Friday, April 29, 2016

Easy Dessert

A parfait of crushed cookies, lemon pie filling and whipped cream.

Freezer Inventory for May

Monday my daughter and I went through the freezer and inventoried it after our month of using a menu planned around its contents.  We are coming up on our hurricane season soon and we do not own a generator.  If we have storms, some years we don't, we normally lose power so of course, I hate to keep the freezer full of expensive meats.  It looks like before the end of this month I will have it down to where I am doing shopping for a week or two at the time for a while.

Since I am feeding on average 7 to 8 people for suppers the number of meals looks small, but there is actually a goodly amount in the freezer.

I have on hand:
2 bags of chicken ravioli
4 packages of sausage links
1 bag of turkey meatballs
1 meal (large amount) of pork ribs
1 meal (large amount) of pork chops
1 ham
1 1/2 meals of Dijon chicken breasts (the one half will go on salads to help stretch it)
1 meal of steak for grilling
1 meal of hamburgers for hamburger steak
1 meal of barbecued chicken
1 pork butt roast
2 meals of plain chicken breasts for casseroles
1 whole hen
10 lbs. of chicken wings
2 bags of mixed green beans
1 bag of Brussel's sprouts
1 bag of green beans
1 bag of multigrain and veggie blend
1 bag of asparagus
1 bag of corn
2 bags of broccoli
1 bag of cauliflower broccoli blend
1 bag of couscous
2 bags of fries
1 bag of tater tots
homemade cornbread cubes for stuffing

I am still using home canned fruits and veggies, grains from the pantry, etc.  to help round our meals out. 

I originally sat down to make out a menu, but I realized it would just be easier to pick from my list each day.  I have a few gaps to fill in for the pantry, so I will share that list soon.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Granny Shawl

I keep a project basket by my chair and I had these yarns in it. All three yarns were leftover from other projects and I still have some left. I am thinking there is enough to make a second shawl and I think I will donate it to the prayer shawl ministry.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Turkey Stock

6 pints of bone stock canned and I put a quart in the fridge to use this week

Lest you think.....

I never do anything but knit and

I have been working on other things, too.  I am almost finished with two more classes and will walk for graduation in May, although I do have two summer classes to take.  One was planned and the other -- well somehow I am one hour short of all I need.  How that happens when they assign the hours is beyond me....but life is good.

I am also slowly downsizing things.  We are taking a long hard look at what we do and do not use.  Opting to either sell or donate those things that seem to weigh us down.  While I am not looking for a minimalist life style, I do believe in living purposefully. 

On our to do list for May is to totally organize our garage with the goal of only keeping what is important.  Some how over the years we have both channeled our depression era grandparents and we hate to throw anything away for fear we may need them some day.  It has been bothering me for some time, but I knew I had to wait until the timing was right.  When I told hubby that it wouldn't matter what we had because if we needed it in an emergency we would have to go buy it,  he agreed.  I was stunned.  So anyway that is our big plan for this upcoming month.

Monday, April 25, 2016

How the Menu Plan Went

Sunday and Monday evenings I was not at home and we relied on pressure cooked food storage meals..,,,taco veggie rice and a beef stroganoff dish.  Lunches were leftovers, fruits and muffins.

Tuesday I served the pork roast I had planned for the previous Saturday. I used home canned carrots, potatoes and some of my dehydrated sweet peas for a quick one pot, pressure cooked meal.  Lunch was scrambled egg and cheese wraps.

Wednesday was supposed to be chicken soup, but my daughter really wanted Mac and cheese. For lunch I cooked pressure cooker Mac and cheese instead of my usual baked.  We ate leftovers for supper.  

Thursday daughter was under the weather. We opted to do delivery pizza.  I had points earned for a free one and I paid a $5 tip. Leftovers became lunch the next day.

Friday night we had ham and cheese biscuits.  No one was feelin particularly energetic and my daughter wanted something salty. 

Saturday found us all still tired from our busy days and daughter still lingering with the side effects of flu.  Lunch was the Cajun beans and rice.  I used up a variety of things in this dish -- black beans from the pantry, half a pound of ground chuck my husband had brought back with him, a bell pepper, some lingering carrots, brown rice from the pantry and all kinds of seasonings.  We topped it with a little shredded cheese. Supper was homemade pizza. 

For Sunday's supper I cooked a turkey, rice, gravy, candied yams, yeast rolls, and green beans. I also made a pan of cinnamon rolls for snacking on. Lunch was leftover Cajun beans.

We didn't do too poorly at sticking to the menu. I am planning to rearrange this week's menu to use up some things I have in the refrigerator.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pressure Cooked Turkey

The 10 quart pressure cooker holds an 11 pound turkey with no problems. I put four strips of foil for a sling under it for easy removal.  I stuffed it with my usual veggies (carrots, celery, and onions), seasoned it with poultry seasoning, and added about two cups of chicken broth to the pot.

An hour of pressure cooking and a natural release left me with a very moist and flavorful turkey. I always take the skin off so I don't mind that it isn't browned.  However, it could easily be crisped up under the broiler.  

Bonus -- this does not heat up the kitchen. I'll leave the broth and veggies in the pot and go ahead and  make turkey stock while I am at it.

We are having guests over tonight and then any leftovers will go into casseroles or soups for this week.

Pressure Cooked Apple Cake and Opinions

I ordered this book on a whim some time ago and when it arrived at first glance I wasn't too sure I was impressed with it.  I'm still not, but I decided the only true way to know was to test some of the recipes. I thought if nothing else it would give me guidelines for cooking times using this brand of pressure cooker.  It isn't that it is a bad cookbook per say. It simply has dishes I would have to alter so much for us to like them that it really isn't for my kitchen.

Having said that I have heard rave reviews about the Apple Crumb Cake. I had two apples languishing in my fruit bowl and all the other ingredients on hand, so I thought we would give it a try. I decided to go with a bundt presentation.  

I feel like I should offer a disclaimer here. I think the Instant Pot is a far better pressure cooker. However, I bought this one for large items and it seems to work fine. It does not feel as sturdy and does not come with stainless steel liners....which I do miss. I use my instant pot whenever I can, but on days when I have a crowd I need a bigger pressure cooker.

Despite all of that, the apple cake turned out well.  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Finished Project

This seems to be the week for finishing up projects. 

A few hours of British mysteries, channeling my inner Miss Marple and here's the finished product.  This vest will be packed away for next fall, but it fits well and will layer over a long sleeved tee or a blouse with no problems.

Crocheting Project Complete

I started these small squares while traveling back and forth. Since my daughter is sick and I am trying to find quiet things to do.....I decided it was the perfect time to finish my pillow.  I hand sewed the "pillow" part.  The fabric was lingering in my stash....remnants from a dress I made her years ago.  The fiberfill came from a huge bag we have stashed aside for projects.   

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sales and Coupons

The doctors office called in a prescription for my daughter and I had to run to CVS to pick it up. I had $22.39 in coupons, plus some "keep a look out for good prices items" on my running list. I combined the coupons with sales.  I came home with 3 more bottles of laundry detergent, a 50 cents bottle of dish detergent, 24 razors of my husband's preferred brand and 6 large packages of toilet paper. 

I'm stocked for the rest of the year on laundry detergent. Toilet paper is in the top of the closet along with 6 packages I bought earlier. The razors will last him quite some time.  The modest sized bottle of dish soap will go in the laundry room storage. I ended up spending less than $40 and normally just his razors alone would have been $26. 

Frugal Slipper Replacement

My favorite slippers have an unmendable hole, but I have a huge stash of yarn. This pattern is one I learned to knit a million or so years ago.  I still cringe when I hear the 1980s items described as vintage or oldies, but I am pretty sure this basic design has been around longer than that.

I opted to add some crocheted flowers just because I love flowers. I'm also going to hand sew a small piece of elastic across the top to tighten them slightly.  Cost to me -- free because I literally used leftover yarns for the whole project and I will be using those small bits of elastic I have never known what to do with.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Quick Stock Up

Our family has been exposed to the flu and we have one down.  I took her to the doctor this morning and after I got her home I ran out to pick up her medications and grab a few things from the store.

These items were on my running list:
ground beef (85/15) large package for burgers and fries
2 bags of frozen cheese ravioli (my son's favorite)
low fat cottage cheese (for fruit salad)
dry beans 6 lbs of Mayocoba Beans (used up last of GNBeans recently)

Hubby's request:
4 packages of breakfast sausage links (These went into the freezer for weekend breakfasts.  I normally keep patties on hand, but he has been requesting links.)

Treats for sick kiddo:
6 Hershey's Bars (on sale 40% off)
Rice cakes

2 containers of milk
4 small cups of Greek Yogurt (to help with antibiotic issues)
sour cream

To hedge for a simple meal since I am now developing a sore throat -- a loaf of garlic bread for quick pizza.

We're still doing well for the month and everything is stocked.  In fact, I'm taking a turkey out to thaw for a "Thanksgiving" style meal this weekend.  Leftovers will go either in the freezer or be incorporated into next week's meals.

Holiday Spice Muffins

These muffins are from the "gift jar" book and they are a great tea muffin.  However, my family says they are not sweet enough without a sweet drink with them.  I did alter the recipe and use coconut sugar.  I'm not sure if that made a huge difference or not.  I personally like them, but I will continue to play with the recipe until I can find a happy medium my family likes.  When I do I will share the finalized recipe.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Garter Stitch Vest in Progress

Finished the front and halfway up the front.  Using two skeins of yarn from an earlier project.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nintendo Themed Blanket

I sewed until my fingers hurt, but I finished the quilting and edging on this in two evenings. Late hours, but he loved it.

My Frugal Accomplishments Last Week

We survived the last week of our busiest time of year. I feel like that was the biggest accomplishment. 

While I didn't stick to the menu in detail I am pleased that we stuck to it in spirit.  In traveling, we also packed all our meals from the pantry supplies. We also had surprise guests that we fed without having to run out for supplies.

I did some knitting on a sweater vest using leftover yarn from another project.

I took advantage of going out of business sales for Hancock Fabric and JoAnn's. I bought my mama's combined birthday and Mother's Day gift -- a bolt of muslin for quilts. I picked up 5 sewing patterns over half off. I bought two skeins of yarn. I also bought fabric and batting for a blanket for my grandson.  While none of it was inexpensive I did buy what was on my running list and I am pleased with what I picked up.

I took advantage of CVS coupons and came home with 3 large bottles of laundry detergent free. I also bought 6 packages of toilet paper and got back $10 in rewards. There was nothing else I needed so I am saving the rewards for next weeks sales. 

I found myself two new shirts at the thrift store for good prices. 

I sadly broke my glasses and had to go to the eye doctor and order more. I shopped carefully with quality and cost in mind. Still expensive, but turned out to be good. Turns out my headaches were a result of vision changes and it was time for the old to go anyway. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Traveling Light

Two of us are traveling for a couple of days. With food allergies eating out is next to impossible so we found a place with a small kitchenette. I packed a dozen muffins, 3 bananas, 2 oranges, a box of cereal, a can of peaches, a can of succotash and a can of mixed greens.  I added some fiber bars and pretzels for junk food.

Then I put together two jars of casserole filling for the two suppers we will need. The jar on the right had ground beef, rice, taco seasoning, cheese powder, green peas, onion powder, mushrooms, sweet corn, salt, and pepper. A little water, about 13 minutes cook time and five minute natural pressure drop and we ended up with this 

That small jar yielded more than enough for two people. Plus it actually tasted good.  The beauty was that the main dish was light for packing purposes, but filling for satisfaction purposes. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

How the Menu Went this Week

The last week of tax season is kind of crazy for us, but all in all the menu plan didn't vary too much -- at least not in spirit.

Sunday night -- We were supposed to have pancakes, eggs and sausage, but because I was late getting in my daughter in law invited us over for homemade pizza.

Monday night -- I had planned ravioli, which I never managed to pick up at the store.  Instead I opted to bake macaroni and cheese since I already had everything on hand.

Despite the crazy week I found myself with houseguests on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I cooked two large meals on Tuesday.  Lunch was a pot of great northern bean soup with ham chunks and two pans of cornbread.  We were scheduled to have pork chili that night, but one of the guests doesn't do well with spicy foods so that was out.  Instead I served the few leftover beans as a side and baked the pork chops.  I added a side of Brussels sprouts to round it out.  I also cooked a simple cherry cobbler using pantry staples.

Wednesday -- We were supposed to have Shepherd's Pie.  Again not a guest favorite.  We went with the pancakes, sausage and eggs from Sunday night's plan for our lunch.  Supper was a simpler affair to celebrate my son's defense of his thesis.  I used the slow cooker and made his favorite beef and gravy.  Served this with rice and green peas.  We did not bake a dessert, but I splurged and bought his favorite German cookies.

Thursday -- My daughter in law and I combined our efforts this night.  She cooked beef and black bean filling and a separate dish of sweet potato, corn, and black beans -- both for taco fillings. She brought the shells and the cheese.  I contributed yellow rice, diced tomatoes, and fresh pineapple to round out the meal. 

Friday -- Quiche was on the menu.  We had omelettes instead, but all the same ingredients pretty much.

Testing Recipes

In planning for Christmas gifts, I have decided to test the "jar mix" recipes. I would hate to give one as a gift not knowing how they turn out. 

This morning we made a batch of the bran muffins. I used ingredients I had on hand...including bran cereal I picked up at Dollar Tree. I used to make a similar muffin when the name brand cereal was first all the rage. This worked well.

I am estimating I used about half the box.  

I,of course, altered a few things. I have some coconut sugar lingering in the pantry because my family just isn't crazy about it. I've decided to work it into muffins and so far they haven't noticed. I also didn't  have golden raisins, so plain old "brown" had to do. 

The proportions I used were:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp of baking powder
2 cups of bran cereal
1/2 cup of coconut sugar
1/2 cup of raisins
1 1/4 cups of milk
1/4 cup of oil
1 egg, slightly beaten

400F for about 20 minutes.

This makes an even dozen muffins. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Thinking Ahead to Christmas

I found these two used books for $1.89. Not only an I thinking ahead to Christmas gifts, but the recipes are great pantry staples users.

Thrift Store Finds

My daughter had a job interview today and I rode with her to the appointment. The business is near the Salvation Army store and I walked around in there while she was having her meeting.  I picked up two shirts -- new with tags still on them. The red and white blouse was $4.99 and the sweater is a thin 3/4 sleeve sweater for $1.99.  Both were from local department stores. I'll wear them both year round. The blouse will be a great layering piece. The sweater will go in my bag for summer classes....why they keep things so cold is beyond me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Bean Pool

My grandson wanted to play in his wading pool so badly. I poured my huge can of pinto beans in and we had a blast.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Planned Menu for the Week Versus Reality

This is what my menu looked like for the week:

1.  Pressure Cooker chicken risotto (using last of risotto rice and food storage veggies...chicken from freezer)
2.  fried cabbage and ham biscuits (ham leftover from previous meal and frozen)
3.  hamburger steak with gravy/onions/etc (Crockpot), instant mashed potatoes, green peas (hubby's request)
4.  beef and broccoli rice (Pressure Cooker) freezer meal with rice from food storage
5.  bean soup and cornbread (Crockpot)
6.  vegetable soup (Pressure Cooker) with grilled cheese sandwiches (a mixture of food storage items with some ham leftover from a previous meal)
7.  Cajun beans and rice (pressure cooker)
8.  Pressure Cooker Spaghetti -- food storage 
9.  egg and sausage sandwiches (will make homemade English muffins for these

This was the reality.

1 -- as planned and ended up with leftovers for the next day's lunch
2 -- didn't do because too few people , had sausage and eggs
3 -- hamburger steak was a hit and I packed a couple of meals for my husband to take with him
4 -- the beef and broccoli went as planned and I had enough for two takeout containers to go with my sister.
5 -- I wasn't well and my daughter in law made broccoli and cheese soup. This was excellent!  
6 -- moved the beans to this night and made biscuits instead (3 lbs of beans and only a quart jar left to go with my sister for the next day)
7 -- cabbage and meatloaf  this night (Used up the prior planned cabbage and had an uncooked meatloaf lingering in the freezer.  I actually cooked this all in the pressure cooker at one time with some carrots added.)
8 -- pressure cooker spaghetti as planned using all food storage
9 -- burgers on homemade buns, Dollar Tree tater tots 

For the 7th - 9th we ended up with only two people and I went for easy,  pull from the freezer and made some things hubby and I like best.   I also had to plan dishes I could throw in the pressure cooker because I ended up having to work.  Thank goodness April 15th is almost here!  However, nothing new had to be purchased to these and I kind of just consider it rearranging meals.

I also went ahead and boiled a dozen eggs.  Actually I pressure cooked them, but still same principle.  They went in salads and for snacks for those three days.  Breakfasts were simply cereal, fruit and milk.  Not ideal, but sometimes needs must.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Less Expensive Beauty

I was in need of some new makeup and decided to see if I could find the lowest cost way to go about it and still find brands that I know I do not have a problem wearing.  I scoured the internet and sales and decided to go with CVS.  We already have prescriptions filled there so I had a membership card for discounts.

I was given a $30 gift card from a friend so I wanted to keep my costs as near that as I could.
I combined a $3 coupon from CVS with a sale on Maybelline and L'oreal products.

My total for the make-up was $46.25 - $3 coupon so $43.25 plus they gave me $10 in ExtraBucks rewards that I will use to pick up bathroom supplies.  I came really close to my $30 and overshot by $3.25.  A total I was quite happy with.  

While I was there I also picked up 4 packages of small note tablets marked down to 50 cents each.
For $2 we got 6 5"x8" tablets and 8 3"x5" tablets.  These are ideal for school and for keeping in the car for notes and messages.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Best Gifts

Sometimes the best gifts in life are the small ones.  A friend sent me a dozen fresh eggs.  I cannot decide if I am baking more or making an extra quiche to freeze.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fake Out Takeout

I miss the occasional Chinese takeout meal. Avoiding peanuts, nuts, and seafood make it pretty much impossible to eat out.

Tonight I fixed beef and broccoli for 7 people and made two take home plates.  Not only was it free of my specific allergens, but it was also far less expensive than taking 9 people out for dinner.  My costs came up to under $24.  The bulk of the cost was actually the beef and the Bragg Liquid Aminos. (Soy sauce is less expensive if you can use it.)   I altered the recipe to use frozen broccoli, which I just thawed and lightly stir fried.  If I had it to do over again, for this number of people I would have used 3 bags instead of two.  Two worked, but the last couple of servings did not have as much broccoli as I would have liked.

This is the recipe I used.  The Best Easy Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
As usual I made a few changes.  I doubled the recipe.  Added extra beef.  Used thawed broccoli florets (from Aldi). Used Bragg Liquid Aminos in place of the soy sauce.  Since one of my children has texture issues with onions I used onion powder (1/4 tsp.).
Since my broccoli was previously frozen, I opted to stir fry it separately.  Then I added it to the meat and sauce just before serving.
Only one child was not crazy about this -- describing it as "just okay."  However, he is not a huge fan of steak in any form.  Everyone else loved it.
This dish was a freezer and pantry asset type meal.  Everything for the stir fry from the rice to the broccoli came from my "stash" of on hand foods.  I added some of the on sale carrots and a 99 cents cantaloupe for sides to help round out the meal.  (I cooked the rice in the pressure cooker and started with 3 cups of long grain rice.  The amount was perfect for that many servings.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Carrots Everywhere

8 pounds of carrots is way more than we will eat quickly.  I knew that when I picked them up, but canning them keeps that fresh taste to them when I add them to dishes.  I like to can the baby carrots whole and add them to roasts and things like that.  I can also add them to soups or whatever else I chose.  When I do that I just chop up how every many I need. 

I canned 12 pints.  I saved a 2 bags for other things.  I will make an apple carrot salad with part of one, perhaps a carrot cake for a friend, and then the others will be for munching on.

I decided to go ahead and can the last of the mixed veggies and ended up with 4 more pints of them.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Aldi and Dollar Tree

Before my trip back to Sam's Club to pick up a few items I decided to hit Aldi.  One of the things I like about Sam's Club is that I can pull items up online and tally my purchases before I go.  This also alerts me to some things that I can buy for less elsewhere.  Eggs are cheaper at my local Aldi, chips are cheaper, and milk is cheaper.  I don't have storage space for huge crates of eggs from Sam's Club and the chips bags are just too big.   The lactose free milk (store brand) is a better price at Aldi.

I bought:
2 boxes of oatmeal squares
3 packages of fruit popsicles (for my grandson's visits)
3 bowls of cool whip (yes, I know.  However somethings are simply good with it.)
1 package of frozen sausage patties (these make quick heat and go)
1 cantaloupe
1 bag of Honeycrisp Apples
3 boxes of saltines
2 cartons of milk
1 can of cocoa powder
4 boxes of jello
2 packages of coffee
12 cans of peaches
12 cans of pineapple
3 dozen eggs
3 cans of lemon pie filling (this will be for quick parfait type desserts)
5 bags of chips (1 bag is for a casserole and then one per week for the month)
4 boxes of Stevia packets
8 lbs of carrots

In total I spent $98.23 with most of the items going either in storage or into this months meals based on my menu.

My mistake......  I had stopped at Dollar Tree before Aldi and passed up the stevia packets there.  They are 35 to a box for $1.  They would have been a better buy, but now that I know next month I will buy stevia there. 

At Dollar Tree I bought:
4 9 inch disposable pans
1 bag of pretzels
2 cans of pringles
1 box of high fiber cereal
2 toothbrushes
2 bags of steak fries
2 bags of tater rounds

Total was $11.37

The only thing they didn't have that was on my list for there was the 2 gallon sized storage bags.  I will probably check the store closer to Sam's Club when I go to finish up my shopping.

Date Bars Recipe

In Duff Bakes  by Duff Goldman and Sara Gonzales, Sara talks about eating date bars as a child.  I don't know if it was because I grew up on the opposite coast or what, but I never remember having these as a child. 

The ingredient list isn't overly long and all of the items are thinks I keep on hand.  I have to confess I did not search for Medjool Dates, but simply used what I could find at the local grocery store.  I'm sharing the recipe in the order I did the work. 

Preheat oven to 375F and grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Cut strips of parchment paper about 1 inch wider than the sides of your pan.  Line them in the pan and grease it all.  (Just keeps the date filling from sticking to the side of the pans.)

3 cups pitted chopped dates
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats

Place the dates, honey, vanilla, brown sugar, and 3/4 cup of room temp water in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often until thickened.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Let this cool for 10 minutes and while it is cooling make your crust.

2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of all purpose flour

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the salt.  Gradually add the flour, mixing it as you go.  This will be a crumbly mixture.  Use your hands to press half of it into the pan and set the other half aside.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes and let it cool just a bit.

Mix the oats in the leftover crust.
Spread the date filling over the bottom crust.  Top with the oat topping...about 1/2 inch thick.  (The recipe says you won't need it all possibly, but I did.)

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool.  Cut into squares.

Replenishing Supplies

I am literally down to one pint jar of mixed veggies. I use the veggies for casseroles mostly.  Sometimes I use them in soup, but not often.  I like to have them canned for ease. I live in a "hurricane" zone and freezing massive amounts of food is often not my best option.  I also like that the canning includes liquid....should we ever have an emergency situation that may be good.  Even now I use the "veggie broth" to add to my white sauce for casseroles.

So this morning I went ahead and canned six more pints of veggies.  Tomorrow I will do another six jars.  12 more to go on my shelf. Depending on the number of people I am serving I may use 1 or 2 jars at a meal.

Since I had the supplies out and had been planning on making jelly anyway. I had opened a bulk package of pectin a few weeks ago and I didn't want to have to worry about it not  I went ahead and made two batches of grape jelly.  I always can 10 jars and fill a bowl for the fridge for immediate use.

In addition to using this on bread or in hot cereals, I also use it to make homemade jelly rolls and muffins. I have a new to me jelly doughnut muffin recipe that I want to try and if they turn out well, I'll share the recipe.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Very Merry......

A very merry unbirthday to me!


The best and the worst thing about food allergies is cooking almost everything from scratch. 
Talk about a mixed blessing.  On one hand some items are much more inexpensive when made from scratch, but others can add up to be more expensive.  Of course, the opportunity to control the healthful quality of food is much higher.  Let's face it though -- cake isn't really a health food kind of thing.  However, some days it is just what is called for.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April's Menu

I planned my groceries around sales and items that I need to keep the pantry stocked up.  Meals will be using a combination of things I am buying this month and things I already have on hand.

1.  Pressure Cooker chicken risotto (using last of risotto rice and food storage veggies...chicken from freezer)
2.  fried cabbage and ham biscuits (ham leftover from previous meal and frozen)
3.  hamburger steak with gravy/onions/etc (Crockpot), instant mashed potatoes, green peas (hubby's request)
4.  beef and broccoli rice (Pressure Cooker) freezer meal with rice from food storage
5.  bean soup and cornbread (Crockpot)
6.  vegetable soup (Pressure Cooker) with grilled cheese sandwiches (a mixture of food storage items with some ham leftover from a previous meal)
7.  Cajun beans and rice (pressure cooker)
8.  Pressure Cooker Spaghetti -- food storage
9.  egg and sausage sandwiches (will make homemade English muffins for these)
10.  pancakes, eggs and ham
11.  ravioli, garlic bread and broccoli
12.  pork chili (pressure cooker) crackers
13.  shepherd's pie
14.  grilled steak, couscous, asparagus casserole
15.  quiche with fruit salad
16.  pork roast (crockpot) with fixings
17.  beans and rice
18.  chicken noodle soup and crackers
19.  burgers and fries
20.  pizza
21.  BBQ pork chops, pasta salad, green beans
22.  turkey dinner with the fixings
23.  mac and cheese
24.  taco casserole
25. white lasagna with garlic bread and broccoli
26.  corned beef hash, buttermilk biscuits, eggs
27.  turkey pot pie

My menu is just a guideline.  I will tweak and vary as I need to.  For example, we were supposed to have cabbage tonight, but my husband could not make it in.  Since daughter and I are only ones here we opted to do easy and had breakfast instead -- sausage patty and scrambled eggs for each of us. 

I also have plans to make a few freezer lasagnas to set aside.  I'll be cooking a turkey and saving the leftovers for various things.  I have plans to home can mixed vegetables.  All of our breads, with the exception of crackers, will be homemade.  I know how to make crackers, but since I am still in school right now the cost versus time ratio just doesn't work for this month.  All snacks with the exception of the one bag of chips a week (the extra is for taco casserole) will either be home baked items or popcorn.  Breakfasts are usually cereal, muffins, pancakes, waffles, or something of the sort - so nothing too complicated there. 

Grocery Shopping for the Month

I'm working on going back to monthly grocery shopping trips.  I find that I simply do better at sticking to a plan that way.  I've planned out my supper menu for the month, allowed for leftovers for most lunches and easy breakfast meals.  I'll share my menu plan in another post.

I'm allowing $600 for the include all pet supplies and toiletries.  I feed somewhere between 2 and 8 people on any given day and the number is often undecided until that day. I also have to have supplies for my husband to keep at our place where he stays during the work week.

I've purchased so far:

$197.71 Sam's Club
    20 lbs of cheddar cheese
    cat litter
    2 bags of cat food
    decaf tea bags (for iced tea)
    3 flats sodas (for daughter for school -- far cheaper than vending machine)
    Shredded wheat (for husband's breakfasts)
    3 boxes of fiber one bars (for husband)
    2 cartons of lactose free milk
    cooking spray (oil)
    pop tarts (my daughter takes these to school because she can eat them as she walks between classes if need be)

$165 in meat
      hamburger for 18 burgers
      2 pork loin roasts
      16 large pork chops
      2 large coils of Italian sausage
      pork ribs
My finalized list for the rest of the month includes:
5 lbs of mozzarella cheese
3 lbs of pepperoni
25 pounds of all purpose flour (I mix this half and half with my fresh wheat)
3 lbs. of cottage cheese
12 cans of peach slices
12 cans of pineapple
4 lbs. of frozen ravioli
5 bags of various chips
frozen fries (Dollar Tree) for quick grab
3 dozen eggs
toilet paper (POM from Sams)
washing powder
cocoa powder
disposable freezer pans from Dollar Tree

Finished Project

I finished a crocheted rag rug. It's approximately 36" by 56" 

YouTube Creator Tag

This just shares a little bit about me and how/why I set up my YouTube channel.