Showing posts from September, 2015

Menu Plan Week #144 - Whole30 Style Using What We Have

Happy Sunday ... and yes, it's that time of week again!

So. Let me just get this out of the way, right now:

I had pizza AND beer on Friday night. Oh, yes, I did. And, man, did I pay the price for it at 2am with a major case of heartburn and stomach ache. Ugh. I won't even talk about the joints in my hands ... they were pretty inflamed and still are today ... I've taken way too many Aleve in the past 24 hours which just reminds me that BEER may be the #1 culprit! Say it isn't so!

So, needless to say, I am calling a NEW start to the Whole30 plan starting on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th ... trust me, I ate healthy the whole weekend, except that Saturday night, I was too lazy tired to spiralize the zucchini so ate REGULAR pasta with the family after Hubby slaved away all day making the red sauce ...

And that Man, as much as I love him, made a double batch of brownies. Flat out told him Sunday afternoon that those things had to go away ... like today. Ugh.  And then I think, crap…

Sweet Potato Rounds

I never really knew if I liked sweet potatoes or not ... I mean, heck, who doesn't like something covered in brown sugar (or maple syrup) and then marshmallows over the top? What I didn't like was the stringy-mushy texture of that stuff ... but I would take a little orange stuff and LOTS of toasted marshmallows during the holidays.

Now. Not so much. It does kind of suck when you grow up and learn to read the labels and whats good for you and what's really not. Being an adult does stink sometimes!

So ... with the Whole30 thing underway (which by the way, I jumped ship on Day 6 at lunch time and hurried up and caught up to the boat and jumped back on asap!) I'm back to experimenting ...

And ...

I give you SWEET without the cloying, sticky stuff ...

This was so stinkin easy to do that I'm actually surprised I never tried it before ...


Grab yourself a couple of sweet potatoes ... I used 3 here and peel them.

Once peeled, go ahead and slice them thin. I think min…

Naked Pulled Pork

I say "naked" because, it's without any BBQ Sauce ...

And surprise, THIS time, Hubby ate it and said it was pretty damn good. Yeah, he said that about the green beans too ... maybe his back pain was just making him super complacent?

What surprises me more than anything is that this humble hunk of pork can be transformed into something so freakin' simple with just a few ingredients ...

3 to 5 pound pork roast (I used a boneless pork butt this last time which makes me wonder, how is it boneless??)
1 tsp himalayian salt (the pink stuff)
half bottle of liquid smoke
1/2 cup water

Grab your crockpot.

Usually, I trim some of the fat, but this last time I didn't. So I guess it works either way ;-) Trim or not, it's up to you!

Grab a tsp or so of salt and sprinkle it all over everything and then massage the butt . Not a lot, you don't want anyone to give you funny looks, you know?

Toss that bad boy in your crock pot, fat side up.

Add your half bottle of liquid sm…

Menu Plan Week #143 - Using What We Have

Soooo....Thursday morning, I got upset, threw down the kitchen towel and said TODAY IS THE DAY ...

Whole30, that is.

I've not quite relayed that exact message to the family but they certainly know something is up.

Saturday, I woke up at 6am, STARVING, but no where near ready to wake up ... so I grabbed a Honey Crisp Apple and sat in the guest room watching the sky change colors ... Kitten was sweet enough to join me while I chomped away on the apple. Just for the record, cats don't care for apples ;-)

So after the apple and a glass of water, I went back to bed ... it's been a rough week. FINALLY rolled out of bed around 10:30 or so and made myself some real breakfast. But man, the headache I had ... which continued all through the day and night ... even with Advil and tons of water. I'm thinking it's the coffee/cream/sugar/beer withdrawal.  Seriously, so bad, I could only hang out with the kids poolside for about 45 minutes, as much as I wanted to get some sun that …

Frugal Tip - Freezing Ground Beef

You do know that I buy my ground beef from The Fresh Market on Tuesdays because it's $2.99 per pound for 85/15, right?

I mean, heck, that's a STEAL now days! Beef is EXPENSIVE anymore!

So, when I go every few weeks, I buy about 8 to 10 pounds of the stuff. Which, now that I'm on a stricter food budget of $125.00 a week, I've really got to watch what I'm buying!

AND THEN ... I found Aldis ground beef:

That's pretty good pricing for 90/10 and 93/7 ground beef, don't you think? The 73/27 is WAY better than the $3.59 I saw it for at Publix recently! Just for the record, Hubby prefers to mix one pound of the 73/27 with the 90/10 or even the 85/15 as it makes for a juicier burger.
So ... yes, I stocked up on some of this too the last time I was at Aldis ... and NOW, what to do with 8 to 10 pounds of beef?  I am not a proponent of cooking it all up at once like some do ... I mean, heck, some days we want burgers, other days, tacos, and then of course, there's …

Chicken Piccata - It's Whats For Dinner

This is one of the favorites of the household, and for a while there, I made it ALL THE TIME.

Then it sort of became "not so special" when I did make it, because we were getting used to having it ALL THE TIME.

So it's been awhile.

I've had it on the menu plan a few times but life interferes so I haven't made it ...

But this week ... I figured I MUST make it this week ...

Therefore, It's What's For Dinner!

It's a fairly easy recipe to throw together, and there are few steps you can do in the morning before heading to slave away in the office for 9 hours ...

4 chicken breast, sliced in half (so you have 8 pieces now)
salt and pepper
flour for dredging
12 tbs of butter (slice each tbs off a stick and set on plate)
10 tbs olive oil (just have tbs and oil handy)
2/3 cups lemon juice (yup, I squeezed the lemons, 2 1/2)
1 cup chicken stock (I used the granules and 1 cup hot water)
1/2 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup parsley, chopped (had to brave the wind and rai…

Menu Plan Week 142 - Using What We Have

I did pretty good this past 6 days of staying out of the stores after that last Sunday where I blew 50% of my grocery budget ... then I did the quick stop at Whole Foods on Friday morning and spent $22 .... and then again on Saturday, Hubby wanted to make some Shepherds Pie with shredded beef ... WF had their beef roast for $5.99 a pound, same as Publix and I'd much rather shop at WF, you know? So another $45 out the door on Saturday ... but have a ton of leftovers for lunches and dinners this week! Score!!  I'm pretty happy in that I stayed under the $125 budget I recently put in place for food per week.

I made it a point to prep some food Sunday before I ran out to do some sight-seeing (aka house drive-bys with Hubby) ... I grilled up a LOT of zucchini, squash, onions, red peppers and green peppers and cooked 3 HUGE chicken breast (for lunches this week) and sauteed 2 pounds of green beans.

Then I went ahead and made up 3 shepherd pie and green bean containers for lunches, t…

Frugal Activities #47

So, traveling back home over a holiday weekend is probably NOT the best thing, you know?

Anyhow. Anyway. Whatever.

We are home. Have been for almost a few week now.

Sunday, I had to hit up the grocery store. No eggs. No milk (Hubby, not for me). No salad stuff. Really ... NOTHING except frozen stuff in the freezer, which, at the end of the day is useless if it's a frozen hunk of something, right?

So. I blew 50% of my grocery budget that Sunday. Really.

I held out the FULL week ... but come Friday (it's I DON'T CARE FRIDAY!) morning, I stopped at Whole Foods at 8:05am (!!??) to pick up a bottle of Tessemaes Lemon Garlic Dressing since I knew I had just a drop left in the office and I've been getting home LATE at night so no time (poor excuse) to make my own salad dressing (after I just shared the Honey Mustard stuff!) ... anyway. It was on sale ($4.99) so I picked up 2 bottles for home  and office ... then spotted the rainbow carrots on sale, grabbed one bag ... saw th…

Fast Chillin' Beers

Odd, when we were in Indiana, I couldn’t buy COLD beer at the grocery store. WTF?
So, not one to be intimidated when it comes to an ice cold brewski, I made a fast chill bucket.
Well, in this case, a fast chill bowl. Wish I had a bucket so I could have done all 6 but I was stuck with 2 bottles and a somewhat large bowl.

What you need:
Large bucket/bowl/container Beer of choice Ice Water
Toss your beers in the bucket/bowl/container.
Add some ice. I was using a slow as molasses ice maker at the house (took 3 days to get a decent amount of ice, talk about roughing it!) and I went LIGHT on the ice as I didn’t want to use it all up … add water to that and then let the beers sit for 30 minutes, rotating the bottles every so often to keep them chillin throughout.
So … I was getting impatient. So grabbed the Patron and sliced up a lime as I needed one anyway with the corona and did a SHOT of tequila while waiting. Oops. Not that I recommend that to ANY ONE but hey, I was on vacation ;-)
As al…

A Bunch of Bananas

This may be a no brainer to some of you, but I am amazed that others don't know this ...

Have you ever brought home a bunch of green bananas, telling yourself that they will somehow ripen one at a time, instead of the whole bunch in one day, sometimes, within hours??

And the next thing you know, there are brown specks all over the skin, and the younger people in the house will refuse to go anywhere near them NOW!

Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of banana bread, so those overly ripe, soon to go south bananas will not be used for that. But at 69 cents to 99 cents a pound, I'll be darned if they go in the trash! No Way!

Go ahead and do this.

Peel all the ripe bananas and break them in half and toss in a ziplock bag.

Squeeze the air out of the bag and put in the freezer.

Tomorrow morning, or the next day, week, whenever you want to make a smoothie, pull out 2 halves of the banana, toss in the blender with the rest of your smoothie ingredients and let it rip.

Now you've got a creamy,…

Honey Mustard Dressing - Grain & Dairy Free

I love making my own salad dressings ... I have a much better handle on what I'm consuming when I do so. You know that MOST shelf stable salad dressing are full of funky ingredients, right? So why not just take a few extra minutes and make your own and be healthier?

This is a dressing that I've been making for several years now. Back in the day, it was all about Kens Honey Mustard Dressing ... until I started reading labels. Whoops. The 2nd ingredient was HFCG.

So ... I had to pretty much kick my all time favorite dressing to the curb. *See how it says "Great for DIPPING"?? That's what it was all about for me!
But then I found this great recipe and I've been making it ever since that day!
Here's what  you need:
1/2 c olive oil. I've started to use the "light tasting" stuff for my dressings 3 tbs regular vinegar 2 tbs water 1/4 c honey  1/4 c grey poupon mustard 1/2 tsp dried basil 1/2 tsp salt dash of black pepper
Measure all in a glass jar…

Menu Plan Week #141 - Using What We Have

Ahhh ... did you notice that I've NOT shared  menu plan these past two weeks?  I was away on vacation and well, it was a little difficult to plan while away ;-) We actually sort of winged it by asking each other and family members around what shall we eat this evening?

Can I just tell you how much I HATED not knowing what we were going to eat until the last minute?Those dashes to the grocery store to pick up something to complete a meal were killing me. It's a 30 minute drive, minimum to a store around those parts ... much as I loved the solitude (and sketchy cell and Internet service) I do miss the easy access to a grocery store when needed!

So, we're back. Which means, YEAH I get to menu plan! And boy, am I ever ready to get back in the groove of things again ... I've got several things that I'm looking forward to doing besides menu planning so keep an eye out!

First off, I want to get the grocery budget back under control. It hasn't been so bad the past few …

Frugal Activities #46

Today is our travel day back to South Florida after 10 days of mostly wonderful times visiting friends and family in Chicago and NW Indiana.
I say ‘mostly’ because, well, it was expensive, and the start of our trip was a little stressful thanks to Tropical Storm Erika. Thankfully, she just decided to shut down shop and dissipate, but not before we waffled back and forth as to whether to cancel the trip period, then purchasing last minute airline tickets to return a week sooner … then there was the lack of cell or Wi-Fi coverage where we were in Indiana so we opted to just buy a Verizon jetpack and 3 gigs or whatever they are called worth of data so that both Hubby and I could keep up with our work emails as we are both slammed right now.

Then, factor in the fact that I just “had to” go get a wash and blow out … which wouldn’t have been so very bad, after all, except, I’m such a wimp and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings that the first place I went to (inside a Walmart, what the HE…

Peach Vodka Seabreeze

*To keep this grain free, go with Circo Vodka which is made with grapes instead of potatoes*

Originally, I had these pegged as a refreshing, summertime drink, but you know what? They've floated my boat just fine through the South Florida winter months and another summer too ;-)

I am not usually one to be using a martini glass, simply due to the spill factor ... but yes, I do occasionally. Someday's I just want to be *special*.

Most times, I use a rock glass. Great for making a toast and for putting the glass down quickly while laughing, which, if you get a small group of girlfriends drinking these, you will be!

And then, of course, during a BBQ/Pool Party ... you gotta bring out the Solo Cups ... and everyone sing the song now! Red Solo Cup, I fill you up ... 

Ok, are you ready for a super yummy, lip smacking adult beverage?

Peach Vodka (I am a firm believer that you need to buy a better brand, not the Gordon stuff or something of that class ... if you are prone to headaches, do buy…

Oriental Cabbage Salad

*While in Indiana, I'm trying to make a few of our favorite things to share with family here ... this is a recipe that my mother-in-law made all the time ... it made my niece tear up when she said she hadn't had this since Grandma passed away*

Most people like this, even if it's based on cabbage. Just an absolute delicious salad for those summer bbqs!

Bag of coleslaw (or just plain cabbage, shredded, small to medium size head)
8 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup peanuts (or other nuts you like), toasted and cooled (used plain spanish peanuts)
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled (skipped as I didn't have any)
2 pkgs ramen noodles, crushed
1/2 red pepper, chopped


4 tbs sugar. You can use a sugar substitute of choice if desired
I used 3 packets of Stevia in the Raw and it was perfect!! I may do it this way from now on
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (or oil of choice)
2 tsp salt (I've always used less)
6 tbs rice wine vinegar
*or, you can do like I sometimes do a…