Showing posts with label budget friendly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label budget friendly. Show all posts

Friday, September 12, 2014

a gift to my future self

The children of my future self ALWAYS want a snack. The minute I sit down. Or when we are in a hurry to get out the door. Or anytime when I REALLY do not want to make a snack. Sure we have designated snack times at our house. Growth spurts and incessant whining don't care about the clock, though. Also, my kids LOVE prepackaged snacks because they are fun and at their eye level in the grocery store. I like them because they are easy and (sometimes) good portion control. I hate them because they are more expensive.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I bought a box of Ziploc snack size bags. Then I divided the boxes of goldfish crackers, Graham crackers, and almonds into the bags. I cut up all the fruit and vegetables and did the same. I ordered some Squooshi bags from Amazon, too. Every few days I fill them up with applesauce and green smoothies. (I also use them for oatmeal and savory purees, too.) And, guess what? My future self loves it. It takes me about 20 minutes every week and is priceless when my kids (or me) are DYING for a snack. It has made packing lunches and after school snack a breeze. Also, kids are kinda gullible. Mine are, anyway. So guess what snack size Ziploc bags are in my house?? Kid Size Bags. Duh.
Green Smoothie for Squooshi
2 cups of frozen berries
1 banana
1/2 cup of chopped kale
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of OJ
Squirt of honey
Blend until smooth. Divide into Squooshi bags. Serve or Freeze for future self. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

why you should prebake sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are delicious and super good for you. Not everyone is a fan, though. Including my hubs. Bad news is...I'm still pushing them every chance I get. Because they are delicious and versatile. If you're the type of home cook who likes to prepare some stuff at the start of the week to help streamline the dinner process throughout the rest of the week then I highly suggest you add pre baking sweet potatoes to your to do list. They keep in a Ziploc bag for about 5 days. Here's five things you can do with them...

Have one for breakfast! Warm it up. Slice it, add Greek yogurt, real maple syrup, and nuts. You just had a veggie for breakfast.

Scoop it out and chop it up. Warm it up with some premade lentils and/or bulgur. Or any grain will do. Make a mustard-y dressing, toss a handfuls of fresh herbs, and feta or goat cheese. Viola! You just made an awesome lunch or side dish for dinner.

Scoop it out and spread it on a quesadilla. Add kale, salsa, and cheese. Broil in the oven for about 5 -7 minutes. You just made dinner.

Put last night's leftover pulled pork or shredded pork taco filling on top.  Leftovers made fancy!

Scoop it out. Mash it up with chicken broth, a bit of butter, and S&P to taste. Warm it up and serve it with grilled chicken and a green veg like kale or Brussels sprouts. Best dinner ever.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

march: month of meals

super cute cake topper 

March is almost upon us. And with it, hopefully, Spring. I'm a little ahead of the curve (by like 3 days, but that's good for me) and have the monthly meal plan for March ready to go. My MIL gave me one of those Taste of Home cookbooks so a lot of these are from it. Email me or FB message me if you want recipe from there (*Taste of Home Quick Cooking Annual Recipes 2014). I'm happy to send it to you. This month is always a delicate balance for me....I'm trying to will Spring while staying warm. I also hope that sometime in the month of March I will be able to dig into the ground and get some seeds buried.  Maybe some kale or even radishes.  We shall see. Without further ado...

Slowcooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Slowcooker Pork Satay*
Slowcooker Pepperoni Pizza Soup*
Cornmeal Dusted Flounder with Black Bean-Corn Salad*
Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs with Rice*
Creamy Herb Salmon with Rice Pilaf and Greens*
Sweet Chili Salmon with Blackberries and Rice*
10 Minute Macaroni and Cheese
Meatball Pizza Pockets and Salad
Antipasto Braid with Salad*
Reuben Bake (using leftover corned beef)
Greek Fish Fillets with Rice and Peas*
Pizza Burgers* with Fries (this oven fry recipe is my go-to)
Pork Schnitzel and Cabbage*
Slowcooker Italian Shredded Beef Stew*
Chicken Lo Mein
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bowls with Salad and Crusty Bread
Loaded Nachos
Slowcooker Veggie Lasagna
Roasted Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Stew
Slowcooker Korean Ribs with Rice and Bok Choy
Slowcooker Lentil and Sausage Stew
Black Beans and Sausage
Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Veggies
You can always check out my food boards on Pinterest for ideas and our What's For Dinner Tab, too.

*Taste of Home Quick Cooking Annual Recipes 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

top 10 {new} crockpot recipes

About a year and half ago, I sent Jenny at DALS an email with my Top Ten Crockpot Recipes for Parents.  Clearly, people were looking for some tried and true crockpot recipes because that post and my Korean Ribs continue to be the most popular reads on this site. It goes to show you that reaching out and sharing is always a good thing. And since I am a crockpot junkie I am always trying new recipes. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are ten more tried and true crockpot recipes. The following have all been winners and have made the "on rotation" list.

spaghetti squash and meatballs ready to go in the crockpot

Here are my ten {new} favorites for parents or novice crockpotters:

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs (so stupid simple)
Lentil and Sausage Stew (great way to introduce lentils)
Chicken Taco soup (party winner!)
Corn Chowder with Shrimp (Hendrix's fav)
Veggie Lasagna (only time cheese and my crockpot work together)
Holiday Ham (see below)
Franks and Beans (the boys' favorite and my favorite for summer)
Salisbury Steak (a mike favorite and winter keeper)
Black Bean, Barley, and Corn Burritos (great vegetarian options, but adjust seasonings to your tastes)
Banana Bread (yes, bread)


Holiday Ham
After trying a few different crockpot ham recipes I found this way works the best for me.  You'll want to use the largest crockpot and tent foil if the lid does not go on all the way.  This ham makes an appearance at most of our gatherings...from Baptisms to Christmas. It couldn't be easier. 

1 good quality, spiral cut, bone in ham
1 c. Maple Syrup
3/4 cup Brown Sugar,
Pepper, to taste
Place ham in crockpot. Drizzle maple syrup all over.  Sprinkle brown sugar and pepper on top.  Pat into ham.  Pour about 1/2 cup of water into bottom of crockpot.  Cook on low for about 4-5 hours or until heated through.  Do not over cook.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

february: month of meals

if you do nothing else this month, at least enjoy some hot cocoa.

I'm back to my monthly meal plan.  Albeit, a few days late.  I really like having a plan every month and doing one giant trip.  I still have to run to the store every week or so for things like milk and fresh fruit, but the monthly thing works for us.  I should say that Mike runs to the store with me which helps a lot when it comes to bagging the groceries and unloading the car.  Also, he can pick out all the snacks he wants.  This month the groceries will run us about $400 dollars with all of our shopping done at Aldi and Fareway. (Have you checked out Aldi's new organic line? The salsa is amazing.  Try it!) So here is our meal plan for the month, including snacks that I like to make and keep in the fridge...

Black Eyed Peas with Leeks and Chicken Sausages
Fish BLTs with Fries
Spanish Meatloaf with Roasted Veggies and Cheesy Sweet Potatoes
Stuffed Steak with Warm Wilted Kale and Roasted Potato Salad (date night IN)
Crockpot Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs
Pan Roasted Flounder with Chopped Winter Salad
Magic Macaroni & Cheese
Pasta Carbonara with Peas
Crockpot Paella
Crockpot Venison Greek Wraps
Steak with Mushroom Sauce and Cauliflower Puree (Valentine's Day)
Crockpot Chili
Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
Crockpot Maple and Mustard Pot Roast with Roasted Veggies and Grits
Mustard Glazed Salmon with Lentils
Crockpot BBQ Chicken Pulled Sammies with Coleslaw (I dump BBQ sauce and chicken in the crockpot)
Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Mango Dipping Sauce and Salad
Runza Casserole
Hendrix's Great Grandma's Meatballs (similiar to DALS' porcupine meatballs)
Mongolian Tofu Stirfry

{Snacks | Big Batch Salads}
Country Pate'
Cold Noodle Salad
Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad
Dark Chocolate & Trail Mix Bites
On Fridays, we have Family Movie Night which means we usually make pizza or get take-out so I don't include those on my meal plan. I let the boys decide the day of what they want, but I always have pizza dough or frozen pizzas in the fridge.  A lot of these recipes are new to me so I am anxious to give them a try.  Hope this month gives you time to sit with your family and share a meal.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

one pot wonder | black beans and kielbasa

This is one of those recipes that I don't make enough. It is always a winner and calls on ingredients I always have in my house. Luckily, my people like beans so I incorporate those cheap suckers into any meal I can. I came across this in an Everyday Food magazine years ago and have been making a variation ever since. This will take you about 35 minutes from start to finish so it's a perfect weeknight pantry meal.
Black Beans and Kielbasa
Olive Oil
1 lb of beef or turkey kielbasa, cut up
3 carrots, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (15.5 oz) cans of black beans, drained & rinsed
2 C chicken broth
Small handful of chopped parsley
Plain Greek yogurt, for serving
In Dutch oven, heat oil and add carrots and onion. Cook until onions are soft. Add sausage and brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour beans and broth into mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

slowcooker lentil & sausage stew | pinterest test

perfect baby eating perfect baby food. :)

I came across this recipe on Pinterest last weekend.  I had all the ingredients, so I decided to give it a whirl.  It came out delicious and everyone liked it.  Especially Violet Alice.  Lentils are the perfect baby food. I added garlic and used the entire package (16 oz.) of Italian sausage. This does not and could not cook all day, unless you have a crockpot with a timer.  So save this for a day you can be home to throw it together later in the afternoon.
Slowcooker Lentil and Sausage Stew
1 package of Italian sausage, cut up
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 c. of beef broth
1 can (14.5 oz.0 of diced tomatoes
3 carrots, chopped
1 c. of lentils
2 large handfuls of spinach
Combine everything but the spinach in the crockpot.  Cook on high for 3 hrs or low for 5 hours.  A 1/2 before done, add spinach.  Cook until spinach is wilted and lentils are tender.  Enjoy! (We ate ours with cornbread. Delicious!)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

simple spaghetti with kale, lemon, and garlic | pinterest test

January is the month of new beginnings and resolutions, but it is also the month the seed catalogs arrive with mammoth force. Seed catalogs make me long for Spring and make it very difficult for me to stay in the moment. I have lists upon lists laying about planning our garden, spring cleaning, and the kids' birthdays. I have paint chips on the front door. I'm constantly looking into the future in January. It's time for me to take a deep breath. Whew.
This recipe I made several times last Spring. It is one of those few Pinterest recipes that comes out spectacular the first time. It's a great one for the days when it seems the greens won't stop coming or even when you forgot a bunch in the fridge. It's also great when you long for Spring, as I am now. My husband loved it as a side to a grilled steak. It is, however, a wonderful main dish. Adjust the quantities of the ingredients based on how many eaters you have and your taste.
Simple Spaghetti with Kale, Lemon and Garlic
Adapted from Jess Thomson
Olive Oil
Garlic, sliced thin
Juice from fresh lemon
Prepare spaghetti. When it is almost done, saute kale in olive oil until almost crisp. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Drain pasta and add kale. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and parmesan. Serve immediately and dream of Spring.

Monday, January 13, 2014

farro with sausage and apples

Happy New Year! Turns out, transitioning from one to two children is more difficult than none to one. It has been for me, anyways. Ha! Also, time seems to be on fast forward with Violet Alice. She's already standing and cruising. That among other things explains my lack of posting.I'm still figuring out what to make of this space. I also received an email from a disgruntled reader while I was pregnant. It left a bad taste in my mouth and forced me to review how I handle criticism. I ended up deleting a post. Which I now regret. You can't make everyone happy. In the end, I decided that this space is mine and what I want to say, how I want to say it, and what I want to share is my business. And I like sharing. The Internet is awesome and it allows you to connect with way more awesome people than not.  People keep linking back,so I must be doing something right. For the most part, though, I've been spending time with my family. Which has been so, so great.  Also, in the end, this space is a record of my family's life and it gives me great joy.

There has also been a lack of Trader Joe's in my life until recently. Over the Holidays I took a job as a fragrance rep. It put me near TJ's. We have been reunited and it feels so good. Let's talk about the 10 minute farro packets. They also have bulgur and barley. I realize I am late to this party, but better late than never!! I bought the farro one and gave the recipe on the back a whirl. I have been trying to add more grains and variety to our dinner plate.  I like to have a protein, starch, and veg on the dinner plate.  So I have been trying to replace the usual starches (potatoes, rice, pasta) with different grains. This recipe was great, easy, and budget friendly. I estimate the whole thing cost about $10 to make. That is including the cabbage I served alongside.
Farro with Sausage and Apples
1 packet of farro from TJ's, prepared in broth according to package directions.
1 onion chopped
1 large apple, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 package of chicken sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
Olive Oil
In dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic, and apple until soft.  Add sausage and cook through. Stir in farro and season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm.  We had sauteed cabbage as a side. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chicken Taco Soup + Six Months

last night, we had our first annual halloween party.  it was so fun to see the kiddos in their halloween costumes and have our first hurrah as a family of four (even if violet was ms. crabbypants). violet alice will be six months this friday and i haven't even written about her, yet.  this has been the fastest six months of my life. soon i will share more about her, hendrix's love for her, my fascination with having a daughter, and all the wonderful changes our family has undergone.  to the readers that kept checking in...thanks for checking in and waiting while i got used to two kids. xo!
i made this soup yesterday and it turned out to be quite a hit with our guests. it's super simple and delicious.  also, the smore candy you see all over pinterest?? make it. now. so good.

chicken taco soup
2 - 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 c. chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 bag of frozen corn
1/2 T cumin
1 t. minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste
combine ingredients in crockpot.  cook on low 8 - 10 hours.  shred chicken before serving.  serve with avocado, shredded cheddar, cilantro, limes, green onion, tortilla chips, and/or sour cream.

sneak peek of the cutest baby