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Archive for May, 2014

Meal Planning

May 31st, 2014 at 09:32 am

I don't usually do a ton of meal planning in advance, but with DD coming next week it seems like a good idea. That way I can figure out which groceries I need to pick up before then. I pass the store on my way home from work Thursday-Sunday, so I try as much as I can to get everything I need for Mon, Tues, and Wed, by Sunday. That way I don't have to go out of my way.

Tonight we are going to a friend's after I get off work. So no dinner planned for tonight.

Sunday: spaghetti and meatballs
Have: spaghetti, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, frozen meatballs, red wine, olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning
Need: nothing

Monday: Parmesan crusted Tilapia, green beans
Have: tilapia, bread crumbs, parmesan, green beans
Need: eggs

Tuesday (DD will be here): baked chicken nuggets, beets
Have: frozen chicken breast, bread crumbs, jar of beets, black pepper, mustard and bbq sauce for dipping
Need: eggs

Wednesday: Moroccan chicken stew
Have: frozen chicken breast, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken bouillon, can of garbanzo beans, whole wheat couscous, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, dried onion, olive oil
Need: zucchini

Thursday: leftover stew


I'll plan out more as we get closer. I will also need to pick up a few things for DD to have for lunch while I'm at work.

This morning I am planning to have the last of the black beans and chicken sausage with the last egg, fried, and some shredded cheese. For lunch I'll take a yogurt and a banana.

Yay! Oven is fixed!

May 30th, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Finally. I can cook normally again.

I had two banana oatmeal muffins and a half grapefruit for breakfast, and I took a chicken and turkey salami sandwich and an apple for lunch. I had some dried cranberries and almonds as a snack. For dinner I finished the rest of the leftover brown rice and a stew made with red lentils, garbanzo beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, curry and garlic.

I also used up some fruit to make a small crisp. It had an apple that was a bit too bruised to eat, half a can of cherry pie filling, and some sliced peaches from the freezer.

Tomorrow we're going to a friend's after I get off work so I imagine we'll be eating there. DH is in charge of finding out if we need to bring anything.

DD's room

May 30th, 2014 at 10:14 am

DD will be here next week for a short visit before spending the summer in Alaska. She will be back in August just before school starts.

We moved into our current apartment in March, and have been converting the walk in closet into her bedroom. It's actually a great space to use for a bedroom. It has a window that opens, two lights that turn on and off independently, three separate outlets, and even a land line phone jack (how quaint).

It is 4" wide by 19" long, so it's a pretty good size, but a challenging shape to use as a bedroom. There are two doors, one leading to the master bedroom, and one to the living room. Both doors need to be kept clear because the window in the closet also leads to the fire escape. This led us to decide to loft a bed in the middle of the room, between the two doors.

My dad came from Idaho last month and helped put a loft in for her bed. We also took out some of the existing shelving and hanging bar for clothes, and after building the bed we reinstalled some of the shelves in places that worked a bit better. The materials for the bed cost me about $75. To buy one that fit in that space would have cost me at least $200, and I didn't care for the design of that one as it didn't have an opening at the top of the ladder. The one we built is much sturdier and easier to get in and out of.

The light fixture that wound up above the bed wasn't really well suited for that space, since it was glass with sharp corners on it, and the bulb wasn't fully enclosed. We found a new fixture for $20 at Home Depot and replaced it. The new on is rounded with a plastic cover, so if she bumps her head on it it won't be especially painful. Another plus on the new light fixture is that it has a pull chain so she can turn it on and off without getting out of bed.

Next week while she is here I'll be helping her with unpacking and getting the space organized, as well as hanging up mirrors and artwork. I bought a small desk online, that needs to be put together as well, and have a few more shelves to install.

She also had a lofted bed in our previous apartment, and I had put white Christmas lights underneath it for some soft white lighting. I will be doing that again as soon as I can find some lights, as most of the old set had burnt out. I might check Amazon for some LED lights this time.





Teff grain

May 30th, 2014 at 08:14 am

Last year I went to buy teff flour on Amazon, and accidentally bought four bags of whole grain teff instead. Teff is an African grain. The whole grain is very tiny, about the size of a poppy seed. It is very nutritionally dense and has a bit of a grassy and nutty flavor on it's own.

Not knowing what else to do with it, I started putting a few tablespoons or more into every batch of oatmeal, granola, banana bread, or muffins I made. Occasionally I will even cook up a teff porridge and add honey and peanut butter to it, plus a little milk to thin it. I found that when added to recipes it gives a little bit of texture and crunch without really affecting the flavor, and it's very high in fiber, protein, calcium, and iron. I put a quarter cup into my banana oatmeal muffins last night, replacing some of the white flour, and they are really tasty.

I'm now down to less than half a pound of teff, and I think once it's gone I will need to buy more. I found it at the nearby grocery store for around $5 for a one pound bag, which tends to last me about 3 months. Once the bag is unsealed it lasts better in the fridge. Of course it's a bit cheaper on Amazon, but storage is an issue here.

first entry

May 29th, 2014 at 10:10 pm

I have realized that our biggest money leak is on food. Recently I'm making a renewed effort to cooking at home and bringing food with me to work.

Today I had shredded wheat with milk for breakfast, took a peanut butter honey sandwich and a Greek yogurt to work for lunch, and had left over black beans with chicken sausage and brown rice for dinner. I also made some banana oatmeal muffins in the toaster oven and had a couple of those.

I didn't buy any snacks or drinks out today. I did stop at the store on the way home and picked up sliced cheese for sandwiches and a couple of bananas. Also more dish soap.

One of my biggest challenges is that our oven/stove has not been working at all for nearly three weeks now. We only have the crock pot, rice cooker, electric skillet, foreman grill, and toaster oven. And of course the microwave. There are a few things that are hard or just impossible to make without the oven. I am getting fed up waiting for it to be fixed.

I am also experimenting with growing vegetables in the little window boxes. So far the fingerling potatoes are growing like crazy. The radishes are doing pretty well also.