chicken noodle soup
cheesy grits
grits fries
hard-boiled eggs
cobb salads
layered taco dip
basil-spinach quesadillas
tuna w/ pickles & crackers
frozen pizza (11/3)
(smoothies but brrr!)


burgers & fries -- monday
salmon alfredo w/ WW shells -- tuesday
roasted tomato soup w/ grilled or broiled cheese or skillet bread -- thursday
baked potato bar
fast food coupons -- thurs & fri
firecracker pork

game plan for above week:
  • wash dishes.
  • start pumpkin seeds roasting.
  • thaw soup base, american cheese, chicken, pork.
  • cook italian sausage.

broiled cheese, top w/ leftover or canned chili & tomato slice: homemade bagel bites?
fast food coupons
cajun chicken fingers/ oven-fried chicken strips
gyros burgers
bourbon glazed pork

sausage-greenbean-potato bake
dinner in a skillet
fast food coupons
taco bar
rotisserie chicken w/ tater tots, broc & ranch
Thanksgiving at Linda's

fast food coupons
soup & sandwich (grilled/broiled)
pasta fagioli
salmon alfredo
Thanksgiving Dinner
meatloaf & crashed potatoes

to get from sam's:
ground turkey
rotisserie chicken

to get from aldi's:
red potatoes

from kroger:
shredded 2% cheese
chips before thursday
loaf pans

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our cup overflows!

WOW - i don't know how this happened, but suddenly my fridge and windowsills are overflowing with food!! I worked hard to use up some of it:

Made Hoppin' John for dinner, 3 for the freezer and took the rest to Chris.
Lunch was stir-fry with end of the kale, leftover chicken & rice, and a few green beans.
Put 2 Spaghetti Pies in the freezer.
Tossing the pumpkin guts into the compost -- it's leaking & couldn't get to it in time.
Took swaddled jalapeno peppers to Tammy's for movie night

and here's what's left to do:
Jambalaya w/ leftover chicken & smoked sausage, fresh tomatoes & peppers
ham, green beans, & leftover baked potato if it's still good (it's maybe not...)
baked potato bar

I made black-eyed pea Casserole hoppin' john style, in the rice cooker. Next time i'll try it just like the recipe, or with canned beans, because the beans were barely cooked. also i added rice because it didn't look like enough, but it ended up too much, so i need to follow the recipe in my cookbook, using 1c rice instead of the instant, and 2 c spinach maybe wasn't enough. And adding green pepper and/or celery would have been great, so maybe 2c mirepoix instead of 1c onions.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

I wanna try this recipe for vegetable pulao but need fresh ginger, bay leaves, and garam masala. If we actually get paid tomorrow, i'll make it!

maybe a yogurt marinated, oven-baked chicken?
or incredible oven-fried chicken

mashed potatoes w/ gravy made from french onion soup
and corn

i need a crockpot dish for monday: tex-mex chicken & rice?

baked tilapia

not really meals, although it should be...

I love the IDEA of brown rice, and usually make it in the rice cooker, which usually turns out oookaaaay, but often boils over and honestly has inconsistent results. Lately i've just been making white rice, because it's easier and tends to turn out better. But i found this recipe which promises to be great, and need a place to stash it! pasting it also, in case the link goes dead, which i hope NEVER happens, because this is my new favorite site!! With a freezer shelf full of brown rice, i can't lose the recipe :)

In the past year, only white rice has appeared on A Veggie Venture. So you'd never guess that the 'house rice' is brown rice and how often it makes the menu. Here, brown rice is a kitchen staple, right along with broccoli and chicken stock.

Why the recipe reticence, then? Well, my 'house recipe' comes from Cook's Illustrated, the folks who test and test and test again, until a dish comes out exactly right, defying myth and tradition -- unless myth and tradition actually work. So like most food writers and food bloggers, I hesitate to give away their hard-earned techniques, as much as I appreciate them.

But brown rice is so good for us -- and the Cook's Illustrated rice so nutty- and buttery-tasting and yes, foolproof -- that I asked for permission to share it online. And lo, they said yes!

So if you've struggled with brown rice -- wet and soupy? burnt and crunchy? -- look no further. This is YOUR recipe, just as it's been mine week-in and week-out for almost two years.

If you're not a Cook's Illustrated subscriber, let me recommend it as a great resource for experienced and new cooks alike. The recipes are real and reliable and without pretension. The testers go out of their way to eliminate unneeded steps and calories both. But if extra steps and calories pay off? well, they'll say so and why. The technique tips, the product tips, the tool tips, the appliance tips -- well, they're terrific too.

And to fulfill (or encourage!) yearnings for country living, sit down with a fresh cup of hot coffee and a thick slice of fresh bread to savor Christopher Kimball's essays about rural Vermont. It's a must-read for me, something to look forward to and to think back on.

So yes, Cook's Illustrated, many thanks. For permission to reprint a recipe, to be sure, but for issue after issue of reading and recipes worth both time and dare I say? the price of a subscription.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 80 minutes
Makes 4 cups

To minimize any loss of water through evaporation, cover the saucepan and use the water as soon as it reaches a boil. An 8-inch ceramic baking dish with a lid may be used instead of the baking dish and foil. To double the recipe, use a 13 by 9-inch baking dish; the baking time need not be increased.

1 1/2 cups long-, medium- or short-grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in 8-inch square baking dish.
2. Bring water and butter or oil to boil, covered, in medium saucepan over high heat; once boiling, immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layer of foil. Bake rice 1 hour, until tender.
3. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with dinner fork, then cover dish with clean kitchen towel; let rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer; serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from the May/June 2004 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine. For a trial issue of Cook’s call 800-526-8442. Selected articles and recipes, as well as subscription information, are available online at

I make this so often that I keep a jar of brown rice in the pantry, with the recipe written inside the lid.
I bought an inexpensive eight-inch square Pyrex baking dish just for making brown rice but have found it to be useful otherwise too.
I boil the water in the microwave in a two-cup Pyrex measure.
For Hurricane Rice, I cooked the rice in beer rather than water.
I add the salt and butter (or some times, bacon grease) directly to the uncooked rice, then stir them in when adding the boiling water.
I put the rice straight in the oven as soon as it's ready, even if the oven's not completely preheated, then set the timer for 60 minutes plus whatever preheat time is left.
Recycling works -- I save the foil to reuse several times.
The cooked rice sticks to a clean kitchen towel so I use a paper towel.
2008: These days, I often use this same technique to cook brown & wild rice together.
2008: I've also begun collecting vegetable and rice recipes. Many call for cooked brown rice so are good ways to use up leftover brown rice.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Menu Planning Tuesday Night... Update!

Update: Of course we've mixed-and-matched our stuff on hand (we had a great pasta bar for lunch today!), so here's what's left:
corn on the cob
tomato hand pies
cheesy grits

trucker's wife is working on low-mileage paycheck this week, so we're going for highest mileage out of what's on hand!

in the fridge: half an onion, tomatoes, cukes, red pepper, orange pepper, celery, lettuce, few carrots. spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, applesauce, pie crust. lots of leftover chicken manwich.

from the store: nice meaty mushrooms & corn on the cob! cottage cheese. barley, garbanzo beans, grits!

Draining the yogurt; took enough out to try making it in the crockpot! the cheesecloth is working nicely; much better than coffee filter. maybe because it's organic w/out all the pectin carrageenan gelatin junk?

Tues: Lunch salad, Dinner barbie cups: muffin tin, ancient dinner rolls from freezer, leftover taco meat, cheese. Cottage cheese, watermelon. **kid liked. most of the rolls actually rose LOL but will be better w/ biscuits next time.
Weds: Lunch Edamammus tuna salad. Dinner spaghetti. **Daddy was worried about his sauce but it was fine.
Thurs: IBC. Lunch Pasta, veggies, tahini-yogurt sauce. (think i'll grill mushrooms, onions, peppers. maybe carrots. will use zuch if done. sub lime & top w/ parm.. do i really need the tahini??), dinner cheesy grits
Fri: Lunch quesadillas, dinner Chili Mac with leftover grilled veggies!!
Sat: IBC. maybe Ash-e-jow. roasted corn? grilled corn?
Sun: IBC. bug fest. Lunch Tomato Hand Pies. Dinner grits fries!!

To Make: Rice Krispy Treats with all the melted-from-being-too-close-to-the-campfire marshmallows :D

To Get:
tomato paste
black olives
cereal if brady's with us
skippy from meijer
purex from marsh tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Homegrown Salad!

I just finished a great salad (storebought lettuce) with a cucumber and two tomatoes fresh from our garden (and free ranch dressing LOL) YUM!!

Keeping extra kids

Would like to hit sam's for ground turkey, potatoes, and peppers, but mostly ready for my friend's kids to return. So thankful that i can do something to help during their family emergency. also i picked up 3 frozen sandwich thingies for monday's lunch.

to choose from:
frozen pizzas (yay!!)
grilled paninis
manwich & burritos, once i get to sam's!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Easy Week so far

Homemade chicken noodle soup from the crockpot broth. I have to say that broth was excellent! Will put some more in today.

The baked polenta fries were AMAZING!! YUM we WILL be doing that again!!

My hummus was too lemony after a few bites, so next time i'll thin with water or extra yogurt or the liquid from the can (if i don't use homemade).

Extra kids yesterday! The Mexican Buffet worked nicely for lunch -- made a mex-flavored bean/meat mix & set out fixings for taco salad and/or burritos. Dinner was full-fridge u-pick, plus sliced veggies. Most had spaghetti, one had mexican, i had hummus w/ cukes & pita, then the last of the spaghetti really late after that wore off :) Finished the watermelon for bkfst.

Completely out of shredded cheese, so grated up a lb from the freezer chunks.

Of course i realize this is all very hum-drum and not exciting to anyone but me. The exciting part is that we're actually eating the leftovers!! and i'm not cooking a fresh meal every time, and the kids don't even mind, and i haven't done any real grocery shopping for a month or more!

We'll probably have gyro burgers for lunch today, then it's just me & soph, so we'll just forage from the fridge.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


OMG this is the best hummus i've ever eaten, and fat free to boot!!

1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt
lemon juice to consistency (the amt in the recipe is a typo)

i doubled the garlic & added coriander & cumin. YUM!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Menu Plan Monday?

Here's what's on hand.. the days and times of day are up for grabs. This is all the planning i can manage this crazy morning! Update: I just pulled all the meat off the extra grilled chicken legs.. will make great CNS!

  • Chicken Noodle Soup Monday "lupper"
  • Turkey bacon & fried grits, OR baked polenta fries
  • manwich
  • taco salad, tacos/burritos
  • spaghetti/ garlic bread
  • english muffin tuna melts, OR cold tuna sandwiches
  • chili cheese dogs Monday late dinner
  • gyro burgers
  • smoothies
  • something with red potatoes
  • something with plain yogurt.. maybe a creamy pesto? i'd play with this recipe, and maybe with the potatoes?

here's for bo to take:

  • stew meat from freezer
  • young living manna bars
  • bag of salad mix
  • grilled chicken legs
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • several homemade freezer dinners

shopping list:

  • chicken breasts
  • fresh fruit
  • fines herbes blend
  • turkey bacon/sausage
  • lunch meat
  • bread
  • watch for the next sale on PB, laundry soap, dish soap, kleenex

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yay Me! Tackled the Leftovers

We got rid of Hi-Maint Boy for a week, so with all our extra time DS and I tackled fridge situation. Crazy leftovers!!
  • one buffalo-blue cheese burger, falling apart
  • one potato, baked
  • one bowl campfire stew, drying out
  • lots of cheese, feta & 2 kinds shredded
  • 2 mostly-full jars of spaghetti sauce (not simply due to my optimistic nature!)
  • 1/2 portion brown rice
  • small amt diced pepperoni
  • 2 english muffins
  • lots of leftover meatloaf, the kind i made in the crockpot the other night where the rice didn't get cooked *sigh*
  • grits, waiting to be fried
  • watermelon juice??

The first thing i did was convince DD she wanted the burger w/ fried rice for bkfst, then turned around & made english muffin pizzas for me. !! How mean!! I honestly didn't think of it til she was already eating. We do have more pepperoni; i'll teach her.

The next thing i did was cook a frozen pizza for lunch!! Not a nice use of leftovers, but it'd been a really long time since pizza; i was having DT's.

Then i was super-productive and put away all the kids' school papers from last year!! Organized and stored.. YAY ME!!! :D That job had been nagging at me for several weeks & taking up half the sofa, creeping ever closer to my side.. WHEW you don't know how glad i am to have done that!! So i celebrated by cleaning the mauve chair that was nasty-gross with cat hair and kid grunge, taking out the trash & compost, sweeping the main floor, learning Pandora...

So for dinner I took the dehydrating campfire stew, added a can of corn, can of turkey chili, the baked potato diced, some spices and a little V-8. Yum! There was enough for both of us and a huge tin to go w/ DH. A few bites leftover still, but i am not a garbage can and will have no problem pitching it.

So the stew goes in the freezer. So will the feta cheese & meatloaf, wrapped individually, again for DH who swears he doesn't mind the crunchy rice -- now that's a real man for ya!!

Well this part isn't exactly about leftovers, but it is about using up what we have: There are about 10 cucumbers in my house now!! Two are from the neighbor, the rest from OUR GARDEN!! DH was supposed to take some but forgot, and it's more than we'll eat, so DD and I will learn to make pickles!! I found a recipe for refrigerator dill pickles and raced to the store for pickling spice, vinegar & kosher salt, but only after i'd snipped all the FRESH DILL from OUR GARDEN that i could get :D I don't have enough, but i'm going to use dried to make up the difference; one of the reviewers mentioned doing that and gave 5 stars. i did have dill seed as well though! I spread lots of that around the space where my 2 little plants are growing; we'll have enough for lots of batches next year!

Oh -- and just in case you're wondering -- the watermelon juice went down the drain. But only because we already have a pint in the freezer to get used in lemonade! Waste not, want not, and a full freezer uses less energy! :D

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crock Pot Meatloaf, Potatoes, Banana Bread, & Grits!

We'll see! I've put the potatoes on the bottom of my 7-qt crock, with a 2# meatloaf on top in corningware, and banana bread baking in the 5-qt beside it. On the front porch, to avoid the heat. Feeling pretty dubious about the results!! I've never tried stacking OR bread-making in a crock. Maybe i should've used the lid on the corningware and put the potatoes on top of that?? why didn't i think of the lid??!!!

We made grits for lunch. DH & DS can't stand 'em, so i made a big batch! LOL It's just DS and I tonight, so we enjoyed stirring our own choices of cheese into them. The leftovers got a hefty dose of Tuscan Sunset and parmesan, and are chillin' in the fridge til we're alone again on monday and will try the Polenta Fries recipe i found on AllRecipes.

Enjoying working with what we've got instead of shopping!! My grocery budget bought us an immersion blender & a toaster oven this week :D

Monday, July 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Tues bkfst: pepperoni & cheese wraps
9am brady to work, 10am tennis
lunch: soup since brady's gone
early dinner: crockpot chicken & potatoes
(GF looked at chicken on bone & non-mashed potatoes, and declined! LOL)
6pm gymnastics
midnite Harry Potter!
late dinner: tammy will handle

Wed brady will be home; mindy may visit.
lunch: out for moms!
dinner: burritos
6:15-7:45 youth group

Thurs bkfst: pepperoni & cheese wraps
10am tennis, no piano
lunch: chicken pesto quesadillas
dinner: smashed potatoes
chicken salad wraps?

Fri bkfst: pepperoni & cheese wraps
9:30 tennis match
lunch: gyro burgers
5p Entricans, 6p Sundae Social, 7p GU
dinner: Spaghetti, meat sauce, garlic bread, green beans

Sat am biscuits & gravy
8am-noon Neighborhood Clean-Up Day

Monday, June 1, 2009

Climbing Back onto the Wagon

School's out, May's gone, DH is going back to work, and i'd rather be working in the yard -- than anything! What i've learned: if i don't plan meals, my kids (who were actually raised by wolves) will heat up the house with taquitos and frozen pizzas, and i'll live on chips & salsa. And we really need those leftovers for DH to take in the truck!

Both freezers are packed -- i don't even remember what's in them! Guess i'll be doing an inventory, defrosting & organizing sometime soon.

I remember that we have smoked sausage!! And the rice cooker is my favorite summertime kitchen tool.

Monday: Bacon & Eggs for bkfst, jambalaya for lunch? ugh i can't do this rightnow!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

funny meals today

i haven't been doing a good job of keeping track, but i had to document this day in case CPS ever offers to take the kids off my hands -- this will help them.

mom stayed in bed finishing a novel til 11:30am.

8yo dd made egg sandwiches for self & friend for brunch.
son had brownies.

they all ate brownies for lunch.

brownies for snack. unfortunately, this behavior was strongly encouraged -- urged, even -- by the irresponsible parent who spent hours forcing the irrepressible yard into submission. said parent disliked consistency of confections and was therefore determined to be rid of them as quickly as possible.

5pm: salad for late, late lunch, or early dinner, as it turned out. even the 8yo visitor ate the greenness -- it was a wonderful surprise!

9pm: the kids declined a meal and proceeded to scarf down TWO POUNDS of grape tomatoes. the overworked, exhausted, sunburned parent heated up the filling that was intended for taquitos, added a ton of cheese and ate it with tostitos. Overpriced tostitos from sam's: $2.94 for one 16-oz bag of chips, when kroger brand 10-oz goes on sale for $1 or even .88 regularly!! people think they're getting a good deal because it's a "wholesale club" and don't even compare prices.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sending w/ the trucker

I spent today in the kitchen -- exhausted now!!

We had roast for dinner; i made 2 tins for the freezer. For veggies, i added the last of the garden's snow peas to one, and an italian veggie mix to the other.

Leftover tamale pie from last week and rice from last night: layered into tins with enchilada sauce & extra cheese. made 3 tins.

Made 3 pans of brownies: 2 for a family gathering tomorrow, and one to send w/ him.

Boiled a dozen eggs (and drew smiley-faces on each of them :D)

Made a batch of rice. Most went into the fridge for fried rice, but we sent a tin to pour smoked oysters over. He likes that. ??

Made a double batch of hummus -- one for here & one to go. Not perfect, but better than last time! Maybe i'll do a black bean dip next time.

2# strawberries, 4# bag baby carrots, cut-up cukes, and a Hearty Italian bagged salad.

Lunchmeat, cheese, & bread in the freezer.

Made a 3L bottle of chai tea.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Planning Monday: 2-week, stockpile edition

MON: frozen stuff for lunch; don't remember dinner.
TUES: salad for lunch. smoked sausages, pineapple rings.
WEDS: spaghetti pie for lunch. slow-cooked tamale pie with homemade taco seasoning.
THURS: (will need portable lunch & dinner) we did it! salads & corn on the cob for lunch; took calzones, pringles stix, canned fruit, and bananas. pot roast w/ giant potatoes for dinner.
FRI: veg soup for lunch? take snacks; dinner at nikki's!
SAT: shrimp before IBC; dinner w/the monks
SUN: cereal? made veg soup!
MON: cereal. soup. frz pizza. smoothies with the new smoothie maker!
TUES: salads.

OK i think the rest of this menu is more about what we have and need to use up! veggie soup. 10# of chicken leg qtrs to bake, pick, and make more broth: the meat is for taquitos etc. Another roast for when bo's home. Giant baking potatoes. Lots of lettuce for salads. Ground meat for tacos/burritos/manwich. Tamale pie leftovers will be an easy re-heat. Bananas for freezer = smoothies.


Ravioli Lasagna

Homemade Pizza

Layered Taco dip

Orange-Apricot Pork Chops

Maple Honey Mustard Pork Chops

Hammy Cheese

Mandarin Orange Chicken Roll-Ups

Broccoli Ham & Cheese pockets

Chicken (or turkey) Enchiladas (freezer instructions here)

Empanadas with pie crust

Taco Ring with crescent rolls


Taquitos (notes compiled from comments: I brushed the tortillas with a Habenero Pepper oil that I had made in the summer and it gave it such a nice heat and crisp when I pulled it out of the oven/ I freeze them and then I just bake at 400 right out of the freezer.)

Cheeseburger Rolls w/ pizza dough?

Reuben Loaf Mini Pot Pies only i wouldn't use that filling/ yuck!


Sausage Beans & Rice


hot sauce, mustard, miracle whip
chicken broth
blue cheese
chicken breast
boneless thick pork chops
diced ham
a whole turkey
shrimp, tail-on cocktail & breaded
smoked grillers
jarred pasta sauces
chili, canned & frozen
stuff for hummus
canned oranges & pineapple
pie crusts, crescent rolls, pizza dough


plain yogurt
red pepper (just need 1 cup)
black beans
tortillas (corn & flour)
black olives
low-salt taco seasoning (there's a recipe i can modify here)
have a kroger raincheck for a turkey

Sunday, April 12, 2009

2-Week Stockpile Meal Plan -- so far

I started by copying the unused ideas, pantry situation, and unshopped items from last time. Looked around for recipes using what we've got in the house. Lots of ideas, just need to finish plugging them in. As usual, I'll update as I go. If my kids would eat spinach, mushrooms, and quiche, they'd be dang near perfect!

No-Work Meals; One-Hour Cook Time:

Spaghetti Pie
Bourbon-Glazed Pork w/ sweet potatoes


Ravioli Lasagna
Homemade Pizza
Layered Taco dip (we had this last week but sour cream is cheap again)
Orange-Apricot Pork Chops
Maple Honey Mustard Pork Chops
Hammy Cheese
Mandarin Orange Chicken Roll-Ups
Broccoli Ham & Cheese pockets
Chicken (or turkey) Enchiladas (freezer instructions here)
Barbecued Meatballs
Pepperoni Pizza Twist with french bread
Empanadas with pie crust
Taco Ring with crescent rolls
(notes compiled from comments: I brushed the tortillas with a Habenero Pepper oil that I had made in the summer and it gave it such a nice heat and crisp when I pulled it out of the oven/ I freeze them and then I just bake at 400 right out of the freezer.)
Cheeseburger Rolls w/ pizza dough?
Reuben Loaf
Mini Pot Pies only i wouldn't use that filling/ yuck!
Sausage Beans & Rice


hot sauce, mustard, miracle whip
blue cheese
chicken breast
boneless thick pork chops
diced ham
a whole turkey
shrimp, tail-on cocktail & breaded
jarred pasta sauces
chili, canned & frozen
stuff for hummus
canned oranges & pineapple
pie crusts
crescent rolls
smoked grillers
LOTS OF pizza dough: 5 thin crust & 6 classic


red pepper (just need 1 cup)
cashews? could use almonds or walnuts
ground turkey
(have a plan before buying it because i let 2.5# spoil last time!! grr!!)
corn tortillas
black olives
salt-free taco seasoning (there's a recipe i can modify here)
have a raincheck for a turkey
lighter fluid

SUN: Broccoli Mac & Cheese w/ smoked sausages; breaded shrimp w/ crashed potatoes.

MON (co-op, choir, brownies, chanting): home sick, salad for lunch. Crockpot Chicken & Black Bean Soup, lite on the broth.
(note: Hi, it's Natalie, the originator of this concoction... I used onion, carrot, celery, pepper, mushroom, and a little fresh cilantro. Also some dry herbs and two slices of uncured bacon (trimmed of some fat, diced, and added raw.) I think the sour cream's perfect, but you could also use cream cheese or plain yogurt. Oh, and very important- squeeze on some lime at the end!)

TUES (gymnastics): calzones for lunch; accidentally tammy's for dinner.

WEDS (play practice, choir): cheese & triscuits in the car; cereal, leftovers, or tomato soup for late lite supper, depending on who you were.

THURS (piano): bkfst pizza for lunch, fruit salad for snack, cheese & triscuits in the car, general tso's beef & broccoli for dinner.

FRI (play practice):Pasta Meatball Soup

SAT: pancakes & leftovers for brunch; he wants to grill. so, steak, pork loin, and ummm something.

SUN: Italian Stuffed Pork Loin using the pesto from the freezer!!


TUES: Buffalo Shrimp w/ blue cheese over.. spaghetti?







marinate shrimp; take tails off?
make hummus

Friday, April 10, 2009

Northwoods Cheddar Bread

we have a new favorite recipe, and we'll probably all blow up like the pillsbury doughboy!!!

it's kinda homemade foccacia?

classic pillsbury pizza crust,
smeared generously w/ olive oil
topped with Northwoods Fire and 2 cups of cheddar cheese
baked on greased cookie sheet, according to crust directions.
snip apart w/ scissors... yum!!

we tried it with a garlicky italian seasoning blend and parmesan cheese, too.
smelled way better while baking,
but the northwoods/cheddar was the hands-down winner for taste.
my son wants to eat it every day!

travels pretty well too, cut into sticks.

healthified choc chip cookies

for those who are from-scratchers...
i'm not, but wanted to be sure & save this,
mostly because of the egg substitution in one of the comments:

"I have a little one with milk and egg allergies and ground flax seed is a near perfect substitute for eggs. I use a recipe almost exactly like this except I susbstitute soy margarine for the butter and 1Tb ground flax seed mixed with 3Tb warm watter for each egg. I actually think they’re a bit chewier with the flax seed which is just the way I like ‘em."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

off-topic: new strategy to avoid selling my son

we finally were able to have a civilized conversation and agree that the following things might be important factors for having a successful school day:

good night's sleep
vigorous exercise in the AM
protein for breakfast: piece of cheese, meat, bread/bagel/muffin. sandwich? smoothie?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Something new -- a 2-week meal plan

Our bills just got tighter due to finding some "affordable" health insurance, and our paychecks are tending toward a cycle of smaller one week and larger the next. so i think i can compensate by planning 2 weeks out pretty well and doing most of the shopping during the bigger week, then keeping the shorter week's purchases to just stellar-sale items. i've been spending about $75/week; i could shoot for $100 and $50, but what if i could do $75 and $50 or even less?

MON (one kid sick at home all day, one gone all day): noodles w/ homemade turkey broth for breakfast, chicken-pesto quesadilla for lunch, power smoothie (oatmeal!) for snack, fish baskets for supper. very odd.. probably won't make again. maybe the grands were too big tho?

TUES (gymnastics): manwich for lunch; if i go to sam's maybe rotisserie chicken w/ salad for dinner eh?

meatless WED (play practice then choir): Spicy Chipotle Hummus with wheat thins & veggies for lunch; Pasta Fagioli with tortellini (in crockpot) and for freezer; garlic bread

THURS (piano): hard-boiled eggs for bkfst; cheesy grits for lunch; bars, wheat thins & hummus for snack; took salad & canteloupe to dinner at tammy's.

FRI (play practice, doctor appt, entricans spending night): egg salad sandwiches for lunch; spaghetti for dinner; spaghetti pie for freezer.

SAT (1:00 IBC then client): Biscuits & gravy for brunch; just me for lunch = free arby's; dinner with parents

SUN (6 daytime kids; max spending night): pizza rolls for lunch, TAKE FOOD TO CHURCH PITCH-IN, had tammy's cheese dip for dinner.

MON (co-op, need kid-friendly lunch for 4, prayers @IBC): biscuits & gravy, pizza for lunch, cobb salads for dinner YUM!

TUES (no gu): movie popcorn and soup at tammy's! thanks again :)

WEDS (play practice then choir): Poor Man's Meal for lunch; monkey foccacias for snack; kroger fried chicken for dinner :(

THURS (piano): leftover fried chicken for bkfst, salad for lunch (me only), chili for dinner (again, me only).

FRI (play practice): homemade pizza? pasta meatball soup? layered taco dip?

SAT (trade show; kids at mom & dad's?): breakfast pizza?

SUN: lasagna raviolis? chicken & rice?

we have chicken breast,
diced ham,
a whole turkey,
pie crusts
crescent rolls
tortellini soup
layered taco dip with homemade refried beans (or this quicker beans recipe).
spaghetti pie
bourbon-glazed pork w/ sweet potatoes
baked potato bar
smoked grillers
LOTS OF pizza dough
Italian Stuffed Pork Loin using the pesto from the freezer!!

grocery list:

black olives
salt-free taco seasoning
(there's a recipe i can modify here)
sun-dried tomatoes
graham crackers
lighter fluid

Saturday, March 21, 2009

firecracker pork, basil-spinach quesadillas, spaghetti, nachos

i think it's time for a new one.

SUN: dead meat -- uh, bourbon-glazed pork -- w/ sweet potatoes
after a 4-mile walk, we came home & had the firecracker pork ($1.77) with frozen veggies ($1) and white rice (.50?) and MAN was it good!! tasted like real chinese! my nose is running and sophie couldn't really eat it.. next time i'll leave out most of the red pepper to be added individually instead, but this recipe is a keeper! i added a few shakes of sesame oil, and i'd use just about a tablespoon less balsamic vinager next time. $3.27 plus costs of spices in marinade; too full for fruit.
took care of tuesday's pasta at lunch, with cheesy ragu & black pepper.
and i cleaned out the fridge to reclaim my gladware -- yay me!!!!

MON (brownies/choir): manwich w/ canned green beans
sophie's sick so we'll be home for lunch. will try basil-spinach quesadillas! since i happen to have homemade pesto in the freezer :) and/or maybe a light soup with the turkey broth i made yesterday. the quesadillas were delicious!

TUES (gymnastics): need to do something with the refrigerated pasta... fish sticks w/ mac & cheese, i guess? nope the pasta's gone.. maybe nachos..
fish baskets! i'll try these! well these are so intriguing that i'll have to make them for tuesday's lunch!! maybe salad for dinner eh?

WED (choir): tortellini soup (in crockpot?); garlic bread

THURS (piano): spaghetti. i have 3 yucky cottage cheeses in the fridge that say Spaghetti Pie. either way i need eggs. or i could make a layered taco dip taco dip by blending the cottage cheese with a brick of cream cheese and taco sauce, then veggies on top. but then i'd need black olives ;)

we have chicken breast, smished pork loin to roll something up in, a whole turkey, meatballs, ravioli. and want to try pasta meatball soup

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Inspiring Website!

I just found thru her guest post at $5 Dinner Mom. Very inspirational! what i love about these ladies is that they have planned their menu around the items that are typically on sale for the month -- and THEY POST THEIR MENUS, SHOPPING LISTS AND RECIPES! People pay money for that service, and they're doing it all for free!! Plus they do it in a budget-conscious way.

I tried OAMC for a minute and didn't care to continue, but their site has loads of gems even for people like me! The recipes they've found tend to have few ingredients, which means easy and inexpensive. Especially the ones this month are very interesting -- not your typical chili and tortilla casserole fare. And since they give the links to the sites with the recipes, you can read feedback from lots of people who've tried the recipes, how they tweaked them and what they'd do differently next time.

I was inspired to toss some chunked (not cubed!!) meat into zippy bags with homemade marinades -- one from a tried-and-true recipe in my binder, and one from their menu. now i can't wait for shrimp to go on a killer sale so i can try the buffalo shrimp recipe!!

What's in the Freezer for My Trucker

2 tins curried rice
1 salmon alfredo primavera
linda's dinner: garlic beef, peas, carrots, mac & cheese
4 bags shrimp Voila

Sunday, March 15, 2009

menu plan sunday? updating thru the week. Salmon Alfredo, fast food coupons, bourbon-glazed pork, bkfst for dinner.

well it's time to get un-lazy, at least a little bit.

need to plan some meals & have leftovers to pack for dh.

what do i have to work with?......
a whole turkey in the freezer.
beef meatballs
raviolis: beef, mushroom; cheese for cheater lasagna
cheese tortellini for soup

need frozen veggies (mixed, mirepoix, broccoli, onions, spinach).
also need lettuce & soy sauce; totally out of ketchup.

OK that sounds good..

chili definitely. we'll have that on monday, 'cause it'll be good in the crockpot. not saving any for dh because there's already some in freezer.

Tuesday (gymnastics): we have alfredo sauce: cheesy pasta alfredo w/salmon
**i made a whole box of macaroni for the chili,
just so i'd have pre-cooked pasta for this!
this'll be scary-easy!
update: it WAS scary-easy! yummy too, and i packed some for bo with frozen snow peas from last year's garden & orange pepper on top. we had smoothies for second-lunch and free arby's after gymnastics.

Wednesday (choir): taco salad with the leftover chili.
Free Arby's Roastburgers after choir! and that's exactly what we did. "free" really means $4.87 after you buy 3 small drinks. cool news: the manager at arby's said he was in a meeting today where he heard they're going to continue resetting the coupons thru april 7th!

Thursday (piano, then interviews): taco pie with crescent rolls and ground turkey. (again, we can use leftover chili maybe)

Friday (just the girls): arby's coupons? fazoli's coupons?

oh we also have lots of frozen pizza crust and crescent rolls.
i put a pizza crust in the fridge to thaw; we'll see if it turns out usable.

boubon-glazed pork, baked sweet potato? asparagus?

biscuits, gravy & scrambled eggs for dinner.

if all else fails i can make campfire stew, manwich, or cook that turkey.

Crockpot Lasagna was an easy hit

I sort of used the recipe from Ellen's Kitchen -- as much as i use any recipe ;)

I used a box of no-boil noodles, because that's what i had. actually we've had them for two years and i'm so glad they're gone now.

and get this -- i pureed some frozen spinach & added it to the sauce! I always prefer veggie lasagna, but the kids abhor spinach in all forms. As i type, my 12yo son is polishing off the remnants and saying it's some gooooood lasagna! LOL And i was worried he'd actually notice, because he really honestly does not like the taste of it; i was sure he'd taste it, or at least ask why the sauce was so dark. LA LA LA LA LA!!

i also made one for dh's truck, but with frozen already-cooked italian sausage meatballs in the middle, kinda like a noodle sandwich i guess? another item that had been sitting around forever and unlikely to ever be used on purpose.

the other really cool thing is that i used that breakstone cottage cheese that nobody will eat because it's got a funky texture! i'm gonna use the rest in spaghetti pie.

Here's What I'm Sending With DH

  • some yogurts from the freezer (we found that yoplait freezes well but dannon does NOT --he's graciously helping me use up the funky-thawing ones and i'm using them in smoothies too; the kids can't tell that way.)
  • a tin of curried rice; i think he'll put tuna or sardines over it.
  • a homemade lasagna
  • a plater of food from a family dinner that he missed
  • a Thai Kitchen soup that was on clearance.
he still has some things in his freezer, because he wasn't expecting to be home this wknd. if he wants one more meal, it'll be really easy to make up a thing of ravioli for him too -- i use frozen ravioli, jarred sauce, and add frozen veggies. he also has cans of turkey stew, beans, soup, etc.

when i actually cook while he's gone, i go ahead & fix for 4 or more, and put the leftovers into loaf pans & freeze. He has a nifty little oven made for truckers, that uses foil loaf pans. so those are part of my grocery bill, but it sure is a handy way to get him some homemade meals and avoid food spoilage! plus he likes when i toss frozen veggies in for him, so i get to feel like i'm helping *some*one be healthy!

the freezer is empty of meals for him, so i need to pull it together! i'll (try to) come up with a menu plan tonight.

Spinach Smoothie -- YUM!

OK i was making a smoothie for me, myself, and i,
(at the same time i was assembling lasagna for dinner)
when i remembered reading about putting spinach into strawbrry smoothies!
supposedly it's not detectable?
well i tried it, and it was delicious!!

i don't think i could sneak it by the kids
and it was a little bitter
but that was *probably* because the flax meal is old.
so i pitched the flax meal
and will try it without next time.

i think it tasted better because i knew i was getting all those good spinach vitamins!!

it also made me happy to use up some of the funky-frozen yogurts and polish off the last of a huge bag of frozen berries!

How's it going

well i haven't done much here lately.

guess i feel like i got a good idea of how much money we eat --
the cost of a cheap meal vs. a junk-food meal,
a careful day vs. a typical day vs. a who-cares day,
a frugal week vs. a too-busy unplanned week.

lately it's been catch-as-catch-can around here;
i've been on "light duty" which means things the kids can't do,
ie chauffeuring and shopping, planting seeds.
they've been "handling meals"
(in other words, living on chicken noodle soup,
pizza rolls and frozen pizzas!)

i'll be thinking about how to continue w/ this project,
or if it's one too many things for me to think about.

it may turn into pricing during meal planning?
or.. something i haven't seen and don't know how to phrase for search engines:
sending a truck driver out with two weeks' worth of
interesting, healthy & frugal food.

With couponing, we've fallen into terrible nutrition!
I love the possibility of cheaper produce at the mexican groceries,
and i have access to a bulk-bin store on wednesdays.
While i'm planning on stocking up with frozen junk (taquitos, pizza etc.)
i do think i'm going to make a rule
for myself and the kids
that it's only allowed with company (kids)
or on nights that i'd order pizza even if it cost $100!
(you know the kind.)
We just need to return to healthier eating habits.

Friday, February 27, 2009

menu planning thurs..friday

Clean Out The Fridge Friday! leftover manwich for lunch, pizza rolls for babysat kid. pretty sure i came home & ate something but who knows what?

sat: hmmm it was just me & the girl.. she ate a cupful of raw broccoli then we had gingerbread cookies & milk ;)

sun: yeah, we ate out. la hacienda. leftovers to take to co-op for lunch too! thanks mark.

meatless mon: for breakfast we had jelly biscuits, which were really good but shelley you didn't warn me that they'd look like a biological disorder!!!!

for dinner, sophie had her book-it pizza of course! i had teriyaki noodles with sauteed mushrooms & asparagus (and packed up the leftovers for bo to take in the truck). YUM!! brady came home & had corn pops. *sigh.*

tues: we're going to have Rotisserie-Style Chicken in the (new 7-qt oval) Crockpot! maybe with sweet potato fries! Yummie!!

weds we can have tex mex chicken & beans with the leftover chicken and the 17 jars of salsa in the fridge. we'll be gone a lot of the day and brady'll come in late, so it'll be good to have something in the crock pot.

thurs something w/ chicken broth? running out of ideas... what i'd really like is a box of samoas...

rice cooker mac & cheese

Friday, February 20, 2009

bkfst was a box of aunt millie's muffins 1.30 after q
lunch was manwich burritos, heck i dunno, the costing is going out the window isn't it? LOL
dinner was 2 freschetta pizzas 6.75

b will have cereal & milk
soph & i will have forage
CNS for lunch 1.50
dinner will be just bo & me!
we'll prob forage, maybe go out, depending on what he feels like.

bkfst, bo'll make mushroom-asparagus omelettes YUM
lunch might be forage. asian pasta & sauce?
dinner will be meatloaf, steamed broccoli, sauteed mushrooms & crashed potatoes

bkfst, bo'll make mushroom-asparagus omelettes YUM
lunch: mac & broc pasta & sauce
dinner will be early and/or carryout at the meeting; maybe twilight afterwards.

mon: a broth/bean soup in crockpot, pizza to co-op

tues: ravioli bake


ohhh what do i have to work with...
pasta & sauce (both lipton and otherwise)
frozen pizza
beans & rice
chili in the freezer & in cans
manwich in the fridge
biscuits & gravy
turkey broth & bones to make more
sliced turkey for manhattans or whatever

Friday, February 13, 2009

mealbox & delicious

ok i had a couple minutes to play around w/ meijer's mealbox tonight,
(i realize everyone else probably already knew this)
do you know the recipes they post (at least the ones in the "budget" category)
all use mostly sale and/or coupon items??
i wonder if $5 Dinner Mom knows about this?
surely everyone does and i've just been too busy to look.

i'm really impressed! will be spending more time looking around there soon...

also this great post from bread of angels gives explicit meal-planning steps for frequent entertaining. the same lady guest-blogs a tutorial on how to use Delicious at Organizing Junkie.

delicious & mealbox -- two new toys to play with!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Meal Plan Thursday *wk of 2/12, editing as i go

the goal this week is to spend the least $$ possible.
unfortunately i can't think without ground turkey in the house,
so my main shopping will be at sam's.
otherwise, my rule is to use what we have.

Thursday: bkfst was leftover blueberry bread -- free :)
first lunch: quesadillas
second lunch: taco bell $18 can you believe i let them talk me into this??!!
dinner: veggies & hummus from sam's. a little more than half, so about $8

**MAYBE this time i'll just go with a list of options & considerations, since scheduling it out just gives me something else to change***

Friday $6.90
forage for bkfst & lunch. pizza rolls. .60. cukes, tomatoes, hummus for snack. $5?
Buffalo Turkey Sandwiches for dinner *yum!*
*leftover turkey so cost figured into last week; free frank's redhot, free buns, water; miracle whip & ranch dressing negligible, blue cheese free from dad. delicious, and even better with triscuits instead of buns! .80 cookies and .50 milk if we drink about a quart.

Saturday: david made egg sandwiches for bkfst!
*get boy to movie non-date at 2pm. soph was gone too.

Sunday: CNS & egg mcmuffins for bkfst. clam chowder lunch .75. turkey noodles dinner.

Monday: co-op; choir; no brownies.
day from hell. pizza rolls for lunch; leftovers for first dinner; snack & gs cookies for 2nd dinner.

Tuesday: gymnastics at 6. i'll cook 2.5# ground turkey, make manwich for lunch & freeze the rest.

Wednesday: oh man. we were gone from 10am til 10;30 pm! we spent $8 at mcdonald's for bkfst and $15 at pendleton (instead of the usual $20, so that's good). and then i totally redeemed thursday's taco bell debacle, because we came home and had homemade cheeseburgers!! before continuing on our merry way. then i went & pwn'd marsh, cvs, and meijer.

bo will be home this wknd; i'll make meatloaf & crashed potatoes for him one night, and sweet potato fries the other! yum!!! we'll have burritos for lunch tomorrow, and i'll plan next week's meals as soon as i see the ads.

meatloaf 2#
baked potatoes
crashed potatoes? i wonder if i could do these with idaho or sweet? hmmmm
Rogan Josh sweet potato fries ohh i can't wait to make these!

after the turkey

well i spent the past 2 days detoxing from caffeine. yay!! the agony has passed and i'm a free woman!!!

last night we had BFS (big fat salad) for dinner,
tomatoes on sale from marsh,
diced turkey, shredded cheese,
homemade croutons which my kids won't eat but their friends like. sigh.

i had leftover thai. yum!

today i think i'm gonna make broth?
it will require washing a big pot, but i think i can muster the strength.

i also think i'm gonna make cheesy mashed potatoes for lunch. big lunch & simpler dinner is working well, although the kids are having a bit of a learning curve. thank goodness they both approve of triscuit melts; that's a great simple supper.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Three Meals from a Hunk o' Meat

aka rubber chicken :)

i don't always feel really creative, so i LOVE that other people have posted their meat stretchers. I'm just gonna put a couple links here, so i don't have to remember later.

LOVE THIS ONE because it's for roast beef; chicken ones seem more frequent. There's also a link in the article to more more roast beef re-dos. also i don't cook beef much, but that's about to change when we get a freezer-full with our TAX CHECK :D

and here's a chicken one

Thursday, February 5, 2009

meal plan thursday -- editing as i go

ohh someone send me strength, i'm really bad at this
but i truly desire to spend much less time thinking about food and meals
so i'm just going to slap something down.
right now.

thursday: we actually had unplanned burritos, which is a quick throw-together we love that i need to remember.

friday: mexican meatloaf (3.50) for lunch. free ground turkey (thanks tammy!), 2 eggs .15, 1/2 bag cheese .75, bag crushed chips $2, little bit of frozen 3 pepper/onion mix .25, 1/4 bottle bbq sauce .35. yuck do not try this at home!!!

**today i decided to have our larger, planned meal for lunchtime rather than hectic, catch-as-catch-can dinnertime. dinners can be lighter, random and easy.

friday evening: chili dinner at tammy's! i bought popcorn during the movie, only to get a refund because there was not one (i assumed the first was mine) but two hairs in it. ick.

saturday: thai food! $110, completely out of the water, totally worth it.
we let the kids order whatever they wanted -- we had purple ice cream!! yum. very nice.

sunday: roast turkey dinner. Did you know you can cook a turkey from frozen??? this is one of the turkeys i got for like $4 over thanksgiving. plus $1.98 for potatoes, FREE no-salt green beans and $1 cream soup. that's $7 AND all meals from the leftovers will count as FREE!! stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it, all you "dinner for $10" websites that act like it's such a big deal!! actually $7.80 if you count the brownies :)


monday: bbq meatballs $3.70 and pizza rolls 1.80 for co-op, triscuit melts ($1?)for first-dinner, i don't remember second-dinner. $6.50

tuesday: ravioli ($2?) bake ($1.00 cheese) w/ spinach (.25?) snuck into the ($1) sauce $3.75. BFS for dinner, with tomatoes .70 and diced turkey. $5

wednesday: company for breakfast! blueberry bread .80, turkey sausage $2.85 = $3.65.
stroganoff meatballs on leftover mashed potatoes? wierd, huh. .90 for meatballs, $1 for cream soup, leftover sour cream & canned milk. already priced potatoes w/ turkey. dinner was 1 can CNS .75 & some triscuit melts ($1?). $7.30 for the day.

THERE!!!! I DID IT!!!!! and the only thing i need to add to my shopping list is canned cream soups. i can make the cream of chicken for the hash brown casserole, but nothing else works for green bean casserole IMO.

that was roughly $30.10 for the week, not counting dinner out and whatever we grazed on like free chex mix, free quakes, granola bars & triscuits. i didn't stick to the original plan, but loved just having a few ideas to pick from. especially since i spent most of this week in agony on the sofa!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Michelle's Mexican Meatloaf Recipe

**** update -- this was kinda yucky. i surely did something wrong. required lots of bbq sauce during eating... i think i'd add half a bottle before cooking.

serve w/ mexicorn

2 pounds ground beef
3 eggs
red pepper
green pepper
1 bag nacho cheese doritos, crushed
oh and barb-q sauce

bake 350

yummy simple hot lunch on a snowy day

i needed a break from being anal. besides, we've mostly lived on tortilla chips and a vat of cheese sauce donated by my dad, and canned soup, and tea. i really need to wash dishes.

today's: $2.85
chunky veg soup (3 cans $2.25)
pillsbury frozen biscuits (6, .60)

Friday, January 30, 2009

friday 1/30 meals

for the mom -- 2 lattes .06
for the girl -- can of cns .50
for the boy -- 3 south beach bars & chex mix FREE

lunch $2.40
lentil rice soup. 2 cans of chicken broth that have been in the pantry so long they shouldn't even count, but can't imagine they cost more than .50 each
1 cup brown rice & 1 cup brown lentils, haven't priced those out yet. $1 seems high but will give me something to work with.
about 1/4 of a $1 bag of diced carrots-onions-celery, so .25
and extra celery, the whole thing cost $1 and i maybe used.. oh an 8th? so .15?
and some spices.

kid company for dinner; we'll have pizza rolls & tomato soup.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday: the new meal plan monday

***this is a mish-mash post. i started it last week & edited as i went to reflect what really happened, which didn't actually have anything in common with the plan. jfyi 2/5/09. ***

since our sales change on thursdays, it makes more sense in my life to sit down with the ads, make meal plans & grocery lists on thursday instead of monday. i'd love to get to the point where i actually only think about these things once or twice a week -- maybe that should be a goal for me.

Breakfasts: Go Forage. cereal, granola bars, yogurt.

Lunches: leftovers, salads, quesadillas, sandwiches. Monday's default is soup and we have plenty of it.

Snacks: granola bars, canned oranges, yogurt, string cheese, v-8, crackers, nuts.

Finally Friday! 9 boxes of pizza rolls were consumed in this house friday night: $6.40 including the jar of spaghetti sauce for dipping
a BOX of swiss miss cocoa mix FREE *giggle*
1 medium bag of m&m's and lots of pop, donated by a friend so FREE thanks tammy!!
and 2 batches of popcorn with donated (thanks again tammy! can you tell i was a little unprepared for 9 kids?) butter.

Saturday Dad's Home: roast beast: chicken? turkey? could really use the broth..
well, in reality we went out for dinner with a BOGO zoobook q. $25

Simple Sunday School Night: yeah it was simple -- we went out for thai after ven. chukyi's teachings $28 my first time having thai -- YUM!!! we WILL go back!!!

Monday Madness: soup for lunch. thank goodness that's easy!
dinner: theoretically chili over crockpot sweet potatoes, but the potatoes didn't cook. soph had a book-it pizza; i think i had triscuit melts w/ salsa.

Tuesday snowed in again! 3 cans veg soup 2.25, 6 biscuits .60

Weds Meijer & Choir -- snack before: triscuit melts w/ salsa
& supper after: ucky mcdonald's $9.

still to pull from pantry: fried polenta? grits? we have lots of frozen biscuits, ravioli, turkey sausage, eggs, haven't had rice in a long time, stuff for mexican meatloaf, turkey chili, meatballs.

thursday's food 1/29/09 $6.01

2 black cherry lattes .06

cereal & milk.. $1? i really don't know how to count this.

2 pepperoni (.30) sandwiches .. maybe .15 for the bread (from the .89 loaves)
and .25 for the cheese

lots of swiss miss cocoa -- free -- and chai tea -- again, free :)

(i find i'm skipping bkfst because i just don't want cold yogurt in the cold winter)

free rice quakes, free south beach bars

salad -- .33 lettuce, .20 dressing (random guesses; the bottle cost .73), a handful of cheese from the 1.50 bag: .50? and maybe .10 in chili hot beans from a .62 can.

dinner -- nachos! free chips, 1.50 sargento, 1.35 bob evans sausage, PLUS .23 for the rotel LOL

ice cream for dessert... maybe 1/4 of the $2 container, so .50 and that's a high guess.

gonna try meal planning again **updated

**yeah, so i can use my time to plan, to look up new exciting recipes, to create... just to be the only one who'll eat it. SIGH.

***HEY! check out this fab resource!! google docs?? who woulda thought??

just because i'm supposed to be doing something else instead...

Breakfasts: Go Forage. cereal, granola bars, yogurt.

Lunches: leftovers, salads, quesadillas, sandwiches. Monday's default is soup and we have plenty of it.

Snacks: granola bars, canned oranges, yogurt, string cheese, v-8, crackers, nuts.

Saturday Sleepover: Pizza rolls & salad. soak beans for soup.

Sunday School Night: ham & bean soup w/ skillet bread!

Monday Madness: Soph's Book-It pizza, taco bell for me. Kroger during brownies.
Need supper after: meatball sandwiches!

Tuesday Gym w/ groceries -- need a snack before & supper after: broccoli-mac-cheese

Weds Katie, Choir, then Meijer -- need a snack before & supper after: campfire stew in crockpot.
Thurs Piano: manwich

Finally Friday! Do i have the springers? better plan pizza rolls... tom soup... biscuits & gravy for saturday bkfst (how much gravy do we have left? crockpot casserole instead?)

still to pull from pantry:
something w/ cooked sausage.. fried polenta? grits?
we have lots of frozen biscuits, ravioli, turkey sausage, eggs,
haven't had rice in a long time,
stuff for mexican meatloaf,
turkey chili

pasta sausage bake

i think this is for dinner!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Using my stockpile.. updated

check this out! we don't have a microwave, but i just think this is cool:
you can make your own low-fat microwave popcorn at home, using a brown paper bag!!

hmmm here's a page with recipes for all those free rice cakes, although IMO the kettle corn quakes leave little to be desired!

for my 37 bottles of italian dressing and free pepperoni: pasta salad!

frank's red hot recipes

triscuit recipes

mandarin orange recipes

ro-tel recipe search

ways to serve meatballs including stroganoff, catalina or sweet-and-sour over rice, and of course meatball sandwiches. other sites suggest in an italian soup or in a brown gravy over mashed potatoes. and here's a unique appetizer recipe that uses sauerkraut.
meatball hashbrown bake from one of my fave sites.

from my prevention freezer cookbook:
p. 168 crusty tamale-bean pie (sub canned chili)

from my recipe binder:
pasta fagioli using either meatballs or the chunked italian sausage in the freezer
slow cooker lentil rice soup
low fat mac & cheese
cajun chicken fingers, with fruit
bourbon glazed chicken or pork
mexican meatloaf
dinner in a skillet
beef stew

weds $11.63

well today we ate 7 boxes of pizza rolls 4.20
(we did have an extra teenager -- they had first lunch and second lunch)
a whole box of free hot cocoa
spaghetti $1 with meatballs .90
3 jars sauce btwn dinner & pizza rolls $2.73
a free bag of chex mix
ice cream $1?
corn pops $2?
2 can chicken noodle soup $1

What to do w/ canned chili?

got LOTS of hormel turkey chili w/ beans... how creatively can i use it? a lot of these ideas are from hormel's recipe site, which is heavy on versions of dips, nachos & chilis.

Lucky Beans & Rice

Lucky Bean & Rice
by denise patterson

2T oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper
1 can diced tomato
2 cans black eyed peas
1/2 cup rice
3/4 cup water
1 tsp thyme
1/2 cup cheddar cheese or pepper jack

cook oil, garlic and peppers about 5 min.
add all but cheese and simmer for 20 min.
garnish with cheese and serve.

what i really do, with a rice cooker: use jarred minced garlic or garlic powder, black or red beans, one can (or 1 3/4 cup cooked-from-dried-and-frozen) and double the rice & water (or use broth), frozen pepper-onion-celery mix, chili powder or Northwoods Fire or whatever seasonings i have on hand, add bay leaves during cooking, serve w/ hot sauce & fritos.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

monday 1/26 & tues $18.21// $60.67 for the week

2 hazelnut lattes
1 yogurt.23
3 cans soup 1.50
with some cheese, see below
1 bag chili cheese fritos 1.29
1 string cheese .13
1 book-it pizza FREE
triscuits, cheese & salsa. the whole box was .89 so i'll just count it now and call the rest of the box already-paid-for. salsa .25, cheese see below
meatball sandwiches.
$2 buns (we didn't eat the whole bag but we are finishing it tonight w/ manwich)
.90 meatballs
1/2 jar .73 ragu: .37
cheese again.. i'll say one pkg ($1.50) for this and what went on the triscuits and in lunch's soup.

$9.12 for monday.


2 hazelnut lattes .06
2 chai lattes FREE
1 hot cocoa FREE
cereal w/ milk .50?
2 jack's pizzas $4.50
(pizza rolls are a much better deal; 1 box apiece makes us happy which is 1.80 altogether)
1 string cheese.13
1 v8 .25
1 can manwich .50, 1# ground turkey $2, am chs .65
popcorn (??) with butter .50

$9.09 for tuesday.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the lost wknd... $12.50

well i was home by myself mostly.

1 bag free chex mix
1 can clam chowder .50
and some cheese .50
long john silver's (bad!!) $6
4 pumpkin spice lattes .12
cuppa free chai
1 yogurt w/ wolfberries & almonds .35?
1 string cheese .12
1 v8 .25
1 serving wheatables .21
ham & bean soup $2?
easy skillet bread .25 for the butter..
** this is a great idea and i'll do it again, but it needs more salt or some sort of seasoning, and plan on at least 30 minutes for a full batch. actually, the middle was really very weird; i'll only make half-batches from now on, because i think thinner would be better. smells wonderful while baking!! i could hardly wait for it to get done.
1/2 box ice cream (kids! i swear!) $1
2 box pizza rolls $1.20

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fri 1/23/09 5.62

Bkfst: Go Forage

2 pumpkin spice lattes .06

cottage cheese $1

2 string chs .24

v8 .25

Lunch: Salad Bar

1 bag dole romaine $1

chili hot beans .62

chi chi's salsa .35

sargento cheese 1.50

hormel pepperoni .30

dressing .30?

and dinner on next page.

thursday's 1/22/09 meals $8.99

basically we just ate a lot of pizza rolls.

4 boxes for lunch, 3 boxes for dinner. $4.20
4 cans CNS $2
2 pumpkin spice lattes .06
2 bags free chex mix
3 nature valley granola bars .50
2 string cheese .24
2 string cheese sandwiches (??!!): .94
4 pcs bread .30
pickle slices .50?
2 string cheeses .24
and some mustard, for the morbidly curious. i was.
walnut-choc-chip cookies .20 plus 1 stick butter .35?
prob half of a $1.25 half-gal milk.. .50-ish

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Weds 1/21/09 meals $15.35

we spent $10 at McDonald's for bkfst, $1.29 for a latte at the gas station, and $20 for the monthly visit to pendleton. should i count that?

because we had groceries in the trunk, we munched on 2 0.17 granola bars, free rice quakes, 2 $1 blackberries and 2 .30 pepperonis for the rest of the day! so $2.94

when we finally made it home, we had leftover chili, stretched with a .62 can of chili hot beans and 2 .25 cans of tomatoes from the pantry. so $1.12