Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chick Update: May 31, 2012 3 weeks old

Our Light Sussex Chick(en)s are 3 weeks old today (give or take a day).
They're very nearly feathered out. I'm thinking maybe in the next week or two we will put them out in the enclosed chicken coop, once we get that patched up a bit.  Caught another raccoon today, so we have to be sure the coop is varmint-proof before we put the little guys and gals out there or this will be all for nothing!

The weather will have to warm up a bit more before we put them out there as well. It has been a little bit chilly the last couple of days!

A little video, complete with my kids' comments:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 2012: Groceries

I went shopping today to pick up some milk and some other little thing for the remainder of the month.

At the last grocery post, I had $8.22 left over to play with.

I went to the local Food Store and purchased a half-gallon of milk and some organic raisins(to try in water kefir) and the total came to $6.96.

So... $8.22 - $6.96 =$1.26 left.

I still have a day left of the month, but I think we're going to make it within our budget! Yippee!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pink Slime: My Take

Pink Slime has been on the news in the last few months, with some people falling on the side of avoidance and wanting to have it labeled, and others insisting it's fine to eat, because it's "just beef" (which is a lie, if I've ever heard one).

I am writing this post to give my take on the issue.

As my readers might guess, my preference is for all-natural foods. I like to know what's in my food, so that I can make an educated decision as to whether I want to take it into my body.

It hasn't always been this way. I used to just eat whatever I wanted and not think about consequences. After my allergies snowballed and I ended up with pretty extensive allergies (13+ diagnosed food allergies that came up with conventional allergy testing, most pollens, 2/3 of molds, and animal epithelials.....I won the prize that day as they hadn't seen anyone that bad for some time), I was forced to examine every bite that went into my mouth.

And I have come out the other end a person who wants to eat with eyes wide open.

As to the Pink Slime issue, I knew that I didn't want to be taking any more chemicals into my body than absolutely necessary. This was the main reason I was trying to avoid the stuff.

My reasons were not for avoiding direct allergies.....

...but then I read today that the method Cargill uses to make their Pink Slime uses citric acid. Given the business that Cargill does, (they are one of the major agricultural companies), I have to assume that the citric acid they are using is derived from (probably genetically modified-up to 85% of US corn is GMO) corn.

So, now I am back on my anti-GMO soapbox and have stronger reasons to avoid Pink Slime. Beef with Pink Slime is not *only* beef. It's had something added. Something that is part of production and doesn't legally have to be announced a label, but no less added.  As a person whose allergy diagnosis included Corn and Soy, I can't help but try to avoid them when I can, along with other GMO's(such as cottonseed). A hard feat when GMO foods are crammed into something like 70-85% of the US food supply.  I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, but I'm not giving up!

When I look at a selection of conventional ground beef, it's not only likely that the cows have been fed GMO corn and soy, and that the packaging contains GMO corn, but the GMO corn is put directly into the meat (if it's from Cargill, but who knows that information in the meat section of the grocery store)!

Bad news for me and fellow Corn-Allergy people. I don't care that Big Government says it is safe.....I don't trust it.

And...I find it a bit ironic that, if they say it's safe to eat, ConAgra Foods and Kraft Foods claim that they pulled the Pink Slime out of their products. They're not standing behind their product with pride.  These companies all have ties in the GMO chain.....and I'm not sure they're not just blowing smoke and tickling our ears.

For the big companies, it's all about the money, folks. It's not about the health of the American people; it's about the money the American people are willing to put into their pockets.

The eyes of the American people are being opened as they become aware of what exactly goes into our food(or, at least, what's been divulged), and how our food in the US compares to other First World countries. I have seen a lot of change happening in the last couple years; I used to be one of a tiny minority, but more mainstream people are hopping on my boat (yeah!).

Educate Yourself. Vote with your Dollars.  I think that's one of the few ways that will be effective in positive change in the food industry in the coming years.

Updated to add links.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Adapting the 2012 May Menu Plan-Last Week of May!

As I was deciding what I needed to get on Friday for the remainder of the month, I altered the May Menu Plan for this last week.

Here is the plan:

  • Colorful Chicken Casserole from the freezer, Green Salad as a side
  • Chicken Tenderloins, Sauteed Green Beans, and Rice
  • Teriyaki Pork Roast in the crockpot(this has trace wheat in the sauce...will see how that goes...), Green Salad (some from the garden!), possibly a noodle salad or potato salad
  • Tacos or sandwiches from Teriyaki Pork Roast leftovers, with accoutrements

My plans for the June Menu Plan will require some more thought, as the kids will be home for lunches in the summertime. Time to get my thinking cap on...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 2012: Groceries

I went to the grocery store on Friday. Why did I do such a crazy thing as to bring 3 kids to the grocery store close to the dinner hour and on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend? Because I wanted to save gas and time. Not sure I saved my sanity, but we survived generally unscathed.

Before going, I checked out the status of what we still have in the house, and wrote a list of things we will need in the next week. While doing this, I remembered that I had about $47 left of the May food budget

I only went to the local grocery, not to the Food Store. I may go there next week when I am already in town if we actually do run out of milk and GF bread and eggs (the two things on my Food Store list--but we're not out yet) and if I feel the need for some Udi's bread.

Here's what I got:

Local Grocery S=Sale

Munster Cheese slices
2 pkg Hormel Naturals lunchmeat

2 loaves Aunt Millie's bread
Hellman's Mayo
S 2 bags chips

2 sweet potatoes

Breyer Ice Cream
2 frozen orange juice concentrate

Total came to: $38.57

$46.79 from last time - $38.57 = $8.22 left.

Which means I should probably make my bread from the GF flour I have on hand, rather than buy it. Given the choice, I'd rather have the Organic Valley Pastured milk than the store-bought Udi's bread. If we don't run out of milk, I might spring for the Udi's. I don't want to buy conventional milk if I have a choice.

The only thing On Sale was the chips. But I don't care, since I got only what I needed. I wasn't driven by the sales and I was "mean" and didn't let the kids talk me into getting extras. ;-) Which meant I stayed within the budget.

But...hubby wants us to go to the "cheap food store". We don't get to go very often, sans kids...and it's one of our Fun Things to Do Together...hmmm....should we go or not?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Protecting our Assets, aka Catching Pillagers and Thieves

Since planting my garden about 2 weeks ago, I've been dealing with a few issues.  One issue is that something has been digging around in the garden. Who knows where the zucchini seeds have ended up! At the same time, many of my flower pots were being upended and rummaged through. They even broke my favorite pot (wah!). Hubby thought it was the cats (he says he hates the cats, but I know he loves them deep down, hehe).

Another issue is that something has been nipping off my pepper plants and my beans that are sprouting and have their first leaves.

Then there is the mole, but that's another story...

Two nights ago, I set the live trap directly on the spot I planted the zucchini seeds in. This is what I caught:

Last night, hubby saw a groundhog run under the shop (where the stray cat had been living...come to think of it, I haven't seen him around for a week or so...) and this is who we caught:

These creatures are now Turkey Buzzard Cuisine. Relocation is illegal--and besides, moving critters to someone else's woods is just making the critter someone else's problem.  Even our local "nature preserve" backs onto people's backyards. This is just the way things go when raising food and dealing with "the competition".  Lowering the population of raccoons will lessen the chance that our chickens will be ravaged later in the season. Lowering both the coon and groundhog population will help us to get a better harvest this summer. I hear my hubby quote Clint Eastwood: "Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms."

In case you are wondering, our kids know the reasons we catch and dispose of these animals. It's not because we enjoy doing it. It's because these animals are, or have great potential of, destroying our crops and the chickens. 

I'm wondering what we might catch next. The trap is now set by one of the far outbuildings, where hubby caught some 15 critters last year.

I'm betting on another coon. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Allergy Update

I recently went in for what I call an "Allergy Tune-up".  I've been taking Zyrtec due to some allergy issues. My allergies are not nearly as bad as in previous years, and they're not as bad as some of my friends' allergies, but there are just enough flare-ups to let me know I'm ailing.

I have been keeping a food/environmental diary for the last month, and a great many of my issues seem to lie with chemicals, mold and fungus. (Placing moldy straw with mushrooms on the garden, anyone?) Not all of them, but most of them. I expressed my desire to get a general scan, because at this point I feel a bit like I am chasing rabbits in having little things treated when I feel there is one underlying thing, but I am not entirely certain what it is.

The first thing that was checked was that my polarity was not blocked, as has happened in the past when things were "off". It was fine.

The Bax system was then used to scan and see where my problems lie, and the results were mainly in the area of molds and fungus.No surprise to me. A homeopathic treatment was suggested to me rather than a full BaxAura scan (which would have required 3 hours of fasting prior) and homeopathic sprays, in the interest of my budget.

So, I am trying a homeopathic remedy from Dynamic Nutritional Associates, called Mold Mix 1 (A-21). I will use 3 drops, 3 times/day for a week, then up the dosage to 4 drops, 3 times a day. I will continue to up the dosage by 1 drop/dose per week until I get to 10 drops, 3 times a day.

If needed, I will still be able to take a Zyrtec w/o causing any cross-reactions. It may take a week or two of dosages for it to build up in my system and my stem to behave itself more normally.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chick Update: May 23, 2012 ~12 days old

The chicks are about 12 days old now.  I am not sure which one is the crooked-necked one, so I guess that is a good thing s/he is doing well.  I will have to go in this evening when they are tired and see if I can tell which one it is.

I took about 2 minutes of video and uploaded it to YouTube to share with my readers.

And here are some pics of our daughter and the chick she was holding. She is the only one of the kids that really wants anything to do with them. She wants to hold them and play with them every day (so far). LOL

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Main Garden: May 21, 2012

Some of the garden seeds I planted a week ago are coming up!
Royal Burgundy Bush Bean

Kale Mix

Burgundy Okra

Picklebush Cucumber

Jacob's Cattle Beans

There are moles that keep digging up and eating my onion sets. They don't particularly care for eating the red ones, but they dig them up anyway.  I put a live trap out there and haven't caught anything, which reinforces my thoughts that it's moles. I will have to figure out how to deal with them, as the vintage mole trap bit the dust last year...

I have seen a gigantic bunny outside on the property the last couple days. I am willing to bet that it's him or one of his buddies that have nipped off two of my banana pepper plants! I saw him this morning and ran out and scared him away, but I know that won't last for long!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Row-to-Row Carpeting in the Garden...aka Mulching

Since the garden was put in in the last week, today was dubbed Mulching Day.

Where we live, the soil around here is mainly clay. Not the best soil to grow things in, as it turns into a brick in the heat of the summer.  If the summer is particularly dry, the clay soil cracks. Picturesque, but not great for the plants.
Over the last 4(maybe 5) years, we have been mulching between our garden rows. This adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down, makes pathways that we can walk on to get to our plants even if it's just rained heavily, helps keep the weeds down, and over time has made our garden less clay-like and more gardening friendly.

Our mulch of choice has often been grass clippings from mowing our acreage. It's work, but I'd rather be mulching than weeding, any day! 

Our second choice, and what I used today, is old straw. This year, we are using what was donated to us from the church's Live Nativity last December.  They didn't need it and were looking for someone to take it, so they brought it on over last winter. Win!

I do not recommend hay. Hay will have a lot of seed in it, and you don't want to be introducing that to your garden.  

Here's the straw I had to work with:

Here's the garden, with complete Row-to-Row Carpeting:

I think I ended up using 12 bales of straw. I need to water later tonite...those boards I think I will leave there so as to help the sprinkler head to sit level when I am watering.

Quite a change from 2 months ago, eh?

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 2012: Groceries

I went to the store today for a few things.

Ok, ok, there were more than a few things in my cart...but there were only a few things on my list! :)

You're doing your best to keep me accountable, aren't you?

At the end of my last grocery shop, I had $112.09 left of my $450/month budget.

Here's what I purchased today:

Food Store

Dozen Eggs

Coconut Flour

Almond Flour
Organic Tea
Multicolor Popcorn kernels

Total came to: $27.04

Local Grocery S=Sale

S=Head cabbage
Head iceberg lettuce
Romaine lettuce
clamshell container of Spring Mix lettuce on clearance
2# bag of carrots

S=2 blocks of cheddar cheese

2 pkg Hormel Naturals lunchmeat

Frozen orange juice concentrate

David Pumpkin Seeds
2 loaves 100% whole wheat, hfc-free bread
1 bag hamburger buns
(Ok, Ok, I admit it, I am caving on the no-wheat for the family thing!)

Total came to $30.76

Dollar General

2 pkg Flour tortillas
Trident Gum (can you believe they don't have Trident spearmint at the grocery store???)
Sunflower grow...but we might eat 'em...eventually, lol

Total came to $7.50

So, $112.09-27.04-30.76-7.50= $46.79 left for the rest of the month

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chick Update: May 17, 2012

As of this morning, the chick count is down to 11 chicks.

The last one to hatch had something wrong with it, as I mentioned in my last chick update. It could not sit up at all, even when I set it up. I think it was paralyzed or something.  Its feathers did not fluff out nearly as much as the other chicks and it was missing feathers as well. I put that one down on Monday, rather than have it suffer any longer.

The second death was the weaker, less coordinated of the two that have what I believe to be Wry Neck. I gave this chick vitamins a couple times a day, and dipped his beak in the water multiple times a day. Still, he didn't make it.  I had read about elaborate means of trying to save chicks, involving blending lettuce and other foods up and force feeding them....and I considered it, but decided it to be unwise in our situation. If these chicks work out for us as dual-purpose birds, I don't want to be breeding birds that I know have this gene--and especially not ones that aren't able to pull out of it on their own.  At any rate, I think this particular chick was having difficulty in swallowing, and I am not sure he would have been able to eat the food, even if I did force it on him.

At the end of the day, this leaves us with 11 chicks. The remaining chicks all look to be healthy and strong. The one that has Wry Neck (or whatever it might be) is fully able to eat, drink, and run around with the rest of them. For now, I am just going to let nature run its course and see how it does and whether it corrects itself. If it's a roo, we will likely have him for dinner once he's grown enough...same if it's a hen and we don't want her eggs to be mingled in with our other hatching eggs.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's Happening on Augsburger Farm? May 2012....Just a few pics from the Herb Garden

Bumble Bee working in the fully blooming Chive patch
Bumble Bee detail

Another Chives pic

Walking Onions detail, with Chives in the background

Sweet Pea among the Walking Onions

This last one is not in the herb garden, but in the yard nearby...
Peonies and Columbines

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Main Garden: May 13, 2012

After a long weekend of doing Other Stuff, I was finally able to get most of our Main Garden planted on Mother's Day.

Here's a list of what I planted:

Greens: 5 Color Silverbeets (aka Chard), Kale Mix, Bibb Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula
Yellow Squash (aka Golden Zucchini)
Zucchini (Costata Romanesco)
Acorn Squash(hybrid)
Delicata Squash(an old packet--I hope it comes up because I can't find seed for it locally!)
Royal Burgundy Bush Beans
Beets (Detroit Dark Red and Bull's Blood)
Jacob's Cattle Beans (for dry beans-these are also a bush bean)
Bush Cucumbers:Bush Champion and Picklebush
Okra (Burgundy-seed saved from last year)

Basil, purple basil, cumin, regular parsley, flat leaf parsley, dill

Job's Tears-experimental crop
Sorghum- for seed for a larger crop in the following years
Ambrosia Bicolor Corn- sweet corn-hubby planted this one, actually

4 Banana pepper plants (purchased)
1 Brandywine Tomato plant (free w/flower purchases last week)

Nasturtiums, sunflowers, marigolds and some miscellaneous flower seeds (I think Cosmos, Forget-me-nots, Calendula and Alyssum) in some little "squares" of the garden to encourage good bugs/discourage bad bugs.

Here is a pic of the garden so far.

Not very impressive, since it's "just dirt", lol.  Duncan, our oldest, commented that there were "big spaces" still...and I was feeling the same thing. But, I also realize that once things start growing, things will fill out and I will be thankful for a little space in the garden. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chick Update: May 13, 2012

My daughter, Ivy, home from camping and *finally* I let her hold a chick! :)

We have had a total of 13 chicks hatch out between last Thursday and Saturday.  The last one to hatch is not able to move around, open its eyes, and looks like half of its feathers are missing. :( Unfortunately, it's the way it goes when raising animals: there will be animals that aren't perfect specimens like you might find at your local Tractor Supply. I think we may have to cull that one. :(

Of the 12 that are fluffy and running around, we have 2 that have what I believe to be Wry Neck.  These two chicks have their heads thrown back and it's like they are checking out the ceiling all the time. They *can* set their heads upright (one of them is better at this than the other) but are often seen resting their heads on their backs.  One of them I have observed righting itself and running to the feeder/waterer and eating/drinking. The other one, not so much; s/he is less coordinated and often topples backwards. I was afraid it was blind, but it's not. It's just terribly uncoordinated.

From what I have read, if this is Wry Neck, infant Poly-vi-sol drops without iron should help, as might vitamin E. We went to the store yesterday and I picked up a bottle of Poly-vi-sol. I put a few drops in the water, figuring it wouldn't hurt the other chicks to get some additional vitamins, and I tried to get a drop into the worst-off chick's beak this morning.

I am going to continue checking on the chicks, and dip the worse-off one's bill in the water/food frequently throughout the day.

Part of me wants to do all I can to save these chicks. But the other part of me feels that the best thing to do would be to let nature run its course. Survival of the fittest, and all that, you know?  These chicks are a heritage breed (Light Sussex) and they are bound to have their specific genetic weaknesses. I don't do the breed any favors by coddling a chick that will pass these genes on to the next generation, assuming we use these chicks as breeding stock for our future egg/meat chickens.

Here is a video of the chicks last night. Sorry it's so red: that's the heat lamp causing that.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One More Hatching Video

Thought I would share another video of chicks hatching. This was two of the ones that were hatching around the kids' bedtime. One of the kids and I are talking in the background. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hatching Day 2: May 11, 2012

All day yesterday we had only one chick running around in the incubator. Two of the eggs had the first pip by the afternoon, but there was no more action until bedtime. Perhaps it was too noisy for them and they were too scared to come out?

At any rate, once the kids were put to bed, 2 more chicks hatched out.

When I got up this morning and went down to look, we had 7 chicks total! They are clamoring about in there pretty good, bumping into the other eggs, so I think I will prepare a box to move them into. I was going to wait another day, but these guys are crazy! As soon as they detect movement, they run over to the edge of the incubator where they see us looking in, all giddy and excited. It kind of reminds me of the movie, Independence Day, with all the people at the top of the skyscraper, staring up at the UFO's. LOL

I'll be back later with more pics! :)

Checking out the wall decoration, lol!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hatching Day: May 10, 2012

Today, May 10, is Hatching Day on the calendar. Yesterday I heard a few peeps in the pantry, where the incubator is sitting. Today, I came downstairs to find one very talkative egg with one pip. Soon, we will have at least one Light Sussex chick!

I am using my oldest kid's iPod to take some video.
I will try to post some video through the course of the day. It takes forever to publish to Youtube and I'm afraid I will miss something going on in the incubator, lol! :)

In the meantime, here's a few teaser pics:

First Pip

Chick #1

Chick #1, pose 2

I'll be back later today with an update! :)

Here is the video of the little chick in the pics above, hatching. The noise is the background is us getting the kids around and out the door for school. :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 2012: Groceries

Well, folks, I went to the local grocery and picked up a few things.

S=Sale item

S 2 bags frozen green beans
S 5 bags frozen peas
S 2 bags frozen corn
S 1 bag mixed vegetables (that was all they had! If they'd had broccoli, I would have gotten a lot of it as well.)

4 frozen burritos for hubby

S 1 carton ice cream

2 packages tortillas so hubby could make more burritos/kids would eat bbq pork roast rolled up in them

1 box black tea
S pack of lemon sandwich cookies

Total came to $25.36

Last week's Big Shop left me with $137.45 - 25.36 = $112.09 left for the rest of the month

Yes, I did resort to buying wheat stuff (burritos, tortillas, cookies)....this is harder than it looks! Old habits die hard, I guess.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Amish farm kids don't have the allergy problems we do? Makes me go Hmmm.

I have often come across the supposition that farm kids don't have as many allergies, and that it's our modern pristine environment that is causing kids to have all of these allergy problems.  I haven't subscribed to that train of thought, though; having spent much of my childhood on a farm with plenty of dirt and animals, I still ended up with my allergy problems. I shudder to think of how they could be any worse than they got.

The thought that farm life leads to fewer allergies is based on an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002(citation at the bottom) about children growing up on farms in Switzerland. These kids had fewer allergies, thus leading to the conclusion that a less-than-sterile environment was conducive to a better, more appropriate, immune response.

More recently, there was a study comparing Amish farm kids in the Indianapolis area, farm kids in Switzerland, and non-farm kids in Switzerland. Results showed that the Amish kids had far fewer issues with allergies and asthma than did the Swiss farm kids, who in turn had fewer than the non-farm Swiss kids.

The article I read online on Yahoo News touched on many possible reasons for the health differences between the three groups of kids. Some reasons mentioned include: limited gene pool in the Amish community, positive effects of drinking raw cow's milk, and more time spent outside and in barns due to the low-tech ways.

I would like to add to their speculation that the Amish may not be exposed to Genetically Modified crops, since they grow their own food and use the lower-tech ways. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt the Amish buy into the government-subsidized crops.  They probably don't have Roundup to deal with, either, in their surrounding air, or in their food, and thus their bodies don't have to deal with the repercussions from being around it. 

I would like to see further scientific research as to what exactly each of these population groups eat on a regular basis, and whether that might have some bearing on the health of the populations' immune systems.  My guess would be that the non-farm Swiss families may get some GMO's in their foods(yes, there are GMO's in Europe, but not as prevalent as in the US), the Swiss farms might eat less if they grow much of their food, and the Amish would have very little to none, and that may explain the results of this recent study.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, May 7, 2012

What's Happening on Augsburger Farm: May 2012

This weekend, I went outside and took a pics of what's happening at Augsburger Farm.

The irises are blooming beautifully. They always remind me of my Grandma. :)

Blackberries, wild or not, are blooming all over the place.  Butterflies and a couple bees were at work here.

One of the kitties, Sweet Pea, is contentedly watching the robins hop about on the grass.

Orange Poppies. Short-lived flower, but I love them!

Chives blooming in the  herb garden, with mounds of Oregano behind them, Lemon Balm to the right, and Walking Onions in the back. I really need to get out there and finish up whatever I am going to do in the herb garden this year!

In the main garden, the 5 Color Silverbeets/Chard are coming along. Also, I transplanted some sunflowers and Florellenschluss Lettuce that came up volunteer in the garden. I hope to get the garden planted by the end of next weekend. Hopefully the weather will cooperate!

In case  you're wondering.....I neglected the poor indoor-planted chives and they died. :( So, the outside ones are definitely faring better.

I discovered either some volunteer Zucchini or Butternut Squash coming up. I am trying to decide whether to let it grow, just to see how it turns out, or to get rid of it.  Since I had both types planted in the garden last year, chances are pretty good that this is a cross. They might grow edible squash, or they might not.

And...what my kids tell me is "The King's Moon" was out the other night. They took this pic.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 2012 Menu Planning

Last night and this morning, I sat down and went over what I bought and what I had in the house and made a menu for the month of May. I still have the pork tenderloin in the fridge to do something with, and it's not specifically incorporated into my menu. I have a lot of chicken in the menu, and I might sub some pre-cooked pork meat for chicken on some days. I might also make chili or pulled pork for the weekend.

This week's menu was posted earlier this week over here. I deviated from it a little bit (didn't make No-Bake cookies, had a fresh salad instead of Tailgate Salad, and made Dahl on Weds night for those who didn't want sandwiches--and hubby took leftover Dahl to work the next day)

Breakfasts and Lunches will generally stay the same as I posted earlier.

Snacks will consist of the following, in many combinations:
  • Apples+protein (nut butter, nuts, cheese)
  • Carrots/Celery sticks with Hummus
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Frozen Fruit
  • Frozen Veggies (son #1 loves to eat frozen peas/peas and carrots)
  • Watermelon
  • Nachos w/grated cheese
  • Chips and Salsa/bean dip/hummus
  • Cheese Stick
  • Pudding cups
  • Rice Snacks
  • Possibly chips/cheese curls as a treat

And if/when I get around to making them...
  • Granola Bars
  • Cookies (oatmeal chocolate chip? No-Bake?)
  • Fruit Smoothies/Healthier Orange Drink (w/Kefir)

May 2012 Week 2 Dinners:
  • Taco Salad (chopped lettuce, seasoned browned beef, onions, sour cream, black or refried beans, broken up tortilla chips)
  • Colorful Chicken Casserole (new recipe I am going to try making GF, from Taste of Home: Freezer Pleasers), fried or mashed potatoes, Romaine Salad
  • Tuna Salad, Chips, Apples
  • Chicken Tenderloins, Sauteed Green Beans, Rice?, Veggie Tray/Salad
  • Mexican Layered Dip and Tortilla Chips
May 2012 Week 3 Dinners:
  • Crockpot Mac 'n Cheese (or Quinoa 'n Cheese?), nitrate free hot dogs, Veggie tray/Salad
  • Chicken Enchiladas, Salad, veggie
  • Tuna Salad, Chips, Apples
  • Hamburgers, Homemade Fries, Tailgate Salad
  • Pizza (frozen for the family, homemade GF for myself)

May 2012 Week 4 Dinners:
  • Stir-fry Chicken, Veggies, Rice
  • Baked Beans (cold?), Cornbread
  • Hamburger Stroganoff (rice or noodles) with mushrooms, Salad
  • Roasted Chicken, Green beans, Salad/Veg tray
  • Chicken Salad, Chips, Apples
May 2012 Week 5 Dinners:
  • Hamburgers, Tailgate Salad, Chips
  • Chicken Enchiladas, Salad, Veggie
  • Dahl over Rice
  • Creamy Chicken 'n Mushrooms (another new recipe I am going to try making GF, from Taste of Home: Freezer Pleasers), Salad

I am sure I will deviate from my plan/switch it up a bit, but at least I know that I have most all of the makings for the above menu in the house (minus some veggies that I still need to get!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 2012 Groceries: The Big Shop

It's the beginning of the month of May, and my children have been asking--make that begging--me to go to the grocery store.
As you know, in response to going over my grocery budget last month, I was holding off from going to the store and working on eating out of the freezer and pantry.

My kids thought they were going to die if they had to eat another apple or carrot or celery stick, and it just so happened that I found a good block of time and the gumption to do The Big Shop today.

So I did.

Last night I roughed out a menu and a grocery list. My focus this month is Gluten Free for myself and Wheat-light for the rest of the family.  I "gave" a little in some of my purchases, in that I know there are GMO's in the oils in the chips and some of the nuts(those I didn't realize until I got home--grabbed a different bag than my others).

I went to Aldi and Kroger and it took me about 4 hours! (and I'm plumb tuckered out!)

Here's what I got:


2 whole chickens
6 cans Tuna

3 bags apples
10 lb bag potatoes
2 bags onions
red onions
4 cucumbers
2 boxes mushrooms
box Artisan lettuce
2 pks Romaine hearts
small pack fresh blueberries

2 bags frozen extra fine green beans

2 bags frozen blueberries
2 bags frozen peaches
1 bag frozen mixed berries
1 bag frozen mixed fruit

2 pkg sliced cheese
3 pkg cheese sticks
10 8 oz blocks cheese(3 kinds)
Babybel cheese
2 rounds "cheese wedges"

2 lbs butter

2 boxes OF Oats

2 cans refried beans
6 cans black beans
10 cans mushrooms
5 cans black olives
2 Salsa
4 cans corn
1 jar Dill Pickles
2 cans peas

1 can cashews
3 bags almonds
Sunflower seeds
2 jars dry roasted peanuts
2 bags craisins
1 bag dried cherries

2 pkg corn tortillas

3 bags white tortilla chips
1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
Cheese Curls
"Fritos" (for chili/taco salad)
3 bags potato chips-regular, sweet potato chips, sour cream and onion chips (for the weekly "sandwich night")
Rice Snacks

4 pkg pudding cups (2 vanilla, 2 chocolate)
1 pkg Original Beef Jerky

2 deli style pizzas--for Family Movie Night--this way I can put more effort into MY GF Pizza and the family will be thrilled for something different!

And most importantly--yummy European Chocolate! ;)

Total came to: $191.10

Kroger S=Sale

Nitrate-free hot dogs
2 Nitrate-free bacon
S 2 bags frozen Chicken Tenderloins
Beef patties (I had passed up the Aldi's, thinking Kroger's would be from the luck. Theirs are from US, Mexico, Australia too...will have to keep an eye out for prefrozen burgers that are from the USA)
2 Hormel nitrate-free lunchmeats

S 4 jars Natural Peanut Butter

2 Lundberg Brown Rice

2 boxes Celestial Seasonings Tea
S 15 Gatorades for hubby
3 Metromint Chocolate Mint drinks for me

S Whole Watermelon

2 GF Cream of Chicken Soup

Daisy Sour Cream
8 (yes, 8--and I did check the expiration dates!) half-gallons Organic Pastured-Cow milk.

King Arthur Gluten-free flour (wanted to seek out a different brand with more protein and less starch, but I was tuckered out at this point and the groceries in the car were thawing...)

Total came to: $121.45

Total spent today: $312.55
Budget: $450 - $312.55 = $137.45 left for the month

In purchasing the milk at Kroger, rather than the more-local health food store, I saved $10, which almost maybe pays for the amount of gas I used to drive there to get all these groceries.  Plus I was able to save, I am sure, in buying things at Aldi as opposed to buying similar things at the more-local-to-me store.

The local grocery has frozen veggies on sale for $1/lb bag, and I plan on going there and stocking up a bit on those. And maybe I will get some frozen orange juice concentrate to use in making Healthier Morning Orange Drink.
Also, I forgot to get/check out the price on frozen burritos for dh at Aldi....and Kroger wanted like $3.89 for just 8 burrito-size tortillas--at that price, it's cheaper to just get the El Monterrey family pack of frozen burritos! I'd make my own tortillas, but I can never get them rolled out to that size, and now that I am GF I don't want constant contact w/working with the dough.....hence buying them.

I can foresee needing to get the following from the health food store in a week or two: eggs, local ground beef, Udi's bread, tea, GF pasta...maybe coconut oil

Now to nail down the menu...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 2012 Menu Planning

Since I went way over my grocery budget last month, and there's almost 5 weeks in the month of May (gasp!), I decided that this week is the perfect time to eat out of the freezer and pantry and only get bare necessities from the store.  I would like to have cleaned out, defrosted freezers as we enter this new season, and hopefully I will use up those things that need using up!

Here's the menu options for this week:

Breakfasts: Eggs, bacon, toast(with jam, nut butter, cinnamon sugar), Grits with pastured butter, Healthier Morning Orange Drink (we're down to using no additional sugar!), cereal, Homemade Gluten Free Granola, leftovers (aka. dinner for breakfast-to break us into eating gluten-free and not having to buy a lot of GF breakfast cereals and such)

Lunches: Kids have school lunch, hubby and I generally eat leftovers
Snacks: Granola bars(homemade?), apples(nut butter), carrots(hummus), frozen veggies, popcorn, homemade cookies,
Desserts: Elderberry Cobbler, Rhubarb Cobbler, Zucchini Brownies

Monday: Chicken nuggets/GF chicken tenders, Ore Ida Onion Tater Tots, Carrot and Celery sticks, Romaine salad
(I wimped out and went with these because I was out trying to get the grass mowed before the thunderstorms came.)

Tuesday: Spaghetti, using Tinkyada rice spaghetti noodles. I was thinking about doing something along the lines of Gluten Free Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, only making it more Italian-ish than Mexican since I have Zucchini Pesto, onion/peppers, and Mozz/Parm cheese in the freezer and some mushrooms/peppers in the fridge to use up.  If I don't use chicken, I will likely serve cottage cheese as a side for additional protein.

Wednesday: Nut Butter Sandwiches, Apple Slices, No-Bake Cookies

Thursday: Chicken thighs(baked, basted w/bbq sauce?), Cauliflower, Tailgate Salad, rice?

Friday: Pizza...will have to see what I can dream up. I might go with wheat crust on this one for the family! (GF for myself)

Saturday: Beans in the crockpot, GF Cornbread OR Dahl Soup

Some additional ideas:

On my shopping list:

I am working on a Wheat-free Menu and Grocery List this week as well.I want to do a Big Shop next week and stock up on a lot of things and don't want to forget anything!