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Showing posts from July, 2011

Making Do

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Hmmm...I think I use this title quite frequently, don't I? Well, it's FRIDAY (everyone sing THE SONG but don't yell at me!) and that means two things right off the top of my head:

1. Last Friday of the Summertime Pantry Challenge (which I'm continuing on into August because we apparently have way more food than I thought) and ...

2. Jessica over at Life as Mom has her Frugal Friday link up happening!

So. Let's see.  What have we been making do with? Alot actually. But the one thing that I'm most thrilled with is fries.

French fries. Uh huh.I admit it. We buy the frozen SEASONED fries. The ones that sent my BIL through the roof because he HATES them and everyone knows that. Well, apparently we DO now :) Did you know that they are basically battered? Ummm...yeah. And then we fry them? Uh huh.

Any hooo.....

I've seen lots of links lately for grilled fries. And golly gee, I've got a ton of taters that are just waiting patiently to be noticed and used (some…

Intentional Leftovers to Get Through the Week

Yeah, you've heard me say it time and time again, I'm busy. Real busy.
I love to cook, but just do not have that much free time in the evenings during the week to do so. Hey, I like to get 8 hours of sleep occasionally and NOT waking up to a dirty kitchen is an added bonus!

So what do I do?

I make intentional leftovers. Of course. But not leftovers, like meatloaf and mashed taters for 3 nights straight. Uh uh. I would not do THAT.

I do stuff like, grilled chicken and pasta on Sunday. But grill more chicken than I need for that night. Come Tuesday, we have chicken Cesar salad.

Hmmm... just how does that work, you ask?

Easy.

Grill extra chicken on Sunday night when you have had all the live long day to putz around and take it easy.

Set aside what you want for later in the week and serve the rest. Trust me, if you've got big eaters in the house, you MUST set aside before serving (even hide if you must).

Then when you are ready to recreate those leftovers, just pull them out…

The Summertime Pantry Challenge - as of July 25th

Wow, it's the last WEEK! I think I may have to extend this in through August ... I've got a full pantry and 3 freezers still.

Yeah, we are making some progress but not like I had hoped. And I've not really bought anything to add to the pantry. The freezer, a little (great meat deals lately, still want to go get the 59 cent per lb chickens!)

Here's what we've been doing, to the best of my recollection (it's been a whirlwind week)

Monday. July 25th. Breakfast was the usual ham and egg on a bagel (with provolone, I broke down and bought cheese and sour cream at Aldi's Saturday). Hubby had cheerios. We both had fruit. Lunch was salad for Hubby and we both had chicken and rice from Saturday night. Dinner was Bangin Shrimp. Pretty good.

Sunday. July 24th. Breakfast was a fend for yourself situation. Unexpected guests from Saturday night. Google Party In Your Stomach on youtube and you will see what I mean. Lunch was an offering of snacks (nachos, chips, carrots) …

Bangin Shrimp

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I have so many recipes bookmarked to try that I've started making folders for the months to try because I KNOW I can't really try more than 5 or 6 a month, let alone 30+!

This one is from the the month of June, which means I added it in May! But hey, I finally got around to trying it ... and luckily I had EVERYTHING in house except the Sweet Chili Sauce. No biggie, it was like $1.89 (couldn't find the Thai Kitchen brand...what I get for going to some obsolete store) ...

So. Wanna know what we thought? It was good. Flavorful. But I'm not a fan of iceburg lettuce and next time I will use shredded romaine and maybe add some spinach too? I of course, try to follow directions, but apparently I have an issue with that.

I even wrote down the list of ingredients


.... and had it sitting on the counter. I also had the site loaded.

Somehow, I missed that I was suppose to coat the shrimp in cornstarch and fry in a little oil.

Ummm, I boiled mine (rather, steamed them). When I we…

Menu Plan Monday

Well, getting close to the final week of the pantry challenge and oddly enough, I've not made THAT much headway. Hmmm. Maybe we should just extend it ...

This week should be a fairly easy week in that I'm only going to the gym 2 times instead of the proposed usual 3. I've got to take the Tahoe to the shop as the coolant leak is bad and rather than chance something drastic happening, we will just give in and let someone take care of it. Back in the old days, Hubby would have fixed it himself but key words were "old days", before he had the accident, we got old, etc. :)

And then Tuesday through Thursday is a pressure test on the a/c for the west side of the house. It's HOT. No cooling anymore so we've been babying it along this weekend. But it's HOT.

On with the plan ...

Sunday - ziti with jarred sauce, grilled texas toast and chicken breast (odd combination but the Animals wanted pasta)

Monday - Bangin Shrimp. Will link up for now and post MY version …

Portabello mushroom, lettuce and tomato sandwiches

We are big meat eaters in this house and it will be interesting to see what the comments will be on this ... (Sunday dinner, serving with potato salad)

Got the shrooms at Aldi's for $1.69 per package (each had 2 caps) along with tomatoes. Lettuce from Penn Dutch last week (69 cents a head). Basil & rosemary from garden (ha, what garden is that??). Kaiser rolls from bread store for 89 cents for 12. Um, yes, I am still on the pantry challenge. But the stuff I bought sticks with my challenge of dairy, veggies/fruits and bread :)

1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (garden)
1 clove of garlic, pressed (fridge)
3 tbs oil (pantry)
3 tbs mayo (fridge)
2 tbs basil leaves, finely chopped (garden)
4 large portobello shroom caps (aldi)
salt and pepper (pantry)
4 crusty rolls (I'm using kaiser rolls) (freezer now)
4 iceburg lettuce leaves (boy, this is my 2nd recipe calling for iceburg lettuce. Glad I bought TWO heads)
1 oz parmesean cheese, shaved or shredded (fridge)
4 large tomato …

Downsizing

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I love Costco. But hate dealing with the super sized packages.

So here's what I do ....

Downsize. And you probably thought I was talking about moving into a smaller house and getting smaller cars, huh? Nahhh, not yet. Actually, thinking about that causes me major anxiety!

So lets take this gigantic bag of Muscle Milk Protein Powder. Great deal at Costco by the way, if you drink them! I've got chocolate and vanilla ...





They are annoying bags, and hold the air in no matter what you do ... of course, as you try to squeeze the air out, you inhale delightfully scented vanilla and chocolate dust. Not necessarily a good thing, you know?

Grab yourself a couple of containers that are sized appropriately to:

a. fit in your pantry easily
b. has opening large enough to be scoopable
c. has large enough space to WRITE what it is with directions


I can buy a 6 pack of these for $2.99 from Gordens Food Service


And fill em' up.



Tada.

If you are lucky like me, you will have a spot that you…

The Summertime Pantry Challenge - Updated as of July 18th

Still plugging away. Made a trip to Penn Dutch last Tuesday after work to get the chicken breast. Spent $35 and got 2 lbs filet mignon ($6.99 lb, steal!) and 2 large packages of chicken breast at $1.29 lb plus some green peppers, bananas and something else ... oh what was it?? Oh. Celery. Doh. There were also TWO trips to Publix, one for $30 and one for $50. Fruits, veggies, gatorade, cat food and litter, milk, bread, etc. NOTHING to stash in the pantry though, thankfully!

Here's what we've been eating ...

June 12. Tuesday. Breakfast was ... Burger King for me (omg!) and Hubby had his Cheerios. Don't ask. Lunch was leftover chinese for me (one of the Boys brought it in) and Hubby had salad and chicken. Dinner was chicken on the grill with asparagus (close to it's last leg in the fridge) and broccoli. I need to investigate the asparagus thing. I just recently started buying and eating it, discovering that I really like it on the grill. But I know nothing about it, how t…

Nachos - Meal Worthy (with ground chicken)!

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I love nachos.  Just toss some tortilla chips on a plate, top with a little shredded cheese, nuke for 45 seconds and viola! Instant snack!

Even better, toss on some of the fresh tomato stuff with a little dab of sour cream and it's a glorified snack!

My Ordinary, Snack Style Nachos (because I forgot to take a picture last night!)
But a snack is just...well, a snack.  I can't really serve it up at 6:30 and call it dinner, can I? Ok, between you and me (and the whole bloggy network) I have ... but shhh, don't tell no one.

So. To take it one step further and make it meal worthy, you gotta toss some other things in there!

Taco meat (I had ground chicken already seasoned and cooked in the freezer)
Chips (tortilla)
Cheese
Tomato Stuff (fresh is best but jarred works in a pinch)
Sour Cream (which I'm OUT OF due the pantry challenge)
Shredded Lettuce
And any other taco topping you normally like

Lay chips out on a microwave plate.

Sprinkle with taco meat. However much you…

Menu Plan Monday

Hubby is out Monday and gets back late Thursday, so the majority of the week will be just me and the Animal. Notice, I made it singular? Because Princess is working some pretty long hours lately ... sooo. Here we are, just 2 peas in a pod. NOT.

Pantry Challenge is still underway and even though I've made THREE trips to the store, nothing is added to the pantry so that's a good thing!

Sunday - Homemade pizza (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, cheese all in stock). Made one Margherita and one pepperoni. This was the WORSE pizza dough I've ever made. Uggg. I think the 1/4 cup oil was TOO much. Also cooked up about 6 lbs of chicken wings from the freezer. Used the grill. A little smoky. Some things are great smoked, others, not so much. The wings fell into the latter in my opinion.


Monday - Tacos. Last bag of taco meat from freezer. Probably going to split cheddar and pepper jack cheese as I'm just about out of cheddar. No sour cream ... how am I going to do this! :) Lettuce, …

Line Drying - South Florida style

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When we first moved here all those years ago (mid 80's) there was this funny contraption off to the side of the house. One single pole up the center and then it opened up like an umbrella. Who would have thought it was a collapsible clothes line.

Of course, no one ever used it, nor did any of the other homeowners who had one in their yard. These were set up back in the late 50's when the homes were built, and line drying was just what you did.

Nowdays, a lot of people would like to line dry, mostly because they realize the expense of clothes drying. How I wish I hadn't had it ripped out when we renovated the house years later.

I go back and forth on line drying. Certain items almost always get hung to dry. Mostly my work clothes. Which is why I'm very picky on letting the Animals do the laundry. Never fails :) (not to mention, they leave them in the dryer which is my major pet peeve!)

Lately though, I've started to use my clothes rack more frequently. Summer time …

Turkey Meatballs

Really, it was simply my meager attempt to make them a little healthier. I've come to the conclusion that to have the absolutely luscious yumminess that restaurant style meatballs have, they can NOT be low fat and/or healthier. Oh well. They were at least edible, but got "eh, yeah" for an opinion. Not quite what I was striving for.

I got the original recipe from Fake It Frugal (which is a pretty cool little site to browse around if you've got time ... makes me want to start crafting!) ... but of course, I changed things up a bit because I am doing a Pantry Challenge ... so here's her original recipe and below is MINE.

3 lbs OR about 40 oz ground, lean turkey breast (yes, 2 20oz packages is what I used, why did you ask?)
1 cup ground bread crumbs, italian style
1 1/2 hot dog buns that were on their last leg, finely torn apart, crumbled, small pieces
2 tbs fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
handful of fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup milk

The Summertime Pantry Challenge - Update as July 11th

It seems like I was off to a pretty slow, if not down right, IFFY start to the pantry challenge, but looking back, golly gee, I haven't been to the store in over a WEEK! Woohoo! BUT that will end today or tomorrow as I need to go get the killer deal on chicken breast for $1.29 before the sale ends.

So, you really wanna know what we've been doing? And are you curious about others? If so, check out the Update over here for Good Cheap Eats, the one who pretty much started it all  ...

And here's what we've been doing ...

July 11th. Monday. Easy. Breakfast was eggs & diced ham and Hubby had his Cheerios. Lunch was salad with diced turkey and Hubby also got some leftover garlicky chicken. Dinner was pretty much fend for yourself, as in salad, nachos, leftover pasta.

July 10th. Sunday. Breakfast was toast and eggs. Lunch was wraps (we were on the boat) with snacky stuff (pretzels, sliced cheese) and dinner was the big italian feast from all the tomatoes I found in pantry.…

Menu Plan Monday - July 10 to July 16

Here we are, another week in to the Pantry Challenge and another week for Menu Planning.

I skipped last week, only because we had so many leftovers that we just heated up whatever we wanted when we wanted. It was sort of nice to have a life of ease ... but I missed the guidance that appears to keep me focused!

So, all intentions are to use up the Pantry and Freezer stuff ... and looks like I can do this easily enough...

Sunday - boating day and had a few friends over so it was the red sauce with pasta and garlic bread and turkey meatballs (recipe coming) ... pretty tasty and ALL from the pantry ... no special trip to the store! I also used up some tomatoes and made a quick tray of tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Monday - GYM - turkey wraps (all in fridge)

Tuesday - GYM - Chicken Cesar Salad (chicken in freezer, salad stuff in fridge, dressing in pantry)

Wednesday - Sausage and peppers on the grill (not sure yet if I will use bread or not,…

Strange things

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So I was making the red sauce the other day and using my favorite (or so I thought) wooden spoon.
Then I noticed that the handle felt gummy like, so I washed it.
That was when I noticed the orange mark.
After inquiring with Hubby, he reminded me that last Thanksgiving he had used the spoon to measure the oil for the turkey fryer.
Really? I don't remember that.
Which means that was NOT my favorite wooden spoon. He wouldn't dare use my favorite and mark it up like that, would he?

Pantry Inventory

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I've only gotten the corner lazy susan area and the ONE canned shelf done. All I can say is I have A LOT of tomatoes, sauces, diced, whole, etc. Therefore, I am making red sauce this morning to have an italian feast this evening.

Ready? Here is everything on the counter to be categorized ...



And here is what was found: leaf spinach x 4
new potatoes x 8
whole corn x 4
french cut green beans x 3
cut green beans x 1
garbanzo chickpeas x 4
cannellini beans x 4
black beans x 9
chili beans x 1
canned chili x 5 (hot dog)
rotel tomatoes x 10
pizza sauce x 1
crushed tomatoes x 1
diced tomatoes x 7
whole tomatoes x 1
red sauce x 2
mushrooms x 5
sauerkraut x 2

And here it is, all nice and neat ...


I also discovered a recipe which I'm assuming must have come about the last time I did inventory since it's for black beans and rotel tomatoes ...


And hey, not so unhealthy according to this


And then we moved on over to the main pantry and tackled ONE shelf:


Like I said, I've got a LOT o…

Koozie, Coozie, Huggies, Whatever

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We live in South Florida. It's HOT 85% of the time.

We boat. It's HOT 95% of the time. What? You sayin I'm a wimp for not boating when it's 60 degrees? Uh uh.

We float in the pool, the ocean, and ONCE, in the intercoastal.

We sit on the dock, on the patio, in the garage and ONCE on the roof.

And we almost ALWAYS have a refreshing beverage of some sort in our hand, be it a water bottle, soda, ice tea, beer or other adult beverage.

And we LIKE to have our beverages refreshing, which is why they are always in a Koozie.

I've got cheesy ones ("My Toys Are Bigger Than Your Toys") and then I have some that I continually inquire where they came from ("Adolph Towing"). 

I've got ones that I paid decent cash for (Key West many many years ago).



Some zip (for bottles). Some don't.

Some are circular, foamy things with bottoms that have the worse habit of busting loose taking your beverage container right out the bottom when picked up.

Others are coll…

BBQ Smoked Pork Shoulder

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We've got a pretty cool charcoal grill, but still use the gas one 90% of the time.

Why? Well, because the charcoal grill takes so much more work, and quite honestly, neither of us have mastered the fine art yet :)

But recently, Hubby was given a recipe and specific instructions on how to smoke a pork shoulder. By a guy who does competition BBQ. And baby, the results were stellar!

First up, I had to finally invest in a "chimney". Can I tell you how stupid I felt afterwards for putting it off for so long? This took about 50% of the hassle out of cooking on charcoal.


So we kept the fires stoked (is that the correct term?) to maintain an even 250 degrees..




Resisted the urge to peek too much to see the status

And let all the smoke out (we kept adding hickory chunks, not chips)

And just wait it out for about 7 hours.

And reap the benefits of showing patience and good humor (we had a few close calls!)


We used Texas style toast (bread that is extra thick cut) and drizzled olive oil…

Paying Bills

You know, the holiday weekend is over but SUMMERTIME is still in full swing ... and I don't know about YOU, but I have a tendency to forget about those everyday things that need to be tended to ...

Such as bill paying.

Yeah, those bills. They just don't realize that this is the FUN time of the year, and heck, last thing I want to do is balance my checkbook, make deposits, move money from here to here and then write out checks on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. No. I'd rather be floating in the pool or out in the ocean zipping around!

Of course, be a day or two late and whoa, you get slapped with a pretty hefty late fee. How can it be ethical for a $15.00 late fee to be applied to a $30 bill? Seriously!

So here's what Works For Me.  Online Bill Pay. Those bills come in and that same exact day, I log on to my online bank account, and set up that bill to be paid on the day BEFORE it's due.  I will automatically deduct it from the checkbook register just because y…

The Summertime Pantry Challenge - Update #1

Now that the weekend is officially over, I can focus a little more clearly on this Pantry Challenge thing.

I've still NOT cleaned and organized the pantry or freezers. I need to ... that really should be my first step, but it's DAY 5 already! So I may have to just chug along and get it done as I go ...

So. What are the goals, purposes, reasons, rules, etc?

My goal is to finally get the pantry and freezers organized ... and to get them cleared up.  I've got some stuff in both that probably should be gone by now, and well, you all know how stuff gets shuffled around, and eventually, these deep shelves of the pantry just suck stuff in to be lost forever, or at least until the next Pantry Challenge comes around.

Rules? None really. I will still shop. But I'm hoping to only shop for things that go in the FRIDGE (produce and dairy), occasionally breads (IF I go to the bread store I'll eliminate temptation!) and a few odds and ends (Carnation breakfast, coffee, you kno…