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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Ha ... I didn't step foot in a grocery store ONCE this week! Score for me!  Hubby and the Boy did, however, but spent way less than $20 ... they got milk, bagels, ricotta cheese and a few other things ... otherwise, that was IT! *I did hit up Walmart Neighborhood Market this morning, but that goes on for next week*

It's the last day for the Pantry / Freezer Challenge but I think we will still continue onward ... it's been kind to our checking account and wallets and we are starting to make room in the freezers and pantry.  As we are now ready to list the house (starting out with For Sale By Owner) in the next week or so, we need to stay focused on eating down what we have which apparently is still quite a bit! ;-) I will admit, we don't have any ground beef left (that I can find in the freezer) so I have been buying that whenever I step in a store ... Taco Tuesday would be rough ... although, I do have ground chicken and ground turkey to use still ... 

So, since NO Grocery Cart Sunday to share, I'm going to share a recipe instead! Which is Pantry / Freezer Challenge friendly for me since we had everything on hand ... I'm thinking I want to make these for Game Day but don't have any more water chestnuts (need to look, but fairly certain we don't) ... and to make things even better? THIS would/could have been Whole30 friendly because the bacon was low sodium with no extra sugar. Not 100% certain on the water chestnuts, but hey, it's certainly Paleo friendly!

Here you go:

2 cans of WHOLE water chestnuts (not the sliced ones!) - pantry 
1 pkg of bacon - freezer

Grab a large baking sheet and lay out a large piece of parchment paper over it. Turn oven on to 375 degrees. I think I may have fallen over that Amazon sells Kirkland's parchment paper (Costco)??!!

Drain the water chestnuts and dump them out on the cutting board (or plate, whatever).  Open your bacon and cut it in half.

Wrap each water chestnut in bacon, as tight as you can, secure with a toothpick pierced all the way through.  Toss the bacon wrapped nuts on to the baking sheet and spread out to give a little room between them.

*Yes, I do stand mine up but it's not a requirement*

Bake for 15 minutes or til the bacon is cooked to your liking. Yes, you can burn these so keep an eye on them ;-)

I serve mine naked. I know a lot of people make these and then douse them with bbq sauce or some other glaze (teriyaki sauce?) which is fine and dandy, but for me, I like them just bacon and water chestnutty ;-)


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 :-)

Monday, January 25, 2016

French Onion Soup

*This is an all time favorite of our household ... and even better is that it's Pantry / Freezer Challenge friendly! Score!  AND since we are having our official COLDEST TEMPERATURES IN A YEAR (low of 44 predicted for those out west!) and a lot of you are dealing with ice and blizzard like conditions, I figured now is a good time to share this again!

Gosh ... I look at the bottom of the recipe printout and see that I've had this since late 1998 .... wow!

I've made this specific recipe a few times, but then I get distracted with a newer recipe and try that ... and ALWAYS have to listen to Hubby ask why I don't just stick with the first one I have... he's right.

So, Saturday, it was a nice, sunny, BEAUTIFUL day, high of around 86. But the nights are getting a little cooler, and this morning it was 72 when I went outside at 8am ... hence, it's FALL TIME in Paradise, time to make soups!

The sprinkler dudes were here making repairs, and since they were digging up in the back yard, I didn't really want to toss on the ole bikini and jump in the pool to float ... just not my idea of cheap thrills, you know? ;-)

So, again, I made soup.  AND I used what we had on hand ... it's a miracle, don't you agree?!

Here's what you need ....

3 lbs of onions, make sure ONE is a sweet onion, and ONE is a red onion
1/2 pound smoked bacon
2 tbs thyme
12 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 tbs sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 tbs dry sherry
6 ounces sliced provolone, gruyere or mozz cheese (whatever you have will work)
6 slices of baguette or other thick bread

Cut your bacon up in 1/2 inch or so pieces and cook in a LARGE heavy bottom pot til crispy.

While bacon is cooking, slice your onions thin, thin, thin. I use a mandoline, and I asked Hubby how on earth I sliced all those onions back in the day so thin before I had this thing? He said it wasn't pretty ... hmmm ... I think I need to hold back a bowl of soup from him ...

Remove bacon to a lined bowl to drain and toss the onion slices in, on top of the bacon fat, add the 2 tbs thyme. Give a quick stir to mix everything up and then let the onions sit there, undisturbed for about 10 minutes, give them them a quick stir again and really leave them alone for about 20 minutes so they can caramelized. The secret is to NOT TOUCH the onions ... hard as it may be.

Once onions are caramelized, pour in the 1/2 cup of vermouth to deglaze. Allow to cook a minute or so and then pour in the broth and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. NOW, add in your bacon and sherry. Let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour and marvel at the lovely, deep color of the broth. Yummm.

When ready to serve:

Toast the slices of bread under broiler. NOTE: I always drizzle a bit of olive oil on the bread just to give it a little more 'richness'

Place oven proof bowls on a baking tray.

Place bread slice in bowl, ladle a generous portion of soup over the top. Add a slice of cheese carefully over the top of the soup.

Place in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve up and warn everyone that a) the bowl is HOT and b) the SOUP is hot ...


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 :-)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Grocery Cart Sunday

This past week had FOUR stops! Certainly made up for last week, I guess. BUT I’m thinking, I’m missing a stop somewhere, maybe from the previous week, where I picked up cauliflower, broccoli, etc. from Aldi … but I can’t find my receipt nor do I see it on any of my other posts … so I’m going to throw a rough from memory number out here! I mean heck, I even had a picture from the 18th WHICH was that Monday ... 

The Pantry / Freezer Challenge is coming along pretty well … the freezer is actually viewable and you can see what’s in there. The main kitchen is also coming along. I need to work on the guest kitchen freezer and get it cleaned up and organized. It’s just a jumbled mess right now, but Hubby is doing a great job in using what we have without going over board (he has a tendency to feed an army, not just the 2 or 3 of us) …

So, here’s where we shopped this week:

One day, not too long ago, Aldi (Monday, the 18th, from the picture date)… picked up a bunch of veggies and spent about $30 … no clue where receipt went as I think it was when I was sick L

Roma Tomatoes x 3 pkgs 
4 pkgs of green beans
2 heads broccoli
2 heads cauliflower
bag of onions
2 3pk of garlic
7 avocados at 39 cents each!!
cheese slices
2 dozen eggs
gallon of milk
and a few other things ... I really need to find that receipt!

Monday – Super Walmart … I had to go see my dad and he needed a few things so I picked up one thing for us while there:

Loaf of butter bread $2.50

Total spent: $2.50 (really, my dad’s portion was $70 and I need to remember to cut a check back to myself!

Wednesday – Trader Joe’s … that elusive riced cauliflower was found, one bag! And I finally gave in and bought more coffee pods. We were filling up our little kcup thingy but it was annoying. We did use it for 4 to 5 days so yeah, we sucked it up a little ;-)

2 12 pks coffee cups $4.99 each
2 bags frozen strawberries $1.99 each (I think these were cheaper than Aldi, need to check)
1 lonely bag of riced cauliflower $1.99

Total Spent $15.95.

Then, Friday, Stiles Farmer’s Market. My dad was taken to the ER that morning for non-responsive low blood sugar. The exact opposite of his normal problem, which is uncontrollable high blood sugar. So off he went … it was 9:15 and everyone realized that the early bird to breakfast was not there yet so they went to check on him and found him slumped over and not responding. Great! (it’s ok, he came home late Saturday night – 7pm!) … so I wanted to make a Nom Nom Paleo Pressure Cooker meal over the weekend and all I needed was leeks!

1 bunch of leeks $3.49

Total Spent $3.49. That was sort of expensive!

And then Saturday (on way to pick up my dad from hospital) I stopped at Aldi’s which was right there by the hospital:

3 pkgs of button mushrooms $1.29 each (can’t wait for them to get back to 79 cents each)
4 pk tissues $2.99
3 cucumbers .49 each

Total Spent $8.51.

Not a bad week AT ALL! Grand total for week $60.45! Yes!  So that brings my monthly total to $235 out of a $300 budget for the month … I’m so stinking excited to be able to stay within this month! Just one more week and I think I can do it!

*Note: Hubby has been the one in charge of buying the beer, and that’s not part of my budget anyways since I said I was going to try to stop drinking beer … yeah, the Whole30 kind of went out the window, although I will say I’m eating Whole30’ish 80% of the time if not more. Just difficult to do when someone else is cooking the majority of the dinners (Hubby has really taken over the kitchen lately!

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 :-)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Whenever I write or say we are having chicken for dinner, I always feel the need to say "Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner" ... as corny as it is ;-)

BUT ... I gotta say, sometimes that little line is spot on, you know?

So I thought, heck, let me put together a list of my FAVORITE 10 chicken recipes ... afterall, Aldi does have them chicken breast on sale for $1.49 til Tuesday (the 26th) so you better run if you need to stock up (we are on a Pantry / Freezer Challenge and Hubby is doing a stellar job of using what we have, so no stock up for me this time around ... it will happen again!).

Here you go:

1.  The Juiciest Chicken Ever ... I like to serve with green beans on the side and it's great as leftovers with a BLT Inspired Salad


2.  Chicken Piccata

3.  Chicken Marsala

4.  That Damn Fine Chicken

5.  Sweet & Sticky Wings

6.  Tuscan Garlic Chicken

7.  Aussie Chicken

8.  Chicken Pizza - Sort Of (this is the latest chicken concoction I've made and so ready to make it again!)

9.  Chicken & Veggie Stirfry

and ...

10. Chicken Kiev ... I really need to make this AGAIN and SOON so I think I'm putting it on the menu this week! Hopefully NEW pictures will be shared (depending on lighting!)

These are in NO particular order, but I do admit, a few have NOT been made in a while and I'm feeling the need to break out the skillets and hop to on the Tuscan Garlic Style, Chicken Kiev and the Aussie Chicken ... I think we have everything on hand for all three which is another bonus!

What are some of YOUR favorite Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner recipes? Share in the comment section and hopefully I've got what's needed to give some of your suggestions a try!

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 :-)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Very Berry Smoothie

*This is a repost from January 2013 (!) and Hubby was wanting to make it as he's sick now and we've discovered that coconut water helps with dehydration and leg cramps (surprise!) so I figured why not share it again! Plus it's Pantry Challenge friendly in that we have both items on hand!

Berry Berry Easy to make ... 

Very Berry Smoothie ... 

Easy Berry Smoothie ... 

Berry Easy Smoothie ... 


Yup. That was shouting! Sorry, but I'm so happy about this ... 

See, I stopped doing yogurt and dairy products, for the most part. Imagine that, ME, the huge cheese freak, has given up CHEESE for the most part ... after I took out the nachos and pizzas, cheese just doesn't play a big role in my life anymore ... 

And most smoothie recipes have yogurt or milk. Sure, I could make my own almond milk if I really wanted to but I've not gone there ... so I still wanted something simple ... 

Enter .... 

1 cup of frozen mixed berries
1 cup of coconut water ... 
Ice is completely optional and I've opted not to add it

Toss the two in the Vitamix (oh yeah, I got a Vitamix for Christmas from my bosses back in 2012 and I STILL have not written a post on it yet ... does that tell you anything??) and let it rip ... 

Serve up and enjoy ... 

Did I tell you how BERRY EASY this was?? :-)

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 :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chicken Pizza - Kind Of

I have no idea how I came across this recipe on Pinterest, but it's been hanging around for a while and with our Pantry Challenge underway, it was PERFECT that I had everything on hand to make it one night this week!

Now, granted, Kalyn does call it a "Low Carb Pizza Chicken Bake" but I just can't do call it low carb ... although, it does NOT have a crusty base like you'd expect ... and I will say, it was really tasty ... I'll be making this again real soon!

The beauty of this is that it can be a very inexpensive, a/k/a FRUGAL, quick meal if you shop right! All this can be bought at Aldi's this week for a little less than $5 right now if you don't have ANY of the ingredients...I had everything on hand, thankfully, but it's nice to know that a quick run will get me what I need without spending a whole lot ... of course, I must keep my blinders on and not look to either side as I zero in on the ingredients needed ;-)

I'm still just amazed at how a few simple ingredients made this really yummy dish!

So ... here's what you do!

2 pounds (or so) of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 jar of pizza sauce of choice (I used a jar from Trader Joes)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
8 oz pkg of shredded mozzarella cheese OR mozzarella cheese slices (I used slices)
half a package of pepperoni (honestly, not sure how much I really used, I just loaded up)

So, first things first. Dump your sauce in a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat til it reduces by half. I was impatient and didn't let it reduce THAT much but you just don't want it as runny as it is currently in the jar.

Turn oven on to heat to 400 degrees.

While sauce is reducing, grab your chicken breast, lay them flat on a cutting board and butterfly each in half so you have 2 thinner pieces for each piece. I was lucky in that I had a package of thin sliced breast in the freezer already (score for those mark downs!). Just make sure that they are thin and not too bulky in areas.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add your oil. Sprinkle the chicken with the oregano and garlic powder.  Cook breast til slightly golden brown and flip to add color to both sides. You will need to do this in two, possibly three batches. You are not worried about cooking them all the way at this point, just browning them a bit. As you remove them from the skillet, lay them in a single layer in a glass baking sheet. The whole point is to have the chicken as close together as you can, but not overlapping.

Once chicken is all in the pan, take your sauce and spoon over each piece of chicken, spreading the sauce evenly over each piece.

Top each piece of chicken with cheese, making sure, again, to fully cover each piece ;-) Cheesy is good ... 

NOW grab that pepperoni and go to town. Like cheese, PEPPERONI is good too! Lay those slices on and go ahead, have a sneak taste of a slice if you need to.

Slide that tray of yumminess in to the oven and let it bake for 25 minutes or so.  Nope, don't cover the tray ... don't worry, the chicken will not dry out ... it's smothered in sauce, pepperoni and cheese!

Remove from oven, let it sit for a few minutes to set and then grab yourself a spatula and dish up!  Here's hoping that YOU have more leftovers than I did ... one piece that made it to lunch ... I could have eaten this every day this week had there been more!


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 :-)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Menu Plan Week 160 - Using What We Have - Paleo / Whole30

Hey hey ... it's Monday and I'm a day late ;-)

That little flu bug made his appearance this past week ... was feeling off for a few days and then bam! 2am Friday morning he decided to make his announcement! Wholly crap did I feel bad. Poor Hubby ... he was a little besides himself wanting to do something to make me feel better yet he really wanted me to help him with a few projects around the house. Uhm, hello, it's Friday and I called in sick which I rarely do! So my 3 day weekend moved in to a 4 day weekend, although none of it was fun at all but I did do some little things around the house (decluttered, cleaned, laundry, and so on) ... I'm just glad it's Monday night and fingers crossed that the fever broke this afternoon during my emotional breakdown ;-) Yes, a tear or two was shed and I just felt horrible for about 45 minutes ... all better now ;-)

Not a whole lot of grocery shopping this past week (well, today, Monday was a whole different story, but that's on next week) ... Hubby went and picked up a few things and spent maybe $25 or so?  The pantry is showing gaps and the freezers are way more manageable! I'm actually excited about the prospect of organized freezers! Crazy, I know!

I had picked up some cauliflower and green beans earlier Monday so I riced my own cauliflower and have determined that it's worth the extra few cents to buy is already done due to the mess ;-) I made up 3 lunches for the week: 1 with pulled pork, cauliflower rice and green beans and 2 with thai beef (found in the freezer, wholefoods) and cauliflower rice and green beans.

So ... here's what we are looking to have this week!

Sunday - burgers (freezer) with grilled red onions and the rest of the french fries from the freezer. It was windy as heck so I pulled out the Cuisinart griddle/panini press and used that. Been a while and it was good to use it as I'm in the mode where I'm donating stuff like crazy to Goodwill! I think I'll keep the press ;-)

Monday - this chicken breast/pepperoni/pizza sauce and cheese dish ... uhm, yummm ... will so share that this week! All from the freezer and pantry!

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday ... beef in freezer, balance of stuff in fridge and pantry

Wednesday - Thai Pork Bowls ... basically the same as this recipe ;-) The pork is from Costco and was in the freezer, I had pulled it out late last week and it stayed frozen for a few days so we need to eat it up. I've got cabbage/coleslaw mix in the fridge but need to buy more/new

Thursday - leftovers and/or grilled cheese and soup

Friday - Chicken thighs most likely ;-) with roasted broccoli ... thighs in freezer, broccoli was picked up on Monday

Saturday - Hubby's choice and I'm totally leaving it up to him ;-)

What are YOU making this week?  Go check out Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party ... lots of ideas over there!

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, January 14, 2016

Dump Ranch Dressing - Whole30/Grain/Dairy Free

You know when you make something and it just totally knocks your socks off? The joy of it all??!!

Well, this here Dump Ranch Dressing knocked my socks off and I am so dang excited to share with you all!

It's Whole30 approved. Dairy Free. Grain Free. Obviously, Gluten Free!

And easy easy EASY to make!!

This recipe is totally from Whole Sisters and I give them FULL credit ... this is just me saying I made it, I loved it and I want to share it with the world!! Give the girls a drive by and check out their site, it's chock-full of good stuff!

Here's how I made it

egg, room temperature
1 tbs lemon juice, room temperature
1 cup olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
handful of parsley, leaves pulled off and stems discarded
dash of dried dill

Grab yourself a tall jar and make sure your immersion blender fits in the top ;-) I speak from experience! Place everything in jar, insert your immersion blender and let it rip. Make sure you go up and down to pull the parsley in to the blades. Once everything is combined and creamy, give a taste, say "yummm, real ranch" and cap that bad boy and place in the fridge. 

I had a salad within an hour of making this ... just baby greens, shredded carrots and diced cucumbers and RANCH all over ... delicious!

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 :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pressure Cooked Spaghetti Squash

For Christmas this year, I bought myself an Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cooker from Amazon during a big sale they were having. I think it was priced at $78 or so and I had a credit and a bunch of gift cards so I applied all and paid $16 and change.

Yeah. That was a deal.

Of course, Hubby was NOT thrilled with another bulky gadget coming in the kitchen and even though it was very inexpensive, he felt I could have done something different, besides buy another "gadget" ... ho hum .... blah, blah, blah.

So the box sat under the tree, unwrapped until AFTER New Years.  Then the tree was relocated outside and the box was moved to the other side of the room.  That Saturday evening, Hubby brought the box over to the kitchen, opened it up, grabbed the instruction manual and started reading.

We made pork chops and cauliflower that evening in the Instant Pot. It was good and pretty neat, although, we will both admit, a little scary ;-)  Hubby freaked when he released the pressure as he wasn't expecting THAT much pressure to be released. It actually made us both laugh out loud!

Since that night the PC has been hanging out in the main kitchen on the counter, all shiny and waiting for another adventure.  Sunday was the day!

You know that we have this Whole30 thing going on, right? Well, not WE but ME, I, MYSELF, am following Whole30 for the month ... and as a side note, it's freaking hard as hell to stay on course and not be distracted by all that yummy, non-compliant stuff out there ... so I had to get focused and make more arrangements to make sure I was able to eat with the family in a somewhat similar fashion ... and Aldi had the spaghetti squash for $2.19 so I said YES and pulled Nom Nom Paleo's recipe for guidance.

Here's what you need:

2 pounder spaghetti squash
1 cup of water

Cut the spaghetti squash in half through the center, NOT long ways. Be careful as this is the WORSE thing to cut. I used a non skid mat I have and a small paring knife.  I didn't push the knife all the way to the hilt and as you go around, you will hear the squash cracking open ... 

Once open, scoop out as much of the seeds and gunk that you can.  Add a cup of water to pressure cooker and set your trivet or steamer in the insert.  Place squash on the trivet, cut side up. 

Lock lid in place, make sure vent is closed and set pressure cooker on 9 minutes.  Remember, just because you say NINE MINUTES does not mean that this will be ready to eat in 9 minutes ;-) My pet peeve ;-)

After the pressure cooker comes to pressure (Hubby timed, it took 7 minutes) THEN the 9 minute countdown starts.

After timer goes off, release the pressure (quick release), using caution when you flip the vent open.

Using tongs and a large spoon, ladle, pour out any excess liquid from the squash and place on plate to cool for a few minutes. Once cool enough to handle, grab a fork and start scraping.

Beautiful!  And look, no need to turn the oven on and bake for 40 minutes! Always a bonus in steamy Paradise!  I ended up serving mine with the red sauce and meatballs for dinner while the rest of the gang had regular ole' spaghetti ... 

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, January 11, 2016

Week 159 Menu Plan - Whole 30 / Pantry Challenge Using What We Have

Hey hey ... it's that time of the week again!!

The Pantry Challenge is coming along fairly well as Hubby has been in charge of the dinner plans, for the most part. I tell him what I have in mind and he goes and rummages around to find what he needs to prepare same ;-) So far, so good, mostly!

Last week had 3 stops at 3 stores ... the Aldi shop sort of set me over the edge. Only because the boy was with me. There was a comment about the ground beef being $5 for a little over a pound ... it was 93/7 fat ratio and actually a lot cheaper than other places BUT still, did i need 4 packages (during a pantry/freezer challenge)? NO, I did not. Nor did I need to buy THAT much salad stuff (2 heads of iceberg, 1 head of butter, 2 pkgs of organic mix) ... and I just need to start thinking smaller and remember that lately, it's just the 3 of us eating around here, not 6 :-(

Meal prepped a little for the week ahead: made mayo, a batch of ranch dressing (new recipe and this one is even BETTER than the last one, recipe coming soon!) cooked a spaghetti squash (pressure cooker style, post coming soon!) and a few other things ... I also made a batch of tuna salad to try and pursued Hubby to eat lunch a little more often!

I had picked up the InstantPot Duo during Amazon's Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale for $16 after the sale price and gift cards I had accumulated. Hubby fired it up a week ago for a quick dinner on Saturday of pork chops and sort of broke the ice for us ... now we are looking for recipes to try here and there with it!

Sunday - spaghetti and meatballs ... I will have spaghetti squash instead of the pasta. The meatballs are borderline compliant (I'm certain they probably cross the line but they ARE in the freezer to be eaten along with the red sauce). Will offer up a side of salad for those who are interested.

Monday - short ribs in the pressure cooker with mashed taters and roasted veggies on the side.  Fingers crossed this works out well enough to share!

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday ... Hubby is wanting to make some fish tacos with the fish we have in the freezer ... I might just make 1 pound of ground beef and use some of the dolphin fillets we have for blackened fish tacos ... I'm sort of excited!

Wednesday - Soup and salad all around. For those who want something more substantial, grilled cheese sandwiches are also an option ... not sure what kind of soup but I'm sure Hubby will be resourceful and use what we have on hand ;-)

Thursday - I've got a bunch of turkey burgers in the freezer so I think I'm going to convince Hubby to make something with them, creative, and not just grilled ... maybe something like caprese burgers or something (tomato/basil/mozzarella cheese/balsamic) and leave the cheese off for me?

Friday - Wings ... I'm going to try them in the Instant Pot and then finish them off in the oven ... I'll keep you posted how that goes! I think we will be having friends over this evening so I may have to buy some flat bread and make some flat bread pizzas to go along for those who would like (I have the cheese and tomatoes to do the rest, just need the flat bread)

Saturday - Hubby's choice ... need to go rummage around in the freezers and see what we have. I know there's quite a bit of bratwurst and I do have a few bags of bratwurst and some red taters ... maybe that's what I'll offer up?

What are YOU planning for the week ahead?  Go check out Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday party for more ideas!

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 :-)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

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 ... so a picture or two may, or may not, be included!

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.  That is strictly food, not paper or cleaning products or cat stuff. 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 currently, I am doing a Whole30 to boot in January!

I should be more motivated now that Hubby is not working ... 

So, this past week had 3 trips to various grocery stores ... 

Tuesday - Trader Joe's for the elusive riced cauliflower. At this point, I'll take a head of cauliflower and rice it myself ... but even that's hard to come by!

bottle of wine (table wine) for tasting purposes $4.99
8 oz pkg of jalapeno peppers $1.69
bag of sugar $3.49
2 12 pks of kcup coffees $4.99 each (hubby likes these and it's a heck of a lot cheaper!)
2 lbs sweet taters $1.59
bag of grated carrots $1.59
3 pk romaine hearts $2.49
bag of spring mix $1.99
bag of radishes 99 cents
dozen eggs $2.79

Total spent $31.99 (!!)

Then off to Publix on Wednesday

pot of cilantro $3.99
pot of parsley $3.99
little less than 1 pound of plum tomatoes $2.50 

Total spent $10.49

Then ... Saturday, the Boy and I ran to Aldi ... 

3 dozen eggs $1.59 each dozen
2 pkgs of sugar free bacon $3.89 each
ice cream bars $2.49 (the Boy)
gallon of milk $3.19
2 mangos 55 cents each
2 boxes of tissues $1.09 each (not food)
spaghetti squash $2.19 (pressure cooker experiment coming up!)
2 head iceberg lettuce $1.29 each
4 pkgs of 93/7 ground beef $5 each (I'm am OUT of ground beef!)
boston lettuce $1.69
2 bags of frozen strawberries $2.09 each (Boy)
2 pks of organic spring mix $2.49 each
8 oz bottle of POM juice $2.49
3 cucumbers 49 cents each
bag of limes 99 cents
tortillas $1.19 (Boy)
bag of mini sweet peppers $2.89
2 pkgs of asparagus $2.99 each
2 pkgs of sliced cheese $1.99 each (Boy)
2 cans corned beef hash :gag: $1.99 each
2 Nonfat Greek yogurt $3.69 each (Boy)
Honey (Boy)
2 pkgs of bananas 77 cents and 66 cents each (29 cents per pound)
loaf of bread $1.39 (Boy)

Total spent $97.13 ($2.18 of this was paper products)

Grand total for the week $137.43.  Hmmm ... I am almost half through my budget for the month already! 

Honestly, I'm surprised at how fast the groceries added up at Trader Joe's and Aldi! :-( I need to be a little more mindful of just what I'm putting in my cart!

How did your grocery shopping go this week?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 158 Menu Plan - Whole 30 and Using What We Have

Hi Hi! First menu up for 2016!!

So ... we've got a Pantry Challenge AND Whole30 underway ... AND back to a single income household again ... the challenges will just be lining up this month it looks like!  That's ok, I'm ready for it, bring IT ON!

First up: Pantry Challenge.  Aiming to only buy produce stuff. Well, and eggs too. Gotta have eggs ;-) ... figuring around $30 to $40 a week but not going to sweat the monetary amount as much as the actual items that are bought.  Reason being, besides saving money, is to eliminate some of the stockpiled stuff we have on hand so that when we are finally ready to sell and move, I won't have all this food to relocate.

Second: Whole30. Does this need explaining? I may have overindulged a bit for the holidays.


There may have been a few cookies there too ;-( All that adds up to major inflammation in the hands, bad skin, bad attitude, and yes, bad weight gain. New Year. New Me.

Third: Single income household. Hubby was let go on the 30th from his company. Its ok, mentally and physically, and I think financially too, but truth be told, no one likes to lose their job, you know? He was wanting to hold out til April and then give his notice ... but at least this way, he won, in a way as he will get a 3 month package which puts us to March ... the insurance factor is whats a little petrifying, to be honest. Will need to start asking those around me who are self employed what they are using ... if any of you have advise/recommendations/suggestions, please let me know!

So, there you have it! Happy New Year!! 

Sunday had a little meal prep going on: boiled a dozen eggs, made tuna salad, made mayo, grilled up some extra chicken and cleaned out the fridge. Oh, and I made some cold brewed tea for Hubby and made some green tea for myself.  Also made a batch of fresh salsa with some roma tomatoes I had sitting on the counter ... 

Here's what we are looking at for the week ahead:

Sunday - Burgers on the grill with baked tater wedges.  I will have my burger wrapped up nice and neat in a couple of lettuce leaves and look forward to trying out the sugar free ketchup that came in my Tessemae box!  The taters were quartered, tossed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and then roasted at 400 degrees til crispy 

Monday - BLT Inspired Chicken Salad. Didn't make this Friday and well, I'm making it tonight!

Well. Apparently Hubby has become the designated cook and made chili and hotdogs to make chili cheese dogs. Needless to say, I will be eating chili (picking out the beans) and dogs, without the cheese and bun! ;-) It's ok ... the kids are all here and he's happy to be cooking!

Tuesday - to keep peace in the house, Taco Tuesday .... I will bring out one of my sacred bags of riced cauliflower and make a taco bowl for myself, and Hubby if he's interested ;-) Also, made fresh salsa on Sunday so will have that too with avocados (somehow, I don't think the boy will make me guacamole this time!)

Wednesday - 4 Way Chili ... fingers crossed the zucchini makes it this long! I will have mine with spiralized zucchini, chili, diced onions and mashed avocado ;-)

Thursday - Shallot Chicken ... really, ONION chicken ... I really need to get around to sharing this! Will also offer up steamed broccoli on the side if anyone would like (making in the rice cooker for an easy cook and clean up)

Friday - it's Friday and the first week is DOWN for Whole30 ... time to celebrate!  Bone in Chicken Thighs on the grill baby!  I'd love to make cracklin chicken but not sure if Hubby will be up for that!  As this is generally adult beverage night, I will make sure to have some lime Lacroix on hand with a few wedges of lime to make it feel like a big girl drink!

Need to find another sale soon!

Saturday - going to see if Hubby wants to try the Instant Pot again! I have some short ribs in the freezer that I'd like to try ... 

What are YOU making this week??

Looking forward to sharing over at Organized Junkies Menu Plan Monday Party ... go check it out!