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 improved....as 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: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Homemade-Mac-and-Cheese/

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.


Posted on the following Blog Hop Link Up pages:
Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop
From The Farm Blog Hop

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thrifty Thursday - Ham and Potatoes

Thrifty Thursday


     During a conversation with my sister about convenience foods, she had mentioned it was cheaper than eating healthy.  This made me think for a bit because I always thought it was cheaper to make it yourself.  She pointed out that she could feed her family on $15 at McDonalds.  It seems possible off the dollar menu, but that probably won't fill my family up and it would lack vegetables.

     From this, I became determined to price out at least one meal per week to make sure we are eating inexpensive as well as healthy.  Not all my meals are truly considered "healthy" but they contain the proper food groups.

     Please also understand that prices are different in other areas.  We live in an area with very low cost foods.

First we started with our protein.  We had an inexpensive ham.

With the extra ham, the next morning I made ham and eggs in muffin tins:

The cost of the ham was $9.85.  We used a little over half of it for our meal.  This was three slices each and three for my husbands lunch (we usually cook for 5 so he can take some to work).  I calculated about $5.00 worth of ham for the entire family.

We also had baked potatoes.  I cooked them in the solar oven (as well as the ham) to avoid heating the inside too much.  I purchased a 5 lb bag of potatoes at $2.50 and used about 1/3 of them (5 potatoes).  I also bought a pound of butter at $3.28 and calculated about a tablespoon of butter per potato, making our total for the potatoes at $1.33.

Since I wanted a bit of convenience in there, we went with a frozen dough ball rather than making my own rolls.  The package of 12 rolls were $1.30, and we used 4.  Calculated with a teaspoon of butter, we came up with $.56.

For our vegetable, we added a 16 ounce bag of frozen brussel sprouts.  This came to $1.33 for the whole bag.
Note:  I did not calculate in the spray oil in the dough pan or green onions on the potatoes. I don't imagine it is that much...maybe $.03?

Here is the total breakdown:
Ham $5
Potato with butter $1.33
Roll with butter $.56
Brussel Sprouts $1.33
For a Grand Total of    $8.22 for the entire family.

Take that McDonalds!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 7/28/14 and Budget Challenge Results

Menu Plan Monday 7/28/14

     When I buy meats at the store, I usually buy in the big family packs because they are more cost effective.  In doing so, I have alot of meat left since we only use half the package for a meal.  You will see our weekly budget go up and down because of that.

     Without further delay, here is this weeks menu (not necessarily in this order):

1.  Ribs, cucumber and tomato salad, beans

2.  Spaghetti with garlic bread

3.  Chicken helper, vegetable, rolls

4.  Navy Beans with ham hock, cornbread

5.  Painted Desert Chili Mix in a Jar (recipe HERE), Cornbread

6.  Stuffed Cabbage, Dinner Rolls

7.  Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Vegetable, Rolls

$155 Challenge Results for the Week

  We did rather well with the challenge for this first week.  We spent a total of $134.03 and had $20.97 remaining to start this week with.  This included two trips to the grocery store and one to Fruit King   I made a trip to the bank this morning and added $155 for this week to my grocery money pouch and did my weekly shopping.  I will post results next week, since I may have to make a trip or two to the store between now and then.
     I think we can actually cut the spending a bit more, but I want to make sure I can do this before we lower the amount.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

     Wow!  It has been a while.  It's been so long that I even forgot my password.  But I am back with fresh ideas and new drive.

     First let me catch you up.   About a month ago, we took a journey across the United States, from Texas to Washington State, to see my mother.  I am so thankful that I did.  Within a day and a half of my arrival, my mother passed away.  My mother had lung cancer and had requested no hospitals.  It was very heartbreaking but at the same time, I was overwhelmed with joy that she had the house full of children and grandchildren.  At no time was she ever without someone next to her or holding her hand.  There was so much love and sadness mixed.
     In the week that followed, I felt in a bit of a fog. My two adult daughters flew in and all the relatives and friends showed up for the wake and funeral.  I wasn't a very good hostess because I felt so lost.  It wasn't until weeks later I thought about it and felt bad that I didn't thank everyone for showing or spoke with them much.  I think they understood though.

     I do want to express a special thank you to the LDS church, who provided all the food at the wake.

     Other happenings include an update on the big move that I once mentioned briefly. I haven't moved yet, but here is our progress. Two of my sisters and I have went in on a piece of property.  We purchased 78 acres.  There was no water or power on it.  In moving forward, the youngest of us, called about power and the cost to move it was a bit much, so she bought the 40 acres diagonal from ours, which had power on it, for almost the same cost it would have taken to move the power.  Our houses will sit on that 40 acres.
     Since the property is in another state (the mountains in Arizona....yes, they have more than just desert), it makes it harder for me and my older sister to help with preparing the property, so a lot of responsibility lies on one of my sisters and her husband, since it is only a 3-4 hour drive for them.  So far, the well is dug and she is looking into a septic tank next.

       I really want to be there to help when the houses are started to take some of that burden off my sister and her husband, so my husband and I started saving for an RV that we can move into until we get the houses done.  This is our new and fun adventure in life. 

    In order to continue with our plans, I have set strict budgeting on everything.  I am continuing with my $155 a week food challenge, which seems to be going fine so far.  We are also budgeting $20 a week for entertainment.  This will include eating out as well.  I am really excited about this and love the challenge of doing things inexpensively. 

     In order to stick to this budget, menu planning is a must. I plan the menu based on what is on sale at our local store.  Here is our menu plan for this week:

Dinner Menu

1.  Gumbo, Rice, Homemade Rolls

2.  BBQ Ribs, Coleslaw

3.  Hamburgers, Potato Salad

4. Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad

5.  Nacho Night with homemade Pico De Gallo and Guacamole

6. Creamy Potato Soup, Homemade Rolls

7. Chicken Helper (I have about half a dozen boxes from a clearance sale a while back and want to get them used up)

     For lunches and breakfasts we really don't put out a plan, but I plan to make soups in the crock pot with whatever I have on hand for veggies and sandwiches for lunches.  For breakfasts, we have pop tarts and instant oatmeal in the pantry that needs to get eaten.  I also purchased two boxes of "non-sugar" cereal, a large amount of fresh fruit, and some eggs (before leaving on our trip, we had to get rid of all our animals, so, we have no fresh eggs).

     I have gone "no sugar" for 2 weeks (more on that later), so my plan for snacks is to use up the cake mixes and cookie mixes in my pantry.  My fridge is also pack (I mean really, really packed) with fresh fruits and veggies as well.

What's on your menu?