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Friday, April 30, 2010

Omaha Farmers Market Starts this Weekend


The first weekend to get fresh local produce in the Old Market is tomorrow! Lettuce, asparagus, spinach, herbs, rhubarb and strawberries look to be the early stars. The harvest calendar shows you what is available when. You can also check out the Omaha Farmers Market blog for recipes and other information.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Proud Mommy Moment


I made a big batch of sundried tomato hummus last night. My 7 year old actually got excited and asked if he could take some for lunch today. :::Sniff:::: My formerly picky child made a healthy choice, on his own. I had to photograph it as proof before he goes and does something 7 year old-ish :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wow!

Welcome to a typical day at the office. Me. At my desk. Eating lunch. Today I didn't really feel like eating the lentil soup I brought, so I grabbed one of the frozen meals I keep stashed in the office freezer. Eating Right Chicken Poblano. I don't think I've ever had a frozen meal that has as much flavor and spice as this. Pretty darn good.

Calorie Count only gives it a C for nutritional value, but I guess you can't have everything, right?

Keeping extra food at work is a great way to make sure that your daily cravings and mood swings don't put a dent in your grocery budget. Or your weight loss goals. I use my coupons and sale ads to stock up on freezer meals, cans of soup, boxes of crackers, microwave popcorn etc., and keep them here. Then, if I forgot to pack lunch or was running late or just didn't want what I brought, I won't be tempted to eat out.

Just make sure you put your name on anything you put in the community fridge or freezer. I learned that one a long time ago.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Week of 4/26


I did a pretty good job of sticking to the meal plan this past week, with the exception of Thursday. I used part of the ingredients I had set aside, but we were tight for time with football practice, so I made skillet nachos.

Our favorite meal was the Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Really glad I tried this!

On to this week! 7 dinners works out to $32.50. We'll be eating the soup for lunches this week. I will also have extra pork steak to freeze for fried rice.

Monday 4/26
lentil and turkey sausage soup $2.50
grilled mozzarella and tomato sandwiches $1.50
apple slices .50
$4.50

Tuesday 4/27
lemon rosemary crockpot chicken (using fresh rosemary and a whole chicken) $3.50
buttery noodles .50
glazed baby carrots .75
$4.75

Wednesday 4/28
bbq grilled pork steaks $3.00
baked beans $1.50
salad .75
$5.25

Thursday 4/29
roast beef melts on hoagies $3.50
fries .50
$4.00

Friday 4/30
tacos $3.50
corn .50
$4.00

Saturday 5/1
Hearty Chicken Noodle Casserole (using leftover chicken from Tuesday) $2.25
broccoli and cauliflower $1.00
salad .75
$4.00

Sunday 5/2
Pizza Night $6.00

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Enjoying the silence


I really should be waking up children right now. I got up, showered, got dressed, came downstairs, made coffee, loaded the dishwasher, and now I sit. Hubby is asleep. Boys are asleep. Even the dog is crashed out next to me. Heavenly. So I am enjoying some time at the computer (like my fancy set up? Ha. Please note that even with that tall cup of coffee I'm not awake enough to take a straight picture yet. Please forgive me.)

Hope you have a wonderful day, and at least a moment of heavenly quiet like this yourself today. Amazing how fleeting it is, and how much you come to appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting ready for the garden

I'm getting so excited! I want to get things in the ground, but really you shouldn't plant here until Mother's Day. I might start a little early if we continue to have the great temperatures we've had, but right now I'm still trying to behave.

I am starting many more plants than I think I'll need, but I already have friends claiming the extras, plus we're helping some friends start their first ever garden this year. Has been a lot of fun to help introduce people to the joy of gardening. Especially once you get to eat the fruit of your labors! Fresh veggies here we come!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 4/19

I totally cheated tonight. Hy-Vee had their deli family sized lasagna on sale for $6. I got one to try. They don't mess around--completely loaded with cheese and sausage and well worth the $6. And well worth the careful eating I'll need to do for the rest of the week to make up for it!
This week's menu comes in at around $38-ish (wasn't really into math tonight!)

Monday-
Lasagna $6.00
green beans .40
corn .50
french bread with herbed olive oil dip .75
$7.65

Tuesday-
Turkey chili dogs $2.35
fries .50
apple slices w/ caramel dip 1.00
$3.85

Wednesday-
broccoli, ham and cheese stuffed baked potatoes $2.50
garlic bread .75
salad .75
$4.00

Thursday-
Southwestern Steak Salad $5.00
tortilla chips $.50
$5.50

Friday-
chicken with sun-dried tomatoes $3.50
egg noodles .50
steamed carrots .25
$4.25

Saturday-
southwestern chicken bake $5.00
salad .75
$5.75

Sunday-
Pizza Night
$7.00 (going to try a dessert pizza too this week)

I'm gonna do it....

I've been procrastinating about having a garage sale for years, but no more! While working on transplanting my garden plants to larger containers yesterday, I realized that our basement is stuffed with a whole lotta stuff we don't use anymore. My husband, the pack rat, has kept everything we've purchased in our 15 years of marriage- clothes that no longer fit, old dishes, kid's stuff, you name it, I think it's in my basement.

I have exactly one month to get my ducks in a row for the neighborhood garage sale. I've never done this before. Suggestions? Tips? Please share!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Trying something new...

I have created a new challenge for myself. Once a month I am going to buy a food I've never used before and experiment with it. This first month was walnut oil. I LOVE it! It is milder than olive oil, and has a nutty taste to it. So far, I've only made a few vinaitgrettes, but I understand you can cook with it as well. Tonight I made this simple dressing for my spinach, cashew, craisin and apple salad. It was great!

1/4 cup walnut oil
3T balsamic vinegar
1T honey

whisk together and toss with salad. YUM!

Have you tried anything new lately? Please share!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Week of 4/12


I spent the entire day in the kitchen yesterday, prepping foods for this week's menu, along with foods for the freezer. I got almost everything done that I wanted to, except for the applesauce muffins I had on my list. I will be making those this week, and will post the recipe.


Here's what I got done:

-buttermilk pancakes for the freezer

-3 bags of taco meat

-stock flavored rice for burritos this week

-4 containers of chicken stock

-4 bags of red beans for the freezer

-chicken marinated for tomorrow night and for freezer

-3lbs. of asparagus washed, trimmed, blanched, and frozen on a cookie sheet, then bagged



Here's the menu for the week. We feed 2 adults and 2 children... the cost for these 7 dinners is just over $31. I do price breakouts based on my costs, after sales, coupons, etc. Your costs may vary.


Monday-

tacos $2.75

black bean soup (from freezer) $1.00

cantelope .90

$4.65


Tuesday-

grilled chicken w/ mushrooms over whole grain angel hair $3.00

salad .75

$3.75


Wednesday-

smoked brisket sandwiches (meat in freezer) $3.00

tater tots .50

cole slaw .75

$4.25


Thursday-

red bean and cheese burritos $2.75

guacamole $2.00

fresh baked tortilla chips .40

$5.15


Friday-

hashbrown casserole with ham $3.00

broccoli .75

$3.75


Saturday -

Whole Grain Penne w/ chicken and asparagus $3.50

salad .75

$4.25


Sunday-

Philly Cheese Steak on Hoagies $3.50

bbq baked beans $1.50

fries .50

$5.50

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Potatoes Gratin

This week Bag n Save has all of their Land o Lakes products at great prices. I combined with coupons and bought some items that aren't everyday purchases for me- buttermilk for pancakes, and half n half.

I am still swimming in potatoes---I had gotten 15lbs for $1.49, and that's a LOT of potatoes for us! So I decided to make one of my comfort food favorites. Please note that this is NOT a low fat recipe hehehe....just a wonderful, simple, classic baked dish. I keep the seasoning fairly simple. You could certainly perk it up with rosemary or other spices. I have also sprinkled bacon in for even more decadence. I used a 4 cheese blend on this...you can really use whatever you have on hand, for slightly different tastes every time you make it.

Potatoes Gratin

3lbs potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3T butter, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese...cheddar or your choice
2T flour
1 1/2 cups half n half
1t salt, divided
1t pepper, divided (I used a garlic pepper blend to spice it up a bit more. I also used a little more. You can adjust according to your taste)

Preheat oven to 425. Prepare a square 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Layer half of the potatoes and half of the onions in the dish.
Sprinkle with 2T flour, and half of the salt and pepper. Place half of the butter slices across the top.
Sprinkle with half of the cheese.
Add the rest of the potatoes, onions, butter, seasoning, and cheese. Pour the half n half over the potatoes. (I sprinkled a little paprika over the top for color- also helps with the browning and I just love a nice crust on top)
Place dish in oven. After 5 minutes, reduce to 375 and bake for 50 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and top is golden.
Restrain yourself from eating half the pan.

Because of the sale prices I paid, this dish cost me just under $2 to make, and is enough for an army. We barely made a dent into it last night.

Whew!

It's just amazing how taking a road trip away from things for a few days can throw you off for days after you return, trying to catch up on all the things you didn't get to, along with all the things normally in the schedule anyway.

This was a busy week to come back to. Big K had Kindergarten Roundup on Friday-SOB! My baby is going to be in school next Fall...I can't believe it!

R had Flag Football practices, along with his first game yesterday. The team won, although R needs to learn not to shut his eyes and duck when someone throws him the ball LOL.

This week I stocked back up on groceries, and after today, finally feel organized again and ready to head into the week.

I will post the menu plan, along with all of my make-ahead steps, later this evening.


The other thing really starting to eat up time is getting ready for the garden! I have all of the veggie seeds that I can start ahead of time growing, and most of my flowers. I will add to those in the next week or so.

That blossom is my Meyer Lemon tree. It lives indoors during the winter. Last year I got 3 lemons. Ha. This year I have about 25 lemons so far, plus a new round of blooms...will be interesting to see how much more fruit is added, and how many ultimately survive.

I was out in the garden today and thrilled to discover my roses held up perfectly over the winter, as did my garlic, and my oregano. Next weekend we'll start hauling in extra dirt and compost as we ready the soil. We're not supposed to plant here until Mothers Day...the nice weather sure is making me itchy though.

I will take pictures of what's growing so far and post later this week.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stocking back up on fresh produce...

Since we left for a few days, we made sure to eat all of the perishables, so this week a good chunk of the food budget is going to replacing those. Here's what I is on my list for shopping according to the new ads:

Fareway-
green grapes .99/lb
bananas .29/lb
green beans .99/lb
broccoli .99/lb
leaf lettuce .99/bunch
braeburn apples .69/lb (price match from Hy-Vee)
Iowa Chops $1.99/lb
Fastco Cheese 2 for $2 with coupon in ad

Bakers-
Strawberries- 4lb. flat for $1.49/lb
CoffeeMate Creamer 32oz. $2.38 (and I have .75 coupons)

Hy-Vee is having another Red Hot Weekend Sale, but that ad won't be available until tomorrow night. I will see if there's anything then. Bag n Save has some decent prices on Land o Lakes products, and I may try to get there as well.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 4/5


We didn't follow the whole plan last week...we ended up heading to see family for a few days. It was great, because I got to see my Mom, and we got to visit with many friends and family members that we hadn't seen in a while. Because of Mom's illness, we'd stayed home at Christmas, so we celebrated Christmas, my birthday, my Mom's birthday, and Easter. We smooshed all of the names together and came up with our own name--- Beastmas . LOL.

So we're back this week, and after all the snacks, holiday food and birthday cake, I'm on a bare bones diet for the week. The meals for this week either cater to my diet or allow for substitutions, such as the coleslaw I'll be making and eating instead of the french fries I'm making for the boys in Friday's dinner.

We feed 2 adults and 2 children. 7 meals this week come in under $35.

Monday-
pan seared pork chops with blue cheese drizzle $4.00
steamed green beans with shallots and lemon $1.85
ceasar salad $1.90
$7.75

Tuesday-
Steak tostadas on corn tortillas $3.75
corn .50
melon $1.00
$5.25

Wednesday-
Spaghetti and meatballs $3.50
ceasar salad $1.90
$5.40

Thursday-
black bean soup (from freezer) $1.00
fajita veggie quesadillas $2.50
$3.50

Friday-
turkey dogs with turkey chili $2.50
coleslaw w/ vinaigrette .75
fries .25
$3.50

Saturday-
grilled lemon basil chicken breasts $2.00
grilled asparagus .75
seasoned brown rice .75
$3.50

Sunday-
Italian turkey sausage and onion pizza $4.00
salad .75
$4.75