Thursday, March 31, 2016

Good morning!

  Our Last Post

I am excited to say that this will be our last post on this blog.  We have moved from the beaches of Texas to the mountains of Arizona.

With the move, we decided to purchase a web site and share our new journey there.  Our web site will launch April 2016 and can be found at at that time.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lentil Shepards Pie

      I had someone ask for the recipe for this.  Like most things I make, I look at recipes on the web and then make my own.  You will have to excuse my images.  I am not a professional and did this as I was making it.

      I had made a pound of lentils earlier in the week so we could use them in various meals.  I started with adding the remaining lentils (about half the package) and spread them in the bottom of my pan.

     I made a gravy from a carton of vegetable broth and some cornstarch.  You can use flour as your thickening agent as well.  Sorry for the blurriness (is that a word?)

I spread about half the gravy over the lentils, letting it seep in.  To do dinner quickly, we used frozen peas and carrots.  That layer went on next.
   Precook those so they are warm. You can also do fresh but I suggest cooking them first.
Earlier in the day we baked some potatoes in the sun oven.
They aren't really in this load, but I wanted to give you an idea of how we cook when the sun is up and wind is down.
Since my family loves the potato skins (and I'm a bit lazy so I don't complain), we leave the peelings on our mashed potatoes. They don't look as beautiful or glamorous but they are nutritious and very yummy.  I mashed the potatoes with a bit of almond milk to keep it in our diet limits (more on the diet later).

The potatoes are spooned on top as the final layer.  I added a bit of shredded veggie cheese and a sprinkle of green onion.  Heat the entire thing in the oven at about 350 degrees F until warm and the gravy gets all bubbly.

    The other half of the gravy, we topped our portion with after it was served.  The meal is complete as is or could be eaten with a nice green salad.
My family really loved it and I can see it on many more menu plans in the future.

What are some meatless meals that you are serving?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A trip to the Doctors....

A trip to the Doctors.....

     I had felt alot of pain in my body this past weekend so I gave in and went to see the doctor.  My blood pressure is at a dangerous level.  I am obese.  I can say some of it is because my thyroid went out, but since I am on medication, blame is now all on me.  I need to start with a healthier eating style.  (You see what I eat.  I don't feel it is horribly bad, but it can be well as the late night snacks that you don't see).

     The major part of the pain is caused by both my hips having arthritis. They gave me some medication to take the swelling in my joints down and it seems to be working so far.

     My weight is a major issue in both.  Losing weight is less weight my hips have to carry, and less pressure on my heart.  To help with this, I will be switching up my Monday Morning Menu to what I eat the week before rather than planning ahead, so that I can take more advantage of fresh vegetables and salads.
  I may even toss in a day of progress for those that want to join on my journey.

Last Nights Dinner

     I missed out on taking pictures but for dinner last night we had a salad of mixed lettuce, spinach, and other baby leafy lettuces.  I chopped up tomatoes and added them.  We also heated up some of the leftover chicken from Sunday nights feast. 
      Then we chopped up other veggies and everyone got to add what they wanted to their salads.  For veggies we chopped up: celery, onion, green onion, mushrooms, and cheese.  It was pretty much whatever we had in our fridge.  
A very simple dinner for a hot night.  Afterwords, my husband and my son worked in the yard and garden so I could plant my tomato plants.

What a great end to a tiring day.

And now, I'm going to go have coffee in the garden with my tomato plants.....

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday 8-14-2014 (A bit late)

      Hubby has been in Indiana for almost a week to attend a funeral.  He flew in Tuesday and decided, since we were in town to pick him up, he wanted to go out for lunch.  Needless to say, by the time we did our outing and got home, I was not feeling like cooking, so we grabbed "to go" for dinner as well.
     When we eat out, we tend to be very careful about how much we spend.  I had a gift certificate that covered half our lunch.  For dinner, we did splurge and get some Sonic milkshakes, but we waited until after 8pm, so they were half price.

     I fully enjoyed our day together.

     Last night, looking over my menu list, I still had to decide which meal was for tonight.  With the kids begging, we settled on Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with hot dogs.  I'm not a big fan of hot dog, but the kids love them, so I do add them to the menu every now and then.

Here is the recipe I used:

This is the only picture I got.  This was before cooking, just as I was adding the fried hot dog bits. It looked alot better after cooking but when I pulled it out of the oven, our thoughts were on eating it rather than taking a picture.

I actually doubled the recipe so the kids could have it for lunch the next day. I also left out the Parmesan cheese by mistake.  My calculations are for the doubled recipe.

Pasta $.88
Butter $.82
Flour, salt, and bread crumbs $.50
4 cups cheese  $5.54
Hot Dogs $.88

Total for 2x the recipe:  $8.12

I hope you have enjoyed by breakdown.

Linked up at:
Homespun Oasis - Simple Lives Thursday

Monday, August 11, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - August 11, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - August 11th, 2014

     It is mid August all ready.  Where did the year go?

     This week for our menu, I thought it would simple things up a bit and have one day where I go all out.  Not because it is a busy week, but because I deserve a break.

1.  Dump Chicken (Here are some recipes for dump chicken)

2.  Sketti Soup - Simple recipe that my daddy used to make because he knew us girls loved it.  It is simply ground beef fried up, pasta cooked, and tomato juice.  I have also tried it with a vegetable juice and it is yummy too.

3.  Keilbasa and cabbage

4.  Ribs (not sure what I'm doing with these but they are in the freezer)

5.  Desert Chili- I planned this a week or so back and on the day I was cooking it, hubby had a potluck at work and wanted to make his own chili, so we did that and I saved the ingredients for this one and just bought fresh onion and ground beef.

6.  Homemade Mac and Cheese with hot dogs

7.  Roast Chicken, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, salad (this is my "go all out" day but I plan to make it simple by roasting the chicken either in the crock pot or in the solar oven.)

For breakfasts we have planned:

Biscuits and sausage gravy

As for the shopping challenge, last week we didn't keep track.  I did notice more junk food sneaking into the house (not blaming this totally on hubby).  But I think in all, I did pretty good at spending less.

Linked up at:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thrifty Thursday - August 7, 2014

Mom's Chicken and Noodles

     As you may have noticed, we didn't do a Monday Menu this week.  It's been a rough week.  My husband's aunt passed away unexpectedly so he flew out to Indiana for the funeral.
     I am enjoying not looking at a menu plan before making dinners, but I am really unsure how this is effecting our budget.  I might do this again next week and keep track of what we spend.  I have been using up what is in the freezer and what I have canned, so my costs are a bit lower, though we have been eating out more, which is a no-no.

     Our meal for tonight is my Mom's Chicken and Noodles. This is something I didn't make often until she passed away in June.  I did make some changes from the way mom made it.  As a child, I remember mom making it from a whole chicken in a can.  It sounds strange to me now but I didn't think anything of it then.  I will be using fresh chicken for mine.

     One thing mom always did was homemade egg noodles to go in it.  That tradition stays.  Without further delay, here is her chicken and noodles.

Breaking down cost on some things is difficult with some things.  I will try to get as close as possible to the correct amount.

I started with a whole chicken.  Our store doesn't have many choices but I did find one that was free range with no antibiotics.  The cost was a bit higher than the others but not so much that it broke me.
The whole chicken only came to $8.23, but this will be shared between two meals (the giblets are also placed in the freezer for dressing another day).

I proceeded to break down the chicken into pieces and removed the breast.  The breast will be used tomorrow night for our chicken nugget and homemade mac and cheese dinner. The remainder was placed in a pot and filled with enough water to barely cover it and cooked about an hour.  When done, I will strain out the broth (save this) and let the chicken cool.  After it is cool, we remove the chicken from the bone and set it aside.  I am going to estimate that I used about $5 for this meal from the chicken.

The next step is homemade egg noodles (recipe here). I usually toss a bit of extra flour on the noodles before letting them dry.  It keeps them from sticking together and the flour thickens the broth as they cook.
 The ingredients include:  1 cup flour, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Broken down, it is $.16 for the egg, $.02 for the milk, $.12 for the flour, and less than $.01 for the salt.  For a total of around $0.31 for the pasta!

Set the noodles aside and put the broth into the pan and add seasonings to taste.  We add a bit of salt and pepper and that is all.  Bring it to a boil and add the pasta.
Meanwhile, peel, boil and mash potatoes. We are using 1/2 of a 5 lb bag in hopes of having leftovers for another meal.  We purchased the 5 lb bag last week for $2.50.  To our mashed potatoes, I am adding a bit of milk and some butter.  Our cost breakdown for the mashed potatoes will be $1.50.

When the pasta is almost done, add the shredded chicken and let it boil a bit.   To serve, spoon mashed potatoes in your bowl and spoon over it the chicken and noodles.

To add nutrition to this, you could add vegetables or make a vegetable pasta.  I think this would be good with french cut green beans.  We will be eating watermelon later.

Added note:  I have also made this with chicken breasts and broth.  This is just the method I used today.


Cost breakdown:
Chicken $5
Pasta $.31
Mashed Potatoes $1.50
TOTAL = $6.81 Amazing!!

Keep in mind that different areas have different prices, so this will give you a base of what it costs in my area.

Homemade Egg Noodles

Homemade Egg Noodles

     This is something simple and inexpensive, and the flavor of homemade can't be replaced.  When I make my mom's chicken and noodles, it is always made with homemade noodles.  Here is the recipe I use:

1 cup flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt.

This is fun to make and the kids can even help.  Put the flour directly on the counter and make a well in the center.

Add the other ingredients into the well and mix together with your hands. If it is too wet, you can add a bit more flour, and if it is too dry, a bit more liquid.  When it is mixed, let it rest for 10 minutes.

 I use my hand crank pasta machine for the next part, but my sister uses a rolling pin and does it mom's way. Since I don't have the strength to roll it out, I used my pasta machine to get it as thin as I needed.  I used a setting of 3 for this batch. 

 Roll the dough out into a 16x12" rectangle.  If cutting by hand, sprinkle with a bit of flour so it won't stick together and roll the dough up like a jelly roll (it can be rolled from either side).  Slice the roll 1/4" thick and unroll.  You can cut them to the length you like.   I started with cutting the large strip into thirds and I used the pasta machine to cut one and did the roll and cut method for the other two, so you can see how it is done.

These should dry a few hours but we are impatient at that point and don't want to wait that long.  To cook them, just toss them in some salted water or broth and cook until done.  The amount of time it takes to cook depends on how thin you rolled the dough out.  Mine are usually a bit thicker and take a bit longer.


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