Saturday, January 29, 2011
I'll be headed back to Whole Foods tomorrow to pick up some buffalo, fish and cashews. I've got everything else I need for the week, though.
I've been playing in the kitchen this afternoon and a new post with my creations will follow.
This week we'll be having our standard menu: beef, chicken or fish, our fresh produce and I picked up some gluten free pasta we'll be testing out.
The share this week included apples, oranges and lemons (yay!), onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, lettuce, purple turnips, and lots of greens. Oh, and a butternut and acorn squash. Not sure how I'm going to prepare those and I've never seen a purple turnip before.
I am so glad to be home.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Which means he's da man.
Which translates into: Easy meals and lunches are mandatory.
The kids will eat lunch at school this week. *shudder* I'm throwing Stephen a bone on this one.
Dinners will be a crockpot stew I will make ahead of time, spaghetti with butter and parmesan, and one night will be broiled fish with steamed veggies. I'm sure there will be cereal for dinner one night.
I'm headed to the grocery store for a few staples in the morning, but we have pretty much everything we need. I went over budget last week, but didn't keep track (or blog about it, sorry). I've figured out, though, why I haven't been able to stick to my original budget.
There are two very logical explanations. First, the kids aren't eating lunch at school. I'm packing their lunches. I figure this adds an additional $20 a week to the budget.
Second, I'm back on the Mellman plan. Which means my diet consists of very specific and sometimes expensive items. Like buffalo. And cashews. And goat cheese. I'm going to have to figure out a way to either spend less on these items, or as I add new foods, hope that the ones I add aren't uber expensive.
I'm stumbling along the way regarding the budget, but I'll get there.
It's all a journey, right?
This meal was made by combining organic ground beef from Texas Daily Harvest, a can of organic white beans, organic black beans (I had made them from dried beans and frozen them, so I pulled them from my freezer), bok choy from my Urban Acres share, a carton of 365 organic chicken broth, a can of tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and paprika. Oh, and an onion.
I served it with the homemade cheese bread sticks. I didn't eat any of it, because it's not on my Mellman plan, but Stephen and the kids did. This is definitely an easy, weeknight, make ahead kind of a meal.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Buffalo. It's what's for dinner.
Along with some roasted potatoes and homemade cheddar cheese bread sticks. I used the bread machine and Texas Daily Harvest cheddar.
I have it on good authority (the husband and kids) that the bread sticks were delish. (They aren't on my Mellman plan, so I didn't eat them.) But, the buffalo and potatoes I did eat. And they were good.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I added a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract. Then used a small scoop to line them up on the Silpat (greatest invention known to cookies).
But DON'T GO FAR. Definitely don't get distracted by writing a blog post about the cookies. They burn to a crisp before you can upload a few pictures.
I wonder how they'll taste with that freshly burnt flavor.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
All of the organic produce I used was from an Urban Acres share. I shredded a carrot, diced a red onion and pulled out some shredded cabbage and bok choy.
I cooked the noodles according to the directions on the package which took three minutes in boiling water. I used three bundles:
Stephen liked it. The kids asked for plain noodles. I thought it looked delicious. I was on my Mellman plan, so I didn't eat it. But I really, really wanted to.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I went about the rest of my evening, then the whole family hit the sack. The next morning, I found this in the family room:
To recap, one roll on the kitchen counter, plus one roll on the family room floor, equals two.
On Tuesday, we had homemade ramen noodles (I'll post the pictures of the lo mein I made to go with it later) with organic italian cheese blend, organic cage free hard boiled eggs with a Texas Daily Harvest colby cheese star, organic cheese crackers and organic fruit salad. The tiny container is trail mix with chocolate from the Whole Foods bulk bin.
The next day we had homemade french toast sticks using leftover homemade whole wheat bread, a clementine, organic sweet potatoes, popcorn and half of a Clif Organic Twisted Fruit. In the tiny container is maple syrup from the bulk bin at Whole Foods. Not much protein in this lunch, now that I look at it.
The kids were pretty happen with their lunches this week and not a lot came home uneaten.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
First I boiled some water, then put the tomatoes (I had sliced an X on the bottom of each one) in for about 20 seconds. The skins came off like butt-ah.
Once the tomatoes were de-skinned (is that word?), I put them in a pot with a diced red onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, about a cup of olive oil, salt and pepper. I didn't really measure, I just threw it all in.
Then I put it on low and let it go. Soon, it became this:
It smelled fantastic! Once it was good and thick, I took my handy dandy immersion blender and did this:
I made pizza dough with my bread maker (which, incidentally, made enough dough for two pizzas). I put the second ball of pizza dough in a baggie with a little bit of olive oil for later use. I figured it would keep for a few days in the refrigerator. My kids love pizza. This is not a problem. Although, I'm sure I could freeze it, too.
The flour problem wasn't a big issue. The pizza wasn't charred and it was gone in 2.2 seconds.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
1. Tacos using the leftover chicken and rice. I'll serve them with a salad and fresh fruit.
2. Grilled pasture fed new york strip steak, baked sweet potatoes, and another vegetable of some kind.
3. Eggplant parmesan and pasta with a side salad.
4. Baked fish, roasted potatoes and fruit salad.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Here is the picky eater's lunch:
It's a peanut butter and strawberry fruit spread sandwich on homemade whole wheat bread I made using my bread maker. On the side are apple stars with peanut butter in between each one. There's a clementine, fresh blackberries, organic cheddar crackers and some organic vanilla cookies.
And for the girl:
Another wrinkle: I am making the kids' lunches instead of letting them eat hot lunch at school, so my grocery expenses are going up. I'm going to have to make a budget adjustment. I was spending $160 each month on the school lunches, so clearly that's going to have an impact on my weekly budget. I don't expect there to be a corresponding increase in the budget (in other words, $40 a week), but I'm going to watch and see what happens in the coming weeks before I settle on a number. Maybe an extra $20 each week? What do you think?
Okay, on with the show.
First of all, there are a LOT of stores on the list this week and a lot of trips to Whole Foods. This is not normal. I didn't prepare properly for making the kids' lunches or for the fact that I'm back on my Mellman plan.
Whole Foods. This week I made three trips (one mid-week, one Friday night and one Saturday -- don't ask). The first trip totaled $55, the second one $45 and the third $44.
I don't have the receipt for the first Whole Foods trip. Why, you ask? Because it was in my purse. On the floor of the passenger side of my car. And I put my full cup of tea on the dash to open something for my daughter while I was driving.
The cup of tea (with sugar and soy milk in it) slid off the dash, flipped over and landed inside my purse. Totally not kidding. I'm still trying to figure out how to clean the lining of my bag. But that's another issue completely. The receipt was a casualty of my stupidity.
Trip Number 1. I know that $55 included a lot of eggs. I don't remember what else.
Trip Number 2.
- White Cheddar Rice Crackers, $2.50
- Organic Fruit Leather, 2 at $.59 each
- Canned olives, $1.99
- Stonyfield Yogurt, $3.99
- Sea Salt, $6.99
- Goat cheese, $8.00
- Prepared chicken salad, $5.99
- Naan bread, $3.49
- Tortillas, $1.99
- Organic apples, $2.33
- Grapes, $3.19
- Watermelon chunks, $2.55
Trip Number 3.
- Organic Valley Eggs, $2.79
- Cheddar Crackers, $2.50
- Clif's Twisted Fruit, 2 boxes for $7.00
- Organic Yogurt, $3.49
- Hummus, $1.50
- Bulk Chocolate Nut Crunch Trail Mix, $1.76
- Florida Crystals Cane Sugar, $4.99
- Ground buffalo, $10.55
- Organic Valley italian blend cheese, $4.99
- Goat cheese, $5.99
- Corn tortillas, $.99
- Grapes, $3.09
I saved $4.70 using coupons.Amazon.Com, $16. I bought boxed water (like a juice box but with water instead) to put in the kids' school lunches until the Laptop Lunch Boxes (and water bottles) arrived. They've also been drinking them while at home.
Target, $38.83. We use a lot of oatmeal in our house, so I bought some oatmeal coupons on ebay. 20 of them, in fact. (They cost me $7 total.) Target was having a sale on oatmeal. I stocked UP. I also found some Kashi apple bars on clearance (plus, I had a coupon for free produce when I bought Kashi products).
- 9 boxes of Kashi apple bars
- 12 - 18 oz cans of Quaker oats
- 2 boxes of Tazo Chai Latte concentrate
- Corn Meal
- 5 pounds of Cuties (little seedless oranges/tangerines)
- Fresh black berries
Tom Thumb, $27.92. I went to Target to get coffee creamer (on sale) and found some great deals and coupons scattered throughout the store.
- Actual somen noodles (the kind used in ramen, but just the noodles), $2.65
- Organic soy sauce, $3.49
- Rice vinegar, $2.09
- Sparkling water, $4.50
- Dijon mustard, $4.59
- 3 bottles of Coffee Mate creamer, $5.97
- Organic soy milk, $2.49
- Organic bananas, Not sure, I was charged $0 from a coupon
- Almond slivers, $2.50
- 2 bags of sweet butter lettuce, $4.00
- Bag of organic red apples, $3.00
I saved $7.65 using coupons.Dollar General, Less than $2. This was the first time I'd ever been to this store. I couldn't resist free oatmeal. I also got a lamp and paper towels, but those don't count towards my grocery budget.
- 6 bags of oatmeal (5 servings each), $6
- Can of coffee, $1.75
GRAND TOTAL. The total is, give or take some change (I didn't have my calculator), about $213.
I definitely have a lot of lunch items that will last beyond this week and the oatmeal should last for months.
I spent a lot this week, no question. I blew the weekly budget, but I stocked up, which will help lower my future expenditures.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
The picky eater all bundled up:
The little girl was outside longer and was very busy:
I made this cinnamon swirl bread Friday night. Actually, since I failed to read the directions in advance it's not a swirl, rather just cinnamon bread. Details.
The fam loves the way it tastes. I love that it doesn't have any preservatives. I doubt it will make it to the 24 hour mark, but if it does, I'll make some french toast sticks with the leftovers.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
The kids are really excited about these. Making lunch fun will help, particularly with the picky eater, the transition from their eating hot lunch every day to eating healthier food from home.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The salmon was frozen and I put it in a baggie with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and soy sauce. The salmon marinated while it thawed overnight and during the day while we were at work. When I got home (Stephen was at soccer practice with the kids), I put it in a glass dish and baked it at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
While the fish was cooking, I heated up the sides, sliced the banana and the homemade challah bread. (This was the second loaf I made and I'm telling you, it doesn't last but two seconds in our house!)
My daughter thought the greens were too spicy, but she otherwise cleaned her plate.
The picky eater looked at them on his plate like they were from another planet. I did get him to try the potatoes, though, after I told them they were the same as what french fries are made out of. He tried them, but didn't eat more than the bite. He did, however, eat all of his salmon. I was so proud.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I made this on Sunday in advance of the week. I try to prepare sides on the weekend so putting together dinner on a week night doesn't take as long. With after school activities and two parents who work outside the home, week night efficiency isn't an option. It's a requirement. At least it is in our house if anyone is going to eat something more complicated than cereal.
Monday, January 3, 2011
I never follow a recipe when I make soup. I just use what I have on hand. In this pot I combined fresh produce from my Urban Acres share, a can of organic stewed tomatoes (28 ounces, I think), a can of great northern beans, and 32 ounces of organic chicken stock.
The produce I used included onions, celery, carrots, the stem of the broccoli, and spinach. I added some chopped garlic, garlic and herb seasoning, salt and pepper. I didn't measure, I just threw it all in.
I sauteed the veggies first, then added the canned ingredients and brought everything to a boil. Then I reduced the heat and let it simmer for a while. Maybe 30 minutes. I added about 8 ounces of organic cream from Texas Daily Harvest at the very end.
I had some leftover homemade parmesan bread that I sliced, sprayed with cooking spray and then toasted in the oven until they became giant croutons. I added some organic parmesan (from Texas Daily Harvest) and voila, soup with cheese and croutons.
A slightly less sophisticated plate, this is what I served to the kids. There's a salad made with goodies from the share (dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar), as well as some more fresh fruit.
Another quick and easy weeknight meal.
Lilly, one of our rescue dogs, was very curious about our Urban Acres share this week. She wasn't the only one.
I was thrilled when I dug down into the bin.
'Cause I have lots of fun new kitchen gadgets that I am going to get to experiment with. On a side note (attention span of a gnat), I'd never seen one of these stickers on my produce before: