Monday, September 28, 2015

GF Menu Plan

It's going to be a crazy busy week!  I have DD#1s birthday on Friday night, still need to can 50# pears and make plum sauce, too.  All 4 kids have dentist appointments, I have my 36 week appointment, a haircut, and a focus group.  This all on to of our normal school and therapy commitments.  Eek!

My 5 year old daughter is my kitchen cooking helper this week so she wasn't much help with the menu. Mostly she just wants pizza and mac'n'cheese.  Lol.

Monday - pbj, fruit (hot dog for DD#2)
Tuesday - mac'n'cheese
Wednesday - nachos
Thursday - sandwiches
Friday - Waffles
Saturday - skillet
Sunday - leftovers

Monday - Pancakes & sausage
Tuesday - Butternut Squash soup
Wednesday - Pulled Pork
Thursday - Beef Stew
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - mac'n'cheese
Sunday - smoothies & popcorn


2015 Groceries Week 39 - $151.55

Not too bad this week.

I went to QFC for a couple things and ended up spending $16.11.  No photo this time, but it was creamer, candy, bananas, cucumbers, Doritos, 10# bag of potatoes, & a dozen clearance donuts.

I went to Fred Meyer mid-week looking at area rugs.  I ended up picking up a sweet potato and 2 cans I found in the clearance bin - kidney beans and green chilies.  I spent $2.70.

Fred Meyer again for lots of creamer, replenishing the milk and picking up some other stuff I found reasonable prices on.  I spent $70.80.

One MORE run to Costco for stuff I wanted to our Bible study.  I bought chips, cheese, string cheese, organic sugar, organic GF flour, and organic olive oil.  I spent $61.94.

Total Spending Week 39: $151.55
Total 2015 year-to-date: $4,446.63
Weekly Average: $114.02


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cleaning the Refrigerator

Years ago I had a cleaning schedule with tasks assigned by frequency.  There were daily, weekly, every-other-weekly, monthly, et c. tasks.  It was so nice and organized!  But as the kids increased the ability to keep up with that schedule diminished and my poor house has suffered!

Our fridge has been one of the casualties.  I used to clean it every couple of months but now I just manage to clean it when we have been out of town and come home to a nearly empty fridge.  It takes so much less time to clean when it's already mostly emptied of food.

This round I even cleaned over a course of several days.  I did one shelf the first night home, the next shelf and a drawer the next day, then another drawer, then the last shelf etc.  It was slow, but it was effective.  Hooray!

This nasty pool of something had been sitting in the bottom of the fridge for months and I was so happy to finally not have to look at it every time I got something out of the bottom drawer.  Eww.

Now the shelves and drawers are all clean in the fridge, but I didn't make it to the freezer.  I still call this one a victory since it had been waiting so long.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Canning Applesauce

Oh Goodness, I don't even have time write this blog post and here I am.

I was supposed to get my bigs up about 20 minutes ago, but just wanted to throw a little something onto my poor, neglected blog.

We got home from our Disneyland trip 11 days ago and I have been ridiculously busy.  I have canned something like 160 or 170 pounds of apples, frozen 20ish pounds of concord grapes, scrubbed my fridge (hooray!), rearranged my living room, went to our first American Heritage Girls meeting, and had two full weeks of homeschool curriculum including 14 weekly classes at co-op and our Classical Conversations program.  I am beat!  Like, seriously exhausted.  And I have a 10-year-old slumber party to plan for next weekend, 50 pounds of pears still sitting in my kitchen, a brown grocery bag of plums to process, and a nursery that is still a huge mess.  REALLY trying to focus on progress instead of what isn't done yet.

Here's our first batch of apples: The 44ish pounds I bought before our 2 week jaunt out of town and a few Honeycrisp I found on clearance as soon as we got home.
The Saturday morning we were making applesauce with these, a good friend dropped off another 30ish pounds so we just kept going.

 Finished, all the apples made 36 quarts.

And these 88 pounds were still waiting . . .

I had thought to do them on Sunday, but I was so swollen on Sunday from the marathon Saturday I just couldn't make myself do it again.

Instead we did about 30 pounds on Monday.  My older girls finished up a couple of pots before bed while I dashed off to accountability.  This is what I found when I got home: "Dear Mom, It over flode. We clend it up."  How's that for sweetness?  They did a good job cleaning up, too.  I only found a big blob under the mixer, but they got the rest.

We did a little bit more on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then we started boiling jars.  These 88 pounds of organic galas made another 35 quarts.  I didn't imagine we'd split the apples so evenly, but the volume came out almost exactly in half.  Weird.

I had a few interesting things happen with the second round.  I broke a jar (bottom cracked and fell out) which usually happens at least once a year.  I had two seals buckle upward - see photo - and that was new for me.  Any thoughts?  And I had some jars that leaked out sauce while they boiled, but eventually sealed.  Did I just not tighten down enough?  I don't know.

I wish I could write more, but I have to get kiddos up or I'll pay for it the rest of the day.  Maybe I'll be able to post about the grapes & fridge another day.  We'll see.  

Love, Katie

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 38 - $330.05

Yikes!  I spent a huge amount this week!

Monday afternoon my friend brought over the no spray Packham Triumph pears she'd pick up for me while I was out of town.  It was $60 for 50#.

Monday night I went to Fred Meyer for some essentials.  I ended up finding some clearance honeycrisp apples and fresh mozzarella - yay!  Otherwise, just normal stuff at my normal prices.  I spent $34.16.

Tuesday afternoon I stopped by a girlfriend's house to pick some of her Concord grapes.  They were abundant and smelled amazing!  I brought home over 20 pounds.

Thursday I picked up 20 boxes of organically grown apples for myself and 7 friends.  My own portion was 88 pounds of gala for $66.00.

Thursday afternoon I took the girls to Costco for more e basics.  Tortilla chips, organic mac'n'cheese, eggs, organic brown rice, GF pizza, a regular pizza (for dinner), tortillas, string cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese were all on the list.  There was a discipline issue so we had to leave before I picked up carrots, cucumbers, and fruit.  I spent $93.96.

Saturday afternoon I made it to County Market in time to use my $10/$50 coupon.  My total was $50.12 before my coupon making everything just about exactly 20% off.  Organic milk was $4.80/gallon, Yogurt worked out to $0.32/cup. 1# lunchmeat was $1.60, pork loin was $1.59/lb, pudding was $0.80, 5# onions were $2.39.  Everything totalled $40.12.

Finally I spent $35.81 last night at Fred Meyer.  I had wanted to get back all week for some sale stuff and then I couldn't lay hands on my grocery ad!  I got creamer, cheese, the carrots I missed at Costco, some GF ice cream cones, and a clearance deli chicken (for butternut squash soup).  DH was with me and because cereal was on sale he picked out a couple treats for himself for just $1.00 each.

Total Week 38: $330.05
Year-to-Date Total: $4,295.08
Weekly Average: $113.03

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

No Time to Nest!

It's only 5 weeks until this little guy arrives and I am starting to freak out a little. I feel like my house is really unprepared and I don't have time to do any of the projects I planned.

So I prayed this morning and I'm just going to keep praying.  I'm wanting to hold my plans with an open hand and just be thankful for what I can accomplish.

I currently have 50 pounds of apples in my fridge, 40 pounds of organic pears at my dining room table, and several plastic grocery sacks of concord grapes in the car (unweighed).  I also buying 66 pounds of organic apples Thursday and my amazing friend who always shares apples & plums with me is also bringing me some this week.  Can you see why I'm kind of freaking out?

Oh, I also have a 9-year-old asking daily for me to send her birthday party evite, our first week of school rolling hard, and a basement that's still under construction.  Gah!  

Anyway - I poked and prodded at the living room today so I could feel like I was doing Something.  A little rearranged furniture goes a long way.  And I have one room in my house that is completely clean including under the furniture vacuuming and dusting.  Yay!

Next up: Fill holes and touch up paint that moving the furniture made really obvious.

Also tomorrow I'll try to send DD#4's evite for a big check off the list.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Menu Plan - Gluten Free

It's a busy week.  We're starting school full speed and I'm trying to keep the meals simple until we settle into the new routine.  DD#1 is the kitchen cooking helper this week so she helped plan the menu, too.

Monday - Enchilada Casserole (have all ingredients)
Tuesday - Chicken Teriyaki/Rice
Wednesday - Mexican Dip (have all ingredients & can add tomatoes)
Thursday - Pork Chops & Zucchini Crisps (uses some zucchini)
Friday - Butternut Squash Soup (uses some squash)
Saturday - Leftovers (canning applesauce all day - need an easy dinner)
Sunday - Popcorn & Smoothies

Monday - Chicken, Cucumbers, Cookies (packed lunch)
Tuesday - Pancakes
Wednesday - Pizza (need to buy mozzarella, bread flour but have GF dough in freezer )
Thursday - Leftover Mexican Dip (packed lunch)
Friday - Finger Food Lunch
Saturday - Gluten Free Mac'n'Cheese Pie (in freezer)
Sunday - Taco Salad (crockpot)

I didn't want to have too much shopping this week - again, with school - and I have a lot of canning to do over the weekend.

Thankful I have an older, helpful kiddo on cooking duty this week.  =)


Sunday, September 13, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 37 - $5.43

Phew!  We're finally home from a 15 day vacation!  We did great our second week on NOT buying a lot of groceries because I was prepared from the week before and even had brought a lot from home for packing travel lunches.

I picked up eggs and bananas at Target one day.  We had gone to Target for a couple birthday items since DD#4 was having a birthday this week.  I had some bacon so thought the eggs would make a more 'special' breakfast than the cereal they'd been having for the whole road trip.  And we needed just a little fruit to tide us over for the rest of the trip (we had cantaloupe and watermelon from last week, too).   This was $5.43!  The eggs were a ridiculous $3.69 and bananas were $0.29 each.

On the long drive home we stopped at my aunt & uncle's house to sleep over.  They were out of town, but graciously offered their home.  I was going to water her plants and noticed her garden was overflowing with veggies so I picked lots for her and filled her fridge.  She said to help myself so I brought home all this: one huge zucchini, two huge butternut squash, an acorn squash, three cucumbers that are overripe, and any of the tomatoes that had splits or wouldn't last in her fridge for the two more weeks my aunt is gone.

Surprisingly, I didn't do any other shopping this week.  Next week will be a huge one - I have 44 pounds of pears and 75 pounds of apples to pick up, not to mention the usual milk, bananas, & veggies that need to be replenished after our long trip using everything up!

Total Week 37: $5.43
Total Year-to-Date 2015: $3,965,03
Weekly Average: $107.16

Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 36 - $206.52

We've been out of town so I am late posting for week 36, but I sure did shop while I was gone!  These are mostly bargains from while I was at my Mother-in-Law's house.

First was a quick trip to Von's, the only store I know how to get to near her house.  I picked up tortilla chips, organic milk, a head of lettuce, and a half price deli pizza for $13.91.

The next day DH was amazing and went to the store FOR me as the sales were ending that day.  He got my whole list and some soda for himself for $29.92.  He even used all my coupons!

The new Von's ad came out and I made a big list to combine the sale with coupons and buy some dinner items.  It was a huge amount of stuff (inlcuding junk food I don't normally buy) for $77.40.  I was so excited to see new packaging on the Cheerios that said GF!  And later in the week I saw TV commercials advertising that Cheerios were now GF!  Whoo hoo.  I also picked up GF Macaroni & Cheese with a $1.00/2 peelie so each box was only $2.69.  I got 7 bottles of salad dressing for varying prices, all under $1.00.  I got another gallon of milk, some cookies and hostess cakes (ugh!), applesauce, chicken breast, drumsticks for $.50/lb, crackers, sour cream & bacon (for potato soup), lettuce, bell peppers & tortillas for fajitas, hot dogs, cantaloupe, brownie mix, GF minute rice (FREE after coupon), Capri-Sun, a 2# brick of cheese & sliced cheeses (a big treat that I accidentally left at my MIL's).

At the end of the week we left my MIL's to join my family at a timeshare near Disneyland.  I had tried to plan ahead for a big dinner I was making for the whole group, lunches for at Disneyland, and breakfasts at the timeshare, too.  Unfortunately there was a lack of communication with DH about the time I would need to prepare the dinner and the heat was terrible at my MIL's so I felt bad about heating up her kitchen with a lot of cooking.  Long story short I ended up buying pizzas at Costco to feed the big group (13 adults, 10 kids, 2 babies).  I also bought GF taquitos as a dinner alternative, a watermelon, a big package of lettuce, cucumbers, organic milk, and some chicken nuggets at Costco.  I spent $85.29 there.  Yeesh!

It was a big week.

Week 36 total: $206.52
Year-to-date 2015 total: $3,959.60
Weekly Average: $109.99

Week 37 should be smaller as I barely shopped again while we were still out of town.  But week 38 will be big with a lot of planned produce purchases for canning.

Love, Katie