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Less Limping Along

September 14th, 2019 at 01:30 am

Well, I am finally able to walk without limping after my toe surgery on the 6th. It still hurts a little when I try to put it in a shoe, so I will stick with flip flops for a couple more days before trying again.

I managed to get some canning done this week. I have done 7 quarts of French cut green beans. I am kind of thinking I might have just wanted to do pint and a half jars now, but oh, well. We'll have some leftovers. You can get a lot more French cut beans in a jar than regular cut.

I also canned 4 quarts and 1 pint and a half jar of really rich, gelatinous chicken bone broth. I made it in the Instant Pot while I was making chicken thighs (bone in, skin on) for pastaless chicken Alfredo. After the first batch, I put in more chicken, did it again, took it out, put in more chicken and did it again, all in the same broth without adding more water, so it got richer and richer with each pressure cook. It is amazing and tastes so good and is a deep, rich yellow color. I'll do it again when I make chicken enchiladas.

I managed to get two freezer meals in the freezer so far and tomorrow I will do 2 pans of beef enchiladas for the freezer. I made one pan up tonight that we will have for dinner tomorrow. It was a new recipe and I really like how the sauce turns out. I did it in the Instant Pot instead of the slow cooker like the recipe calls for. A lot of slow cooker recipes can be easily adapted. I also need to make up a big batch of meatballs. We're going to try brown rice spaghetti and I'd like to have the really good meatballs to balance things if the noodles turn out to be less than spectacular.

Also tomorrow I hope to can some more tomatoes although I may push that to Sunday. I am doing the rest in pints and saving our remaining quart jars for green beans and potatoes. I might get some more beans done tomorrow, too. We got the last of the corn in, but it is just for fresh eating. There are still more green beans and tomatoes out there growing.

I did get the sausage made up for breakfast burritos, but threw it in the freezer as I am not sure when we will get those made. I may end up using all the tortillas for enchiladas.

I am feeling a bit under the weather, so I have mostly just been eating egg flower soup and cheesy rice crackers the last couple of days. Not ideal, I am not hitting enough calories in a day, but there is protein in the soup and no noodles. I am hoping with making broth the way I have started to I will be able to make my own egg flower soup and it will taste really good and also have a denser, richer chicken soup as well.

There is also a chance I may just stay in bed all weekend and do nothing. Depends on how I feel when I wake up in the morning.

Changing Things Up in the Kitchen

September 4th, 2019 at 08:57 pm

I've decided to try going wholesale into freezer cooking this next pay period. We are still eating out too much and I am tired of paying the money. DS is on board with helping with prep work. So I need to have five meals that are not too carb heavy and just two that are and then double that so we will have 14 dinners in the freezer and then also get some meatballs in there. I don't like to have a lot of carb heavy meals in a week. I might actually make 3 of some meals just to get ahead a little.

So I think on our agenda this time will be:

Beef Enchiladas
Peppers and Sausage
Shredded Beef Tacos
Sausage Crust Pizza Casserole
Beef Carnitas

Then the next payday the focus will be on chicken. So far I have:

Chicken Pot Pies (biscuit crust)
Spaghetti Casserole with Chicken Sausage
Chicken Stew
Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken Curry
Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Casserole
Turkey dinner (mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing)

I'd also like to have a few ziploc bags of real mashed potatoes in there. We won't have beef every day the first two weeks, I will continue to cook a few nights a week so we will have variety, but eventually when we have enough in the freezer I can rotate a little more. Then when I want to plan for mashed potatoes but not for peeling or chopping them, we can pull out a bag and thaw it. And then I can make up a quick vegetable side for dinners, usually a can of green beans, some frozen broccoli, or Normandy veggies.

For breakfasts I am going to make:

Egg white, spinach, and ham in muffin tins
Egg bake with shredded zucchini, sausage, ham, tomatoes, green onions, and crumbled bacon
Breakfast burritos
Egg Muffin sandwiches with Canadian bacon
Egg Muffin sandwiches with Denver omelet ingredients

For lunches we will have salad fixings, I usually eat either ham and turkey salads or steak salads for lunch or if we have seafood from fishing, that. I will also put some more chicken mac, chicken casseroles, skillet lasagnas, and chicken alfredo (no fettucine) in the freezer for the kids.

I may swap the beef/pork list with the chicken list if sales are better, but hopefully sales will cooperate with my plans. I think in the long run we will save a lot more money this way.

Meal Planning for the Week

August 7th, 2019 at 11:06 am

I forgot to post this on Monday. We are working on eating veggies from the garden and using up some of our beef, lamb, and pork from last year. I want to buy half a hog this year and at the least a hamburger share of beef. Usually when someone has a dairy cow that is no longer productive they will offer it as hamburger only for $200 a share and that yields a lot of ground beef. Since the cows are pretty old, using them for other cuts would not be tender at all, but it does offer up burger at a great price.

Day One:
Pesto (basil from the garden) grilled chicken, baked potatoes, fresh green beans

Day Two:
Rib steaks, baked sweet potatoes, leftover green beans

Day Three:
Grilled pork ribs, grilled patty pan squash (from the garden, grilled onions, broccoli (from the garden)

Day Four:
Meatloaf, baked potatoes, leftover veggies

Day Five:
Rigatoni with Meatballs, broccoli (from the garden)

Day Six:
BBQ chicken thighs, fried potatoes, baked zucchini

Day Seven:
Beef bottom round roast, potatoes and carrots, leftover veggies

Random Things

July 24th, 2019 at 10:31 pm

There was not a lot going on today. We got the garden watered and we picked up the wood, nails, and deck blocks for the fencing. The deck blocks will go over the concrete pad where we can't sink t-posts. We spent $81.55

Tomorrow is my first physical therapy appointment for my hips. Hopefully they will give me some good exercises that will help. I just hope I don't get light-headed. My high blood pressure medicine makes me prone to it when I am getting up and down from a prone position.

I went through the sale ads. Not much of anything again this week, except .88/lb chicken and I don't need more chicken. The freezer is pretty full up. I think this will be a Costco/Trader Joe's/Winco week, with a possible run to Whole Foods to see if they have date sugar and cassava flour if TJ's doesn't. I have made it through the two Paleo cookbooks and there are some good recipes in there, but I need those two ingredients. We already have almond flour.

Has anyone here ever used hemp cream for their arthritis? Not the kind with THC, but the other kind that doesn't get you high? I had one lady recommend it to me, but I'd kind of like some more opinions on it if anyone has tried it. It's legal in my state. Well, technically the other kind is legal in my state, too, but I don't want to use it. If you have used it, what brand do you recommend? There were a lot on Amazon, and most had great reviews, but it is kind of overwhelming.

I have been using sombra for a while now, but it starts to sting after using it too many days in a row. I had the same problem with icy hot and mineral ice. Pure MSM cream is just too expensive. I would just like to have some relief that hopefully doesn't bother my skin after daily use.

I Quit One of My Little Jobs

July 23rd, 2019 at 03:20 pm

I quit being a Thrive Life consultant today. I was no longer earning enough to pay for the website and I have a pretty good stockpile of product and just don't want to buy any more for a while, so I called them this morning and quit. It was easy, they didn't try to get me to stay. I can still buy product when I need to, but I won't need to for a long time. I've set my membership to skip deliveries for now.

I still love the product and use it plenty, but I won't lose money at it. Another reason is that as a consultant you are required to buy $100 of product every month. Which was fine when I was building my stockpile, but I have plenty and don't want to putting that $100 to $150 a month towards that when I can use it elsewhere in the grocery budget.

DS wants to start Paleo. I'm not 100% on board with that, but I think we can work toward that a bit, but not until we've eaten the perishable foods we have on hand that don't fit that category. I am getting some cookbooks out of the library to see more of what it is about, but I am not all that into completely giving up bread or rice. We don't eat a lot of it. I usually only have bread once a week and it is usually homemade Naan or tortillas, but I still want to have that option.

We usually make pizza every other week and pasta every other week. I put rice in DH's stuffed peppers for his lunches, but I could change that to riced cauliflower. And I make a good cauliflower crust pizza, too. Now that Costco has those huge bags of frozen riced cauliflower those are not hard things to do.

The foods he wants to eat are all the ones where the time spent cooking is more involved, but he doesn't want to be the one doing the prep work or helping with the cooking. With that attitude I am not really on board with changing things too much. I am more than happy to keep the chips and junk food out of the house as long as I can have my 1/2 scoop of homemade ice cream with dinner each night. I'm making blackberry ice cream this time.

Yesterday's harvest from the garden was 5 heads of broccoli, 2 cucumbers, and 3 zucchini. The deer are still getting in and now they are eating the zucchini. I would have had about 7 zucchini if they had not eaten them. We are just going to have to put a higher fence in this weekend. Otherwise things are going well. I put up a new garden update yesterday if anyone wants to see it. The corn has grown a ton since the last video.

Text is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFDE_MSPbg0 and Link is

DH was invited to go out fishing and prawning this weekend, so hopefully we will get some good seafood. He does have to pitch in on gas, which can be pricey if they cover a lot of territory, but with a good haul, we still come out ahead. You can get 80 prawns per person. If he and DS both go that is 160! If I go, 240. The prawns are plentiful this year and he has always had to throw some back because there are too many. I can get just a shellfish license for very cheap if I decide to go. Then if they catch salmon on top of that it will be great. As of today I am feeling fairly decent, so if I don't get a new inflammation it would be fun and worthwhile to go.

Meal Planning for the Week

July 15th, 2019 at 11:10 am

We had a pleasant evening last night. I cooked on the grill. We made corn on the cob, onions, bell peppers, zucchini from the garden, hamburgers and hot dogs. We have given up on finding soy free hot dog and hamburger buns. The ones we had been using suddenly started adding soy. Now we just use the Naked potato bread for our buns. It tastes better anyway. I managed the hamburgers a little better this time, moving them around when the flames flared too much. Everything tasted delicious. This is quickly becoming my favorite way to cook.

Here's my new meal plan for the week with grill days scheduled for the non-rainy days of this week:

Monday--pork roast, baked potatoes, leftover peppers, onions, and zucchini

Tuesday--Grilled chicken, baked potatoes, green beans

Wednesday--Creamy sausage, bell peppers, and onions, green beans

Thursday--Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, Normandy vegetables

Friday--Grilled pizza, salad

Saturday--Grilled steak, grilled corn on the cob, grilled zucchini

Sunday--Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, grilled onions, grilled zucchini

Meal Planning for the Week

July 8th, 2019 at 10:42 pm

We will be grilling a few days this week. The days we aren't will be days it is scheduled to rain.

Beef pot roast, baked potatoes, leftover zucchini

Grilled pork chops, roasted potatoes, grilled onions, broccoli

Meatloaf, fried potatoes, green beans

Spaghetti and Meatballs, broccoli

Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, grilled onions, grilled zucchini, grilled bell peppers

Grilled chicken, grilled onions, grilled bell peppers, baked potatoes

Grilled sirloin steak, grilled zucchini, roasted potatoes

This and That

July 7th, 2019 at 04:35 am

The fence is completed, another dump run was made, and all but the frame of the turkey pen is down. Now we just need to train my mother to stop leaving the fence gate open. It doesn't do any good to have a fence up to keep the deer out, if she is going to leave a doorway for them.

Tomorrow I want to go to Lowe's and pick up a grill basket for veggies, a second pair of BBQ tongs to prevent cross contamination and an empty hanging basket for my night sky petunias. I have $69 left in my allowance folder.

The meal plan has gone a bit by the wayside this week with the new charcoal grill, but I don't care. It's all food we have on hand so if I change things up a little, so be it. Today (well, technically yesterday) we did hot dogs, hamburgers, onion slices (I definitely want a grill basket), and sausages on the grill. The sausages are for breakfasts or lunches this week. DH taught DS and I how to use it from start to finish, so we can now do it on the days he isn't off from work if we want to.

My next plan is to do chicken thighs or legs tomorrow for dinner. I found this Jamaican jerk recipe on YouTube so I think I will either use that sans the spicy pepper (replaced with jalapeño) or the spices I use in Shawarma or Fajitas. Really depends on what I feel in the mood for doing tomorrow.

My 30 quart stainless steel bowl came. It's a touch bigger than I thought it would be, but I will be able to mix up a quadruple batch of meatballs, meatloaf, or breakfast burritos all at once. I can also prepare 14 pounds of potatoes at once for canning (that's a full canner load). It will have to be hand washed though. It would just barely fit in the dishwasher, but it would take up the whole bottom rack. Seriously, you could bathe a toddler in this thing. It makes me laugh every time I see it. I think I could have gotten by with a 20 quart bowl, but oh, well, I'm not sending it back.

I bit the bullet and signed up for the free trial of prime on amazon. I am not sure we particularly need it, but we want to watch Good Omens so we'll see. I usually get everything shipped free anyway because we order in such a way to do so, this will just be a faster arrival time. And the discount at Whole Foods. I marked the calendar. We might keep it if it feels worthwhile, since we are cancelling HBO on hulu since GoT is over and WW is a long way from its next season still. We will cancel right before the next renewal. Also marked on my calendar.

DD, DH, and I have all finished season 3 of Stranger Things. No spoilers, but it was mostly very good. I am glad it dropped on a long holiday weekend so we could watch all 8 episodes without pesky things like DH having to get up early for work getting in the way.

Meal Planning for the Week

July 2nd, 2019 at 04:46 pm

I forgot to post my meal plan for the week. Meal planning is an essential tool for me to stay on track with the grocery budget and to keep away from the take out trap.

Day One:
Fried chicken, roasted potatoes with peppers and onions, broccoli, watermelon

Day Two:
Beef pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, blueberries

Day Three:
Chicken Shawarma, naan bread, tzatziki, kohlrabi, blackberries

Day Four:
Ribeyes, potatoes, onions, and bell peppers, watermelon

Day Five:
Pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, watermelon

Day Six:
Homemade pizza, salad, pineapple

Day Seven:
Cheeseburgers, fried potatoes, cole slaw, pickles, blueberries

Busy Morning Running Around

July 1st, 2019 at 12:57 pm

I had to take DD to the eye doctor this morning as we worried that she had eyeritis again. She does not, thankfully, but she does have extremely dry eye. The doctor has switched her to using preservative free Refresh and so we had to run around looking for that. Fortunately it was at the first store we went to, but traffic was a bear.

They had some turkey legs on sale so I picked those up. I am going to make them in the Instant Pot making broth and then take all the meat off the bones. There are seven of them, but they aren't the giant kind so all seven will fit in the Instant Pot. I have the bigger 8 quart pot. Some of it will go into mini turkey casseroles for the freezer bank and the rest of it will be chopped up for salads for the week.

I have been craving chef salads, but the store didn't have any turkey chubs, so this meat will do nicely once cooled. The reason I like chef salads so much is that there is enough flavor in the toppings that I don't feel the need for dressing, which makes the salad healthier.

I plan to make six more stuffed bell peppers today and a triple batch of breakfast burritos. Then hopefully I will be able to get some work done in the garden, too. I at least feel like I have the energy today to do so and my hip is behaving today. It isn't super hot outside, either, but pleasantly sunny with a breeze. Perfect weather for gardening.