Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Fine Wawa Meal

Once upon a time there was a mom who loved to cook. One day, her life exploded and her college classes, her job and her volunteer commitments all needed attention at the same time. Between that and kindergarten registration and the flood and and illness and spring in general, any attempts to cook flew out the window.

For breakfast, my daughter had Aldi brand Peanut Butter Crunch and soy milk. For lunch, she had pollock on homemade bread and whatever else my husband packed. I had one slice buffalo chicken pizza, that was brunch for me. Then my daughter and I split a Nature Valley almond granola bar.

For dinner, my husband went to Wawa as he waited for us to come and get him. (He worked until 4:30. I got out at 5 in a town 14 miles away.) He said the pickin's were slim. He settled on a chicken salad whole wheat wrap and a club sandwich with cheddar on marble rye. He also got apple slices with caramel dip and watermelon. And the sandwich came with a whole dill pickle. Our daughter loves pickles. Total spent: $15.

Daughter had watermelon, apples, 1/3 of the chicken salad wrap, a few bites of the turkey sandwich and several bites of the pickle. I had the remaining 2/3 of the wrap, the remaining 1/2 of the turkey sandwich the two of us had planned to share, and I think three apple slices. This was augmented by some leftover spinach-ham-bean soup and Aldi brand fritos with Aldi brand red pepper hummus. My husband had the other half of the turkey sandwich, a BIG bowl of the soup, a couple apples, some watermelon, and some hummus with multigrain gluten free crackers.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Update/Ugly Bean Dip Nachos

We've been surviving on eggs, pizza and leftovers with the conference this weekend, and honestly the choices for dinner tonight aren't that exciting. I'm thinking leftover Spinach-White Bean-Ham soup, leftover ugly bean dip and popcorn cauliflower, but that sounds like a lot of gas. So we may just have spaghetti. My cooking and baking goes in cycles and this is definitely "down."

My husband and I discovered last weekend that making nachos with cheddar cheese and adding ugly bean dip and black olives is incredible. That's what we had for dinner tonight. Well, without the black olives because we ate those last week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The $62 Aldi trip

I managed to squeeze in a quick $60 Aldi trip this morning. I had $69. We have no food in the house. Meager, meager supplies. I tossed some of my white bean-spinach-ham soup in the fridge (from the freezer) for husband and I to take for lunch tomorrow.

The grand total of this haphazard trip was $61.44. I literally grabbed anything I thought we could use. I did not get brown sugar or olive oil, so that has me a tad miffed at myself. But here's what we did get:

Produce: One bag spring mix ($1.69, for Blue, our tortoise, primarily), two green peppers ($1.29), one head cauliflower ($2.39), two broccoli crowns ($1.29),

Frozen: peas (95 cents); 100% juice concentrate ($1.24, bought two), apple juice concentrate (95 cents), orange juice concentrate ($1.25), california medley (1.19, bought two)

Dairy: New York Sharp cheddar (8 oz block, $1.24, bought two), shredded asiago ($1.99), half gallon one percent milk ($1.46),

Canned goods: condensed vegetarian vegetable soup (49 cents, bought four cans, I often use this as base/sauce for pot pies or shepherd's pie), reduced sodium chicken broth (39 cents, bought several cans), small cans of plain tomato sauce (25 cents, bought four), pear halves in syrup ($1.39, big can, normally I would hold off for pears packed in juice but since I use them in cake, really, does it matter?), one large can chunk pineapple (89 cents), whole potatoes (59 cents, bought two), flour ($1.81)

Other: pecans (small bag, $2.49), flour tortillas (.99, I keep these is the freezer as emergency bread products), hummus ($1.69), 12 double rolls toilet paper ($5.29), 64 ounces bottled apple juice ($1.39), Aldi brand triscuits (1.39), aluminum foil ($2.29, for 75'), baking soda (49 cents, two small boxes, I put one box in each bathroom for cleaning), big container of quick oats ($1.79, I prefer old-fashioned), graham crackers ($1.29), 100% juice berry ($2.19), white tortilla chips (.99, bought two, would have preferred multigrain or organic but they were 25 cents more for about 1/3 less), baking powder (89 cents, normally I would buy the maroon can without aluminum but...), spice grinder with pizza seasoning ($1.69, makes me hungry for some sort of seasoned chicken), Aldi brand Ritz (1.69), Aldi fritos (99 cents, bought two), eggs (99 cents)

I hope to make ugly bean dip later today. I'm also thinking popcorn cauliflower some time over the weekend... and French toast....

Shopping Dilemma

If the offerings on this blog have seemed slim, it's because I haven't really cooked in a couple weeks. I've worked close to double my normal hours the last couple weeks (including eleven yesterday) and I have a conference for GLVWG this weekend. So I haven't cooked OR shopped.

Which brings me to today dilemma. I need to do wash in order to have something to wear to the conference (frustrating since I just did two loads of wash Tuesday). I have class at eleven. I asked the family what they'd want to eat and got no answer.

So do I head to the MAC machine and get some basics at Aldi? Because that would involve dragging out all our shopping bags. Do I go to Giant and get enough for a couple specific meals? Because I don't have the energy or the time to do a big order with a preschooler in tow. I'd go to wegmans and get our more exotic groceries, but again, time is at a premium.

I'm irritable, tense and the family offers no suggestions... 
I'm leaning towards apple/sausage stuffed crêpes or pancakes... And I guess for lunch they are having PBJ crackers. A pot pie of some kind would be easier... So I guess we'll see.

And in case you were curious how on budget I've stayed: So far in March I've spent $167 on groceries and $151 on dining out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Un-Chicken Parm

My husband once again saves the day. This whole week is a blur for me and eating has not entered my mind as a priority. I thawed out a loaf of homemade French bread. That was my contribution. My husband made tuna with soy mayonnaise and crackers (the funky gluten free multi-grain or ritz I wonder) for lunch. And carrot sticks. For dinner, he made "chicken" parm with Morningstar Chik'n Patties, cheese, Wegmans pizza sauce and the homemade bread. He cooked some mixed veggies in seasoning (probably garlic pepper and a touch of butter) and voilà.

Good news is that the budget post-home disaster (we had a minor flood a month ago) has recuperated and I might be able to go to the grocery store soon! And I expect this week to be nutty, and full of bad food, but next week (fingers crossed) we'll get back on track.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chili Nachos

Hubby took some of the chili out of the freezer tonight and made nachos for us. Messy and delicious. My daughter spent the weekend with her grandmother so husband and I ate a lot of junk... Really, we did. Like one night for dinner we had jalapeno poppers, onion petals and Coke floats.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shepherd's Pot Pie

I'm in the mood for something shepherd pie-ish or a beef pot pie, but I'm lacking any vegetable or beef based soup.  I started with... a nice double fist sized hunk of frozen hamburger which I fried in four tablespoons butter and then I added about one cup, maybe a little more, of my mother-in-law's beef vegetable soup from the freezer.

I took a store-bought pie crust and lined my deep dish pie dish. Put some frozen chopped potatoes in the microwave to thaw. I tossed some extra peas in the bottom. Cooked the meat until brown and poured the whole butter/soup/meat mixed into the pie pan. Then I threw the sliced potatoes in the skillet for a few minutes.

Next, I sprinkled some cheddar cheese on top of the meat. I very carefully arranged the slice potatoes on top of the cheese. Then, I used a pastry brush to coat them lightly with olive oil. Finally, I sprinkled liberally with garlic pepper. I covered with aluminum foil and put it in the oven at 425.

Now, I am at my best when I am most experimental... So we'll see how this turns out. It makes me wish I had fresh parsley. And it makes me wonder how on earth I ever learned to cook. My mother didn't cook. No one taught me, but over the years, I've figured some stuff out...

So, I cooked it for about twenty minutes with the lid on and then removed the foil and cooked another ten minutes.

It turned out incredible. So much so that my family ate the entire thing in one sitting.

I, of course, added Frank's red hot sauce.

More French Bread Pizzas

We made little French bread pizzas for lunch today. I cut one loaf of homemade bread into six pieces (or was it seven?) and covered half with the last of the commercial spinach dip and the others with Wegmans pizza sauce. Then we added parmesan cheese and shredded cheddar. And black olives. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Banana Pear Vouvray tarte tartine

As everyone knows, I have no issue straying from a recipe. I have made Tart tartine before for this blog, a couple times actually, so if you need the recipe, I suggest clicking Barefoot in Paris (the cookbook it came from) or French or Dessert.

This morning, I greased the dish, laid out my pears and added banana, because normally my tart seems not fruity enough. I also tried to make it prettier than usual. For my syrup, I replaced the sugar/water syrup with the juice from the pears, a couple tablespoons of sugar and Vouvray.

Other than that, I stuck to the recipe and it's in the oven now. I also have a double batch of French bread rising.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Crazy Quesadilla

My husband used my idea and made crazy quesadillas tonight. We made them with fresh broccoli, slightly cooked, cheddar, and tortilla shells--oh and more morningstar veg chik'n. I hate using lots of soy analogs... And we topped them with salsa, mango salsa, spinach dip, guacamole, sour cream, Frank's hot sauce... and for dessert: watermelon!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Veggie Bacon Sandwiches

My husband made us sandwiches for lunch. They are toasted sesame bagels with melted cheddar cheese, Morningstar veggie bacon and for condiments--commercial guacamole dip for me and for him commercial spinach dip. 

White Bean, Spinach and Ham Soup

Shannon's Black Bean and Ham soup has got me thinking of how to use a bag of white beans and the remaining ham hock from the freezer. (See January 16 or click "ham hocks" below to see Shan's recipe.) I did a quick web search and found several similar variations of Shan's black bean soup for white beans. I'm starting with boiling water, then I plan to throw the frozen ham hock into the pot. Then. I'll wait about ten minutes and add the bag of beans and a clove or two fresh minced garlic...

I put the ham hock and the great Northern Beans in the boiling water. I added one clove chopped garlic and covered. In the blender, I put two cloves garlic and a can of undrained spinach, and some of my four color pepper blend and liquefied. That will get added in a couple hours, but for now the spinach and garlic flavors can meld.

So after boiling for about ninety minutes, I noticed the water had just about been absorbed/boiled off. So I pulled the ham hock out to slice the meat off, added about two quarts more water and combined the bean soup with the spinach mix. I then ran about half of the results through the blender. I then put everything back together, added the sliced ham bits, and got the soup going to a simmer. So far it tastes bland, but I'll let it simmer a while before I start adding things.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Curried fried veggies

I'm probably going to make Morningstar chk'n patties or nuggets to accompany this... but I have broccoli, carrots and cauliflower cooking now. I mixed some curry powder (amount based on the smell) with breadcrumbs and plan to roll the veggies in the mix and fry them. We'll see how it turns out...

Wow... another culinary coup. ;-)

To try this at home:

Angel's curried fried vegs
1. Cook your vegetables, but not too soft. I used about 2-3 cups of frozen cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli.

2. Mix about 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs, two tablespoons curry powder, and two tablespoons garlic powder.

3. Roll veggies in the crumbs, the moisture from cooking should help them stick.

4. Heat canola oil in skillet. I used about a 12 inch skillet and used a layer of oil about 1/2 inch thick. That's pretty generous for me.

5. Drop coated veggies in hot oil and fry until crispy and darker. I drained mine on paper towels before serving.

photo caption: Morningstar buffalo chicken wings, commercial spinach dip (for the nuggets) and Angel's curried-fried veggies.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More granola

My daughter and I made granola this morning. It's in the oven as I type. Our basic granola recipe is from The Imus Ranch cookbook and if you click the granola link below you'll see some of the previous incarnations and instructions.

Today's mix:

(and remember, I use granola to use up some of the stuff that has become unpopular around here)
  • dried papaya (which my daughter decided she did not like)
  • oats
  • plain cheerios 
  • sliced almonds
  • crushed graham crackers
  • raisins
  • dried cherries
  • honey
  • blackstrap molasses
  • oil
  • sugar
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • nutmeg

Hamburger Helper à la Daddy

My husband went to Sam's club over the weekend and got some more tissues and ground beef and buns. Saturday night he made hamburgers and homemade fries. Sunday we went miniature golfing and used a gift certificate for Panera Bread on the way home. (Our daughter had one of their maple butter-pecan granola-strawberry parfaits and some of our food.) 

Last night we had my husband's hamburger helper style dinner. Leftover pasta, egg noodles, lots of cheese, half and half and ground beef. We forgot a vegetable. Today my aim is to 1. make granola for breakfast and 2. make a real dinner.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Skillet Mac N Cheese N Broccoli

I can't even tell you what we've eaten lately. I've been too sick to notice. I know the dehydrated veggies from Forks Mediterranean Deli taste incredible... We had a large sicilian with broccoli last night from Pizza D'Oro. And tonight...

My husband surprised me by making a skillet pasta with tri-color rotini and elbow noodles, olive oil, broccoli, cheddar cheese and a hint of garlic pepper. It was fabulous. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

That's a wrap

If it looks like I've slacked off on this blog, I have and I haven't. I have, because there are less entries than usual. I haven't because with all this illness, we've barely been eating. We've been drinking gallons of orange juice though.

We literally did not have dinner last night because we went to a party for one of my afterschool program and my daughter ate her weight in celery, carrots, Oreos and Cheetos. But I considered that a wash because she had been eating all day. Generic peanut butter crunch and soy milk for breakfast; Herbatussin tea with milk and honey, one section of a Nature Valley granola bar, four peach halves and chocolate soy milk for a second breakfast; yogurt and graham crackers for lunch #1; and then a second lunch with me...

For a second lunch, I had made myself a wrap. I used the leftover lunchmeat ham and spread it on a tortilla shell. I sprinkled mozzarella on it and heated it. Then I put on some spicy brown mustard and rolled it (and gave 1/3 to my daughter). She devoured hers and asked for more, but we had eaten all the ham.

For lunch today, my husband took the last of the turkey (this is all the Aldi meat my in-laws forgot here... I wouldn't buy it because the ingredients list is all preservatives and even includes high fructose corn syrup, but I'm way too wired not too waste food). He added ranch to his, cheddar cheese and slices of apple, along the lines of my funky turkey sandwiches last week. I asked that he swap my ranch for the raspberry jam.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I've finally caught the plague the rest of the family has been carrying around for two weeks. And we had a snow storm. So, for dinner tonight, I made ham-cheddar-mozzarella-broccoli omelets and my husband made homemade french fries.

We went to Sam's Club last night and spent about $50, our first grocery expenditure for March. 4 pounds of cheddar, 2 lbs of colby jack, 18 Egglands Best eggs, Cool Ranch Doritoes, tortilla chips, and Puffs plus... Pet supplies... but that's an additional $20. Oh! And multigrain crackers. I think that's the grand tally. No... wait... I also bought a 12-pack of Dannon Natural Yogurt. (As opposed to unnatural yogurt.)