Aug 26, 2013

Meal Plan Monday - 8/25

Well, first week of school is behind us.  I am back in daycare mode as well.  Now, here it is time to plan the menu again.  One of these days I am going to get about 8 weeks worth created so I don't have to do it each week.  It is not really hard, I just am in such a blue mood lately I just really don't want to do anything but sit and watch television or play computer games.

As for Menu Planning, I was a hundred percent successful, but made it closer than I have before.  Monday and Wednesday I actually cooked.  Tuesday was a  very last minute trip to Red Robin and Thursday I ended up taking all the kids to Olive Garden.  Friday was as planned, the meal was a hit with the group.  Saturday was just a crazy kind of day so we ended up just eating what ever at home. Sunday we made the Beer Butt chicken, had hubby cook two of them so that I have chicken cooked to make some casseroles and such this next week and then some for the freezer for later.  He was about to throw away the carcasses after cutting the chickens apart and I grabbed them and bagged them for the freezer to use making some chicken noodle soup later in September.  Nothing goes to waste any more around here.  I also made some Garlic Red Ranch Potato, my own recipe, and you know it is good when hubby makes the effort to walk down the hall to tell me, and I quote, "those are the best potatoes I have ever had by far".
This will be pulled off the bone and bagged. Carcasses and bones will be cooked for stock that I will jar up and put in the freezer.
Beer butt chicken, garlic new potatoes and coleslaw.

Menu planning!  Once again I will link up with Organized Junkie to link to her post for Meal Plan Monday.  Looking through my pantry, I see that I am LOADED down with tortillas, corn and flour.  I am not sure how this happens, but ever so often it does.  Part of this overload of tortillas is from going on vacation though as we seem to brought home more than we took.  At any rate, I told hubby that we will have to have lots of Enchiladas and casseroles with tortillas in them.  Knowing that the flavors of Tex-Mex food will get old quick, I will probably just try to freeze some of them for later on.

On the Menu this Week.

M - Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Casserole
T - Baked Chicken Chimichangas
W - Easy Western Meal
T - Seafood Enchiladas
F - Indiana Chowder
S - French Bread Pizza - Stouffer's brand bought at Costco, because I want it out of the freezer.
S - C.O.R.N. smorgasbord

We also hosted the Dinner for 8 group we belong to from our church.  This is a group of four couples, ranging in age, and we meet once a month to socialize.  Each couple takes a turn hosting.  I am hoping that this is also the before and after view for my kitchen with them as the plan is to have the new kitchen done by the time we host again.  PRAYING that it happens any way.

Have also put on my budgeting hat. I am going to cut the obscene amount of frivolous spending I do down as much as possible.  To do that, on Monday I am starting a spending and food journal, writing each every thing I buy and eat.  One, it will make me accountable for both.  Another reason, I feel that some of my physical issues may be due to food allergies or sensitivity.  When I have really bad days and especially nights, I can go back and look to see if I ate anything that was in common for those days.  You know, did I load up on wheat products, milk maybe, or processed foods or sugars.  I need to loose weight and am paying for a gym membership for my daughter and I that we aren't using and that needs to change.  

Hubby and I wanted to help out our kids a little bit, so we went to Costco, had a coupon for Huggies brand diapers, good for $6 a box off, up to 2 boxes, and bought a box of size 1 and 5 for the grand babies. The coupon is good to the end of the month, so am going to go back and get two more boxes while I can still get the savings.  Only, this next time will get a box of size 2 and 5.  Little Miss C is growing and will be going in to the next size very soon.  Her last doctor visit they switched her over to soy based formula, going to buy some of that tomorrow to give to them tomorrow as well. 

I cleaned like crazy Friday, guess what I found...a bedroom in all of that mess.  A really nice large bedroom.  Still have a ton of clothes to put away, two tons of wash to do, but it is getting there.  I should have gone to the grocery store and to the farmer's market on Saturday, but I just stayed home and lazed out.  I must be really out of shape because two days of cleaning, one evening of hosting a party completely wore me out. Also, my pantry, fridge and freezer are so loaded that I would not be able to get anything new in it.  On the good side of that, I have plenty of food to work with.

Thanks for stopping by and come again soon for a visit.

Aug 19, 2013

Meal Plan Monday - 8/19/13

Hello all,

I am back...I think anyway.  Things have been so crazy around here, you can read about it on my past postings. In a nutshell, I had dental work that went wrong (still having trouble with my jaws and it has been over 2 months), my oldest grand son came to visit us, my first grand daughter made her appearance, we left for a huge vacation, took oldest grand son home to Texas, got home and slowly, very slowly, trying to get caught up.

My youngest daughter, Miss Zebra, starts her senior year of high school today.  It is kind of bitter sweet.  I know I am supposed to be all sad that my baby is growing up and all, but she is the youngest of four.  In a way, it is feeling like it is kind of time for her to be grown up.  She will be home with us for a few years though, she will live her while she goes to college to be a nurse.

So, trying to get back in to the groove so to speak, I am working on menu plans. It just makes life roll along so much smoother.  I will be linking up to Organized Junkie to post on Menu Plan Monday.  Because I have no idea which days I will have the baby too, and because it is still so hot, I am planning a lot of meals for the crock pot.  Much cooler, don't have to really keep to close of an eye on it, easy clean up and I can get it all prepped and going before I get little ones.  I am in a good shape for cooking as I am really stocked as far as meat and pantry, not too many fresh veggies, but will get what I need as the week goes.  Well, here goes, this is what is on the menu for this week.

M. - Crock Pot Homestyle Chicken & Noodles - New recipe.
T. - Beef Stroganoff, green beans and carrots. - Using left over roast.
W. - Crocktober - All in One Crock Pot Meal - New recipe.
Th. - Baked Chicken Chimichanga - New recipe.
F. - Hosting dinner group - Steak, baked potato, salad and ice cream.
S. - Will be something quick and easy - grocery day, farmer's market too.
S. - Beer can chicken, grilled potato packs, salad.

Monday's recipe, I am cutting in half, although I am not to sure how to half a can of soup. Friday we host the dinner group from church.  Hubby wanted to grill steaks as kind of an end of summer dinner.  Here, it is by no means the end of summer though. Sunday, will cook two chickens, one for our meal and one for left over meat for casseroles.

Here in the town we live, I recently found out a company called the Grapery that has their product available at a local bakery shop called Sweet Surrender.  They have developed a couple of new types of grapes that are just out of this world.

These really do taste like Cotton Candy.  They are nice and big, plump and juicy with a really sweet flavor.  I don't know how they do it, all done with breeding, but they are wonderful.  Of coarse I just love cotton candy.  My oldest son doesn't like them, he said that when he bites in to a food it should taste like that food. LOL  I like the unique fruits though, apples that taste like grapes and such.  But honestly, these really are in my opinion out of this world good.

These are a mix of two breeds, and called Witch Fingers.  They are just a really flavorful grape, reminds me of Thompson grapes that we used to grow when I was young.  Maybe a little like the Red Globe as well.  The shape makes one think peppers, and to me that is what they look like, little chili peppers but they are sweet.

Also, really praying that by the end of the month we will start the kitchen remodel.

This is the before view.  Hopefully it will all be gone soon and my new kitchen will be born in it's place.  As I said, I can't wait.

Thanks for stopping by, come visit often.

Aug 18, 2013

Summer is Over.

I have been cleaning like crazy and not feeling like I am getting anywhere.  But, I have swept the living room, dining room and kitchen, along with hall.  I will mop it all later this evening when there is less traffic running through.  I also cleaned up my kitchen, getting rid of a lot of clutter.  Cleaned the fridge out as well, cleaning the shelves as threw out all the old left overs (as well as to go boxes) and as bad as I hated throwing away the money, I threw out anything and everything that was expired.  Hubby had a little stomach upset and he swears it was because of bad lunch meat.  I have a terrible time keeping up with that stuff.  It is hit or miss whether my family will eat sandwiches, so I try not to buy very much.  I hate to admit this, but I probably threw out enough food to feed some homeless guy for a month.  In my defense though, we just came back from two and half weeks in the RV so had more on hand than normal.

Now that the grand baby is here, vacation is done, I hope that hubby comes through and we actually get to start on the kitchen remodel.
This is the before photo.  I know it looks fine, but it really does not flow well.  And...while it looks like it has a lot of storage, the majority of the cabinets are too small to hold much.  The exception is the left hand corner cabinet, to the left of the stove.  The cabinet itself goes way back and would be great for a lazy susan or pull out system...if the door were wider than 8 inches.  Can't even get a large size pitcher in there easily.  However, that is all hopefully about to change. 
Another view of the kitchen.  The far right is my pantry, stuffed full of can goods, cereal, baking items, and all sorts of food.  Between the fridge and that pantry is a doorway.  Mr. M loves it, he runs circles around it for us to chase him.  I am arguing with hubby about it though, because I want to close it off to give us more space in the kitchen.
This out dated, too small, glass front china cabinet is going away as well.  It opens to the dining room which I don't like.  I have an idea for this area that will utilize the space for cabinets in the kitchen and give me some display shelves for all my cookbooks and some of the antique pieces I have from my mom.
I have lots of photos saved from all over the internet, each with an element I want to incorporate in to my new kitchen.

OH HOW I WISH, I could get these two things in the new kitchen.  I am waiting to see if I can even find the tiles to make the rooster decoration, then to see how much room it actually needs. My kitchen has a combo microwave exhaust fan over the stove so very little wall space there.  I am thinking if I give up the cabinets above it, move the microwave up a bit, maybe it would work.  But then I am thinking that it would be really hard to reach the microwave at a higher level.

The stove would be a dream come true, but it is a commercial grade stove and that would not be in the budget since I want a new fridge more.  However, I really think that depending on the prices I find, I may just bite the bullet and spend the money and upgrade to a five burner stove that would have the griddle/grill plate with it.  May just take measurements and leave a space large enough to allow for the larger stove and purchase it next year.  It all depends on how much it ends up costing for the new cabinets and counter tops, molding trim, new shelf set, replacement window, new sink and new lighting.  I have a budget set, and will see what is left over after that.

I am hoping tonight I can sit down and come up with a menu plan for the next few weeks. I am going to be working out of my pantry and freezer stores as much as possible.  Kind of wanting to trim down what I have on hand, will be less to box up while the work is done. It will be hard to  prepare meals when the remodel actually starts up.  What a mess we will have with food stores, cook ware, dishes and such all in boxes.  Not to mention no stove for a few days.  But, I have a grill, Coleman stove and several crock pots. Hubby said that he will do his best to work around the fridge and stove so we can keep them functional while all of this happens.  It will so be worth it and I pray it all happens soon.  If he keeps dragging his feet, I may just start ripping out the cabinets myself.  The new neighbor next door is a construction guy, am going to get an estimate from him.  It may be worth it to pay a little more and get it done. 

Thanks for stopping by, I need to go get a little more done in the house and then settle in for some TV viewing and working on the menu plans.  Hoping to get back on track with my Meal Plan Monday postings and actually sticking to a menu plan.  Check back tomorrow to see if I succeeded or not.