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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Week 157 Menu Plan - Using What We Have

Hi hi! Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a relaxing weekend afterwards?  We did. Well, I seriously considered starting the new round of the Whole30 on Saturday as that past week has had way to much alcohol floating around. I wasn't hung over on Saturday but dang, just tired and blah. Instead, I made myself a bowl of leftovers: beef tenderloin, green beans and riced cauliflower, all heated up in the skillet with a little ghee ... had a cup of coffee and then threw myself on the couch to watch a few movies ;-)

We did really good in not killing ourselves financially or mentally on Christmas this year. I'm actually quite proud of ourselves. A lot of things have gone down around here and well, it was just more about everyone coming together and showing our love for one another. It was sunny and hot and the pool cover came off for all (except me) to jump in and play with the pool toys for a bit. That was nice.

Ok ... so moving forward. the end of the year is fast approaching, uhm, like, in less than a week ... yikes!  As always, I have BIG goals and such that I'd like to see happen but I'm thinking I need to take the same approach to 2016 as we did for Christmas, not kill myself mentally or financially ;-) BUT I (hopefully that will become WE) are doing a Whole30 starting on January 1st. Trust me, I'm so ready for it to start ... if you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the wine and I swear, I got more likes on that picture than any other ... I guess everyone else can relate to the #toomuchwineisneveragoodthing ... *Don't forget to check out the Whole30 Fort Lauderdale blog I've got up to document and keep everything nice and easily accessible!

Oh, and yeah, there was SOME grocery shopping this past week ... $220 spent at Publix ... wish I could figure out just what I bought that cost so much? Oh, yeah, the 2 bottles of bubbly equaled $90 ... but still.  Just so you know, I still have champagne left for New Years Eve and then that's IT!  I didn't put up a Grocery Cart Sunday post as I can't remember where my receipt is. If I find it, I'll share.  Oh, heck, this is the last week too before my new challenge of $300 per month goes in to effect. I honestly don't see it being a problem for the first month as I have a lot of stuff in the freezers, it's a Whole30 month AND well, it's the first month ;-) February, maybe will be ok but from there on out, I'm slightly nervous. I really need to get focused on a food budget and just get serious with it. I need to work a little on the entertaining and holiday aspects where we would go from 3 people to 5, 6, 8, even 10 at one meal.

So ... here's what we are looking at this last week of 2015 ... hoping to make it matter!

Sunday - Ham and Macaroni and Cheese with a little garden salad on the side.

Monday - Sausage and Peppers ... I've got a lot of onions that need to be used up soon! IF I'm on my game, I will have everything prepped Sunday, if not cooked too!

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday! What else? ;-) - don't tell the Boy but it will most likely be made with turkey this time around!  I will be down to 2 bags of riced cauliflower so I need to start stalking Trader Joes!

Wednesday - totally needs to be a clean out the fridge night since I want a clean fridge come Friday morning!  Worse case scenario would be soup and sandwiches

Thursday - It's the LAST party for me (thankfully!) for the next 30 days! Woohoo! I'm hoping to be able to throw together a meat and cheese platter with veggies on the side for the guest to make themselves some food before we head to Lauderdale By The Sea to watch the ball drop ... of course, I'm looking to serve up some Prosecco and Pomegrante Bubblies


Friday - fingers crossed that I will not be hurting today!  Day 1 of Whole30 and will be making BLT Inspired Chicken Salad ... it's been a while and I have everything on hand so why not!

Saturday - Day 2 of Whole30 - looking at Shallot Chicken with Roasted Broccoli ... realize that I need to share the chicken recipe ... but honestly, most likely will use onions instead as thats what Hubby prefers!

What are YOU making this week?  I'm looking forward to sharing over at Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party ... go check it out!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Prosecco and Pomegrante Cocktails

*This is a repost from last New Years and well, it's rather fitting again this year! I currently do not have the Prosecco, but DO have 4 now 6 bottles of Champagne in the freezer fridge (2 Moet, 3 Cuerve and 1 less expensive brand, NOT Korbel!)  Seriously, this is what I will most likely be drinking on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve!  Definitly on New Years Eve since I figured I'm starting another round of Whole30 on Friday and I sure as hell do NOT want to be hungover!  I have 6 bottles of champagne which should be more than adequate for the dinner toastings, the mimosas AND the midnight toast ... if necessary and see it on sale, will buy a few more bottles of Processo (if it's on sale). I DO have the POM so that's not a problem!

Let's face it ... on a whim, I will sometimes buy things spontaneously, with good intentions ... just like when I bought 2 bottles of Prosecco a few months back. By the time I got around to wanting to use them, I couldn't remember just what the heck I had planned!

This could be why I really need to do the Pantry Challenge and stick with it this January! **2016 is a Whole30 Challenge ... lets hope there are a few items in the pantry to be used!!**


So, I had these two bottles of POM I got from Costco (which I justify in saying they were a GREAT deal and a healthy juice option) ... the kids have been chugging a little here, a little there, I had a splash with some vodka a few weeks ago ... but otherwise, what the heck was the ORIGINAL reason I bought them? I still have one bottle, half full ...

It was 82 degrees New Years Eve day with a low of 76 that night 

Ah HAH! Then I remembered ...

1 champagne flute (well, rather, however many participates there are, in my case, ONE!)
fill flute 1/3 with POM juice
Fill close to top with the Prosecco
Arils (the seeds from the pomegrante)- totally optional but so wish I had them to do so!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post contains affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Making Mayo

Hey hey hey, it's getting close to that time of the year where you make all those resolutions and over-acheiver mode goals ;-)

Also ... probably time for a Whole30 if you've been following me!

So ... here's what we got today: MAYO.

Yes, mayonnaise!

I'm a mayo snob, I'll admit it. Do NOT ever put that Miracle stuff anywhere near my plate ... and no, I do not like Kraft either. Only Hellman's ... thank you very much.

BUT ... once I made the stuff from scratch (it's really easy, I promise!) I never ever looked at another sale jar of mayo again.

Oh. Well. Sort of ... I do buy the jar, I think maybe 2 in the last 12 months? Only because if we are doing something with heavy mayo, I'd be dying in the kitchen to keep up, you know?

For the most part though, it's the stuff from scratch. Hubby will even inquire if we have enough for say, Blackened Chicken Sandwiches (birthday party, 10 people), or Blue Cheese Dressing ... or ... well, a lot of stuff ... he likes it as much as I do, and I hope you do too!

The recipe calls for FIVE ingredients, that's all. F I V E! Go grab your jar of mayo from the fridge and look at the ingredient list. I'll wait. Ok, are you convinced maybe you should give this a try?

A few notes:

1.  Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.

2.  Give yourself 5 to 8 minutes of undivided attention as you need to do this slowly.

3.  Buy a large bottle of LIGHT Olive Oil. I know, it doesn't have ALL the benefits of extra virgin, but if you use regular, you will mayo that taste VERY strongly of olive oil ... and while some people might be ok with that, we were NOT.

Seriously, this is all you need.

This was made with regular olive oil ... see how it's got a yellowish/greenish tint?

When the oil goes on sale with a buy one get one free, I'm stocking up baby!

Ok, are you ready to give this a try?

1 egg
2 tsp lemon juice (yes, I do use the stuff in the bottle IF I don't have fresh lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 cup olive oil

Put the egg and the lemon juice in your food process and walk away for an hour or so. Seriously. See up there ... PATIENCE? In order for the stuff to incorporate and emulsify, it MUST be room temperature. Honestly, I had mine out for 2 hours the first time, an hour or so is normal for me.

When it's all to room temp, go ahead and cap the processor. Drop the dry mustard and salt in the chute, fire up the machine and pour the 1/4 cup of oil in and let it rip for a minute.

Now comes the FUN part ... roll your shoulders, flex your triceps muscles and S L O W L Y start drizzling the 1 cup of oil down the chute. Be slow about it, you want a very thin stream of oil going in!

The stuff will start spattering around and you'll be tempted to stop and scrape but DON'T GIVE IN, keep drizzling it through the chute.

Suddenly, it sounds like slapping. Keep drizzling.

And just like that, the whole thing changes. The sound, the feel everything will suddenly become a smooth hum. You are almost there. Keep drizzling. Ignore the cramp in you triceps, keep drizzling. This is nothing folks, keep drizzling.

When you get down to that last bit, RESIST THE URGE to just dump. Keep drizzling.

When olive oil is all emptied out, let it continue for about 30 seconds more. Turn off processor and flex arm.

Rub hands together, give an evil grin  to the Hubby and take off the lid.

Hot Diggity Dog!! Creamy. Luscious looking. I slathered some right on a piece of turkey and ate it. Yummm. Oh, how about some deviled eggs using the mustard powder along side?? Oh, I think I might be on to something here!

This made a nice size jar of fresh mayo. It should keep as long as your egg was fresh. I have a feeling it would last a little longer than a week beyond what the egg carton says for the "sell by date" but if you follow food police guidelines, use that for your 'expiration' period.

Can you tell which is EXTRA virgin and which is LIGHT?

Honestly, this is an every 7 to 10 day occurrence in the kitchen. Nobody even thinks to remind me that there is an egg sitting on the counter ... they KNOW its for MAYO and I think do a little skip in their head as something yummy is fast approaching!

Go ahead, whip up a batch. I think you will be oh, so very surprised AND hooked.

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post contains affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week 156 Meal Plan Monday - Using What We Have

Hi Hi! It's that time of the week again and whoa .... we are coming in to the HOLIDAYS fast!!

Is anyone else in panic mode that Christmas is like, FIVE days away?? How did that happen?? And then the following week is the New Year ... which also starts a new Whole30 for January! I started a new blog just for that and have been posting my Whole30 recipes over there. I'm also hoping to share my experience there as well so go check it out!

Anyway.  I haven't been posting the menu plan the past few weeks as it's just been busy as heck at work and we've been traveling so really, not a whole lot to share. Doesn't mean that I don't plan, I do! I've started writing on the whiteboard the plan for the week so the rest of the folks in the house can see what I'm looking at too ... 

Are you ready for Christmas?? I'm so not. But this year, I said I wasn't going to kill myself (mentally or financially) and so far, so good. Although, I am feeling a slight twinge at the lack of gifts below the tree. And I still want to do the stockings but that will just be a quick run to the store to pick up the usual stocking stuffers ;-)  Luckily I have MOST of the food (I hope) for the Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners thanks to my Costco run over the weekend ... a few things still need to be picked up, but I'm leaving that up to Hubby (beef tenderloin, he wants potatoes too) ... oh we do NOT have any beers (well, regular stuff, anyways) so that's probably going to be a buy this week too ... 

Here's what we are looking to make this week:

Sunday - Wings and Flat Bread Pizzas - I might toss a Caesar salad together too, just because ;-)

this time I will be cooking them and using the grill mat to prevent that big time char!

I will be using some of the tomatoes that were picked up at Costco as I don't have any romas

Monday - Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad ... can I tell you how embarrassed I am that the word Caesar is misspelled throughout that WHOLE post!?? Thanks for your wonderful spell checking skills, Google!

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday ... gotta keep the tradition going! I am not sure on the ground beef inventory so may have to use ground chicken or turkey but don't tell the Boy!

Wednesday - leftovers as I want to get the refrigerators cleaned out!

Thursday - Lasagna (frozen from Costco, easy way out) with ciabatta bread, large salad and a few appetizers along the way. I'm hoping to not have to go in to the office at all today and if that's the case, I'll be happy with all the time on my hands to do what I need to do ... the Boy works that morning, the Princess and new Beau both work doubles at their respective restaurant and not sure about Hubby but hot diggity dog, I may have time to crank up Pandora to the music I LIKE!!!

FridayMerry Christmas!!! We will be having a beef tenderloin, macaroni & cheese (from Costco), caesar salad, and if Hubby has it his way, double baked potatoes (I prefer not to do these!).  I will also make a small batch of meatballs and snausages for appetizers and cheese and crackers. It's suppose to be 85 degrees and we are hoping to make this a pool day before eating! How wild is that? We put the pool cover on Saturday so it should be warmed up to the uppers 80's by this day! Oh ... and mimosas in the morning and Vino and Champagne in the evening ;-) I may just stick to Baileys and coffee in the morning ;-)

Saturday - I am hoping like crazy that we have leftovers that we can eat this evening because I REALLY need to get the freezers in order and the fridges under control as well as the pantry before NEXT FRIDAY! 

What are YOU making this week?  Looking forward to sharing over at Organized Junkie's party ... go check it out!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Grocery Cart Sundays

I don't know why, but I love to read what other bloggers are buying at the grocery store.

Yeah. I guess you could say I'm obsessed with food ... but I 'think' I have a healthy relationship with it ;-)

So, with that said, I thought, what the heck, I'll try to share my weekly grocery trips ... and if everything is going according to plan, you would even get a picture or two ... but of course, things don't always go as planned ... but this week, I DO have pics!

A bonus for me to share weekly is to keep my grocery budget in check (hopefully!) *My goal for 2016 is $100 per person, per month. That's $300.00 a month, based on my household right now. I need to figure out how to add in the additional visitors, friends, family members that frequently come for dinner and happy hours ... but that is my intended upcoming budget! Oh ... and possible Whole30 to boot in January for two of us!

So ... we had a trip up to Northwest Indiana this last week. Flew out on Thursday and back home on Monday. It was 60 degrees and rain. I kept imagining that if only it was snow, we'd probably have had a blizzard, right? But, nope, damp and cold was what I got. Oh well, it was still good to be there and stuff a freezer full of various soups for the father in law ;-)

We stopped at Costco on the way in from the airport ... Costco is right there on Cicero Ave so it's perfect. I didn't share a Grocery Cart Sunday last week, but know that I spent $200 at Costco and $60 at Walmart ... and gave a TON of food to my sister in law to feed her crew as I overbought, imagine that!

But now that I am back home and we are coming in to the end of the year (hello Christmas and New Years!), I need to get a little more focused ;-)

Tuesday stop: Aldi 

I went for eggs, avocados (49 cents!), a couple lettuce heads and whatever veggies to be found. No eggs to be had. Or lettuce! WTF? 
4 avocados $1.96 for all 4 (score of a deal!)
taco shells $1.99
2 pkgs of fresh asparagas $2.99 each
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese $2.79
pkg of mesquite turkey lunchmeat $2.69
bag of springmix salad $1.99
2 bags of butter lettuce mix $1.99 each
4 cucumbers $1.56
fresh salsa $2.49
4 pkgs of taco seasoning 35 cents each
bag of limes (think there were 5) 99 cents
2 pk tomatoes $1.49
bag of tortilla chips $1.19

Grand total $28.51

Still needed eggs ... 

So ... Saturday morning I head to see my dad, who is still in rehab BUT I so major improvements today!!! (pinching his fingers and able to reach the top of his head! Huge!!) and when I left him, I drove over to Costco, 2 miles away.  I know, Saturday. Before a BIG holiday. And well, everywhere you go, people are crazy (oh, heck yes, I stopped at Best Buy to pick up something I ordered on line, took me longer to get out of the parking lot then it did to park, pick up item and leave store!) ... but I needed eggs!

4 pk OJ $10.99
3 dozen extra large eggs $5.29 (they didn't have my usual brown ones!) *
2 bottles of Moet Champagne $37.49 each **
2 bottles of Vino Dell'amicizia $12.69 each ** (girl swore that this was AS GOOD as Santa Margharita for about half the price)
b/s chicken thighs $16.44 ($1.99 per pound) *
12 pk total muffins (6 blueberry/6 pumpkin spice) $6.99
LARGE bottle of Advil $16.39 (hands have really been bothering me)
5 pk baby romaine heads $4.49 *
2 12pks of Guacamole singles $10.79 each *
bag of brussel sprouts $4.49 *
3 pk of Aidelle Chicken/Apple Sausage *
bananas x 2 $1.39 each
pre-sliced apples (I think 12 pk?) $6.99 *
Spiral wrap appetizer things $9.99 **
2 bags of Caesar Salad mix $3.99 each *
2 pk of 6 each Naan Bread (flat) 5.99
6 pk red peppers $5.99 *
2 trays of macaroni & cheese $9.90 less $2 and $9.90 less $2 (each) **
bag of lemons $7.49 *
container of smoked fish dip $10.49 **
baf of broccoli $5.49 *
3 pk of ham steaks $13.69 ** (we got this in Chicago and it was awesome so I bought some for here!)
tray of frozen lasagna $13.79 **
10 pound bag of frozen chicken breast $23.99 *
carton of tomato medley (various colors/sizes) $6.99 *
fresh party wings (like the thighs!) $14.17 *
dish soap $8.99 less $2
twin pk of blue cheese (solid) $5.41 **
bag of ricework chips $5.79 **
12 pk of ciabatta rolls $5.99 
wedge of Asiago cheese $8.51 **
2 pkgs of french cut green beans $3.99 each * and **

Grand Total $399.81

Like really? Yes, really. Just for the record, those items with ** are for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Those items with * are things that I would normally buy and most likely were on my list already! The wine and champage were totally impulse buys BUT were on my list to look at the pricing. However, since I really don't want to go back that way again til after the new year, I figured I'd buy them then as they were better prices than the regular stores.

Grand total for the week far, far exceeded my budget! :-( ... I need to re-evaluate the $100 per person, per month grocery bill to figure out how to add in holidays/parties/hosting parties ... granted, I DID buy convenience items (just not sure how my work week is going to progress and quite honestly, my hands have been killing me and not sure how much I'm gonna want to make stuff from scratch) so I saw the macaroni & cheese and the lasagna and said perfect fit for the time.

How'd you do this past week shopping??

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!
 *This post contains affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Cranberry Margaritas

First up, let me just say, this recipe is NOT mine ... nope. Not at all ... it belongs to Gimme Some Oven and if you've never been there, go check it out!

I'm trying to reduce the spending on food and stuff and pretty much have walked away from the booze and beer aisles lately ... I mean, shoot, we've got quite a bit of hard liquor on hand and as far as beer goes, I'm trying really hard to avoid that as it's the number one thing I consume that has gluten ... so cutting way back on that stuff ... hard as it may be ....

But tequila is abundant around here. Uhm, I have 6 bottles that I see off the top ... I'm sure there is one or two tucked away in the back of the cabinet. I've specifically requested NO MORE tequila til I drink some of these ... and then along came Whole30 ... ahhh....

But ... it's holiday time and well, I DO have those 6 bottles of tequila .. and a bottle or two of cranberry juice is usually floating around. Most of the time I even have the limes and Cointreau ... because, heck, if you drink tequila, you gotta have those last 2 items!

I made these the first time for Thanksgiving and have been enjoying them on and off for the past month ... thanks to the lovely Ali over at Gimme Some Oven I've got myself covered for cocktails on Christmas!

I wanted to make a big batch to serve up to my fellow Tequila Friends so here's how I made them:

3 cups of cranberry juice. I used the 100% juice, not the cocktail blend. THEN I discovered I could make my own cranberry juice! That may be shared at a later date! *Note, I am NOW making these with the cocktail blend and find them a little sweeter so IF you are not a fan of tart, stick with the blend ;-)
1 1/2 cups of lime juice ... thrilled that I have a juicer BUT you can (if you must) use bottled 
1 1/2 cups tequila. I prefer silver (clear) 
1 cup Cointreau. If you wish to make these a little less expensive, you can swap out for triple sec 
Salt for rim of glass (or sugar if you prefer)
lime wedges

Add all liquids to a large glass pitcher, stir well and let the party get started in the fridge for a little while before YOU start the real party!

When ready to enjoy, give a quick stir, rub the rim of your glass with a lime wedge, dip in salt (or sugar), carefully add ice and then fill with your Holiday Cranberry Margarita ...

To be even prettier, go ahead and garnish with some fresh cranberries ... I made a mad dash back to Aldis after work to pick up a couple of bags for 99 cents ... so wished I had picked them up sooner as the traffic and store was craaaazy ... was definitely ready to give these a try once I got back home, that's for sure!

Enjoy (and Cheers!)

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Island Shrimp

This recipe comes from a book I got a while ago, Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals. which prompted me to get back in to the actual cookbook mode ... even though I have tons of them, I need more that are on track with this new way of eating!

By the way, in case you didn't know, 450 Swagbucks will  give you $5 in Amazon cash ... and that's how I've been buying the cookbooks ...

Another side note ... I do NOT like to have them on my Kindle. I mean, yeah, it's sort of cool to just open up the Kindle BUT I don't like the layout/format whatever. It's not the same as looking at the 2 pages, side by side ... so I've decided no more cookbooks on the Kindle.

Anyways ... 

It's Whole30 Compliant! Sweet! Perfect for January 2016 which is RIGHT around the corner, you know?

I renamed the recipe to Island Shrimp with Avocado, then, just Island Shrimp ... more appealing to ME than Tropical Avocado & Shrimp. And yes, there were a few modifications along the way ... if you want the real deal, buy the book and flip to page 57 ...

You can easily double, triple or even quadruple this recipe, as I was only feeding myself for a late lunch and early dinner, I made it in the quantities listed below ... Ready? Ready ...

1/4 cup mango, cut into chunks
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
Juice of 1 lime
dash of salt
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (personal note, I always take the freakin tail off, it annoys me)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 avocado, cut into chunks
3 radishes, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
chopped cilantro (optional but recommended)

Get out the big gun food processor ... add mango, jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil and salt.

Let it rip and make a sauce. 

Put sauce in fridge to chill a little. Trust me. I wasn't crazy when I tasted to adjust the seasoning, but after it chilled for a bit, it was a whole different flavor!

Sprinkle the shrimp with the cumin and saute in a bit of olive oil til cooked (not overcooked!)

In large bowl, combine the shrimp, avocado, radish, onion and cilantro. Toss with the sauce and serve OR you can pour the sauce over prior to serving. Either way, recommend making this ahead of time and letting chill in the fridge for 45 minutes or so ...

Good? Yes it was ... the radishes really tasted good with the mango sauce. I think I was in love for a minute there.

Note: I have made this with cooked shrimp ... in that case I just added the cumin to the food processor when making the sauce ... I'm all about making do, you know?

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post contains affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

New England Clam Chowder - The Easy Way

*We are heading up North to visit some family for a few days and of course, whenever we do that, we make soup since the Midwest weather is so much cooler than Paradise! Hubbby keeps telling me, Clam Chowder! Clam Chowder! You gotta make the Clam Chowder! Fine, fine, ok, ok, I got it!  So here you go, folks, the Clam Chowder!

It has been a while since we've made soup ... especially this yummy, super easy New England Clam Chowder ... 

As you know, New England style is creamy ... Manhattan is red and chunky. And if you've been reading for any length of time, you probably picked up that Hubby HATES chunky tomatoes in cooked dishes. For someone who is a big fan of food, he certainly can be picky at times ;-)

Just for the record, I was set NOT to like this ... I mean, all the ingredients were pretty much processed and well, I'm trying to avoid that stuff ... but, hell, it was  a Saturday night, smelled good, he made some lovely ciabatta bread and it was to die for ...

Yes, it is a little indulgent and I would suggest you not make it every day. But please, whatever you do, give it at least ONE shot ... I think you'll be glad you did!

Here's what you need:

7 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (save the bacon grease in skillet)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans of baby clams
5 to 7 potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 cans of cream of celery soup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp dry dill

Make life a little easier and give the bacon a quick whirl
in food processor to chop it up

Cook onion in the bacon grease until translucent and soft.  Add the juice from the clams (set clams aside) and the potatoes to the pan and cook til the taters are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the balance of the ingredients, stir and let simmer 45 minutes or so until thick. Add the clams towards the end.

Dish up into some pretty bowls, top with a little more bacon bits if you have ... ENJOY!

*We made a double batch as we had some friends coming over, so used a WHOLE pound of bacon and double the balance of the ingredients. I'm sure Hubby did some other things to it to season it up as he does NOT follow recipes super well :-). We also used CANNED POTATOES that were in the pantry as I didn't have any in the pantry or fridge. Hubby said he'd do it that way again as it was a heck of a lot better than peeling and dicing!

Looking forward to sharing at some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Grocery Cart Sundays

I don't know why, but I love to read what other bloggers are buying at the grocery store.

Yeah. I guess you could say I'm obsessed with food ... but I 'think' I have a healthy relationship with it ;-)

So, with that said, I thought, what the heck, I'll try to share my weekly grocery trips ... and if everything is going according to plan, you would even get a picture or two ... but of course, things don't always go as planned ... but this week, I DO have pics!

A bonus for me to share weekly is to keep my grocery budget in check (hopefully!) *My goal for 2016 is $100 per person, per month. That's $300.00 a month, based on my household right now. I need to figure out how to add in the additional visitors, friends, family members that frequently come for dinner and happy hours ... but that is my intended upcoming budget! Oh ... and possible Whole30 to boot in January for two of us!

2 stops this week. TWO. And I realized that we are down to ONE roll of toilet paper ... how is that possible?? That's the first thing on the new grocery list for the week ahead!

The good news is that I did spend a minimal amount ... and would have been within that $75 a week/$300 a month budget ... imagine that!

Here's what I picked up this week:

Walmart - I did the Savings Catcher and got a whole two cents back. Not sure if Price Matching or Savings Catcher is better ... thoughts anyone? Both? 

Tide $8.99 (this is where my 2 cents came from)
5 pound bag of frozen strawberries $9.74
18 count large eggs $4.38
loaf of cheapy white bread $1.58
2 20 count pantyliners .97 each
bananas $2.34
2 6 pks of english muffins $1.97 each
bag of potato sticks $3.98
cilantro .98 cents
Cranberry juice $2.00
Orange Juice $3.00
Milk $3.64
Organic salad mix $5.98

Grand total $53.05 ... 

And then on Friday night, in the pouring down rain (5 plus inches!), I opted to stop at Trader Joes for buns and a few other things for the dinner that evening ... the parking lot is smaller and the store is smaller so I figured I'd be more likely to stay on track AND not get drenched ... I was right!

1 lb bag of organic limes $2.49 
head of iceburg lettuce $1.29
pkg of burger buns $2.49
1 large tomato .79 cents
pk of mint wafer cookies (to die for!) $3.49 (totally spontaneous)
2 bags of handcut fries $1.99 each
2 boxes of mac & cheese $2.99 each (for boy and Hubby)

Grand total $20.51. Uhm, yea, I was pretty darn happy about that! They didn't have any of the riced cauliflower otherwise I would have had another $10 added on but that's ok!

Total for the week is $73.56 ... I would be ahead by $1.44!! 

Of course, had I been shopping with an empty pantry and freezer there's no way these 2 trips would have made meals for 7 days with 3 people so I'm curious to see how a $75 week budget would really play out ... we shall see ;-)

Question:  do you count your laundry soap, paper products, feminine products, etc as part of your grocery budget or do you break them out? 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lime-Cilantro Riced Cauliflower

Did you see my excitement a few weeks ago when I finally found the bags of riced cauliflower at Trader Joe's? I made a bag of that stuff that very night without any thought ... that's how excited I really was ;-)

It was really easy too since the cauliflower was already riced ... all I had to do was zest a lime, chop some cilantro, juice the lime and cook the "rice".

I have turned so many people on to this stuff in the past few weeks
that I may never find it again at the Trader Joe's by my house!
*Type 1 Diabetics should be stockpiling this stuff with only 3 grams of carbs per serving!

This isn't really a recipe, so to speak, but more of a process. And I'm looking forward to making it again!

Here's what you need:

1 12 oz bag of riced cauliflower (or you can certainly rice your own, it's just messy)
handful of cilantro
1 lime

Toss your cauliflower rice into a non-stick skillet over medium heat and allow to heat through without messing with it much. I used my Green Pan and didn't use oil or anything else and it was cooked in 15 minutes.

Add the cooked cauliflower to a bowl and toss the cilantro in. Zest your lime, cut the lime in half and squeeze both halves over the rice/cilantro mix.

Give a quick fluff/stir and serve up ;-)

I had made this for Taco Tuesday (which really was a Taco Wednesday) and had a taco bowl - shredded lettuce, "rice" and meat ... can I just tell you how dang happy my tummy was?? It was pretty tasty and I can honestly say that the day of Taco Salads are gone ... I will forever be having taco bowls (ohhh....a knock of Chipotle bowl is in the future!!)

Oh. And by the way? It's Whole30 compliant ;-)

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!!