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Minor (Very Minor) Surgery Plus Instant Pot Recipe for Alliecat79

January 8th, 2019 at 08:28 pm

I took DD to the dentist today. She had to get the webbing clipped on that part of your mouth where the lower lip connects to the gum. It was starting to pull down the gum line on her two lower front teeth too far. It could have eventually exposed the roots of the teeth and she might have lost them due to them not being stable anymore. It was just a quick snip and a couple of stitches.

I am not sure how much it will cost us. Probably $50 for the co-pay, but they didn't collect anything while we were there. I wish our previous dentist had brought this up before. The new guy seems a little more on the ball. I mean, when he pointed it out to me, you could really see where the damage was being caused, it is an obvious thing that a dentist should have noticed before this. Unless maybe it wasn't as obvious and just got really bad in the last year.

I did actually break my no take out rule. I bought my daughter two milkshakes because she wasn't allowed to eat solids for the rest of the day and she wanted something cold to numb it. I really didn't want to go to the grocery store because it was raining hard, so we went to DQ.

I also spent $27.33 on prescriptions today, including a numbing mouth wash from the dentist for her. That came out of the medical account, though.

We still have not heard anything from the gyno's surgery scheduler. Hopefully we will hear from them this week. I know the doctor wasn't in her office for the last two weeks, but everyone was supposed to be back on Monday. The insurance company was probably pretty much closed down between Christmas and New Year's as well. If I don't hear from them by Friday I'll give a call on Monday.

I am still waiting to get a bill from DS's sleep study. It looks like it will be around $400 based on what the insurance company sent me for what they covered, but I'd like to get the bill so that it can be taken care of. The insurance statement only came on Monday. Everyone is behind because of the holidays, I think.

Mom called her insurance company today and has a claim number we can use. We will take the truck in soon to get an estimate and then schedule repairs. Fortunately, the damage is just cosmetic except for the bumper and while the license plate is dented in badly, it is still readable. We will leave that until we get new plates. Washington state requires new license plate numbers every 5 years (and they wonder why we are running out of numbers on our plates. They used to just be six digits and now they are seven because of this rule. Well, actually, we better make sure a new plate would even be attachable. I'll mention that to DH so he can mention it to the repair guy.

I did change my meal plan tonight since DD can't eat solids, to penné pasta with chicken sausage, since she can't eat the chicken sausage or tomatoes. I have a ton of sausage in the freezer that used to be something she could eat, but she can't anymore.

Oh, Alliecat79, this was a super easy Instant Pot meal. Just take two pints of diced tomatoes with their juice and add them to your pot, then dump in a box of penné pasta, then put in two jars of spaghetti sauce covering the pasta. Put an inch of water in each jar, put the lid on, shake up, and then dump the contents into the pot. Between that and the tomato juice there is enough liquid to make the steam so adding more is not necessary. Cut up some sausage links and put on top. On the manual setting, set the time for 12 minutes. Do a quick release when done and then stir it all up. That's it. (Sometimes I throw in a couple handfuls of frozen zucchini, too). Oh, and make sure you spray the liner pot with olive oil before you start. It makes clean up much easier.

Homemade Tomato Soup in the Instant Pot

September 1st, 2018 at 09:28 pm

I made tomato soup from scratch for the first time today. I had a big glut of tomatoes from the garden and what was left over from what Mom brought home from eastern Washington. I made it in the 8 quart Instant Pot and it was really good. I don't even like tomato soup and I liked this soup. I thought I'd pass along what I did.

Ingredients:
1 small yellow onion, diced small
2 stalks of celery, diced small
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
2 heaping tbsp minced garlic
salt
pepper
Italian seasoning
Tomatoes cut into wedges
2 cups broth

I started by putting the pot onto saute mode and sauteed the onions, celery, carrots, and bell peppers for 3 minutes, added a few shakes of salt, a few shakes of pepper, and 8 shakes of Italian seasoning and stirred. Then I sauteed for 3 more minutes and added the garlic, sauteeing for 30 seconds more.

Turn off the saute feature and add enough tomatoes to go up to the fill line. This was probably about 10 pounds of tomatoes. Add two cups of broth. I used chicken broth. Add one tbsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper.

Put on the lid and set it to sealing. Select the stew button (meat/stew on some models) and bring the timer to 50 minutes. Cook. When the time is up do a quick release of the pressure. Remove the lid with the steam going away from you.

Use an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes up. Taste and adjust seasoning. I we ended up adding two more tsp of salt and 1/2 a tsp of pepper, and 1 more tbsp of Italian seasoning.

Ladle into pint jars and pressure can for 20 minutes. This makes 8 pints. Or you can can half, like I did and to the remaining soup add 1/2 cup of milk and 2 cups of fresh basil, blending again until smooth.

Both versions tasted really good to me and the kids and DH all loved it. I am happy, because now I can can up more soup when I get enough tomatoes. As they get ripe in the garden, I can core them and cut them up and then throw them in the freezer until I get enough. That way, I don't have to leave them setting out for the fruit flies to hatch out on. I have already canned all the diced tomatoes and wedges that I am going to this summer, so this will use up the rest of what I produce really easily.

As a side note, I canned the soup in the 8 quart Power Cooker XL electric pressure cooker. It has a canning feature. I have been very happy with it. I have only used it to can broth before, but it has always worked great. I like not having to baby-sit the process and it works well for small batches like this, where I won't have to drag out the big canner.

It is nice to have 2 electric pressure cookers, too. While I prefer the Instant Pot, it does not have the canning feature. Once I get a new inner pot for the XL, I will be much happier. The IP's stainless steel inner pot fits in the XL, so I will order one of those. The non-stick coating that came on the XL scratched off withing the first 2 months, so I only use pot-in-pot cooking or the canning feature on that one. With the other kind of inner pot, I will be able to fully use it again.

I'm Going to Get Glasses and Tzatziki

June 21st, 2018 at 06:46 pm

The weather broke today and I am very happy. It was a cool 66 degrees F, which is so much better than 88 and 90. It was lightly overcast as well, so I didn't have to wear sunglasses while driving. I really don't like to because I have to wear the kind that go over my glasses, but there are certain times when I absolutely must. I've tried having prescription sunglasses in the past, but it doesn't block the peripheral vision from strong sun and I need that since the retinal tear as I am much more sensitive to sunlight now.

Speaking of glasses I have decided to take some of the overtime money and get new ones. These ones are just giving me such bad headaches. My eye doctor thinks they last people screwed up the prescription. He says there is too much difference between the one previous to it and the new one in the opposite direction it is in now, for the last one to have been done properly. He thinks they must have wrote it down incorrectly.

We had to use that place the last time because it was the only one the insurance we had at the time would pay for. I should have just gone where I wanted and just had the glasses made there. Although I won't have them made there again. Since we don't have vision insurance currently, I will just go where I want to, which is a local shop that is not part of a chain and isn't in a mall or strip mall.

I am figuring that it will cost close to $500 for my prescription, which means about half the amount I had earmarked for debt this week, but hopefully I'll find a more inexpensive set of frames I like and I can come in closer to $400. I thought I'd saved the frames from the previous pair that I really liked, but I can't find them and think they may have accidentally gotten recycled when we did a bunch of old glasses. I did find the pair before that, but those ones are way too small to support my current prescription.

My mother has offered to teach DS to drive. She has the time and doesn't want us to have to pay for a class. So that will work out nicely. At least it will if she doesn't freak him out too much. She was a good teacher back when she taught me, but these days she isn't as fast with the reflexes. Still, if they go out when it isn't a busy time of day it should be fine.

There isn't much going on around here. I made tzatziki today because tomorrow I am going to be trying an Instant Pot recipe for Chicken Shawarma. I will also be making my own pita bread tomorrow. It looks fairly straightforward. I figure if I can master English muffins, hot dog buns, and French bread, pita bread should be a snap.

If you want to see how I made it, it is on my youtube channel here: [url]https://youtu.be/XyvHtZtzuNg[/url]

Making a Price Book + Request for Lentils Recipes

May 26th, 2018 at 05:00 pm

One of the things Amy Dazcyzan recommends in the Tightwad Gazette books is to make a price book. I have never done this and I really never considered doing it before today, but it would have really come in handy these last two weeks when making up the grocery list, so today I sat down with as many receipts as I could still find and started making a spreadsheet with the prices of everything that would fall under either groceries or household expenses.

This way when I make up my grocery list I will know approximately how much everything costs so I can make sure I am coming in under budget, give or take a sale or two. I will also know which store has the better price on what, though I pretty much have that in my head already. It will also let me know if I need to bump a staples purchase to a different week or if I have enough in the household budget for whatever purchase I want to make that week.

I always thought it would be a tedious process, and it probably would be if I were doing it by hand, but typing it into a spreadsheet is easy enough. I put everything in alphabetical order, and then if I need to add anything new I can just insert a sheet row in the appropriate spot and still keep it in order. I do love modern technology.

I think it may be time for me to put the Tightwad Gazette books on hold again at the library. I am in a way different place than when I've read them each time before, much more heavily focused on the food budget and budgeting more tightly in general. I've learned something new with each read and I think that was because I was open to something different each time.

Oh, also, I am going to venture into cooking with lentils. I am looking for some good recipes that do not have beef, lamb, or pork in them. Most of them seem to be made with ham and she can't eat that much fat. Chicken or turkey or fish are okay and so is vegetarian. Lentils are a protein my daughter can eat (and likes) without fear of it upsetting her gall bladder, or in the aftermath of having it taken out. I just found out that Thrive Life has lentils, too, so I added a #10 can to my monthly order. If she likes those ones, then I'll get a bucket.

Frugal Breakfasts

March 20th, 2018 at 06:13 pm

Laura was asking about frugal meals. For breakfast we eat a lot of egg variations, because eggs are still the cheapest thing we can buy, really. Or get for free from our ducks.

Right now I'm on a baked omelet kick, where I just spray a mini-meatloaf tin and add two beaten eggs, 3 tbsp of vegetables, 1 to 3 tbsp of cheese and 2 tbsp of meat. I use up a lot of leftover veg this way. You can make them in large size muffin tins (not cupcake size) if you are making multiples.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes. It really depends on your oven for the time. In my Nuwave it takes 20 minutes and in my gas oven it takes 30 minutes. I imagine an electric oven is somewhere in between. Stick a toothpick in the center and check that it comes out clean and that is when it is done.

My favorite variations:

2 eggs, 3 tbsp pico de gallo, 2 tbsp sausage, 1 tbsp sharp cheddar, salt and pepper

2 eggs, 3 tbsp chopped broccoli and cauliflower, 2 tbsp diced ham, 1 tbsp sharp cheddar, salt, and pepper

2 eggs, 1 tbsp chopped tomato, 1 tbsp diced green bell pepper, 1 tbsp diced onion, 2 tbsp diced ham, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper

2 eggs, 1 diced green onion, 2 tbsp leftover or canned salmon or tuna, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper

2 eggs, 3 tbsp leftover taco meat, 2 tbsp Mexi-blend cheese

2 eggs, 2 tbsp ground beef seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, 1 tbsp diced Anaheim chili pepper, 1 tbsp diced red bell pepper, 1 tbsp diced red onion, salt and pepper

To make this easier on me, I will dice up a bunch of ham or cook a pound of sausage or ground beef and then flash freeze them flat on a cookie sheet for a couple of hours so they don't stick together, before bagging them up and leaving them in the freezer. That way I can easily measure out as much as I need the night before and it will be thawed by morning. I also have my containers of chopped veggies done up, so I can just mix and match in the morning. I am watching my carbs, so this is basically what I always eat, sometimes with additional veggies. For the rest of the family I have other options.

Another cheap breakfast we do is breakfast burritos. It is rather simple to do up a huge batch. It requires 24 eggs and 2 pounds of sausage. Brown the sausage, beat the eggs (I use my stand mixer because this is a lot of eggs), and pour the eggs over the sausage. Stir until done. If you don't have a large enough skillet for this, cut the recipe in half and do two batches.

Take a tortilla, spoon some filling in, add the cheese of your choice and roll once, fold one end up, finish the roll, and then wrap in aluminum foil. Freeze in gallon size ziplocs. This recipe will fill 4 bags. We keep one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. When we run out we take another bag out the night before. My husband likes to dip his in picante sauce or salsa. I did this one for my youtube channel so if you'd like to watch it done here it is: [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl9orZD6JR4[/url]

Scrambled egg sandwiches are another. You simply scramble your egg, butter a slice of bread, spoon the egg into it and fold the bread in half. It is simple, but amazingly good (even on cheap, ordinary bread).

Pancakes and waffles are something that can be made ahead and frozen individually so they don't stick together and then bagged up for the freezer. They can be warmed up from frozen or you can just take them out the night before and then warm them up. You can use mix, but they are simple and cheaper to make from scratch. Add some hard-boiled eggs and you have your protein as well. French toast also lends itself to make ahead and freeze and is very simple to large batch cook.

Breakfast is probably the easiest meal to save money on if you don't mind some repetition. I think lunches and dinners are more of a challenge, but I will go through my recipe binder and see what I come up with. Since we buy so much in bulk off of farms and raise some of our food ourselves, it is harder for me to figure what other people's costs are. But I do have some that I think will fit the bill.

Enchilada Recipe for Thriftorama

January 6th, 2015 at 01:15 pm

Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups water
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Instructions:

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Add water to dry mix 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until a paste is formed

3. Scoop the paste into a sauce pot and, using a whisk, add remaining water.

4. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

5. Add tomato sauce, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 cups

For enchiladas you will need:

4 cups of cooked rabbit (or chicken) meat
1/2 a batch of enchilada sauce
Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
Tortillas (10 inch)

Put a thin layer of enchilada sauce down on the bottom of a glass baking pan.

Lay out a tortilla on a dinner plate. Add 1/8 of the rabbit or chicken meat starting at one end and stopping 2 inches from the other end of the tortilla.

Spoon some enchilada sauce over the meat. Not too much or it will make the tortilla get wet.

Add cheese. Roll over once and then fold empty two inch end towards center of tortilla. Continue to roll up enchilada and place seam side down in baking pan.

Continue until you have finished rolling 7 to 8 enchiladas or whatever will fit in your baking pan.

Pour enchilada sauce over top of enchiladas.

Sprinkle cheese on top, as much or as little as you want. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve.

If you would like to see the recipe with photos accompanying each step it is on my other blog here: [url]http://whendidthisbecomeafarm.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/...



What is Your Favorite Crockpot Recipe?

January 2nd, 2015 at 03:08 pm

Since there were some really great ideas posted last month when I asked about go to meals, I thought I'd ask for crockpot meals this month. I am trying to increase my repertoire of these easy to make meals.

My favorite is pulled pork made with a pork butt roast, a jar of arrabiata sauce (from Trader Joe's), 4 oz can of green chiles, and a pint of canned tomatoes, drained. Cook on low for 8 hours.

So what is your favorite? It'd be great to see some that don't rely on cream of something soup or dry onion soup mix, but go ahead and post those, too, if that's your favorite.