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Food Challenge September 2012

September 9th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Another quick post to add:

We ate out on DH's birthday at the local Mexican restaurant. It was terrible, mine was anyway, that was Thursday September 6th.

On Friday our friends were coming over to begin our Friday Night dinners again and to celebrate the birthday/anniversary. DH barbecued steaks, scallops and shrimp, made garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus and yellow squash from the garden. Friends brought a German chocolate cake and ice cream.

The four of us agreed this was our last blowout as we all need to lose a few pounds!

I also notified DH that we are participating in a food challenge. No eating out all all the rest of the month. So last night were leftovers (our actual anniversary). I am not sure what DH has planned for tonight.

He has been cleaning since I am suffering from a migraine and backache after eating the choco cake and working in the yard all day yesterday.

DH cleaned out the freezers this morning and something tells me the lobster mac and cheese from Costco is going to be on the menu soon. DH shopped yesterday at Costco getting our usual veges, bread and milk. Our pantry and freezer are very full so we are ready!

Food Challenge September 2012

September 2nd, 2012 at 02:45 pm

In this heat of Southern California (inland), a crockpot is essential. Thank goodness the kids packed it and brought it with them. Found it above the frig. The other day I put in a family pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a package of taco seasoning mix and the rest of the Kirland brand organic salsa I found in the frig. I cooked them all day, then shredded them and made chicken quesadillas. SIL and granddaughter both liked them. We had fresh baby carrots and strawberries. I froze the rest in little packages.

Then yesterday I soaked boneless, skinless thighs in plain old teryaki sauce and dumped that into the crockpot on high for the afternoon. DSIL again liked it, but alas, granddaughter thought "too spicy". Haha. Served with fresh steamed broccoli and more strawberries.

It is weird to be in charge of food in a kitchen with a pantry and freezer that are not your own! Like tonight, I have hotdogs and buns left, but stupidly only bought one can of chili for chili dogs on Friday, so I will do plain hot dogs with sweet potato fries for tonight, then leftover teryaki chicken with brown rice and asparagus.......then I will head home!

There I will have my very full freezer and pantry for my meal planning. We have not eaten out one time since my daughter left for South Carolina on August 22nd!

I stopped at the Goodwill on Friday and found 2 summery tops and several books. I finished a Mary Higgins Clark one first and now am reading The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. Need to reserve this month's book club book.....Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon Days. The last Garrison Keillor book I read was Pontoon and I absolutely howled with laughter over that one.

Speaking of howling with laughter...the kids have Netflix and I was watching Lost. I decided I need something fun, so I watched a few episodes of The Office that I had not seen before. Omgosh, I had to be quiet because Ally was napping, but it was the one where Dwight faked a fire.....when the blond throws her cat up at Oscar and it falls through the ceiling....Baaahaaaa......

When I should have been watching the pennies, I ignored finances...

August 28th, 2012 at 11:45 am

I became disabled basically August 1, 2010. Basically for 2 years I hated looking at our finances. I rarely posted here, I rarely read anything financial.

Now a month after starting my new job and 2 weeks after arriving here in Temecula, I am finding myself interested again. It doesn't take a psychologist to figure out the two are connected.

I was frugal and I thought about money, but I dreaded paying the bills, planning etc. I did start using coupons and after one particularly bad mexican restaurant meal with friends, I started Friday Night Dinners....

I was home and my friend, after staying home with her kids for 18 years, was working full-time. Our husbands are total bff's and have man-dates at least once a week. One Friday they asked us to go out to dinner with them (my friend has always hated cooking even when she was a stay-at-home wife). So out we went to the local Mexican place. The food was awful, barely warm and for the 4 of us it was $50.00.

I told them from now on I would make dinners on Friday nights....so I started. I would take the opportunity to try something new and sometimes other people would come. When their youngest daughter started basketball season we didn't get to do it as often. However, they never plan meals so occasionally DH and I will call if we have a lot of food and ask them up. They always come.....one time bringing the husband's sister and her DH. We had cooked a turkey that day. In return they have brought stuff to us from Costco and not let us pay and have helped do household stuff too.

We are lucky to have such good friends who live only 2 blocks away.

A Lot on my Mind...

December 20th, 2010 at 08:41 am

I forgot to sign the cashier's check that mom gave me and the bank called (US Bank) and had to send it back. Thank goodness for living in a small town. Our renters also forgot to make a deposit or something, so their check also was returned (did not receive phone call, just the check back from Chase), but renters called to let us know).

You may already know this, but they don't send the actual checks back anymore, but a "legal copy".

At 81, mom's recovery is slower than I expected (what was I thinking?). My two older sisters came to help out and did a major decluttering of mom's home.

Inspired, I went through a pile of paperwork on my desk and I found two car registrations that are due on 12/31/2010. The State of California does not like it when you are late paying, and tack on nice little late payments. Thank goodness I found these. I will pay on line today.

My new hobby is paying off with some shopping this weekend. Two new babies in the neighborhood, along with a gift for granddaughter's BFF (next door), a couple of outfits for granddaughter and new socks (I have a sock thing) and new walking shoes for me at Kohl's. DH found a $10.00 off any $20.00 purchase at his business along with the one we tore off our newspaper, gave us 2!! I also had a 30% off coupon received in the mail. For all this I paid less than $40.00. The Nike's alone were normally $59.99!

After that I went to Walgreen's to use that $5.00 in jingle bucks received at the last visit, along with $3.30 in manufacturer's coupons. I checked the ads carefully and then was ready!

After that.... CVS.I had $18.97 in Care bucks along with $2.00 in manufacturer's coupons to use there.

I obviously have got to quit buying cereal!

Unopened boxes.

Opened boxes. Yes that is writing you see on my cabinet. We measured the kids growing up and kids visiting when they were younger (actually we still do this) with the name and date. I have to save that door when we replace our cabinets.

Normally shopping at Safeway makes me cringe, but with their new program and a little planning, I was pleasantly surprised by my last visit there. Again I had $3.30 in manufacturer's coupons to use along with some on-line ones from the Safeway web site. Some highlights of that visit were 2 lb Tillamook cheddar (our favorite) for only $3.99, 1 doz eggs for $1.08 and Barilla pasta for 92 cents a pound. I also picked up some Starbucks decaf Cafe Verona that was on sale for $7.99 and I had a $1.00 off coupon and I can take the empty package in for a free cup! I may use that today while running errands.

Today is the last day to shop for Toys for Tots sponsored by the Marine Corp. I already bought some things, but am going to pick up more. Also the Wags checker and I got to talking (what can I say, I am a talker), and she said something about being "brain dead". When I asked why, she said she worked two jobs to support her 5 kids with deadbeat dads (yes dads). I asked if she had presents for all of them yet, she said no, but was working on it. I tried to slip her an extra $20.00, but she said thank you, but she could not take it. I insisted, but she again said no. I feel such a burden for that mother. I really want to go get a $100.00 gift certificate for the local mall and drop it off anonymously to the Wags store. But I don't want to get her in trouble and I don't know her name. I am thinking I might call the store and ask who was working on Saturday at the front checkout......

Lastly, we are hoping to travel to Reno where our older daughters live. Yongest daughter and granddaughter drove over last week before the big storm hit California. I get a little weepy thinking of not spending Christmas with our girls for the first time ever. We are hoping to try to go over on Christmas Eve, there appears to be a break in the weather. Instead I may be spending the time looking at pictures like this:


This was taken sometime within the last 10 days when Ally had managed to not take a nap all day, but fell asleep while watching her beloved Yo Gabba Gabba or was it Wow Wow Wubsy??

Target again.

November 24th, 2010 at 03:36 pm

I accidentally bought the movie Matrix in blue ray when I was at Target the other day. We don't have a blue ray player and the purchase is not eminent, so I took it back today.

I had to run to town to my new hand therapist's office to pick up my elbow and wrist braces that were approved by my comp carrier.

Since my new hobby is coupons (or I am trying it anyway), I was ready with coupons for Target. My purchases were so low, I actually thought the checker had made a mistake. She told me right away she was new, when I mentioned I had coupons, and I told her no problem, I was very patient.

So I bought 3 Hasbro games, two 8 oz pkg of shredded Kraft cheese and a chunk of cream cheese.

Coupons were $5.00 off 3 Hasbro toys, $1.00 off 2 pkg of shredded cheese, and off one of the packages of cheese, another $1.00 a cheese and cream cheese. I also had a $3.00 off coupon for general merchandise given to me by Target several months ago. My checker, at the time she was doing my transaction, was having a conversation with the people next in line behind me. Of course she totally messed up my transaction and then told me I had to go over and stand in line at the returns. I was really unhappy and expressed my irritation (nicely since it was not their fault) to the employee in the return area. She gave me three $3.00 off coupons and this was my last one.

So my total came to $12.56, which was less than the 3 games alone would have cost me. So I am thinking if I take a little time befor shopping to glance at any coupons that I may use and print them, it is worth my time (especially since I do not have a job right now).

I turned my application in at the therapist office today too.

My husband is trying a new apple pie recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/the-ultimate-caramel-apple-pie-recipe/index.html

He ruined the first caramel sauce, but his second attempt was yummy, very unusual.

I am making the pumpkin using our usual recipe from Bon Appetit several years ago in a Thanksgiving issue. We usually substitute yams, but this year we have fresh pumpkin from going to the local pumpkin patch with my granddaughter's play group.

I am hoping to get the leaf in the table tonight and get the china out and ready to set the table when breakfast is over in the morning.

Oh and I finally have a price book going. I actually paid $9.00 for a really cool version. (I am not that great at Excel). I really think this will pay for itself quickly.

http://www.uncommonwaytowealth.com/excel-finance-spreadsheets/grocery-savings-spreadsheet-price-book/

It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a price book when you are trying to save money, but I knew I would never do it without some guidance. Then I stumbled on that link and I am using it already.

I have been pushing myself a bit too hard lately and am paying for it. Need to cut back after tomorrow.

I went to Target. I spent money.

November 17th, 2010 at 04:25 pm

I cannot believe I did not post a picture of my granddaughter in her Halloween costume. This is me with her. She pressed her little face against me spontaneously. It was so sweet. She is used to getting her picture taken since her mom is a photographer.

I have been sick for about 10 days now. This is the third day I have been out of bed for more than 1 hour. Now it appears that K&A, who are on their way home from Washington, are sick.

I had two checks that needed to be dealt with an DH and I drank the last of the OJ this morning. Tissues are getting low too.

So I made lists, checked them, printed out coupons and off I went.

Stopped at our bank. Deposited my disability check and cashed another check from a friend who owed me money for a little work.

Then onto pick up DH. He had just let an employee go off on a break, so I ran across the street to Walgreens, picking up a few items:


Then onto Costco for OJ and Honeycrisp apples (the best in my humble opinion, well worth the extra cost:


Oh and Nutella! My first time buying it. Winco was giving out samples the last time I was there and it was so yummy. I am not sure how I will use it, maybe just eat it by the spoonful?

We went ahead and picked up DH's request for Christmas, the cast iron dutch oven. Impulse purchased "cookware" for granddaughter. It was a huge mistake not teaching our daughters to cook. We will not make the same mistake with granddaughter!

Then onto Target for a bunch of good buys. My impulse purchase was the movie Matrix. DH's Christmas gift he will get to open. He loves that movie. My gift to myself was Susan Boyle's Christmas album.

My last stop was at Rite-Aid to pick up more pumpkin and some Fiber1 cereal. They were out of both. A truck is supposed to come in tonight, so I will check back tomorrow. Rite-Aid is very close to my home in my little rural Northern California town.... maybe I will call first.

Anyway since I am 99% sure that I am not going back to work, my goal is to squeeze every penny until it screams. I know I bought a lot of "prepared" food at Target, but with my fibromyalgia, I need some shortcuts. There will be days that I will be lucky to get any food on the table or leave it for DH and it will be okay once in a while.

I did come home from shopping and put a stew in the oven. We watched Chopped last night on Foodnetwork and one of the mystery ingredients was baby turnips. EEK we have turnips in our raised bed garden we planted on 09/06/10. They are probably perfect little baby turnips. We never did thin them because things got crazy and then my diagnosis..... anyway I went out and sure enough, cute little turnips:


So here is our dinner, in our new dutch oven:


My favorite stew. It has a bit of bacon, apple juice, tomato paste and some fresh herbs from our garden (with the cute little turnips), carrots, mushrooms and red potatoes. Oh and a few bouillion cubes since I have no canned beef broth.

On the fibro front, my core exercises, the mega doses of vitamins (have not been on the treadmill since I have been sick) and not picking up my granddaughter and laying around have resulted in a fairly pain-free week. My back is bothering me now though from the shopping and cooking.

I will get up and put the groceries away and clean up the kitchen. The kids will be home tonight.

Meal Planning

September 13th, 2010 at 08:12 am

My girls are home, my SIL is in Afthanistan and it is time to really start with the menu planning/shopping.

I know some here are doing the same and I have a link for you:

http://orgjunkie.com/

Each Monday they have so many blog links with menus for the week. This one is really good as it also has a shopping list:

http://www.savingadvice.com/blogs/cp/entry_add.php

Now I just have to do it (plan the menu)!

Tonight is my second cake decorating class. Last week was really fun, but hard on the wrists. This was not the smartest class to take in the middle of being evaluated for carpal tunnel syndrome. I will wear my elastic wrist braces tonight and hope that helps.

Calling Mrs. Frugalista!!

August 9th, 2010 at 08:35 am

Well you have probably given up on me, but here is my pizza dough recipe in case you still need it. It is from my Oster bread machine cookbook:


Jim's Pizza Crust

Water 7 to 8 oz.
Salt 1/2 tsp
Olive oil or vegetable oil 2 Tbsp
All purpose flour 3 cups
Active dry yeast 1.5 tsp

Combine all ingredients into bread pan, select dough setting. Start. When signal displays done, blah, blah blah. Pull dough out of maching.

Pat dough into a 12 x 15 inch jelly roll pan or greased 12 inch round pizza pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread pizza sauce over dough. Sprinkle toppings over sauce. Bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Back in the days before we had bread machines we used a pizza recipe from the Betty Crocker Breads recipe "book" that we bought after first married almost 32 years ago (first printing 1977), which is where the sauce comes from too:

Pizza
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tablespoons salad oil
3 to 3.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons salad oil

Prepare sauce (recipe to follow). Dissolve yeast in warm water in large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, 3 tablespoons of oil and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place 45 minutes. (Dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched).

Heat over to 400 degrees. Grease 2 jelly roll pans with 2 tablespoons of oil. Punch dough down, divide in half. Roll each half into a rectangle 16 x 11 inches. Place rectangle in each pan.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce over each pizza. Cover with toppings. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake 25 minutes.

Pizza Sauce
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder
1/8 tsp pepper.

Mix all ingredients. Let stand 1 hour.

Now I find it interesting that I used the Oster recipe to make 1 pizza where as the Betty Crocker recipe says it makes 2. I must like thicker pizza crust.

The last pizza I made and the one I am making tomorrow is a barbecued chicken pizza. I used Sweet Baby Ray's regular barbecue sauce instead of regular tomato sauce. I used 2 chicken breasts just sauteed in some oil with salt and pepper (tonight DH is barbecuing chicken breasts along with tonight's pork for tomorrow's pizza. I used red bell pepper and onions that I sauteed before putting on the pizza and mozarella and cheddar cheese. Chopped cilantro on top of the cheese. Yum! I hope you find this useful.

Food, food, food...oh and a quilt

February 24th, 2010 at 09:11 am

The food challenge continues. This week's shopping left us with $8.00 to last until March 1st.

I think we are going to make it because most of our menus this week are based on this:



along with this weeks grocery purchases:



Saturday-Roast turkey dinner.

Sunday-Lunch turkey salad sandwiches with celery, diced bacon and walnuts. Some grapes would have been a great addition, but I was not going to buy some. Hey come to think of it some chopped carrot would have given it a little sweetness. Dinner was leftover turkey dinner for DH and I just had a salad with the leftover turkey salad on top.

Monday-Turkey enchiladas, made 2 small, one for the freezer. Used the dark meat picked from the thigh and leg.



Tuesday-New recipe adapated from Rachel Ray, http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=510

Using these ingredients and the addition of 2 cups of cubed breast meat from turkey:





This was quite tasty with enough for leftovers tonight.



You would have thought I had teenage boys in the house I did so much baking this weekend:



I used half soy flour in all recipes to try to cut down on carbs. All other ingredients I already had in the house (including a past dated tub of light sour cream in the apple/nut muffins you can see in the frig picture).

We had a moment of panic briefly when we were down to one day's worth of coffeebeans left. Then I realized we had one more package of coffee bought in December at Costco when they ran the $4.00 Starbucks. Otherwise my challenge with my sister has been easier than I thought.

I also started this quilt that I finished Monday and drove down to the fabric artist to quilt yesterday.



This is for my BFF's first grandchild, (a boy obviously) born 2/18/2010 on my granddaughter's 18-month birthday!

Spring is on it's way as evidenced by the flowers that are starting to bloom (however a storm blew in yesterday here in Northern Coastal California). My tulips are coming up too!



I have a new computer arriving today that I got at Costco.com for $499.00. Keeping up on blogs and doing my finances has been painfully slow. I had my computer checked by my IT coworker and he said it would cost almost as much to fix and upgrade as getting a new one. I am kind of excited about Windows 7.

Finally, I received 2 checks for reimbursement from my FSA. I deposited into my daughter's account to buy my granddaughter a play kitchen. We took the one we had purchased back to Costco over the weekend (we thought they were living with us for a year, but SIL's orders were changed).

I feel like I was definitely back to my frugal roots over the past week!

Food Challenge the saga continues.....

February 12th, 2010 at 05:22 pm

So I tried some new recipes this week including this ricotta cake pictured below. The link is here:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ricotta-Cake/Detail.aspx#

I used half the filling mixture and it was so tasty. I used up that ricotta that was past dated.





DH called from the game and asked it I wanted to go out with the friend and his wife he was at the game with. I said NO!! We can't spend the money. I suggested they come over and eat tacos with us since that was what we had planned. They came and I had the cake for dessert. It was a great spontaneous meal with friends. I ended up taking the frozen lasagna out of the freezer and sent home with the friends since that is where we went for the Super Bowl. It felt really good to be so organized!!

This week ended up being quite a challenge in that I had jury duty that I was hoping would not happen (you know how you have to call the number the night before to make sure the case has not settled). But no chance. I ended up being an alternate and then yesterday seated as juror #11. That meant eating out for lunch unfortunately. So we have $82.20 left for food for the rest of the month.

Last week's menus were:
Sunday night-party at friend's that we contributed the lasagna.

Monday-Baked chicken breasts with TJ's sundried tomato bruschetta rubbed all over the tops.
Tuesday-Chicken Salad (leftover chicken from Monday), DH had BLT sandwich.
Wednesday-Turkey meatballs Rachel Ray recipe with gnocchi. Turned out quite tasty.
Thursday-Tacos again!
Friday-and tacos again!

I finished organizing my cupboards and pantry cupboards in the garage. I arranged all my baking things together instead of spread around different cupboards so now oil, sugars, spices for baking, raisins, craisins, oatmeal, flour and sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, etc are all together. Why didn't I do that sooner?

We don't have tomorrow or the rest of the week planned yet, but Sunday is filet mignon that DH bought at Costco some time ago for $4.99 a pound, (he says there are at least 8 in the freezer).

I also made muffins for my breakfast using leftover cooked sweet potato (instead of pumpkin) that I had used for Ally's little mini muffins I made her the day before she left. Here is the link and ingredients I used:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Whole-Wheat-Pumpkin-Applesauce-Muffins/Detail.aspx#



I substituted dried cranberries and walnuts for the raisins and pecans. I didn't have any buttermilk so I added about a teaspoon of white vinegar to goats milk that I needed to use up that was also left from Ally's visit.

All in all a fairly successful week, now I just need to get through 2 more!

Oh and then last night after getting home from jury service, I made peanut blossoms, the classic peanut butter with a chocolate kiss in the middle cookies to take to work today. Here is the recipe I used:
http://www.landolakes.com/mealideas/ViewRecipe.cfm?RecipeID=7946

I have to admit I have been having fun trying new recipes and I think DH really appreciates the break from cooking.

So I'm taking this food challenge seriously!

February 6th, 2010 at 03:15 pm

I inventoried the freezer and cupboards including the garage which I didn't take pictures of.


DH and I went shopping yesterday since we had a break in the storms (just rain and wind, no snow). The challenge came at the same time my older sister and I challenged each other to staying under $200.00 for the month and $100.00 for her for the month of February. I warned DH and he is on board. Our total for groceries is $76.48 for the month.


We ended up getting some bulbs and a nice set of cookware for $9.97 at Costco. We bought another set for his mother. Ours we actually took the display set.


Along with the pantry and some greens still growing in the garden, I think we can keep it under the $200.00 goal.


Especially using up leftovers and pantry items like this chili I made for DH last weekend for his lunches:


or like this weekend for my lunches:


I am glad I have something to keep me occupied so I am not missing:


Although sometimes I think Landon misses her more:




All the cherrios she dropped and eating her leftovers that she threw from the highchair to him waiting below....

Time to watch Lifetime and knit while DH is at the local college game that is being broadcast on CBSC, quite exciting for our small local college.

Well I'm in on the food

February 2nd, 2010 at 03:52 pm

challenge, but taking it a step further and trying to keep it under $200.00 for both of us. I am in a contest with my sister who is single, she is trying to keep it under $100.00.

Unfortunately I blew today. I took a break after 2 hours at work to come home and say goodbye to my daughter and granddaughter and my dear sweet 17-month-old granddaughter cried and cried when I was going back to work. I was so upset I am not going to see her for 5 months, I stopped and got a Cinnamon Dolce latte on the way back to work. So $195.00 left for food this month!

I have been very busy with the visit and spent a lot of time doing this:



I am going to try to post my grocery purchases and my menus for the month. DH made a pan of lasagna and 2 packages of 3 cups each of more spaghetti sauce. We used italian sausage from the freezer, a large can of tomato sauce from the pantry, ricotta that was about to expire and lasagna noodles from the pantry. Onion, bell pepper and mushrooms were the only additions that we bought in the past week, but not purchased in February!

Last night I ate some chinese chicken salad and finished it up for lunch today. I will probably cook up some leftover steak from Sunday night with some broccoli left from the big bag bought over the weekend.

I took an inventory of the pantry and freezer and being careful I think this is completely doable. DH normally does all the cooking, but I am going to try to do both shopping and cooking for the month, which is a challenge for me!

February Food Challenge

February 1st, 2010 at 02:11 pm

It is a short month so I am shooting for $200.00 this month for food only. My sister is shooting for $100.00 since it is just her. We have a full pantry/freezer so it should be doable.

My shoulder/neck are bothering me, waiting for physical therapy to be authorized (comp injury), so I am making this short.

Happy February everyone!

Great Pie Recipe

November 23rd, 2009 at 09:10 pm

DH modified a pumpkin pie recipe about 5 years ago and we have not looked back. We don't even consider using pumpkin anymore and with the pumpkin shortage I keep hearing about, I thought I would share this alternative... for us it is the new normal tradition.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Grandmother Pumpkin Pie
(Otherwise known as Grandpa sweet potato pie)

1 and 1/2 cups evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)
1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 and 1/2 cups smashed cooked sweet potato
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/4 cup pure cane maple syrup

Spray 10-inch diameter fluted ceramic tart dish with 1-inch high sides or glass pie dish with nonstick vegetable oil. Press pie dough to thickness of ¼ inch into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared dish. Trim and crimp edges (we don’t actually do this). Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes (can be done 1 day ahead).

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Stir milk and sugar in heavy small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cool slightly. Using electric mixer, beat pumpkin, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Add milk mixture and beat 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs and beat well. Add maple syrup and beat 1 minute. Pour filling into crust. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Transfer to pie rack and cool (Can be prepared 8 hours ahead, let stand at room temperature) Serve with whipped cream.

No-Roll Pie Crust
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter (we use salted if we do not have any unsalted)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon powder sugar
2 cups all purpose flour

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add both sugars and stir to combine. Stir in flour. Cool 15 minutes (dough will be warm). Use dough immediately.



Here is grandpa (DH) and his sweetie (Ally):

Oatmeal and apples

September 9th, 2009 at 04:12 pm

I have been buying oatmeal every morning at work for $1.00, but I know my Irish oats bought in bulk at Winco and cooked at home is even cheaper than that. So I have 4 days worth cooking on the stove right now. I have successfully frozen it and microwaved it at work in the past. I just needed to get back in the habit.

Also my neighbor across the street borrowed my large crockpot to process a bunch of apples into apple pie filling and brought be a pint when she brought the crockpot back yesterday. I have a pie in the oven too.

It's amazing how much more I can get done around the house only working 4 hours a day. My shoulder is feeling a lot better and I am probably going to have to increase my hours when I see the doctor again, next Thursday. Until then I am going to balance getting stuff done around here and sitting with ice on my shoulders each day.

By the way have we all been watching "Hoarders" on A&E?? Everyone seems to be purging... me included.

Edited to add: Just mixed up apple muffins to put in the oven when my sweet potato fries are done! What has gotten into me?

The Costco Butcher

February 2nd, 2009 at 08:34 pm

DH is at Costco so much that he got to know the head butcher. Turns out he lives around the corner from us. One day he was at our car wash and DH turned on the self-serve for him. A week later he brings us a huge package of pork chops on his way home.

Today DH is in Costco and goes by the meat department and the Butcher has 3 prime grade steaks set aside for him. He did have to pay for these though. They rarely get prime grade in and DH had expressed interest.

So I run the drill
ME: where's the receipt??
DH: I don't know, somewhere (vaguely looks around) $22.00 for these 3 huge steaks.
ME: How did you pay for them I ask?? DH: Cash.
ME: Your allowance?
DH: Yes.
ME: Never mind I don't need the receipt, your allowance is already budgeted out.

Hey if he is so desperate for some steak he spends his allowance on it, who am I to complain! And he really is trying to save all receipts for me and go along with the no eat out thing for the month.

So yummy barbecued steak, I ate about 1/4 of mine with the fingerling potatoes and barbecued asparagus ($1.48 lb at Safeway yesterday). DH had a hard day at work.

The lure of Costco

January 6th, 2009 at 08:09 pm

So I talk to DH this morning. We need milk, orange juice (since I am now getting his illness) and half and half.

What does he come home with:
The 2 gallons of OJ-check.
1/2 gallon of half and half-check.
but also:
Tub of chicken noodle soup-$9.99
2 doz eggs -$3.19 AND
Pork Twists??? Dog treats- $9.99

He claims to only "tolerate" the dogs! Ha, as if, he spoils them worse than I do.



He stopped at Safeway and got 1/2 gallon of milk, since I am sick, 2 gallons from Costco seemed a bit much when it was dated January 10th.

I wish I could make myself do the shopping....

Okay for full disclosure, he took out $100.00 cash and spent $40.37, which means we still have approximately $60.00 to last the until next Tuesday. And the dog treats actually go into the pets category, not food, which means we really have $70.00. We had the chicken soup for dinner and it was delicious with plenty for another meal or two.

I pulled out a plain envelope and put the rest of the cash in it.

I am determined to stick to this even with his impulse purchases.

French Toast Casserole Recipe

March 30th, 2008 at 12:30 pm

I got this recipe from: http://freezerchicks.blogspot.com/

French Toast Casserole
1 pound load of Italian breast
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Cut bread into cubes. Place half in greased 9 x 13 pan. Microwave the cream cheese until melted, stirring halfway (about 30 seconds). Stir in half of the sugar and the extract into the cream cheese. Pour this mixture over the bread (will not cover completely, sort of spread it around with the back of a spoon). Sprinkle nuts over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining bread cubes.

Beat the remaining sugar, eggs, milk, cinnamon and melted butter together. Pour over bread cubes. Freeze at this point or let sit overnight in fridge. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Serve with syrup or fruit.

NOTE from Janet: I use any type of bread I have on hand for these recipes and they always turn out great. If I have frozen them, I just take them out of the freezer the night before and put it the oven on time bake. Then they get their thawing and soaking time.

NOTE from Me/Homebody: I found whipped cream yummy on top of this. I made it for Christmas 2007 for the first time and my family really liked it. This second time I didn't add the sugar in the milk/egg mixture and did not add the butter either and there were no complaints, so it must have been okay!

Of course I want a receipt!

March 3rd, 2008 at 05:17 pm

Occasionally I have little "mini-nervous breakdowns" about the disorganization in my house. So my latest one involved not being able to find a library book, but somehow it led me to cleaning out our pantry. I was amazed at the amount of food we had that was past it's due date. We must have had 30 cans of chili that we don't remember buying and it's so old there is no date on it. We also 20 cans of tuna dated 07/2007 and a bunch of other assorted stuff. I felt terrible throwing it away, so I called the local St. Vincent de Paul dining facility. They were happy to take it all.

The intake person asked if we wanted a receipt. DH automatically said "No". I said, "Oh yes we do!" Guess who pays the bills in our house, sees the tax accountant each year and has a file to put all tax related items... yeah me that's who!

So now I am really ready to stay organized, rotate the food in the pantry and get all that stuff in the freezer eaten!

One Year Anniversary

April 15th, 2007 at 07:45 pm


One year ago I picked up my sweet Landon at the animal shelter in Grass Valley, CA. I lasted 4 months without a dog thanks to my daughters sending me pictures of dogs from petfinders.com.

I miss my daughters....

So today in honor of trying to not spend any money we don't have to spend, we had friends over for breakfast instead of going out. On the menu was quiche (from the freezer), potatoes fried with red bell pepper and onion, sausage bites (bisquick, cheese and a package of the bear sausage cooked and crumbled small), fresh fruit salad, bacon and orange juice and coffee. It turned out very well and cost about $15.00 for the entire meal with leftovers!

DH made carnitas tonight and instead of pulling pork loin from the freezer we paid $1.28 a pound for at the local Winco, he found large pork loin chunks for 98 cents a pound yesterday. So we grilled that tonight after grilling tonight's steaks. We will be having carnitas tomorrow. Here is the recipe if anyone is interested and it freezes well.

Carnitas

2 pounds boneless pork loin cut into 2-3 inch chunks
2 tsp salt
tsp cumin
tsp oregano
2 pressed garlic gloves
onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp sugar or brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place pork, spices, garlic and onion in a large stockpot. Cover slightly with water and bring to a boil. Cover pan and reduce heat. Simmer for one hour. Add sugar and lemon juice. Remove lid and simmer until liquids have nearly boiled off.

The carnitas can then be grilled before serving them. However, they can be served as is immediately or frozen and stored for future use.

Serves 8

We eat them with plain boiled beans or in a tortilla with grilled pepper, onion, and avocado.

Grocery total so far this month: $150.26, right on track for my $300.00 budget.

April 9th

April 9th, 2007 at 11:29 am

We find out this evening where OD is going for her ultrasound internship. She was hoping for Ft. Worth, Texas, but the hospital decided not to sign a contract for this year. She was very disappointed. The placements are sort of like getting your name drawn out of a hat. You have two choices and put them in one or two different cities and somehow they draw names out.

DH cooked Saturday and yesterday we went to friends for Easter Dinner. The only thing we took was that Jalapeno/artichoke dip and crackers from Costco.

So our grocery spending was quite low for last week. My groceries at Winco were $31.67, the skinny cows from Safeway $4.89 and $14.97 at Costco for a half gallon of half and half and the dip and crackers.

Tonight is venison burgers again. They were delicious and we have the buns leftover, so what the heck we are having them again, what 3 days later?

We had boneless thighs (from the freezer) barbecued marinated in Soy-Vey sauce and are having stir-fry tomorrow made out of the leftovers.

Then I think we will have Lasagna from the freezer Tuesday, more (leftover) stir-fry on Wednesday and then I will need to figure out something for Thursday and Friday.

This week's ancillary spending will be high. Dear Doggie's one year checkup is tomorrow and DH's oil and transmission fluid need to be changed in his truck. However, groceries should be low again, will probably just run to Safeway for veges for tomorrow and may run into town later this week for more stuff. Maybe I should plan next week's menus.....

Bertolli Skillet Meal for 2- A Review

March 28th, 2007 at 06:26 pm

Okay I am going to be honest here. I don't cook. I have not cooked more than a meal here and there for over 25 years. Wait I take that back, I did a few of those OAMC things back when the girls were all home that we worked into the menus.

So our local Safeway was remodeled and had a grand reopening sale. We received 3-$10 off $50 purchases.

So one day we go try to find stuff to add up to $50.00 (on sale of course) so we can get our $10.00 off. One thing we bought was Bertolli "Complete Skillet Meal for Two" at 2/$10.00.

So tonight DH is feeling not well so I pull one out, plop it into the skillet on medium and come back in 10 minutes where it is DONE! I selected the Shrimp, Asparagus & Penne combo.

I counted 12 small shrimp, the equivalent of about 2 stalks, okay maybe 3 stalks of asparargus and about 1/8 cup of pieces of red pepper. There were about 1 inch pieces of frozen red stuff that I assume was the creamy tomato basil sauce. I measured it after it was done and it was about 3.5 cups.

It was fairly tasty, but I started adding up how much it would have cost to make it and decided it is time for me to start doing some more of that Once A Month Cooking thing.

It would be easy to put this meal together and freeze yourself.

Freeze a bottle of vodka pasta sauce, in an ice cube tray. Trader Joe's is very good. Cook up a package of penne pasta, chop up some asparagus or broccoli. Open up a jar of roasted red peppers from TJ's or chop up some fresh. Count out 12 little shrimp from a pound of those 20-25 per pound shrimp. Cook the veges and shrimp together. Toss in the drained pasta. Layer in single layer on a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer for 20 minutes. Pack into freezer bag with a couple of cubes of frozen sauce and there you are!

DH arrived home from Las Vegas this morning (hmmm is that why he doesn't feel good) and while he was gone I had a frozen leftover meal of bow tie pasta and a chicken breast left from chicken cacciatore he had made. It was enough for two meals and was delicious.

Anyway Bertolli has definitely got me thinking!

Sunday's organizing and thoughts...

March 11th, 2007 at 10:12 am

My husband is cleaning out the freezer. He did something similar last week in our pantry. Unfortunately he decided to throw out some cans of food that we probably have had since the days of our children believing in Santa!

He decided to place the cans that needed to be used soonest on a top shelf so that when meal planning, we would look to this cans first when deciding what to create for dinner.

He is going to use a similar method in our freezer. We have chicken dated April 2006, which means it is a few months past it's prime freezer life (9 months for chicken from the charts I have seen).

While making scones this morning (from scratch natch) DH brought in some mystery packages that we had properly sealed with our food sealer. One of them I recognize as Turkey soup base.

Now turkey is a great year round by and we usually pick up a few extra during the holidays. I feel very virtuously frugal as we simmer the carcass and then pick it clean. Unfortunately those frozen packages never seem to actually become soup!

DH also found a zip lock bag that had a few of his favorite teryaki marinated then barbecued chicken thighs. He was quite distressed when he realized he missed out on microwaving and enjoying one of his favorite foods.

So our goal is to organize and recognize that in order to be truly frugal, we must take that second step and actually eat our leftovers or second harvests. The first step is to have a set area to put those things, which in our case is the top shelf of our freezer and a top shelf in our pantry.

Happy Sunday!

Cooking Day

September 3rd, 2006 at 10:52 am

Here is my bedroom color, if you can call it a color with black and white. It's very dull to some I'm sure, but very soothing to me.

It's a gray day here on the North Coast and OD is home for a visit before her college starts. She gets so busy with work and school that she starts buying frozen stuff to eat, so I decided to send her home with some frozen food.

My plan is burritos, lentil soup and lasagna. DH is at Costco buying some supplies, but I also have some of the ingredients on hand, like the pinto beans (just boiled for 2 minutes, soaking for 2 hours, then throwing in crockpot the rest of the day), a large can of tomato sauce, canned tomatoes and onion and bell pepper, lasagna noodles, lentils and chicken broth.

I won't be sending it all home with her, which will also help us on those busy days. I will have to be careful the rest of the month to keep food under $500.00.

I did a freezer and pantry enventory and here is my freezer enventory (Dido inspired me):
4 lbs butter
2 pkg of cooked turkey leftover.
2 pkg of turkey broth (with meat in them).
2 pkg pork tenderloin (Costco)
2 cornish game hens
6 pkg - 2 in each of chicken breasts (Costco)
2 pkg - 2 in each of New York Steaks (Costco)
1 rib eye steak
1 chuck roast
2 large racks of pork (Costco carries this around the holidays, leftover from last holiday season)
3 large pkgs of pork of some sort, boneless chops? (that's what happens when we don't label pkgs)
4 pkg of pork for carnitas or chili verde (basically chunks of sirloin for $1.28 lb)
1 pkg of sliced beef for carne asada (sold at same store that sells the pork sirloin chunks - Winco)
6 pkg of bone in chicken breasts-3 in each pkg
22 pkg of 1/2 lb each venison burger
10 pkg of venison steaks (about 3/4 lb each)
1 frozen orange chicken pkg meal from Costco
1 large bag of frozen strawberries (Costco)
1 whole filet mignon (having tonight for dinner)

Then in the small freezer above the frig I have another pkg of strawberries almost gone, whole wheat flower, flax seed and 3 different containers of ice cream (partially eaten).