I had a really nice day Sunday. A friend came over and we did some sewing.
I worked on my quilt - got the borders on and the quilt basted. I used spray glue rather than basting it which sent my friend into a tizzy - what with her being a traditionalist and all that. I started the quilting but didn't get very far with that even though I was doing it on the machine.. too much fun chatting!
I made a dip yesterday using "fresh cheese" aka quark and a dip mix. The quark was very low fat (.25%) and tasted delciously rich - a splurge compared to sour cream on price but wwayyyyyyyy better than fat free sour cream in taste (then again isn't everythin better than that stuff). Delicious with fresh crudites.
Viewing the 'Cheap Eats' Category
I had a really nice day Sunday. A friend came over and we did some sewing.
Last two days I've managed to take lunch and bring a coffee from home on the way to work.
I'm eating better and spending less which is a win win.
I'm proud of me!
Tonight's bonus was dinner at a friends house! Simple sandwiches and salad are delicious when made by someone else!
And we shared a godiva chocolate bar for dessert. Sheer luxury!
Did errands at lunch. Ended up spending more than I wanted to. Got a couple good deals (75% off) on an over the counter drug I sometimes use. All the rest of the things were items that were on my list that I needed.
I picked a lunch sandwich up at the grocery store. A picnic roast beef wrap (roast beef, shredded cheddar, mustard and sweet pickle) for $2.00. It was excellent!
Off to meet a friend for dinner. When I get back from vacation I really have to get the eating out under control.
Ever notice the correlation between the speed and efficency of service at a fast food place and the number of people milling about behind the counter.
Its definitely an inverse relationship. The more people the slower the service.
This insight brought to you by a person who needs to stop eating out so much.
Actually I should say no planning.
No planning and very little time is giving me not enough time to cook ahead and bring food to work for lunch. Working til very late this evening meant a trip to McD's drive through.
Went in for some frozen french fries, as I didn't feel like doing oven fries starting with real potatoes.
Bought McCain superfries. Not sure if they are in mass distribution. Better than most frozen fries. That isn't saying much. Whatever they do to them to ensure they are super crispy is weird. I don't know if it is a weird chemical or a texturizing process. (I guess I should write and ask)
They aren't bad, but I won't rave about them. Best kept for teens, children and folks who are unable to cut a potato.
Much better is cutting a potato or 3 preferably yukon gold or russet (or other yellow fleshed potato of choice), cutting it into french fry sized pieces, tossing in bowl with some olive oil (1-2TBSP), seasalt, peppper and other spices or herbs. and then putting on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the bottom shelf of the oven at 425. YOu may want to flip after about 10 minute. I cook until they are as crispy as I like 20 minutes or so (dang I don't time it).But might be longer too.. I'm not exact on this.
If you are trying to cut down on carbs use parsnip instead and keep a closer eye on time. Also excellent with sweet potato yams etc.
Convenince foods are convenient and easy but my palate is enjoying them less
Went and used more of my coupons for beans. Bought 18 cans. Effectively was paid $3.18 to take them home with me!
Did I ever mention how much I love coupons and sales?
Oh and a friend bought my lunch today. Free lunch and free stuff. Life is good!
I did my normal Sunday cooking spree today.
So far have made a huge crust less quiche (using up the eggs that needed to be used), with broccoli, mushrooms, cheddar, peppers, onion and garlic. A full crock pot of chili is nearly finished cooking and I made up a huge batch of broccoli salad (with red onion and cheese).
Still on the agenda are "healthy shake" chicken thighs (using cornmeal and spices rather than shake and bake) and to make up the cole slaw mix I have.
I'll be eating well next week.
My friend called Loblaws where we went for the cooking demo last Wednesday. I was allowed to stay for it even though I wasn't on the paid sheet. The chef leading the class was very nice about it!
The girl at Loblaws remembers my friend phoning to register me (and pay for me). But she said she got busy so that she didn't process the order or put me down for it. She said it was her error and that they aren't going to ask me to pay! Excellent customer service on their part to make up for their error and the awkwardness of my not being on the sheet.
After I call ING to get my account unlocked (yeah never did call to get that cleared up), I'll put that $30 into my ING account! Money that you thought you spent that you didn't spend is really found money right?
I am going away for a few days after Wednesday (a Mini March break!) So I kept the cooking simple.
Yesterday I made a crust-less quiche. This week it was made with mushrooms, broccoli, onion, garlic and eggs. Last night I had a hankering for some macaroni and meat with tomato sauce. So I cooked up extra of each. Today I made a spaghetti pie.
Essentially spaghetti pie (though given I used macaroni I probably should call this macaroni pie) is an easy version of lasagna. Pasta goes in the bottom layer in a large casserole dish, mixed with beaten eggs and some Parmesan cheese. On top of that I put a layer of no fat cottage cheese, with a touch of nutmeg in it. The top layer was the pasta sauce that had spinach, mozzerella and lean ground beef in it. I baked this, covered in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. It turned out wonderful and made enough for 8 meals. I actually used no fat ingredients and this qualifies as a core dish for WW.
That's it for the cooking I did today. I didn't sleep well last night and have pretty muched lazed the rest of the day away!
Did my normal weekend thing and cooked.
Big vat of pasta sauce. I cheated and instead of buying veggies I bought the arctic gardens frozen chopped "spagetti" mix. What a timesaver. They might become a regular in the winter (blend of onions, carrots, celery and green pepper diced small). I think the bag 1.5lbs - was less than $3 - no waste. This time of year likely better quality and the same or cheaper than buying fresh.
I put together the bag of veggies, 3 cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and some salt and pepper, 2 28oz tins of diced tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste and a can of pastas sauce and dumped it all in the slow cooker. I didn't add a lot of seasoning as I am planning to incorporate it into other dishes.
After a couple of hours I took out four cups of the sauce and added to it in a dutch oven 4 cups of diced potatoes, 2 cans of black beans and a 1/2 TBSP of cumin and a teaspoon of basil. Cooked it on low on the stove until the potatoes were soft - 5 servings of black bean stew
I then used a cup of the sauce to add to a spinach, cheese tortellini and ground turkey pasta dish. I also added some sour cream to make if more of a rose sauce. Again 5 servings.
I took the rest of the spagetti sauce after it had cooked a few more hours (about 4-6 cups more) and made it smoother rather than chunky by using the immersion blender in it. I have that split up between two tupperwear containers.
I fried up a pound of ground beef too as well as some mushrooms. I seasoned that with salt but otherwise left it as a raw ingredient. I think I'l make barley strogonoff with it but I have a small problem - I don't have any barley. So will have to do that either tomorrow or when I get the barley - I will likely freeze the cooked meat until then.
I know I must sound crazy with all the cooking I do. But I proved it last week when I ran out of things to eat and bought my lunch - cooking ahead and freezing is necessary for me to both eat properly and not spend a fortune eating out.
Once again its the weekend and I'm cooking up a storm.
This week I'm making
Singapore Pork and Peppers (double batch)
Crustless Leek and Spinach Quiche
French Canadian Pea Soup
Turkey "sausage" patties
I think I'm going to also make a casserole dish too - just not quite sure what. I want something different and diet smart that I have the ingredients for - just not quite sure exactly what that is yet! I have the extra lean ground beef defrosting so I'll figure it out soon!
Today was a nice day. More pampering in that my fried who cleans for me was over to clean - and we got all caught up with each other.
In all the pampering I did manage to cook this weekend so I'm all set for next week.
On the menu is:
*shake and bake chicken
*roasted taters and parsnips (inredibly yummy)
I also have hummus in the fridge and an eggpplant so I can make a no fat eggplant dip.
I'm spending my money on pampering rather than on convenience foods. I haven't eaten so well in ages!
I make a low fat hummus and mentioned this in my blog. Here, by request is the recipe.
Hummus is a dip/spread made from chickpeas which some call garbanzo beans. Different name, same bean.
This isn't an exact recipe. I never make this the same. Hummus purists please go and read other posts as you may be cringing reading this.
You might be able to make this in a blender but I prefer a food processor. If you have neither a food processor or a blender I am not sure you can do this successfully.
Dump All ingredients in food processor:
1 can of chickpeas with liquid (using the chickpea liquid adds salt for flavour and provides necessary liquid).
1 or 2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves
1-2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp hot pepper sauce (tabasco)
1/2 tsp salt
Turn food processer on and process for a few minutes until very creamy. If not creamy enough first time processing - just turn the processer back on (I always find this takes a while)
Adjust spices to taste. I like this salty and with a zip. Add less hot pepper/tabasco if you don't like it with a bit of a zip.
Up til this point you have a no fat dip. I quite often will add:
1 TBSP sesame oil or 1-4 TBSP tahini
Eat as a dip with veggies or pita or tortilla chips
The last few days I was on a roll cooking! I eat well when I cook ahead - healthy low fat dishes and I save money. I'm not tempted to buy crap when I have all this good food! I love having this made-ahead food in the freezer in single serving portions - that way I can take one to work easily and on nights when I don't want to cook I can just take one out of the freezer.
Made in the last few days:
*vegetarian chili (about 6 servings)
*Beef and Barley stroganoff (4 servings)
*Pea Soup (6 servings)
*Low Fat Hummus (for snacking)
I also bought a large large package of mesculun mix on sale and a veggie bowl with a $5 off coupon that came on it! So I have fresh veggies too!
Today I'm going to hard boil some eggs to add to the salads and for snacks. I've got the makings for parmeson white beans and brussel sprouts that I may make tonight. I estimate that will be 2-3 meals worth once it is made.
I should spend some time surfing to figure out what I can make later this week. I want to get in the habit of making 2 crockpot meals a week. That will bet me a nice variety of meals, keep me eating healthy, ensure variety in my diet and help the ole budget!
Another bad nights sleep. Pfft. I'm only drinking decaf now after noon, made sure I exercised today and will take melatonin before I go to bed. Hopefully I'll sleep better tonight.
Made a great easy lunch - lentil soup - a can of lentils, a can of tomatoes, clove of garlic, an onion, a carrot, a potato, and a stalk of celery plus spices and some water simmered on the stove and a dash of balsamic vinegar added just before servings. Definitely something I'll make again.
Spending so far today $1.05 on a coffee (decaf cause I had it about 2pm)
Another nice night here.
I made a simple supper - Minnesota Bean Pot, roasted sweet potato, squash and potatoes and some chicken and broccoli for the non vegetarian in the group. A friend joined us for supper and brought dessert - a nice apple cranberry crisp.
After dinner we cleared the table and played monopoly.
A good time was had by all - and no money spent. A few of us did enjoy a beer or cooler or two
Tomorrow night we are off to another friend's for dinner and more games.
Last night was a fun free night.
I made dinner for my boyfriend and another friend. Quick and easy and tasty. Pasta and clams in a simple garlic oil sauce. Not low calorie but delicious. We had it with some wonderful wine donated to the cause by our friend!
Afterwards we all piled in the car and went to see Christmas lights. We weren't looking for elegant but for overdone and trashy. And we found a few places!. One house we went to had a yard full of lit presents. One box opened and up popped a Merry Christas sign -though had "Its" hand popped out we'd have been happier. We have a strange sense of humour!
Lots of deer out there. Some mechanical, some not. A few snow globes with scenes inside - snowmen, santa, and in cone case a moving merry-go-round with elves on reindeer . Quite a few snowmen around too. Less people have multicoloured lights than I remember from my youth and the flashing strings of lights must be totally passe (or not made anymore).
A co-worker is buying me lunch today! I think it will be today; but she is having her annual review prior to meeting me for lunch and if it goes to badly we might reschedule. I don't think it will but who knows if she will feel festiver after it or not.
Our department at work is divided into two teams. Last week the team I am on did a lunch potluck.
Today was our opportunity to be treated. The best free breakfast ever: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hashbrowns, bagels, smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt and cookies - and I know I am missing items. It was a true feast!
The bonus - there was so much food that I was able to take leftovers for my lunch.
We had a Dave Ramsey meal today for lunch.
You guessed it, we had beans and rice. Wasn't because we wanted a cheap meal more I wanted a quick and easy meal. It was okay. I really prefer it made with the chili beans from Aldi rather than regular kidney beans. I didn't get go all out on this meal either. Organic Brown Rice from Trader Joes and a can of kidney beans. Had I been in "frugal form" I'd have cooked the beans from dry and the rice from a great big bag of oriental long grain rice.
We might balance it with a meal out tonight! We are spending the day being good consumers and will be doing a pile'o'Christmas shopping.
If you don't hear from me again its because I'm the one that went postal in the mall. I really am not much for shopping at this time of year.
This makes quite an inexpensive and very tasty meal. I made it on friday when my boyfriend came home for lunch. This is definitely on the make again list and I'm putting it here so I can find it the next time I want to make it. Took about 25 minutes to cook. I always keep any wine that hasn't been sipped in a timely fashion for cooking and the rest of the ingredients were pantry items.
Pasta with Lentils,Wine and Tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed (minced)
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 cup red lentils, washed
15 oz can tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water - approximately
1/2 cup red wine (I used white wine) Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups pasta (we used whole wheat rotini)
Fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of the oil until soft and then add the garlic, cinnamon, lentils, tomatoes, wine and water and bring to the boil. Let the mixture simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
A little before the end of the cooking time for the sauce, bring a large panful of water to the boil. Add the pasta, stir, then let the pasta boil uncovered for 7-10 minutes or until just tender. Drain the pasta and return it to the still warm saucepan with some salt.
Either add the lentil and tomato mixture to the pasta and mix or just toss the pasta in the remaining tablespoon olive oil then serve it on warmed plates and spoon the sauce over it.
Adapted from recipe at http://www.vegan-food.net/recipe/1216/Tagliatelle-Verde-with-Lentils-Red-Wine-and-Tomato-
We are heading to two parties this weekend. I want to make dessert stuff to bring. But they want munchies/appetizers. That is one of the laws of the universe - that if you are in the mood to bring something that the host will prefer (I'm one of those guests who always ask) that you bring something else.
The boyfriend is vegan. I don't want to bring a fruit tray. I'm more thinking on the lines of hummus and guacamole. With something OTHER than tortilla chips. Last party we had people brought a total of 5 bags of tortillas. We had to give some back!
Frugal, vegan, delicious and wonderful. I think I'm off to recipezaar. I love my hummus but is there a statute of limitations on how often you can bring something to a gathering before you get known as the "hummus lady"?
I did some pre-planning this weekend. I will eat better and healthier because of this and way cheaper than eating out (or buying a new wardrobe because I stress eat junk food all week)
I cooked up some pinto, tomato and barley casserole, so I have that for some lunches and am making southwest chicken (recipe below).
My lunch menu will look like this (I have a total of 5 of everything).
-pinto bean casserole or southwest chicken
-coleslaw with japenese ginger dressing
-vanilla yogurt pudding with mixed fruit
The pudding and the coleslaw are measured out already so I just have to grab and go. 3 of the main dishes are measured out and I just have to wait til the Southwest chicken cooks to have the rest ready.
A lot of food I know but I'm working long days so some will be for snacking. That will hopefully keep me away from the endless crap that is always floating around the office.
I also have the makings for chili but that will not end up getting done tonight. Probably will make it during the week and toss it into the rotation. And have enough of each to freeze so I'm ahead of the easy lunch and dinner things
A package of chicken (6 pieces, I use boneless thighs, use whatever you have)
1 large jar salsa (16 oz)
1 can corn (11 -12 oz)
1 can black beans drained
1 3 oz can tomato paste (if desired)
Toss all in slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours. I put the tinned stuff and salsa in the bottom of the crockpot and put the chicken on top. Sometimes I cut up the chicken first.
When serving garnish with chedder and sour cream to taste. I don't eat this on rice but it would be good that way I imagine.
I had this entry all written. All about my crappy day, my victory in coming home after a 10.5 hour work day and making dinner and about my spending plans for tomorrow and then internet monster ate the entry.
I hit a pothole on the information superhighway. I do this more frequently than I want to admit. Pfffffffft. Fits with how my day went.
Cheap meal idea btw - egg and chips (french fries) .. Yummy if i say so myself