Sunday, December 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Spaghetti and Spinach Meatballs with Yellow Squash

Tuesday: BLTs, salad

Wednesday: Tuscan Baked Eggs

Thursday: Herb Roasted Turkey Breast, Crock Pot Stuffing

Friday: Indian Food

Saturday: dinner with family

Sunday: dinner with family

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Mushroom Risotto

Tuesday: Scrambled Eggs, Avocado, Romaine Salad

Wednesday: Shepherd's Pie, Romaine Salad, oranges

Thursday: Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

Friday: Leftover Soup, Vegan Baking Powder Biscuits

Saturday: Dinner out!

Sunday: hunt and peck

Extras: Homemade Whole Wheat Bread, Homemade Granola

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Perfect Scrambled Eggs, Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Clementine Oranges

Monday: Spaghetti with Turkey Italian Sausage

Tuesday: Mujadarrah, Celery Sticks

Wednesday: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, Kale Chips

Thursday: Polenta With Green Peas, Bacon

Friday: Homemade Pizza with Onions, Salad

Saturday: Slow Cooker Chili With Kidney Beans

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday and Weekly Shopping

Walgreens trips: 2 trips total, which I heartily do not recommend when you have bronchitis and feel dizzy :(. The Softsoaps were B1G1, and were $2.99 each after coupons.  The ALL was $2.99 after coupon, and paper towels were $3.99 after coupon. The last time I bought paper towels was 18 months ago- I hoard those suckers like a goblin hoards gold! Everything else ended up being free or a moneymaker after register rewards. I think I have over $40 RRs now.

I plan to start rolling them quite a bit again. I haven't been to Walgreens in months.

CVS trip:  Spent $21.75, got $20.75 in Extra Care Bucks back. I hadn't planned on getting the iPod earphones, but mine have been crumbling to bits after 7 years, and it ended up being $6 ECBs back. Why not?

Health Food Store trip: $32. $16 of that was a quart of local honey.

Kroger trip: $29 ($25 for food)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Shopping Trip

Kroger trip: $67. A few extra holiday things in there, including a case of clementines to bring to work to share a healthy treat, and fixin's to make guacamole and chips.

Health food store trip: $67 again. I picked up a few organic ketchups, tahini, flax seed oil, and faux mayo while they were 40% off. I had to get expensive coconut milk and coconut oil to make my dairy free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I did find a nice 4 lb tub of nonfat yogurt for $2.99- equivalent in price to what I can make at home.

The plan for next week: pick up only milk, fruit, and veg, and keep the total $40 or less!

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Romaine Salad with Tomato, Blue Cheese, and Fake Bacon, with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

Monday: Italian Rice Salad, Clementines

Tuesday: Meatloaf with Veggies, Peas

Wednesday: Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Bacon,

Thursday: Thanksgiving! My contribution: Dairy and Grain Free Pumpkin Streusel Pie and Homemade Guacamole and Blue Tortilla Chips

Friday: Whole Grain Spaghetti and Italian Spinach Meatballs

Saturday: eat out

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kale Chips: Do They Taste As Revolting As They Sound?

Above: a recent dinner of 7 Grain Pancakes, Turkey Sausage, Peaches, and Kale Chips

Make no mistake, of all the green leafies, kale has been my least favorite. My mother used to serve us wet, sloppy canned spinach that tasted like dirt. It was not until a couple years ago that I was brave enough to try the fresh versions of spinach and other greens.

Kale, however, always looked too much like the weeds I pull from our flower beds. How could I possibly eat that?

I've had a good half dozen people tell me they've tried fresh Kale Chips and swear they don't taste like crispy green dirt. In fact, they said, they were a little salty and just about as enjoyable as potato chips. Ha!

This is my attempt to call that bluff. I used a Food Network recipe. It was simple. Kale, olive oil, and salt. I used Olive Oil PAM. The first attempt, I made the mistake of not getting the greens dry enough. I ended up having to cook them too long in order to get them crisp, and the outer leaves burned. My kitchen reeked for days.

This time, I whipped out the salad spinner that someone gave us for our wedding eons ago, and that has sat in our cabinets gathering dust. The result: perfectly crisp and unburned leaves.

How do they taste? Not bitter, not dirt-like. They have a nice salty earthy taste. They have appeared on my menu again, even.

You will so like crisp kale with PAM, you will so like them Sam-I-Am.

Weekly Shopping Trip

Dorothy Lane Trip: I hit the specialty store due to limited time this week. All in all $66. I admit that $6 of that was from a couple slices of chocolate cream pie. Nom, nom, nom. Hiding in the back there is another $15 box of 200 Finish tabs from Costco courtesy of Mom. I think we're set for the next 2 years.

We also picked up 2 boxes of Earth's Best Blueberry Waffles at the health food store, for a total of $72 for the week.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Whole Grain Spaghetti and Spinach Meatballs (made without cheese), Bread Machine Focaccia Bread

Monday: Leftover Focaccia, French Onion Soup

Tuesday: Pancakes, Homemade Fruit Smoothies with hemp protein

Wednesday: BLTs, Kale Chips

Thursday: Scrambled Eggs, Polenta, Peas, Pears

Friday: Chickpea Broccoli Roll-ups, Carrot Coins

Saturday: Out With Girls, husband on his own

Lunches: Cottage Cheese, Baby Carrots, PB & J, Almonds and Walnuts, Celery, Strawberries

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Edamame, Romaine Salads, Fresh Pears, Sliced Bell Pepper

Tuesday: Whole Grain Pizza with Mushrooms, Onions, and No Cheese

Wednesday: Tuscan Baked Eggs, Romaine Salads, Pears

Thursday: Black Bean Burritos, Kale Chips, Fruit Smoothies

Friday: Falafel, Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Feta, Romaine Salad

Saturday: dinner out for sister's birthday at Olive Garden

Sunday: Mujadarrah

Lazy Night In A Pinch Meal: Simple Pasta and Jarred Pesto Sauce

Lunches: Hummus and Triscuits or PB & J, carrot sticks, clementines, almonds and walnuts, home made dairy-free Skinny Choco Chip Cookies

Breakfast: Non-fat Yogurt with Homemade Granola

Weekly Shopping Trips

Kroger shopping trip: $44. Nothing fancy, just simple fruits and veggies (most of them organic), almond and soy milks, juice, tea, and baby food. After last week's grocery trip of $108, this evens things out to a little over $70 per week.

CVS trip: I had $7 in extra care bucks, and everything was $7 with coupon (see it in these deals here for the Krazy Coupon Lady). I got $6 in extra care bucks back. Nothing out of pocket for me!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Sugar-free Homemade Applesauce, Hummus and Triscuits,

Monday: Boston Baked Beans, Grapefruit

Tuesday: Vegan Pear Spice Cake for the boy and Pear Oven Pancake for the adults, Scrambled Eggs with Onions

Wednesday: Mushroom and White Bean Stew,                    Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts, Sliced Pears
Thursday: Whole Wheat Pasta With Spinach and Vegan White sauce, Sliced Apples

Friday: Bunless Chickpea Burgers,Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes With Feta,

Saturday: Tamarind Lentils from the Veganomicon, Aloo Mattar, Brown Rice

Breakfasts: Nonfat yogurt, homemade granola, clementine oranges
                    Leftover Pear Cakes

Lunches: Leftover beans, Hummus and crackers, nuts and raisins, peanut butter and jelly, fresh fruit, romaine salad, carrot sticks

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Weekly Shopping Trips

Whole Foods trip: $113. $5 was an organic basil plant, which my husband was kind enough to pot.I did get some good deals, Muir Glen organic tomatoes for $1 a can, Earth's Best Waffles for $2 each, and 2 cartons of free Imagine Low Sodium Vegetable Broth. The Soy Dream's are $3.29 for a 64 oz container, which is the cheapest I can find it. We added a few things we wouldn't normally buy, like Tamarind Paste, Garam Masala, salt-free Veggie Boullion, and Agave Nectar, as I am eating more vegan and sugar-less dishes. Next week will be a Kroger trip as usual.

My CVS trip: I had $15 in ECBs to use. I paid $13 out of pocket for the above and got $7 in ECBs back.

My mother found this package at Costco for $15. 90 tablets at Sam's is $12. The only time I have paid less is when I got 14 boxes for free last year with a high value coupon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Homemade Guacamole and Black beans over Cilantro Rice

Monday: Husband on his own- heading to Michigan

Tuesday: husband on his own- I'm at a Funeral

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans (I have some cooked beans waiting in the freezer)

Thursday: Easy Spaghetti, Jarred Sauce Tossed With Kidney Beans and Onions, Parmesan

Friday: Turkey Sausage, Perfect Eggs, Toast, Romaine Salad, Grapefruit

Saturday: Chicken Piccata, Broccoli, Vegan Baking Powder Biscuits, Plums

Extra goodies: Granola

Shopping Trip

Kroger trip for the week: $60

Nothing too interesting! Waiting for some good deals on free toothpaste and floss....

Blogger Beware: Do You really Want To Connect Yourself With My Memories Scrapbooking Software?

A couple nights ago, I received an email from a "Liz P. Gardner" asking if I wanted a free copy of My Memories scrapbooking software to both review and give away to a reader.

This sounded like a phishing email to me, so, along with my husband, who has expertise in PC security, I did some research.

The software is owned by a Storyrock Publishing in Utah, and  the publisher does have an excellent rating with the local Better Business Bureau.

Here is what I found, a blog post written by a young, male, college student:

"In Touch with the Feminine Side

I have been working in the technology department at Storyrock Publishing for several months.  In the past, my responsibilities were to prepare products to be sold online for web download.  When I left for school, I planned on doing the same type of work from home.  Because of issues with internet connections, I had to change jobs within the company.  This has allowed me to get in touch with my feminine side!

One of Storyrock's products is called My Memories Suite.  It is digital scrapbooking software.  My new job is to help with the marketing of the product.  The first rule of marketing is to think like your target market, which means I get to think like a mid-30's stay-at-home mom!  I now spend my work hours contacting bloggers under the alias Liz P. Gardner.  We have conversations ranging from photo layouts of scrapbook pages to cute banners and blinkies they can put on their walls.  In the process, I have learned about cooking, homeschooling children, arts and crafts, yoga, and all sorts of other things I never knew moms did.  Who knew you could spend hours making greeting cards or paper shoes for infants!

All of these new experiences have filled me with gratitude that my wife and my mom do not spend their entire days writing about their lives instead of living them!  It has been entertaining to get a glimpse into the life of the modern house wife.  How grateful I am to be a guy!

I wonder how many 21-year-old male readers this blog has!
  Don't forget about the Bewitchin' Kitchen. How do these ladies find the time to do all this?"

I don't know about you, but I find it rather insulting for some young pup to be pretending to be a 30-something SAHM, and publicly insulting  the women whose business he is trying to obtain. Obviously this kid has no idea how difficult and time-consuming it is to care for small children all day, homeschool, and cook. And he obviously has no idea that the moments we take to blog, stolen when children are napping or in bed at night, help fill that need for adult communication.

I do wish to caution my fellow bloggers not to accept every email offering something at face value, but to take the time to research and explore before jumping at a freebie- especially when that freebie is something that requires clicking on an unverified link or piece of software. Malware can be hidden in just about anything. A trojan program could be built into software you download that allows someone to remotely record every keystroke you make, thereby obtaining your passwords, banking information, and credit cards. Just clicking on a link in an email sent to you, my husband warns, can infect your computer.

Bloggers are excellent targets for such malware, as we seem like trusted sources to our readers, and can have a wide audience for exploitation. I caution all of you to carefully do your research before agreeing to a giveaway that has not been initiated by you, as both your family and your readers can suffer as victims of identity theft.

I do want to note, that I am not accusing this publisher of being malware. I haven't seen anything about this software in tech forums, and it is sold on Amazon. One thing to try and verify is if it truly is the legitimate company contacting you and not a spoof. I would do this by finding a contact for the company and checking to see if they truly are marketing with bloggers.

I frequently get requests for giveaways on my blog, but, as you can see, I rarely do them. Most recently, I declined an offer for shoddy children's furniture made of plywood that has garnered poor ratings on the 'Net, and herbs that tout a miraculous cure for infertility.

And no, I will NOT be running a giveaway for Storyrock. I don't take kindly to deceit.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekly Shopping Trips

Nothing too exciting at the store this week, except a CVS deal that let me get 5 bottles of Tide Free HE for $1.97 each, and 2 bottles of Dawn for $0.47. I also got 2 huge bags of Halloween candy for $10 after ECBs.  (You only see 4 bottles here, since I had to do it via two transactions, and alas, I was too lazy to take a second picture!)

I have $15 in ECBs to use up, but see nothing in this coming week's deals that we need. Wait til next week!

Kroger trip: $74.86. $12 of that was marked down ground beef that is now in my freezer. Never mind that Kentucky Bourbon Ale my husband wanted that was $12 all by itself.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Pioneer Woman Beer-Braised Beef (I'm throwing in the slow cooker), Colcannon Mashed Potatoes, Kale Chips, Pumpkin Gingerbread (made with butternut squash puree)

Monday: Fruit Berry Smoothies with Hemp Protein

Tuesday: Black Bean Chili

Wednesday: Fruit Berry Smoothies with Hemp Protein

Thursday: Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza with Peppers and Onions

Friday: Turkey Sausage, Toast, Tuscan Baked Eggs, Fruit

Saturday: Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowel

Other goodies for this week: Homemade Granola, need to Roast Peppers and freeze them, Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies, Homemade Whole Wheat Bread (trying new recipe this week), Red Bell Pepper Relish

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup (I add a bit of cheddar to mine)

Monday: (Boot Camp night) Homemade Fruit Smoothies with Hemp Protein (I mix several fruits, nix the yogurt, and use almond milk)

Tuesday: Zucchini Turkey Burgers, Pioneer Woman Green Beans (seriously, the BEST green beans I've ever had)

Wednesday: (Boot Camp night) Homemade Fruit Smoothies with Hemp Protein

Thursday: Pear Oven Pancake, Fresh Fruit, Green Salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza with Lots of Peppers and Onions

Saturday: Chunky Corn Chowder (substituting skim milk for the cream), Tomato and Cucumber Salad, Beer Bread

Snacks and Extras: Pumpkin Spice Bread made with Pureed Squash, Homemade Granola, which has now become a staple in our household

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Weekly Shopping Trip

Kroger trip: $80. Would have spent less if I did not have a husband and two children with me. At least what they threw in my cart were semi-healthy! I ended up with a bag of organic raisins, chopped dates, larger orange juices, and organic chocolate bunnies that were not on the original list. I did buy 8 extra small cartons of Almond Breeze Almond Milk. We send one carton a week to day care in lieu of cow's milk. With coupons and Mega Sale, they were $1.49 each. Usually they are $2.50 if I am lucky. The Birdseye Steamfresh veggies (which I cook on the stovetop) were only $0.59.

The goal next week is to keep it at $50 or less!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shopping Trip

Our ancient Wrap-N-Mats have been starting to wear down after almost 6 years of being used several times a week and thrown into the washer once a week. One of them bit the dust recently. It's amazing, though, when you think of it, that those Wrap-n-Mats I bought before our wedding have been used at least 4 days a week, 50 weeks out of the year, for 5.5 years, and have saved at least 1100 single-use plastic bags!

I found a couple different deals on Mamapedia for half price on reusable lunchware, and picked up 5 cloth snack and sandwich bags, 2 new Wrap-N-Mats, and 6 stainless steel lunch-sized bowls to replace the plastic ones as they wear out.

This week's Kroger trip: $52. They had a Mega-Sale this week, and I got 2 Prego sauces for $0.74 and 8 Fat Free Carnation Evaporated Milks for $0.27 each. I will be making this Pear Oven Pancake for my husband and myself using those evaporated milks (the boy gets his beloved peanut butter sandwich instead). I used this post to make those match-ups. I was so bummed that my husband's soy milk was in the sale, and planned on getting 10 at $1.49 each, but they only had the original flavor that he despises. $10 of what I spent was for fancy cheese for a coworker's bon voyage party, as she will be telecommuting from home after this week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shopping Trip

My Meijer Trip: $15. Seven jars of Planters Peanut Butter for $0.67 each. We go through at least a jar of peanut butter each week.

Also had a trip to Kroger for soy milk, almond milk, a few jars of baby food, dairy free bread, and fresh fruits. $52 for that trip. Tried to take a picture, but the 'dern camera wasn't working!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Homemade Hummus with crackers, Greek Yogurt with Berries and Honey, Pumpkin Bread

Tuesday: Spanish Rice and Beans

Wednesday: Leftover Spanish Rice

Thursday: Homemade Wheat Pizza with Lots of Peppers and Onion (we are getting a ton of peppers in the farm box, and my husband otherwise hates cooked peppers)

Friday: Penne Pasta with Zucchini and Basil Pesto

Saturday: Winds Cafe Dinner: Naked Garlic, Grilled Strip Steak

Sunday: Baked Eggs with Cheese, Tomato, and Bacon

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Food Blog Lovin: Zucchini Burgers

 I saw this recipe for Zucchini Burgers on Gina's Skinny Recipes a while back, and now that we are getting a lot of zucchini from our Farm Box, we have tried it with both ground sirloin and ground turkey. Both tasted great!
   Zucchini, onions, and garlic in the food processor
Having a food processor makes it quite easy to make, as I only roughly chopped everything, and then quickly mixed it together by hand.  There are obvious green flecks in the burgers when raw that are not as obvious when cooked. My 3 year old, who hates vegetables, ate these without complaint! They tasted like a good burger with a nice hint of onion and garlic- no zucchini flavor at all!

                  Burgers ready to go on the grill

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Turkey Zucchini Burgers (with local ground turkey from the Bowman Landes Family), Fresh Green Beans Pioneer Woman Style, Homemade Air Popped Popcorn for dessert

Monday: Mexican Baked Eggs, Kicked Up Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Tuesday: Late Summer Vegetable Medley, Homemade Hummus and Crackers

Wednesday: Black Bean, Zucchini, and Olive Tacos

Thursday: Homemade Wheat Pizza with Lots of Peppers and Onions

Friday: Lean Mettwurst with Fried Potatoes and Onions
Saturday: Pasta with Spinach and Vegan White Sauce (made with almond milk it has a pleasant nutty flavor)

Lunches: Crackers with Hummus or Havarti With Dill Cheese, Greek Yogurt with Honey and Fruit, Grapes, Pumpkin Spice Bread made with Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Farm Box Produce: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Hundreds more menu plans here

Shopping Trips

Long time no post- but we have been sick, sick, sick with one bug after another. Hopefully all these summer sickies have run their course.

Kroger Trip: $ 82. In-laws are in town and they expect to eat meat, so that added almost $18 to my total. If you noticed, I got some Light Mayo for a recipe I want to try involving lots of cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppery bacon. Most light mayo has dairy in it- but Kraft brand does not.

CVS trip: $2.14 out of pocket and received $0.99 in ECBs back. The Skintimate Shave Gels were free, and the Hershey Bar was $0.99 and I got the Extra Care Buck back for it. I had a $3 ECB from last week, so the jelly was free. You can see the deal for Skintimate here. I confirmed with the cashier at CVS that I could stack the CVS coupon with the manufacturer coupon.

Health food store trip: $25. The powdered probiotics were $22 and are prescribed by our pediatrician. Soy yogurt was $3- no time to really "yog" my own this week, and I have a ton of garden produce to process and baking to do already.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Creamy Pasta and Spinach made meatless and with Vegan White Sauce instead of Cream Cheese

Tuesday: Lentil Burritos with Onions, Peppers, and Zucchini

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza with Peppers, Garlic, Onions, and Kalamata Olives

Thursday: Spanish Rice and Beans

Friday: Turkey Kielbasa with Fried Potatoes and Onions

Saturday: out to dinner with in-laws

Sunday: Pancakes, Turkey Sausage, and Fruit for Breakfast

Grilled Chicken with Mustard Tarragon Sauce, Corn on the Cob, Late Summer Vegetable Medley

Breakfast: Homemade Granola, Nectarines

Lunches: Hummus, Whiskey Cheddar Cheese and Triscuit Crackers, Leftover Spanish Rice and Beans, Carrots, Bananas or Blueberries

Snacks: Pumpkin Spice Bread with Pureed Pumpkin from the small pie pumpkin the farm sent us

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Fried Corn (LOTS of corn and peppers from the farm this week), Gazpacho

Monday: Zucchini Burgers, Sweet Corn

Tuesday: Tuscan Baked Eggs

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza with Green Peppers and Onions

Thursday: Quesadillas with Cheese and Onions

Friday: Pasta with Garlic and Tomatoes

Saturday: Tomato Pie

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Food Blog Lovin': Mushroom and White Bean Stew

We tried this recipe for Mushroom and White Bean Stew from Kalyn's Kitchen a couple weeks ago. It took very little time to whip up on the stove top. We had a bag of quinoa we needed to use up, so we ate it atop quinoa. It was quite good! We topped ours with a little bit of parmesan. The quinoa was leftover from my SIL, so it was free to us, and everything else was probably about $3. Simple and frugal!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Shopping Trips

Kroger Trip: $48. Pre-made baby foods were $10. My costs will probably increase over the short term as we do trials of food.

Health food store: $42 plus $6 for lecithin. The lecithin is to make my own cooking spray (part of my yearly pledge to reduce waste- if any of you local folks want to share ours, let me know, we have quite a bit). My husband went, so I had less control over cost. He picked up an $11 maple syrup and $4 of snap peas that were not on my list :(.

Sam's Club and 2nd Health Food Store trip: Earth's Best baby food on sale at health food store means 10 jars for $4.49. Sam's trip was $50 out of pocket after gift card. We seem to be spending a little more since moving towards a more whole foods, organic, made from scratch diet, and since having our daughter. Formula costs are still $69 a month for the Earth's Best formula. I'm hoping once we've hit our stride, and I figure out what, if anything, our daughter is allergic to other than dairy, our costs will decrease again.

I renewed my Sam's Club membership today (the one I won from Stockpiling Moms last year) and got a $20 gift card back for renewing in person at the store. We bought our Halloween chips for $30. The best prices for individual bags of chips are at Sam's. Since our son's allergy means he can't eat the candy passed out at Halloween, we pass out chips instead, and let him nibble from bags all night.

Sam's Club, as I learned last year, does not save as much money as couponing or cooking from scratch most of the time. There are certain, things, however, that make it worth the membership. My husband plays sports all weekend and every Thursday, and drinks Gatorade throughout. I discovered today we can buy a huge container of the powdered formulation for $10, which makes 36 quarts. Usually, I can only on occasion get Gatorade for free in individual servings. The powdered form also produces less waste.

I got a giant container of peanuts for less than $7, and 2 pounds of yeast for $4.50. Usually I spent that much on the jar of yeast at the grocery store. Because I make two or more loaves of bread a week, this makes it very worthwhile. The huge container of brown sugar was $4.50 as well, or 4.5 cents per ounce. Since I started making my own snacks and granola, we are going through more of this quickly.

Other good finds there I would recommend: Bulk flours, sugars, and rice.

I saw a lot of people walking out of there with cases of bottled water (you could pay for your own reverse osmosis water filtration system at home within a year or two after chucking the bottled water habit, as most systems are under $500 installed.) Also, lots of toilet paper, paper towels, pop, and snacks. All I have gotten for substantially less via subscribe and save deals or couponing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Saturday: It's so nice out, I am changing gears to make Zucchini Burgers (with ground sirloin), Grilled Corn on the Cob, and Watermelon

Sunday: Our zucchini from the farm is the size of a small baseball bat, so I'm making Ratatouille Wanna-Be to use it and the summer squash up- maybe on a bed on quinoa?

Monday: Huevos Rancheros- using those fresh mild chile peppers and tomatoes, corn on the cob

Tuesday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Tomatoes, Garlic, and Parmesan, Spicy Butternut Squash

Wednesday: Massage therapy night: Mexican Pile-On with Black Beans, Cilantro and Lime Rice, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onions, Sour Cream, and Cheese

Thursday: Falafel with Tomato and Cucumbers

Friday: dinner at Rue Dumaine with friends

Saturday:Homemade Pizza with Onions and Peppers

Sunday: TBD

My lunches: Santa Fe Rice and Beans, fresh carrots and cucumbers

My breakfast: Fresh nectarine and homemade granola- no milk necessary!

The kid's lunches (he always gets an extra fruit and veg from day care): PB & J on homemade wheat bread, soy yogurt and fresh blueberries and blackberries, organic apple juice (we reuse some old 4 oz Medela breast milk bottles to send it!), homemade cinnamon apples, maybe homemade granola bars with chocolate chips

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Homemade Granola

Just like the homemade yogurt, I swear the homemade granola is super easy.

Store-bought granola has a few pitfalls: it doesn't taste quite the same as fresh; it's pretty expensive, especially when my husband can devour an entire box in one sitting ($4.50 a box with about 4 cupful servings); and there can be hidden dairy, like most processed foods. Not a good thing when your child has a serious allergy!

I started with this recipe at Lynn's Recipe Adventures. I wanted something that didn't have too many ingredients, not too much dried fruit (adds more calories, expense, and we're just not fans), and a cinnamon flavor. her recipe is nut-free, but we have no nut allergies, so I added whole almonds, crushed walnuts, and some sunflower seeds. I added a dash of nutmeg to the spices, and I also used canola for my oil. I'm not a huge coconut fan, so no shredded coconut either.

I baked mine for 12 minutes, and didn't let it sit in the oven. I put it immediately into a canister for storage, and it still was plenty crunchy.

I've made this three times now, and we all love it. I eat mine every morning at work with only a sliced nectarine- no milk or yogurt. We get 7 full servings out of this that last all week. I'd say the cost of 7 servings is $3.50 using organic rolled oats and $2.50 using store brand rolled oats.

It only takes me 5 minutes to prep the liquids on the stove and 12 minutes to bake. Totally worth the effort!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weekly Grocery Trip

Kroger trip: $40. It's hard to believe how much beverages take a chunk out of my grocery budget. I know you can make your own soy and almond milk at home, but the cost is higher. One of the almond milks was free thanks to a coupon from my friend Diane. My CSA box of fruit and veg will be $21 a week.

My frugal fail for the week: A shopping trip to Kohl's that cost me $200. My excuse: I just gave away all of my maternity clothes, and had to replace a work wardrobe that was still 50% maternity clothes. Half of that cost was for 2 pairs of pants- the only pairs of pants- that I could find that correctly fit my body. After 6 different stores in one afternoon, I gave in. Apparently the cost of self-confidence is around $100.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Chickpeas, Feta, and Herbs

Tuesday: Caprese Panini on Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

Wednesday: Lentil Burritos with Onion, Summer Squash, and Bell Peppers

Thursday: Mushroom, White Bean, and Tomato Stew over Quinoa, fresh greens if the CSA Box comes with them

Friday: 7-Grain Pancakes, Turkey Sausage, and Fresh Melon

Saturday: Falafel with Cucumbers and Tomatoes, Corn on the Cob

Sunday: hunt and peck

Day Care Treat: Chocolate Cake made with Pureed Beetroots (I cooked the fresh beets in the microwave and will decrease the sugar to 2/3 cup and use egg whites and applesauce), Baked Apples (I decrease the sugar to 1/4 cup)

My Work Lunches/Breakfasts: My Own Homemade Granola and Homemade Yogurt with Honey, Fresh Nectarines, Gingerbread a la The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook (I have lots of homemade dairy yogurt to use up, so snack for me alone!), Hummus (pairing with box of free Kashi Pita Crackers), fresh watermelon, fresh carrots

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Fresh From The Farm

We have a local farm called Fulton Farms, that is the only one in the area to do delivery of fresh organic produce. I stumbled across this a few weeks ago, and signed up immediately. I get a half bushel- or 10-15 pounds of fruit and veg- fresh-picked that day and delivered to my doorstep between 4-9 PM. It costs $21 a week, and you pay a month up front. I paid a deposit of $100 as well, that counts as my last month's delivery. You have the option of locally grown only (that is the option I chose), locally grown with extra organic produce from a supplier, and customized service.

I thought it would be a good idea to learn what truly is in season, and help support a local farm, to choose the Local-only Basket.

There are many Community Supported Agriculture farms in the US that offer similar programs.You can click the link to search near you.

Our Happy Box

Our produce came packed in a box, with only two small wooden containers that will be cleaned and reused. If cutting down on plastic waste is important to you as well, know that the box and crates for your produce will be reused for the season.

It did require unpacking, sorting, and cleaning. Since it is picked that day, you will have to wash off the dirt. This week, we got beets and beet greens, onions, garlic, tomatoes, summer squash, carrots (purple and yellow ones too!), bell peppers (green and purple!), sweet corn (very sweet and very good), pickling cucumbers, squash, basil, purslane.

I've never had beets, so this will be a new experience. I've had one suggestion for Beet Chocolate Cake and there's a Beet Salad recipe I may try.

Supposedly, there will be melons next week!

The seasonality of the produce and not knowing what we'll get will add a new bit of challenge to my menu-planning. I get my box on Wednesday, so my menus may change a bit mid-week.