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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

so what's been cooking, plan b edition


Monthly prearranged menu plans are scrapped, some easy to fix substitute plan ingredients purchased. I don't recall what we did Fri night, the day of the fall, but here's what we have served:

Sat-homemade Italian meatballs in homemade marinara over spaghetti

Sun-braised pork chops in cream mush/homemade beef stock with chopped onion sauce ocer egg noodles, french green beans
Mon-oven baked Cod fillets with lemon juice and tarragon, oven roasted rosemary garlic fingerling potatoes, fzn peas

tonight; garlic n herb seasoned chicken drums (extra planned overs), "baked" potatoes, fzn broccoli florettes.  we are planning ahead such as coooking extra tonight for tomorrow, surgery day, and relying more heavily than usual on the crock pots. Sound nutrition, along with the dudget are kept in mind.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I've fallen and I can't get up edition


Unbelievably, a slip and fall in the shower yesterday resulted in an ambulance call, ride to ER, Xrays, visit with my orthopedist for a shoulder that is broken in 3 places. Sigh.Cat scans Mon, surgery Wed. Luckily (?) having had bi lateral rotator cuff surgeries, means thart we can weather this well, having been thrugh similar recoveries. Luckily, it's my left side.

Kids are stepping up to the plate, DD helps with personal care, DD and DS are lined up for errands/shopping/appointments. DD and DSs helping with laudry, DD helped get supper in the CP before leaving for workk this morning. I know that there will be added expenses so anywhere we can pinch back, we will continue to do so,

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What's been cooking?

 The theme for cooking on Wed and Fridays is "leftovers"-depending upon who will be at the table with me. Wed is visitation night for the twins, and they return to Dad's for 3 out of 4 weekends a month during the school year. Last night (Wed) was again leftovers but more of a leftover wizardy event. Intentionally cooked ahead asperagus, the last roll of premade pie pastry, the rest of a container of mushrooms that was starting to go off, eggs that were aging, an onion, some Danish Havarti with dill that was purchased yet never used in Feb.
 These items, plus 1/2 of an onion, became a budget quiche a la Froogs, using milk, 4 eggs to create a custard, and just a bit of cheese-compared to traditional recipes.
 Sides were plain, fzn mixed vegetables (not pictured) and fzn (Dollar tree) mixed fingerling potatoes with Rosemary and garlic. They roasted alongside the quiche.
 I also boiled the remaining eggs in that carton (I have some fresher eggs on hand) and refrigerated them last night. This afternoon (thurs), I made some egg and green olive salad sandwich fillings for Friday's Lenten lunches. I still have 6 marked down, store bakery Kaiser rolls that will be used for sandwiches.
Today, is CrockPot and usually vegetarian Thursday but I still had about 2 cups of ground up eye of the round roast, some extra cooked ahead brown rice, leftover Colby Jack cheese from vegetarian tacos.. I added a pint of my home canned tomatoes, some Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, Italian herbs and made stuffed pepper cups, turning to my prepared, fzn pepper cups in the freezer. I place them into the awaiting CP, and stuff them while frozen. I then poured a 34 cent can of crash n burn Italian style tomato sauce over the top and they cooked all day while I was away at work. Pictured above is tonight's salad to accompany, with choice of homemade dressings.

House smells awesome!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What's been cooking

 Here's Sunday lucnh: ground turkey sloppy joes, using fzn meat, canned sauce (DT of all places for Delmonte brand), on rolls I grabbed out of the freezer. Aldi's tater tots on the side. It worked.
 Fish on Monday was a pantry clear out meal: creamed tuna (2 cans ck lite plus one albacore) on brown rice (stored in large, coffee tin), The base of the sauce was a can of cr of celery soup DS brought with him when he moved home, the rest of a cut, red onion, dill weed, black pepper, milk. Sides were canned beets, steamed fresh asparagus.
 My dinner plate. Extra asparagus was cooked intentionally for an upcoming meal.
 Due to afterwork commitments, I switched Tues and Thurs' dinner plans. Remember that leftover eye of the round from Sunday? I ground it up in the food processor (over 4 cups of meat when ground) and used 2 cups or so as a bolognese sauce. 4 oz fresh mushrooms, 29 oz can tomato sauce, 14 oz can diced Italian style tomatoes (love these as they already contain the herbs, onion, garlic and some EVOO)-this particular can was a crash n burn bargain. I also added the rest of Saturday's ground turkey sloppy joes, a Bay leaf. I used the Crock Pot and let this cook for the better part of the afternoon while I was out.
I used 2 different sizes of penne pasta that I had stored in a huge, glass jar. I folded in the bolognese sauce, topped the pasta with the rest of the knob of Parmesan I had open, and the rest of a blog of Mozzarella, hand grating both over the top. I then baked this off for 10 minutes:

Here it is, right out of the oven. I served a mixed green salad, using the rest of the leftover, chopped Romaine from Friday night's tacos, blended in with some fresh, organic baby salad green, a chopped tomato. Choice of dressing on the side. Most took an Italian vinaigrette.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Getting resourceful


I am currently getting more resourceful, and raising some cash. While I am able to live below my means, and live quite frugally, sometimes I need to kick things up a knotch to more readily meet my goals.

I am in the process of getting designer quality drapes installed on the bow window of the eating area of the kitchen, where the glass is cold at night, and the Southern sunlight can be an issue. The drapes I bought are high end, fully lined, and easily cost at least $1000 when made, custom order. I paid $100 cash for 4 panels, which can easily be used at my next home, as they are so neutral. A classic pattern, they aren't something that I feel I'd ever grow tired of or which would become dated.

I have worked with an Interior Designer to figure out the best way to get these hung securely, yet as cost effectively as possible. Window coverings are an expensive undertaking. She is cutting me a 50% off deal for her services. $50.

I have selected the style of wooden rod and rings in a classic black with a not overly ornate finial. They are my style, and again, nothing I would tire of, they can easily be used again. I don't yet know the price, I had a range given to me, they are to be ordered tomorrow, and a discount applied.

Meanwhile, I am trying to raise some additonal funds to cover this luxury. I do allocate monies every month to "house hold expenses" for things like bedding, towels, replacement cookery, or in this case, drapes. I bought little when I moved here.  I have guestimated that I will need $300 more to cover these costs, so as not to impact my budget. So far:

Cashed in credit card rewards: $238.24
sold a plant stand I no longer use: $8
sold my umbrella clothes line I no longer use: $30

$276.21 in one afternoon, not bad.

I have listed multiple things on local FB tag sale pages, hoping to gather yet more cash. I will earmark it first towards this project, then to buying my expensive $$$ Dansko clogs and Birkenstock sandals. Again, I do set aside monies monthly for clothing, but that is $1200/year for 3 of us and each of these shoes can run well into the $100's each. I will be using a discount coupon when I do. : )

As a fall back, I did get a nice refund from my taxes, but some of that is already earmarked for replacing the windshield on my car, thanks to a stone from a pot hole.

What do you do when you need to raise some cash?

Sunday supper: herb crusted eye of the round

I defrosted one of the eye of the round roasts that I was able to get on sale recently for $3.49/lb. I use the simple recipe that was shared years ago by an AOL board member:

 I grabbed this Dijon at Aldi's, the steak seasoning was bought with a large price off cpn
I simply brush Dijon over the top of the roast that is in a roasting pan, sprinkle liberally with Steak seasoning-done! Doesn't look so appetizing before it's cooked, but trust me, it'll be awesome! Roast on high until med-rare. Let rest before slicing.

Sides will be oven baked potatoes with sour cream; canned corn, sauteed organic Swiss Chard seasoned with butter, salt, pepper, salt free garlic seasoning.

My supper plate.

Naturally, after cleaning up the dishes, I made this:

2 cups of free broth by scrapping the fond off of the roasting pan. About 1/2 of the roast was refrigerated for upcoming meals.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Closet cleanout

 Here's the pile of rejects from my closet, including 10 pairs of shoes that I can no longer wear. : (
I've bagged some of this for donation, and some has been listed on 3 local Facebook tag sale sites, hoping to get some $ out of them, if possible.
 Wool sweaters, and a wood jacket were moved to the left closet, where I keep my fleece jackets, and my long, fleece robe.

My one pair of shorts, kept on the left "casual " side of the closet

 Also in that side of the closet is wehre I store my more casual or just at home tops, several of which are no longer suitable for work wear. NOt pictured, but I placed my suede Danskos aka "Winter shoes" in a hanging shoe rack on that side as well.
 I then moved my sandals, sneakers, Spring shoes to the right side closet. (This MBR has 2 double closets, so I take advantage of this) To the right of the shoes, is a hanger with my scarves, just peeking into the image

I decided to still keep 2 knit dresses and 3 skirts. If not  worn by August, they will go.
Next, I have 2 pairs of cropped pants, and several pairs of black dress pants
 Here are my Spring Sweaters mixed in with my black sweaters that I really use almost year round. Once we are in hot weather, I'll switch the heavier black ones to the other closet. I often wear layers in Spring/Summer.

Here are my work tops, mostly dressier blouses. I have some tanks, some short sleeved, mostly 3/4 quarter sleeved and a few long sleeved.

Bottom line is that I needed cropped pants for both work/home, and I ordered them this afternoon, selecting an off white, a taupe, grey, a dark blue. These are such basic colors, which will carry over into Fall. I was able to use a 20% off code in addition to them being on sale and they will be delivered for free to my home. Perfect.

I still need a good, sturdy pair of sandals. All of my Birkenstocks have been trashed. I do have some sandals but they predate my foot issues. I'll use them unless my feet bother me as a result. A few pairs, I can see will only get me thru the Summer and will most likely be trashed come Fall. A replacement pair of Dansko sandals are also on the list.

I need to get a few pairs of yoga pants and that's all folks. I realized that I still have more on hand than I had thought. I do plan on culling down more as time goes on.