Food for Friday! 1/14 – 1/27

So once again I got out of the habit of making a grocery list/menu every 2 weeks.  For the past couple months I’ve been scrambling the morning I head to the store to find/print my coupons and put the finishing touches on an only partially functional menu.  I’m going to try to get back on task and start doing a better job of menu planning and house keeping.  Now I just have to keep myself following my menu and each week will go by smoother without me standing in the kitchen trying to decide what I can make with the frozen lump of meat I forgot to thaw…

In the housekeeping department I’m planning to keep up on my kitchen a bit better and put the laundry away rather than let it sit, often times already folded, in the laundry baskets for days.  I’ve already started making the beds each day and trying to get most of my daily chores like laundry done in the morning so I can have more time to knit and spin later.

Here’s the menu for the next couple weeks.  Trying out some new recipes as well as some new family favorites.  I’m also trying to use the meat that I’ve got stored in the freezer rather than buying a ton more.  My grocery list this time around is filled with lots of necessities that I don’t normally buy on a regular basis (things that usually last for a bit like salt, peanut butter, honey and maple syrup…I’m trying to keep the bill down under $250.

MondayCheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet
Tuesday – Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Wednesday – Homemade Pepperoni Pizza
Thursday – Pork tenderloin
Friday –  Tacos
Saturday –  Steak-ums
Sunday – Leftovers/fend for yourself

Monday – Homemade Chicken Parmesan served over angel hair pasta.
Tuesday – Spaghetti and homemade sauce
Wednesday –  Cajun Pot Roast
Thursday – London Broil
Friday –  Bacon and Eggs
Saturday – Roast pork chops with cheddar and bacon grits (Paula Deen)
Sunday – leftovers/fend for yourself

2012 Ups and Downs

2012 is over and done.  It wasn’t a bad year.  Lots of good things happened with the bad and I’m thankful for all of it.

Probably the biggest thing that happened was figuring out my soy allergy/sensitivity.  Call it what you will, but I’ve been doing fantastically since cutting out every last little bit of the nasty substance.  Only once in a blue moon (I’m talking really only once every 2-3 months) will I have an episode and only after eating things that I know I shouldn’t eat!   I’m really glad that Darling Hubby was able to figure it out and that it wasn’t milk.  Despite the friendships I lost during the whole brouhaha, I feel I’m better for having the whole thing happen.  I’m feeling better overall.  I don’t wake up feeling like crap every morning and don’t go to sleep in pain every night.  And, it was all because I simply changed my diet.  Who’d have thunk it?

Another good thing that happened was that I learned how to knit socks.  I’ve made 14 pairs of socks since the start of March.  They are all pretty simple socks, but I love them simple. I’m not a real fancy lace and pattern girl.  I even challenged myself to do some unusually constructed socks like the carousel socks and the sideways socks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the Owlie socks my friend Barbara and I started as a knit along.  I just had a bunch of other projects come up that took precedence.   I wear a knitted pair of socks practically every day and most members of my family have received a pair of socks at some point.  The only one who hasn’t is Fidget…

Another good (and bad) thing was that I opened my own shop on Etsy.  It’s been open since April and I’ve only had one online sale and that was a custom order for a friend…but, the recipient of that custom order Cthulhu hat is delighted with it, so that’s what really matters.  I will admit that most of my sales have been off etsy to friends or at the craft fair I did in September with some of the girls from the library knitting group.  I made 3 blankets for a friend from back home for her to give for Christmas gifts.  I also made another blanket for someone at the knitting group at the public library after she fell in love with one of the 3 that I made.  I haven’t had much time to do my own knitting lately because I’ve been doing projects for the shop.  I’m still excited to have the shop open…I’m just a little disappointed that it hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped.

Another good thing is that I went to Rhinebeck for the first time for the Sheep and Wool Festival.  It’s where I got bitten by the spinning bug.  I came home with a drop spindle and taught myself to spin yarn on it.  Of course I couldn’t just stop with that.  I’ve fallen in love with wheel spinning.  I’ve been getting better by leaps and bounds and just learned how to Navajo ply and I might even list this most recent yarn in my etsy shop (if I can talk myself out of keeping it!)  I’m hoping to save up enough money to buy my own wheel at some point.  I’ve tried a Kromski Sonota and an Ashford Kiwi and so far I really like the Kiwi, despite the nasty creak that it has in one of the treadles.  But, I’ve heard that Ashfords have a tendency to creak…lol

The bad was, thankfully, few and far between.  Things didn’t really start to get bad until November, which seems to be a pretty crappy month for many people.  Darling Hubby was off for the week of Thanksgiving and we woke up that Monday to a very cold house.  Despite the fact that the furnace was running all the radiators were stone cold.  Turns out the circulator pump blew and a day of waiting for the technician to come to fix it and $700 later we had a warm house.  Thankfully we have the wood fireplace for back-up warmth…then, Darling Hubby had to have his car inspected and that needed $400 worth of work…so in 2 days we’d spent over $1100…and we hadn’t even started to buy Christmas presents.

Probably the worst and absolute last thing that happened in 2012 was that on New Years Eve around 9:30 pm, our little dog Spiral passed away peacefully in her box.  It’s something that we’ve been expecting could happen at any time due to her age and health, but it was pretty sudden how it happened.  Literally it was she was alive one minute and gone the next.

We came home early from a New Years party, Darling Hubby walked the dogs and I started ushering the kids upstairs.  I filled the dogs water bowl (both dogs were happy and dancing around) and headed upstairs to do the bedtime routine while Darling Hubby went out to plow out the bottom of the driveway, thanks to not 1, but 2 plows coming through right after we got home.  Anyway, Fidget left his new Buzz Lightyear downstairs and wanted to sleep with it, so I went down to get it.  I noticed Spiral was laying with her nose down in the blanket and not on her paws like normal and I got no response when I called her name.  I’d seriously only been upstairs 10 minutes.

It came as a complete shock to both me and Darling Hubby as to how sudden it was, but like I said it was expected.  We’d had her for over 9 years and she was estimated to be around 2 when we adopted her.  She had bad teeth and a severe heart murmur that had progressed into congestive heart failure where she was constantly coughing, but she was still active, ate well and seemed happy.  I’m thankful that she seemed to go peacefully and that she’s in a better place and has hopefully been reunited with her best friend, Grace, who passed away nearly 2 years ago.

So, the bulk of 2012 was good (oh, and I should add that we didn’t die in the apocalypse that didn’t happen!)  I can only hope that 2013 is even better!

Food for Friday! 11/4 – 11/18

I’ve been kinda slacking with keeping up with my menu…half the time I forget to thaw meats and I just haven’t been sticking to what I’ve planned.  Here’s another attempt to keep myself on track.

Monday – Rotisserie Turkey Breast with mashed potatoes, veggies and homemade cranberry sauce.
Tuesday – Mac n cheese with ground beef and mixed veggies
Wednesday – Turkey pot pie topped with biscuits
Thursday – Parmesan crusted london broil, pineapple glazed carrots and rice
Friday – Bacon and eggs
Saturday – Sausages, homemade fries and veggies
Sunday – Pot Roast with carrots and potatoes

Monday – Pork chops, rice and veggies
Tuesday – Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Wednesday – Cheeseburgers on homemade buns, fries and veggies
Thursday – (Game Night) – Rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies
Friday – Chicken Salad sandwiches, chips, and pickles
Saturday – leftovers
Sunday – Homemade Chicken Cordon Bleu

Food for Friday! 5/7 – 5/20

Coupons and sales aren’t great again this week…Might have be decent if I remembered to print out the Price Chopper triple coupons before I deleted the email…

Monday – Rotisserie chicken with couscous and corn on the cob
Tuesday – Pancakes or waffles with fresh whipped cream and strawberries
Wednesday – Chicken Quesedillas
Thursday -Steak with sweet potato fries and veggies
Friday –  Tacos
Saturday – Crescent Chicken – still haven’t gotten to make this yet
Sunday – Happy Mother’s Day!  Chicken cordon bleu, rice and veggies

Monday – Cheesy Shepherds pie (modified from this recipe)
Tuesday – Spaghetti and homemade sauce
Wednesday –  Homemade pizza
Thursday – Game Night –  Mini meatloaves, mashed potatoes and veggies
Friday – pork chops, rice or couscous and veggies
Saturday – Fish, picked up fresh
Sunday – Sausages and fries

Food for Friday! 4/23 – 5/6

Coupons and sales this week kinda suck, so I’m sure I’m going to spend a zillion dollars this time.  At least I have most of the meats for meals on hand in the freezer.  I’ll just have to hope for good sales so I can stock back up at some point.

MondayMonty Cristo Sandwiches
Tuesday – Baked Ziti
Wednesday – Homemade pepperoni pizza
ThursdayCrescent Chicken – still haven’t gotten to make this yet.
Friday –  Steak with sweet potato fries and veggies
Saturday – Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Sunday
– Pork Chops

Monday – Rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies
Tuesday -Chili
Wednesday – Pancakes and sausages
Thursday – Game Night – Chicken Curry with broccoli and rice
Friday – Turkey Burgers
Saturday – Fish, picked up fresh
Sunday – Italian Sausages

Two Month Soy Update

I looked back through my old blog posts and realized that I’ve been off soy for over 2 months and haven’t had any stomach trouble since I had a reaction to the strawberry cake I made for Bug’s birthday at the beginning of February.  I think I’ve figured out what that was all about.  There was no soy involved yes, but my stomach hadn’t healed from the damage I’d previously inflicted my body reacted to the butter.  Since then I haven’t had any issues with butter.  This means that maybe I can start making cookies again (provided the other ingredients are soy free) with butter rather than shortening!  Yay!  Happy Dance!  I’ll eventually (hopefully) blog about it, but I recently made homemade crescent rolls (from scratch) with a lot of butter and eaten quite a few of them without issue.  The recipe I used needs  little tweaking, but hopefully I’ll have it right before tomorrow night as I’m making several dozen to bring to Easter dinner at Darling Hubby’s Grandpa’s house on Sunday.

So, what have I been eating?  Well, I’m still making my own homemade breads.  I’ve learned to make 2 one pound loaves of white bread at a time using my bread machine for the dough and then baking it in my oven.  I freeze one and slice the other for immediate consumption.  It’s so good!  I generally have 2 slices for breakfast with a cup of Rooibos (African – pronounced roy boss) tea with honey, often topped with orange marmalade or kerrigold irish butter.  Yum!  Sometimes for lunch I’ll make a Fluffernutter sandwich (made with Peter Pan PB and the original marshmallow fluff) with banana and honey.  Yum!  I’ve been eating  a lot of fresh fruit – plums, nectarines, bananas, grapes, strawberries.  We always have a veggie with dinner.  I’ve also started finding new ways to cook potatoes and I’ve been making myself sweet potato fries, too.  I’ve found a brand of panko bread crumbs that are soy free – only one of about 7 different bread crumb brands on the shelf!), so I’ve been making my own breading for chicken and fish (yes, I’ve started buying fresh fish from the fish counter rather than the dried out or greasy soy laced battered things that come in a box.)

I’m still making my own taco seasoning and seasonings for chili and all my meats. And, just cause it’s less fat, I’ve been rinsing my browned ground beef before I add seasoning or put it in my other dishes.  It cuts down on the amount of fat that my family is ingesting.  We’re still eating a lot of pasta.  It’s yummy and everyone eats it, either with homemade spaghetti sauce or plain with just butter and sprinkle cheese.  I also make my own homemade pizza dough, topped with my own seasoned tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni and skim milk cheese.  I only use olive oil or corn oil, now, as well.

Oh, we’ve even been making our own homemade bagels.  Darling Hubby usually has a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast and since I’m soy free I can’t have the bagels from the grocery store.  I found a simple recipe in my bread machine book and we’ve made several batches.  It took a bit of time for us to really figure it all out, but now it’s easy, though time consuming, to make homemade bagels.  Darling Hubby enjoys Asiago cheese bagels, so that’s what we’ve been making as of late.

I’ve found a few treats for myself that are soy free.  I found some yummy sweet potato and beet chips (I think the brand was Terra) and even some kosher for Easter chocolate chips that have no unnecessary ingredients.   The grocery store decided to no longer carry my Equal Exchange organic chocolate bars, so I no longer have those to snack on.  They were delish!  Oh, and the No Pudge! brownie mix, made with only good stuff is yummy made with Stonyfield’ No Fat French Vanilla yogurt.  Oh, and we bought an air pop popcorn popper so we can make batches of fresh popcorn for snacks and always for movie night!  Both my kids can polish off an entire bowl of popcorn all on their own!  lol  They love their popcorn!

So, there you have it.  The things I’ve figured out while on a soy free diet.  It just takes a little consistency and several days of eating the same thing over and over til you find what works, but it can be done!

If anyone has any questions about going soy free or has anything to add to my growing (thankfully) list of foods to eat, please comment!  I want to help others who may be going through the same thing I am!  Now I’m off to make soy free tacos!  lol

Early Edition! Food for Friday! 3/26 – 4/8

I got a super early start on my grocery list/menu this week.  Mostly because I listened to the Coupon Lady on WGNA this morning on my way home from dropping Bug off at school.  I’m still looking for the .75 cents off any gallon of milk coupon she mentioned, though.  She pointed out that Price Chopper is now accepting competitors coupons (like from Target and Walmart) and I went on a search to find coupons for items that I could use this week.  I’m not sure if Price Chopper will allow one competitor’s store coupon and a manufacture’s coupon like they do with their own store coupons, but I’m trying to find out.  According to the Coupon Lady, they do accept both, but the policy written on their website indicated they do not.  I’ll update when I find out.  Update: They do not accept both.  😦  I was really hoping they did cause I’ve got some Target coupons and manufactures coupons for things I’d like to use together!  I’m really trying to stay well under budget this week.  I think so far I’ve got about $20 in coupons and e-coupons, plus whatever advantage savings I get from sale items.

I’m still continuing to make dinners without soy, which, I’m sure I’ve said before, makes my grocery bill higher.  It’s been nearly 2 months that I’ve been off soy and I haven’t had even the slightest twinge of my usual stomach pain and I’ve even found that I wake up in the morning without that queasy feeling I so often had.  There are still the occasional things that I’ll make for the boys or for Darling Hubby that contain soy, but I just avoid them.  I mostly do this since we still have the things in the pantry or the freezer and I want to use them up.

I’m trying some new recipes this time.  A few weeks ago, I made the Skinny Chicken Parm and it was delish!  Definitely a keeper recipe!  The Italian Chicken Bake, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired in my book.  It took longer than necessary to cook and just wasn’t what I was expecting…well, they can’t all be keepers.

This time around I’m trying (and modifying) a Cheesy Pot Pie recipe to be soy free and making it into a shepherd’s pie.  I’m going to make the Velveeta filling with the ground beef and instead of using the canned crescent rolls, I’m going to use mashed potatoes instead.

I’m also trying out a Pinterest recipe called Crescent Chicken which is chunks of chicken and cheese rolled up in a crescent roll.  I’m going to make my own crescent rolls (hopefully I’ll have the recipe down as I’m making several dozen to bring to Easter Dinner this weekend so I know I’ll be able to eat one thing at the family gathering.  lol) and I’ve found an organic cream of chicken soup that is soy free.  And, speaking of making my own bread, I’ve still got to make the homemade hamburger buns.  Fingers crossed they come out well!

Monday – Rotisserie Chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies
Tuesday – Chicken Ceasar Wraps
Wednesday – Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Thursday – Homemade hamburgers with homemade buns, tater tots (for the boys) and sweet potato fries for me and Darling Hubby.
Friday –  Crescent Roll Chicken (made with homemade crescent rolls)
Saturday – Homemade pancakes
Sunday
– Steak and potatoes

Monday – Ham, mashed potatoes and veggies
Tuesday – Cheesy Shepherd’s Pie (modified from Cheesy Pot Pie)
Wednesday – Homemade macaroni and cheese with ham
Thursday – Game Night – Bacon and eggs
Friday – Chicken Curry, rice and veggie
Saturday – Fresh Fish (I’ll pick up some fresh when I go shopping this day)
Sunday – Cheeseburger Roll-up