Thursday, September 29, 2016

Festive Friday

I promised you a non-food gift today and I am being true to my word.  Today we are making bath bombs, but these are slightly different from the usual ones.  These have coconut oil and they leave your skin feeling incredibly soft and smooth after a very relaxing soak.  I say this like I languish in the tub which could not be further from the truth, but for those who do love a good long soak these are fantastic. For the record I made these this morning (Thursday) and my hands are still soft and silky feeling tonight.

Extra large mixing bowl
small glass bowl
Wire whisk
2 cups baking soda
1 cup epsom's salt
1 cup + 3 tablespoons citric acid
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tablespoons kaolin clay (optional, I used it because I had some to use for another project)
3 tablespoons lavender buds (optional, but they are so pretty)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
12 drops lavender essential oil
dropper or syringe

In a large mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients.

Then whisk very well until it looks like this.

In the small glass bowl mix the coconut oil and the essential oil. Slowly add it to the dry ingredients mixing it well.

Fill a dropper or syringe with water and add it a few drops at a time. mixing immediately after each addition.  (If you add it all at once it will activate the citric acid/baking soda mix and the chemical reaction will begin.) Continue adding water and mixing, and adding water and mixing until the mixture feels like damp sand and holds together when pressed in your hand. It is best to go ahead and commit to mixing with your hands at this point.  Use gloves if you would like, but it does nothing to my hands to mix it bare handed. In fact with the coconut oil in it my hands still feel silky hours after mixing it.

Loosely scoop mixture into both halves of your mold. (I have small bomb molds slightly larger than a golf ball  but you can use the clear plastic Christmas ornaments you find at places like Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  They vary in size, but I would not use any larger than the medium size ball) press both halves together tightly, take a metal spoon and tap on the top of 1 half of the mold, remove that half.

Holding the released part in your hand turn it over and tap on the top of the second half.  remove that mold also. Run your nail or a piece of stiff paper around the seam to even the ball up. (I accidentally deleted this photo.  Sorry!)

Place it it on a baking sheet or dish lined with absorbent paper. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Continue until all the mixture has been molded and released. This batch made 22 of the small bombs, and each bath requires just 1 bomb.

When dry wrap each ball in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container until you are ready to pack them for a gift.

A long time ago I ordered these bags from Amazon*.  I had no idea what I was ever going to do with them, and now I know.  They make perfect bags for 2 baths worth of bath bombs.

Or fill a lidded glass candy jar with them for a more impressive gift (And yes I know this is a pumpkin.  It is the only lidded glass I have here tonight)

So what are you waiting for? Be The Bomb and make some bombs

* I have no affiliation with Amazon or any of their sellers.  I just happened to buy this particular product, which had been totally useless until right now!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Week 5 50 Buck Challenge

I miss going out to eat.  I mean, I really do miss it!  Before doing this challenge we ate out twice a week, once during the early part of the week and again on Friday night.  This challenge has altered our dedicated date night substantially.  Instead we have been having a drink on the deck then listening to jazz.  Nice, but a very different night.  I think we need some out of the house activity and for us just about any out of the house night time activity starts with dinner out.

Book club was Wednesday and  as we have all gotten older and decided we no longer wanted to be bound to hosting it at our homes and cooking meals. Now about half the time we go out to eat and everyone buys their own, with the "host" buying an appetizer for the table.  It is the first time in a month I had been to an actual restaurant  and it was fabulous. On Thursday TheHub suggested we go out again.  We belong to a place that has a monthly food purchase minimum we have to pay whether we use it or not.  Thursday was the only night that would actually work for us once we realized September is just about over. (Where did this month go?) So naturally we went, and I loved every second of it. (For the record, Wayne, the bartender makes the best martini in town)

The Shopping
Piggly Wiggly
Pork butt 1.49 lb.  3.78
Ground chuck*  2.99 lb. 3.15 (beware a nerd with a digital scale and calculator)
Cauliflower 1.99  x2 3.98
Broccoli crowns 1.67
Celery .99
Milk .01 gallon w/coupon and 10 dollar purchase
Lettuce .99
Potatoes 4 lb. 1.69
Ice cream 4.50 (indulgence item)
Bacon 24 oz. 3.99 (Did we need this? No! Want it? Yes!)
Chicken 1.99 lb. 3.93
Cornmeal 1.25
Frozen lady peas* .89
Frozen collards .89

Mushrooms .69 x4  2.76
Cucumbers .25 x3 .75
Cheese 1.89
Cheese crackers 1.49
Big Dipper Chips 1.59 (indulgence item for game day)
Chocolate milk 1.59
Garlic .69
Bread .95
Eggs .69 x 2  1.38
Tomatoes .79
Limes .99
Onion snack rings .79 (indulgence item clearance aisle)

grrrr...TheHub ran in to pick up 1 non-food item.  I made the mistake of sitting in the car
Bologna (WTH??? We never get deli bologna, in fact we never get bologna ) 7.34 lb.    2.55
Chocolate syrup 1.99 (unexpected item to go with the luxury ice cream)

Enough green beans to equal about a half a cup cooked
Okra 8 pods
I am assigning no monetary value to these because there were so few.

Week total 50.02

The Meals
Wednesday coffee (had class so no time for breakfast)
Thursday coffee, toast
Friday coffee, banana muffin and a glass of milk.
Saturday coffee, grits, chocolate milk (TheHub)
Sunday milk, cereal, (TheHub bacon sandwich)
Monday dutch baby pancake (thanks, Rhonda!) coffee
Tuesday cereal, coffee

Wednesday leftover taco fixings (lettuce, tomatoes and onions as a salad)
Thursday  forgettable (regretable?) leftovers. I ate something but don't remember what it was
Friday  tomato slices, cucumber slices,  green beans, toast and cheese
Saturday leftover chicken thigh, salad stuff (TheHub went to the ballgame. Prepaid meal deal there)
Sunday fried bologna sandwiches, lemonade
Monday 2 mandarins, leftover pork butt, cucumbers, cheese crackers
Tuesday Volunteering at IP. No time for lunch

Wednesday out to eat for bookclub. TheHub worked later than usual and grabbed something to eat.
Thursday  Have a monthly minimum at a place we belong (Use it or lose it, so we ate out)
Friday tomatoes, onions and okra, grilled chicken thighs
Saturday smoked pork butt, potato salad, coleslaw
Sunday grilled hamburger w/grilled onions and mushrooms (leftover buns) sliced tomatoes, cuke spears
Monday sauteed chicken breasts with mushrooms, cauliflower "stuffing" leftover coleslaw
Tuesday lady peas, collard greens, cornbread

kefir dip with assorted raw veggies, oatmeal cookies,  mandarins, the weird and cheap hot onion ring things, popcorn, ice cream

What did I bake?
oatmeal cookies, cornbread, cauliflower stuffing

Whats leftover?
broccoli crowns, 1 whole head cauliflower + about 1/4 of the other, 2 cucumbers, 3 tomatoes, most of the head of lettuce, carrots, couple of mandarins, 2 whole bell peppers and a part of a third,1 whole gallon milk, 2 dozen eggs, Almost 1 pound pork butt (cooked and frozen) 3 chicken breasts from this weeks purchase, 3 chicken breasts from last weeks purchase (all frozen) , 4ish ounces sharp cheddar, 1/2 pan cauliflower stuffing, entire bag of Frito knockoffs.

What did I run out of?
mayonnaise, fruit except the couple of mandarins, cheese crackers

* Stuff I had in the freezer that I applied the current sale price to based on the actual store indicated in the purchase column.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Festive Friday Week 2

Today's post is a little weird, but still a very fun and inexpensive way to share a little Christmas love. I have given these as hostess gifts, housewarming gifts, teacher's gifts, in fact I have given them to anyone I thought needed a touch of whimsy with a little remembrance.

Yesterday I bought 4 cartons of mushrooms from Aldi, so today as I was processing them I had these mushroom cartons left over and it did become the inspiration for todays post.

Items needed
Mushroom carton or small box or basket
3 egg whites
4 tablespoons sugar
pastry bag or plastic bag with one corner cut off
parchment paper
baking sheet
chocolate bits for melting (I did not measure these because I have a mug I keep in a plastic bag in the freezer.  Whenever I need to dip something I pull it out and melt it. You are smart people and you can guesstimate, maybe 1/4-1/2 cup)
wire cake rack
cocoa powder
Ribbon or raffia (optional)
Plastic wrap (optional)
Fabric for lining the container (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Beat the egg whites until they are foamy.  gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  (I forgot to take a picture of the egg whites holding peaks, sorry!) Put the egg white mixture into a pastry bag or plastic bag with one end snipped off. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.  Pipe stems about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long on the sheet and then make button caps. Just put the tip on the baking sheet, start pressing out the meringue and pull the bag up.  It will automatically form a cap for the mushroom. Remember to make more than you think you will need. You will lose some to breakage.

  Pop them in the oven and just leave them alone for at least an hour.  You really just want all the moisture to dry out, with the meringue remaining as white as possible.  When they are nicely dry remove the pan from the oven and begin the process of carefully peeling the stems and caps from the paper. Like I said before some will break.  It's ok and that is why you made extras to begin with.

At this point I take a sharp knife and make a small hollow in the underside of the caps. (Just a divot really)

Melt some chocolate bits either in the microwave or in a double boiler until smooth.  Using a small knife (I use a little canapé' knife for this) spread a thin coating of chocolate on the underside of the mushroom cap then dip the tip of one end of the stem into the melted chocolate.  Attach the two pieces in the divot, holding them long enough for a bond to form. Put them on a paper towel , a plate or wire rack cap side down to cool.  When the chocolate has hardened, place them in your chosen container dust them with cocoa powder, decorate and give them away.  If you are waiting more than a day  to give them away you need to store the meringues in an airtight container without doing the chocolate step, then put them together shortly before presenting them as a gift. (Sorry but I just can't use the word gift as a verb) .  I live in such a humid place that these have a fairly short shelf life.  If your climate is drier they will last longer.

This is an insanely inexpensive gift and packs a huge visual bang for the actual buck.  It takes about 2 dozen "mushrooms " to fill a standard mushroom container.

Hope you enjoy this.  Now go get your Christmas on!

Next week is something inedible and a gift suitable for just about any female on our gift list. Actually with a slight alteration it would work for any guy too.  I will try it both ways!

p.s. The mushroom carton photo would have looked much better if I had not tried to tie raffia around the carton after I had put the meringues in it.  I dropped it and most of them were toast.  What you see a picture of is lots of bits and pieces with the 6 or 7 intact mushrooms on the top.  These are fragile little suckers, so decorate first then arrange the meringues afterwards. I seem to always take one for the team.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Taste 10! Looks 3!__Taste10! Looks 3!

Several nights ago I was wondering what to have for dinner.  I had just been to the store and had everything from my limited purchases to choose from and had decided on something Asianish, probably a stir fry.  Then TheHub called and what I was originally planning didn't sound that good to him.  I had a beautiful and dense head of cabbage and decided I cold do something with it instead. Sadly on this restricted budget I couldn't run to The Pig and pick up some corned beef and potatoes (which is what I really wanted).  Then I started thinking about egg rolls.  I love to make egg rolls on occasion, but again I did not have the extra money for egg roll wrappers and I surely didn't want to commit the amount of oil for frying them to just one meal.  When I really thought about it what we love best about the egg rolls is the filling so I began making a deconstructed egg roll.

2 tablespoons oil (Use one with a high smoking point.  I use peanut oil)
1 chicken breast, chopped finely
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/2 head cabbage, grated
1 onion chopped finely
1/2 inch piece of ginger minced (I had no fresh ginger so I used 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 container bean sprouts (I had a jar from Aldi, drained.  Fresh are much better)
1 bamboo shoot, grated (I had none so I left it out)
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup cooked rice (I use brown but white works as well)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (Add more to taste.  I don't like salt so I always err on the underside of soy sauce)
salt and pepper to taste but I recommend using lots of pepper
dash red pepper flakes
Crank up the heat under a large saute' pan or wok and add the oil.  Quickly add the chicken and cook for a couple of minutes until it is done throughout but not browned. Remove the chicken and set it aside. (I typically wipe the pan out here.)  In the same pan, add another 2 tablespoons of oil and the sesame oil.  Toss in all the vegetables including the ginger and garlic and cook it until it is nicely crisp tender.  Add the chicken back in and stir through.  Add the rice and stir it in well then add the soy sauce, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.
It was fabulous.  We served it with a little cup of hoisin sauce on the side and oh my it was delicious. It made enough for the 2 of us for dinner with leftovers for 2 lunch servings.  I will probably never wrap another egg roll in my life.  This was just too tasty and too easy,. Like I said, Taste 10! Looks 3!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week 4 of the 50 Buck Challenge

Week 4 was my birthday week, so we did veer off course a little.  Instead of our usual eating out on birthdays we had take out from the city's annual Greek Food Festival.  I also had lunch out on my birthday, so I used no food here.  TheHub had a dinner meeting Monday night and I had enough Greek food left for one.  Mom made me a birthday cake ( I asked her to please not make it but I got it anyway) so there was cake for snacking and breakfast one morning.

The Shopping:
Green peppers 3@.99  1.98
Bread .99
Mandarins 2.69
Tomatoes .99
Salsa 1.49
Big Dipper Chips 1.59 (Yes a luxury item. Another ball game weekend at the lake)
Italian sausage 2.49
Chicken breasts 6.47
Cabbage 1.19
Iceberg lettuce .89
Chocolate milk 1.59
2 % milk 2.69
Garlic Powder .99
Bamboo shoots .50
Bean sprouts .50
Cheese Crackers 1.59
Taco shells* .89
Ground beef* 1.99 lb  3.00
Hamburger buns .85

Dollar Tree
Crapcrapstic coffee 1.00

Piggly Wiggly
Pork tenderloin 1.99@ lb.  3.52
Onions 3lb. 1.49
Coffee 3.99 (Not the greatest but worlds better than the Dollar Tree crap)

Grits  1.27

Spent 43.64 this week but I did not cook Thursday night and only partially cooked Friday night, plus I had Greek Festival leftovers for Monday.

I have about 1/3 bag of mandarins left. 1/2 head cabbage, 1 full gallon of milk, 5 chicken breasts (frozen) Italian sausage (frozen) 4 chicken thighs (frozen last week) onions (about 1 1/4 lb.) bell peppers (3),  bamboo shoots, coffee (glorious coffee) about 1/2 box of cheese crackers, 1/2 jar salsa, and 2 squishy tomatoes that I have to do something with immediately.

This weeks ads are mediocre, but for the first time I actually have a decent amount left from the week before..
The Meals:
Wednesday cereal, coffee
Thursday crap coffee, toast
Friday  birthday cake and crap coffee (birthday cake does take the edge off bad coffee, and no judgement please. This is why I didn't want the damn cake to begin with)
Saturday   eggs, grits and gloriously delicious coffee (at the lake)
Sunday toast, coffee (me) toast coffee, eggs (TheHub)
Monday toast, coffee, 2 Hershey's Nuggets (The were screaming at me so what else could I do?)
Tuesday banana muffin, coffee
Wednesday leftover sausage, veggie, noodle thing
Thursday  Independence Place volunteer day, birthday party for Mark and me. 2 slices of pizza/ diet coke
Friday  nothing (was a frustrating Mom Day. I came home and swam laps instead of having a stroke or bitch slapping someone)
Saturday cheese, tomato and onion broiled sandwiches, kefir dip, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, cauliflower florets
Sunday leftover deconstructed egg rolls (me and Son2) leftover spaghetti and meat sauce (TheHub)
Monday  leftover something (I don't even remember what it was but I was cleaning out the fridge found it and ate it whatever it was) and a banana muffin
Tuesday Volunteered at Independence Place in the afternoon and forgot to eat

Wednesday Deconstructed egg rolls, pineapple slices
Thursday Today is my birthday and the start of the Greek Food Festival.  Instead of going to a restaurant we got take out from the festival. OMG it was so delicious. spanakopita, tiropita, Greek chicken, souvlakia, pastichio, rice pilaf, salad and koulourakia.  Mom, TheHub and I all ate different things so we swapped bits and pieces with each other. Yum! Mom also baked me a birthday cake that I didn't want, but I have anyway, so it will be headed to the lake.  I know all this should not be allowed in accordance with the food budget rules, but it's my birthday and my birthday rules, so there!
Friday The Birthday celebration continued: Son2 went to the lake with us and missed the first celebration so TheHub picked up a slab of ribs on his way home. Ribs, corn on the cob (frozen from the purchase 2 weeks ago , corn is now gone) leftover baked beans (no leftovers are ever safe from my freezing, thawing and reheating) Again not in accordance with the rules I made but as I said about Thursday, my birthday, my rules!
Saturday grilled pork tenderloin, cooked carrots, green salad, apple bars
Sunday grilled hamburgers, with lettuce, pickles, onion, and tomatoes, lemonade ( from a mix purchased on week 1)
Monday leftover Greek Festival food, still delicious!
Tuesday tacos, using the last of the ground chuck, last of the lettuce, last of the cheese

mandarins, popcorn, kefir dip and veggies, the fake Fritos from Aldi with kefir dip, cheese crackers, banana muffins, birthday cake (Forgot to take the birthday cake to the lake so TheHub stopped at a bakery and bought 3 brownies and 3 apple bars.  They were a birthday gift to me that he wanted to eat!.)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Woo Hoo! Look What I Found on the Front Porch!

A huge shout out and gigantic THANK YOU GUYS! to 1st Man and 2nd Man from Two Men and a Little Farm.  A bit ago they had a wonderful giveaway for a Plant Nanny set, something I really needed to win.  It is an idiot proof self waterer using a terra cotta hollow spike (aka The Plant Nanny) and a wine bottle.  We have a glass of wine (or two) nearly every night with dinner, so finding an empty bottle was as easy as clearing the dinner table no problem.  I truly hate showing y'all this picture of this plant that lives by my front door.  I actually do water it regularly sometimes but not the two times a day it screams for, so the picture reflects the absurd heat and a tad  boatload of neglect.

 See how nicely the wine bottle fits into the cylinder.  Pay no attention to the wine drip on the label of the bottle. Btw, in addition to my new favorite watering device, the wine bottle is from my new favorite wine.  Now every time I put fresh water in I will be reminded to buy Black Stallion 2012

They come in a pack of 4, so I used one here and took the rest to the lake place this past weekend.  I have several pots of herbs on the deck that were screaming for a little drink and how nice will it be to have something that will keep them hydrated while we are not there.

Again, huge thanks to you two!  The rest of you head on over there and if you aren't already a daily reader, introduce yourself and tell them I sent you. And while you are there tell them they picked the perfect winner because no one else could have as many plants in need of salvage (and daily water) as I do.

Thanks again!

From My Facebook to You!

Sadly this is my most recent FB post.  Don't all of you wish you were as exciting as I am? Ribbet, ribbet! 

"OK I know this is weird but do any of you have kids who would love a real life science experiment. Our hot tub has been leaking so we turned it off while waiting for the repair guy to see about it and then waited more for the parts. Meanwhile nature is having some fun and we have at least 6 tadpoles that are fairly close to becoming frogs. I am draining the tub right now and finding them as the water lowers. Anyone interested please message me. I don't want to kill them but since I no longer have a house full of boys I am out of the frog rearing business"

Friday, September 16, 2016

Festive Friday

From now until Christmas I am going to have a little fun with this blog each Friday and post easy to do handmade or reformatted gifts either from the kitchen or elsewhere.  Some will be easier and some might require a little more time, but nothing will be difficult or have a ton of cost to them.  Today we are starting with what I consider more of a Christmas party favor, but if you have co-workers or your kids have school mates they want to remember with a little something, this is a perfect little something.  These also make great stocking stuffers and take just a little but of time.  On a 1-10 scale I would rate these a 2 (only because cutting is involved)

Purchase a bag of Hershey's Nuggets and try not to eat any. Ok go ahead and have 1 but no more! Well maybe 2 because you are going to use 5 for each treat and a regular size bag has 32.  Those extra have to go somewhere so it might as well be in your mouth.

Supplies: (enough for at least 10 bags)

  • 6 sheets of Christmas scrapbook paper or wrapping paper.  Make sure they coordinate somewhat.
  • 1 sheet coordinating card stock (plain or print, your choice)
  • Pretzel bags (You can find these wherever candy melts are found. Michael's* and Hobby Lobby both carry them.)
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • stickers (Optional)
  • 1 1/2 bag Hershey's Nuggets                            

Cut a 1 14/16 x 5 1/2 in strip from your card stock.  Cut one for each bag you plan to make. This will be the backbone of the gift bag.
Cut a  1 1/16 x 3 1/8 inch strip from 5 different papers (or the same, it's a personal choice) for each bag you will be making (You will need 5 wrappers per bag)
Cut a 2 1/8 x 3 inch rectangle from your sixth paper. Cut one for each bag you plan to make. This will be the top/closer of the bag.
Cut 2 inches off the top of each pretzel bag you will be using.

Wrap  the wrapper strip around each nugget as shown below.

 I use a glue stick because it is not messy and doesn't spread. An alternative would be to use glue tape, but this is an expense I had rather not incur, when a basic glue stick works just as well. I generally make a crease when I fold the first side around the front of the nugget, then I bring the other side over to meet in the middle back of the wrapper and just glue the paper to itself. You really don't want to glue the paper to the actual Hershey's wrapper. 


(back  of nugget)                                                                                    (front of nugget)

                                         Once they are wrapped it is time to begin bagging,
I find it easiest to place the nuggets directly on the card stock back leaving about a quarter inch at the bottom of the card stock with no nuggets pieces touching it.  Start putting the bottom in the bag then incline it slightly and pull the bag around it , keeping the nuggets right side up and in a relatively straight line.

                                Fold the open end of the plastic bag over once and staple

Fold the last piece of paper in half and slide it over the folded plastic top so half of the design will face the front and half will face the back.  Staple in the middle and add a decorative sticker if you would like. I like to hide the staple so I use them.

           And then you have something very simple that looks quite a bit fancier for Christmas giving!

Hope you enjoyed this and I will be back next Friday with more of the same. Maybe. If I really get
around to it. Possibly. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

50 Buck Challenge, Week 3

               We don't have Kroger as a store option but I have always loved the name.

I want Oreos, or potato chips, or chocolate covered peanuts, or a Starbucks iced light vanilla latte, or Bruster's apple strudel with cinnamon ice cream, or a steak, or a McAnything, or a baked sweet potato, or some oranges, or, or, or. . . .

What I really want is to walk into the store and buy whatever I want, whether it is budget friendly or not, and not buy anything just because it is this week's best buy. I am pound cake indifferent, but I found myself salivating over one at the store the other day.

I am tired of trying to come up with ideas to make what I am able to buy for 50 bucks a week work in a non-repetitive menu plan.  So far everything has been really tasty but it takes a lot of work and thought. (More than I would be willing to give it if I had to do this every single day, I think.)  Oh, and rice, I am tired of rice.  I seriously hope the food ads next Wednesday are much better than this week because there was really nothing I truly wanted to eat that was a very good deal. And I especially want a really good deal on coffee! (Ack!  No good deals on anything!)

I honestly believe this is helping me understand some of the frustrations those living with extremely limited food budgets face. I also think all of this meal planning and work will enable me to share this along with some shortcuts I had not thought of before but could make their meal planning and execution so much easier. (Like cooking enough brown rice for several meals at one time) I keep reminding myself that the end goal is to put me in a position of  understanding and compassion which will help me serve someone who needs a little help.  Fingers crossed!

The Shopping:
Asparagus @ 1.98 lb  1.64    ate it all
Cucumbers 2/1.00  1.00         2 cukes left
Bell peppers 2/1.00  1.00       gone
Radishes 2/100 .50        none eaten
Red grapes .88 lb 2.30        gone
Roasted cashews 4.99 lb 3.74  more than half left
Brown rice .50 lb. .55            still have at least 1 meals worth
Ground chuck 3.99 lb 5.85       gone
Oatmeal .50 lb  .47            still have nearly all of it
Red beans* .99 lb .50         gone
Green beans* 99 lb 99       gone

Cheese crackers 1.59  gone
Queso dip 1.49   still have it
Sharp cheddar 1.69  have about 1/2 of it
Milk 2.69  have about half of it
Red onions 1.00  2 remain
Smoked sausage  1.99
Cauliflower 1.99   have half of it left
Chicken 3.24  (I have never bought any proteins at Aldi.  The jury is still out)** have 4 thighs frozen
Pineapple .99  still have it
Eggs .69 dozen 1.38  have 13 eggs left
chocolate chips 1.69 half the bag remain

Piggly Wiggly
Pasta 4/ 3.00  1.50
Butter* 2.13 have 3 1/2 sticks remaining

Lake Farm Stand
Tomatoes 4.00 have 1 tomato left
Cucumbers 3.00  gone

Flowers Bread Store
Rolls .99  (2 dozen rolls!) gone

Chocolate milk 1.79 gone
Bananas            1.05 2 left
Total spent 52.75

Week 1 spent  48.75
Week 2 spent  50.13
Week 3 spent  52.75

Currently I am 1.63 over budget.  The food ads this week look bleak, so we will see what happens.

TheHub  still eats the same thing everyday so these are my breakfasts only during the week.  The weekend meals are for both of us.
Wednesday  cereal milk bad coffee
Thursday cereal, milk, bad coffee (I am out now) grapes
Friday  Coffee  only (Had to run to the lake to meet the bug man Thursday afternoon.  Brought back a couple of ounces of coffee.  Goodness it is so much better than the Dollar Tree stuff)
Saturday Coffee, grits
Sunday Coffee, cheese toast
Monday Coffee, toast with leftover egg salad
Tuesday needed to be at Independence Place early so I just took a cup of coffee with me

TheHub eats lunch out everyday so these are mine except for the weekend.
Wednesday Between taking Mom to the dr.,  grocery shopping and other errands there was no lunch
Thursday Tossed salad, dinner roll
Friday Leftover tossed salad, leftover grilled portabello
Saturday Ate lunch at Mom's.
Sunday  Egg salad sandwiches with lettuce and tomato
Monday leftover, leftover, leftovers Ate the last of the chicken tetrazzini
Tuesday leftover cauliflower salad, hunk of cheese, glass of milk

Wednesday  Red beans and rice, okra
Thursday  Ground beef with zucchini, onion, tomato, bell pepper, garlic, mushroom, and brown rice seasoned with Southwestern spices, cucumber, tomato, and onion salad, dinner rolls
Friday Grilled chicken thighs (Boned and skinned) rice pilaf ( using the broth made from the thigh bones) steamed asparagus
Saturday Cauliflower salad (cauliflower, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, cornichons, mayonnaise and herbs) (I had about 2 tablespoons of cornichons  in a jar in the fridge, otherwise I would have chopped some dill pickle and put in the salad) Bread pudding with salted caramel sauce
Sunday Spaghetti sauce over spaghetti noodles (Sauce used remaining ground beef, and a boat load of vegetables:onions, mushrooms, and shredded carrots, and the leftover sauce from last weeks ziti, cookies
Monday green beans , corn from last week's purchase  that I froze on the cob, tomatoes, onions and okra (Had about 7 pods from the garden and this was the only way to use them.) cornbread
Tuesday used the remaining sausage sliced in thin (I am talking seriously thin here) coins, bell pepper, onion,

We didn't do much snacking this week.  It was a busy week and no one but me was home Saturday so I didn't need ball game snacks. Cheese crackers, cookies, popcorn, grapes, a couple of bananas,

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

No Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because I am doing a self-imposed 50 dollar a week food budget for 2 months, I am having to think of how I cook a little differently.  For instance, I use butter regularly for my baking. I buy butter (usually 25 pounds of it) when it is deeply discounted during the holiday season and freeze it. Then I pull it out throughout the year and use it as I need it. (Unless I do a ton of kitchen gifts I rarely use it all.) When the holidays roll around again I assess my butter needs and purchase enough to equal the 25 pounds and start all over. While I am doing this challenge I am still able to grab butter from the freezer, but I have to assign the week's price of butter to it. I don't mind doing that, but I am not going to use it recklessly. Which brought me to yesterday's dilemma. I had decided to make chocolate chip cookies, (chocolate chips__another after holiday freezer stock up) but was not comfortable using all that butter just to indulge our sweet tooth.

A quick google search lead me here where I found a delicious recipe for an oil based cookie dough.

Different Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2½ cups flour
1 bag (about 1 -1 ½ cups) good quality chocolate chips (yeah, right__Aldi's are fine for cookies and I only used a half a bag.  You know, thrift and all!)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together oil and sugars until smooth and creamy.
Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt, eggs, and cornstarch, beating well to combine after each addition. Add flour and beat until just combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Scoop the dough using a medium cookie scoop (or a heaping tablespoon) onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, until the tops are set. Do not over bake.

To be honest I cut this recipe in half for 2 reasons. We did not need the entire recipe of cookies and I did not have enough oil left to commit to one single recipe of anything.
These cookies were more than just a little tasty, they were really really good.  Around here we call a plate of leftover cookies bad cookies, and these definitely were not bad.  I think there might be 5 left.

I am going to make these again with no chocolate chips.  One of the cookies was made using the spatula to get the last tidbits of dough out of the bowl.  It contained no chocolate chips and it was delicious as just a sugar cookie. I have a feeling I will be playing around with this recipe for a while just to see what variations I can come up with.

So why are you reading this? Go bake cookies!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Easy Bread Pudding

Know why you can get 24 dinner rolls at the day old bread store for 99 cents?  It is because you have just 2 days before they become crumbs.  With my current Spartan food budget I can't bear to throw things out, so some of them became bread crumbs (will use them next week) but I still had 7 rolls that were at their last moment of salvaging. Since TheHub and Son2 had gone to the ball game Saturday and would be in later I had already decided to have a light salad meal for dinner, but I needed a little something extra to go with it.  I suppose I could have made a frittata as an entree, but sometimes I tend to drift more toward my sweet tooth, and it has been yelling at me since last weekend.  The sweet tooth won and I decided to whip up a simple bread pudding. I mean, why would something savory ever win over something sweet?

This past week I had kept my kefir grains in a covered jar in the fridge. It allows them to have a severely slowed growth so every time we will be out of town and I can't feed it regularly I do this. However, after a full week you have to take them out to "restart" the grains growth. I drained all the milk it was resting in and found I had about 2 1/2 cups of a thickened sour milk (much like buttermilk but a tad sharper flavored)  I figured I might as well us it for the milk and adjust the sugar upward just a tad to accommodate the tartness.

Simple Bread Pudding
About 4 cups of bread torn in bite sized pieces (I used the rolls)
3 beaten eggs
3 cups milk (I added additional milk to equal the 3 cups)
1/2 cup sugar (Normally I use 1/3 cup but added more because I was using very sour milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9x9 inch casserole dish and place the bread pieces inside. Mix the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until it is well bended and a bit frothy. Pour over the bread and let it hang out on the counter for about 10 minutes so much of the liquid is absorbed by the bread. I don't like crunchy bread bits in bread pudding so I use a fork and make sure no bread bits are sticking out and that everything is well moistened.

Pop it in the oven and let it bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  It seems that each time I make this the time varies.  I guess since I always eyeball the bread sometimes I have different bread liquid ratios. You want the center to be just set yet still creamy.  Remove from the oven and let it sit to cool  for about 15 minutes.  Since this is not a terribly sweet bread pudding I usually top it with a whiskey sauce, but my budget did not allow for that, so I made a very simple caramel sauce to top it.

Simple Caramel Sauce*
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
coarse salt

Over a low heat caramelize the sugar.  All I do is put the sugar in a pot with a heavy bottom.  Stir constantly (I highly recommend a long wooden spoon for this process because you will be stirring a long time.  Soon the sugar will melt and will become a light brown color.  Remove from the heat immediately at this point.  (There is just a few seconds difference between light brown and dark brown and burned)  You really should have the milk hot and the butter melted in it at this point. ( That is what a coffee cup and a microwave are for)  While stirring constantly add the hot milk and butter.  Put the pan back on the heat and stir and stir. (If the milk is not hot enough the caramel will harden.  That is ok but it requires a little more heat and stirring time to remelt the sugar and incorporate it in the sauce)  Continue cooking and stirring until it is thick and sauce like.  Remove from heat and pour over individual servings of bread pudding.  (Or pour it over the top of the pan.  It works but makes serving it a lot messier)  Sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt and serve.

*This sauce is also good over ice cream or pound cake

Thursday, September 8, 2016

One of THOSE Moments

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize in spite of everything you have ever done wrong, you must have done some things right also. I watched my three sons grow into manhood and they are all really wonderful men now. They have different qualities and personalities that make them unique, but they are all exceedingly kind and good men.

While he was home visiting I got to hear Son3 talking to Son2 when he said "I think you are the sweetest man I have ever known." Those are pretty powerful words coming from a 22 year old to his older brother, since most 22 year old males tend to be pretty self absorbed and not aware of much beyond themselves. Son2 has the kindest heart of anyone I know and his weekend plans are an example of his nature.

TheHub and Son2 go to every Alabama home game.  Like all season ticket holders you get to know the people who sit around you, because they are your Saturday game day buddies year after year after year. (Once you get those season tickets you don't let them go__ever!) The other day Diane (seats next to ours) called and said they were not going Saturday and offered us first dibs on the tickets.  Of course we took them and immediately TheHub and Son2 decided was to ask 2 of the differently abled people from Independence Place to go to the game. (TheHub has a pretty fine heart too!)

So Saturday morning will find 2 of my favorite 4 guys headed to Tuscaloosa with 2 very excited young men who would not have had this opportunity otherwise. Not only will they get to go, but they will go with someone who does not see what they can't do, but sees what wonderful gifts to the world they are, and truly relishes being in their company.

My heart is full.

And lest you think I am totally enamored with this fine hearted son, he IS one of the sons who laughed when the dog nearly killed me. Plus in addition to his kind heart he has a wicked sense of humor and I am the butt of it often. He can be a total jerk!  Perfect? Not so much, but he truly is a great man. And it is in spite of us, not because of us!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Week 2 of the 50 Buck Challenge


Started the week with 2 heads of lettuce, 4 cucumbers, 1 pound green beans (from the garden), 2 tomatoes, 2 avocados, 2 lb. carrots, 1 red pepper, 1 bell pepper, 3 limes, 1 lemon, 1/2 lb. frozen grapes, 4 bananas, 1 qt (ish) chocolate milk, 3 qt (ish) 2% milk, 3/4 c. very thick kefir, 1/2 lb. (ish) cooked chicken, plus various condiments, and pantry staples. About 6 cups of coffee left and no decent coffee sales so I guess I get to buy another 6 ounce bag of crappy coffee from Dollar Tree. (So glad we are going to the lake place this weekend. I have good coffee in the freezer there!
(Turns out this coffee is so bad I didn't drink enough to have to go buy more gross coffee)

(This is not the current Aldi ad. It is just a photo of one I snagged from their file photos)

Piggly Wiggly  
Ground beef  @ 2.99 lb* 1/2 lb 1.50
spaghetti sauce, canned .99
brownie mix .99
oatmeal cookie mix.99

Hamburger buns  1.39
Chocolate milk 1.79
lemonade mix 1.49 (for the lake place)
pasta bogo 2 for 1.59

green beans .98 lb. *                      

Portabella mushroom caps 1.98        
Sugar * 1.69                                              
Flour 1.79
Cheese slices 1.79 , c
Confectioners sugar 2 lb. 1.29
Brown sugar 2 lb. 1.29
Graham cracker pie crust .99
8 oz cream cheese 1.29
lemon juice 1.99.
Monteray jack cheese 1.69
black beans* .99
canned biscuits .48x2 .96

Farm Stand near lake place
Tomatoes (medium box) 4.00
corn 2.50

Purchased BBQ Ribs
2 lbs ribs plus baked beans 10.00

Spring Creek Grocery (overpriced lakeside store. Yes I caved!)
Vanilla ice cream 4.00
tortilla chips 1.99

Total for the week was 50.18 so I was technically 18 cents over                          

The Meals:
TheHub eats the same things every weekday morning: a glass of chocolate milk, cereal and a banana
I cook breakfast only on weekends.  The following are my weekday breakfasts
Wednesday, coffee and toast.
Thursday coffee and toast
Friday: Busy cooking for the weekend so just coffee
Saturday: Mushroom and onion omelette, cheap Aldi canned biscuits, coffee
Sunday: TheHub had 2 eggs over easy and Aldi cheap canned biscuits.  I had the biscuits and sliced tomatoes, coffee (I still had good coffee at the lake place!)
Monday: Slightly stale cereal, coffee
Tuesday: Glass of milk (I don't like milk but it is going to ruin so I am drinking it) toast, bad Dollar Tree coffee

TheHub eats out at lunch each weekday (see earlier post ) I eat lunch at home, so these are my lunches for the weekdays. I tend to eat whatever is leftover and rarely plan anything in advance.
Wednesday: Sliced avocado, slice of cheese, plum (leftover from a week and a half ago, yeah it was overly soft)
Thursday: I volunteered at IP and they were having a birthday party for one of the participants. They force fed (yeah, right) me a slice of pizza, Mountain Dew, and a cupcake.  Happy Birthday, Michael and thanks for sharing!
Friday: Leftover, leftovers (the buffalo chicken stuff rolled in a lettuce leaf)
Saturday: Black bean hummus with pita, kefir dip with cucumbers and carrots, cheese slices 
Sunday: TheHub had a cheese sandwich with tomato and onion and the leftover kefir dip and veggies. I had a salad with tomatoes and cucumbers plus the hummus that was left.
Monday: TheHub had leftovers, ribs, corn on the cob and baked beans.  I had a salad and baked beans
Tuesday: Leftover, leftover, leftovers The last of the buffalo chicken stuff and a slice of cheese

We normally eat out at least once a week, so this is very different for us. I don't mind cooking but I am not sure I like this every day cooking thing. Iced tea is brewed daily and I make our dressing for all salads using olive oil, red wine vinegar and Cavanders Greek seasoning. Corn bread is whipped up from scratch using kefir (I hate to call it homemade since it makes itself) instead of buttermilk.  I also use thickened kefir (let it hang out on the counter an extra few hours ) as a substitute for sour cream. I am not a big soft drink drinker so not buying those is pretty easy for me, but I do make Kombucha weekly so I have that available if I need something bubbly to drink. I don't know how to easily ship a scoby from the kombucha, but if anyone wants a kefir starter I can dry the grains and ship them when the weather is cool.  Let me know if you are interested in a start. If you want a scoby starter from the kombucha and you are going to be traveling through Birmingham let me know. I have a new one just about every week.

I will also admit that we have a glass of wine just about every night, but that is in a totally separate budget.  Any mixers (like limes) come from the regular food budget.  I am really hoping Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale will be on sale this week because I am craving a Moscow Mule.

Wednesday: pasta salad of pasta, carrots, tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, and leftover broccoli bits. Oil and vinegar dressing
Thursday: Buffalo chicken sandwiches on buns (using leftover cooked chicken padded with red sweet pepper and lots of onions ) leftover broccoli, and sautéed mushrooms
Friday: corn on the cob, green beans, sliced tomatoes onion cucumbers. cornbread,  and peanut butter pie
Saturday: Baked ziti, ( Using canned spaghetti sauce that I seasoned, onions, broccoli stalks, cooked and shredded, diced zucchini, mushrooms, a little under 1/2 pound ground beef and 8 ounces of monteray jack cheese) tossed salad, garlic toast made from leftover hamburger buns.  Brownies and ice cream for dessert
Sunday: BBQ ribs, baked beans, corn on the cob, cucumbers, sliced tomatoes. Oatmeal cookie mix made into bars topped with ice cream. And yes I see 3 desserts the same weekend. It was Labor Day and we were at the lake.  Enjoying the holiday, now back to real life!
Monday: Grilled portabella's on buns with cheese, tomatoes, onions and lettuce
Tuesday: Leftovers frozen chicken tetrazzini (from last week) with salad

Snack foods: TheHub had a breakfast meeting 2 days so he didn't eat those bananas.  They got a little soft so I made a very simple banana muffin recipe.  Hummus, pita, dips and veggies were snacks, as well as some air popped popcorn (I have 2 jars of it in the pantry). I also ate frozen grapes from last week and a couple of very, very ripe plum from a couple of weeks ago. And don't forget the brownies and the oatmeal bars.

I am very thankful that TheHub grew up like I did having vegetable dinners many summer nights. There is never any issue having vegetarian meals as long as they taste good.  I know a lot of my friends would not be so lucky, so thank you Nana (MIL) for creating a man who understands a good meal can be meatless. Also thank you Nana for teaching me the correct way to cook peas and fry okra!

This week I am out of all fruit, except for 1 lime and a lemon. I am out of butter, cornmeal and eggs. I will need to get more milk, cheese, and vegetables.  No idea what I will do for proteins this week. Tomorrow's food ads will dictate my shopping and meal plans.  TheHub did request another pasta salad night and that is a no brainer and easy yes!

Going forward I have enough okra right now for another meal but I'm not sure if I will get any more from the plants, they seem to not be flowering much. I have enough green beans on the vines for at least on more meal but they are not flowering much either. I have 3/4 head of lettuce left, 2 eggs, 1 lime, 1 lemon, some carrots, and that is about it. I do have about a quart of milk that is about to ruin and I will have to come up with something to do with it.  The current food ads will be out by the time I post this.  I am hoping for at least 1 stellar meat sale and hopefully a great buy on coffee.  This Dollar Tree crap is really bad.  The upside? 2 cups is my absolute maximum and most days I am just drinking 1 (muttered the 4-5 cups a day woman).

* Things I had on hand either in the pantry or in the freezer.  The price I assigned it is the price I found in the stores or food ads for the week

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Wonky Pita

             This is the slightly oblong pita bread fresh from the oven prior to cooling and deflating.

Some of you might bake bread all the time and think nothing of pounding out round after round of pita.  Not me! I have never tried baking it before in my life because, well, because I can find it in every single grocery store I frequent sitting happily on the shelf waiting for me to buy it. That is, until I started this 50 buck a week food challenge and found there is no room for pita in the budget. (Especially since TheHub bought a 10 dollar slab of cooked ribs for Labor Day!)

I had made hummus and dip for Saturday's ballgames but had nothing but cucumbers and carrots for dipping.  I found a recipe online for pita and thought, why not? Oh yeah I had run out of flour, so I had to add 5 pounds to my budget.  I guess I could have found pita for the same price but I still would have been out of flour and would have to buy more anyway so I bit the bullet, bought the blooming four and baked away.

The bread recipe itself is insanely simple:

1 cup warm water (not hot)
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

Pour the warm water (about 105 degrees) into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top of it. You are not supposed to stir it, but I can never keep from giving it a quick swirl with a fork.  Let it sit until it is all dissolved and bubbles just a tad at the water's surface (5ish minutes). Meanwhile mix 2 1/2 cups flour with the salt and stir to mix well. Add  the yeast to the flour and stir well until you the flour is all incorporated and you have a very soft dough.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and begin the kneading process, using the heel of your hand to stretch the dough, folding it in half then stretching it again with the heel.  Add flour as needed to the work surface to keep the dough from sticking. (Use no more than the additional 1/2 cup) and repeat the kneading process until you have a very smooth dough that easily holds its shape.
Oil the surface of a large bowl and put the dough into it and rub it over the inside of the bowl to coat the entire surface of the bread dough.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough is double in bulk (1 1/2-2 hours).

Preheat the oven to 450 degree with a baking sheet or stone in the oven to get up to temperature.
Very gently deflate the dough on a floured work surface.  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll into balls.  Using a rolling pin, roll as many balls into 8 inch circles as your pan or stone will hold.  I had only 1 small baking sheet I was willing to sacrifice if the heat warped it (it didn't) so I could only bake 2 at a time. Keep the rolling surface lightly floured so the pitas will not stick.  Pick up and turn the pitas as needed to keep them round (I didn't, hence wonky pitas).  Slap those rounds onto the hot baking sheet, quickly close the oven door and let them bake about 3-3 1/2 minutes.  Have the next ones ready to bake as soon as you open the oven door to get your cooked pitas out. I never took the try out of the oven.  I used tong to grab the cooked pitas and slapped the uncooked ones on the baking sheet as fluidly as I could.   Cover the cooked pitas with a clean cloth until they are al finished baking. I thought I lost too much heat, so after the second round I left the pan in the hot oven for about 5 minutes to build up the oven heat again. Continue cooking the rest of the bread.  After mine cooled and deflated I stuck them in a plastic zip bag and we ate them with the dip and hummus the next day.  I am not sure how long they would keep but I am guessing 2 days at the most without being frozen.

When I make these again I will pay a bit more attention to keeping them round.  We were going to be tearing them into pieces for dipping so it was not crucial but if I were baking them for pocket sandwiches a lot more care would have been needed to make sure they were round. And yes I will make these again, even when I am no longer watching every single penny.  It was so easy to do, and next time I will not be using limited kitchen equipment and can use my mixer dough hook for kneading and a real rolling pin instead of a floured drinking glass. (I forgot and used the rolling pin for the first 2, then remembered I was supposed to use simple equipment and changed over to the drinking glass.  The rolling pin is so much easier!)

Friday, September 2, 2016

It's Gameday Food! Black Bean Hummus

I know some of you out there will enjoy Saturday as a wonderful day free from work.  Perhaps you
will clean the garage, or have an at home spa day. Well here at my house this Saturday changes our weekend dynamics at least through Thanksgiving, for we are now blessed with college football season. To be honest we started last night alternating channels between the Tennessee/ Appalachian State and South Carolina/ Vandy games.  Even though we have no dog in the hunt with either game, we watch because it is our job to watch SEC games just to know where our favorite team ranks in the conference standings (RTR!)  Because Saturday marks the official first Saturday of games, and there are going to be some really good games we will begin watching ESPN Game Day at 9 am and will have the TV on some game or another until late night. This will require a lot of food, because who can watch all this football without proper noshing?

Not us, and because I am doing this while observing my 50 buck a week budget, there is no stopping for the usual chips and dips. I am having to do some serious planning. And cooking, did I mention serious cooking?

We do love a dip or spread, mainly because they hang out on a coffee table easily and everyone can grab whatever they want when they want it.  Today's dips had to meet 2 criteria: they had to be able to be made ahead of time, be cheap and be made with what I had on hand, which severely limited my range.

I remembered I had cooked a bag of dried black beans and frozen them in packages of about a cup and a half.  Eureka, Black bean hummus! I have also been letting my kefir sit an additional few hours so I had about 1 cup of super thick kefir in the fridge. (It has the consistency of sour cream, but it a bit tarter.) It because onion dill dip (recipe and results to follow in a later post).  The only other thing I needed was something to actually dip.  I knew I had some carrots and a few crackers left, but I also needed something else. I found and tried a recipe for homemade pita, to turn into pita chips tomorrow
 at the lake.  (Will let you know the outcome of it later, since the dough is still rising)

Meanwhile back to the hummus.
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (a can drained would be about the same amount)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used regular white vinegar and it worked fine)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used bottled and again, it's fine)
2 tablespoons oilve oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
couple of dashes dried red pepper (optional)
couple of dashes tabasco
salt and pepper to taste

If I were doing this normally I would put everything in the food processor and whirl it into a lovely smooth dip.  Since I am using limited kitchen equipment for the length of this food budget experiment I mashed and mashed and mashed and mashed the beans with a fork.  It too about 15 minutes to get it pasty and then I added the remaining ingredients.  The consistency is perfectly fine, but it is not smooth.  The flavor is fantastic though! Make it but use a food processor or blender unless you prefer a rustic feel to your food.

It is great with carrots, with triscuit and hopefully with pita.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Joy List

August was a trying month and I got some things done and didn't even think of others much less attempt them.  Such is life!

1.  Volunteer at Independence Place 1.Art day  2.Snowman making for their Christmas bazaar day 
2.  Do something with a homeless mission  Supplied part of the evening meal for Bham Hospitality Network
3.  Take food to someone having a hard time
4.  Take flowers to someone
5.  Contact someone I have been out of touch with Jean, who lives in the neighborhood
6.  Spend time with extended family. 1.Great day on the beach with our niece and her son 2. Family reunion
7.  Pray for the entire world
8.  Go to the beach 5 day mini vacation
9,  Read 3 books Promises (bad book but free) Once We Were Brothers, Buck Fever, Crisis of Character
10. Find and enjoy some free music. Jazz at Dave's Pizza
11. See a play or opera
12. Vote in the local election
13. Go to a movie alone
14. Find an interesting free lecture
15. Have Mom up for dinner at least 3 times Had her up 5 times for dinner
16. Take Mom out after dark at least 3 times (She misses the city lights)
17. Have a small dinner party Had 3 this month including one for 13 people
18. Have guests at the lake place
19. Paint another picture for the lake place
20. Visit a small town nearby
21.Go out for lunch with someone I haven't seen in a while
22. Eat watermelon outside and spit the seeds
23.Make a food item I have never made before 
24. Try a new food
25. Try a new beverage Moscow Mule, my new favorite summertime drink
26. Make ice cream
27. The elliptical in the laundry room? Use it
28. Swim laps 5 times per week
29. Star gaze maybe catch the Perseid Meteor Shower (August 11-12 are supposed to be the best nights) Star gazing from the balcony at the beach was pretty amazing, but I only saw 1 meteor.
30. Have another Farmer's Market huge haul of seasonal veggies for canning or freezing
31. Be more neighborly, invite a few neighbors for an outdoor cookout (heat permitting) Didn't do this
32. Mend at least 2 squares on the quilt
33. Work on the family cookbook
34. Work on a cookbook for the lake
35. Have overnight guests

September Joy List
 1. Volunteer at Independence Place Been 3 times so far.  I find my joy there.
 2. Volunteer with a homeless mission
 3. Mentor at least one person regarding SNAP budget and meal planning
 4. Continue the 50 dollar a week food challenge
 5. Make ice cream
 6. Spend a long weekend at the lake (Labor Day)
 7. Bake bread
 8. Try cooking something I have never made before
 9. Try a new beverage
10. Swim laps 5 times a week
11. Use the eliptical 
12. Make a Christmas gift
13. Mend at lest 2 squares on the quilt
14. Take food to someone having a rough time
15. Watch SEC football (Roll Tide Roll!)
16. Have Mom up to eat weekly
17. Take Mom out at least 3 nights during the month
18. Go to a movie by myself
19. See a play or opera
20. Take flowers to someone
21. Reconnect with an old friend
22. Enjoy some free music
23. Learn something new
24. Learn a jazz song on piano (Bonus if it it a Christmas jazz tune)
25. Sit on the deck at night and listen to crickets
26. No  Tv at least 1 night per week.  Read and listen to music
27. Have guests at the lake place
28. Plant a fall garden (Yes I know I am late to the party)
29. Have a back to school swim and hot dog dinner for the neighbors
30. Watch a couple of documentaries
31. Try recipes for 4 different Christmas food gifts including presentation
32. Work with TheHub on a new business plan
33. Be more intentional about gratitude
34. Pray for the entire world
35. Create some artwork (Paint or pen)
36. Keep a daily joy journal noting something particular that gave me joy.
37. Burn a scented candle every day (thanks Laura!)
38. Establish a weekly Cocktail Night (thanks again Laura!) TheHub really likes this one