Monday, January 28, 2013

Ending the Pantry Challenge

Ok, this was harder than I thought. I am ending a little early here because, well, I just want to. But I think for my first go at it, it was a relative success. My pantry got a little cleaner, as did the freezer. We used things we had been ignoring like frozen diced chicken. And I also rotated and replenished my chicken stock by roasting 2 chickens this month. I didn't bake as much as I would have liked but that was really just lack of motivation. If I bake it I eat it and I don't need a ton of bread and cookies, etc. I do need to make the men some sandwich bread though... I see a baking day in the future.

At the end I was not posting because we really were just scrounging and not making real meals. I have not felt very well recently, not sick per say, but just not myself. I say recently but what I really mean is for the last 3 years! Ugh, you forget about yourself with kids and marriage and everyday duties. I am not a priority to me. And, I have paid for it. Finally, I said enough and am doing a 2 week cleanse by Women to Women. They have varying levels of strictness and I am doing the most strict. After 2 weeks I will phase back in foods and see which ones make me feel crappy. I am thinking I may have a sensitivity to sugar, large amounts of wheat, milk (not fermented dairy, just milk), beef and pork. Chicken and fish seem to be fine and they allow it during the cleanse. Also, caffiene. Must stay away from caffiene!

Soon to come, I will be posting about so awesome news we got when we filed our taxes. Good news, you say? How can filing taxes be good news!? Well, for us this year it was. House here we come.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The House

I have wanted to write about this for a while but the last time I did that was almost 3 years ago! Can you say life defeated us a little? But we are truly hell bent to build this house even if we have to whittle it from the trees we have cut down and live like hobbits. I love my parents, I do, we just can not continue to co-habitate. There will be blood or tears or unkind words and I worked really hard to get to this point in my relationship with my mother so backwards is not an option, k?

First, I will give you the basics. My parents have the best kept secret in our town. It's called their land. All 40 acres of it. I say it is the best kept secret because it's off the main road, it is surrounded by 2 rivers and the only way to get to it besides the main drive way is by a trail through the woods. It's private. You would never know it was there unless you looked across the river from the farm over yonder and exclaimed "My, what a pretty field! I wonder how you get to it?". Generously, they have given both me and my brother a lot to build a house from it. And, because we are no dummies, we took the offer. Our lot is on the road that goes out to the field and stops at the edge of it. When we stared into it last fall it looked absolutely daunting. It was a tangled, overgrown bit of forest that is narrow with a fence on the back side (which belongs to another farm) and my aunt on another side. We got permission to start clearing it and within a day Montana Man got enough undergrowth and dead trees out of the way to get a better picture of what we are dealing with. It really is a unique and attractive piece. We worked for about a month on the weekends clearing as much as we deemed necessary and tried to save as many mature hardwoods as practical. We have cut and set aside enough red oaks (we hope) to supply us with hardwood flooring. More on how we will achieve that later!

I can't tell you how many floor plans I have drawn up in the last 3 years, I really can't. One day it just clicked for me. I abandoned trying to have a traditional 2 story house and decided a ranch with a daylight basement was our answer. Budget was the issue, a 2 story house would have been too cramped for the size we could afford, but a ranch with a daylight was within reach. And our land just happened to lend itself to the daylight perfectly with a southeast slope. I played around with different exterior dimensions and 28'x40' was the winner. What you see above is the main floor. The ceiling will be vaulted over the main rooms but then will be normal over the other half of the house.

The bathroom. We will not have a designated "master bath" but instead a pocket door access. Yes, how un-American Dream of us, sharing our bath with the children! Really, I thought about it and it's a big fat waste of money to have a master bath. If you have a bunch of money and want to spend it on that, go for it, but for us it was an unwise decision, and frankly just not an option. The bathroom is my baby. I have dreamed since I was a lot younger of a beautiful bathroom to call mine. With 1920's charm of hexagon floor tile and subway tile and a shower made from both too. A claw foot bath tub. YES. And, because I must have one I will be salvaging one from a junk yard and refinishing it myself. Pedestal sink and whatever toilet we can afford and that'll do it.

Bedrooms.Our room does however have a walk in closet. Not because I have a ton of shoes or clothes but because we had the room to spare for storage space. So it will be multipurpose: clothes, linen, luggage, bedding, crafts, etc. Our room is not excessive is size either, it is spacious enough to comfortably have our king sized bed and baby furniture if need be. No extra furniture except maybe a reading chair. Simple pimple.
You might notice Mini's room is quite small (if you can see the dimensions). She is a baby and that is the baby room. When she is older and we add another little one she will graduate to a bigger room downstairs like her brother. When we have no more babies we will see what we have for genders and assign rooms as need be. Puzzle Boy, as the oldest will have his own room to himself unless he were to suggest otherwise (which I doubt he would!). It just seemed fair. And we also feel strongly about not mixing genders in rooms. It is asking for trouble, kids are kids, and, kids are curious. No co-ed.

The kitchen is designed to be small yet efficient and functional. An island was essential to this for both storage and counter work space. We will also be having a counter depth fridge to keep an open feel. Big appliances just close a kitchen in and we don't need them/ can't afford them. My tip would be to get a deep freezer or a cheap spare fridge and put it in the garage or basement if you really need the space.

The dining room is an open extension of the kitchen and will have a patio door that will eventually open to a small deck. I gauged how big I wanted it to be by how much room we needed to have Thanksgiving dinner. For everyday living it will very comfortably hold a table for eight. Not that we need a table that big for us but we like to have company.

Downstairs will have a family room/ kids area/ school area, 2 bedrooms and a small full bath. The bedrooms will be fairly good sized with generous closets and that is good because at least 2 children will have to share one. By the way, please ignore the compass in the upper right hand corner, it is backward. My bad.

Now, for the best part. We will be building this house off grid. My awesome husband happens to know a thing or two about solar and we have made the commitment to go off grid completely. The lot has no power on it and we want to keep it that way. It is just one more independence from the mainstream we would like to maintain. We also are going to have a wood/oil combination boiler. We would have wood only but for legal/insurance and practical reasons this is not an option. But, we should only have to fill our small oil tank once a year to heat water in the summer. So electric bill, gone. Excessive oil bill, gone. Having peace of mind that we will have power and heat when others may not is everything. We will be responsible, not dependent on large companies and our wallet to keep us warm and functioning. Can you say AWESOME?

I want to document this process not just for us but for others who think they can't afford to build a home their way. Our budget is small for what we are to achieve. $100,000, that's our top and by my calculations we are at that mark right now in projected cost. Solar has taken 15% of this budget but it is worth the month to month savings in living cost. In a few years our only expenses will be a mortgage and typical smaller bills (insurance, phones, food, gas, car repairs, etc). No other loans, no huge credit card bills or oil bills or electric bills.

So that's our plan! Now to just start! Stupid winter.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 22

Today was just one of those days where the car just done quit on me. And then was fine after I had to call my son out of school. It made me cry and scream hysterically. I really hate car trouble, especially with two small children at 7:58 am in 12 degree weather. Seeing why I was crying now?

Anyway, I did not take pics of our dinner because it was mish mash again, my grandparents stopped by when I normally would have been "cooking" so I happily used the excuse to just not cook. We had freezer food, which I guess is within the guidelines of the challenge... right?

I almost forgot to post. Shame! But I have been working on house planning so I have been busy... and neglecting folding my laundry. I will make myself do it tomorrow before my mother makes another comment about how she can't understand my method of rifling through a basket to find clothing. If I had to only fold pants and t-shirts I would do it. It's all the itty bitty baby stuff that irks me, it takes forever!!! But I digress, I will be posting soon about said house. Hopefully I will be able to seduce the scanner to upload our floor plans. It is going to be a beautiful house... sigh. Prayers for us to get our modest amount of financing to build would be much appreciated.

Is anyone else doing this crazy challenge too? Speak up!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 21

Can we just assume I am not going to blog on the weekend? Good, ok then, whew! Load off my chest! My husband is home on the weekends so as you may be able to conclude, I have better things to do than sit at the computer. Yessah, I do. Plus I might not have been all that creative this weekend food wise... um, yeah. We definitely ate at home and from the pantry, we just didn't make "complete meals". Boring and random. But, fear not! I have made chili from leftover beans and taco meat and a can of tomatoes and I will later make cornbread in the skillet. And hitch up you britches because I am cooking the chili on the wood stove. Gasp! Do people do that anymore? Cook on wood? How primitive and old fashioned! Well, I will have you know one of my favorite cousins cooks on her wood stove all winter, bakes in it too. If I could mail myself to her and just follow her around for a year I would. She is a wealth of knowledge about all things sustainable and homesteading. I love her. So here is what cooking on a wood stove looks like:

Bonus picture of Mini and PB. They are playing Hop on Papa. My dad is a good sport.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 18

Um... I caved tonight and got Chinese food. I was burnt and I am having some real fatigue issues. Seriously, not really sure what the heck is up with the no energy crisis. Although I can't say that my take out choice way the wisest, but hubby wanted so hubby got cause he had been gone all week and I like to indulge him. I am not giving up though! I will persevere! Pizza night on Saturday :-)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 17

I cooked allllllll daaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. All day. But not for us ;-) So we had randomness for dinner! Puzzle Boy got GF mac and cheese, I had a PB & J and later a little quiche, Mini Me had yogurt and bananas. Montana Man is still out for work until Friday night. But I was able to bless a friend with a few wonderfully healthy meals so it was very worth it.

Have you blessed someone with a meal lately? Sometimes the best soul food is the food someone else gets to eat. Part of being a community is to serve others, it is one of the major identity markers that Jesus teaches us. Give in anyway you can, for me that is food and my time/ presence. For others it may be another skill or even money (the most common one we think of). Look around you at the community you live in. Have you selflessly served someone lately? If you did was it someone you know well or was it someone you want to get to know better? A stranger? Just food for thought (haha pun intended!).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What to Feed a Very Pregnant Lady

^ This is a very pregnant lady. That was me last March two days before I started my ridiculously long labor. If you are curious you can read about it here. But I could have been in big trouble and ended up with a preemie if I had not gotten a wake up call from my midwife. When I was about 30-32ish weeks pregnant I wasn't feeling so great and was having subtle signs of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is not something to screw with, if left untreated it has the potential to be fatal to both mother and baby. Doctors will tell you there is no rhyme or reason women get it but midwives and the educated wise woman knows different. So as wise women do I am sharing my knowledge with you. Preeclampsia can be directly traced to malnourishment in the mother, particularly protein deficiency. I was so big and so uncomfortable and so tired, thinking of fixing a meal was daunting. I bottom line was starving because what food I did eat went right into growing baby, nothing left for mama. Now I was fortunate to have my midwife catch this early and run a test that confirmed I needed to EAT and eat a lot. And then I was even more lucky to be living with my mommy to feed me said food. In two weeks I was back to a good place but I had to keep eating like a hippo until I popped. She was worth it!

What did I eat? I ate real food. I ate 100 grams of protein a day (hard!), lots of greens, nuts, fruit smoothies, raisins (good iron), ice cream (calories baby!) oily fish and whole milk. During the last 3 months of pregnancy, you need more food than you could ever wish to even look at when your stomach is stuffed underneath your left lung, but eat it you must!

A friend of mine is in the end months and she was starting to feel the same way I was. Since I have a passion for all things pregnancy and birth and babies, I wanted to mother this mother-to-be! So I am veering off of my challenge just a hair to make this awesome lady some killer baby-grow.

Salmon Chowder. (calories and omega 3 fatty acids)
Braised greens with bacon. (greens!!!!! can't stress those enough)
Personal quiches with broccoli and cheese. (eggs, veggies, dairy)
Lentil soup with more bacon. (iron and protein in lentils are great for vegetarians)

Also got her cashew nuts and sending her little boxes of raisins. The name of the game is Iron, Calcium, Protein, Omega oils, Calories, Nutrient Dense. If you are very pregnant and all you have had today was a peanut butter and jelly with a cup of decaf coffee then you need a reality check. Tough love guys, you are growing a human, not just a really cute bump. If your baby was on the outside you wouldn't feed him crap, don't do it while he is in you either. So much passes to him that if you take Tums for your heartburn, you will have calcium deposits in your placenta. AKA you will be blocking blood vessels. Take papaya enzyme tablets instead, they work great.

End of rant, hope you learned something valuable, if you already knew all this then kudos.

Pantry Challenge: Day 16, Taco taco taco!

Have any of you seen the movie Paulie? It's about a parrot that travels the country going from owner to owner, tear jerker really! But in one of the scenes there are some Mexican birds and all the can do is repeat and the guy says taco and they say "taco taco taco!". Every time I make tacos I think of that movie. Bet you can't guess what I made for dinner!

Yup, tacos. You are so smart! But I did not take a picture cause I was so hungry and so were my little hooligans that I was just on the fast track to shoving food in my face and theirs. I seasoned my meat, not from a packet (Gasp! Do people do that?!) and made my own refried beans from dried beans I had cooked in the crock pot. Also used a package of nearly stale taco shells that had been open. Bam! How's that for pantry challenge? I made mine into a salad and had only one shell for dipping in the beans. Wasn't I a good girl? I may not wear a bikini again but at least I won't want to volunteer to be buried in the sand! I have also been using the coconut oil in some of my cooking and I can't tell the difference, so that's good?

Over half way there, don't give up!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 15

Tonight I have made a stunning lasagna, I would suggest a bottle of cabernet sauvignon to complement. Does the pantry include wine that has been hanging around in the back of it? Cause there really is such a wine in there. Maybe I could coerce mom into opening it since the men are gone and we could get girly about dinner. Hmm...

This morning was another "mom fail" for me and my high expectations. I slept in until 7:20 and then both kids ate in the car while I drove Puzzle Boy to school. Yes, both. The baby had her morning bottle in the car. And she was super happy about it which makes me feel worse for the poor habits I am teaching! UGH! Then I came home and ate the leftover cheese grits from last night. End of story, moving on.

Lunch was yogurt. Moving on.

Tonight! Lasagna. I made it while the kids settled down for naps after lunch and now for dinner all I have to do is chuck it in a 350 degree oven and make a salad. Puzzle Boy has leftover chicken fingers and greens to eat from last night, the lasagna is not GF. But he gets ketchup again so he will see this as a win.

Mmmm...... lasagna.

Made croutons.

Emptied the dressing bottle.

Caesar Salad.

Can I just try to cover my rear end for a moment? I am sure some of you die hard challenge ladies will have seem my shopping confessions trips and been like "that was unnecessary". In the defense of my pickles, popcorn and yogurt, I am trying to lose weight. Pickles are like 5 calories, popcorn makes me feel like I am not dieting for 100 calories and yogurt is just a nice snack for 80 calories. I have been "dieting" aka hating my body for the better part of a decade now and I have finally found my low cal niche. Yes, I still eat "bad" food sometimes but my little extras make me strong enough to not overeat. P.S. I use Pass it on, it is an amazing tool.

Breakfast Burritos

We had these on day 11 of the Pantry Challenge. They were awesome. Here is how I made them!

I had 9 eggs, onion, mini peppers, 9 strips of bacon, about 1/2 a cup of black beans and wheat and white tortillas. I sauteed the veggies then scrambled in the eggs while the bacon cooked on a rack in the oven.

I chopped up 5 strips of the bacon (saved the other 4 for pizza) and added that to the eggs as well as a last minute addition of some chives. Then I warmed the tortillas so they would roll better, lay one out with a slice of american cheese in the center. I measured 1/3 cup of the egg mix and plopped it in the middle.

Roll it up and put on a pan. When you have them all done, I got 8, put them in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes to melt the cheese and get the tortillas slightly crisp. Then eat them. Just not all of them. It will be hard to resist, they are that good. So easy and could be really cheap if you use it as an opportunity to clean out your fridge like I did.

Pantry Challenge: Playing Catch Up

Um, I think I missed a day or two. Or 7. My bad, sorry guys. We are still doing the challenge, I just got behind in time to post. I have been taking some pics though and keeping track of my shopping trips so I will just catch you up.

Day 9, Wednesday: We had mexican lasagna made by my mom. Corn was served with that.

Day 10, Thursday: We had leftovers and my son had GF mac n' cheese per his request and me finding a box.

Day 11, Friday: Breakfast Burritos! And the rest of the watermelon. They were sooo good.

Day 12, Saturday: We had leftover breakfast burritos for, you guessed it, breakfast. Then we had homemade reuben pizza (I had saurkraut and ham that needed to be used) and pepperoni, mushroom, bacon pizza.

Day 13, Sunday: Breakfast and lunch were fend for yourself meals. Dinner was at our MC. I made cornbread to contribute.

Day 14, Monday: I finally made my southern meal! Fried chicken breasts, braised greens (amazing) and cheese grits (also amazing). I had never mad the greens or the grits and they will be made again. I also got my "nutella" made.

Shopping Trip:

Hannaford: no picture :-(

bananas- $.59/lb = $1.22
celery- $1.79
avocados- 2 @ $1.39
vine tomatoes (local)- $2.69/lb = $3.98
8 oz mushrooms- $2.29
organic dill- $2.49
organic rosemary- $1.79
2lb organic carrots- $2.99
Nature's Path organic GF cereal- $4.59
GF bread crumbs- $2.89
Oscar Meyer turkey deli meat- $3.99
Claussen pickles- $3.69
85% lean ground beef- $12.78
Gluten Free Pantry muffin mix- $3.99 -$2.00 coupon = $1.99
XL organic brown eggs- $3.99
beef broth, 32 oz- $1.39
shredded mozzerella cheese- $8.49
canned mushrooms- $.99
organic sprouted whole wheat english muffins- $2.99
2 V8 Fusion juices 2/ $4.00 + $.10 deposit
orange juice- $3.79 = $.05 deposit
1/2 gal 1% milk- $2.30
frozen peas and carrots- $1.19
2 4 packs of yogurt- 2 @ $1.99
Earth's Best organic infant formula- $25.99
100 calorie popcorn- $2.79
light thousand island dressing- $2.59
swiss cheese slices- $3.79

Total: $117.68

Whole Foods:

Honey (local Maine)- $7.99
Organic coconut oil- $6.99
Organic yokids yogurt- 2 @ $3.99
Organic yobaby yogurt- 2 @ $2.99
Organic 1% milk- $5.99
GF pasta- $3.50
GF spaghetti- $2.39
GF Annie's mac n' cheese- 2 @ $2.99
Odwalla protein drink (Mama's treat)- $2.50

Total: $49.35

I got the coconut oil to try out, I have heard it being used much more by other blog mama's out there. You also might notice that we try to buy as much organic as is practical. The kids for the most part get organic, I go to Whole Foods to get milk in a gallon size, Hannaford only carries organic milk in 1/2 gallons for a ridiculous price. I try to stick to the Dirty Dozen and local as well. If I know that a local company is committed to natural ways then I won't stress they aren't certified organic, I will chose them. I would really like to do only farmers markets when the season comes for produce and get used to more seasonal menus. But I don't know if I will ever give up buying bananas, they are a mama's best friend!

Drop me a line, how is it going?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 8, Breakfast Freezer Cooking

Freezer cooking today! I made gluten free pancakes (Stonewall mix, gift) and chocolate chip bran muffins. I am going to make a couple extra breakfast burritos on Thursday to keep in the freezer as well for Montana Man.

I had an epiphany today while I was making pancakes. Cooling racks. In the freezer. Yes. As the pancakes came of the griddle they went on to a cooling rack.

Then when it gets full...

Stick the whole thing in the freezah.

When they are fully frozen I will bag them up. I will do the same with the muffins.

I went shopping at Trader Joe's today and got:

white and wheat flour tortillas- 2 @ $2.29
chives and parsley, fresh- 2 @ $1.69
frozen corn- $1.29
light sour cream- $1.79
pepperoni- $2.99 (not pictured cause I forgot cause I'm dumb)
bagged cooking greens- $3.49

Total: $17.52

Tonight we are having plain old pasta and meatballs with kale. Boring, so, I will not be taking a picture. I will be eating. Keep up the good work hooligans!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 7

It was cereal and granola bars for breakfast today. Montana Man is gone with work for the week climbing cell phone towers so it's just me and the kiddos (and my parents, shh... yes we still live with them. We are working on it!).

Dinner was Vegetable Corn Cheese Chowder in a bread bowls and watermelon. Mom made it. I had planned for salmon chowder because mom was going to make it, I hate picking out the bones! But she changed her mind. I don't think she wanted to pick out the bones either. It's a pain. But canned salmon is so delicious and inexpensive comparatively. So here are the pictures of dinner.

Pantry Challenge: Week 2 Plan

Happy Monday. I'm being polite. Your welcome.

I am still trying to get the house in order after the holidays. It's getting there, my closet the longer looks like a mad person went through it looking for 1 specific shirt (who said that!?) and my son's toys have been reorganized so he can actually play with things and not wander around the house driving me nuts! But there is still a lot to do, lets call it winter cleaning if you will. And I am taking a nap break right now and writing cause I wanna. K? K.

This week I want to being a bit more organized and intentional with breakfast. I am not a morning or breakfast person. I actually am just a little puzzled how some moms get up and make pancakes or eggs for kids before school. Nuts! But I want to be that mom! I want to get up and put a hearty, rib sticking breakfast in front of my kid and be like "Bam! There is breakfast!". So you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to cheat! Bwahahahaha! I am going to make pancakes and the like ahead, freeze it and then bring it back to life in the toaster oven. I have a ton of GF pancake mixes that need thinning out so I am going to whip up a huge batch, maybe some chocolate chip banana bran muffins for me. So, here is what this week looks like:



Monday- Vegetable Corn Cheese Chowder in mini bread bowls, watermelon

Tuesday- Pasta and Meatballs with red sauce and kale

Wednesday- Mexican lasagna, corn

Thursday- Breakfast Burritos, fruit

Friday- Oven Fried Chicken, greens, grits (new to us!)

Saturday- Homemade Pizza

Sunday- M.C. dinner night

Shopping for this week:

sour cream
panko bread crumbs
GF bread crumbs
flour tortillas
parmesan cheese
pizza toppings
frozen corn
fresh herbs

I will do a post on my shopping trip, I am aiming to go to either Whole Foods or Trader Joe's tomorrow because Wednesday and Thursday I have mommy plans. How did week 1 go for you?

Pantry Challenge: Day 6

Ugh! Falling behind already! Must run faster, PMS grabbed my ankles and dragged me down! Ok, enough drama. Yesterday was Sunday, day 6 in the challenge. It was fairly uneventful food wise. But what I love about Sunday is that we participate in a Missional Community or M.C. Ours meets on Sunday night and we get together and have a meal and last night was an awesome meal! So you could say that I took a night off. On the home front, my mom made a venison dish for the men. Montana Man had a work project to finish so he and Puzzle Boy stayed home. Next post I promise there will be pictures and a new weekly plan! The end.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 5

Saturday!!! It was a day of cleaning and feeling crappy. But I still made Montana Man breakfast sandwiches and pizza from scratch. Today's recap:

Breakfast sandwiches with leftover ham, cereal, yogurt.

Leftover Chicken Divan and rice.

Homemade pizzas with ham, sausage, veggies.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 4

And I didn't take pictures again. Sorry! Just a recap today.

Cereal and milk for all.

Leftover soup and cornbread (finished both).

Chicken Divan with broccoli, rice and cranberry sauce.

The fridge is getting less cluttered and we are eating probably better than we were before I started because I am actually planning meals. I don't really know why I ever got out of the habit. Laziness I guess and then blamed it on having a baby. Well, I kinda can't do that forever! Have to say this has given me a confidence boost in the dinner department!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 3

Day 3 and I haven't given up yet! It has to be a record. I am actually enjoying this, I haven't had to panic at 5:00 and do the "we are eating whatever crap I can find in the freezer" again. Liberating! And part of this is that I have rekindled the love affair with my slow cooker. I LOVE it. I take about 15-20 minutes in the morning, switch it on and walk away (or run and scream "I'm free!"). Like today I fixed up a roasting chicken I had thawed from the freezer and cooked it til it was falling apart. Then I picked it clean, threw the bones, skin and other rejectamenta back into the crock and reserved about 3 cups of breast meat for tomorrow. The rest of the meat I shredded and used up a bottle of BBQ sauce (I even rinsed it out ;-) ). When it was time for dinner I threw the rest of a bag of fries in the oven and grated cabbage and carrots for coleslaw using up yet another bottle with the dressing (rinsed that one out too!). It was delicious. After dinner I attended to the chicken remains in the slow cooker. I added half an onion left over, a stalk of celery, 2 small carrots, a bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme and s&p. Covered it with water, stuck it on low, I will have stock in the morning. Yay multitasking, sleeping and cooking at the same time, didn't know I was that talented did you?

So here was the days meal recap:

Fried eggs and milk for Puzzle Boy, fried egg, cornbread and oj for mama. I had my other smoothie for a snack late in the morning.

PB & J for P.B., leftover lentil soup and more cornbread for mama.

BBQ chicken sandwiches, coleslaw and fries. The picture doesn't do it justice, it was sooo gooood!!!

Shopping Trip: Trader Joe's

Organic brown eggs- $3.79
Sea salt- $1.49
Organic unsalted butter- $4.79
Organic frozen broccoli florets- 2 @ $2.49

Total: $15.05 (gift card)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pantry Challenge: Day 2

Puzzle Boy went back to school today so our morning was the typical drive into the city to his school. He eats GF cereal on the way in, he's not a morning eater really. After I dropped him off, Mini Me and I hopped over to Whole Foods (my favorite store) to grab some gallons of organic milk and a few other missing items from the menu. I still need to go again for some basic things I have run out of (kosher salt anyone?). Here is what I bought today:

2 gallons of lowfat organic milk- $11.98
1/2 gallon of orange juice- $3.19
2 Odwalla smoothies (2/$5.00)- $5.00 + $.10 bottle deposit
1 cabbage (@ $1.29/lb)- $3.13
1 large bunch of celery- $2.49
1 package whole wheat burger buns (8)- $3.29

Total: $29.18

I drank one of the smoothies for breakfast and the other one will be tomorrows breakfast. I am not a morning person, ok? And I have given up coffee, my favorite thing. After tomorrow I will be making my own smoothies, today I fell victim to a sale and a twist top.

For lunch I had a sandwich with leftover ham and PB had GF pretzels with a clementine and cheese stick. Mini had a baby yogurt. The kids lunch items are staples in this house, I will be restocking by week 2 or 3.

For dinner it's lentil and ham bone soup. We had a ham bone in the freezer from my grandmother's Christmas party that needed to evacuate. I immediately thought of pea soup, a family fav, but alas I was out of dry split peas! I thought, out I will just grab some at the store tomorrow! Then my mom said, "No!" so I said "Lentils!". Let the innovation begin!

Lentil and Ham Bone Soup

1 meaty ham bone
1 lb green lentils
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small heart or 2 lg ribs of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
salt to taste
6-8 cups of water (to cover by 1 inch)

Dump it all in your crock pot on low for about 6-8 hours until the lentils thicken the soup. Remove the bone and meat, chop up the meat and add it back. Remove the bay leaves, they might hurt your throat. Or leave them in, I hear it's good luck to the one who gets one in their bowl! Just don't eat them, I beg you.

Chop your veggies.

Add bay leaves.

And thyme.

Aaannd red pepper flakes.

Ready for the cover. It will be delicious!

Along with the soup I will be making bacon cornbread! YUM.

Let me know if you are participating and tell me how you are doing! Leave a message, I love messages!

Pantry Challenge: Day 1, Oink oink

Sorry, I did not think to take pictures of our meal last night! Envision a baked ham with a few baked potatoes and veggies.

I will give you a little back ground here. We went to Florida for Christmas this year. Before we left we cleaned out the fridge and took a lot of food with us in the RV. But when we got home we had not so much to put back. So you will see me supplementing just a little with the grocery store! No, I am not going hard core here even if I do have a huge box of dry milk in my pantry, it just don't taste the same! But I am going to fore go take out and what not, thus Saturday nights will be homemade pizza night instead of $5 pizza night.

So, anyway yesterday we had typical breakfasts, cereal and the like. My brother got me a breakfast sandwich and sent it home with Montana Man but I had already eaten so I had that for lunch. Montana Man got the pantry special of tuna melts on english muffins for lunch. I had an open package of wheat english muffins in the freezer that needed using and I scrounged a can of tuna, mayo and american cheese. It was fast (he was hungry... now!), and it was tasty. Then for supper as a fore mentioned, we had the ham. There is just something about ham that is funny to me. It's like this big fat lump of pink mystical meat that appears only on holidays and buffets. It makes me think of words like oink. I did not buy this ham, it was given to my mom. We baked potatoes that were hanging out in the deep end of the fridge, finished a bag of peas and carrots from the freezer and a can of cream style corn. That was day one! Next up, lentils (no seriously, stay with me, they are good!).