Monday, December 31, 2012

Menu Plan 12/30-1/6

We got back into town yesterday afternoon, and it was one of those occasions where I am truly grateful to have pre-prepared food in my freezer at the ready.  I was able to pull a nice dinner out and just make fresh rice to go along with it instead of running out to spend ungodly amounts of money on fast food yet again.  (I seriously do not even want to discuss the $20  for beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde!)

I know that I'm not going to have all my new year planning and preparations in place until a week into it, so I've planned a menu around my existing freezer meals once again this week.

Sunday:  My daughter asked for red beans and rice when we got in.  She was in luck!  I had one container left!

Monday:  Turkey Pot Pie

Tuesday:  Chicken Alfredo

Wednesday:  Use up the leftovers!

Thursday:  Spaghetti

Friday:  Pork Stew

Saturday:  Cabbage Roll Casserole

Sunday:  Use up the leftovers!


I also did a quick inventory of my over the fridge freezer and found some breakfast breads and a couple lunch items that we will be using up in the coming weeks, and then I will begin planning cooking sessions to replenish these things.

What is on your menu plan this week?

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Back In Town And Already Finding Deals At Aldi

It's been over a week since you guys have heard from me, and that is because we were out of town.  Now I brought my laptop with me on the trip, but once we got there, I decided not to use it.  In fact, I never even took it out of the bag and turned it on!  And it felt fabulous! ;)

But now I'm back, and trying to get back into the swing of things and plan for the new year (I'll share some of that a bit later).

We got home around 3pm yesterday, unpacked the van, discovered our betta fish was dead, tried to do laundry only to remember that I was completely OUT of laundry detergent, grabbed my pre-written list of things I was not shopping for before we left, and headed out to Aldi.

We had run out of a lot of things, in fact our fridge was nearly empty!  Were it not for my dad and his chickens and citrus trees (he sent us back with eggs and oranges) I think it would have only contained a single slice of cheese (of which I forgot to purchase more), and half a tub of margarine, and also some aging onions.

So off I went, and as usual I found a couple of things that were not on my list that I simply could not pass up.

#1:  Ham.  

All of their hams were $3 off, making this one that I brought home just $6.15.


We will slice some, and dice some, use some for sandwiches, use some for noodle salads, and freeze the rest.

#2:  Stuffing.

Herb stuffing to be exact.   It's my favorite of their stuffing flavors, and it is a seasonal item so they only sale it twice a year during the winter holidays and Easter.  My husband bought 4 boxes before we left when he saw it marked down for $0.69, but when I went in yesterday, it was marked down even farther...just $0.25 a box!



I bought 8.

They also had lots of their toys and candies reduced in price, so be sure to look all around for seasonal markdowns next time you are in Aldi, or perhaps hurry over before they are all gone!

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Thrifty Christmas Dress Shopping

I have two daughters, 3 years apart.  Sometimes they can be a pain, like all kids can be.  They fight alot and just plain get on each others nerves.  BUT they can SHARE everything.  They like the same toys so they can be passed down, but mostly what they can share are CLOTHES!


This really only benefits the younger one, obviously, and being only 3 she doesn't tend to mind yet because it all seems new to her.  Plus, I have had really good luck finding nice school clothes for my oldest at garage sales in my neighborhood.

But, Christmas is fast approaching, and of course my younger girl has a lovely dress that was worn only once or twice by her sister, but I didn't have a dress for my oldest, and a new Christmas dress was certainly NOT in the budget!  And it's been too cold for garage sales, so I was wondering whatever I would do!

Earlier this week when my husband was home sick, I was able to escape and go grocery shopping by myself, and when I got to the store I recalled that there was a very nice thrift store in the same shopping center, so I decided to run in and have a look around.  I was very pleased with what I found!  It is black velvet at the top and red silky shiny material at the bottom, and in near perfect condition!


The dress itself was a size 7 (just what I needed!), but sleeveless, marked half off of its original price for $4.54.  I did a little bit more looking around for a black or red shirt to go under it, but instead I found the velvet sweater cover up in the exact same shade of black velvet!  It looked like it was made to go together, except I knew it wasn't since the sleeve part was a size 6 (a little short maybe but they look like 3/4 sleeves so its all good!).  And it was marked half off as well, for only $0.99.

My total, including tax, came out to $5.99, and it fit her perfectly, if not a little on the large side, so she should be able to wear it for a while!  She has even already begged me if she can wear it to her school party next Friday!  

What have you bought second hand lately that has filled a need that you had?

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

FREE E-Book Today From My Favorite Author!

I blame my sister-in-law.   She has a Jane Austen fetish.  She raved and raved about Pride and Prejudice.   Now I'm an educated person, and I enjoy reading classic literature, but I had never read this one.  Then I found a copy for a quarter at a garage sale a few years back, the day before I went into labor with my youngest, in fact.   I was up all those late night nursing sessions, and decided to read it, you know...since I was awake and all.  I quite enjoyed it, and that got me started reading ALOT of books set in England during that time period.  Seriously, I think I've spent way too much time there.

I also have sort of this obsession with free Kindle downloads.  Not a bad thing really, since I love to read and books are expensive.  But then I end up finding a book I REALLY like, and I wish to read more books by the author, and then I have to hunt them down at the library, and there are interlibrary loans and all that fun stuff.

Well, one author I really have enjoyed is Julie Klassen.  She herself is a huge fan of Jane Austen, and her books are all set in the same time period and place.  I begin reading The Apothecary's Daughter (which was free when I got it, but not now ($4.05 currently)--one of my fav's by the way!  I even got aforementioned sister-in-law engrossed in it during a visit.), and then I hunted down the rest and read all 5 of her novels, and am impatiently awaiting my chance to read her latest.

But, TODAY one of her books is FREE for Kindle, so if you enjoy this type of fiction, I highly suggest you grab it and read it!  I downloaded it, and I'm not one to re-read novels!




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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Persimmons!

I told you guys about the persimmons that I had received in my bountiful basket last week.   When we got them, they were totally soft.  You broke the skin and it was complete puree!  We were told that they should be that way, and they certainly weren't rotten, but they were definitely too messy to eat as a fruit, so I went on pinterest and did a little digging.

The first recipe I came across that sounded pretty good was this persimmon cookie with orange glaze.  I whipped up a bowl of the cookie mix, but I did not feel like making the glaze, so I popped open a tub of cream cheese frosting instead, and it did the trick. ;)  Not my most favorite cookies ever, but still pretty good for trying to use up an item you've never eaten before and did not even know if you liked!  Sorry folks, I didn't snap a pic of these.

I thought that I was only going to need to come up with one recipe, since I only had 4 little persimmons, but alas, my cookies only used up 2 of them, so back to pinterest I went.  This time I found bread.

This persimmon cranberry bread recipe to be precise.  The recipe called for dried cranberries, but I had some fresh ones left over from Thanksgiving that I needed to use up, so I thought it would be a win-win.

I only had two persimmons remaining, so since this recipe made two loaves, I halved it and only made one loaf.  I still found myself a little bit short on persimmon pulp, so I added an applesauce cup to equal out the amount of puree I needed.   (I often substitute this for an egg in my banana bread as well.  Makes it very moist, and lets me leave out a bit of the sugar in the recipe).

Here's the loaf fresh out the oven.

Here's a slice all nice and buttered up.  =)

I thought the bread came out very good.  My girls did not like the fresh cranberries in there and picked them out.  I honestly probably could have used less, even up to half of what I added (I sort of did the sprinkle until it looked about right method).   There were quite a few per slice, and they were pretty tart!  But all in all, not a bad recipe.

I have 9 more smaller persimmons this week (they seem to be a different variety, and much firmer!), so I'm thinking of attempting this bread one more time, and using a bag of chocolate covered raisins I got marked down for $0.79 at Aldi instead of the cranberries.  Chocolate makes everything better, right?  Sounds like a pretty delicious substitution to me!

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Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things (+ My Menu For Two Weeks)

Last week I posted a menu, and promised some recipes, and then all was silent.   If you follow  me on facebook, you might have seen my post that my cold had taken a turn for the worse on Monday night.  On Wednesday morning I went to the doctor as a walk-in, and emerged an hour and a half later with a diagnosis of bronchitis with ear infection and a stack of 6 prescriptions to get filled!

I did little more than rest for the rest of the week.   My husband instructed me to leave him lists of things that needed to get done and he handled it all when he got home from work.  My freezer meals came in very handy because he was able to just grab something and thaw it!

By the weekend I was feeling a little bit better, which was good because we had a very busy Saturday.

By Sunday I was nearly back to normal, but my oldest daughter was not quite acting herself.   That night when we showed up at church for Awana, she got sick in the bathroom stall.  When I got her back home the husband got sick, too.   They were both home yesterday, and the husband is still home today, so my week has been a little bit off.

I am trying to get back into normal mode, while also planning to be leaving town at the end of next week.   My goal is to not have to buy any more groceries until then (I went to Aldi yesterday and bought all we should need except I think I may need more bread in a few days and that's all).

This morning I took inventory of my freezer to see what all we had left after my absence from the meal preparation scene (we also sent a few meals to a sick friend).  I still have a bunch of ready made meals, but we also have a whole lot of meat that needs to be cooked and turned into ready made meals, but I will be saving most of that for when we return.

Here's what I found in my freezer:



I also got another basket of produce this past week so that we would have plenty of time to get all of that used up before we left town, as well.

Here is what was in my basket:


All of that dark green leafy stuff on the left is 3 bunches of radishes.  There are 9 more persimmons in the front, lettuce, grapes, broccoli, yellow (6) & zucchini (2) squash, cucumbers (2), mushrooms, 3 bells, papaya and bananas (8).

I also bought 2 packs of blackberries (gone!), apples, pears, oranges, and sweet potatoes.  If we don't finish those up, they can be travel snacks, but I do have my work cut out for me!


Here is my plan:

Monday (last night):  We had eggs and toast.
Tuesday (tonight):  Meat Loaf Muffins and Mashed Potatoes (both from freezer), fried yellow squash.
Wednesday:  Hubby will grill 10lbs of marinated leg quarters (will freeze the leftovers) and salad.
Thursday:  Provencal Pork (from freezer)
Friday:  Leftovers
Saturday:  Chicken Alfredo (from freezer) and more salad  (I had lettuce from my basket, but I also have some growing in my garden)
Sunday:  Turkey Pot Pie
Monday: Chicken Taco Quiche
Tuesday:  Cabbage Casserole
Wednesday:  Spaghetti
Thursday:  Clean Out The Leftovers
Friday:  Sandwiches and fruit in the van on the road to Louisiana!


That's the plan anyways!  When we get back home it will be New Year's and I will have a ton of fun trying to cook my way through all the meat I have out the in freezer!

What is on your menu this week?

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Plan 12/3

I got another produce basket from Bountiful Baskets this weekend.   It seemed a little on the sparse side, but I think that's too be expected in the winter.   I really can't wait to see the summer baskets!   I think this one might just seem to be getting used up a lot faster because we did/will use a lot of it together.

Here's what we got:


There was a small watermelon, cantaloupe, and papaya, 6 fuji apples, bananas, and 4 persimmons (those are the red tomato looking things in front--never even seen one before!).  For veggies we got a pack of mushrooms (which we don't care for, but I intend to make homemade cream of mushroom soup for the freezer), 6 roma tomatoes, romaine (I think) lettuce, broccoli, and rainbow carrots.   (I'm pretty excited to try a purple carrot!)

Now most of the veggies will just go into a big salad, and the melons we've already diced up and eaten/stored away in the fridge, and I think there will be smoothies.

I'm kinda glad there wasn't too much thought and creativity going into this week's basket (except the persimmons~more on that tomorrow!) because my husband and I have both been a little bit sick, and the house is showing that!  Because of that, I'm mostly going to be grabbing from the freezer for dinners this week.

Here's the plan:

Breakfasts:
Persimmon cookies
Persimmon bread  (recipes coming tomorrow!)
oatmeal
cereal
carrot muffins (from freezer)

Lunches:
Ramen & Chef Boyardee  (yep...after shopping and baking that was it for me!)
fish sticks
sandwiches x3  (ham, peanut butter, tuna)
salad

Dinners:
Turkey soup (already thawing)
Beef stroganoff (assuming I get that cream of mushroom made....or It's not like I don't have a can of it sitting around...)
Roast
Italian Sausage Soup x2  (cooking this one fresh, but will freeze a lot of it)
(Saturday Night church this week so perhaps eat out??)
Turkey Pot Pie


What are you having this week?

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