Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chicken Nuggets

I'm really getting tired of not being able to use our camera.  The downstairs computer isn't able to handle the photo software without shutting down, so until we are able to replace our good computer, I stuck without pics.  That's a bummer because this would be the optimal post for pictures!

I like the idea of chicken nuggets.  They're quick to fix, portable, great in a lunchbox and all that fun stuff.  The downside is that they are usually full of preservatives and many times milk.  Since we're trying to be as dairy free as possible, eating chicken nuggets in front of Baby Girl isn't very nice.  Usually I cut chicken breasts into chunks, dip them in egg, then flour and fry them up.  Many times they end up very dry. Today, I tried my hand at making a more commercial type version of them.

I purchased boneless, skinless chicken thighs (on sale).  I broke out the food processor and essentially pulverized the meat into goo.  Then I added salt, pepper and a handful of coursely ground oats (had no bread crumbs and thought flour would be too fine).  I pulsed it again to mix the seasonings up. 

Using a small scoop (about 1 tablespoon), I scooped out a glob of the mixture and dropped it in a bowl of more ground oats.  Once it was coated front and back, and smooshed a little into a chicken nugget shape, I placed it on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil spray.

When the tray was full, I sprayed the tops with the olive oil and slid it into the oven to bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.  Once finished, I flipped them over and baked another 5 minutes.

This is a work in progress.  The meat flavor and texture was spot-on!  The breading could use a little work.  I'm planning on using bread crumbs the next time and will consider pan frying the nuggets.  The question on that is whether or not I can fry them long enough that they are cooked through without burning the coating.  Only experimentation will tell!

Hopefully by the time I get around to making them again, I'll be able to take pictures. :)

Oh, and we were able to retrieve everything on our hard drive, so YAY on that one!  Now, we just have to fund a used laptop.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday for week of July 25-31

Here it is!  Another week, another menu.  Dairy free eating is sort of getting me down.  I'm finding that I spend a larger portion of my budget on a few dairy free items, leaving me less for other things that I use for snacks.  This is frustrating my family because there isn't extra food lying around to be consumed when you just ate 2 hours ago.  Plus, since we've been eating all the leftovers up quickly, I'm really scraping by to come up with meals on the weekends.  Let's just say that we've had some interesting combinations.

Here's this week's menu.

Breakfast:  Oatmeal Muffins (made out of yesterday's leftover oatmeal), Grapes
Lunch:  Turkey, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Corn, Carrot Muffin
Snack:  Peanut Butter Crackers
Dinner:  Turkey Salad Sandwiches, Tomatoes

Breakfast:  Banana Bread/Peanut Butter Bread (leftovers from freezer), Blueberries
Lunch:  Scrambled Eggs with Sausage, Apples, Banana, Biscuit w/ Jelly
Snack:  Pudding (made with vanilla ricemilk)
Dinner:  Chili Dogs

Breakfast:  Pancakes, Watermelon
Lunch:  Pork Steaks, Carrots, Pineapple, Bread and Butter
Snack:  Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dinner:  Leftover pork steaks, Green Beans, Salad

Breakfast:  Waffles, Watermelon (left from Wed.)
Lunch:  Chicken Nuggets (trying a new concoction from my head that I'll share if it's good), Chicken Rice, Green Beans, Orange Halves
Snack:  Apple Muffins
Dinner:  French Toast, Bacon, Potatoes

Breakfast:  Granola Bar, Juice
Lunch:  Tuna Casserole (still working on a dairy free version of this), Peas, Broccoli, Smoothie
Snack:  Popcorn
Dinner:  Pizza for Hubby and I (kids will be at Grandparents' house)

Breakfast:  Scrounge around for whatever (Garage Sale day)
Lunch:  Leftovers (Pizza I hope)
Dinner:  Pasta Salad with nf salami and misc. veggies from the fridge

Breakfast:  Freezer Stash (Will this thing ever be down to a manageable level?)
Lunch:  Pasta Salad, Ham sandwiches
Dinner:  Maybe eat out to celebrate a successful garage sale!  If not, bean dip and chips

Week 29: Peanut Butter

For many people who are making healthy changes in their diets, one of the first changes to be made is peanut butter.  One reason is because it is a relatively cheap change and two, some people eat a lot of peanut butter so it makes sense to upgrade this item.  For my family however, it didn't even make the first half of the year.  Why you ask?  Well, in December last year, a local store had Skippy Peanut Butter on sale for something like $.78 a jar.  Of course I couldn't pass that up, so I bought 12 jars.  That is a decent quantity of peanut butter, especially since Little Boy is the only one of us that like peanut butter.  I do serve it to the daycare kids, but dipping your carrots in it doesn't exactly use it up quickly.  Anyway, I just ran out last week, so I decided to buy an "all natural" brand. 

When I got to the store, I headed to the health food aisle and was a little unnerved by the prices.  Many jars were upwards of $5 and some were smaller in size than what I had been purchasing.  Due to some unforeseen expenses, my grocery budget was smaller this week so $5 peanut butter wasn't happening.  I made it over to the peanut butter and jelly section and found some Smuckers All Natural Peanut Butter.  The ingredients were peanuts and salt.  That seemed reasonable.  I haven't seen where peanuts are genetically modified on a commercial level, so I thought I was ok. 

I opened the jar this afternoon and even after stirring a really long time, the peanut butter was still pretty soupy, so I'm not sure that I'll stick with this brand.  I may just buy raw peanuts, roast them myself and grind them into peanut butter.  Since we don't use a ton, this probably wouldn't be hard to do.  I am, however, open to other recommendations.

So, what brand of peanut butter do you use?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday (or Wednesday in my case) July 18-24

Yeah, it appears I'm a little behind! :)  I actually did have my menu done, but I've been doing so many other things during naptime, that I haven't had a chance to get my menu typed up, but here it is.

Breakfast:  Mini Sausage Quiches, Strawberries
Lunch:  Bacon, Waffles, Watermelon, Oranges
Snack:  Homemade Chocolate Cake (the oldest daughter got a baking bug on Sunday!)
Dinner:  Sloppy Joe Hot Pockets, Marinated Cucumbers, Salad, Cherries

Breakfast:  Pina Colada Muffins, Pineapple
Lunch:  Chicken and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Roll
Snack:  Peanut Butter and Carrots
Dinner:  Chicken Nachos/Taco Salad (DF-no cheese and df sour cream on nachos)

Breakfast:  Carrot Muffins, Grapes
Lunch:  Spaghetti, French Bread, Green Beans, Banana
Snack:  Chewy Oatmeal Apple Cookies
Dinner:  BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Tomato Wedges, Leftover Fruit (grapes, bananas, apples)

Breakfast:  Breakfast Cookies, Blueberries
Lunch:  Tuna Salad Sandwich, Kettle Chips, Apples, Carrot Sticks
Snack:  Zucchini Bread
Dinner:  Meatloaf, Salad, Peas

Breakfast:  Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Applesauce
Lunch: Cheeseburgers (DF-hamburger), Roasted Potatoes, Peas, Peaches
Snack:  Chips & Salsa
Dinner:  Turkey, Dressing, Broccoli

Breakfast:  Freezer Stash
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers

Breakfast:  Freezer Stash
Lunch:  Sandwiches, Chips, Carrot Sticks, Apples (picnic lunch at a waterpark)
Dinner:  Out (eat on the way home)

Dairy free is going better this week.  This is good news after an especially traumatic week last week (she believes that we are all out to get her).  This week nearly all of our meals are dairy free to begin with, some just skip the cheese.  Others just call for switching out butter in place of another oil.  This is leading me to a quandry.  There are items in my house that I swore I wouldn't purchase, but have anyway due to making this diet a little more appealing to my daughter.  I bought white bread flour (hang head in shame).  We are trying to go less processed and preservative free.  Yes, I know that white flour is processed.  LOL  My problem is that for things like flour tortillas and pie crust, I haven't been able to make an acceptable from scratch whole wheat alternative.  Purchasing these things from the store, you inevitably get a load of ingredients that you can't pronounce.  Hence, the quandry.  Is it better to use ingredients that I contol along with processed flour or buy whole grain items off the shelf with loads of fillers, dough conditioners, and who knows what else? 

I have the same issue with shortening.  Hubby bought a can for the oldest daughter when she made her cake on Sunday.  I could've pointed out other healthier alternatives, but I wasn't around, so shortening was purchased.  I have to say that when I went to make pie crust for my mini quiches on Monday morning and couldn't use butter, that shortening came in handy.  Is it healthy?  No.  Is it an easy dairy free alternative?  Yes.

I'm sure as time goes on, I'll get better at planning and finding substitutes.  Although right now, if non-organic soy sour cream with partially hydrogenated everything keeps the peace in my house, I'll buy it and use it-sparingly.  Then I'll say a prayer that eventually my girl can have cultured dairy without a problem!

This menu is linked up at Finding Joy in my Kitchen for Menu Plan Monday.

Week 28: Potatoes

Potatoes were a staple when I was growing up.  Every night for supper, we would have meat, mashed potatoes and gravy, some sort of other veggie and fruit (both canned).  Potatoes were cheap and filling, both important qualities for my parents who were/are farmers struggling to make ends meet.

Naturally, when I started preparing my own food as a young adult, I structured my meals in much the same way.  After getting married, I incorporated Hubby's upbringing into our meals and we started having much more variety.  Through it all, potatoes maintained their position of importance in our diet.

As I started to scrutinize all of our food for health and safety, I found that potatoes always make an appearance on EWG's Dirty Dozen list.  EWG (Environmental Working Group) is an organization that tests the most frequently purchased produce for levels of dangerous toxins (pesticides, herbicides, etc.).  The Dirty Dozen are the worst foods to purchase conventionally grown-organic should be purchased if at all possible.  There is also a Clean 15 List of produce that usually has very low levels of toxins and would be fine to purchase those that are conventionally grown.

After closer examination, I found this article highlighting why even potato farmers won't eat conventionally grown potatoes (among other things).  Great!  Add potatoes to my "to do" list!  For the past several months, I've been looking at the organic potatoes and unless I find a sale (unusual), they are just out of my price range.  I'm not able to afford $6-$8 for 5 pounds of potatoes.  So we've just seriously cut our potato consumption.  A year ago we probably had potatoes 2-3 times a week and over the past couple of months, I've dropped that to once every other week or so.  That had been the case until 2 weeks ago.  A local grocery store, Gerbes-part of Kroger, has 3 pounds of organic potatoes for $2.49, and it seems to be the regular price, not a sale.  So, while we will be eating potatoes a little more frequently now (maybe once a week), I can feel better about getting the organic version and not breaking the bank.  Keep in mind, the price is still more than conventionally grown, so I probably won't ever be eating potatoes for every meal again (not that that was a great idea to begin with), but they are a great treat here and there.

One more thing... While I love my well buttered mashed potatoes, the new dairy free version of our family can't eat them, so I've been cooking the potatoes in homemade chicken broth and then draining the broth off, reserving it.  I mash them and add the broth as needed to thin the potatoes out.  They aren't quite the same, but are wonderful with chicken gravy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Menu for week of July 11th - July 17th

It's that time again!  I really enjoy the variety I get with doing weekly menus over monthly, but it seems like when I do weekly, I'm menu planning ALL THE TIME!  This week's menu is a little more challenging because I'm trying to eliminate dairy from Baby Girl's diet.  Since I seem to have trouble making separate meals (and it makes her feel bad), I decided to make as many dairy-free meals as possible, or easy/similar alternatives.

I think the most challenging aspect of going dairy free will be other "well meaning" people offering her food that she knows she's not supposed to have.  Last night, Hubby brought home a "treat" for the kids-Nutty Bars.  While I appreciate the sentiment, the fact that he brings home junk drives me nuts.  Plus, Baby Girl obviously couldn't have it.  I'm not sure what the thought process was there, but luckily I had already purchased some coconut "ice cream," so she had that instead of the Nutty Bar.  Crisis averted, but it won't always be that easy.  I'll have to have several back-up plans for when school starts because it will be much harder to make sure she has dairy-free choices.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand...

Breakfast:  Banana Muffins, Strawberries
Lunch:  Chicken Quesadillas (DF-chicken mixed with df cream cheese and salsa), Green Beans, Cantaloupe, Pretzels
Snack:  Apple Slices
Dinner:  Brats/nf Hot Dogs, Ranch Pasta Salad, Peaches

Breakfast:  Zucchini Bread, Bananas
Lunch:  Pancakes (made with rice milk), Sausage, Roasted Potatoes, Grapes
Snack:  PB & J Sandwich
Dinner:  Enchiladas (without cheese), Spanish Rice, Corn, Tomatoes

Breakfast:  French Toast, Pineapple
Lunch:  Chicken Nuggets, Salad, Apple Slices, Chicken Rice-A-Roni
Snack:  Pizza Pockets (sauce, hamburger, nf salami/pepperoni sub.)
Dinner:  Chicken Fettucine Alfredo (DF-small portion of sauce made with df cream cheese and no parmesan), Green Beans, Salad

Breakfast:  Granola Bar, Blueberries
Lunch:  Hamburger Helper, Peas, Oranges
Snack:  Ice Cream
Dinner:  Smoked Turkey, leftover Chicken Rice, Broccoli

Breakfast:  Omelets, Toast, Juice
Lunch:  NF Hot Dog on a Bun, Carrot Sticks, Craisins, Yogurt (DF-Coconut Yogurt)
Snack:  Cinnamon Bites
Dinner:  Individual Pizza/Pizza Pockets, Salad

Breakfast:  Leftovers
Lunch:  Leftover Pizza
Dinner:  Pork Sirloin, Baked Potatoes, Cucumbers & Onions

Breakfast:  Leftovers
Lunch:  Egg Salad Sandwiches, Carrots, Tomatoes
Dinner:  ?

Check out hundreds of different menu plans at

Monday, July 11, 2011

Week 27: No more American cheese!

I told myself the last time I bought the big 5 pound brick of American slices at Sam's that it would be my last.  Well, this morning Hubby took the last slice in his lunch, so now it's gone!  What's worse is that he doesn't even know yet.  I'm not a very good wife, because I wasn't aware of how much was in the box, so I didn't even get a replacement (sliced provolone or cheddar).  Oops!

My love of American cheese dates way back to my childhood.  My Mom only bought Kraft singles and I vividly remember grilled cheese sandwiches or broccoli smothered in 2 or 3 slices (to make the broccoli palatable).  Now, as a label reader, I know how many preservatives and artifical colors/flavors there are in it, I can't in good conscious keep eating it or giving it to my family.  But, man it made some good macaroni and cheese!

Although, Hubby will be upset at the loss of his quick snack, this couldn't really come at a better time.  Child #2, "Baby Girl" has eczema and I've found that removing most dairy from her diet has improved her condition.  We haven't completely cleared it yet, but I've/we've not been the most diligent at making sure she doesn't have any dairy.  Last week I know she has had ice cream and pizza.  So, I'm hoping that this is just one more step in making it easier to remove dairy for her (she loves ham and cheese sandwiches).

Eventually, I would like to get away from all pastuerized dairy, and limit raw milk to cooking, homemade yogurt and ice cream, maybe even some homemade cheese occasionally.  I don't think we're quite ready for that yet, but we're making small steps, and I feel like if this diet for Baby Girl works, then I'm one step closer to making my case for leaving most dairy behind us.

So, what's on tap for this week:  dairy free meals (or ones with easy alternatives), volleyball and school supply shopping for the oldest. She's my "baby girl" too, but don't tell her!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lunch Catastrophe!

Do you ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go right?  I think I'm having one today.

It all started when... (I feel like I should start with "once upon a time,") I moved the roaster oven outside and plugged it in.  It is only 89 degrees here today, but the humidity is awful bringing the heat index close to 100.  Keeping the house as cool as possible is a priority, so out went the roaster oven.  I thought I was taking safety precautions by blocking it off in the corner with 2 sawhorses.  Well, child #2 (crazy monkey girl) didn't think about why that area was blocked off and ran her leg into the corner of the roaster oven (2nd degree burn on her leg I'm pretty sure).

I got her all taken care of and I put the chicken in to cook.  I allotted myself an hour and 15 minutes, and the directions say an hour, so I felt like I'd given myself enough time to let it cook a bit longer if needed. That didn't happen.  At 1 hour and 15 minutes, there was still visible blood in the chicken, so now there is no protein for lunch.

Veggie of the day was mashed potatoes.  I went to peel potatoes to find that there are only 6 medium sized potatoes and 2 of them have decent-sized bad spots-nowhere near enough to feed 11 kids.  Hmmmm.  I pulled out a head of cauliflower and steamed it.  I pureed the cauliflower and added it to the potatoes (which in my frenzy with the chicken, I forgot to drain).  I had a reasonably thick version of potato soup.  Okay!  I added some shredded cheese and called it good... soupy, but it tasted fine.

Fruit of the day was cantaloupe.  I grab the bowl out of the fridge, patting myself on the back for cutting it up last night.  I lifted the lid to find that Hubby had taken a rather large portion of the melon for his lunch leaving me about 5 small chunks for each of the kids.  It's Friday, I don't have a lot of extra produce running around, so I grabbed the last two apples and cut them into wedges.  Now the kids have 5 pieces of melon and 2 apple wedges.

Bread, what were we having again?  Biscuits, oh crap, I forgot to make the biscuits!  So I started digging through the freezer and produced 6 dinner rolls, 5 chocolate chip cookies and 6 sinckerdoodles.  I cut the rolls in half and gave everyone a cookie.

Luckily, while digging around for some sort of bread item, I found a bag of chicken so I defrosted that and put some on everyone's plate. 

Seconds were iffy at best.  A tomato cut in wedges, some broccoli leftover from the other day, and salad made from a head of lettuce that I chopped on Tuesday (yes, I picked out all of the browning pieces).  The kids were fine, they ate alot and the big kids raved about the soupy potatoes (of course they had no idea that cauliflower was the main ingredient in the dish).  The meal, although not what I had invisioned, was reasonably well balanced, and I cleaned out my refrigerator.

I guess the good news is that the chicken was finally done after two hours and now I have meat for supper tonight.  Maybe I'll whip up a chicken salad... after I take a nap!  Thank God it's Friday!

Have a good weekend!

We're buying used (or making do)

We've had several big ticket items break down recently.  Luckily we've been able to make do with what we have, which will give us time to come up with a plan to repair/replace these items.  Here's what we've got so far...

Upstairs computer-the motherboard is out on it.  This is our business (financial) and personal computer.  The downstairs computer (which I'm on now) is in the daycare and is used for kids games primarily.  A few months ago, we got it hooked up to the internet so I can check mail, update my blog and frequent my favorite forums during naptime.  I'm very thankful for that.  Anyway, a family member of one of Hubby's co-workers has the computer and is attempting to retrieve the contents of the hard drive (please pray that is successful, otherwise I have a lot of work to redo and I've lost all of the pictures I've taken in the past 5 years!).  We are looking into buying a rebuilt laptop and having him put everything from our hard drive on it.  Total cost looks like it would be $250-much less than buying either a new motherboard for our current computer or buying a new laptop outright.

Dryer-a bearing is going out and it has this horrible squall (really HORRIBLE).  I was going to buy an umbrella clothesline, but discovered in my desperation that hanging clothes on my chain-link fence works really well.  So, this last time I bought a clothespin bag from Amazon paid with gift cards from Swagbucks.  I have switched my laundry routine to 1-2 loads per day instead of 10 once a week.  I put the load in the washer when I go to bed and hang it out when I get up in the morning.  By the time the daycare kids go out to play, I can pull it off the line and "fluff" it a bit while we're outside and don't have to listen to the dryer noise.  As for the dryer, Hubby says that he's going to lube up the bearing in hopes that will extend its life and if not, we'll buy the extra my parents have for $50.

Dishwasher-for several days last week, the control panel of the dishwasher didn't work at all.  I handwashed all of the dishes and used the dishwasher as a giant drying rack.  It stunk!  Then last Friday, one of the daycare kids ran into it (the reason why is unknown) and now it works again!  Woo-hoo!  (And the kid is fine.)   Those few days led us to the conclusion that this is the one appliance that we cannot do without for very long.  With all the from scratch cooking I do, for the number of people I cook for, I typically run 3-4 full loads through it every day.  We have talked with several sales people and have found that if we are buying a new dishwasher, there are two routes we could go.  First, buy a commercial grade dishwasher for about $1000-wow, that's a lot of money.  Second (and the more financially appealing), buy a solid bare bones $200 model and run it until it dies and get 2-3 years out of it.  The mid-range models aren't built any stronger than the cheaper ones, they just have more luxury items.  Armed with this information, we will be looking on Craigslist and our local Freecycle to see if anyone is getting rid of theirs.  If our plan is to run it until it dies, we might as well go for a good used unit for less money.  Another factor is that in the near future, I plan to scale back my daycare business significantly, so I won't be using as many dishes, and couldn't justify the smoney spent on a commercial grade appliance.

Crockpot-I busted the handle off of my crockpot lid.  Who does that anyway?  I had decided to use a meat fork to pry the lid up and lift it off with using a potholder, negating my need to buy a new crockpot.  However, when I was complaining to one of my friends about all the stuff that had broken recently, she informed me that she had 6 crockpots and sent her husband over the next day to deliver one of her spares.  So now I have a new crockpot! :)  Thanks, Sherry!

Crisis averted (on many fronts).  We are allotting money in our budget over the next couple of months to cover the cost of a new to us computer and dishwasher.  Hopefully Mr. Murphy and his law will leave us alone for a while!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BBQ, anyone?

I love barbeque!  It embodies all that is good during the summer months--being outdoors, pleasant smells, and yummy food.  Being rushed for time, as we all are, I use my crockpot to make "pseudo" bbq.  Pulled pork to be exact.  Last night I tossed a piece of frozen pork shoulder roast in the crockpot and turned it on low.  This morning at 6:30 it was wonderfully cooked and was fork tender.  I switched the crockpot to warm and forgot about it... until 20 minutes before lunch.

In the old days, I would've grabbed my bottle of KC Masterpiece out of the fridge and piled on the saucy goodness.  More recently though, I've learned that the "saucy goodness" is far from good with high-fructose corn syrup being one of the top ingredients plus artificial coloring and flavorings, soy products, oh, and tomatoes.

Now that I've ditched all my condiments and opted to make my own, it's not something you do on the spur of the moment.  I have to plan because without all the preservatives, homemade condiments usually only last a week or so.  So, there I was with 20 minutes before lunch was supposed to be on the table and no BBQ sauce.  Enter  Seriously I wonder how I ever cooked before the internet.  I found a fairly high-rated recipe called Buzzsaw's BBQ Sauce.  With a name like that, it had to be a winner, right?

Of course I did make a few changes.  I am out of ketchup, so I used about 3/4 cup tomato juice and 1/4 cup of sugar in place of the ketchup and water.  It ended up a bit thin, but I'm sure I could've added more cornstarch to thicken it up.  I really didn't care though, since I was coating the pork.  In a grill situation I probably would've wanted it thicker.  Also, I used sugar because it was handy.  I'm out of honey and the maple syrup is in the downstairs fridge.  Either sweetener would've been fine (and unneeded if you use ketchup which already has sugar in it).

Here is the original recipe.

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard

  • 1 cup ketchup

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • Saute the onion in the oil until soft.  Add the garlic and saute a couple minutes more-don't let the garlic burn.  Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and simmer for 10 minutes.  Sauce should thicken as it heats through.

    This sauce was a definite success.  All of the daycare kids ate the pork roast and many asked for seconds.  Hubby only gets a small serving for lunch tomorrow because there wasn't much left.  Hopefully he'll give a thumbs up and this will become our new BBQ sauce-and since it takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish, I can whip this up quickly each time we grill. 

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Menu for July 4th - July 10th

    This week is shaping up to be busy, imagine that!  My neice is staying until Thursday and I have a drop-in daycare baby this week-no rest for me!

    We were out of town and I had intended to fix a meal but we ended going to the in-laws for dinner and swimming, so I got out of cooking.

    Otherwise, I'm doing a clean out the freezer week.  I'm really tired of bags of muffins, bread, soup, meat, etc. falling out every. single. time.  I open the freezer door.

    Breakfast:  Apple Muffins, Strawberries
    Lunch:  Cheese & Crackers, Grapes, Broccoli and Ranch, Cashews
    Snack:  Chocolate Chip Cookie
    Dinner:  Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Roasted Potatoes

    Breakfast:  Pancakes, Cantaloupe
    Lunch:  Spaghetti & Meatballs, Peas, Oranges, French Bread
    Snack:  Carrot Sticks
    Dinner:  Chicken Nachos w/ Spanish Rice

    Breakfast:  Breakfast Cookies, Pineapple
    Lunch:  BBQ Pork, Buttered Noodles, Carrots, Watermelon
    Snack:  Apple Slices
    Dinner:  Chili Dogs

    Breakfast:  Cinnamon Bites, Juice
    Lunch:  Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Biscuits
    Snack:  Popcorn
    Dinner:  Leftovers  (Pulled Pork Sandwiches?)

    Breakfast:  Carrot Muffins, Smoothies
    Lunch:  Leftovers (Chicken Salad?)
    Dinner:  BBQ Pork, Foil Veggie Packets on the Grill

    Breakfast:  Leftovers
    Lunch:  Sandwiches, Veggies w/ Ranch
    Dinner:  Chicken & Wild Rice Soup,  Salad (pick your own toppings)

    Week 26: Do we really need new?

    Holy cow!  The year is half over!  It's hard to believe that we've changed so much in 6 months (and overwhelming that there's still so much I can do).  The changes are getting more difficult to make.  There are a couple big ones that are looming in the background.  I'm holding out because of the fall-out from my family.  Hubby and the kids are pretty easy going about most of the changes I make/have made, but there are a few things that I think will make them flip (no refined sugar specifically).  Before I do that, I need to have several recipes at my disposal that use natural sweeteners so they can still get a "fix."

    Anyway, a change still needs to be made for this week.  Over the weekend, I was doing the budget for July and was trying to come up with money for school clothes for the girls.  They attend a parochial school and uniforms are required.  It just so happens that the last week of school this past year, someone left a neon green crayon in their pants pocket and now all of the school pants/shorts have green streaks all over them.  New pants are definitely in order, as I'm sure that green stripes do not adhere to the dress code.  Since this is the month that we have to pay for at least half of the school fees, coming up with extra money is difficult.  I worked $100 for clothes into the budget (at the expense of dishwasher and computer replacement $) and still wondered how I was going to be able to get 4-5 pair of pants for each of the girls to start school in.  And don't forget supplies, which even with sales, run about $30 each.

    God provides.  Sometimes I forget. :)  I just read the reminder in the church bulletin for the uniform exchange sale that will coincide with school registration.  It hit me... Why do the girls need NEW clothes?  They don't.  They need nice clothes, without stains or holes.  That doesn't mean new from the store.  So, I will be going through the big tote of school clothes this week and sorting out what doesn't fit (for my contribution to the sale) and making a list of what the girls need for next year-quantity and sizes.  I will be heading to the uniform sale hoping to get most of what we need.  If I don't find everything on my list, I'll call up some of my friends from other parishes to see if they have a sale that I could attend.

    Buying used clothes in good condition will help me stretch that $100 I have budgeted.  Maybe I will have enough left over to buy a few school supplies as well.

    I hope to budget another $50-$100 for clothing in August as well.  With that, I hope to hit up enough fall garage sales to pick up all of the winter clothing and outerwear the kids will need.  Little man is in serious need of snowpants and boots.  Both girls need a couple pair of jeans that fit and maybe a nice outfit for Christmas.  Even Mama could use a few new tops and maybe a winter outfit for church.

    I think it's funny how I've changed over the years.  Once upon a time, I was the person who would say, "GARAGE SALE!!! Gross!  I don't want someone else's junk."  Now, not so much.  I would rather go to a garage sale first to see if I could find what I need so I'm not purchasing new goods that use valuable resources to make, transport and sell them.  If the garage sale route doesn't work, I will call friends of mine that are the same size to see if they have anything that they want to sell or maybe swap for items that I have.  There's also ebay, freecycle or criagslist to check out.  Really, with all of the options for quality used items, there's very few reasons to buy anything new.  Well, maybe Christmas presents for my nephews... but I will pick those up on clearance!  LOL
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...