11.30.2013

Cleaning Out the Pantry, Week 3

'Tis the weekend of leftovers! Due to my overzealous nature, I am blessed with nearly an entire half of a 23 pound turkey. The bones are spoken for, half becoming stock now, and half will become stock later (they wouldn't all fit in my stock pot, believe it or not). There is a ton of meat - some of it will become sandwiches for lunches next week, some of it will become turkey pot pies, and the rest of it will go into stir fry.

So here is what the menu looks like for this coming week:

Saturday (Today) - Turkey pot pies (fridge mostly, using up leftover canned biscuits as the topping)
Sunday- Stir-fry (fridge, pantry, and veggies leftover from T-day)
Monday - Straight up leftovers
Tuesday - Grilled steak with bulgur and veggies (freezer, pantry)
Wednesday - Beef roast in the crockpot w/rice and veg (freezer, pantry)
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Pasta with tomatoes and cheese (pantry, fridge)

What does your week look like?

11.29.2013

Yay Me! And a NO SPEND December

First off, I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving!!!! Ours was pretty good, except my dressing/stuffing (whichever you prefer to call it) turned into bread soup and I forgot to put out the cranberry sauce.

Ok, call me crazy, but I am having a SUPER RIDICULOUS PROUD AWESOME day!

I have, in one single day (HUGE thanks to my Momma), done all of the following:

~Cleaned up Thanksgiving dishes and put everything away
~Put away all fall decorations
~Assembled and decorated my Christmas tree AND put out all my decorations
~Shopped til I dropped and got EVERYTHING I needed to get with the exception of two people who have yet to tell me what they want or need
~Wrapped all the presents and stuck them under the tree
~Ate Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner
~Played a variety of Christmas movies and music, and watched a little of them too :)

So here is what I still have to do:
~Make turkey stock
~vacuum up all the glitter and tree needles

Yeah, I think I'm a little nuts. And I know you probably do to, and that is ok. As long as no one is in denial! As for my no spend December, considering I have all nearly all my Christmas shopping done, I think I will be able to pull it off. Here are the things I KNOW I will have to spend money on, and here is my alloted budget:
$500 SHOULD cover everything I need to get for the month of December and I do NOT want to spend more than that.
~Stocking stuffers for Hubby ($40)
~Two presents for family gift exchange ($150)
~a few holiday bags ($10)
~Fresh fruits and veg ($40 per week)
~A few toiletries from Target ($20)
~ Dog food ($20 I think....)
~ Stuff to make my designated Christmas Day treats ($50)

Everything up there should leave me with $50 for stuff I haven't thought of.... The 40/week of fresh fruit and veg should also leave room in case we need some milk or something, other than that, I am still on my cleaning out the pantry binge, so I am trying not to buy any groceries as long as I possibly can.

So how is everyone doing on their pantry clean out?!?!


11.25.2013

Cleaning Out the Pantry, Week 2

We've been doing pretty good on eating out of the pantry. I did do all of my Thanksgiving shopping this past weekend, except my turkey which is coming fresh on Wednesday; there was just no way I was going to be able to feed 15 people a complete and traditional holiday meal out of the pantry, so shop I did. I am actually really proud - sans turkey, I spent $90 for everything I needed and got mostly all organic local ingredients. Last year we went out for Thanksgiving, and spent $50 per person (and let me just say what a ginormous disappointment that was).

But here goes the meal plan for this week:

Monday - Leftovers or freezer food (gonna be a late night)
Tuesday - Leftovers or freezer food (another late night)
Wednesday - Going out for Mommy's birthday unless I come up with something brilliant (Maybe some delicious thing with farro or bulgur (Got any good recipes?????)
Thursday - Thanksgiving!!!!
Friday - Thanksgiving leftovers (There is nothing better than leftovers!)
Saturday - Thanksgiving leftovers reinvented (most likely turkey and cranberry paninis with greens and potato soup)

We are heavy on the leftovers this week... We do have some split pea soup left and some good crusty bread. We also have some good freezer food, burritos and pierogis, that are easy and quick to heat up.

11.17.2013

Cleaning out the Pantry, A Look at Week 1

Ok, so here goes my planned recipes for this week up Through Friday

Today - It's football day, so we will be out all day eating pizza :)

Monday - Balsamic Pot Roast w/Onions in the slow cooker (freezer)
               - Green Beans (freezer)
               - Brown Rice (pantry)

Tuesday - Will be home late, Leftovers

Wednesday - Another late night, leftovers or chicken chili (fridge and freezer)

Thursday - White beans in the slow cooker (pantry)
                - Sauteed kale and corn (garden and freezer)
                - Brown Rice (pantry)

Friday - Split pea soup with Canadian bacon and bread (pantry and freezer)

**Note to self** Although I am aiming to rid myself of my freezer and pantry items, I need to buy onions and carrots to make a veggie stock. I am feeling a lot of soups and stews in our future, and I have to have stock. Not to mention, Thanksgiving is coming, and I will NOT be buying stock from the store. Gross!

11.16.2013

Empty Pantry Challenge, Part 1

Ok, so I have recently realized something... Not only have I become my mother in many various ways (not a bad thing!), I have become my mother in an extremely odd way... I have become somewhat of a food hoarder. When I was little, there was always food to make whatever recipes you could dream of. And we made BIG grocery store trips. Why? I have no idea. But I have carried these habits into adulthood.

Now, its not like we have food sitting around and rotting, and our house is gross or something... But for real, my pantry is FULL. My freezerS are FULL (yeah, both of them.) Technically, on the freezer front, we have 3 freezers. 1 upstairs attached to the fridge, and 2 deep freezers in the basement - one for our cow, and one for veg from the garden.

So, I am giving myself the EMPTY PANTRY CHALLENGE! I am aiming to have emptied our freezers and pantry over the next few weeks to a month until Christmas time, at which we will be out of town for several days, and I get weird about having food sitting around anywhere. Also, I want to try and save some money for Christmas shopping, so I would REALLY like to avoid going to the grocery store for a few weeks, or longer if I possibly can.

Here is another part of the challenge... You don't have to follow this one... But in the spirit of saving money and eating what we already have, I am aiming to NOT EAT OUT until this challenge is over. This has been a big deal for me, eating out... I am busy, and no one is going to cook for me, so it is easier to go out. It is getting STUPID EXPENSIVE. And like I said, I want some extra money for Christmas shopping.

In part 2 of this blog post, I will be posting my planned meals and snacks so that I can have an easy reference for myself, and you, if you want a recipe here and there.

How about it?!?! Are you with me??? If you are, please post a comment. I will be trying to post about the week's recipes on Sunday evenings.

11.09.2013

Homemade Flavored Coffee Creamer

Ok, so I really REALLY love peppermint coffee creamer... You know, this one....
Have you ever read the ingredients in this stuff? It is as follows: WATER, SUGAR, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OIL, AND LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE)**, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CELLULOSE GEL, COLOR ADDED, CELLULOSE GUM, CARRAGEENAN

Most of that I can't pronounce making me really not want to drink it. And, I'm not so keen on having oil in my coffee! SO I took matters into my own hands, and made my own. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I must say, this turned out pretty good. 

Peppermint Mocha Creamer
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (Ok, I'm gonna be honest here... I don't love this. Next time I am going to use half and half or heavy cream to mix in... This milk made my creamer kind of taste like cereal. Also, this will allow more sugar control)
the same amount of milk (just refill the can and don't make extra dishes)
         *I used soy milk here because it is what I had on hand. I'm sure any kind of milk you use would be fine, except maybe coconut milk (unless you want a coconut flavor or buttermilk.
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp pure peppermint extract
1tsp vanilla extract
1 + 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

This is simple, just empty the can and your regular milk into a small sauce pan, add in the cocoa powder, heat over low heat, and whisk until all is mixed well and the cocoa is dissolved. Stir in the extracts off of the heat so they down dissipate into the air. Pour into a container with a closable cap and refrigerate. Enjoy!

**I have no idea how long this will last in the fridge, but it's so darn good that I don't see it going to waste!

**Don't even go to the place where you say, but isn't peppermint Christmas-y? What about pumpkin spice creamer? I don't like pumpkin spiced anything except pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. Those fancy lattes that every goes nuts over gross me out. BUT if you DO like pumpkin spice, go ahead and skip the peppermint in the recipe and add in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. I haven't made this for obvious reasons, so I can't give you quantities here.

***I got a comment stating that "just because you can't pronounce them, doesn't mean they are bad for you. You must be ignorant and you should educate yourself." OK let me just say, that yes, in actuality, I can pronounce those words, and yes, I actually do know what they mean. The point of saying those things is to show that I don't want to put processed ingredients into my body and the bodies of my family. Don't you also want to put the most pure things into your mouth and have them be delicious?? The more processed and ingredient is, typically, the more letters and syllables the word will have. Sorry if you think I'm an idiot because I want to eat and feed my family the best and most simple things I can find. I hope you enjoy the recipe!