Sunday, February 1, 2015

Happy February! Here's our menu...

Happy February!
Wow, I was really glad to see it arrive.  Our last paycheck was December 19th, so we were MIGHTY glad to see payday roll around! :)
We did a pantry challenge in January, which definitely helped us save some money.  Our freezer is pretty empty, as is our pantry, so I will be watching for sales to replenish our stores.  Is anyone else amazed at how expensive groceries are???

Here's our plan for this week:
Sunday~ celebrating my sister's birthday with a family dinner.  Then appetizers for the Super Bowl - cheese sticks, mushrooms, chicken tenders, and nachos.  Not healthy, but fun food.
Monday~ It's supposed to get cold again.  Beef vegetable soup.
Tuesday~ Greek chicken with Greek coleslaw.  You cannot imagine how delicious the addition of feta is in this refreshing salad.  Delish!!!
Wednesday~ hubs bowls.  Leftovers for ds#3 and me.
Thursday~ Perhaps out to dinner with a friend.
Friday~ Beef ribs, leftover coleslaw.
Saturday~ my nephew's birthday party... probably hot dogs ;)


Monday, January 26, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week #4

It's the last week of the Pantry Challenge.

January 25 -
Breakfast: ds#3 spent the night with a friend.  Hubs had eggs & bacon, and I had an apple.
Lunch: we took ds#3 & his buddy out to lunch after church.
Dinner: we had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  Easy peasy.

January 26 -
I have a workshop today.
Breakfast: ds#3 had a super duper milkshake with ice cubes, coconut milk, cocoa powder, vitamin C powder, and a little honey.  Hubs had monkey salad, eggs, and bacon.  I had water.  I had an apple when I got to my workshop.
Lunch: Hubs had Hawaiian chicken in his lunchbox (I still can't believe how much he likes this dish!!!).  Ds#3 had turkey roll-ups, tortilla chips, homemade mini-larabars, and homemade trail mix with cashews, pecans, and chocolate chips.  I went out with my colleagues.  The leftovers from my lunch (a chicken quesadilla) will be ds#3's lunch tomorrow!!!
Dinner: I decided that nachos would be a good Monday comfort meal.  I browned our last pound of ground beef, diced some tomatoes (we're out of salsa), and melted some cheese.  They were delicious.  Hubs had a slice of apple pie for dessert (that I baked on Saturday), and ds wanted something sweet too... so I went on the hunt.  I found a recipe for chocolate pudding - coconut cream, white chocolate chips (because I didn't have any other kind), a little honey, cocoa powder, the very last of the peanut butter, and some ground chia seeds.  All blended together and chilled.  Ds#3 ate two bowls before it was even cold.

January 27 -
Breakfast: hubs requested pancakes. Ds#3 was not hungry.  I had an apple.
Lunch: Hawaiian chicken for hubs (I made more rice); my leftover chicken quesadilla with tortilla chips for ds.  I had a salad with leftover turkey and cranberries.
Dinner: Hubs stayed late after school today.  We had turkey open-faced sandwiches: I reheated some turkey stock (after cooking the carcass in the crock pot) and thickened it up for a pan gravy.  Then I put slices of the turkey in the gravy to heat up, with a few sliced mushrooms, and served it over gluten-free bread that I grilled in a pan.  A tossed salad alongside and everyone was content.

January 28 -
Pickin's are gettin' slim.
Breakfast: I made a bacon-broccoli quiche and hubs decided he wanted some for breakfast, so he had that with the single leftover pancake and a fried egg.  Ds#3 did not like the quiche. Sigh. :/ So I finished his piece of quiche and we headed to school.
Lunch: The very last of the Hawaiian chicken with rice for Hubs; ds#3 had tortilla chips with cheese, a small tossed salad, larabars and trail mix.  I had a salad again.
Dinner: Bowling night for Hubs, so he went out with his bowling team.  Ds#3 & I had baked potatoes - his was a russet potato topped with bacon, cheese, butter, and sour cream.  Mine was a sweet potato with butter, bacon, and Swiss chard from the garden.
Snack: Ds asked for something sweet, so I went on the hunt.  Not a lot to bake with, but I found a pumpkin roll in the freezer that had been given to us at Christmas.  He loved it.

January 29 -
I feel like Old Mother Hubbard... and the boys are noticing.
Breakfast: Hubs requested pancakes again.  And the last of the bacon.  Ds ate a slice of pumpkin roll from last night. I did not eat.
Lunch: I made Hubs a big tossed salad with turkey chunks, feta, pecans and cranberries (he loved it).  Ds had tortilla chips & cheese, salad, and a slice of pumpkin roll.  I had a salad.
Dinner: A friend that I grew up with came into town, and asked if she could see my family and me.  So my mom, sis, nephews, ds#3 & me met her at Chick-fil-A.  Mom bought dinner for everyone and I got something to go for Hubs, who was working late.  This was really nice because I am totally out of ideas.

January 30 -
The challenge has ended.  And payday has come.  HALLELUJAH.
January is a L-O-N-G month.... not only does it have five weeks, but we also receive our paycheck before we get out of school in December, so by the time we get paid again, it's been 7 weeks.  We made it.  WHEW.
Breakfast: For Hubs, the last pancake with quiche (two pieces) & fried egg.  Pumpkin roll for ds.  Chick-fil-A nuggets for me after I went to the credit union.
Lunch: The guys were participating in a special event at school today, and they had pizza.  I had a small salad and fruit.
Dinner: I had already determined I was going to the grocery store immediately after school because there was nothing (or almost nothing) in the house to cook.  I picked up a chicken tenders tray and brought it home - this will provide SEVERAL meals/snacks for us so it was still a better deal than going out to eat.

And we are done. :)

January Menu #4 and Pantry Challenge week #4


So this was the originally planned menu for the last week of January:
Jan 25 - Ham slices (frozen from Christmas), green beans, tossed salad
Jan 26 - Leftovers
Jan 27 - Chicken tenders, tossed salad, sweet potato fries
Jan 28 - bowling night for hubs  Ds#3 & I will eat leftovers at the house
Jan 29 -  Soup of some sort
Jan 30 - my sister's b-day... probably a family dinner
Jan 31 - Grad school graduation party for a friend - we will bring a finger-food/appetizer

I don't think anything will be what we planned! :)
You can check out what we're actually eating here.
Sunday~ out for lunch; tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner
Monday~ nachos.I also made homemade chocolate pudding for dessert (with coconut cream, white chocolate chips - because those were the kind I had - cocoa powder, a little honey, and some chia meal).  Ds#3 thinks it is perfect.  Score for Mom!!!!
Tuesday~ vegetable soup
Wednesday~ bowling night for hubs leftovers for ds#3 & me
Thursday~ possibly out to dinner with a friend.  If not, we'll have leftovers - we've got plenty of turkey to do something with!
Friday~ DEFINITELY OUT.
Saturday~ Grad school party for a friend - we're taking a veggie tray
Sunday~ out for my sister's birthday

The pantry challenge has gone pretty well - this will be the toughest week to finish it out.  I have learned that it is REALLY hard to buy ONLY what we absolutely need... perhaps we've conditioned ourselves too much to stock up 'just in case'.  However, we've eaten well.  No one has starved, although it has made me research and become very creative to satisfy my guys.

Monday, January 19, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week #3

I'm home from my out-of-town conference, and we're back to cooking.  The guys tried for a couple of days to eat at home, but Hubs defaulted to going out toward the end of the week.  He is not a happy man when I am gone.

January 18 -
I'm home.  It's so nice to sleep in your own bed.
Breakfast: Hubs wanted pancakes.  I did not want to make pancakes, but he pleaded, so I did.  He had bacon and several pancakes.  Ds#3 had one chocolate chip pancake.  All during breakfast, Hubs raved that my pancakes were so much better than his (he tried to make them one morning while I was gone).  Sigh.
Lunch: the Veggie Beef soup that I made for Hubs to eat while I was gone... that he did not eat.  We had it for lunch and now it's all gone.
Dinner: Hubs was not hungry for much at dinner - he ate tortilla chips and salsa.  I found some breaded eggplant that was harvested from our garden, so I cooked that with some marinara sauce and it was delicious.  Ds#3 had chicken tenders.  It was a sort of 'fend-for-yourself' meal.

January 19 -
MLK Jr's birthday, and a school holiday.
I had to go to the grocery store.
Hubs requested turkey and Swiss beans for his lunches this week, and I had a little turkey (enough for one meal) in the freezer, but not enough for every day.  So I needed to get a turkey.  And we needed eggs, and butter, and toilet paper..... $79 later, I was home.  But this is only my second trip this month, so I'm not feeling too bad.  Plus, if it keeps us from eating out, I'm all for it.
Breakfast: Hubs had monkey salad (overripe bananas with cashews & coconut) and eggs & bacon.  I made a breakfast quiche for ds#3 with broccoli & bacon.  He didn't eat it today, but I did.  He just had a big glass of chocolate milk made with cocoa powder, maple syrup, and a little vitamin C thrown in for good measure.
Lunch: the last of the taco meat turned into nachos.  I added lettuce and tomato to make mine a salad.  But it was mostly nachos.
Dinner: Turkey is roasting in the oven.  Swiss beans are on the counter to be cooked.  I'll make gravy to go with it all and call it done.
Now to go make school lunches for tomorrow.

January 20 -
Back to work today.
Breakfast: Hubs requested monkey salad and a smoothie.  Ds & I both had a slice of broccoli-bacon quiche, and ds also had a big glass of chocolate milk.
Lunch: Hubs had turkey & swiss beans (leftovers from last night) in his lunchbox.  Ds#3 had a small salad, Triscuits, and trail mix with water.  I had citrus salad and vitamins. :)
Dinner: Pioneer Woman's chili, without the masa and beans.  I made a big batch with some for leftovers.
Snack: salted nuts. Yum!

January 21 -
Bowling night for Hubs.
Breakfast: monkey salad for Hubs.  Broccoli-bacon quiche for ds#3 and me.
Lunch: Chef's salad for Hubs; leftover chili in a thermos for ds#3; citrus salad for me.
Dinner: Hubs & ds#3 ate out before going to the bowling alley, so I enjoyed an evening home alone... complete with chicken tenders and Swiss beans. ;)

January 22 -
Today was a hard day at work.  Which made dinner challenging... because these are the times we fight the urge to go out.
Breakfast: Hubs requested a cheese omelet.  Quiche for ds#3, and water for me.
Lunch: turkey & Swiss beans for Hubs; leftover chili for ds#3, and the last cup of it for me.
Dinner: Ugh. Hubs had an upset stomach, then ate some Triscuits in an effort to have something salty settle it.  Then he polished off the last of the Swiss beans.  Ds#3 had some turkey & gravy, and I baked a sweet potato and topped it with a little turkey, some mushrooms, and some broccoli.  A hodge podge, but everyone was fed.
I baked chocolate chip cookies tonight because I know Hubs will be roaming for something sweet tomorrow.

January 23 -
Thank God it's Friday.
Breakfast: cheese omelet for Hubs. Chocolate milk for ds#3, and quiche for me.  I also ate the last bits of citrus salad (which wasn't much).
Lunch: Hubs stayed home today, and went to Subway for lunch.  A fairly economical choice, so I'm not bent out of shape. :) Ds#3 had a turkey sandwich on a roll, tortilla chips, homemade trail mix and chocolate chip cookie.  I did not eat, because we were taking group pictures for the yearbook during my lunch.  I do not like picture day.
Dinner: Hawaiian chicken.  This is a new recipe and I was anxious about it because Hubs does not love chicken, but we had chicken that needed to be used.  Diced chicken breast (frozen) with pineapple, green and red peppers (frozen from our garden), and BBQ sauce dumped into the crockpot... easy as that.  I served it with broccoli over rice for the guys, and over a sweet potato for me.  The verdict?  It's a keeper!!!  It's like a sweet & sour chicken with a little kick.  There is none left.  And I'm a happy mama.
Snack: the cookies I made last night are ALL GONE.  My people love their treats.

January 24 -
Ahhhhh. Saturday.
Breakfast:  Hubs & I had our date out, and we saw some dear friends who joined us... AND they paid for our breakfast!  What a treat! I made chocolate milk and the last of the broccoli-bacon quiche for ds#3.  He informed me that he really liked the crust (which I made from scratch - score one for Mom!).
Lunch: Ds went to a friend's house so he had lunch with them.  When I got home, Hubs had been working in the garden and was starving.  We had nachos to tide us over till dinner.
Dinner: Ds ended up spending the night with his buddy.  We had a pizza-ish casserole type dish with ground beef, tomato sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella.  I baked an apple pie for dessert at Hubs' request.
I made another batch of Hawaiian chicken for the week at Hubby's request (words cannot express how excited I am that he liked this dish!!!), and a batch of vegetable-beef soup.  I also went to the grocery store for (mostly) produce, and spent $33.

Pantry Challenge week #3 and our menu

We are entering week #3 of our Pantry Challenge.
So far, I have learned:
*We're pretty good at using up leftovers.
*My husband uses eating out as a way to de-stress (which I already kind of knew, but it's now confirmed).
*We eat a LOT of meat.  Which is expensive.  Which is understandable since I'm cooking mostly Paleo, but it's not easy on the budget.


This is what I *did* have planned for this week:
Jan 18 - Hawaiian BBQ chicken (crock pot) - chicken with bbq sauce, pineapple, onion and bell pepper  we also have lots of pineapple in the freezer!
Jan 19 - HOLIDAY!  Pioneer Woman's chili
Jan 20 - Leftover turkey slices in the freezer, Swiss beans, sauteed greens (growing in our garden) 
Jan 21 - bowling night for hubs  Leftovers
Jan 22 - Orange chicken, stir fry veggies (a veg medley that I've had in the freezer and haven't used yet!!)
Jan 23 - Swedish meatballs w/gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans
Jan 24 - Stuffed peppers and fried eggplant (both in the freezer)

But last week, I went out of town, and Hubs decided he wanted to eat in (which he did some) so I prepped some food that I had planned for this week, and he ate it last week.  So I'm having to revamp just a little.  You can check out what we're actually eating every day here.

Veggie Beef soup with leeks, cabbage, Swiss chard, carrots, celery, and tomatoes.  So good, and so good for us!!
Sunday~ Vegetable beef soup.  And lots of it.  Yum.
Monday~ Turkey breast with homemade gravy, swiss beans.  Hubs informed me that he'd like to take this for lunch during the week instead of his standard salad.
Tuesday~ Pioneer Woman's chili (minus the beans & masa)
Wednesday~ bowling night for Hubs.  Leftovers for ds#3 & me.
Thursday~ Hawaiian BBQ chicken (crock pot) - chicken with bbq sauce, pineapple, onion and bell pepper.  I will probably also steam some broccoli and make some rice for ds#3.  This is a new recipe - hope it's tasty!
Friday~ Meatballs with gravy, sauteed Swiss chard or broccoli
Saturday~ TBD. I've made the stuffed peppers, so hopefully all will go according to plan and we'll have them this weekend.

I made some homemade LaraBars for lunchboxes this week.  I also cut up and supremed some navel oranges we had (that no one was eating) and made a Citrus Salad with them.  That will be eaten for breakfast or lunch, or just a light sweet treat.








And hop on over to FishMama's Pantry Challenge to be inspired!

Monday, January 12, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week two

January 12 -
Breakfast: we woke up late.  Hubs had eggs & bacon.  Ds#3 had a glass of milk & a brownie.  I had a bottle of water.
Lunch: Hubs had tossed salad topped with leftover steak.  Ds#3 had salad topped with leftover chicken.  I had some chicken salad (diced chicken, carrots, celery, pecans).
Dinner:  I got home late.... yeah, it's been that kind of day... I had a roast in the crock pot so we ate that and I reheated the Swiss beans.  Everyone is fed.  Whew.


Tomorrow I leave for the rest of the week - meals are prepped for the guys, and I'll be eating mostly on the road.  We'll see how it goes...


January 13 -
Breakfast: I hit the road today.  I made everyone's breakfast before school - eggs & bacon for Hubs, and an egg-bake with bacon & broccoli and chocolate milk.
Lunch: Hubs took leftover roast from last night and leftover Swiss beans in his lunch.  Ds#3 had a turkey sandwich on a mini-roll, tortilla chips w/salsa, and a homemade brownie.  I had dinner on the road - we stopped at a gas station that had a Subway inside, so I spent $6 on a salad for lunch.
Dinner: The guys had nachos for dinner at home (I made a bunch of taco meat for them and they had all the fixin's to go with it).  I ate dinner on the road with my co-worker; we went to Chipotle which was a treat because we don't have one at home! I spent $10 on a salad bowl with chicken and all the toppings.
Snack: I left the guys a plate of chocolate chip cookies before I left and I was told that they enjoyed them when they came in from school.  Score one for mom.

January 14 -
Day Two on the road.
Breakfast: I had a Clif Bar for breakfast (I brought a stash with me because breakfast tends to be pricey and I'm not much of an egg person). Hubs had eggs & sausage at home, and he made pancakes for ds#3.  What a guy! :)
Lunch: I had lunch on the road with my co-worker - we stopped at Greek restaurant and I spent $10 on Greek chicken and a Greek salad and it was delish!!!  Hubs had ham slices and Swiss beans in his lunchbox, and ds#3 had the same lunch as yesterday (I packed them in Ziploc bags before I left so they were already put together to make life easy).
Dinner: Out for dinner - I spent $15 on a burger including the tip.  Hubs & ds#3 went to Panera for their planned meal out before bowling.
I can't believe it's going according to the plan.... that NEVER happens!!!

January 15 -
Day Three on the road.
Breakfast: Clif Bar for me.  Hubs & ds#3 ate at home.
Lunch: Lunch on the road for me - a nuts & berries salad for $8.  Hubs had leftovers and ds#3 had lunchbox stuff I prepped for him.
Dinner: Dinner with colleagues - a bunless portobella & manchego cheeseburger for $11.76.  Hubs had a rough day at work so he & ds#3 went out to eat.




January 16 -
Day Four on the road.
This is getting old.
Breakfast: Clif Bar for me.  Hubs & ds#3 ate at home.
Lunch: for me today - a bunless burger at the Convention with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese and mushrooms for $10.  Finding good food is getting difficult and it's crazy expensive.  Hubs & ds#3 had lunchbox stuff that I prepped for them.
Dinner: I fudged and had nachos for dinner' I spent $18 including the tip.  But there was a lot of veg on them.  Hubs & ds#3 went out to eat again.

January 17 -
Heading home today.  Woo hoo!!!
Breakfast: Apple for me.  Hubs & ds#3 slept late, then headed to bowling.
Lunch: Hubs & ds#3 went out to a fave local BBQ spot.  My co-worker and I had a late lunch at Zoe's Kitchen - totally yummy!  I had Greek chicken with coleslaw - it was made with an oil & vinegar dressing, and they added feta cheese.  I am going to make it at home!  Spent $8.
Dinner: I think the guys' lunch was late, so they didn't eat dinner.  My friend & I were anxious to get home, so we didn't stop for dinner either.
I've got my work cut out for me in the coming week - stay tuned!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Pantry Challenge - week two



So far, we're doing fairly well on the Pantry Challenge.  We began on Jan. 1st, and have only been out to eat once, and had one shopping trip.  This is pretty good, considering my husband's way to deal with stress is to go out to eat.

This was the original plan for this week:
Jan 11 - Crockpot sausage & peppers (I will also make some chicken for ds#3 - not a sausage fan).  We still have oodles of frozen bell peppers from our garden and I am trying to come up with creative ways to use them.
Jan 12 - Chicken tenders, salad, fries
Jan 13 - I'm headed out of town until the weekend.  The boys are on their own!!  (I could plan food for them here, but the reality is, they will probably go out more than they stay home.)

However, it has changed!!!
Hubs has decided that he doesn't want to eat out every night while I am out of town.  So I spent the weekend prepping food for them (which I was glad to do), and that necessitated a trip to the grocery store.  Some of the items I purchased will be used later in the month, but some were specifically for this week.  I spent $128, and you can see the breakdown here.

Here's the new plan:
Jan 11 - Salads using up chicken breast and steak in the fridge.  Delicious and I love happy uses for leftovers!!!
Jan 12 - Beef roast, broccoli, Swiss beans (cooked for the guys to eat while I'm gone)
Jan 13 - day 1 of Mom's trip  Ham slices and Swiss beans for the guys
Jan 14 - day 2 of Mom's trip - Hubs bowls tonight, so the guys will go out to eat.

Jan 15 - day 3 of Mom's trip Beef vegetable soup; chicken tenders for ds#3 if he doesn't want soup
Jan 16 - day 4 of Mom's trip Taco night - taco meat is made for them, cheese dip, and tortilla chips are waiting.  They can add lettuce & tomato if they want salads.
Jan 17 - Mom comes home tonight.  Leftovers.

While I'm gone, I'll be eating lunch & dinner out.  I'm bringing bottled water, fruit, protein bars and chocolate covered walnuts for breakfast/snack.  The guys will have their usual lunchbox items (I've prepped ds#3's lunches; Hubs will make a salad for his lunch each day), and for breakfast, ds#3 will eat a LaraBar & milk, and Hubs will have his usual eggs & bacon/sausage.

I will assess the damage and see how to proceed for week three when I get home!

Check out Menu Plan Monday for tons of menu inspiration.  And check out FishMama's Pantry Challenge!