Thursday, September 19, 2013

Menu Planning

after living and learning for several years, I've learned that in order to get meals on the table that my family will eat AND to get groceries at the store that actually go into those meals that it is best for me to sit down, look at our week's schedule and plan out a menu.

I've also learned that for us it is helpful for me to make "plan-overs" where instead of cooking a meal each day, I make a double batch on my cook day and then we eat what's left-over on the next day.  Now that our life is back into theater mode I TRY to plan it so that the left-over day is on a day where we are busy so that I don't have to figure out dinner and rely on "PizzaGuy Pizza"* too much.

Recently when trying to figure out what meals to plan out a friend told me how she has a rotating menu of the same 17 meals that she uses.  That idea seemed good to me.  And it was helpful that I already had from many years ago come up with a similar list only I hadn't put it into a rotation.  I had just wrote out all the meals from each protein that we typically eat.  Which got me thinking about this video, but of course my pickies aren't going to eat items from a Chinese take out menu.  lol

So after my friend made the suggestion, I took all of our list and started putting it into a rotation.  I tried to organize it so that we weren't having silly mix ups like barbeque chicken and barbeque pork in the same week because certain family members would get upset.  Here's my list...

Pork Roast
Chicken tortillia soup
Beef Stew
Ham & Cheesy Potatoes
Chicken "stir-fry"
Beef Stroganoff
bbq pork
Creamy Chicken w rice
Sloppy Joes
Steak & Potatoes
Ham & Mac
Chicken Fingers
beef soup
kaluah pig
Salsa Chicken
Beef Kabobs
Pulled Pork Roast
Chicken Alfredo
Barbecue Ribs
Pork Chops
Breaded Chicken
meatball soup
Italian roast
salsa pork
Barbecue Chicken
Pot Roast
Italian Chicken
Ham & Potatoe Soup

Chicken Salad
Chicken w/ rice soup
For now I don't intend on forcing myself to stick ridgidly to the list.  I'll just take 5 or so meals to plan out my week and put them in where they fit best.  I also don't plan to be making hot soups and stews over the summer months...those might get converted to salads or grilling.

I only started this recently (as in this week's grocery shopping).  I only needed to purchase one meat item to make it work as I had already stocked up on the rest of what I needed before.  YAY!  Nice to go to the store and only need milk.  lol

I'm hoping this makes things much easier.  We'll see.

*many years ago Darly got a Barbie doll house that had a sound chip in it.  Two of the phrases on the chip refer to the Barbie family ordering from PizzaGuy Pizza.  So now our family's running joke is to call up dad at work and request PizzaGuy Pizza.  Which means he stops by Little Cesars' Pizza on the way home from work.

Monday, September 16, 2013


While it looks very lovely against my blue walls, I'll be moving this upstairs.  It isn't rare, but it appears to work and it's over 100 years old.  The table is in very good shape although the key is missing.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Look-it what I did! :D

This is my first ever attempt at canning anything and TA DAH!!!  Success!

So I started by taking the 4 gallon sized bags of tomatoes in my freezer and washing them (as I didn't wash them before freezing).  Then I cut them in half and roasted them in the oven for an hour.

After that I ran them through my food mill, that removed the skins and some of the seeds.  If you look closely at my jars, you might notice there are some seeds in my sauce...but I'm not worried about that.

Then I slow cooked the sauce overnight so it could reduce...there is a LOT of water in tomatoes.

This morning I heated my jars and got ready.  I put the sauce in the heated jars, added lemon juice and the lids and put them in my pressure canner (yes you can just water bath tomatoes, but I needed to try out the pressure canner and I've heard that you can get an off taste with water bath.  I wouldn't know as I've never canned anything.)

So then I followed the directions for pressure canning that came with my canner, and also checked out my county extension office since we're at altitude.  That meant don't bother trying the lower pressure...go full force for 15 lbs.

I went ahead and added 5 min to the processing time as it's better to overprocess than under.  When it was done, I shut off the stove and just let it sit all day to cool.  In fact I didn't even check the seals until we got home at 9pm and I was done with the heat at around noon!  I was a bit worried that if one didn't seal then I would end up with lost sauce, so I'm so glad it worked.

As you can see for my 4 bags of tomatoes, I only got 3 quarts...but that isn't quite right.  I actually got another 3/4 of a jar of sauce (and I had some sauce for my lunch while I was making it).  So I have some more tomatoes that I'll add to the other jar and I may water bath process it, just so I can learn it and then see if I can tell any difference.

Day book


Outside my window...It’s still raining.  Something was banging against the house which is why I’m up so early.  Probably a good thing as the clouds have eaten the sun.

I am thinking... Well I woke up thinking about costumes and as I write this I’m still thinking about them.

I am thankful... That we live so high up that flooding won’t be an issue for us but worried about others affected by it.

In the kitchen...  There’s a crockpot of tomato sauce waiting for me to attempt to can it.

I am wearing... pajamas

I am creating... ideas and lists

I am going... to rehearsal later to fit the kids into costumes

I am wondering... when I’ll get the emailed list I was promised last night for more characters in the show

I am reading... I just finished Prairie Rose…might have to look for Prairie Fire

I am hoping... to take pictures of the kids in costumes so the director can approve of them sooner than Oct 19

I am looking forward to... what God has in store with all this rain

I am learning… I’m sure there’s something.  Brain not fully engaged yet.

Around the house...something smells bad

I am pondering... hopefully the smell is an easy fix

A favorite quote for today... it’s too early for quotes

One of my favorite things... this bathrobe.  Oh and coffee

A few plans for the rest of the week:  costumes, more costumes, the observatory (probably a rainy night tour) and then more costumes.

A peek into my day... Once I get done with my morning chores, I’ll start canning that tomato sauce and then head to the basement to work on the costumes.

diet update: down 15 lbs since the beginning of my saga.  I still think 5 more might be good, although they're tougher to move now.  I'm adding carbs back in small amounts, but tacos with rice can't be resisted.  the rice was thai black rice which really does NOT go with tacos, but it tastes good.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Let sleeping dogs lie

recently 2 different people I know posted online requests looking for homes for very hard to place animals. 

 In both cases the animals in question are rescued feral animals.  In both cases the animals are going to need some extensive foster care in order for them to even attempt to be pets.  In both cases the rescuer can not take on keeping the animals themselves.  And while I love animals, I question why.

I do know in both situations that the lives of the animals were at the least going to be considerably shortened since the animals had to fend for themselves (something they were used to doing)...and at the most the animals could loose their lives rather quickly due to humans.  In both cases the animals were being abused and in cultures where animals as pets isn't the same as what we are used to here.

I know that had I been in the same situation I would have been equally heartbroken about how these poor animals were living.  However, I would like to think that I would be more realistic about the chances for these animals.

Yet, the animals were brought here.  Where there are an over abundance of animals for adoption who have way fewer issues.  Animals who are used to humans, are housebroken and who need good homes as well.

I guess the best I can hope for in both cases is that the animals go to good patient foster care.  sigh

Perhaps I feel this way because in the past I did rescue wild rabbits.  They were never completely tame.  Left in the wild these rabbits would have died quickly (silly momma rabbit had her babies in my dog's back yard!)  In my care the rabbits lived a long time for wild rabbits, but alas they considered us stoopid humans nothing more than care takers. 

And that perhaps is what I should take away from this... we are merely stoopid humans.