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Simple, Yet Delicious

April 6th, 2018 at 11:17 pm

I made another great meal tonight. My new focus on not eating out (i.e. hemorrhaging money through the drive thru window) is paying off, but I don't think it would be going so well without the electric pressure cooker. I did my potatoes in there, tonight. All I did was quarter some baby reds, toss them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley, put a cup of water in the pressure cooker, put in the steamer basket, and pressure cook them for 10 minutes. They were delicious and yet so easy and tasty. I've found out I can make mashed potatoes in there, too, which will be quite a boon.

Then I made up some Morrocan spice rub and rubbed down some chicken legs with it and cooked them in the Nuwave oven. Chicken legs only take 30 minutes in the Nuwave. The chicken was pretty good, but I think it needed salt in addition to the rub. Next time I will do that since I have quite a bit of the rub left. There was enough chicken left over that I can make some chicken soup tomorrow.

I did spend some money today as I was in need of ground cloves, coriander, and cinnamon. Cloves are expensive, but fortunately a little goes a long way so it lasts much longer than my other spices. So $35 on spices.

I'm going to have to spring for a package of goat butter pretty soon. That's $11 for 8 ounces, but it lasts me a long time. I don't use it too often, I just like it on the rare occasions I actually make toast, which is only once or twice a month, usually. I am the only one who eats it. Well, I will make sure I do a complete check through of the freezers first, just in case I have one squirreled away in there, but I'm pretty sure I don't. I usually only buy one at a time. It's not a stock up item.

DH built me some new pantry storage shelves, so I am in the process of filling them and rearranging some of my other food supplies. Right now I have long-term storage mixed in with the working pantry, which is a pain in the neck. This should get that straightened out.

I need to work on the garden this weekend as well. It is time to get lettuce, spinach, green onions, kale, chard, and radishes going. There is some volunteer spinach coming up, but I need to transplant it, because it is not where I want it. I hope it stops raining long enough for me to do that. It cleared up this afternoon so I am hoping the weather holds and I am feeling up to it.

Big Grocery Stock Up

April 2nd, 2018 at 08:53 pm

Today I finally made it to Costco. I've been sick for about 3 weeks, so this was the first day I really felt capable of doing a shopping trip. I ended up spending $325, but bought toilet paper, batteries, and vitamins, which always drives up the cost of a Costco trip. I did get quite a few staples, though. I had to buy some diced tomatoes for the first time in two years. I hope this is a good tomato year in the garden, because I need to can like crazy.

After that I went to the dollar tree and bought a case of soup, a case of mini-ravioli, and a couple boxes of sandwich bags. I spent $26 there.

Then we went to the regular grocery store to pick up bread, hot dogs, and milk. I don't like Costco bread choices or their milk. But they had a ton of turkey on sale. They usually do after any big holiday. This was legs and wings, so I bought all they had. They did have white meat, too, but we don't care for that. I spent $120 there.

I made up some of the turkey tonight in the pressure cooker and froze the rest. I seasoned it with garlic salt, granulated onion, and pepper. It was fantastic and just falling off the bone tender. I only put 2 cups of water in with it, but it made a bunch of broth. I ended up with 1 quart of broth. I saved it and will use it to make rice tomorrow. I'm going to do an arroz con pollo dish, but with turkey instead of chicken for dinner tomorrow.

I saved the bones and will make bone broth with them tomorrow or the next day. I threw them in the freezer, just in case life doesn't go to plan, so that they won't get lost in the fridge for a week and be unusable. I hope to get five or six quarts out of it to can. I am low on broth again, since I've been using a lot of it the last three weeks. It is so much easier to make in the pressure cooker than in the crock pot or on the stove.

I hope I continue to feel better. I got so behind on everything when I could barely get out of bed. Yesterday was the first day I showered in 6 days I was so bad. Thank heavens for baby wipes.

Meal Planning for the Week

March 25th, 2018 at 06:26 pm

I have gotten away from meal planning lately and I do think it is a big factor on why we are getting too much take out, so I am going to get back to it. If I hadn't gotten my Power Pressure Cooker for my birthday I think we'd be getting even more take out. That thing makes it so easy to cook. I couldn't afford the Instant Pot that I wanted, but I could afford the 8 quart Power cooker that I got.

So far I've been quite happy with the decision and Instant Pot recipes are easily converted. I do want to get some of the inserts, though, so I'm saving up for those. I also do want to get the $400 Instant Pot one day, but that day is not going to be any time soon.

I think at least four meals a week are being cooked in the pressure cooker. Sometimes the full meal or sometimes I'll make baked potatoes or some other vegetable in the Nuwave oven. These two products alone have really simplified my life, not having an actual oven or stove to cook on. The electric skillet and the crock pot get some use as well, but the first two are my go to machines right now. Well, that and the microwave for steamer bags or canned veggies.

Discovering I can make spaghetti and other pastas in the pressure cooker has just simplified my life so much. Not to mention cooking a roast in less than an hour. Or a lava cake using Swerve instead of sugar. Anyway, I hope making a meal plan again will snap me out of some of the bad habits I have fallen back into.

Sunday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs (PC)
Salad

Monday:
Rabbit Stir-fry
Stir-fried Rice

Tuesday:
Enchiladas (Freezer Meal)
Cole Slaw

Wednesday:
Pork Roast (PC)
Fried Potatoes
Broccoli and Cauliflower

Thursday:
Chicken Fajitas (Crockpot Freezer Meal)

Friday:
Air-fried Duck Breast (NW)
Fried Potatoes
Broccoli/Cauliflower

Saturday:
BBQ Pork Chops (PC)
Baked Potatoes (NW)
Brussels Sprouts

Sunday:
Lamb Roast (PC)
Baked Potatoes (NW)
Green Beans

Payday Report + Haircut + Mom + Murphy + Food Waste

March 10th, 2018 at 05:13 pm

Well, I did it. I got my hair cut to my collarbone. It was a foot or so of hair taken off. I had it thinned and layered and the curls are just crazy bouncy now. I am very happy with it. I can't remember being this happy with a haircut in a couple of decades. It is easy to care for and simple to style, though it takes more time than just braiding it or putting it up in pony tail. It just looks so nice that I don't care if it takes me an extra 10 minutes to curl it around my face.

Mom is home from the hospital and doing very well. She is only taking Tylenol for the pain and hasn't needed anything else. She is getting around very well and able to do much for herself. I am so happy. This is way easier than the shoulder surgery or the knee surgery.

We had quite a lot of overtime on the paycheck yesterday. As quickly as it comes in it is gone.

$255.00 Tithe
_474.36 AMEX (in full)
__56.61 Garbage (2 months)
_876.93 BoA Visa (in full)
_124.75 BoA MC (in full)
1000.00 Citi Visa (not in full, but not due until 4/3)
-----------
$2782.65 Total Money Out

This is over the amount of the paycheck. Mom and MIL both reimbursed us for stuff we bought for them so we had an extra $310 in checking from that.

As for Murphy, DH got a flat tire. He got a piece of metal in the tire. He's down at the shop now seeing about the repair. I don't know how much it will cost or if it will cost anything. Tire shops are weird that way. Sometimes they fix flats for free, depending on how bad the damage is. I am hoping we won't have to get new tires. This is on his father's truck that we technically have inherited, but we haven't taken the title to it yet. MIL is going to pay off the loan on it when the life insurance money comes in, but it hasn't yet. After that, we will take ownership of it.

If we have to buy new tires we will buy them from Costco. Still the cheapest place for tires I've ever found and good quality ones, too. I have loved the ones they put on the van. They drive very well. But I sure hope that expense is not one we have to shell out for right now.

DD's bed broke. The box spring and the frame collapsed. It's an old bed, a hand me down from my mother. We can't afford a new bed now. MIL has a bed we can take, but it has to be excavated first. She has so much junk in that room. The bed is covered with it and the path to the bed is covered with it. FIL was a real pack rat and MIL still is.

So after the tire is repaired, DH and DS will take the truck out to MIL's and try to get the bed out.

DD's surgery is scheduled for the 9th of April. We have to have $300 paid before then. Her deductible is $500. She's met some of it, and will meet some more with the pre-op appointment so $300 is what they reckon will be left to meet. The doctor's portion of the surgery itself costs $5449, but we won't have to pay all of that. The surgery center is supposed to get me a quote on their portion. I don't know about the doctor who administers the anesthesia. I believe our out of pocket is capped at $3000 per person. It might be $5000, though.

We still haven't been able to get the HSA to issue a corrected form. I think at this point we are just going to put the proper amount on the taxes and keep our fingers crossed that no on notices that proper form isn't there. And if we ever have an HSA again, it won't be there because they really don't know how to pull their heads out and do their jobs.

Otherwise, still muddling along. Still thinking I need to make up a meal plan, but still not doing it. I ended up throwing out a lot of veg and leftovers this week and so I really need to get back on top of the food waste issue. I kind of really let things go for a couple of weeks. I need to not do that, because is just wastes so much money. Some went to the ducks, some to the compost, and few things had to be binned.

I have been watching a show this week called Eat Well for Less. It is British. I found a couple of episodes on youtube and a few others elsewhere. It's a really good show. It focuses on fixing a family's food budget. It deals with brand addiction, food waste, picky eating, shopping without checking the pantry and fridge first, everyone eating different meals instead of the same meal, all of that stuff.

I found it very informative. And it gave me the incentive I needed to try to get my act back together again. I've got all my veggies that were left after cleaning the fridge prepped and ready to go so that it can get used up this week and not wasted. I am going to plan my meals around that when I finally sit down and make my meal plan tonight.

I don't need to buy any meat this week. I may need to buy salad greens and bananas, but I may hold off on the bananas because we have plenty of oranges and apples. I'd like some blackberries, though. Oh, I've got some freeze-dried ones. Those will do nicely. We have freeze-dried bananas, too, if it comes to that.

Food Preservation and Preparation Plan for 2018

January 11th, 2018 at 12:15 am

I've been working on a comprehensive list of what I am going to grow, can, dehydrate, freeze, and purchase this year for food. The freeze-dried list is for long-term food storage as we are working on building a 1 year supply for four people. It might take us more than one year to build that supply, though. Some people might think that is nuts, but you know, we did not need to worry about food at all for the ten months DH was unemployed and I really liked that. Of course, if DH's job doesn't last past mid-March, then buying all of the freeze-dried food will be put on hold.

The other is food for the year and in the case of green beans, some extra. We had a bad bean year last year all over the county because of the weather being irregular and I didn't plant any last year, either. Fortunately, I had canned enough in 2015 and 2016 to have plenty for 2017, but we are running low and it is one of my go-to veggies, so I plan to do extra.

What I plan to can:

Green beans--156 quarts (half cut, half French-style)
Yukon gold potatoes--104 quarts
Diced Tomatoes--52 pints
Radishes--7 pints
Parsnips--28 pints
Carrots--52 pints
Celery--52 pints
Italian Plums--14 quarts (more if tree produces more)
Pears--102 quarts
Strawberry Jelly--24 pints
Bumbleberry Jelly--6 half-pints
Dandelion Jelly--6 pints
Apricots--24 pints
Blueberry Pie Filling--14 quarts
Apple Pie Filling--7 quarts
Peaches--28 quarts
Rabbit--52 quarts
Chicken--52 pints
Beef Chunks--52 quarts
Salmon--21 pints or 42 half-pints
Ham--14 half-pints
Ground Beef--30 pints
Lamb--7 quarts
Beef broth--21 quarts
Turkey/Chicken broth--52 quarts
Rabbit Broth--52 quarts
Onion Stock--21 quarts

What I plan to freeze:
Gold Rush Zucchini--40 packages
Onions--30 packages sliced
Bell Peppers--52 packages sliced
Poblanos--1 gallon, diced
Jalapenos--2 gallons, diced
Snow peas--25 packages
1/2 a beef
1 whole hog
1 whole lamb
30 whole chickens
2 whole turkeys
120 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
80 pounds ground turkey (1 lb packages)
200 pounds of rabbit meat

Dehydrating Plan:
1 quart sweet basil
1 pint Thai basil
1 pint sage
1 quart powdered oregano
4 quarts diced garlic (will make powder as needed from this)
4 quarts diced ginger (will make powder as needed from this)
1/2 pint of thyme
1 pint of marjoram
1 pint of rosemary
1 quart Italian parsley
1 quart curly parsley
1 pint cilantro
2 quarts bee balm petals
2 quarts bee balm leaves
2 quarts calendula petals
2 quarts whole calendula flowers
2 quarts Echinacea
2 quarts yarrow
2 quarts comfrey
1 pint celery powder
2 quarts celery leaves
2 quarts raspberry leaves

Freeze Dried Food Plan:

6 #10 cans of sausage crumbles
6 #10 cans of ground beef crumbles
12 #10 cans of small diced beef
6 #10 cans of chicken dices
24 #10 cans of onion dices
6 #10 cans of mixed bell peppers
6 #10 cans of white flour
6 #10 cans of whole wheat flour
6 #10 cans of celery
6 #10 cans of carrot dices
6 #10 cans of yogurt bites (pomegranate and black cherry)
6 #10 cans of instant white rice
6 #10 cans of instant brown rice
6 #10 cans of pure cane sugar
6 #10 cans of brown sugar
2 pantry cans of Instant dry yeast
6 #10 cans of potato dices

I am debating on whether or not I will grow squash or not, other than zucchini. It takes up a lot of space and is very cheap to buy, so probably not.

Stretching Food

January 6th, 2018 at 09:25 am

Alliecat's plan with the ham this week got me thinking on ways I stretch food as well. I do this a lot, it is pretty automatic these days. So I thought I'd list what we do to stretch meals.

Chicken:

I like to build dinners around a large, whole chicken, one that is five or six pounds. The first night I will roast the whole chicken and we eat the dark meat and wings for dinner with potatoes and green beans. The second night I will make enchiladas or quesadillas with some of the leftover white meat chicken and serve that with rice and salad. Then I will pick the bones clean and take a cup of diced chicken and make chicken-fried rice, and the fourth night I make broth with the bones all day, strain it, pick any remaining chicken off the bones, and then make chicken noodle soup or chicken and dumplings soup, adding in another cup of diced chicken that I'd saved from the carcass.

Beef:

Another good one is a large pot roast where you eat regular roast the first night (save your juice from cooking) with potatoes and carrots, French dip sandwiches the second night with the juice you saved for dipping mixed with a little bouillion), then shred up half the remainder and mix it with teriyaki sauce and honey and serve over rice and then dice the rest and make roast beef hash the fourth night. I generally make extra potatoes the first night to be used in hash, so I'm only cooking them once.

Pork:

With a pork roast you can eat a third of it the first night and pull the rest of it with some barbecue sauce to make pulled pork sandwiches and then bbq pork pizza, and pulled pork with cheese in tortillas wrapped like a burrito. You can even add a can of beans and a 4 oz can of diced green chile pepeprs to the last one to extend it further and change the flavor up some more if you like those things.

Ham:

With ham, of course we eat off it one day, make warm ham sandwiches the next day, dice up the leftovers and use them in omelets, on pizzas, and in stir-fried rice. Anything we can't use in the first few days we freeze in dices. I've even made up TV dinners with ham, mashed potatoes and ham gravy, and green beans and frozen them for those nights when I don't feel like cooking.

What are ways you all stretch food to cut your grocery expenses?

So Far So Good on the Pantry Challenge

January 4th, 2018 at 08:40 pm

I am doing really well on the eat from the pantry challenge. So far we have not bought anything from the grocery store since I started the challenge. I really didn't feel like cooking tonight at all, so I pulled one of my pans of enchiladas and made it tonight instead of one of my planned meals. That's what they are in there for. I am down to 1 pan of enchiladas, 2 pans of chicken and broccoli bake, and 2 fajita kits. I try to keep them for the days when I feel like a house dropped on me.

I am in the middle of an RA flare. Part of it was because I ran out of medication and was off it for 3 doses. Part of it is because I've had to do all of my daughter's chores. Part of it is because I had to drive to Burlington and back. I don't do well with driving that long anymore and I've had to do it twice in two weeks. We had to go and pick up oats for our rabbits. I should not have had to go, but the order we got the two weeks before was contaminated. It had all kinds of other things in it besides oats, including lime dust, which can kill rabbits. They put lime dust in the goat feed, I guess. Anyway, we caught it before giving it to the rabbits.

Fortunately, that feed can also be fed to the ducks, so we are mixing it with corn and peas for them. We did not have to pay for the new round of 300 pounds of oats, either. We just had to send them photos of the contaminated feed. I guess if I look on the bright side of things, we got a bunch of free feed. But it wasn't much fun having to go to Winco to buy oats over the holidays because the mill was shut down. At least they have 25 pound bags of whole oats, though. I might have been able to get some at the farmer's co-op, but we've had trouble with contaminated oats there, too, with both brands they sell.

We've scheduled an appointment for DD with the surgeon for the 8th. She can't have surgery before February because we won't have insurance until then. The initial consult may cost $240. They gave a range, with $240 being the top of the range if we paid in cash. That is a 20% discount.

DD is doing okay with the low fat diet, though she had some major carb cravings yesterday and wanted bread really bad. She ended up having mashed potatoes with just salt and pepper on them to calm the craving down. It seemed to do the trick. We just have to think outside the box a little more now.

The Nuwave oven has been wonderful for cooking chicken and fish without fat for her. Well, other than the amount I spray on the rack to make it non-stick, but that is minimal. But I can steam vegetables in a foil packet as well with no oil at all, just a sprinkle of water and some herbs. I am getting the hang of this. Today I made boneless skinless chicken thighs in it. I just rubbed them with a combination of ground cloves, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, a little paprika, salt, and pepper. It was very mild and she loved the flavors.

So we are adapting. I think she is losing weight, too. I just hope her weight is not going to be a problem when it comes to surgery. We've run into that problem before. If it is, she will probably have to go to Seattle to see a surgeon and if she does, it means I will have to be the one to drive there since DH works a normal job now. Which will mean at least a week of recovery time for me each time. If not more.

Eat from the Pantry Challenge Week 1 Meal Plan

January 1st, 2018 at 12:29 pm

So after a lot of rethinking and replanning, I've got a new meal plan based on my daughter's dietary restrictions and what I have in the house and garage. I will meet this challenge, but it is really turning my skills on their head because I'll be poaching, steaming, roasting, and boiling, when my preferred method is frying or deep fat frying. Well, maybe I will finally lose weight by being forced to do this. I am just glad I have zucchini both in the freezer and freeze-dried.

Day One:
Spanish Paella-Style Shrimp and Rice (Has veggies in it)
Oranges

Day Two:
Chicken Fajitas (no tortillas for DD)
Canned Pears

Day Three:
Turkey Taco Salad (shells for those who can have them)
Bananas

Day Four:
Herb Roasted Rabbit
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Oranges

Day Five:
Codfish and Zucchini in foil packets
Baked Potatoes
Apples

Day Six:
Middle Eastern Roasted Whole Chicken
Potatoes with onions and bell peppers in foil packets

Day Seven:
Black Pepper Rabbit
Steamed Veggie Rice
Oranges

Eat From the Pantry Challenge

December 27th, 2017 at 06:54 pm

I am joining some other youtubers in an eat from the pantry challenge for the month of December. My goal is to not go into the grocery store for the month of January except to buy dairy, greens, and bread. I think it is something we can accomplish quite easily based on our pantry and freezer stock. But just because we can doesn't mean it is something I want to do sometimes. However, we need to be saving up money for daughter's sinus surgery and taking a huge chunk out of the grocery budget to deposit into saving for that would be very helpful right now.

Of course this does not include the lamb we are getting at the end of January and which is mostly paid for anyway with the deposit we already put down. But that is December spending, not January spending.

I'd like to stay out of the stores as much as possible, but I know I will have to purchase prescriptions. I'll try to do that through drive-thru only. Though I may have to order some vitamins online. Still, if I can keep it to that I will be very happy. We have plenty of toiletries so I think it will go quite well.

I'll be detailing the challenge here on the blog as well as doing at least a weekly video for it on my channel. If anyone wants to join in with me for the month or even for a week or two, you are more than welcome to do so.

Meal Planning for the Week

December 18th, 2017 at 12:52 am

I got the fajita kits assembled and each bag contains enough for a dinner for four, plus four lunches, so that if I make the fajitas early enough in the week, the leftovers can be used for 2 lunches for DH and 2 lunches for DS. So now the freezer is getting pretty full again. There are 5 bags of fajita mix and 7 frozen casseroles.

We also got the rabbit meat cut up today. All of it except the abdominal flaps were cut up for stir-fry, sectioned up, and frozen. The flaps will be ground when we do the next butcher. Flaps are only good for going into the grind for burger or for making jerky. They are too tough otherwise for enjoyable eating. But we do try to use as much of the animal we butcher as possible so as not to waste what they gave up their lives for so that we might eat, and we have enough jerky, so burger it will be.

Here is my meal plan for the week:

Day One--
Middle Eastern Spiced Rabbit Legs
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Day Two--
Belgian Waffles
Ham
Strawberries (from out garden last year)
Zucchini Rounds (if I can find good zucchini)

Day Three--
Chicken Fajitas
Oranges

Day Four--
Cabbage Rolls
Oranges

Day Five--
Skilled Lasagna with Sausage (Homemade Hamburger Helper)
Salad
Canned Pineapple

Day Six:
Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots, and Parsnips
Salad
Green Beans

Day Seven:
Pork Ribs
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Oranges

Meal Planning for the Week

December 11th, 2017 at 12:49 am

We have been doing very well at keeping our food expenses down by sticking to the meal plan. I have been making some freezer meals, both ready made casseroles and uncooked crock pot meals that just need to be dumped into the crock pot. I need to make some more of the latter. I have the ingredients for 3 or 4 bags of fajitas, so I will make those tomorrow.

I used both a casserole and a crock pot bag this week when my sinus infection was at its worst. We did, however, get take out tonight for the first time in a while.

This afternoon I made up a huge batch of breakfast burritos. It took 24 eggs, 2 cups of cheese, 3 bags of tortillas and 2 pounds of sausage. It made 36 burritos. I individually wrapped them in foil and then put them in freezer bags, except one bag which went into the fridge. My husband and son eat these for breakfast almost daily. That should last them a fair while. DH dips his in picante sauce.

Here is this week's meal plan:

Day One:
Two Cheese Braciola
Broccoli
Baked Potatoes
Grapes

Day Two:
Pizza Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
Salad
Oranges

Day Three:
Baked Potato Soup
Garlic Bread
Salad
Oranges

Day Four:
Spanish Rice with Sausage
Salad
Oranges

Day Five:
Roasted Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Day Six:
Brined Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes with Onions and Bell Peppers
Canned Pineapple
Green Beans

Day Seven:
Sesame Chicken
Fried Rice
Broccoli
Oranges

Meal Planning for the Week

November 27th, 2017 at 12:52 am

We've done a pretty good job of dealing with our Thanksgiving leftovers. Dinner Friday was simply a repeat of the day before. I made up 12 TV dinners for the freezer. I made a big batch of turkey noodle soup. Word of warning, if you use purple carrots in your soup, your soup will be purple. Tasted great, though. Then I diced up the remainder of the meat, which was about 2 cups worth, and froze it and will make stir-fried rice with it in a day or two.

I still have to deal with the bones. I froze them, but I plan to make turkey broth with them this week and then can it. Any remaining meat on the bones will fall off and then I can pick it out and freeze it, either for a casserole or more stir-fried rice. In the past I have made enchiladas with leftover turkey, too, but we had so much stuffing and so many potatoes that I thought it was wiser just to make up the TV dinners, since we are trying to get away from buying store bought emergency TV dinners completely. There was absolutely no wasted food from our Thanksgiving this year. I feel great about that.

Day One:
Slow Cooker BBQ Meatloaf
Fried Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Day Two:
Chili Beef Noodle Skillet
Broccoli
Apples

Day Three:
Hearty Beef Casserole
Clementine Oranges

Day Four:
Sesame Chicken
Broccoli/Cauliflower
Turkey Fried Rice
Canned Pineapple

Day Five:
Brined Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes
Green Beans
Apples

Day Six:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Bread
Broccoli/Cauliflower
Grapes

Day Seven:
Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry
Turkey Fried Rice
Canned Pineapple

Bits and Pieces

November 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

DH has a job interview Friday morning. It is for a local company, as in our city, so the commute would be short. He'd even be able to take the bus if he wanted to as it is on the bus route. Another company an hour away has expressed some interest as well, but aren't interviewing for another couple weeks. That company tends to be slow to move. Anyway, prayers that the interview goes well and DH is offered the job would be appreciated. I just hope it isn't one of those things where they have to interview so many people, but they have planned to hire in-house from the start. Those are so frustrating.

I am sick. First I had a horrible stomach bug that lasted about 10 days and now I have a sore throat, am completely stuffed up, and am running a fever. The lethargy is pretty bad. I can't seem to sleep well, so it is taking forever to get better. It may be a sinus infection. I hate to go to the doctor right now, though. The COBRA paperwork finally arrived, but who knows how long it will take for them to actually process it. So currently we have to pay out of pocket. COBRA is retroactive, so we'll be able to submit anything paid out of pocket eventually.

If DH is hired and the insurance starts after one month we may not do COBRA at all. We have 60 days to start it and we can do it on day 60, so even if something major happens along the way they will have to pay it. COBRA will be $1500 or thereabouts a month and that is with dropping vision and dental.

I really hope he is hired. Our remaining savings will not last long and we are still recovering from the last bout of unemployment and paying for our medical insurance for 9 months.

The funeral is on Wednesday. There will be a viewing followed by a short graveside service. I am afraid I am going to get even sicker standing outside in the cold, wind, and rain. After the graveside service, there will be an indoor memorial. Then after that a catered family get together. DH and I are taking separate vehicles. That way DD and I can come home when we need to since we are both so sick and DH can be there for MIL longer with DS, unless DS wants to come home, too. He is starting to get the cold.

I would love to visit with the extended family, but I am afraid I would get everyone really sick. As it is, I will barely be functional enough to attend the funeral. My head is so full of snot and it is hard to focus.

Earlier in the week when I was feeling somewhat better, I made some freezer meals. Instead of making one casserole for dinner, I made a triple batch and froze the extra two. So I now have two pans of enchiladas, two pans of baked ziti, and two pans of chicken and broccoli/cauliflower casserole in the freezer. I don't have the stamina or energy to do full on once a month freezer cooking, but it is close to the same amount of work to do 3 at a time than it is to do one.

I'm going to do some taco rice bakes, some lasagnas, some hamburger casseroles, some carnitas, and some pork fried rice when I feel a little better. Ideally, I'd like to have 15 days of frozen casseroles ready to go. I'll do some individual turkey dinners as well after Thanksgiving, but those never last long.

I have some days where cooking is just not an option, either due to rheumatoid arthritis or just being sick or just being exhausted, so being able to go to the freezer and pop something in the oven is wonderful. I get the aluminum pans at The Dollar Tree unless they go on sale elsewhere. I don't have enough casserole dishes to tie them up in the freezer for long amounts of time. It is an expense, but it beats the expense of take out easily.

If anyone has some casserole recipes that don't contain mushrooms or cream of mushroom soup and freeze well, I'd love for you to pass them on to me.

Meal Planning for the Week

November 6th, 2017 at 08:02 pm

I'll be making two new recipes this week for our dinners. The First is Curried Chicken Chowder. I have the leftovers of a whole roasted chicken I made the other night so that will be going into it. It doesn't use much in the way of curry ingredients, so it is going to be pretty mild.

The second new recipe is Greek Baked Ziti, which is honestly not all that different from my penne pasta with sausage recipe, except some of the herbs, but enough to change it up. I will do a triple batch of this and put one in the freezer for us and a couple small ones for my MIL.

Both recipes come from the Southern Living Special Collector's Edition Make-Ahead Meals magazine.

I will also do a double batch of enchiladas so we can put an extra one in the freezer. I want to start building a stock of freezer meals for those days when I am just too exhausted to put anything together.

Day One:
Pork Spare Ribs
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Home canned pears

Day Two:
Curried Chicken Chowder
Corn Bread
Apples

Day Three:
Greek Baked Ziti
Cole Slaw
Fruit Salad

Day Four:
Mild Beef Chili (no beans)
Corn Bread

Day Five:
Rabbit Enchiladas
Cauliflower Rice
Home canned pears

Day Six:
BBQ Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes with Onions and Bell Peppers
Cole Slaw

Day Seven:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Green Beans
Canned Pineapple

Meal Planning for the Week

October 22nd, 2017 at 11:15 pm

On the agenda this week is using up some things that were in the freezer. One is sugared strawberries as it can't all go for jam. I'm not going to make that much jam. I have some leftover picnic ham so that will go to the ham and potato soup. I found some diced poblano peppers so those will go into the chili. I plan to make French bread for making into garlic bread this week and cloverleaf rolls as well.

If I have to cut something due to my RA, it will be the French bread as I can buy a loaf and turn it into garlic bread myself. I don't like the garlic butter they use at the grocery store bakery. I think it is actually margarine based on the taste. Several of these dishes will be made with Thrive Life freeze-dried foods. If you are at all interested in seeing what they have to offer, I put my link on the sidebar under sites I enjoy.

Day One:
Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes with onions and bell peppers
Green Beans
Apples

Day Two:
Ham and Potato Soup
Salad
Apples

Day Three:
Rabbit Enchiladas
Cauliflower Rice
Strawberries

Day Four:
Beef and Sausage Chili
Garlic Bread
Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake
Apples

Day Five:
Garlic Butter Roasted Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Home Canned Pears

Day Six:
Hearty Beef and Veggies over Egg Noodles
Cloverleaf Rolls
Tangerines

Day Seven:
Sausage Tortellini
Garlic Bread
Broccoli

Meal Planning for the Week

October 9th, 2017 at 08:46 pm

I have been getting strongly back into meal planning mode. Since we'll be going mostly to eating from the pantry after DH gets laid off, I want to already be back in the habit of following a meal plan. However, I'm not assigning meals to the days of the week, so I can have some swap around days. This gives me a little more leeway based on how I am feeling on any given day. Some days when my RA is acting up I am too exhausted to do more extensive cooking or we just don't feel like a certain food on a certain day, I don't feel locked in. As long as it all gets made in a week, it doesn't particularly matter. I also allow myself to do a breakfast for dinner if any of the planned meals just doesn't happen. Pancakes and ham always go over well here and they are super easy to get on the table.

Day 1:
Baked Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Bananas

Day 2:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Green Salad
Garlic Bread

Day 3:
Rabbit Stew with Potatoes and Carrots
Green Salad
Home-canned Pears

Day 4:
Taco Boats
Apples

Day 5:
Five Spice Crispy Duck Breasts
Peppers and Onions
Canned Pineapple

Day 6:
Teriyaki Flank Steak
Fried Potatoes
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Day 7:
Beef Pot Roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Green Beans
Grapes

Meal Planning for the Week

July 11th, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I forgot to post my meal planning for the week. I'll go ahead and start with what I had yesterday, even though we've obviously eaten it. I still like to keep them in 7 day increments for when I look back on them seeking inspiration. This is definitely helping me get a handle on the grocery budget again.

Monday:
Fish and Chips (Sweet potato fries)
Kohlrabi
Plum

Tuesday:
Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken with Sweet Onions
Corn on the Cob
Cole Slaw
Cherries

Wednesday:
Baked Salmon
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Corn on the Cob
Cherries

Thursday:
Chicken Stir-fry with snow peas, carrots, onions, celery, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower
Egg Fried Rice
Nectarines

Friday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Kohlrabi
Cantaloupe

Saturday:
Rabbit Enchiladas
Mexican Rice
Cole Slaw
Watermelon

Sunday:
Chicken Fajitas (onions, peppers, cheese, flour tortillas)
Mexican Rice
Watermelon

Meal Planning for the Week

July 2nd, 2017 at 01:19 pm

I've gotten away from meal planning since Mom had her surgery and I think that my grocery budget and my eating out budget are running away from me, so I am going to make a plan this week and try to stick to it so I can get back into the groove again. I've got garden harvests to put into meals as well, so veggies on meals may actually be subject to change, but the protein and the carb should remain the same.

Sunday:
Cornish Game Hens
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli from the garden
Corn on the Cob
Strawberries from the garden

Monday:
Rabbit Stir-fry with carrots, celery, snow peas from the garden, onions (from the garden), bell peppers
Rice
Watermelon

Tuesday:
Grilled Burgers with Homemade Crostini Rolls
and Grilled Sweet Onions
Homemade Pickles
Cole Slaw
Pineapple

Wednesday:
T-bone Steaks (from our half a beef)
Sweet Meat squash
Kohlrabi from the garden
Raspberries from the garden

Thursday:
BBQ Chicken Legs
Fried Potatoes
Leftover Cole Slaw
Pears (home canned)

Friday:
Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza with onions and bell peppers
Kohlrabi
Strawberries from the garden

Saturday:
Beef Pot Roast
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Watermelon

Week 18 Meal Plan with No Grains

May 3rd, 2017 at 04:17 pm

It took me a little while to do my meal plan as I can't just fall back on my old ones completely if I am eliminating all grains. Usually meal planning takes me all of 5 minutes. This time it took closer to 15 minutes, but I think next week will be easier. I will be looking for some grain free recipes this week so that I can maybe shake things up a bit.

Wednesday:
Chicken stir-fry with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, snow peas, and water chestnuts
Canned pineapple

Thursday:
Leftover Turkey
Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Home Canned Pears
Salad

Friday:
Herb Roasted Rabbit
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
Oranges

Saturday:
Honey Apricot Chicken
Mashed Celeraic
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Sunday:
Beef stir-fry with onions and bell peppers
Salad
Oranges

Monday:
Cod fish
Parsnip fries
Cole slaw
Home Canned Pears

Tuesday:
Filipino Chicken Adobo with Potatoes and Carrots
Broccoli
Oranges

If I see any berries or other fruit on sale I may get it to use instead of the canned fruit.

Meal Planning for the Week

April 26th, 2017 at 02:35 am

I have switched my meal planning from Monday through Sunday, to Wednesday through Tuesday. That's because the sale adds come out on Tuesday and go active on Wednesday, so if I'm going to buy anything I can then incorporate it into my meal planning right from the start.

I was lucky this week that I not only found a lamb roast heavily marked down, but a non-GMO, free range, antibiotic free, not injected with anything to enhance it turkey for $25. It is 13 pounds, so that was less than $2 a pound. Usually this type of turkey sells for around $68. That is a savings of 64% of the original price. Plus they had a really good sale on organic bell peppers.

So all of those things heavily influenced my meal plan and were incorporated into it. We'll be using the other flank steak we got on markdown a couple weeks ago this week as well with the bell peppers.

Wednesday:
Baked Salmon
Steamed broccoli
Baked Root Vegetables
Strawberries

Thursday:
Roast Lamb
Steamed broccoli leftovers
Baked Potatoes
Pears

Friday:
Beef Carnitas (onions, peppers, tortillas)
Salad
Oranges

Saturday:
Turkey
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Sunday:
Turkey Enchiladas
Salad
Oranges

Monday:
Leftover Turkey Casserole
Leftover Green Beans
Canned Pineapple

Tuesday:
Turkey Noodle Soup
French Bread
Cole Slaw
Oranges

Meal Planning--Week 14

April 3rd, 2017 at 04:56 pm

Monday:
Fried Chicken-Baked Potatoes-Green Beans-Apples

Tuesday:
BBQ Pork Chops-Fried Potatoes-Cole Slaw-Canned Pears

Wednesday:
Tacos-Oranges

Thursday:
Chicken Tortellini-Broccoli-Pineapple

Friday:
Homemade Pizza with pepperoni, ham, peppers, and onions-Cole slaw-Pineapple

Saturday:
Baked Potato Soup-Salad-Pineapple

Sunday:
Spaghetti with Meatballs-Salad-Oranges

Hmm...

March 28th, 2017 at 10:13 am

I've been thinking about Buendia's post the other day about how she meal plans at lunch as well. I've often wondered why I don't plan lunch. I know why I don't plan breakfast. I am too tired when I get up to stick to anything complicated. I tend to rotate between bacon and egg or two sausages and cucumbers. I don't eat typical breakfast foods in the morning like pancakes, waffles, French toast, biscuits, muffins, cereal, or that sort of thing. If I did, a meal plan might make sense. Also, everyone gets up at a different time, so there is no cohesive breakfast time.

Lunches are harder to plan for some reason. There are usually leftovers, but I don't know what and how much there will be. It's fend for yourself and while there are generally always sandwich fixings, I only eat high carbs at dinner time. DH tends to eat the leftovers and the kids tend to eat sandwiches. I will usually have chicken that is either leftover from a whole roasted chicken, or a bunch of legs that I cooked up for my lunches. I eat either salad or cucumbers with it, low-carb veggies of some sort. So with everyone having something different, it makes it hard to plan there.

Dinner is much easier since we are all eating the same thing at the same time. When I plan that out I plan a protein, a starch, a lower carb veggie, and a fruit. It serves me well to have this template as I can then just plug in what each item will be, and it keeps the higher carb foods contained in one meal, which works best for my blood sugar and my attention span throughout the day.

Why do you meal plan they way you do?

Meal Planning for the Week

March 28th, 2017 at 09:57 am

Last week was bad. We barely stuck to the meal plan at all and got takeout a couple of times. Cheap takeout, but takeout nonetheless. I was feeling cruddy, very lethargic, and generally not myself for some reason. I was starting to suspect the onset of depression, though it has been years since my last episode. But I woke up feeling better yesterday. Still very tired though.

I designed my meal plan this week to be more attainable if I don't get my energy back with a lot of crock pot cooking, microwaving, or easy assembly cooking. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I've started using freeze dried and dehydrated foods from Thrive Life. It helps me immensely to have prechopped onions and peppers that I just have to rehydrate for a few minutes before using. I will dehydrate my own this year, but this is nice to have in the meanwhile and saves me so much work at dinnertime.

Monday:
Apricot Honey Pork Ribs (crockpot)
Fried (canned) potatoes with (freeze dried) onions and peppers
Broccoli (frozen, micro-steamed)
Canned Pears

Tuesday:
Rabbit Enchiladas (canned rabbit meat, frozen Enchilada sauce, precooked tortillas, preshredded cheese)
Rice (rice cooker, no babysitting) with Enchilada Sauce
Salad (preshredded) with fixings (prechopped)
Apples

Wednesday:
Beef Stew (crock pot) with home canned beef, home canned carrots, and home canned potatoes
Leftover Broccoli
Tangeloes

Thursday:
Rabbit Stir-fry with frozen, precut vegetables
Fried Rice (freezer)
Grapes

Friday:
Chicken tortellini (store bought) with home canned pasta sauce
Salad
Apples

Saturday:
Homemade pizza (frozen crust) with precut vegetables and meat
Cole slaw (preshredded cabbage)
Pineapple

Sunday:
Beef Pot Roast (crock pot)
Mashed Potatoes (instant, microwaved)
Home Canned Green Beans (microwave)
Frozen Blueberries

Monday Meal Planning Week 12

March 20th, 2017 at 03:57 pm

I am starting to see a major dent in the deep freezer. There is still plenty of rabbit and hamburger, but the pork from our pork share is down to ribs. I think there is one package of beef steaks. There isn't much chicken, but there is some. There are still plenty of frozen berries from last summer, mostly blueberries, and plenty of frozen plums.

I am also seeing a big dent in our home canned items, though we still have quite a bit left. I am not sure we will quite make it all the way to full on garden production, but I think we will be getting lettuce, broccoli, and kale (we already have some kale) before we run out of green beans. I should be able to plant broccoli any day now according to the planting chart, but I haven't seen it out for sale yet.

Anyway, here is the meal plan for this week, based largely around what we already have on hand.

Monday:
Pasta Romana with Garlic Parsley Sauce
Salad
Apples

Tuesday:
Garlic Butter Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Wednesday:
Apricot Pork Ribs
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli
Oranges

Thursday:
Rabbit Stew (potatoes, carrots)
Green Beans
Apples

Friday:
Homemade pizza with onions, bell peppers, ham, sausage, and pepperoni
Salad
Canned Pineapple

Saturday:
Homemade Chili
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches on Homemade French Bread
Salad
Apples

Sunday:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Fried Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Oranges

Meal Planning for the Week

March 14th, 2017 at 12:51 am

Monday:
Birthday Dinner Out at Olive Garden (DS turned 17)

Tuesday:
Langostino in Garlic Parsley Butter Sauce
Ginger Rice
Broccoli
Oranges

Wednesday:
Beef Brisket
Baked Potatoes
HC Green Beans
HC Pears

Thursday:
Apricot Honey Glazed Chicken Legs
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Pineapple

Friday:
Pasta Romana in Garlic Parsley Butter Sauce
Cole Slaw
Opal Apples

Saturday:
Hoemade Pizza with ham, pepperoni, onions, bell peppers
Cole Slaw
Oranges
(That is for the kids. DH and I are going out for Mexican for our 22nd Wedding Anniversary)

Sunday:
Rabbit Enchiladas
Salad
Opal Apples

Great Little Cookbook

March 9th, 2017 at 10:25 am

I read a great little cookbook this week called Good and Cheap: How to Eat Well on $4 a Day by Leanne Brown. I was very impressed. There's hardly any bean recipes at all in it. It's a lot of fresh vegetables, less expensive meats, salads, soups, homemade sauces, and even has a short section on how to make your own flatbreads, pasta, and pizza dough from scratch. It even threw in how to make your own dill pickles, ricotta, and salsa.

The idea behind the book is that she designed it to fit on a food stamp budget of $4 a day. It has breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. It even had a few inexpensive to make deserts and smoothies.

I got my copy out of the library, but I will be buying it if I can find it used. I did copy down a couple of the recipes in case I can't find one and have to wait to get it out of the library again. It had a big waiting list, so I couldn't check it out again without putting it on hold and waiting several weeks.

Normally I would buy it new, as every time you buy a new copy a second copy is donated to the people who receive food stamps or go to food banks. One or the other, I can't remember which. I think that is a great idea. But right now we are watching our pennies a little too much for buying books.

I did a more thorough review on my youtube channel if anyone wants to check it out. You'll be able to see better what the book has to offer in the way of recipes. [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMGbzoYTgwU[url] I would really recommend it for people trying to eat cheaply and still eat real food. I would also really recommend it as a book to give to someone just starting out, like a college student or a person fresh out of college who has never really had to cook much before. It is explained so well that beginners would have an easy time following it.

Meal Planning

March 9th, 2017 at 10:08 am

Again, I forgot to post my meal plan this week. Well, I'm going to go ahead and post it now because I keep losing the notebook I wrote it down in on Sunday. I am notorious for misplacing the thing, which is why I usually copy it into my blog, so I have an easy place to go and look for it. HC stands for home canned.

We tried a new recipe this week, the Filipino Chicken Adobo. Everyone really liked it, but I think I will add onions next time I make it to sweeten it a little. The rice vinegar gives it a very sharp quality that I find a bit too...astringent to both my nose and tongue when I eat the juices on the rice.

Monday:
Beef Brisket
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
HC Pears

Tuesday:
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Rice
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Wednesday:
Rabbit Stew (carrots, potatos, parsnips) HC
Green Beans Home Canned
Oranges

Thursday:
Soft beef tacos (HC tomatoes, onions)
Homemade tortillas
Salad
Apples

Friday:
Picnic Ham
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Pineapple

Saturday:
Braided Sloppy Hoppy Loaf (Has veg in it)
Oranges
Cole slaw

Sunday:
Sausage Penne Pasta Dish
Cole slaw
HC Pears

Meal Planning for the Week

February 27th, 2017 at 11:36 pm

I made a new recipe tonight, although I deviated quite a bit from it, because I felt like it needed an added ingredient, and I didn't have heavy cream so used sour cream. It turned out really well, though. It was a sausage and penne pasta skillet dish. So good. My husband had 4 helpings, although he didn't eat lunch as far as I know. I already changed things around from what I originally wrote down, because my daughter got sick to her stomach and didn't want to miss some of the other food I am planning this week.

Monday:
Sausage Penne Pasta
Watermelon
Broccoli

Tuesday:
Baked Potato Soup
Ham
Cole Slaw
Watermelon

Wednesday:
Belgian Waffles
Ham
Cucumbers
Canned Pineapple

Thursday:
Pasta Carbonara (Has Bacon as well as egg in the sauce for the protein)
Broccoli
Oranges

Friday:
Homemade Pizza (sausage/ham/onions)
Cole Slaw
Canned Pineapple

Saturday:
Cheeseburgers
French Fries
Cole Slaw
Oranges

Sunday:
Beef Pot Roast
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Apples


I Forgot to Post My Meal Plan

February 21st, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Monday:
Herb Roasted Chicken-Baked Potatoes-Salad-Canned Pears

Tuesday:
Leftovers

Wednesday:
Beef ribs-Sweet Potatoes-Broccoli-Oranges

Thursday:
Pasta Romana with Pesto-Salad-Apples

Friday:
Meatloaf-Sweet Meat Squash-Cole Slaw-Canned Nectarines

Saturday:
Nightshade Free Tacos-Salad-Canned Pineapple

Sunday:
Carbonara (w/bucatini)-Meatballs-Cole Slaw-Oranges

I Got a Lot Done Today

February 18th, 2017 at 11:29 pm

I did some cooking for the freezer today. I made up a big batch of pork fried rice and one of rabbit fried rice, so I now have 9 bags (7 from today, 2 from last time) of that in the freezer. It would be one more but my husband decided he had to eat some. It used up leftovers nicely.

I also made up some calzones. These are much easier to make than pizza snacks. The calzones are for my son's lunches. It saves me from having to cook something for lunch for him every day and he likes it much better than eating sandwiches. I can vary the filling in these from pepperoni, ham, or sausage or put in onions and peppers. These ones all get tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a few shakes of Italian seasoning. I also have made some in the past using leftover taco meat, leftover chili, and leftover sloppy hoppies.

Then I made a huge loaf of French bread. Usually I make two loaves with this recipe, but I was tired and so just made it into one big one. It turned out great, just had to bake it for an extra five minutes. I am so happy with this recipe. The bread is nice and soft inside, but a good crunch to the crust. It toasts beautifully for making garlic bread, but untoasted it makes good sandwich bread, albeit not the typical shape.

Then I made a huge batch of pancakes. So I had my hands in carbs for most of the day, it felt like. I barely eat this type of carb myself, but I do have to feed everyone else.

I am back on my diet for 3 days now and have lost 4.6 pounds. This is good because I really needed to get back on that wagon. I've gained back almost all of what I lost in the past year, so ugh. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going. I went off the weight loss drugs as I didn't feel any benefit from them after the first couple of months and I think they were screwing with my sleeping pattern. It's been more normalized since I quit them.

I will be getting my first paycheck from the Google AdSense/Youtube stuff soon. Just waiting to have my checking account verified for direct deposit. It is just for 20 days, but I am pretty happy with it. I can't disclose how much, it's against the terms and conditions. It's not going to be something we can live on, but as a side income, it isn't something to sneeze at, either. Once DH is working again, I could build our savings back up and then after that start on an IRA. It's nice to have the possibility.


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