Friday, April 30, 2010

Chicken - Finally!

We have been waiting for a long time for whole chickens to go on sale so we could get our smoker going. Finally this week they went down to $0.88 a pound from $1.49 a pound. I remember when they used to go down to $0.69, but I guess we won't see those numbers around here anymore.

You will also notice some splurges. I needed chocolate, and I didn't want to have to make it. Expensive yearn, yes but well worth it.

Total before sales: $31.37
Total sales: $9.52
Total OOP w/ tax: $22.01

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Biscuits with homemade baking mix

Terrible picture, delicious biscuits. I decided to drag myself out of bed this morning in order to try making biscuits with my homemade biscuit mix. They were awesome. Light, fluffy, flaky, and very tasty.

Biscuits for 2:

1-1/4 c baking mix
1/2 c skim milk

1. Mix two ingredients together gently, being careful to not stir to much.
2. Put dough on a lightly floured board and knead gently a couple of times.
3. Flatten dough to about 1/2 inch thickness and make biscuits. I just formed a square and cut the piece into 4.
4. Bake in a 450°F oven for 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pancakes using homemade baking mix

I made some baking mix about two weeks ago and just got around to experimenting with it. The little black dot on the bottom of the picture is Marshmallow's nose. He was very interested in the bacon and pancakes!

I don't remember where I originally got this recipe, but a quick search online showed that it is pretty standard.

Baking Mix:

4 c flour
1/8 c baking powder
1/2 T + 1/2 t salt
1/4 c shortening.

1. Mix all the dry indredients and then cut in shortening.
2. Store in refrigerator until needed.

Pancake recipe:

1 c baking mix
1/2 T vanilla soy protein powder
1/2 c skim milk
1 egg

1. Mix all ingredients together and cook on a 350°F griddle.

These turned out really tasty and had a good texture. This recipe only made 4 pancakes, which is perfect for us. Now if I could just find the time to try making biscuits!

Black bean hash

I just threw some stuff together last night that I called black bean hash. It turned out really well and had some great flavor. I served it in a pita wrap with multigrain chips.

I don't have any exact measurements but here's what is in this concoction: black beans (LO from the night before), 1/2 pound of ground hamburger, 1/2 a potato, jalapenos, onions, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, paprika, ground cumin, fresh parsley, and water.

I just love when experiments turn out tasty!

Three Ingredient Dessert!!!!

These are based on a dessert that my mom used to make when I was younger. Originally they had chunky peanut butter, but we didn't have any so I used regular.

Chocolate Chunkies:
1-1/2 c chocolate chip
1/4 c peanut butter
2-1/2 c Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Oat cereal (originally made with Cheerios - but we didn't have those)

1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter being careful to not burn the chocolate.
2. Add cereal and stir well, making sure all the cereal pieces are coated with chocolate.
3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and drop the chocolate/cereal mixture by tablespoonfuls (approximate) onto baking sheet. Refrigerate until solid.

I was able to get 16 chunkies out of this recipe. I think they taste better with chunky peanut butter, but they are still good. Plus, by switching the Kashi for the cereal I've added some whole grain.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Darla resting

I took this picture of Darla sleeping with her head resting on Fancy's rear yesterday and it has quickly become one of my favorites. It looks like it is done in black and white, but it was just the light coming in from the window above.

Sometimes Darla manages to look just adorable!

Here's the full shot so you can see what was really going on. I love my beasts!

Black Beans and Corn Cakes

I saw a version of this recipe somewhere a long time ago and had it on my "to try" list. Of course, I couldn't remember the original recipe, so I totally improvised. I cooked my own black beans rather than using canned.

Black beans:
I didn't really measure the amounts of ingredients, so I'll tell you how I cooked them and you can experiment on your own.
1. Soak beans overnight in the fridge.
2. Rinse beans in the morning and put in a crockpot. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion, one piece of bacon, a dash of paprika, about 1/2-1 t of cumin, ground pepper, two crushed garlic cloves, a dash of liquid smoke, about 1 t of hot sauce and a bay leaf. Cover with water so there is about 1-1/2 to 2 inches of water above the beans.
3. Cook on low for around 8 hours. About 10 minutes before serving, I added 1 t of salt.

Corn cakes:
1/2 c sifted flour
1/2 c sifted cornmeal
1-1/4 t baking powder
1/2-3/4 T ground flax seed
1-1/2 T sugar (I wanted the cakes a little sweet.)
1/2 t salt
1/4 c half and half
1/4 c skim milk
1/8 c canola oil
1 egg

1. Mix all dry ingredients. In measuring cup, mix all wet ingredients.
2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet mix. Stir until incorporated.
3. Heat griddle to about 350°. Spray lightly with nonstick spray. Cook the batter like pancakes.
I was able to make 4 cakes out of the mixture.

This was such a delicious meal. James and I both felt that it was very filling, but not heavy. We loved the contrast in the spicy flavor of the beans and the sweet, crumby texture of the corn cakes. Next time I make these, and there will be a next time, I might try adding some jalapenos to the corn cakes. Happy eating!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Basics trip

Needed some basics.
HEB: Total OOP = $5.53 It's pretty ridiculous to me that eggs, milk, banans and pasta should cost over $5. I read all these blogs from people that are able to purchase these same products for so much less.

Menu Plan 4/26 - 5/2

This week should be interesting. I start my pool job this weekend with training. This is the third summer I've done this and I think it will be my last. I have a big pot of black beans cooking right now to eat off of for the next couple of days. I am going to try to make some whole wheat bread sticks on Thursday, these are not my recipe so I've posted the link.

Monday - black beans and corn cakes

Tuesday - black bean hash

Wednesday - tuna steaks and baked potatoes

Thursday - pasta and whole wheat bread sticks

Friday - Mediterranean pizza

Saturday - catfish and home fries

Sunday - kafta wraps

Snacks - cheerio chunks

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Out of town

I've been out of town or working nights for the last couple of days so James has been fending for himself. I'm cooking tonight and I need to work on a menu plan so hopefully I'll be posting more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bad, Bad, Bad!

Little Caesar's for dinner. OOP $10.50

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meal plan

I am visiting my family for a couple of days and I work two nights this week so James is fending for himself a lot.

Monday - Funky chicken and sesame noodles (carry over from last week.)

Tuesday - Breakfast for dinner. Going to try to make biscuits from homemade baking mix.

Wednesday - Sunday - James fending for himself. Options include tilapia, tuna, and pasta.

Sunday - Honey, BBQ burgers and homemade fries.

Buckwheat English Muffin Loaf

We made breakfast using the loaf of bread. The eggs are a version of a breakfast sandwich from Lebanon. It has a name that I can't begin to spell. Basically, eggs, parsley, onions and Lebanese 7 spice. Yum!

Buckwheat English Muffin Loaf

2 c white flour
1/2 c buckwheat flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 T date sugar
1 t salt
1/8 t baking soda
1 c milk (I used soy milk)
1/4 c water

Combine 1/2 c white flour, 1/4 c both buckwheat and whole wheat flours, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Heat milk and water until very warm (120°-130°). Add to dry ingredients and beat well. Stir in remaining flour to make a stiff batter. Spoon into 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 loaf pan that has been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle top with more cornmeal. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from draft for 45 minutes. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes. Remove from pan and cool.

This recipe is easily doubled. Very good wheat flavor. I used the wrong size loaf pan, so my loaf came out very thin. I'll definitely use the right size next time.

Way behind on updating

We did quite a bit of shopping this weekend. We had run out of ground beef and were hoping for a sale, otherwise we were going to do with out. Thankfully we found a really good sale and we were able to splurge on some expensive granola bars we both really like.

Newflower Farmers Market - we found the beef on sale here for $1.77 a pound (85% lean)
Total before sales and Q: $47.24
Total sales (includes $0.10 bag redemption credit): $22.74
Total Q: $2
Total OOP: $22.50

Costco - James liked the avocados. Total OOP = Zero ($5.49 on GC)

Phoenicia's Bakery - James really likes to have the pita bread on hand. Not pictured are the cookies we ate from the baker. Total OOP = $4.15

Dog Almighty - Lunch. Total OOP = Zero ($10.76 on GC)

Ramos - We came home from shopping and did some massive cleaning. We didn't want to dirty the kitchen so we went out to eat. Total OOP = $10.05

Breakfast this morning so that our house wouldn't smell like bacon before guests arrived = $8.56

Lunch = Zero (treated to lunch by my Mom) Saved $12

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring in Central TX

I love the flowers that bloom in central TX this time of year. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get out and take pictures of all the lovely Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, Primroses, and Phlox. I have taken pictures of soem little flowers around the house. They are probably weeds, but I still thought they were pretty.

A different Mediterranean pizza

I was going to try something new last night with Greek quesadillas; however, someone in my family (there's only two of us) ate the last of the tortillas without telling me. Thus, I had to modify my meal plan. I decided to make Mediterranean pizza, but didn't have any pizza shells made, so I used pita bread. I also didn't have any Mozzarella cheese but I did have cheddar. I don't usually prefer a thin crust pizza, but I really liked the blend of these flavors on a thin crust.

Mediterranean pizza II

2 pita bread
1/2-3/4 c cheddar cheese
2-3 T crumbled Feta cheese
1 chicken breast, grilled and cut into pieces
kalamata olives
dried oregano
olive oil

1. Put the pitas on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on each of the pitas. Place chicken and olives on pizza and then sprinkle with oregano.
2. Bake at 400° for about 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One more trip

I planned to try some new recipes this week and needed to pick up a few items. I was surprised at how much Feta and Kalamata olives cost, so I bought the smallest package I could find of the Feta, and used the olive bar to get just the amount I need. Not pictured is a bunch of parsley.

Total OOP = $6.79

Last night's dinner - Grilled Curry Chicken

I made grilled curry chicken for dinner last night. It is a recipe I found in the 200 Quick Cooking cookbook. Really easy and as James said, "one of the best chicken marinades he has ever eaten."
1/2 c vinegar
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c ketchup
1 T worcestershire sauce
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Mix all ingredients together, except chicken, until sugar is dissolved. Put chicken in a resealable bag, or a large bowl, and cover with marinade. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
2. Drain chicken and discard marinade. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 6 minutes on each side or until juice run clear.

This was so yummy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Late Menu Plan

I was travelling back from the Bon Jovi concert in Dallas yesterday so I didn't get to post a menu plan. BTW, the concert was AWESOME!!

Monday - travel day

Tuesday - Grilled curry chicken and rice

Wednesday - Homemade pizza (friend coming over)

Thursday - Sloppy joes and baked beans

Friday - Greek quesadillas

Saturday - No meat pasta (unless I have LO meat)

Sunday - Funky chicken with sesame noodles ( I saw this posted at someone's blog and looked up the link.)

I might make some kind of dessert but I'm not sure. Happy week everyone!

More candy

I couldn't resist more candy. It was at 90% and will last us for a really long time. Plus James really likes to snack on the jellybeans.

Total before sales = $27.81
Total sales = $23.53
Total OOP w/ tax = $4.63

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shopping trips

We did some after Easter candy shopping. Had some bad splurges, but we'll survive.

Total before sales: $9.50
Total sales: $3.66
Total OOP w/ tax: $5.90

Total before sales: $18.44
Total sales: $13.85
Total OOP w/ tax: $4.97

We started going to after Easter candy sales last year. We like to put the chocolates in the freezer and eat on them for the next couple of weeks or months.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Greetings to you from Kat here at Frugal Thoughts from the Life of Kat. I am a 30 something wife and "mother" to 5 adopted retired racing greyhounds. While I blog about whatever happens in my life, my current focus is my family's $1200 challenge. We have challenged ourselves to a $1200 grocery budget (for humans only) for the year. . .which includes eating out. I post my grocery totals, meal plans, and recipes so that you can see how we are doing. I have to say I miss eating out, but we are doing great. What makes this so different for us is that we do not eat a lot of processed foods, which is where all the deals are, so I am learning as we go along.

Please feel free to browse my blog and have an awesome day!

As for all the lovely prizes available, I am really not picky (and I am not lucky at all so the chances of winning are very low). I would prefer to win any giftcard that is grocery or food related.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Look at the Leftovers

Here's a look at our leftovers. This was day three of using the rice, beans and steak from Monday. The quesadillas were pretty yummy. Unfortunately we used up all the beef last night and James is eating the rest of the rice and most of the beans for lunch. Looks like I'll be cooking tonight.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Obviously no menu plan

When we got back from our trip, I kept meaning to write a menu plan and just never did it. On Monday night we grilled up the Milanesa steaks (pictured in the grocery shot below), some rice, and a crockpot full of pinto beans and we've been eating on that ever since. Monday we had fajitas and they were yummy. Yesterday I took some of the LO and put them in the crockpot to make some really tasty soup. There was enough LO for James to have some for lunch. Tonight we are going to make quesadillas out of what we have left. There might even be enough for James to have lunch tomorrow. So that is 5 meals out of one package of meat and some beans and rice. . .pretty frugal and good!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Back to the grind of things.

After days of eating out and eating junk food, courtesy of our vacation budget, we are back to the grind of things around here. We needed to replace some things in the house and we managed to hit a few meat sales as well.

Total before sales and MQ: $43.29
Total sales: $0.83 (this doesn't account for the meat sale prices, which I don't remember)
Total MQ: $8.32
Total OOP: $34.14

I'm back

We just got back from a week long trip that did not go as planned, but was still nice. We spent a couple days in San Angelo where we used to live. James' parents came down for a day and we got to visit with them. Then we went to South Llano State park and camped out for a night. It was beautiful and so quiet there. Mary and Marshmallow seemed to enjoy their first camping experience. The next day we went to Garner State Park. This is where things went downhill. Rude fee collectors working the front desks kind of set the tone for the day. Disappointing sites for camping were frustrating. Garner is the most visited state park and so they really pack the camp sites together. . .which is not the kind of camping James and I enjoy. They did have Wi-fi there so I finally checked my email only to find out my father-in-law had been in a very serious wreck the day before. Of course there was no cell service in the park. Since Mary was having a little trouble with the heat and some arthritis issues, and we needed to call James' family, we just packed up and left. We went back to my parents' house and just hung out for a couple of days before coming back. James' dad was okay, just some cuts and bruises.

I saw this rock formation while hiking at Enchanted Rock state park. It looked like a recliner to me.

Mary in the Frio river at Garner state park, she doesn't look happy with us.

Me eating a yummy smores made with a peanut butter cup instead of plain old chocolate. So good!

Our little set up at South Llano State Park. May is in the tent on the orange sleeping bag.

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.