Monday, February 24, 2020

Menu plan for the week of February 24

I don't know, y'all.  I just don't know.  Can one of you please tell me what to make this week?  No fish, no chicken thighs, no sugar, no "cream of" soups, no crock pot, and every cheesy thing has to be cheese-optional.  Bonus points if it's low in carbohydrates, or easily adaptable to be.

I am strongly leaning, almost horizontally leaning, toward making each person in this household choose, plan for, and execute supper at least once week, because I am so done.  I am empty of ideas.  The only reason I haven't already implemented this plan is that I fear it will dissolve into fend for yourself every night.  And I value family meals too much to let that happen.

OK.  Here's what I've got for this week, but next week, it's on you.  Drop your meal suggestions in the comments here or on Facebook, or if you read my blog via email, you can just hit reply.

Supper:

  • Spaghetti/zoodles with meatballs (we're a little over halfway through our warehouse store bag of meatballs), garlic toast, oven roasted cauliflower
  • Pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit
  • Chicken bacon ranch sliders, green beans
  • Hot dogs or hamburgers, buns, chips, raw veggies
  • Tacos with taco toppings (enchiladas for Hubby, because I still have a bit of enchilada sauce in the freezer)
  • Creamy Smoked Sausage Mac (or cauli) and Cheese,(using half a bag of Gemelli, even though I kind of want to save it for pasta salad, which no one will eat) steamed broccoli
  • Grilled chicken, salad, mixed veggies, garlic toast



Friday, February 21, 2020

Mayo

I made mayonnaise, y'all.

I never much liked mayo.  Looking back, that could be because I didn't realize that mayonnaise and "dressing" (think Miracle Whip), are not the same thing.  I definitely didn't like "dressing," and I still don't.  I probably assumed I didn't like mayo because I for sure didn't like "dressing." Did you know it has corn syrup in it?  Yuck. 

The turning point in my attitude toward mayo may have come when my aunt strongly suggested  that I try (read: didn't give me a choice and ordered for me) a hamburger topped with mayo and green olives, when I was out to lunch with her one day.  It was delicious.  Then came Whopper Wednesday when I was at school--Whoppers for $1, every Wednesday, complete with mayo.  It was a thing.  So good--the food and the memories.  Now, it's the Deluxe Butterburger from Culvers.  Mmmm.  Love them.  Kind of obsessed.

I still don't eat a whole lot of mayo, but it's an ingredient in a few of my favorite lunch prep items, and I do like to smear some on my hamburgers from time to time.  Always with olives, of course.

I've wanted to make my own ever since I discovered how simple mayonnaise is to make.  And I was planning to, the last time we ran out of store bought mayo.  But I forgot.

This time?  I didn't forget.


It was even easier than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be pretty darn easy.  The hardest part was scraping the finished mayo out of the blender into the jar.* 

Now, there is a raw egg in there, which would make me nervous if I didn't have chickens--I doubt Toasty Crunch is gonna try to kill me by poisoning me with salmonella, since I bring her food.  If you don't have chickens, or think your chickens might try to poison you, you can use a pasteurized egg.** 

I used olive oil, because that's what I had, but next time, and there will be a next time, I will endeavor to use avocado oil.  In fact, I've already got avocado oil on my shopping list, because you never know when you're going to have a mayo emergency.

This is the recipe that I used.  Don't let the long list of ingredients (is 8 long?) intimidate you.  Really, all you need is oil, an egg, and acid.

Let me know if you try it!


***************

*One more reason I (occasionally) wish I had an immersion blender.  I could have just made the mayo in the storage container, which would have eliminated the need to transfer, and would have resulted in less waste.

**I don't know how egg pasteurization works.  How do they pasteurize without cooking the egg?  I guess I'll have to find out, and I may or may not report back.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Menu plan for the week of February 17

Hello.  Every time I plan food for my family, I tell myself there's got to be an easier way.  There's got to be a way to just plan once and then never plan again, like a 4-6 week plan that just gets repeated over and over again.  For some reason, I can't do it, though.  I guess it seems too confining, too final.  Like these are the 28 or 42 meals that I will eat for the rest of my life.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Wait a minute.  Actually?  I would be very happy to eat even the same seven meals over and over again for the rest of my life.  So why do I have this huge mental block over this issue?  Oh yeah.  Because at least one member of the household would not be happy to repeat the same seven meals over and over.

Huh.

Anyway, here's this week's plan.  And I'm gonna have to plan again next week.  And the week after that.  Forever and ever.

Supper:

  • Pizza, salad
  • Hot dogs, buns, raw veggies
  • Chicken nuggets, green beans, fresh fruit
  • Taco casserole (using up some chilies in adobo that have been in the fridge for a while), salad
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, steamed broccoli
  • Nachos, guacamole

Other:


Monday, February 10, 2020

Menu plan for the week of February 10

Hi friends.

This week, I'm slowly dipping my toe into the using-up-random-fridge-and-pantry-items pool.  I'm slowly dipping, partly because I'm afraid that pool is going to be cold (aka no one will want to eat what I make), and partly because there actually isn't a whole lot that I need to use up.

I made my pantry list weeks ago, but I just looked in the fridge today, and found...three...random items.  That's all.  About 1/4 c. turkey gravy, 1/2 c. salsa verde, and maybe 3/4 c. chilies in adobo.  We're using the gravy this week, along with a small amount of penne pasta from the cupboard that isn't enough for a meal on its own.

I found three open bags of marshmallows in our cupboard, which is typical.  Why do we open new marshmallows when we have an open bag?  I dunno. All I know is that they're there, and they're stuck together and gross (I mean, marshmallows are gross anyway, but when they're stuck together it's worse).  I'll be making cereal bars with those.  In an ironic twist, I also found unflavored gelatin in a cupboard, which I plan to use to make...marshmallows.  But not this week.  Maybe I'll wait until closer to s'more season.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

  • Cheesy mini burgers, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, green beans
  • Tacos
  • Spaghetti (and a small amount of penne) and meatballs, garlic toast, broccoli
  • Kielbasa and cauliflower stir fry, applesauce, corn
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, grilled asparagus
  • Ribeye steak with portabello mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli

Other:

Friday, February 7, 2020

6/20 for 2020

So, I guess I'm not making a final list this year?  Or, rather, I am making a final list, but it won't be complete until much later in the year.  It's a list in slow motion.

I like it better this way.  If I made a list at the beginning of the year, inevitably, I would end up changing my mind about wanting to do at least one of the things by the end of the year.  But I would still feel obligated to do it, because it's on the list.  And that would create angst.  No good.

Hope you don't mind (but don't really care if you do, because it's my list, and my goals).

Alright, here are the first six (of twenty) goals for 2020:


  1. Make sauerkraut. I did it!  Truthfully, it still tastes like salty cabbage to me, or at least it did when I put it in the refrigerator--I haven't eaten any since.
  2. Grow an amaryllis. I think I need to change this goal to: attempt to grow an amaryllis.  I don't know if it's too cold by the window or I've been giving it too much water, but I've got zero growth.  I moved it away from the window to the tiny piece of countertop between the fridge and the stove.  It's warmer there.
  3. Drink tea.  I did it!  I drank tea.  And I'm going to do it again.
  4. Make cloth napkins for more seasons.  Valentine's napkins, so far.  I was hoping to find something flowery or springy or Eastery, too, but all of the ones I liked had prominent white in the patterns.  It's all fun and games until someone wipes taco juice on a white napkin.  I'll keep looking.  We already had fall/Thanksgiving and Christmas/winter napkins, along with a generic, anytime pattern, and a summery pattern.
  5. Track something.  I added this to the list, and I started tracking two somethings, because I'm an overachiever like that.  And then I realized that I already track something (egg production).  Winning!
  6. Buy a statement necklace. A friend of mine hosted a Trades of Hope party, and I found the necklace I've been looking for for the past 3 years, made by an artisan in India.  Yay!




Like last month, I thought I'd share a few goals that I am leaning strongly toward completing.  They are not the same as last month's!
  1. Light an outdoor tree.  I have lights of two sizes, purchased on clearance.  I could probably use some more small lights, and I definitely need an extension cord, 'cause I don't think Hubby wants to give up one of his for several months while we're waiting for the snow to melt.
  2. Obtain a working sewing machine.  I ordered a part.  I'm hoping it will solve the problem.  If not, there's always Craigslist to find a new-to-me machine.
  3. Make a box to sit on our toilet tank OR make and install floating shelves above the toilet.  I'm leaning toward the box.  I can always add shelves later.  Now...what Cricut-cut phrase should I put on the box?  Any ideas?


And...here's the list of possible goals.  Like the Cricut project list, it seems to be growing.
  1. Crochet a cowl
  2. Crochet a poncho
  3. Make a reusable bag out of a chicken feed sack (this, and the other sewing-related potential goals, are complicated by the fact that my kiddo just declared my sewing machine officially not-worth-fixing.  I am definitely not up for handsewing this, or anything, in 2020).
  4. Make reusable food wrap
  5. Make a pretty apron (I would have to find a pattern I like first.  Also, a sewing machine)
  6. Make lip balm
  7. Make soap
  8. Make a box to sit on our toilet tank OR make and install floating shelves above the toilet (this goal is made more complicated by the fact that I'm not sure which I would prefer.  I mean, I like the wreath that's above our toilet (which means no shelves), but it has definitely seen better days (which means shelves would give me an excuse to get rid of the wreath).
  9. Make a console table/thing to keep the step stool from dinging our wall.
  10. Make a frame for the B
  11. String art
  12. Install pallet wall
  13. Install gallery wall (we had a gallery wall, but there was just something off about it.  I was never happy with it.  Too symmetrical, maybe.  Or the frames were too close together.  Or maybe too big or too small in scale for the wall.  So I'm afraid to try again, lest I not like it again.  I think a gallery would look better on the wall we're intending to palletisize (absolutely a word), but I don't know if I will want to cover up so much of that wall).
  14. Light an outdoor tree (there is a sledding hill between our house and the tree I want to light, so I'm not sure it'll work.  Either there will be an extension cord that we will have to avoid while sledding, or the lights will have to be solar or battery powered, which, of course, would drive up the cost of this project).
  15. Go to a movie by myself (not sure what's coming in 2020, but there's bound to be at least one movie that I want to see, but no one else in my family wants to see).
  16. Hang the W (MC made a beautiful wooden W sign that needs hanging).
  17. Repair moose pillows
  18. Log 50 activities on Strava
  19. Finish or decide to abandon that darn puzzle
  20. Make maple syrup
  21. Can apple pie filling
  22. Remove a popcorn ceiling
  23. Wash outside windows
  24. Make a particular wooden sign for a friend
  25. Grow and can pickles
  26. Obtain a working sewing machine
  27. Make and install towel hooks/shelf in the bathroom.  I have the hooks.  I think I probably have the wood (I need to go through the stack of pallet wood to see if I have a combination of sizes that will add up to the size I want).  It needs to happen.  Now it's just a question of how long it'll take for me to actually take action.
  28. New floor.  It's time.  It's past time.
  29. Make mayonnaise 
  30. & 30. Plant something new and start seeds indoors.  I ordered some seeds!  And they've been shipped!  Imagine a fruit that looks like, and has the texture of, a granny smith apple, but tastes like honeydew.  That's what I'm growing!  And starting indoors.  I also grabbed a small watermelon and a beet variety.  So fun!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Cricut Brag Post

It has been a minute (or two, or millions) since I last posted a Cricut brag post.  I kind of lost my way there for a little while.  December is hard.  I've come to the conclusion that any Christmas Cricut items need to be completed by mid-November.  Which means we might be celebrating Cricut Christmas in July this year.

Anyway, here are some Cricut creations you haven't seen yet, in reverse chronological order.

 I am in love with that buffalo plaid!  It was a pain to weed, though.  Can you spot the vinyl I missed while I was weeding?

 What can I say?  I love snow.

 I, um, wish I had a half bath, mostly so that I could display this sign.  This is a silent auction donation.

 Have you heard?  I'm letting things live on my counter now.  But only yummy or beautiful things.  I set up a hot cocoa station for the fam, and of course it needed a sign, so they'd know what it was.

 See?  Yummy or beautiful.  My friend gave me this beautiful jar, and I knew right away that it needed to have pink flowers in it.

 This was a gift.  It's totally a lie, but...yeah.

I made this shirt for Bubby.  Mostly because I felt like he needed another Christmas gift, but also because he likes climbing.

Yup, it's been that long since I bragged about Cricut.  This thankful sign is on the reverse side of the boo sign.

Not shown (because I couldn't bring myself to take pictures, because it was early January): I made some stickers for AKD's water bottle.  They turned out pretty cool.  And I also made some decals for his "Goon Squad."  Yup.  That's what they call themselves.

What's coming up for me and the Cricut, you ask?  I've got three gifts in the works, so I can't share those, but I'm really excited about them.  I also have a commission to do for a friend, and this morning, Bubby asked me to make him another climbing shirt.  And then there's my running list of projects that only seems to get longer, never shorter.

Y'all.  I feel so blessed to be able to create beauty in the world.  Such a joy.  Thanks for sharing it with me.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Menu plan for the week of February 3

February already?  What?  I need to get going.

On what do I need to get going?  Not sure.  Just ... something.

Following the trend from last week, it's all about convenience again this week.  I did make a list of random pantry items to use up, so I'll be ready when I decide I'm ready to cook again.

Here's what's on the menu this week:


Supper:

  • Pizza
  • Take-out
  • Mini corndogs
  • Fend for yourself
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Hamburgers, buns, jello, raw veggies, chips
  • Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, grilled veggie
Other:
Not sure.  I'm sure there'll be something, though.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Menu plan for the week of January 27

So, it turns out that the reason random things linger in my freezers is because they are things that no one around here wants to eat.  I mean, makes sense, right?  If you don't want to eat it, leave it in the freezer.  Forever, if necessary.  What doesn't make sense is how those things get there in the first place.  If no one wants to eat it, why is it in our house?

I don't know.  Probably because I'm an optimist.

So because I've been using up random items from the freezer, no one has been liking anything I cook lately.  It's been a sobering blow to my ego-- I've had a rough couple of weeks.  That's why I'm done.  No more freezer cooking for me.  Also, pretty much everything is gone now, so I was going to be done anyway.

There is one more cup of frozen enchilada sauce that I will use to make Hubby's tacos extra fancy the next time we have tacos, and I decided to use up one of my two bags of Friendship bread starter* this week, but everything else, all the random frozen stuff from my original list, has been used. 

(Yay!  This makes me happy, but not quite happy enough to counteract the sadness caused by no one wanting to eat anything I made in the past three weeks)

This week, it's all about convenience food.  Because I am done cooking.

For now, anyway.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper: 

  • Take out
  • Chicken tenders, raw veggies
  • Pizza, salad
  • Calzone
  • Hamburgers, buns, mashed potatoes, grilled broccoli
  • Spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread, corn
  • Appetizers, including nachos. little wieners, mozzarella sticks, hamburger (not an appetizer, but what Bubby says he's having.  Fine with me, as long as I don't have to cook it)

Other:
* The friendship bread will also use up a pantry item--instant chocolate pudding, which we only use in friendship bread.  I'm not ready to really commit to using up the random pantry items just yet, but I did choose the flavor of FB based on the instant pudding flavors I had available.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Menu plan for the week of January 20

Hi friends.  We're on week 3 of freezer clean-out meals.  I feel like I've committed just about every random frozen item to a meal, but when I look at my freezer inventory, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot crossed off yet.  Strange.

One good thing that's come of this freezer cooking "challenge" is that we have discovered, once and for all, that we don't like chicken thighs.  And by "we" I mean me (Hubby didn't like them, either, but only after he realized they were thighs, so...not sure what that means).  Remind me next time I'm tempted to buy some because they're a good price.

Speaking of chicken thighs, they're gone tomorrow.  Yippee!  I'm a little late with this post, so no links this time, but y'all can google, yes?  You got this.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

  • Zuppa Toscana (frozen cauliflower and kale), rolls (from the freezer)
  • Chicken enchiladas (chicken thighs, tortillas, enchilada sauce, green onions from the freezer) with avocado (also from the freezer)
  • French toast (French bread from the freezer), sausage patties, fresh fruit
  • Italian beef sandwichesn(roast beef from the freezer; provolone from the fridge) on Hawaiian rolls (this was supposed to be sliders, but the kiddos didn't care for last week's sliders), raw veggies
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, jello, raw veggie
  • Grilled strip steak, grilled green veggie, mashed potatoes
Other:
  • Banana muffins (didn't get to these last week)
  • Cheeseburger pie 
  • Avocado chicken salad

Monday, January 13, 2020

Menu plan for the week of January 13

Hey, y'all!

This week, I'm continuing to use random items from my freezer to plan meals.  It's fun.  You should try it.  Next week, I'll add refrigerator and pantry items to my list.

Supper:

  • Slow cooker chicken bacon ranch sandwiches (chicken breasts and bacon from the freezer; cream cheese from the fridge), buns, salad, green beans
  • Tacos, tortillas, taco type toppings
  • Chicken thighs with creamy mushroom sauce (the chicken thighs, part one), steamed broccoli (from the freezer)
  • Zuppa toscana (cauliflower, cabbage, and kale from the freezer, heavy whipping cream from the fridge, and turkey stock from two years ago), rolls
  • Ham and cheese sliders (found some deli ham in the freezer), fresh veggies (cauliflower, broccoli)
  • Chicken enchiladas (the chicken thighs, part two, along with enchilada sauce, and green onions from the freezer), salad
  • Grilled pork chops and chicken breasts (I have 2 pork chops and 2 chicken breasts left in the freezer.  Time to use them up, and hope that they go on sale soon), salad, grilled broccoli, mashed potatoes
Other:
  • Banana muffins.  I might try baking some in mason jars and sending them off to AKD to see if they stay fresh.
  • Granola.  A triple batch.  Because if I'm going to make granola, I might as well make granola.  Yes, I know this is going to add more to the freezer instead of getting stuff out, but I have some diced strawberries in the freezer to use up, and the way I want to use them is by eating them with yogurt and granola.  So that's what I'm gonna do.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

3/20 for 2020

Hello again, my friends.  I'm ready to reveal the first three of my twenty 2020 goals, along with a couple I won't be completing, and a few that I'm leaning strongly toward.

First up: these are the first three 2020 goals.  Yay, goals!

1. Make sauerkraut.  Truth?  I started the sauerkraut on New Year's Eve, three days before I published my list of possible goals.  I tried some sauerkraut, which I never, ever dreamed that I would like, at Thanksgiving, and I liked it.  So I had to make my own.  Had to.  Unfortunately, based on how that sauerkraut tasted, and how my sauerkraut tastes so far, it seems likely that that sauerkraut had added sugar.  Well, I had to try, and it only cost me a cabbage, a couple of carrots, a few cloves of garlic, and some salt.  Plus, my sauerkraut will make my gut so happy.


2. Grow an amaryllis.  This goal has been on my list of potential goals for all three of the years that I've participated in this project.  Amaryllis is so pretty, and so easy to grow, but it's been years since I've actually grown one.  Y'all.  I found one on clearance.  A week and a half after Christmas.  In fact, the store employees were taking the Christmas stuff off the shelves as I was shopping.  Gotta make room for Easter and garden stuff, doncha know.  So this goal is already in progress, which means it scores a place on the list.  Yeah.  I don't care that it'll be blooming in March instead of December.  Who says amaryllis is just for Christmas?


3. Drink tea.  This goal is incredibly vague.  Like, I could say that it's complete if I drink one sip of tea (I've consumed more than one sip so far this year. #winning).  It's on the list because I would like to like tea.  My whole life, I have wanted to like tea, first because my mom drinks tea, and I wanted to be like her, and now because tea has so many benefits.
Ha.  Didn't realize the fruit was so prominent in this photo; too lazy to go back and crop it now.  Enjoy this lovely cup of tea in front of fruit.
By the way, thank you to the friends who chimed in one which goals they thought I should pursue this year.  Stay tuned to see if your selections make the final list.



Next, I'll share a couple of goals I will not be completing this year.  Or, at least, I'm not certain enough that I will complete them that I want to put them on the 20 for 2020 list:

  • Hand knit a blanket.  I think I just don't like the yarn that I bought.  But I don't like any of the other yarn available locally for this project, either.  So I'm tabling this project for now.  It might happen some day.  In any case, the yarn is going back to the store today.
  • Make a willow whistle.  You knew I wasn't going to choose this one, so why not cross it off the list now?
  • Make a peekaboo cake.  This just seems like too much work.  Yeah.  Don't look at some of the other items on the list, because if this is too much work, those are definitely too much.


And finally, some goals that I am leaning strongly toward pursuing:

  1. Make and install towel hooks/shelf in the bathroom.  I have the hooks.  I think I probably have the wood (I need to go through the stack of pallet wood to see if I have a combination of sizes that will add up to the size I want).  It needs to happen.  Now it's just a question of how long it'll take for me to actually take action.
  2. New floor.  It's time.  It's past time.
  3. & 4. Plant something new and start seeds indoors.  I ordered some seeds!  And they've been shipped!  Imagine a fruit that looks like, and has the texture of, a granny smith apple, but tastes like honeydew.  That's what I'm growing!  And starting indoors.  I also grabbed a small watermelon and a beet variety.  So fun!



Here's the rest of the potential 2020 goals.  
I, um, may have ... added a few?  Yeah.  Maybe.

  1. Crochet a cowl
  2. Crochet a poncho
  3. Make a reusable bag out of a chicken feed sack (this, and the other sewing-related potential goals, are complicated by the fact that my kiddo just declared my sewing machine officially not-worth-fixing.  I am definitely not up for handsewing this, or anything, in 2020).
  4. Make reusable food wrap
  5. Make cloth napkins for more seasons
  6. Make a pretty apron (I would have to find a pattern I like first.  Also, a sewing machine)
  7. Make lip balm
  8. Make soap
  9. Make a box to sit on our toilet tank OR make and install floating shelves above the toilet (this goal is made more complicated by the fact that I'm not sure which I would prefer.  I mean, I like the wreath that's above our toilet (which means no shelves), but it has definitely seen better days (which means shelves would give me an excuse to get rid of the wreath).
  10. Make a console table/thing to keep the step stool from dinging our wall.
  11. Make a frame for the B
  12. String art
  13. Install pallet wall
  14. Install gallery wall (we had a gallery wall, but there was just something off about it.  I was never happy with it.  Too symmetrical, maybe.  Or the frames were too close together.  Or maybe too big or too small in scale for the wall.  So I'm afraid to try again, lest I not like it again.  I think a gallery would look better on the wall we're intending to palletisize (absolutely a word), but I don't know if I will want to cover up so much of that wall).
  15. Light an outdoor tree (there is a sledding hill between our house and the tree I want to light, so I'm not sure it'll work.  Either there will be an extension cord that we will have to avoid while sledding, or the lights will have to be solar or battery powered, which, of course, would drive up the cost of this project).
  16. Go to a movie by myself (not sure what's coming in 2020, but there's bound to be at least one movie that I want to see, but no one else in my family wants to see).
  17. Hang the W (MC made a beautiful wooden W sign that needs hanging).
  18. Repair moose pillows
  19. Log 50 activities on Strava
  20. Finish or decide to abandon that darn puzzle
  21. Make maple syrup
  22. Can apple pie filling
  23. Remove a popcorn ceiling
  24. Wash outside windows
  25. Make a particular wooden sign for a friend
  26. Grow and can pickles
  27. Track something
  28. Obtain a working sewing machine
  29. Buy a statement necklace

Monday, January 6, 2020

Menu plan for the week of January 6

Well friends, I am mashed potatoed out.  I mean, I could eat mashed potatoes every day, but I'm a little tired of making them every day.  It was pretty fun for a week, though, and it made menu planning easy, to have mashed potatoes almost every day last week.

This week's menu plan is brought to you courtesy of my freezers.  Someone I follow on social media is hosting a freezer challenge this month, challenging her followers to use up as much from our freezers as possible in January.  This actually made for a very easy menu planning session, too.

Here's what I did.  I went through my freezers (the small side-by-side freezer attached to our fridge, and the small "starter" chest freezer), and wrote down everything that I wanted to use up, which included things like random meats that I bought because they were on sale, but I didn't have a specific plan in mind for (I'm lookin' at you, chicken thighs), leftovers, both from Boy Scout camp-outs and us, small quantities of convenience foods that aren't enough to make a meal on their own, and veggies and fruits that I froze because they were about to go bad, among other interesting things.  I was a little surprised about the variety of things I found in the upstairs freezer.  No wonder it felt so full for the past several weeks!


Once I had my list, I started writing down meals that would use up those ingredients.  If I couldn't think of something immediately (hello, 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs), I searched the ingredient on Pinterest (hint: on some recipe sites, like allrecipes.com, you can search by ingredient, both ingredients that you want included in the recipe and ingredients that you want excluded). 

As I wrote the meal ideas on the menu, I highlighted the ingredients that the meal would use, on my list.  That way, I'm not writing down 3 different meals that are going to use the same thing.  Because then I'd have to buy more of that thing.  The thing I'm trying to get rid of.  After the ingredient is actually used, I will cross it off the list.  Menu planning this way, I managed to get two weeks of meals planned, and I haven't even gone through the refrigerator or pantry goods yet.  Yay!

So, here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

  • Turkey dinner leftovers
  • Pasties (frozen rutabaga, leftover carrots, and maybe some shredded frozen cabbage) with gravy--this meal will actually add something to the freezer--the leftover pasties--but AKD is home, and assures me that he will eat them before he leaves.
  • Beef barbacoa (leftover from a couple of months ago), guacamole (from the freezer), tortillas, corn (also from the freezer), black beans
  • French toast (French bread leftover from a Boy Scout campout), sausage links, fresh fruit
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, carrots, caramel apple salad (from the freezer)
  • Spaghetti and meatballs (zucchini noodles), garlic knots and garlic toast, green beans
  • Grilled pork chops and chicken breasts, salad, grilled veggie, mashed potatoes (I think I'll be sufficiently recovered by then)


Other:



How about you?  What do you have lurking in your freezer, fridge, or pantry that you need to use up?

P.S. There are three slices of apple pie in my freezer.  Sure hope I can find someone who's willing to eat those.

Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 goals?

Y'all, I crushed my winter break goals.  Crushed. Them.

Just to recap, my winter break goals were:

  1. Wear PJs or comfy pants as much as possible.
  2. Paint my toenails, and
  3. Go sledding.
I did so well with my winter break goals, I decided to try again for annual goals.  Twenty of them, possibly, for 2020.

I've been writing down potential goals for about a month, but I'm having a teensy weensy bit of trouble deciding to which of them I should commit.  

Would you help a friend out?  Please?  Help me decide.

So here's the list, in no particular order, except that when I started the list I started listing in categories and then it all broke down into randomness, because entropy.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.  Entropy is an always handy scapegoat. 

Anyway, here you go:
  1. Hand knit a blanket (I already have yarn for this project, which should move it up the list in priority, but now that I have the yarn, I find myself strangely lacking in motivation.  The upshot?  The yarn can be returned)
  2. Crochet a cowl
  3. Crochet a poncho
  4. Make a reusable bag out of a chicken feed sack (this, and the other sewing-related potential goals, are complicated by the fact that my kiddo just declared my sewing machine officially not-worth-fixing.  I am definitely not up for handsewing this, or anything, in 2020).
  5. Make reusable food wrap
  6. Make cloth napkins for more seasons
  7. Make a pretty apron (I would have to find a pattern I like first.  Also, a sewing machine)
  8. Make lip balm
  9. Make soap
  10. Make a box to sit on our toilet tank OR make and install floating shelves above the toilet (this goal is made more complicated by the fact that I'm not sure which I would prefer.  I mean, I like the wreath that's above our toilet (which means no shelves), but it has definitely seen better days (which means shelves would give me an excuse to get rid of the wreath).
  11. Make a console table/thing to keep the step stool from dinging our wall.
  12. Make a willow whistle (I typed it, because it's on my list, but what was I thinking?  I don't want to do this!)
  13. Make and install towel hooks/shelf in the bathroom (this one has to happen, because the towel bar fell off the wall, and we need something from which to hang towels).
  14. Make a frame for the B
  15. String art
  16. New floor (we need a new floor in our entry, kitchen, and dining area.  Not need, like we want one, but need like, our current floor has rugs strategically placed to cover up discolorations and actual holes in the flooring that  have sharp edges and have injured me.  So because we need a new floor, we had pretty much our whole first floor repainted, put in a new kitchen countertop, and a new backsplash in the kitchen, but no new floor as of yet.  Makes sense, yes?)
  17. Install pallet wall
  18. Install gallery wall (we had a gallery wall, but there was just something off about it.  I was never happy with it.  Too symmetrical, maybe.  Or the frames were too close together.  Or maybe too big or too small in scale for the wall.  So I'm afraid to try again, lest I not like it again.  I think a gallery would look better on the wall we're intending to palletisize (absolutely a word), but I don't know if I will want to cover up so much of that wall).
  19. Light an outdoor tree (there is a sledding hill between our house and the tree I want to light, so I'm not sure it'll work.  Either there will be an extension cord that we will have to avoid while sledding, or the lights will have to be solar or battery powered, which, of course, would drive up the cost of this project).
  20. Go to a movie by myself (not sure what's coming in 2020, but there's bound to be at least one movie that I want to see, but no one else in my family wants to see).
  21. Hang the W (MC made a beautiful wooden W sign that needs hanging).
  22. Repair moose pillows
  23. Peek-a-boo cake
  24. Make sauerkraut
  25. Log 50 activities on Strava
  26. Finish or decide to abandon that darn puzzle
  27. Make maple syrup
  28. Can apple pie filling
  29. Grown an amaryllis
  30. Remove a popcorn ceiling
  31. Wash outside windows
  32. Make a particular wooden sign for a friend
  33. Grow and can pickles
  34. Drink tea
  35. Plant something new
  36. Start seeds indoors
Whew!  If you made it to the end of the list, congratulations!  I admire your persistence.  So, which goals do you think should make the final list of 20?  Which would you cross off the list?  Are there any additional goals you think I should consider?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Top 19 posts of 2019 (and one that didn't make the list, but should have)

Hi friends, and happy January, happy 2020!  Today I thought I'd count down my 19 most read posts of 2019, because why not? And it's kind of fun looking back over the year.  So, without further ado, my top posts of 2019, plus one more.

Tied for 18th place: 
I finished my purple scarf, in which I talk about my church being on the brink of something new

9 for 2019 June Update: basically the last update of the year.

17 
Chicken Update

Tied for 14th place:
19 for 2019 Reveal, in which I do not reveal my actual 2019 goals

I made it out, in which I experienced a miracle

9 for 2019 July update: the un-update

13 
Garden Planning

12
 So Judge-y, in which I confess to judging people for being judgmental.  Oy!

11
 Garden Update, week 8

Tied for 9th place:
 This week's Cricut brag post

How I do cards, in which I explain how I do cards.

Tied for 7th place:
 My Nine (goals) for 2019, in which I do reveal my actual 2019 goals

Hazel: a tribute

What should I do first?, in which I share my excitement. I have completed 6 of these 7 projects.

18 for 2018 Wrap-up

Perfect: "When did we decide that it's not ok to be proud of something unless it's perfect?"

My Husband Gave Me Cheap Vodka for Valentine's Day: I might ask for more this Valentine's day, but not for the same reason.

This week's Cricut brag post

This week's Cricut brag post: no, I didn't list the same post twice.  Y'all just apparently love Cricut blog posts.  Guess I ought to do some more.

It seems, my friends, that you like menu plan posts (I left them out of this list, but some of them actually would have made it), posts about chickens and the garden, posts about my goals, and most of all, posts about Cricut projects.  It's possible that these are my most-read posts because that's pretty much all I write about...but...nah.

And finally, the blog post that I think should have made the top 19 but didn't:
An Open Table (God's Extravagant Love)
You should read it.

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