Saturday, September 26, 2009
The yucky weather combined by my very limited budget this week has put me in the mood for crock pot meals. So this week's menu has at least 3 days of crock pot meals. I am trying to be consistent and pot my menu every week. However my grocery shopping always varies. So like me my menu posting will be random.
Monday: Crock Pot Eggplant Parmesan with buttered noodles
Tuesday: Mushroom, onion, and green pepper stir fry over rice
Wednesday: Mushroom Stroganoff
Thursday: Crock Pot Curry over rice with homemade apple sauce
Friday: Taco Rice with tortilla chips and salsa
As you can see I never plan for weekend meals. Weekend meals are just basically whatever we have on hand to make or a meal that we eat out. During the winter though I do tend to make a big crock pot of soup on Saturdays and we will eat it throughout the day or for dinner.
I am off to put my rain boots on and head to the store! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Here's the play by play...
First I cut up all of the strawberries and put them in the crock pot along with 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup of sugar. You can adjust the amount of sugar depending on how sweet your strawberries are.
I let my strawberries cook down for 2 hours on highs. While they were cooking I put the empty mason jars in the dishwasher to sterilize and get hot.
Once the strawberries are soft you can either mash them with a potato masher or if you would like a smoother texture put them in a blender (but be careful because it will be hot and steam plus blender lid = explosion of strawberry sauce all over your kitchen!)
Once your berries are blended or mashed put them in a mason jar, wipe the rim, and put the lid on. Instead of going through the whole hot water bath ordeal just turn the jars upside down and let them sit over night or until they are cool. As they cool the seals will pop.
I have tried canning using a hot water bath and using this method. When using the water bath I would always have 2 or 3 that didn't seal. Using this method I have never had a can that didn't seal. I LOVE this method. It is so much less hassle and makes canning much more enjoyable!
While my preserves were cooking I also whipped up this cute halloween dishtowel using some old halloween material and a white towel I got at the dollar store.
Today was productive and delicious!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup vegetable oil
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg.
Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups three fourths full.
Bake at 350 deg F for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
We simply primed and painted it with white oil based paint, added a precut piece of beadboard to the back and added new hardware. With hardware, paint, and the piece itself we only spent 75 dollars!
Monday: Philly cheese "steaks"(homemade rolls with sauteed mushrooms onions and peppers covered with cheese) roasted garlic potato's.
Tuesday: Ravioli's with pesto sauce and homemade garlic bread
Wednesday: Veggie Meatloaf with mashed cauliflower and apple sauce
Thursday: Eggplant enchilada's (from my OAMC freezer stash)
Friday: Stuffed cab age soup in the crock pot
Hope everyone has a great week! I am off to make some homemade rolls!
Friday, September 18, 2009
1 medium onion
5 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Add zuchini to a pot of water and boil until tender- about 15 mins
Drain the zuchini in a strainer. Allow the zucchini to sit for 10 minutes or so and gently push as much moisture out of the zucchini as possible
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until center is set.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tiffins, which is basically the bento's cousin, are also great for packing lunches. The only downside to most tiffins is that they are made from metal and cannot be heated in the microwave. But if you are packing pasta salad, dip, or anything that doesn't need to be heated they are great. (Note: they also make plastic tiffins, however they are hard to find!) Here is an awesome tiffin from to go ware
I could go on and on about lunch boxes, tiffins, and bento's, and maybe I will in a following post!
2. The second thing that helped me to enjoy my lunches was to pack things I enjoyed! A novel concept right? At first I found myself packing the typical "lunch box" food of yogurt, fruit, sandwich, and crackers. That got old FAST! So I started packing things I liked. In the beginning of the week I would make a big bowl of pasta salad and pack it every day with some fresh bread, fruit, and a homemade cookie. Or I would cook something for dinner with the intention of leftovers. For instance I would make fried rice for dinner but make extra rice for leftovers and combine it with some parm cheese, fake chicken, and vegetables for a different rice dish from the night before. Lunch box food is okay every now and then but if I had to eat it every day packing my lunch would be depressing!
3. The last thing that I do to enjoy packing my lunch is to go out for lunch! I work in downtown Pittsburgh and I am surrounded by amazing places to eat. I also work with people who go out for lunch A LOT! Sitting in your office watching people go out to lunch is not fun. It can also make you resent packing your lunch. When I was really into packing my lunch everyday I would still allow myself to go out once every 2 weeks or so. Sometimes, especially when you are having a hard day, its nice just to get out of the office for an hour and have somebody serve you for a change. It also keeps people from perceiving you as the bump on a log that never does anything with your co-workers!
These are just a few of the things that helped me pack my lunch for about 5 months straight. Like I said though I WILL be packing again! Maybe I will even post some pics and ideas of my favorite lunches!
What Jason and I really seem to be struggling with now though is keeping snacks in the house. Buying processed food and prepackaged snacks is really starting to break the budget! Some of the things we have been making is popcorn (with the air popper), tortilla chips and salsa, and homemade cookies. I am just at a loss though when it comes to thinking of more frugal snacks! If you have any idea's I would love to hear them!!
This post is linked to The Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Start out by putting about 25 cookies in your food processor. You may have to do it in several batches depending on the capacity of your food processor.
Blend them until smooth and all of the cookie pieces are ground up!
Next find a pretty bowl, preferably clear. In a perfect world everyone would use a beautiful trifle bowl. But in reality I don't have one and couldn't find one at goodwill. But I did find this pretty little clear bowl for only $2.99!
Take about 1/4 of the cookie crumbs and pat them into the bottom of your pretty bowel. Set the bowl and the rest of the crumbs aside.
Next combine the peanut butter and powdered sugar in a bowl and combine until it become little peanut butter pebbles. Like so:
mmm light and fluffy peanut butter goodness
Finish it off by layering the peanut butter mixture with layer of the cookie crumbs and voila chocolate peanut butter trifle.
Here is the exact recipe to follow since this is my first photo tutorial and has the potential to be a little shotty.
You will need:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 8-ounce package softened cream cheese
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package Cool Whip, thawed
Next combine powdered sugar and peanut butter.
Once combined add cream cheese and combine.
Next add cool whip and combine until there is no white left- just beautiful fluffy peanut butter. Layer cookies and peanut butter in a pretty clear bowl.
This is a difficult step but a very important one... Let the bowl sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Take that hour to lick the beaters, bowl, spatula, and any other object that the peanut butter mixture has come in contact with.
After an hour the peanut butter mixture will set up a little more like cheese cake consistency and voila you will have yourself a peanut butter trifle!