Food

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – 9/29

Our eating from the pantry is in full swing!  We’ll only be purchasing fresh produce and items that we absolutely need for the next few weeks.  We went to the bread store outlet and bought 5 loaves of bread to freeze.  We also found a pack of “day old” bagels for a steal, so we bought those.  That should take care of our bread needs for awhile.  We ran out of milk last week, so we went to Costco and bought 6 gallons to freeze.  My kids drink it so fast, it seems.  I hope it lasts for a good while!

Breakfasts:

  • Bagels

  • Whole grain toast

  • Cereal

  • Fresh fruit

  • Oatmeal

Lunches:

  • Leftovers

  • Whole grain bread

  • Fresh fruit and fresh veggies

  • Greens chews

 

Dinners:

  • Monday – Crock Pot pork, green saladblack bean and corn salsa

  • Tuesday – Fried Rice with Battered Chicken, veggies

  • Wednesday -Taco night

  • Thursday – Chicken nuggets, carrots, mashed potatoes

  • Friday – Black Bean and Corn Salsa, brown rice

  • Saturday -TBD

  • Sunday -TBD

Have a great week!

 

 

As for the goals last week, well I did pretty well, but boy, it was a stressful week!  I’m glad it’s over. :)

Wednesday take Buddy Boy to the dentist to get his work done.
Wednesday take Munchkin to her Parent-Teacher conference.
Wednesday take Munchkin to her gymnastics.
Thursday take Buddy Boy to his Parent-Teacher conference.
Thursday go to my doctor appointment.
Saturday Buddy Boy’s baseball game. – Rained out!
Wednesday and Saturday pick the apples from our tree; can and preserve applesauce.

I’m so glad to be able to say I completed it all.  I also made a batch of tomato soup from our garden tomatoes.  With all the rain we’ve had this season, they are growing out of control…it’s AWESOME!! Goals for this week:

36813_all_010_01-activity

  1. Plan and hold Activity Days

  2. Go to the doctor and get follow up lab work done.

  3. Go over September budget numbers and report.

  4. Go to bank and get cash for October spending.

Have a great week!

 

Steak and Potato Stew – Frugal Friday

I know, I know.

Steak and Potato Stew sounds suspiciously a lot like Beef Stew – and technically, it probably is pretty close to the same thing.  I don’t know, because I’ve never read a recipe for beef stew.

I’ve been making a lot of soups, stews, and one-pot dishes lately, simply to make the meat stretch.  Because, have you SEEN the prices of meat lately?  Yeah, me too.  It’s especially fun over here, because I’ve been required by my doctor to eat protein at every meal.  And he specifically told me that it means MEAT and BEANS.  Nuts don’t even count!  Flaxseed doesn’t even count!  So, you know, I’m eating a lot of meat and beans.

At least beans are still pretty cheap, right?

Anyway, that is where this stew idea came from.  I had no clue what to cook for dinner but I knew we were low on meat and it needed to be stretched.  Here’s how it came together:

This gluten free Steak and Potato Stew is awesome!

I ain’t lying, this is good.

You could do this in a crockpot and really let that meat get tender, but I didn’t have a ton of time, and so I simply coated the meat in some cornstarch and coconut flour and then seared it in some olive oil over high heat to hold those juices in and to brown the meat quickly.  Then I let it simmer for a little bit in the stew.  The pieces were cut small so they cooked quickly.

 

The creamy Dijon mustard is optional.  I personally love the extra flavor it provided.

 

Steak and Potato Stew

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 quart chickensStock ((preferably homemade))
  • 2 Medium potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2 Medium carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 cup almond milk ((or regular milk if you can have it))
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2lb steak (diced thin)
  • 1 garlic cloved (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon creamy Dijon mustard ((optional))

Directions

Step 1
In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock over medium heat. Add the potatoes and carrots right away, and allow it to come to a boil.
Step 2
Reduce heat to medium-low, allow the potatoes and carrots to simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender.
Step 3
In the meantime, slice and dice your steak nice and little. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a shallow dish combine the cornstarch and coconut flour, add the steak and coat evenly.
Step 4
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the minced garlic. Immediately follow with the steak. Only add enough steak to cover the pan in one layer. Brown on both sides at the high heat, about 2-3 minutes total. Remove the steak from the pan. Repeat with remaining steak if needed.
Step 5
Add the almond milk to the skillet and stir with a whisk, making sure to scrape up the little bits of meat on the bottom. The mixture should thicken. If you want it thicker, you can add some of the leftover cornstarch/coconut flour mix to the skillet and thicken it further.
Step 6
Once the potatoes and carrots are tender, add the meat and the almond milk mixture to the saucepan, as well as the onion powder. Add in the mustard, if using, and stir it in. Season the broth to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired. Optionally, you can also season with oregano or dill.
Step 7
Simmer for a few minutes more until the stew is thick and hot. Serve with crackers if you'd like. Enjoying it is mandatory!

 

 

 

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals 09/22

I’m recovering from a rotten weekend.  And prepping for a crazy week.  Not the best combination…my poor family!

1797621_10203504572549557_9032873318178334408_nWe racked up $825 in unexpected car repair costs this weekend.  And I had a negative reaction to chocolate (it was the food I was allowed to add back in this last week).  And I had to rip out a section of carpet from my room, and cannot afford to replace it.  But then yesterday I woke up to the news that a friend had been in a car accident and her only son, a precious little 1-year old, had not made it.  Her husband passed away later that evening.

 
 

I’m heartbroken.  I’m sick to my stomach.  I’m stressed.  I’m mad at myself for even worrying about the smaller stuff, like the car and the chocolate.  But, I still have a family to care for, meals to cook, work to attend, bills to pay.  So, here I am, menu planning with food from our pantry only…because, well, we’re in money-saving mode.

 

(There is a GoFundMe page set up – since the only pain any of us can help alleviate right now is the financial burden.  You can find it here.)

 

And since life must go on, as it always does, here is the menu plan for the week:

 

Breakfasts:

  • Whole wheat toast

  • Cereal (chex and cheerios)

  • Waffles

  • Fresh fruit

IMG_20140826_192609Lunches (combinations of any of these items):

  • Brown rice with garden salsa and leftover chicken

  • Salad

  • Whole wheat bread

  • String cheese

  • Fresh veggies (carrots, garden tomatoes, garden cucumbers)

  • Fresh fruit (pineapple, apples, oranges)

IMG_20140911_183059Dinners:

  • Monday – Steak and Potato Stew

  • Tuesday – Leftover Teriyaki Chicken, brown rice, lettuce salad

  • Wednesday – Baked Potato Bar

  • Thursday – Crockpot Turkey Chili

  • Friday – Leftover Night

  • Saturday – Tacos and Quesadillas

  • Sunday – Dinner at my mom’s

 

The goals for this week…really, it’s more of a “to-do” list than a goal list:

  1. Wednesday take Buddy Boy to the dentist to get his work done.

  2. Wednesday take Munchkin to her Parent-Teacher conference.

  3. Wednesday take Munchkin to her gymnastics.

  4. Thursday take Buddy Boy to his Parent-Teacher conference.

  5. Thursday go to my doctor appointment.

  6. Saturday Buddy Boy’s baseball game.

  7. Wednesday and Saturday pick the apples from our tree; can and preserve applesauce.

I hope you all have a happy and productive week.  And please, take the time to hug your family a little tighter, and to love them a little better.  Life can change forever in the blink of an eye.

 

Linked up at OrgJunkie.

 

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – Sept 8

mpm-1Another week, another menu.  I’m doing my best to eat out of the pantry this month, as I’m trying to take advantage of the case lot sales and food storage deals available during the month of September.  The menu this week will be based on that.

 

Breakfasts:

  • Freezer waffles (I’m SO glad I made a big batch of these!)

  • Cereal

  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples

  • Fresh Fruit

 

Lunches (always served with one or more of the items below):medium

  • Peanut butter and grape jam sandwiches

  • Carrots, Apple slices, Broccoli, Grapes, Apples

  • Pretzels, Granola Bars, or Crackers

  • String Cheese

  • Greens Chews

  • Lettuce Salad with Beans, Fish, or Chicken

fish fingers 2Dinners:

Monday – Tacos night (Turkey taco meat, lettuce, garden salsa, homemade refried beans, etc)

Tuesday – Paleo Fish Fingers, Lettuce Salad

Wednesday – Chicken and Rice Soup

Thursday – Leftover night

Friday – Quinoa and Bell Pepper Salad, Steak

Saturday – Neighborhood Party – we’ll eat whatever is there. :)

Sunday – To be Determined

 

And now, time to see how I did on my goals for last week:

  • Can and preserve grape juice (we harvested 47 lbs of grapes last night) – DONE!
  • Can and preserve grape jelly – DONE!
  • Can and preserve peaches (my mom harvested and shared 50 lbs of peaches) – DONE!
  • Can and preserve more salsa – DONE!
  • Finish up The Identical Giveaway – DONE!
  • Plan and carry out Activity Days – DONE!

I can’t believe it; I got EVERYTHING on the list done!  My husband also canned and preserved 6 pints of spaghetti sauce.  Makes me feel motivated to try and accomplish some more awesome stuff this week:

  • Can and preserve peach syrup (yep, my mom’s last and final tree’s peaches were given to me over the weekend!)

  • Create a menu plan for the rest of September, based on what we have in the pantry.

  • Take Buddy Boy in for some dental work.

  • Go into work early 4x this week (making up for the time I’ll be gone at the dentist)

  • Declutter and clean out bedroom dressers.

Have a great week!

 

We’re linked up at OrgJunkie. :)

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

highlight-laborday-historyHello, hello!  Happy Labor Day to you all!  Are you taking advantage of the holiday to relax from your labors, or perhaps to accomplish even more?  If you’re looking for an opportunity to educate yourself and/or family about Labor Day and how it was started, you can GO HERE to the U.S. Dept of Labor’s website.

 

 

School has started for the kids, and work has started for me.  I’m not gonna lie, I’m exhausted, lol.  I suppose that’s how it always is starting back at work, right?  It takes time to adjust.  To ease a bit of the struggle, I’m hoping to be more organized with the menu planning than I’ve been in the last month.  Here’s our plan:

mpm-chalkboard

Breakfasts:

  • Turkey Sausage, Steel Cut Oatmeal w/apples

  • Freezer muffins, waffles, or biscuits

  • Fresh Fruit

  • Cereal

Lunches:

  • PB&J or meat sandwiches on whole grain bread

  • Sliced carrots, broccoli, and celery

  • Unsweetened applesauce, mandarin oranges, and grapes

  • Greens chew

Dinners:

  • Monday – Spaghetti (with homemade sauce), green salad

  • Tuesday – Black Beans and Brown Rice with Salsa, Grilled Chicken

  • Wednesday – Slow cooker Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

  • Thursday – Leftover Night

  • Friday -Breakfast for Dinner

  • Saturday – Baked Potato Bar (with Slow Cooked Baked Potatoes), toppings:  cheese, green onions, turkey bacon, etc

  • Sunday – Grilled Steak, Oven Baked Fries, Green Salad

I’ve got a good list of goals for the week, and honestly, probably most of them will be getting done today, since it’s the day we’re not at work.  Harvest time is upon us, and I’m loving it!

  • Can and preserve grape juice (we harvested 47 lbs of grapes last night)

  • Can and preserve grape jelly

  • MV5BMTUxMzMzMTUzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTUyMTMxMjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Can and preserve peaches (my mom harvested and shared 50 lbs of peaches)

  • Can and preserve more salsa

  • Finish up The Identical Giveaway

  • Plan and carry out Activity Days

 

I hope you all have a fun and productive week!  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway listed above.  :)

*Linked at OrgJunkie

 

 

 

15 Healthy Snacks on a Budget

indexIt’s 11 O’clock and you still have one hour before your lunch break.

 

You find yourself rummaging in your drawer (or office fridge) looking for something to snack on. Ah!  There’s a bag of potato chips and with a sigh of satisfaction; you happily munch your chips.

 

But wait a minute…….

 

That snack you are happily munching contains about 200 calories that you don’t really need!

 

No, don’t spit it out!
Nutritionists have confirmed that snacking helps fight weight gain and also keeps your metabolism stable.

 

imagesSnacking is great as long as it is healthy and within your budget.  Don’t worry. There are loads of budget friendly healthy and tasty snacks that you can reach for when that snack craving hits you.

Healthy and budget snacks together?

Is that possible?

Definitely!

Below is a list of 15 health budget snacks that you can treat yourself to:

• Air-Popped Popcorn

• Hard-boiled eggs

• Apples

Bananas

• A serving of nuts (raw almonds are my personal favorite, though I eat them in moderation – they can be pricey!)

• Yogurts (make sure they aren’t filled with sugar!)

• Pickled vegetables

• Crackers and cheese

• Carrots (buy the big ones and slice them yourself – no need to pay extra for baby carrots)

5012685818_4bdc2e74baSo…..

 

Be rest assured that you are not alone in your craving for snacks.

 

But next time the craving creeps up on you, try to choose one of the healthy snacks above instead of reaching for that bag of potato chips.  Your body will thank you!  (No really, it will!)

 

Do you have a favorite frugal and healthy snack? Please share in the comments box below.

 

*Linked up at Frugal Friday

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

Hello, hello!

 

BoxcarChildren_400x400v2This last week was a good one.  I am officially allowed to workout again, as long as I don’t push too hard!  Yay!  I can feel an improvement and boost in energy, and I can tell my treatment plan is working.  I also had the chance to review a cute kids’ movie and am hosting a giveaway for a copy of the DVD.  Yes, a good week!

 

Holy cow, it’s the last week of summer break.  Time to get organized for back to school and back to work!  I’m sad for the break to end, but I feel partially content as well, knowing that it’ll be good for the kids, especially Buddy Boy, to be back on a more specific schedule again.  I’m hoping to get a lot done this week, but I also want to have some FUN too!  Hopefully I can find a good balance that’ll keep the kids and me happy.

 

Here’s the menu plan for the week:

 

Taco-Bowls__Monday – Baked Potato Bar

Tuesday – Del Taco (we’re running from hair appointments to back to school nights, so we’ll take advantage of Taco Tuesday!)

Wednesday –  Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

Thursday – Breakfast (waffles, fruit salad, etc)

Friday – Leftover Night

SaturdayHomemade Taco Bowls

Sunday – Family Dinner at my Mom’s

 

 

Goals for the Week:

  • Take car load of stuff to local thrift store.
  • Do a freezer cooking session.
  • Buy stuff for and put together gift baskets for some awesome volunteers at Resolution Horse.
  • Take Munchkin to get her hair done.
  • Take kids to Back to School Night.
  • Back to school shopping trip with Aunt Linda.
  • 2 Horseback riding sessions; 1 gymnastics class.
  • Harvest and juice grapes.

 

Have a great week!  We’re linked up at OrgJunkie. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Quinoa-Crusted Chicken

This is a quinoa-crusted chicken that is perfect for those that are gluten, dairy, peanut, or sugar free.

I discovered this recipe over at The Baking Beauties, and I adapted it for my own needs, since there are a few ingredients in the original recipe that I have to avoid.  I’ll share my adapted recipe below.

 Quinoa-Crusted Chicken - Delicious!

SO good, seriously!  When my 7-year old heard the word “quinoa”, he told me twice, “don’t forget Mom, that I don’t like quinoa!!”  ha ha….but he ate it right up, along with the rest of the family.

I have since had a negative reaction to eggs, and so the next time I make it I’ll probably omit the egg, but I’ve left it in this recipe for now.  I’m making a big freezer batch of this chicken tonight!!

This was lovely served with brown rice and fresh fruit on the side.

*To get the recipe for the Mango-Chili Sauce you see on top, GO HERE.

Quinoa Crusted Chicken - Amazing!

*Linked at Gluten Free Wednesdays

 

Mango-Crusted Chicken

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable
Website The Baking Beauties
Quinoa Crusted Chicken - Gluten, Dairy, Peanut, Soy, and Sugar free.

Ingredients

  • 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into strips)
  • 1.5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

Step 1
Put cooked and cooled quinoa in a large shallow dish. Add paprika, cumin, and 1/2 tsp sea salt, gently combine.
Step 2
In another shallow dish, combine the brown rice flour with the pepper and 1/4 tsp sea salt.
Step 3
In a 3rd dish, whisk together the egg and water.
Step 4
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Step 5
Line up the chicken, flour mixture, egg mixture, and quinoa mixture on your counter (in that order).
Step 6
Dip the chicken strips first into the flour mixture, and then into the egg mixture, and finally into the quinoa mixture. Press the quinoa onto the chicken.
Step 7
Lay the strips of chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until completely done (length of cooking time will depend on how thick the strips have been cut).
Step 8
If freezing, transfer the strips to the freezer and flash freeze. Transfer strips to a freezer bag, and label. To reheat, take as many as you'd like and pop into the microwave until hot, or bake in a 400 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes, until heated through.

 

 

August Budget Challenge and Grocery Updates

How’s everyone doing on their budgeting?  I’m doing a great job of keeping track of everything, but I’ve already spent more on groceries than I would have liked this early in the month – doing a lot of stocking up for the school year.  I suppose it’s to be expected!

Here’s a rundown of our grocery purchases:

Shopping trip #1

  • 20 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenders – $1.89/lb, total $35.80

  • 2.28 lbs red grapes – $1.39/lb, total $3.17

  • 2 avocados – $0.99 each, total $1.98

  • 2 red bell peppers – 2 for $1, total $1.00

  • 5.78 lbs bananas – $0.39/lb, total $2.25

  • 0.68 lb carrots – $0.89/lb, total $0.61

  • 1 lb strawberries – $1/lb , total $1.00

  • 2 12-pk toilet paper – $4.29 each ($0.36/roll), total $8.58

Shopping total w/tax:  $56.22

IMG_20140805_083049

Shopping trip #2

  • 2 whole chickens – $1.09/lb, total $10.45

  • 2.12 lbs boneless pork ribs – $2.49/lb, total $5.28

  • 1-lb package frozen corn – $0.88

  • 1 half-gallon almond milk – $2.98

  • 1.17 lbs fresh ground almond butter – $6.94/lb, total $8.12

  • 2 lb package corn tortillas – $2.68

  • 2.56 lbs red apples – $0.98/lb, total $2.51

  • 0.35 lb broccoli – $0.98/lb, total $0.34

  • 1 cucumber – $0.58

  • 1/2 lb bananas (cause we ran out) – $0.52/lb, total $0.25

  • 1/4 lb unsweetened coconut – $3.06/lb, total $0.77

  • 1 lb organic baby arugula - $2.98

Shopping trip total w/tax:  $37.82

Total for both:  $94.04

The GOAL was to spend about $55/week, and as you can see, I went way over that.  We had the cash, of course, but it was meant to last longer.

The bad news:  I’m bummed out about the pork deal, but I was required to add pork back into my diet this week and didn’t have any on hand, so I had to buy what was available, and it was not on sale.  The almond milk is ridiculously priced, but it’s the only milk I’m allowed right now.

The good news:  I’m glad that we’ve got 20 lbs of chicken, although I worry it won’t last long, as we don’t have a lot of other meat in the freezer.  Yay for stocking up!  I was thrilled with the toilet paper deal as well, and kinda wish I’d had more cash on hand to buy a few more. :)  I’m also happy with the discovery of the $.39/lb bananas, since they are “older”.  I take the majority of the bananas I buy and freeze them for smoothies, so it works well!

The plan:  This week I’m planning on stocking up a little more, this time on cereals for the kids.  I’m not a huge fan of the “cereal for breakfast” thing, but with my work schedule change, along with my husband’s schedule change, I want to have a bunch of easy, quick breakfasts on hand to take at least one stress off the table.  After that, we should be good and not need to buy much of anything except fresh produce for the rest of the month.

 

How are YOU doing with your shopping so far?  Are you kicking my trash?  Ha ha, it wouldn’t take much this week! Here’s to a better week – starting today!

Quinoa, Lettuce and Bacon Salad – AIP

IMG_20140711_125650

Anti Inflammatory Diet – An eating plan designed to reduce chronic inflammation, a key factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases.  (See more info HERE)

 

Here is another recipe that is safe for anti-inflammatory purposes. It is free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, sugar, and peanuts, some of the most common food allergens.

To Make:

Cook up a batch of Quinoa.

IMG_20140711_125413While that is cooking, drain a can of chickpeas and pan-roast them a bit. Add some uncured turkey bacon (I get mine at Costco) near the end and heat it up.

When the quinoa is ready, add the chickpeas and turkey bacon.  Add some torn lettuce and some olive oil with lemon juice (I use this Lemon Dill Dressing).  Stir to combine and enjoy!

IMG_20140711_125644

Quinoa Lettuce and Bacon Salad

Serves 4
Cook time 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Fish, Milk, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Tree Nuts, Wheat
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Enjoy this salad as a full meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning of your choice ((Italian, salt and pepper, etc))
  • 2 thin slices uncured turkey bacon
  • 1 handful green leaf lettuce (torn)
  • 1-2 tablespoon Lemon Dill Dressing ((See link above))

Directions

Step 1
Cook the quinoa according to package directions. You will use 2 cups cooked for this recipe.
Step 2
While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the can of drained chickpeas and seasoning; heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
Step 3
Chop the turkey bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to the skillet; cook for 3-5 more minutes.
Step 4
In a serving bowl, combine the quinoa and chickpea/bacon mix. Add the torn lettuce and gently toss.
Step 5
Drizzle the Lemon Dill dressing (or you can simply use a bit of olive oil and lemon juice), toss gently into the salad.
Step 6
Enjoy!