Friday, January 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Another week!

I forgot to post my menu last week, so this is 2 weeks in a row. I was half-heartedly doing the pantry challenge over at Money Saving Mom and FishMama, so there are a lot of pantry meals. It worked out well, because I hit a great sale, and I ended up buying 67 packages of cheese! That pretty much did in my budget, but hey, it's all good! I will be eating cheese for months!

Friday: take-out (what can I say? It was payday!)

Saturday: spring rolls, Thai basil rolls

Sunday: chilaquiles

Monday: chicken cacciatore, spaghetti

Tuesday: burritos with pintos, rice, carnitas

Wednesday: fend for yourself (cooking class for Mama!)

Thursday: tamale pie

Friday: homemade pizza with sausage, mushrooms, and onions (so good!)

Saturday: gumbo over rice

Sunday: biscuits and gravy (using homemade sausage--I still love that sausage maker!)

Monday: enchiladas, Mexican rice, beans (it's the 10th anniversary of our 1st date! We had enchiladas that night)

Tuesday: chicken piccata, broccoli, rice, salad

Wednesday: boeuf bourguignon

Thursday: pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, greens (from the freezer--probably beet greens)

As always, join hundreds of other bloggers over at orgjunkie for soooo much inspiration about what's for supper. You're sure to come away with something new for your menu!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The little blessings

with my door prize bag of flour

with one of the presenters, Julie

the main presenter, Pam (who makes a mean pie crust with 1 stick of butter per crust!)

We serve a very good God, don't we?

When I made my Christmas list this year, I included "cooking classes." I didn't think that I would really get them, but it sparked something in me, and I all of a sudden really wanted them! I had taken a series of 4 classes when I was newly pregnant with my firstborn, and they were a lot of fun. Even as I battled nausea through her cooking in front of us. I still remember the smell of one particular creme de menthe drink (the classes were straightforward, but very retro in feel). Despite that horrid green drink (LOL), I still really enjoyed those classes.

I get money for Christmas every year, and I had decided that I would splurge this year and take some classes. I'm in a lull without a baby attached to me, and I wanted to take advantage of it. Classes around here run $40-$50, so I figured I would find one class, and that would be enough.

Imagine my surprise when I've been blessed this winter with the opportunity for FOUR cooking classes, all for free!!!! Last night, I attended a baking demonstration by King Arthur Flour about pie crusts (completely free!). And, my grocery store/international market is having a series of Asian cooking classes in January and February. I signed up quickly when I saw the sign for those, too. Those cost $10, but they are giving away a $10 gift certificate at the end of class. I shop there anyway, so it's basically a free class.

Both classes so far have been fun, and I'm looking forward to the next two. And the best part is that God really did hear the desires of my heart and honor them. Sometimes it is the little things that are the really big things, you know?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What we're up to!

Picasa is being a booger this week about uploading photos. Grrrr....

But, it's been a fun, frugal week around here. We stood in line for a grand opening at the local Einstein Bagels store, and both Mike and I won 52 egg bagel sandwiches. Good for a year from opening day, so breakfast for a year. Woohoo! What a fun treat. And, our boys were especially excited to go on an "adventure" before 5 in the morning.

We've stuck to the pantry meal plan pretty well. I had one weak moment where I really, really (really!) wanted some take-out. But, then, someone started screaming, and I decided that home was a better place to be. Amazing how that works! We scrapped the planned dinner and ended up with carbonara. Totally luxurious, rich, and oh, so good.

This week has shown us some beautiful weather! It finally feels like it's really January, with highs in the low 60s, instead of the crazy 20s and 30s we saw at the beginning of the month. Last June, I set a crazy goal of playing on the playground of every park in our county. We frequently get distracted, but I still have my list, and we make headway on it every now and then. Only 24 more parks to go!!

And, finally, I attended a great cooking class from The Chinese Southern Belle. We learned to make egg rolls, spring rolls, and Thai basil rolls. It was a hands on class, and it was so much fun! I can't wait to try and impress Mike with spring rolls this weekend. The best frugal part? The class was at my favorite international market . They are experimenting with getting new customers in the market, and this was something new for them. The class was only $10, and at the end, we got a $10 gift certificate! Since I shop there anyway, this made the class (and my supper!) completely FREE. What a great deal.

Hopefully I'll get some pictures on here soon!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Meal Plan from the pantry

random picture of cute boy that has nothing to do with the rest of this post

It's been a few weeks since I've had a meal plan Monday post up. And the real reason? I don't plan Monday-Friday. I always plan Friday-Thursday. Our payday is Friday, so my shopping day is usually Friday. Plus, I like being well stocked on the weekends. Everyone is home, it's happy family time, and I like knowing we have everything we need. It definitely works for me. (and, it doesn't hurt that if I'm out of something on Wednesday, I can just "borrow" it from my mom's pantry!)

And, to update on the pantry challenge... Well, it's going. Not all that wonderfully, money wise, but we're definitely eating out of the pantry. I've taken the opportunity of saving money on meals to splurge a bit. We're on our 4th crate of clementines in the last month. Eating grapefruit like it's going out of style. I bought the BIG bag of dog food. A random pregnant craving for jarred queso and chips (yes, that even grosses me out, but y'all. It was delicious!!) And, I got a bottle of name brand Tide (perfect for red mud stains that show up in my laundry). So, not much saving money. But, definitely some splurges that are good for my psyche. Maybe the next 2 weeks will be better. If not, I'll definitely be happy!

That said, last week and this week's plans:

Friday: French dips, potato chips

Saturday (date night): take out wings (with many thanks to my brother for the suggestion!!)

Sunday: chicken tacos with onions and peppers, rice

Monday: vegetable soup with ham, cornbread

Tuesday: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, beets

Wednesday: pinto beans and rice, salsa, cheese, guacamole, corn tortillas

Thursday: spaghetti, garlic bread

Friday: slow cooked pork butt with barbecue sauce, white bread, slaw

Saturday: leftovers (lunch), "pig fries"--sort of like chili cheese fries, but with barbecue sauce and leftover pork (supper)

Sunday: mulligatawny soup over rice(lunch), biscuits and gravy (supper)

Monday: turkey pot pie (with turkey frozen from Thanksgiving), salad

Tuesday: pork burritos with pintos, rice, cheese, and salsa

Wednesday: leftovers/fend for yourself (I have a cooking class I'm excited about!)

Thursday: brunswick stew

I'm linking up to orgjunkie, where normal people will post their Monday to Friday meal plans. Maybe one day my brain will work like the rest of the world. Or, ah, probably not!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Free day at the Childrens' Museum

Yesterday was Target free Tuesday at our local childrens' museum, Imagine It!. Because free Tuesday doesn't start until 1pm, this is the first time I've been brave enough to go. Nap time is precious time in my household, and a small baby plus no nap usually equals disaster. But, with the boys getting bigger, I thought this might be the month. It proved to be a fabulous outing! We had so much fun. I can't wait until next month.

Fishing (with magnet) proved a big hit.

As was dress up. Everyone wishes they were a fireman.

This crane is way cool, and Will was so excited when it was his turn to pull all the ropes and turn the steering wheel.

Special Curious George exhibit. As Will said, "it's my favorite little monkey!"

And we ended the day with a piece of cake celebrating the bloggy birthday of Field Trips with Sue. If you haven't discovered this blog, it's WONDERFUL! She has all sorts of great things to do with kids all over Atlanta, lots of them free or low-cost. I majorly heart FTWS!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eating from the pantry

A couple of weeks ago, I read a blog that had a passing mention of curried fruit. And, man, that sounded gooooood. I grew up with the dish, and I hadn't had it in years. Literally years. It's not a big fancy Indian curry. No, this is good south Georgia curry. Mild and tasty. Similar to the curry found in chicken salad or country captain. It was usually a side dish to ham or poultry. Sometimes, my mom would take it to covered dish.

And, then, yesterday, I spent the day with my wonderful mom, and she mentioned that she had made curried fruit recently. But, she took it up a notch. She served it as dessert, with ice cream! That did it. I had to have it. Absolutely, no questions about it.

So, I dived into the pantry to see what I could find.

The freezer held this ice cream that was missing just a small amount. I don't even think I want to know how that happened, but I was happy to see it.

I was able to unearth a can of peaches and a can of crushed pineapple. That would do.


Hot Curried Fruit
adapted from First Baptist and Friends Sharing our Best, Dawson, GA

Canned fruit (I used 2 cans, but you can use up to 4 or 5, including pears, apricots, cherries, peaches, pineapple, etc)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp curry powder (nothing fancy here...just grocery store McCormick is best)

Melt butter in glass dish in the oven at 350. When melted, stir in sugar and curry powder until well mixed. Add fruit, well drained, and mix. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

New Years, our kind of way

My big boy has taken to saying "my kind of way" for anything that he really likes. We've encouraged (with just decent, not great, success) him to sleep until 7:00 in the morning, so he says that "7:00 is my kind of time, Mama!!!" When the dog is being nice, "Mama, Pete is my kind of dog!!"

He cracks me up.

So, this year, we celebrated New Year's Eve our kind of way!! Which means that we celebrated long before midnight (notice that sunlight coming through the windows?)

I bought the "special drink" that the boys had begged for. Who can blame them? That package is mighty cool.

And we toasted.
Everyone got in on the action.
Later on, Mike and I enjoyed a special date night without our kind of boys. We love seafood, so it shows up for a lot of holiday and special dinners. This is barbecue shrimp, best messily enjoyed with someone you love a whole lot. And not on a first date! Cause that sauce is going to get all over your face. Just be warned. But, the taste. Oh, the taste. Definitely worth a messy face.

And we topped the night with a last taste of the holidays and some eggnog ice cream.

Even if our toast was at 5pm, it definitely was my kind of night!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eat from the pantry

I have an enormous pantry. It's my mother's fault. Her pantry puts mine to shame. And, don't tell her you know, but sometimes, if I'm over there, and I'm out of an ingredient for supper, I'll just shop from hers. My stepdad seems to have caught on to my pilfering, and so I have to do it in secret. But, the temptation is just too great! There are all sorts of great things in there.

As there are in mine, too!
So, this month, I'm going to join Money Saving Mom and FishMama in their Eat from the Pantry Challenge. I normally spend $300 month on food ($150 every 2 weeks). So, I'm attempting to cut that in half and spend $150 this month. Those crazy children of mine still feel the need for milk and bananas, after all.

We had some car repairs back in November that depleted our emergency fund. We've been working on getting it back to normal, and this extra $150 will be helpful in getting us there.

Do you have a pantry that overflows? Join the challenge!! There are lots of other folks from all over joining in. And check back to see how we do as the month continues.