Archive for ‘Cooking’

Monday, November 23, 2009

weekly accounts

from-the-kitchen1

A big part of my keeping to a budget has been menu planning. Each week I take a look at what’s in the cupboard and decide what to make for dinner each evening. Breakfast is every man for himself and lunch is dependent on whether the husband is home or not. Planning dinners has allowed me to shop sales and make sure the food we buy gets used and not thrown away. Plus I love to find recipes and then ignore them when I cook, the menu plan gives me a starting point. So let’s see what’s on for this week…

I am not even attempting a menu plan this week.  We move on Wednesday and I’ve spent the past six days packing boxes.  I hate packing the kitchen so I don’t even want to spend any mental time there right now.  Our meals will come from the freezer and cupboard, be simple, easy and use no more than two pans, a spoon or a spatula as everything else is packed.

felix

We are using a system that is somewhat based on $80/week for grocery and non-edible and the $50 a week budget. Each week we calculate how much we spent overall and I announce if we are under or over budget.

eating out – $49.42

grocery – $7.99

grocery non-edible – $5.42

Apparently sending the husband and Toddler L away for a few days is all my budget needs.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for feeding my family.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

weekly accounts

from-the-kitchen1

A big part of my keeping to a budget has been menu planning.  Each week I take a look at what’s in the cupboard and decide what to make for dinner each evening.  Breakfast is every man for himself and lunch is dependent on whether the husband is home or not.  Planning dinners has allowed me to shop sales and make sure the food we buy gets used and not thrown away.  Plus I love to find recipes and then ignore them when I cook, the menu plan gives me a starting point.  So let’s see what’s on for this week…

Saturday – clean-out-the-fridge scramble

Sunday – HOHO

No menu plan for the rest as we leave for Portland on Monday.  Gone all week.  Looking forward to a week of no cooking.  Or at least no real cooking, hotel room lunches don’t count.

felix

We are using a system that is somewhat based on $80/week for grocery and non-edible and the $50 a week budget.  Each week we calculate how much we spent overall and I announce if we are under or over budget.

eating out – $125.01

grocery – $117.37

grocery non-edible – $14.57

We had a very active week.  Which equaled a lot of eating out apparently.  So what were all the groceries?  I did not create a shopping list and am paying the price.  Literally.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

funky lunches

funky lunch

Super cute, right?  Thanks to Toddler L’s choosy eating habits I may be resorting to this style of sandwich making soon.  At least it will be a good release of creative energy.  And a good use of my homemade bread.  Plenty more cuteness here.

via Design Mom

Saturday, September 12, 2009

weekly accounts

from-the-kitchen1

A big part of my keeping to a budget has been menu planning.  Each week I take a look at what’s in the cupboard and decide what to make for dinner each evening.  Breakfast is every man for himself and lunch is dependent on whether the husband is home or not.  Planning dinners has allowed me to shop sales and make sure the food we buy gets used and not thrown away.  Plus I love to find recipes and then ignore them when I cook, the menu plan gives me a starting point.  So let’s see what’s on for this week…

Saturday – broccoli brown rice casserole

Sunday – we’ll be at Lampost Pizza – not having a TV means going out when certain teams are playing a certain game called football

Monday – brats, sauteed carrots

Tuesday – tuna casserole

Wednesday – pizza

Thursday – garbanzo beans and ? (I’ve never cooked with garbanzos, I’m not even a huge fan, but I’m trying to change both of those things)

Friday – creamy tomato gnocchi

felix

We are using a system that is somewhat based on $80/week for grocery and non-edible and the $50 a week budget.  Each week we calculate how much we spent overall and I announce if we are under or over budget.

Shopping in the cupboard and freezer has really helped again this week.  I can only hope to see more weeks like this one at any time in the future.

eating out – $39.74

grocery – $35.46

grocery non-edible – $1.2o

Wow, I’m loving those numbers.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

weekly accounts

from-the-kitchen1

It’s Sunday night.  Actually it’s late Sunday night.  I’m sort of behind this whole weekend.  I blame Toddler L.  He’s two, I can blame him for most anything.  Actually, he’s not two for another two days.  And I can only blame myself for the amount of work spent on his birthday party yesterday.  (It was totally worth it and I loved every minute of the prep, but more to come on that in a future post.)  Planning, executing and recovering from the party have put me behind schedule so please excuse the lateness of this week’s menu.  Let’s see what we’ve had and what’s to come…

Saturday – we broke down and picked up something, Mama was just way too tired for all the above-mentioned reasons

Sunday – buttermilk puff (I modified a Joy of Cooking recipe and came up with something wonderful.  I’m working on a name and will probably add it to the cooking page when I have it perfected)

Monday – baked pasta with spinach and roasted cauliflower

Tuesday – pineapple pork (I have no idea what this means but I’ll come up with something by Tuesday)

Wednesday – pizza

Thursday – chicken tenders

Friday – pesto pasta with shrimp

felix

We are using a system that is somewhat based on $80/week for grocery and non-edible and the $50 a week budget.  Each week we calculate how much we spent overall and I announce if we are under or over budget.

Again with the birthday excuses.  Because my head was in party planning mode I wasn’t paying as much attention to this category as I should.  I’ll find out as I tabulate it here if that was a kind-of bad or really-really bad thing.

I did do one good thing though.  We only bought fruit, veg and some dairy groceries this week.  Our cupboards have become a little to well stocked and I decided it was time to eat them down.  I’m hoping that helped the budget, let’s see…

eating out – $160.84

grocery – $37.20

grocery non-edible – $12.06

Apparently buying from the cupboard can really make a dent in the grocery spending.  Maybe I’ll just keep doing that until there’s no food left.  Also apparently, going out for two birthday dinners for the husband (one with friends, one just us for sushi) is a killer on the eating out budget.  At least all the birthdays are behind us now.  Life in the kitchen can get back to normal.  No, really.

Monday, August 31, 2009

cookin’ stuff

Sorry, no recipe here.  It’s not even about food.  Although it is all about the kitchen.  Which is quickly becoming my favorite room in the house.  Or at least the one I spend the most time in.

I have always had a weakness for china, silver and glassware – blame my grandmother for teaching me the artistry of a well dressed table at a young age.  Recently though, I have really taken a hankering to kitchen tools.  All the things that a kitchen should have to function at it’s peak.  Yes, I know the brush is only as good as the artist holding it.  But a girl can dream.

And today I found a place to dream big.  Unfortunately it’s not a new thrift store.  Cookin’ Stuff is a nearby cooking and bakeware store.  If only I had stepped foot in this place before joining the Compact.  I either could have already fully stocked my kitchen or avoided today’s denial deluge.  If you’re not a kitchen tool kind of person you won’t understand, but just look at all the goodies, stacked row after row…

100_2191

Okay, so the rainbow of colors isn't really necessary, but they sure are purdy.

I swear, they don't come used.  Just ask anyone who owns one if they'll sell it.

I swear, they don't come used. Just ask anyone who owns one if they'll sell it. (And I apologize for the terrible photography, I only had the point and shoot and took this without the flash.)

100_2200

I don't even know what they're all for, but don't they look cool?

I know this is obnoxiously non-Compact but I will say I was going to the store for wooden skewers and twine, so legitimate purchases by most standards.  (If your standards are higher than that, I applaud you.  And have no desire to be you.)  I just couldn’t help myself wandering the aisles drooling over the possibilities.

Okay, confession time.  You knew it was coming.  I made purchases beyond my skewers (they didn’t have the twine).  I bought a lovely tea cozy and a set of cookie cutters.  The tea cozy is something I have thought about for years – again, blame Grandma – but have never seen a used one and am not of the skill level to make one.

The cookie cutters were purchased to fulfill a birthday party design need.  What’s a birthday party design need?  It’s a designer’s need to have pbj sandwiches cut out with a shape that matches the overall scheme of the party.  And to set the style of all future cookie/sandwich and other cutouts.  I know cookie cutters can be found at the thrift store, I’ve seen them there.  Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any in the last 4 days since I decided to add cutout pbj sandwiches to the menu.  I’ll be keeping my purchase in their wrap until the last possible moment in the hopes of replacing them with a borrowed or used set.  Although, I really do like having a signature style of cookie cutout, and these would be perfect for a lifetime of cutting.

Have I justified yet?

At least I left all the Le Creuset and Kitchenaids on the shelves.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

weekly accounts

from-the-kitchen1

We’re having a heat wave in Southern California.  We don’t have air conditioning.  We’re going out to dinner.  But wait, those two things are not related.  No really.  It’s the husband’s birthday today and he shares it with a friend so the annual tradition is going out for dinner.  Today, I don’t mind at all.  What will we be eating the rest of this too hot week?

Saturday – out for dinner

Sunday – crepes (made them for husband’s breakfast, being super loverly and making them again for him)

Monday – madras lentil (from a box) and rice

Tuesday – pineapple chicken (I don’t know what this is, I’m making something with pineapple and chicken)

Wednesday – pizza

Thursday – sloppy joes

Friday – pesto pasta with shrimp

felix

We are using a system that is somewhat based on $80/week for grocery and non-edible and the $50 a week budget.  Each week we calculate how much we spent overall and I announce if we are under or over budget.

We are typically over budget recently.  Either this means the budget isn’t realistic for us or we just don’t follow it.  I’m going to go with a mix of the two.  Yeah, that works for me.  This week we are…

eating out – $70.36

grocery – $104.59

grocery non-edible – $6.87

$31.46 and $49.95 over budget depending on which system you count.  I can only guess that I’m spending too much time planning Toddler L’s party to properly review what is coming into this house.  I’m loving the party planning but this spending has got to go.  I’ll be working on that next week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

helpful tip #3

tips

I think the best thing I ever learned from my mother was how to boil rice like pasta.

Okay, maybe not the very best thing.  That might have had to do with mascara.  Or boys.  Or peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.  But this is a close second.

Apparently cooking rice like pasta is quite normal in Canada.  I don’t know how I missed it while growing up, but here in the States very few seem to be in on the secret.

Here’s the secret.

Put water in a pot.  Boil water.  Add parboiled rice.  Continue boiling until rice is tender.  Drain rice.  Eat.

No water to rice ratio.  No simmering.  No rice sticking to the bottom of the pan even though you followed the directions exactly.  I don’t know how it works with other types of rice but as for white rice, my life will never be the same again.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

weekly accounts

from-the-kitchen1

I am pretty good (or pretty bad depending on your perspective) at making decisions that have a major effect on my family.  Joining the Compact was a big one.  Now I’ve decided that we are limiting our meat intake (at home) to what is healthiest for our bodies and our planet.  Namely organic.  Needless to say, we aren’t eating a lot of meat anymore.  I was vegetarian for years so this doesn’t really bother me, the husband on the other hand has been adjusting.  More because I had gotten into the habit of cooking meat with almost every meal than because he was a die-hard fan.  I could make plain spaghetti every night and he would be pretty happy.  Now that meat is no longer a habit (and that’s really what it had become, strange I know), what will we be eating?

Saturday – spinach and rice

Sunday – buttermilk french toast

Monday – yellow curry with cauliflower and tofu

Tuesday – brown rice salad with tofu

Wednesday – pizza (still doin’ but requires more thought as I am off dairy until Baby S has better digestion)

Thursday – pork fried rice (last piece of pre-organic pork in the freezer)

Friday – brats with homemade buns (I love that I have homemade buns – sad and geeky I know, but true)

felix

Using a system that is somewhat based on $80/week for grocery and non-edible and the $50 a week budget of $125 we are well and truly overextended this week.  It’s amazing how it adds up at the end of the week.  I wasn’t really paying attention this week as I knew we weren’t buying meat (although I did buy almost 3 lbs of organic ground beef for an upcoming party).  I thought it would be easier to stay under budget without that expense.  Not so much apparently.  We did go to Costco as I needed vanilla, yeast and apple juice – all great buys there.  We also had several fun events, including major league and minor league baseball games, that hit our eating out budget.

eating out – $116.13

grocery – $120.87

grocery non-edible – $7.65

All in all a bad week.  But a good reminder that we need to pay more attention as the week progresses.  And make the shopping list early and stick to it.  And spend less money.

felix

In other news, I’m having a great time planning Toddler L’s birthday party.  I can’t believe he’s already 2.

I am probably more Martha Stewart than Edith Bunker when it comes to throwing a party but I am loving the challenge of doing it on a budget, with thrift store finds and in an eco-friendly manner.  Since we don’t have a backyard we are hosting at a wildlife preserve, so we’ve got that part of the green theme covered.  If all goes well I may post some pictures when it’s all said and done.  More planning and thrifting and crafting before we’re there though.

Monday, August 3, 2009

monday – menus and more

from-the-kitchen1

We bounce from normal to not-normal weeks around here quicker than most people… well, I don’t know quicker than what.  But it’s pretty darn often.  This week we are off to the UP.  (That’s the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for you non-Michiganders.)  That means lots of eating out.  Yay, to a break from cooking.  A much bigger YAY to no dishes. Let’s see what we’ll be eating before we leave…

Monday:  pasta and egg round-up (cook pasta, toss in scrambled eggs and whatever else looks interesting)

Tuesday:  pizza (we’ll miss pizza Wednesday, plus I have dough in the fridge)

felix

Our budget was $80, we spent…

Trader Joe’s – $28.76

Sprouts – $16.71 (used bag credit = $0.05)

Yay, for small budget weeks.  Of course, this goodness is inversely proportionate to how much we will be spending while away.  I am packing as much as I can in snack food for our flight though.  It’s a good thing yogurt raisins are not considered liquid or gel.

felix

Now, excuse me while I go pack 12 suitcases and 4 carry-ons for our 5 day trip.