Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RECIPE: GF French Fried Onions

Growing up, I remember always having the classic Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I decided to bring it to Thanksgiving if I could figure out how to do it Gluten-Free.

I was directed to Gluten Free Mommy's Green Bean Casserole, which looks very promising.  I think I will use it to work off of, using my Pacific Foods Cream of Mushroom Soup that is gluten-free instead of making soup from scratch. I think I will still saute some mushrooms to add to the green beans though. And I'll use a gluten-free soy sauce...maybe...not sure I will need it really.

The other problem I had to solve was the substitute for French's Fried Onions (man, I loved those things!), since they have gluten in them.

I read the instructions by Gluten Free Mommy as to how she makes French Fried Onions and went from there.  I refuse to go to the store for more oil, so I was stuck using Ghee (expensive, but I've been wanting to use it up this month anyway...). I got out my smallest skillet and only did one onion, sliced thin. The flour I used was the end of the package of Bob's All Purpose Flour Mix and Better Batter Flour Mix, salt and pepper.

Let me tell you, these things are delicious! It's all I can do to NOT to eat them before making the casserole tomorrow! I better hide them from the hubby and kids!

Here's some pics:

Sizzling in the Ghee:

 Final Product: French Fried Onions!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 2011, Week 3: Can I feed a family of 5 for $450/month?

So, last week I was left with $48.17 left for the month.

Well, I had to return the Black Jewell popcorn I purchased earlier this month. I popped some up for myself and the kids, and it had an odd smell to it....turns out it was moldy or something. At first it smelled like corn on the cob smells when you are shucking it...but it got worse when it was popping...on closer inspection of the kernels left in the container, there were little white hairy things around the tips of the popcorn kernels. Ick!  I've purchased this popcorn in the past and not had any problems. I'm not sure what happened. At any rate, it belongs to the store now.

So, I returned the popcorn, which raised my total to $55.66 left for the month.

And....then I went shopping. With a list. And it came to $53.03.

Insert Deep Breath here.

Here's what I got at the local grocery. (S= Sale item)

~S 8 half-gallons of non-rbgh milk for $10 (I rummaged through and made sure to get the dates furthest away, which happen to be Nov 29)
~S 1 1/2 lbs of Shredded Cheddar Cheese for $5.99
~S 3 bags frozen Bird's Eye broccoli, 2 bags Freshlike green beans, 1 mixed veggies, 1 peas for $.98 each
~S 1 turkey for $11.83 (I believe they are on sale for $.58/lb w/$15 food purchase--this one wasn't actually On The List, but I couldn't pass up a deal---this bird will be in many meals!)
~2 heads garlic $1.08
~Romaine $2.19
~Mushrooms $1.98 (I saw on Dr. Oz the other day how you can sub chopped mushrooms for half of your ground beef 1:1 and it's an extender and good for you. I'm going to try it! I've read that mushrooms can be a food source of vitamin D and we definitely need that up here in often-overcast OH!)
~Bag onions $4.99 (drat, I think I grabbed the wrong bag!)
~S Sweet potatoes $.67/lb--$1.91 to make sweet potato fries/add into roasted veggies or for a quick lunch for me
~Honeycrisp apples (ok, these were a splurge--tired of Red/Golden Delicious blahness) $6.20 for 5 apples (!) but better than soda, chips, or fast food, right?

Total came to $53.03

Which leaves me with $2.63 for the month.

I think the only thing I may absolutely NEED to get before the end of the month is eggs. The pastured eggs cost more than what is left of my food allowance for the month, so I may end up going to the local grocery and getting a dozen to tide us over. That is, if my  husband and I eat through the 10 eggs we have in the fridge between now and the end of the month. And if I do any baking.

Although, this may be a good time to try some egg substitute options.

We shall see...

The ironic thing is that I have purchased 2 turkeys this month to the tune of about $23.45. I didn't NEED them for this month, and probably won't actually cook them this month. They were purchased as sort of an investment for the future months, if that makes sense.  I'll cook them on a cold, snowy day in the wintertime.  If I'd not gotten those turkeys, I'd have plenty of money left for eggs! (still, not very sorry I got the turkeys. Some things are just worth it in the long run!)

I am still going to strive to stay within my budget. I will endeavor to persevere! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 2011, Week 2: Can I feed a family of 5 for $450/month?

As promised, I am updating with my menu plan, as well as another shopping trip to "big town" while I happened to already be there getting some other needs (why does softener salt have to be so expensive in the town closest to me?).

3 cans refried beans .89, 2@1.29
Diamond Almonds 1.09, 5.99
Juice 2.79
Gum 1.39
2 Stonyfield yogurts @ 3.79 ea
2 rice pasta 3.99 ea
gf tortillas 4.49
Ham shanks 4.78 (one for the beans in the menu, one to freeze for later)
OG milk 6.29 (picked one with the most distant use by date)
2 burritos(my lunch) 2.19 ea
Daisy Sour Cream 2.29
Cershey dark cocoa 2.69
2 large boxes OF Oats 5.98
6 frozen orange juices @ 2.$3
2 sherbets@ 1.50 ea
3 cans of olives $1 ea
large bag string cheese (got the light kind so the kids would stay out of them, hehe--they're for hubby mainly) 5.99
Walnuts 6.49
cashews 6.99

Total came to 95.66

Last total: $143.83 - 95.66 = $48.17 left for the month

I have pretty much everything I need for the main menu for the rest of the month. I suspect I will need to buy milk, lettuce, and perhaps eggs by the end of the month. And maybe some loss leaders if I feel I might have enough for that.

Menu for Nov. 14-30

  • Chicken in the oven with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes
  • Enchiladas (with leftover chicken from above, or beef)
  • 3 x Tuna Sandwiches with apples/cut up veggies on the side, pickles and perhaps chips
  • Ham and Beans and Cornbread
  • Cheeseburger Pizza
  • (Crockpot?) Chicken Spaghetti OR Macaroni and Cheese, veggies on the side
  • Liver and Onions(we'll see how this goes over...), Mac and Cheese as a cop-out side dish...broccoli
  • Turkey Veggie Soup?
  • Crockpot Beans seasoned and mashed to make Burritos with our many tortillas(and my GF tortillas above for me)
  • Biscuits and Gravy(going to try using a standard recipe with some GF flour mix)
  • Chicken done some new way, veggies, Rice

November 2011, Week 2: Can I feed a family of 5 for $450/month?

Here are my purchases at the local grocery and the health food store:

Local grocery:
2 ice creams $2.98 each
10 bags frozen veggies $1 each
3 boxes Chex for $5
3 packs pudding cups $.88 each
2 bags white tortilla chips $2.59 each
2 packages chicken parts, $4.64 and $5.28
Pork sausage $3.18
2 heads lettuce $.88 each
2 5 lb bags apples $3.99 ea
pack mushrooms $1.98

Total came to $53.60

Health Food Store:
4 boxes tea $3.39, $4.25, $4.29, $3.59
2 half-gallons Organic Valley milk $4.89 ea
Fermented Pickles (Bubbies) $5.49
Pastured Butter $4.49
Raw Honey $3.58
Cacao Nibs $2.58

Total came to $41.44 left from last shop $243.87 - $53.60 - $41.44 = $143.83 left for the month.

I will work on my menu for the rest of the month and post it soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 2011, Week 2: Can I feed a family of 5 for $450/month?

Updating today on spending since the last post on this topic.

I went to the health food store, Dollar General, and the deep-discount grocery store.

Health food store: $42.81
Grassfed Ground beef and beef liver 5.72, 3.63, Namaste GF flour $10.99, 2 dozen eggs 3.35 ea, 5# bag carrots $5.99, 2 half-gallons milk 4.89 ea

Dollar General: $8.74
3 bags Fritos (buy 2 @ $2.95/get 1 free), Cocoa Pebbles $2.50, Trident $1
(Incidently, I printed off and used a $5 off $25 coupon from the Dollar General site--helped trim down household expenses a bit! They seem to offer these on a regular basis.)

Deep Discount Grocery Store: $42.43
This store doesn't label the items on the receipt and I just put stuff away w/o writing it all down. Off the top of my head, we got: 4 boxes granola bars, 3 bags Lenders bagels, 4 bags mini whole wheat bagels, 2 boxes LIFE cereal, 3 jars of organic juice, a pound of butter, 5 8oz bags shredded cheese, box of frozen corn dogs, 3 lbs dried black eyed peas(for hubby to plant next spring), soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, 1 small can Bush's Baked Beans, 2 lbs brown sugar(Domino), 2 pkg Kraft Singles (though I thought I'd put 3 in my cart, as well as a can of Ready-Whip), mini marshmallows, and a can of International House of Coffee mix.

Last tally: $337.85- $42.81-8.74-42.43= $243.87 left for the month

There are some good loss-leader deals at the local grocery that I might pick up this week, along with Tortilla chips... and I will probably need to get more milk by the end of the week as well.

My dinner menu for the week looks like this:

Monday: Venison Roast(may cut into steaks), mashed potatoes or fries, sauteed cabbage and onions, maybe salad
Tuesday: Ground Beef (or maybe venison from roast above) stir-fry with broccoli, carrots and rice
Wednesday: Sandwiches-nut butter, Fritos, cut up apples or carrots
Thursday: Hamburgers, Coleslaw, Carrot sticks, homemade freezer pickles
Friday: Beef Nachos-seasoned browned ground beef over white corn tortilla chips (that I need to buy still)
Saturday: Pizza?

Snacks: Dried/fresh apples, homemade popcorn, zucchini brownies, granola bars, "cheesy tortillas", pb bagels
Breakfasts: eggs, oatmeal, granola, cereal, "cheesy tortillas", bagels with nut butter
Lunches: leftovers, eggs and sauteed veggies/rice depending on what's in the fridge, nut butter sandwich

RECIPE: Another Healthy Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Last year, I posted a recipe for Healthier Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix.
Today, I am posting another recipe that I think I like even better--especially since I can't find the Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa Mix now.

In my experience, most homemade cocoa mixes seem to not mix up very well in the cup, and little bits of stuff end up floating around and leaving a mess in the cup when you are finished drinking.

I have been making this particular recipe for hubby since January, using regular cocoa and Splenda instead of sugar for his low-carbness (I know, *sigh*).  When I made it the last two times I used the Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa (more antioxidants and all that jazz). Hubby informed me that his cocoa no longer had clumps--I am glad he informed me, or I would have never known to share!

This morning, I made myself an experimental cup using sugar instead of Splenda and it came out wonderfully!

So here it is:

Another Healthy Homemade Hot Cocoa
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup sugar (I use cane sugar)
1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder

Measure the above into a suitable storage container (I used an old cocoa container). Put the lid on and shake to combine. 
Use about 3 TB per 12 oz. cup, or to taste.

I like to measure my dry mix into my cup, fill the cup just over halfway with hot water and stir it up, then top off with milk to make it creamier.

Alternative recipe--If you want to try it before you commit to making a full container:
Combine 4 teaspoons powdered milk, 2 teaspoons Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, and 2 teaspoons of sugar in your cup, add hot water (and milk, if desired). Stir and enjoy!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 2011, Week 1: Can I feed a family of 5 for $450/month?

It's the start of a new month! Let's see if I can manage to feed my family of 5 for $450 this month!

I have gone through my cupboards and written a rough menu for the next two weeks.
I have looked through the sales flyer for the local grocery store and written down the best deals for our family.
I have written the grocery list with the items from the sales flyer that I plan to get, as well as the other items I need to fill out the menu.
I went to the grocery store today. I will probably go to the health food store later this week/early next week to get a few items that I can't get at the local grocery store.

Here's what I got at the local grocery store: (S=sale item)

S-1 block muenster cheese, 2 blocks sharp cheddar $7.50 (should have gotten more at last week's sale!)

6 packages of tortillas $11.94 (oops, these were supposed to be the 10/$10 ones-gotta pay attention at the register!)
9 grain bread $3.99
100% wheat bread $2.39
12 grain bread $3.99 (I plan on doing a taste test with the 3 breads to see which one the kids like best)
Whole grain hamburger buns $1.69 (passed up the sale $1 buns for these)

Black Jewel popcorn kernels $7.49
Jalapeno mustard $1
S-Domino sugar $2.99
box English tea $3.19
Unbleached flour $3.69

S-5 packs of Handi-Snacks pudding $5
S-2 packs of Nestle hot chocolate $2

large jar of Nutella $7.29
S-1 can olives $1
S-2 cans spinach $2
S-3 cans yams $3
S-3 cans of pumpkin $3
markdown can of Bush's beans $1

S-Turkey (88c/lb) $11.62

Bananas $1.46
head cabbage $2.09
head lettuce $1.49
S-mushrooms $1.50
S-5# onions $2.50
Sweet potatoes $1.34
S-16 lbs potatoes for $4

S-12 bags of frozen veggies $12

Total came to $112.15

$450-112.15 = $337.85 left for the month

Menu for the next two weeks:
Breakfasts: Eggs, Oatmeal, Cereal left from last month, toast with peanut butter/nutella, "cheesy tortillas", zucchini or Spinach Quiche if I get around to it
Lunches for me/dh(kids do school lunches): Leftovers from Supper, regular/sweet potato with toppings, almond butter on Udi's bread...
Snacks: pudding, bananas, apples(fresh or dried), tangerines, popcorn, frozen peas/carrots, Chex mix, cheese, Halloween candy (hehe)
~Mexican Pizza (tortillas, refried beans/salsa/cheese/olives/sour cream)
~Roasted Chicken Thighs/beets/squash from the garden/mashed potatoes?
~Lentils/Rice or some sort (Dahl?)
~Runzas/Runza guts for those of us gf/low-carb, probably with a salad
~Homemade Pizza (pepperoni/mushroom/basil from freezer-I will use the remaining Udi's crust I have left from last month for me)
~Enchiladas (chicken or beef, haven't decided yet, have masa harina in the freezer to try making corn tortillas with fewer questionable ingredients)
~Stir-fry, probably beef with broccoli and carrots, over rice
~Sandwich night-probably peanut butter or tuna or hummus
~Hamburgers, mac 'n cheese, Tailgate salad or cole slaw
~Beefy Nachos (need to buy tortilla chips before I make this)
~Venison roast(possibly made into steaks/stew meat instead), mashed potatoes, corn
~Beans/cornbread-maybe a Green Chili?
~Chicken noodle soup--perhaps something intentionally made more immune-boosting like Ginger Mushroom Chicken Soup made using frozen veggies I purchased today, pasta I have on hand, and homemade chicken broth from the freezer
~One weekend meal will probably be a canned soup, since I have some in my stash that we need to use up

Allergy Update November 1, 2011

Since today marks the beginning of a new month, I decided to update my readers on how I am feeling allergy-wise since my last BaxAura appointment.

I feel very good lately! I am still doing the gluten-free and tomato-free thing, and I feel that it is paying off and helping my body to further heal.  I am trying to stay on top of taking a probiotic (preferably in the form of homemade kefir) fairly regularly, and have also been taking digestive enzymes when I feel the need, which do wonders.  I even ate out last weekend and did not have any repercussions!

So there you have it, my little positive update. :)