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Archive for November, 2021

What I Did with My Leftovers--Cooking Class Two--For Living Extra Large

November 30th, 2021 at 06:16 am

This was an excellent food year for Thanksgiving and we had a lot of turkey leftover.  I picked all the meat off the bones the night of Thanksgiving and we ate just regular leftovers for a couple of nights running and then last night DH cubed up the rest of the meat and I made turkey casserole for dinner tonight, plus two and a half pans for the freezer.

I make a simple to put together casserole.  With the amount of turkey I had left (14 cups) I mixed in 4 cans of cream of chicken soup and 2 cans of cream of cauliflower soup.  I used the Pacific brand, since it is gluten free, but any works and you can sub cream of celery or mushroom for the cauliflower or just use a second can of cream of chicken.  I used a large carton of sour cream and then the leftover equivalent of one can (2 cups) of corn and 2 cans (4 cups) of green beans.  Then I added 2 cups of romano cheese and 2 cups of colby jack cheese, because that is what I had.  You can vary the cheese but some of it should be colby or cheddar.

Then I put that all in the pans and added a layer of leftover mashed potatoes on top.  I had to mix some milk into the mashed potatoes to get them back to a soft, spreadable consistency.  So a thawed one just gets cooked for 25 minutes at 350 F and then sprinkle cheese on top and cook another 5 minutes.  You can do it with tater tots if you don't have mashed potatoes, but then you have to cook it for as long as the tater tots say they need to be cooked for on their packaging and at their temperature.  We had to mix up instant potatoes for the other 2 and a half pans.  Once finished, cover with foil and write instruction on top with a shapie.

Cooking from the freezer you leave the foil on for 1 hour, remove foil and cook for 1 hour, adding the cheese on top for the last five minutes of cooking.  Easy peasy.  We have also frozen the remaining lemon bars and pumpkin cheese cake.  So other than the bones, which I will make into broth tomorrow and can, and a little bit of stuffing that will get eaten tonight, there are no more leftovers in my fridge, and nothing has gone to waste.  In a few weeks when we are no longer sick of turkey I can pop one out and be good to go.

For a single pan version of this you will need:

4 cups of leftover chopped turkey or chicken

1 can cream of cauliflower soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/3 of a large carton of sour cream

3 cups of cheese with some of it being cheddar or colby

1 cup of canned corn

2 cups of canned green beans

Additional cheese for topping

Enough leftover or instant potatoes to cover the top of the 9 x 13 pan

If you have them you can throw in some green onions to your taste.

Leftover stuffing could go in this, too, but we didn't have enough.  Corn and beans can be left out and served on the side for picky eaters.





Freezer Fun and Games

November 30th, 2021 at 05:06 am

So, I think we are in the third quarter of our saga on trying to get Frigidaire to honor their warranty for our lemon of a freezer.  Frigidaire won't give the money back until they have the freezer in their possession, so after spending an hour and a half at Home Depot, with them being so great at helping us get this figured out, they will be picking up the freezer tomorrow to ship back to Frigidaire.  We should see our credit card credited the money in a week or so.

I didn't think we were going to be able to get more than store credit on a new one, but the ever so helpful staff of Home Depot were able to get that for us.  They were so good to work with and commented on DH's patience more than once.  But what good is to get impatient or mad?  It doesn't make things go any faster, and you are ruining someone else's day.  It isn't their fault Frigidaire has been so ridiculous for five months.

But since we are getting the money back, we are going to go ahead and go over to the place that will fix what they sell and jump through all the hoops with companies for you on warranties, and we will buy a freezer there.  And then wait and wait and wait some more for it to be shipped.  And maybe in a month or six we will actually have a working, brand new freezer in our house and can move on.  And if the money doesn't come in time, we will use the hog fund money to pay off the freezer.

I don't know if I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel or not.  I'm still in the I'll believe it when I see it mode.  It's been utterly exhausting and that's been with DH doing most of the work.  And he's had to use vacation time to deal with it all, because it had to be done during working hours, so we've lost money on this stupid thing.

I don't know if this is a fluke with Frigidaire or not.  We've got a great chest freezer from them and had no problem with it for several yars.  My mom has a fantastic upright from them.  But our upright was just trash from the get go.  And that model has been discontinued and has a lot of nasty reviews on it that it didn't have when we bought it.  So obviously it was a lemon model to begin with.

So I am not sure about dealing with them again, but I think the only other company that makes a freezer big enough is GE.  Unless we just decide to do another full size chest freezer and put the little one out in the garage.  It's not really what I want, but it may end up being our only option.

Payday Report for 11/26/2021

November 30th, 2021 at 02:45 am

As a reminder I run a zero based budget, meaning every dollar from every paycheck is accounted for.  I do keep a $1000 cushion in the checking account in case mistakes are made along the way, but so far there haven't been any since I switched to budgeting this way.

There are no allowances for the kids until sometime in January as they wanted things that were over the Christmas budget we set for them.  But we did allow them both advances on their allowances so they'd have something to open on Christmas and could take advantage of cyber sales.  I still haven't figured out what DH and I are getting for Christmas, but we get $100 each.

$277.27 Tithe

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

__75.00 Household Envelope

_100.00 Gas Money

1532.49 Citi

__78.82 Life Insurance DH

__60.46 Life Insurance Me

__48.71 Long Term Care Insurance (State requirement)

__50.00 Spending Money DH

__50.00 Spending Money Me

_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope


$2772.75 Total Money Out

We also had an expenses reimbursement check for $494.19 from when DH flew up to Alaska that we finally got this week.  Should have had it ages ago, but DH kept forgetting to put in for it.  We put that on the Citi card as well and had $23.69 left to put in the Emergency Fund.

The Citi card is paid off in full and I am well enough now and recovered enough from my fall to be cooking again, so we won't be charging it up so badly from now on, at least so long as I stay on this healing path.

Emergency Fund Update

November 30th, 2021 at 02:29 am

I added $23.69 to my EF today, bringing the grand total in there to $18,977.69 and bringing my net worth to $125,687.56.  Inch by inch we are getting there.

I am not doing a retirement fund update as they still haven't put the deposit in from Friday's paycheck.  It always gets messed up when there is a holiday and it takes a few extra days to show.  But judging on how much the accounts fell in the last two weeks, there won't be an increase and I won't even break even, so I won't bother updating that until maybe next payday or possibly even year's end.  I will definitely do one for year's end, though.


Thanksgiving Prep and Happy Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2021 at 12:11 pm

It's 2:45 a.m. and I am still up doing Thanksgiving prep.  I just turned off the pressure oven (did not use the pressure setting) and left the door ajar, so my gluten free pumpkin cheesecake bars can cool for an hour before they go into the fridge and then I can go to bed.  The gluten free lemon bars were finished right after dinner.  I did up the gluten free stuffing so it can go into the turkey first thing in the morning and the potatoes are getting peeled and will go into water and into the fridge so they can be dumped and rinsed of starch before being cooked tomorrow.  I may do a dressing with gluten bread tomorrow if my hands still work, but maybe not.  We'll see.

I left my husband a detailed set of instructions for what to do when he gets up, so I can sleep in.  I don't do mornings, my joints take too long to warm up and function with the RA, and this is how we did it the last two years and it has worked out fine.  He's been in bed for a while now so he could get decent sleep.

My husband will go out to fetch mother in law about an hour before the turkey is done cooking and then he will call me when he is about to leaveher house so I can start on the gravy while my son prepares the green beans and canned corn.  Based on timing, they should get here as I am finishing up the gravy and then DH can mash the potatoes and cut the turkey and we are good to go.  It goes like clockwork when all goes well.

It's been a busy week and this week has had some medical revelations that did not really surprise me, just confirmed what I had figured for awhile.  One being that I have another as yet undiagnosed autoimmune disease.  It is not Sjogren's.  Further testing is required, but the rheumatologist is not going to do anything about it until my appointment in February.  I really don't think I have an expedient rheumatologist, but it is either this or go to Seattle.

As for the other, I'm not 100% sure yet, I see the doctor on the 30th and the therapist on the 1st.  The therapist was going to consult with the psychiatrist she works with and see about getting me on an anti-depressant right away, because I had one of the highest depression scores she's seen in years.

I heard on Tuesday from the doctor's office that they want to put me on a certain drug, but the doctor wants to meet with me to talk about it first.  I see him on the 30th and the therapist on the 1st.  I have my suspicions based on the drug and these are suspicions that have always been in the back of my head since I was thirteen, but I grew up with parents who don't believe in mental illness, despite sending me to a psychiatrist when I was fourteen.  Mom bullied him into telling her everything I'd said, I promptly quit talking to him, and she refused to have me medciated.  It took a lot for me to even decide to see a therapist now due to that, but the fact that we have HIPAA laws now and who would she tell helped.

We'll see if it turns out I am right.  I don't want to jump the gun.  Sometimes I think it would be great to finally have a diagnosis and other times I just don't want to know.

The furnace quit working.  They had to order a part.  We have space heaters and the gas fireplace so the house is warm, but it is kind of an irriatating thing to have happen right before Thanksgiving.

Oh, well.  The pumpkin bars are cooled now, so time to put them in the fridge and get to bed.  I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.



November 17th, 2021 at 02:48 am

Today was bright and sunny as the flood waters from the last several days of storming began to recede.  Yesterday the water in the basement covered the bottom step and was about halfway up the first step.  I've never, ever seen that happen and I've lived in this house off and on since I was 4 years old.  Two of the sump pumps stopped working, but the other one did.  We have them set up to go directly into the sewer line, but with two of them completely submerged they must have shorted out.  It's going down, but it might take a few days.  That's a lot of water to move.

We don't keep anything down there, except the tankless hot water heater, which is well above it and some old shelves that are mostly empty except the canners which are on chest-heigh shelves.  And an ancient, unworking chest freezer.  And that's because of the flooding always having been an issue.  We've tried to fix it, but I think it is going to require a lot of dirt and concrete.  The problem is their is an old set of stairs under the house, which was originally an outdoor opening to the basement.  But Mom and Dad never had it filled in, they just built the addition over the top of it, thus creating a low spot where water can run down into the basement.

So I think the solution there is to fill it in with dirt so the water has no place to get into the basement, which will mean removing the outside stairs and taking buckets or bags of fill dirt down the inside stairs to fill that in, or maybe sand bags, and then building a form and filling the old doorway in with concrete or using cinder blocks and filling them in with concrete and then mortaring them into place.  If we don't fill it in with dirt, water would just collect behind the wall and if enough water did that, it would put a lot of pressure on the new wall.  I'd love to just fill it all in with concrete, which is what they should have done before they built a house over it, but I don't think there is any way that is possible, other than one bag at a time and that is so expensive.  Fill dirt we can get for free.

My parents have cut so many corners with this house, with the additions, with the wiring, to save money.  Now it is stuff we will have to deal with fixing for who knows how many more years.  I would really like a flood free, useable basement one day.  I'd like to use it as a root cellar, but can't if this issue isn't solved.

I had my second physical therapy session today and my first one since I fainted and fell on the floor last Thursday.  I did okay.  I'm still stiff and sore, especially in the hips, but also the knees, elbows, and wrists, which took the brunt of the impact.  I still feel bruised on one side.  Although I hit my head I'd slowed down my fall so much that it didn't leave a bump or bruise and definitely no concussion.  I am thinking quite clearly.

My referral has finally gone through so I can see the neurologist to see if we can get to the bottom of these fainting spells.  I need to remember to call and make an appointment.  I am starting to wonder if it isn't late onset epilepsy.  It could just be migraine onset, but I didn't have a migraine with this last one.  I had a lot of the symptoms, but no headache.  Maybe my body was too busy being in pain everywhere else.  I have been very careful about eating, but I don't think it is a blood sugar issue.  I guess we'll find out.

Tomorrow I start mental health therapy for the first time since I was fourteen.  It will be interesting to see how that goes.  I don't trust therapists due to what happened to me as a kid, but my daughter had this one and really liked her so that helps a lot to ease some of my fears.  Still, I need to get on some sort of medication for depression, so it has to be done.  It's an eight week program and I don't have to do the full program to be medicated.  I really hope it goes well.  My stress levels are at an all time high and I can't really let it out at home.

Then on Friday I see the doctor for my yearly wellness exam and he fills out the paper to send into my insurance for the discount for having a yearly wellness exam.  DH has his in a couple of weeks.  The kids don't have to do it for the insurance, but they still get them.

I'll also take my turkey out to thaw on Friday.  We want it thawed a little early so we can do a 24 hour brine.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but I am going to need a lot of help this year to pull it off.

Payday Report for 11/12/21

November 13th, 2021 at 11:16 pm

The actual amount set aside for car insurance money each month is $167, but I had $36.00 in savings set aside for garbage since garbage is a bill that comes due every 2 months.  Instead of transferring $167 into savings and then $36 out, I just put $131 in and used the $36 that was then already in savings towards the car insurance fund.

I have changed the amount of money I am setting aside every month to $45.  Garbage collection has gone up.  Not as much it appears, but when nephew moved out he left a lot of garbage behind.  We had to get set out cans every week for a month instead of every 2 weeks.  We ended up bagging up 4 more bags of it and taking it to his new apartment so he can throw it in the dumpster.  I shouldn't have to pay extra for his trash when he has a way of disposing of it that is included in his rent.

At least it won't happen again since he is gone.  But without extra cans the bill is now in the $82 range instead of the $72 range due to the rise.  So I am putting aside $45 a month so I will have $90 with a little extra as buffer in case we do an extra can for our own as sometimes happens.  Extra cans are $12 plus additional taxes.  We only tend to have an extra can once in a 2 month cycle.  The room nephew lived in is still a mess and he left a lot of his clothes in the closet that he will need to come and clean out.  My sister did not raise a man, she raised an irresponsible little boy, who doens't clean, doesn't cook, and doesn't know how to get by in life. 

My sister always figured he'd have a wife for that, but I don't know too many women in this day and age who are interested in playing Mommy to a grown man.  I guess that is the difference in generations though.  My sister, well, both my sisters are so much older than me they are boomers, and I am generation X.  And my middle sister definitely has that women do everything mentality, cook, clean, bank, and work, while the men rest and relax in their off hours.  Only nephew only had off hours while living here.

Anyway, that went off on a tangent.  Here is the payday report.  Remember I operate on a zero based budget where every dollar is allocated for.

$277.26 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_310.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan

_118.18 Internet

_107.68 Garbage (Every 2 months

_131.00 Car Insurance Fund

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS's Allowance

__30.00 DD's Allowance

_163.51 Citi


$2772.63 Total Money Out

The actual amount set aside for car insurance money each month is $167, but I had $36.00 in savings set aside for it since garbage is a bill that comes due every 2 months.  Instead of transferring $167 into savings and then $36 out, I just put $131 in and used the $36 that was then already in checking.

I have changed the amount of money I am setting aside every month to $45.  Garbage collection has gone up.  Not as much it appears, but when nephew moved out he left a lot of garbage behind.  We had to get set out cans every week for a month instead of every 2 weeks.  We ended up bagging up more of it and taking it to his new apartment so he can throw it in the dumpster.  I shouldn't have to pay extra for his trash.  At least it won't happen again since he is gone.  But it is now in the $82 range instead of the $72 range due to the rise.  So I am putting aside $45 a month so I will have $90 with a little extra as buffer in case we do an extra can for our own as sometimes happens.  Extra cans are $12 plus additional taxes.

Emergency Fund Update

November 13th, 2021 at 10:45 pm

I forgot on the last post that I had $12.50 in rolled coin that I added to the Emergency Fund, bringing it to $18,957.17, which means my net worth is actually now at $125,663.87.  Hey, every little bit counts.

Retirement, it is a Rising, and Freezer Mess Update

November 13th, 2021 at 10:38 pm

In the last two weeks retirement has risen by $1725.28.  $785.40 of that was our contribution and $939.88 of that was pure profit.  The new balance of retirement is $68,798.34, making our new net worth $125,651.65.  So we hit my mini milestone of 1/8 of a million.  Next mini milestone for net worth is $150,000.  Next big milestone is $250,000 or a quarter of a million as I like to call it.

I added $4 to the Hog Fund as that was left in the grocery envelope when I re-funded it.  Usually we don't spend that much, but there was a lot of Haagan Daz ice cream bought for DD's sore throat.  She's allergic to ingredients in most ice creams, but not that one.  But at least we stayed in budget.  The new balance in the hog fund is $1350.00.

We still haven't heard anything from Frigidaire about whether they can find us a replacement freezer.  We should have heard on Friday as that was the 7 day of the 5 to 7 business days they said they should need to locate one.  DH will call them on Monday.  I doubt they can find one.  We can't and we've looked all over.

I think they are in barges off the coast of California that haven't been unloaded in months due to worker shortages.  I'm about to give up on an upright and just see if there is a full size chest freezer instead, assuming they give us our money back.  Between the refund and whatever topping up we might have to do from the hog fund, we should be able to do that and still have $1000 left in the hog fund.  Which is enough to still get a hog assuming we can find the freezer.

It's all very frustrating.

Blathering On

November 10th, 2021 at 11:35 pm

On Saturday there was a break in the weather and DH and I went out and cleared out the dead plants from the two new raised beds.  I had to sit down a lot due to my back and my leg weakness, but I was able to sit there and pick up all the windfallen tomatoes without it hurting too much.  We filled half a bucket with them, most of them cherry tomatoes.  They were all split and rotting due to the two weeks of unrelenting rain, so there was no salvaging anything for green tomato salsa, but I hadn't figured there would be.

After cleaning out the beds, I planted garlic.  There were seven cloves in my elephant garlic bulb, so I may end up getting one more.  And then there were six bulbs of music garlic that I planted as well.  They had 8 to 12 cloves per bulb.  On two of the cloves the skin came off so I used them in making my spaghetti sauce on Monday.  They smelled really good and when I ran into a couple of the minced pieces in the sauce, they tasted really good as well.

We have 8 frost free nights on the forecast including tonight and it happens to be clear today, so I am hoping to get the perrennial herbs transplanted and the huckleberries out of their pots.  We have a rosemary tree which is about 3 feet tall, a big thyme, a big sage, and a dwarf marjoram that will go into the same bed as the garlic, but the opposite end.  I will put the huckleberries in the middle of the bed so that they can be surrounded by the annual herbs I plant next spring.  DH will be doing the work with the most I do being holding up the plants while he shovels dirt around them.

I dont know if the huckleberries are even alive.  They never leafed out, but the company says to give them the full year as it can take that long with berry plants.  If they dont leaf out they will give me my money back or replace them.  I felt when I got them that they were just sticks.  Only one had an actual root on the bottom and not even that one leeafed out.  So I need to keep track and contact them two weeks before the warranty runs out if they still show no signs of life.  I don't think I want replacements from them.  I'd rather go with Stark nursery.  The berry plants I got from them leafed out the same summer I planted them.

On Sunday I flared up big time due to all the garden work and was pretty useless through Monday, though I did cook.  Yesterday I had my physical therapy assessment and the guy agreed with me that it would not be a good idea for me to do pool therapy right now, due to the fact that I can't lift my left leg high enough to go up and down stairs.  They do have a lift, but it is not working right now.  So I will do 8 land therapy sessions and then we will see if I am able to lift that leg enough to go in the pool and continue from there.

He gave me 3 simple exercises to do.  I feel like they are manageable.  I was pretty wiped out afterwards so we grabbed Fiamma Burger for dinner.  They have gluten free options so you can get a burger with a gluten free bun and fries or sweet potato fries cooked in oil that has not been used for breaded products.  I am trying to eat out as little as possible, but it doesn't always happen when pain and exhaustion are involved.

Tonight I am making beef stew for dinner from my home canned carrots, potatoes, and beef.  I wanted to make it last night, but just did not have that kind of energy.  And it's simple because you just take the juice from the jar of meat, and the water from the potatoes to make gravy (maybe add milk if not enough potato water), ditch the juice from the carrots (makes it too sweet) and then combine everything and heat until everything is warmed through.  But even the idea of it last night was too much.  I have good days and bad days and today, at least, is a good day.  Good enough that my fingers are working enough to type and I can open and close my hands.

I found some sweaters I want to order for Christmas, so need to let MIL know since she wants to know what to get me.  I have a hard time regulating my body temperature these days.  I've always had extremely cold hands and feet due to Reynaud's, but now it seems to be moving into my arms and legs, so sweaters and leggings for under my pants are becoming a must once the weather changes like this.  I have cardigans, but I want three pullovers.  And maybe some long sleeved shirts.  MIL gives $200 so I should be able to swing both with that budget.

Tomorrow I need to go in and have blood work done.  My physical is next week.  I've had great blood work for the past few years, but I haven't been eating as well the last three months as before and I think it is probably going to show up in my cholesterol.  I hope not.  It's bad enough I gained weight since my last visit.  At least that is going down again, but I don't think I'll be back to where I was the last time I was weighed there by my appointment time.

I also see the rheumatologist next week and start therapy so I can get medicated again and possibly get a new diagnosis.  I need to talk to someone about never just getting to be the one who can be hurt or sick because I always have to put my stuff on the back burner for my kids or my mother and function regardless.  It's building and building and really affecting my mental health.  My husband does a lot and he is the best, but it doesn't mitigate the others and I've definitely gone into a depression over it and I'm at the point where I need to be medicated again.  Or go on a vacation with just my husband again.  Or possibly just myself.  Three days completley alone with only me to take care of sound like heaven right now.  Although I'd rather have DH with me and go for a week.

Anyway, next week will be very busy.  At least I am sleeping fairly well.  I don't need insomnia with all this pressure building because then I'll spiral and I don't need that right now.

Freezer Saga Continues

November 3rd, 2021 at 08:52 pm

The freezer repair guy was supposed to come back tomorrow and fix the freezer, but guess what?  The parts never arrived and they aren't going to.  They can't get them.  So after spending a half an hour on the chat feature trying to track things down, Frigidaire gave up and is shipping us a new replacement freezer...if they can find one.

They won't know until 5 to 7 business days have passed.  That's how long they need to look across the United States and Canada.  This process has been long and frustrating and I don't forsee it getting any better, really.  This has taken months and I just really want our money back.

I am assuming if they can't track one down they will finally give us a refund.  At this point I think I'd just prefer that, so we can get a different freezer.  I am actually leaning towards another chest freezer than an upright.  We have room for it if we take the mini-chest freezer out to the garage.  Based on our history, I now feel like upright freezer's are more trouble than they are worth.

I let the hog lady know what was going on.  I've kept her in the loop every step of the way.  But we could be looking at a really long time, even if they locate one here, because ground shipping is difficult right now since 30% of truckers have quit due to the vaccine mandates.  And if they try to get one from overseas, well, that could be forever.  The barges are piled up in the harbors with not enough people to unload them since the teamsters union is fighting the mandates also.  What a mess.

So who knows what will happen?  My life, as ever, is in limbo.  At least I have found a relatively unexpensive source of good bacon.  If I can't get my hog any time soon, then at least I can still find the best part.

Recipes for Living Almost Large--Homemade Spaghetti Sauce--Cooking Class 1

November 3rd, 2021 at 12:52 am

LAL wanted the recipes from my last meal plan, so I am going to try to get them up as I can.  I was hoping to sit down and do them all at once, but I just don't know that I have the werewithal to do that right now, so I'll get them up as I can.  This recipe is versatile and amounts depend on how much spaghetti you want to use.  You said in your post that you want meals big enough to be eaten two days in a row and this will do that.

Now I usually do a pound and a half of spaghetti to get us a meal for one night and leftovers for two lunches.  If you want enough for two meals, you'll likely need to do two pounds for a family of 4 or two and a half for a family of 5.  These amounts would differ if you have young kids.

So for every pound of spaghetti you cook you need one pound of ground meat, 1 large diced yellow onion, 2 tbsp minced garlic (from a jar is fine) 1 pint of diced tomatoes, 2 pints of tomato sauce, 1 6 oz can of tomato paste, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Start by browning your ground meat on medium heat (350°F).  Sprinkle it with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning or to taste.  You don't need to cook it all the way through, just until it is no longer visibly pink.  It will finish cooking in the sauce.  Right now you are just getting that nice brown flavor.  Remove the ground meat from the pan and drain the fat.  Add some olive oil to a large pot and start cooking your onions.  Meanwhile, drain your diced tomatoes.  The onions will take about 15 minutes to saute to the right consistency.  Some browning is good.  After the 15 minutes is up, get your water for the spaghetti ready.  Add enough salt to the water to make it taste like the sea, and turn it on high.  Cover with a lid.  Add spaghetti when it comes to a full boil and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile add the garlic to the onions and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly so garlic does not burn, then add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.  Add tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste (no this is not too much seasoning) and once stirred in add tomato paste.  Make sure the tomato paste is absorbed into the sauce and doesn't stay in clumps.  You may have to press it out flat against the bottom of the pan and stir it into the sauce several times.  Once all the clumps are out, add the meat into the sauce.  Turn down to a simmer.  Put a lid on your pot as the sauce will spit like a mud pot at Yellowstone.  Stir every couple of minutes for ten minutes, then taste your sauce and do your final adjustment on seasonings.

Drain your spaghetti and put onto plates, then top with the sauce.  Serve with a salad or other green vegetable.

Stir every couple of minutes.

Finally went to the Grocery Store--Grocery Tracking Spending

November 2nd, 2021 at 05:57 pm

Last night I went to the grocery store for the first time since right before I had the Delta variant of Covid (yes, I was vaxxed, yes, I got it anyway).  I still don't have a lot of strength in my body, but I used my walker while DH pushed the shopping cart.  We went at 8:30 p.m. which was nice because there were barely any other customers in the store.  DH has been doing all the shopping, but he's not great at picking out produce.

It was great to be able to pick out my own produce again.  I found a beautiful yellow pineapple that smelled delicious and also picked up a bag of the tiny oranges (think cuties or halos or the like) to see if they were good yet (they were).  I had one of my 10% off Covid coupons with me.  I have one left now.  Originally we had eight because they gave you one every time you got the jab which was twice per person for a family of four.  They are good until the end of the year.

I ended up spending $168.45.  32 cents of that was bag fees.  They recently have allowed us to start using reusable bags again, but of course we forgot them, since it has been so long without we just aren't in the habit anymore.  Now they charge for bags again, but they weren't before this went back into effect.  So we have to get the bags back out to the car again.  The coupon savings was $18.68 and the club card savings was $8.65, for a total savings of $27.33 or 14% of the order.  If DS was still working there we would have gotten an additional 10% off the order, but oh, well.  We still did great.

Here's what I bought:

14 pounds of non-GMO fed free range chicken

3 organic broccoli crowns

1 red onion

2 yellow onions

1 small bok choy (not baby, just one with fewer stalks on it)

4 turnips

1 pineapple

2 large garnet sweet potatoes

1 huge head of elephant garlic (for planting in the garden)

1 small purple cabbage

1 2 lb bag of mandarin oranges

1 small box of organic baby romaine

2 very large parsnips (weighed in at just over 2 lbs)

12 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 large bag of Tostitos

1 medium container of Daisy sour cream

1 large Haagan Daz vanilla ice cream

1 medium Haagan Daz chocolate ice cream

They did not have the Siggi Icelandic yogurt in plain, so we will have to make a trip to Whole foods.  The nutritionist wants her eating skyr for digestive health and wants her to add honey and fruit at home so she is in charge of the amounts that go in the skyr.  She loves that brand so not an issue, but I'd just as soon just buy the honey version.  Which they still didn't have at the first store.

I will be making chicken stir-fry again this week.  I haven't made up my meal plan yet, I need to sit down and do that, but I know a couple of things that I will be making.  I would have made it up yesterday, but I had one of my crowns come off and it was very distracting and painful.  I see the dentist today at 3:00.  It was going to be 5:00 but they had a cancellation.  I didn't sleep very well, so hopefully I can be alert enough to drive by then.  I had some caffeine so hopefully it will kick in soon.  Right now my left eye doesn't want to stay open.  If not, I'll have my son drive me.  It shouldn't take long, they just have to make sure the site is clean and glue it back on with dental cement.

I need to put one of the packages of chicken in the Instant Pot and cover it with water and put in seasonings to make some broth.  The Instant Pot has made making broth so much easier.  You can do in a couple of hours what can take up to three days of simmering to make bone broth.  Although I make meat and bone broth, so DD has soft chicken to eat for a few days.

I did manage to fold one load of towels yesterday, but there are two more baskets of laundry I need to get to.  So I should probably stop procrastinating and get on with it.