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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Crock Pot Tuesday: spaghetti

 This afternoon, I came home to this Crock Pot of home made, chunky vegetable-Italian style chicken sausage spaghetti sauce. I assembled all ingredients except for the 3 sausages, which I removed from their casings and fried off as crumbles at 5 a.m. as I prepared breakfast and lunch for school/work. Yet another storm brought me home right after work, so it's been a quiet afternoon at home, having cancelled our after school/work obligations.
 I blended some sauce into the cooked spaghetti, offering extra sauce as desired


 Choice of a bit of Romano or Parmesan cheeses to freshly grate on top, if desired
 Choice of leftover green beans or cauliflower/broccoli/brussels sprouts


green salad with choice of dressing

Monday's baking

Avoiding food waste: since the oven was on for the fish last night, I capitalized on the electricity and baked 2 loaves of banana bread (no walnuts, used gifted to me self rising AP flour).

Monday, March 2, 2015

A sign of the times

After supper, I gathered the ingredients that I will need for tomorrow night's supper, which will be Italian chicken sausages in a chunky, home made marinara over spaghetti. Meat was marked down, and divided into 3 link packages. Tomatoes were on sale, store brand pasta. Sides will be tossed salad with choice of dressing, and leftover veggies from earlier in the week.

Fish on Monday: horseradish encrusted white fish fillets

  Before leaving for work this morning, I defrosted 4 Tilapia fillets, 2 Swai fillets.
Here the fish is ready to be baked off

Organic, mixed greens for salad with choice of home made dressings

Brown rice (not pictured) and canned French style green beans

My supper plate.

Sunday's baking

 2, 2 lb loaves of bread (at least that is what they were supposed to be!) the newly gifted to me, ABM is officially deemed "broken" so I'll trim the oatmeal bread, and make crumbs out of those scraps. Now, writing another thing on my kitchen supply list.
A box mix of brownies, no nuts, they are $6.49/lb, so plain it is!
 A tray of magic cookie bars using a 50-50 white chocolate chip-chocolate chip blend. Great way for me to use up these lurking white chips, yet still have the standard chocolate flavor come through. Yes, this does have nuts in the recipe!
A large sheet of Toll house cookies, made as bars for efficiency, and again using 50-50 white-chocolate chips.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

April's plan: dinner menus

Image: http://austinfoodtrailerstexas.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/April-Austin-Food-Trailers.png

Since I am a planner, and adjust as life's circumstances warrent, here are April's menus, once again relying heavily upon what is already on hand:

1-l/o
2-black bean burgers using canned beans, salad
3-farfale with home made marinara, salad
4-turkey burgers (use fzn meat), home made macaroni salad
5-Easter dinner: baked butt ham (fzn) with pineapple slices in spicy mustard-brown sugar glaze, mashed potatoes, fzn organic peas w/ canned mushrooms and fzn pearl onions in cream sauce
6-home made salmon cakes (use canned pink), cole slaw, canned green beans
7-Crock Pot pork stew (use fzn pork)
8-l/o
9-vegetable quiche, steamed carrots, salad
10-BSCB (fzn) in herbed cream sauce (aesptic box), brown rice, organic peas
11-tuna baby shell pasta salad
12-baked chicken drums (use fzn meat), brown rice, canned beets
13-baked fzn cod (use Panko), fzn broccoli florettes, cole slaw
14-crock pot stuffed peppers, canned corn
15-l/o
16-penne with jarred vodka sauce, canned green beans
17-taco bake (use fzn ground beef/turkey), canned corn
18-egg and olive sandwiches
19-pork chops (fzn)bake (use pkg stuffing shreds), canned green beans, home canned apple sauce
20-tuna casseole with med shell macaroni, salad
21-crock pot turkey (use fzn diced cooked turkey)-pinto chilli, home made corn bread
22-birthday-plans TBD
23-CP meatballs (need to make) in home made marinara over spaghetti, salad
24-l/o
25-sloppy joes (use canned sauce, fzn ground meat), pasta salad
26-Crock pot meat loaf (use fzn meat), instant mashed potatoes, fzn gravy, canned corn
27-horse radish encrusted Tilapia (use fzn fillets), coleslaw, steamed carrots
28-chicken cacciatore (use fzn drums, fzn peppers, canned mushrooms, onions, canned tomatoes), brown rice
29-l/o
30-pate chinois (use fzn beef, instant potatoes, canned cream corn), apple raisin coleslaw

I will need torilla chips for the taco bake, 1 can of pineapple slices, fzn broccoli, ground beef and ground turkey, cabbage, carrots, potatoes. Beyond that, just staples to complete this plan, as needed.

My knee jerk reaction . . $316.67

Image: http://chicagoeviction.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/evictillinois.png

This scenario is growing really, really old. I paid the rent earlier this past week (due the 1st), yet some* of those who are supposed to contribute to the rent and food remain behind for February, never mind owing all of March. A typical Landlord would not put up with this. Regardless of their ill planning, I pay my bills in full, on time. I had a serious talk with one offender, and plan on having a talk with the other. Bottom line is, the money is due, as agreed upon in writing, at the beginning of the month. Their actions are impacting ME, and that is not something that I will tolerate.

So, my knee jerk reaction is to once again, serious curb grocery shopping,focusing on needs until those monies come in. While I have completed February's shopping, there is a slight overage of $4.31 that I am rolling over to March. For now, until reimbursed, I am planning on using just my portion of the grocery funds plus what monies have been added to it so far, leaving me $316.67 - $4.31 = $312.36 for March. My menus are planned, and I've just shopped for the bulk of needs for the next 2 weeks, so any shopping these next 2 weeks, will be for milk, perhaps 1/2 & 1/2 cream. There are a few deals out there, but nothing I desperately need, so if I get them, fine, if not, fine.  By the weekend of the 14th, I must buy 2 corned beef briskets for St Pat's, and I suspect that I will need more carrots by then. Otherwise, I am in great shape.

Visible changes:
-we are running out of some supplies, and they are not being replaced
-more and more of the freezer/pantry supplies are diminishing
-more and more recycling is being created (just did the recyling Sat, and I've already filled a tall kitchen garbage bag up)
-snacks aren't being replenished much, although I did get protein granola bars as the old ones were finally eaten. one bag of tortillas, 1 pkg grahams (which I also use in baking)
-baked goods are pretty much limited to using/using up supplies already on hand
-more vegetarian
-more off brands, private label, dollar store bargains
-large pitchers of generic Koolaid, home brewed tea are available, saving what few cans of soda I just bought for sick tummies and "pizza night"
-some have noted that "all of the good stuff is gone," "there's no ice cream!"

We also continue to eat seasonally, what's on sale, which becomes especially challenging this time of year when nothing is being produced. I rely more upon home/commercially prepared canned/fzn foods and the cheap core of produce staples: potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, cabbage, Romaine.

I am trying to demonstrate a clear case of cause and effect:  You don't pay your portion towards food=less food will be purchased, and I make what few food dollars I do have for a family of 6 stretch as far as possible, which is why the last 2 weeks of February found me using those remaining funds towards things like: dishwasher and dishwashing detergents, laundry detergent, dried beans, ketchup, mustard,toilet paper, tissues, tampons, salt, baking soda, peanut butter, tuna, canned salmon, elbow macaroni, shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, etc.

What would you do under similar circumstances?