a few announcements:
- congrats to my favorite hummus loving hippie and her new husband on their recent marriage!
- congrats to the newest MILF on the blogging block, hayley! she welcomed her baby girl into the world just the other day.
- congrats to miss PB & jenny, she recently achieved a mega goal she’s been working toward and i couldn’t be more proud!
i am sure there are several other announcements around blog land~ but that list will have to do for now. i’ve got some rambling to attend to!
WOW, so.. i am flattered at all the compliments you guys left me regarding my planning and organizational skills when it comes to meal plans and budgeting. BUT, i do want to clarify something, before you all think i am some mathematically organized saint. i don’t do those calculations every week! i actually have never calculated the average price per meal and until my post last night, i had no idea how the dollars and cents actually broke down.
the reason i started planning is because i don’t live as close the the grocery store as i used to and it is inconvenient to go every day like i used to. yes, i used to go to the grocery store EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. by making one big trip each weekend, i am saving time, gas and energy. plus i am less likely to make “impulse buys”. so, in addition to eliminating extra trips to the store, this meal planning thing has also helped us save mucho dinero (lotsa money). if we do go to the store mid-week, it is to purchase one or two items that were possibly forgotten. or a corkscrew. don’t worry, that one is covered as of last thursday.
what i do is actually quite simple, anyone can do it. yes, even YOU! (i am talking to YOU!)
- plan 4 dinners for the week. to do this, i ask marshall what he feels like, i ask myself what i feel like, and i try to plan a nice variety. this week we have two chicken dishes: one with rice and one with potatoes. one ground beef/mexican dish. one tofu/italian dish.
- make a meal plan list of ingredients needed for the dinners (after checking what you currently have in stock at home)
- make a meal plan list of breakfast and lunch items that you are out of (our breakfasts and lunches rarely change so this is simple)
- make a MASTER shopping list that has each ingredient on the list only once and it appears on the list according to the section of the store.
- sometimes you will have two dinners that call for the same ingredient. for example, chicken breasts. on the meal plan list it is written twice. on the grocery list it is written once, with a “x2” by it.
- it is so much more efficient to list all produce items first, then canned items, then dairy items, and so on. this way i am not all over the store and i only go down each aisle once!
- when at the store, add up the total as you go. i admit, i don’t look at the ads or shop around for the best deal. i like to go to one grocery store and that’s it. i will always opt for the brand that is on sale on most items (but there are a few items that i have brand loyalty to!) and i will just add the (approximate) total as i throw things in my cart. when i am inching close to $100, i stop shopping. usually i get everything i need before the $100 mark. if this is not the case, i look in my cart and evaluate the situation. take out any items i do NOT need, or determine if the extra $$$ is justified.
so.. that is pretty simple! it is not a complicated process at all. i think i made it seem complicated last night with all my numbers and prices per meal.. but i definitely don’t do that every week! i just wanted to show you how the money broke down. as long as i am spending less than $100 a week on groceries and no more than $200 month on staple items, i’m good to go.
this morning it was a downpour! i had blended my usual breakfast of a protein shake but decided i couldn’t drink it. it was WAY too cold out. i managed to suck down almost half of it and then cried “mercy!” and switched to hot coffee. this left me starving by 10 AM. not cool.
oh, i guess i should mention, our usual monday morning sales meeting meal at the original pancake house has been canceled until the economy gets better. we still have the meeting, just no breakfast. spending $6,000 annually on breakfast once a week was not beneficial to the company as a whole. sigh, cry, no more eggbeaters and oatmeal on monday for me. that is, unless i make it myself.
anyway, back to my starving belly at 10 AM. i dug around the cupboards at work to see what i had to munch on until lunch time.
i was fortunate enough to find some muesli which i combined with almond milk and a spoonful of mighty maple peanut butter.
this was about half of my usual breakfast serving, the perfect amount to tide me over to lunch.
last night i baked some sweet potatoes so i could eat them for lunch this week. i forgot about my intense love for this combo:
that right there is one baked sweet potato, 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese, 1 TB sunflower seed butter and a healthy dose of reduced sugar ketchup.
it’s got it all: healthy carbs, casein protein, good fat, chemicals (haha) and a whole lot of flavor.
don’t knock it ‘til you try it!
i am not going to lie. i haven’t worked out since last thursday! i usually take fridays off and then do a tough workout saturday and a light workout sunday.. but the stye in my eye left me lazy on the couch and no workout in sight. unfortunately, i woke up this morning and the stye was WORSE. ugh. don’t worry, mama pea, i went to the doc straight from work.
the eye doc couldn’t do much for my stye, but i did get an eye exam while i was there and he dilated my pupils. i am finally going to get some glasses.. i wore glasses from 3rd grade until 7th grade, then i got contacts and have basically left them in for the past 15 years. i am horrible at taking out my contacts and i desperately need eyeglasses so i will take my contacts out! i just hate not being able to see.
between the stye and the pupil dilation, i was a total wreck. i wanted to work out, but my eyes were NOT cooperating. it is a pretty frustrating feeling.
i camped out on the couch with a rag on my eye, thought long and hard about going to the gym, but then realized it would be stupid to force myself to do something when i am not feeling 100%. i will just have to hit it hard when i feel better!
marshall requested hawaiian haystacks for dinner. i had to google this one! come to find out, momma b apparently made it for us “all the time” when i was a kid. i have zero recollection of this. i guess i was just too busy making up recipes of my own to notice recipes i was eating. (doesn’t every eight year old do that?)
once i consulted the interwebs, i learned that hawaiian haystacks didn’t even originate in hawaii.. but were dubbed hawaiian due to the fact that the stack involves pineapple. um, ok? maybe every recipe i make with pineapple should have the word “hawaiian” before it from now on. who’s with me?
although i was perplexed by the name, i still learned the essential ingredients to make hawaiian haystacks. turns out they are SUPER simple!
this morning, i put the following into the slow cooker on low heat:
- 1.5 lb chicken, diced into 3/4” cubes
- 2 cans healthy request cream of chicken soup
- 1 can low sodium chicken broth
it was a tad too liquidy when i got home. i added a teaspoon of xanthan gum to thicken it up and that did the trick!
i promise that is not dog hair. it is just stringy chicken. which sounds equally as appealing.. right?
i prepped and set out the following toppings:
- brown rice
- white rice
- diced green onions
- shredded cheddar & monterey jack cheeses
- diced tomatoes
- diced celery
- chow mein noodles
- crushed pineapple
- shredded coconut
- slivered almonds
when marshall got home from a long day’s work,(and i mean LONG DAY.. he wasn’t home until 8! sad wife) we assembled our own personal haystacks.
his (on a dinner plate):
something should be said for marshall’s belly capacity. he ate TWO full dinner sized platefuls. i barely finished my salad plate stack ‘o hay. that boy can eat!
i really enjoyed the topping combinations! the crunchy chow mein noodles, the sweet but sour pineapple, the crisp celery and onions. it all worked so well together.
what i didn’t really love is the cream of chicken sauce that the chicken was in. i do like cream of chicken sauce, but not by itself. it was just too.. blah for me. next time, i think this dish would be fabulous with some barbecue chicken or a sweet and sour sauce! i am excited to play around with the recipe.
in other news.. i have had a sweet tooth every night for the past couple weeks. i am trying to break this habit because i used to not require a night time treat EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. i am not saying that dessert is bad, but when i am still full from dinner and am just eating dessert for the sake of eating dessert.. well, i have a problem with that. so, this week, i am making a conscious effort to only eat after dinner if i am truly hungry. i am not one of those people who think it is bad to eat after a certain time, i am all about going to bed with a full belly! but the extra bowls of ice cream and creamies and cookies are getting a tad ridiculous, so i am putting myself in check. the end.
keep your fingers crossed that i wake up with a healthy eye!
1. have you ever had hawaiian haystacks? do you like them? my answer above.
2. how is your vision? do you wear contacts, glasses, or none of the above? i am B-L-I-N-D! as i mentioned, i have had corrective lenses since the third grade. your regular four eyes! now that i wear contacts, my prescription is minus 5.0 in each eye.
xo. janetha g.