My cupboards (and freezer) runneth over…

6 01 2010

I have too much food in my house. I know, this is a terrible problem to have. Unfortunately, for some weird reason I’m amazingly talented at stockpiling food, but I’m terrible at actually using the food that I buy. You would think that I had survived the depression or something. When I see a great deal on good food, I immediately snatch it up and stash it into the freezer and then never touch it again. Not because I didn’t like what I bought. But because I might need it later. You know, if there is a natural disaster or we have a random, spontaneous party or HEB gets hit by a meteor. Just. In. Case. Its gotten to the point that I can not fit one single piece of food into my already packed freezers. Yes, freezers.

So, I’ve decided that January of 2010 is when I break this cycle. I’m going to start using everything that I have. In order to do this, I’ve cut my grocery budget to $55 a week. This includes food, toilet paper, razors, shampoo, dog and cat food, pull ups, etc. I’m hoping this will force me to use what is available and it will allow me to save money for new plants for my garden that will translate into groceries later on. (My current obsession is my own berry orchard; blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cherries.)  I initially arrived at $55 because I thought I would spend $20 at HEB, $10 at Kroger, $20 at the Farmer’s Market and $5 at CVS.   This great theory was blown out of the water when I spent $40 at HEB today. I may have to rethink this. I’m going to skip the Farmer’s Market since we still have produce from last week.

The problem is that I love to cook. When I get an idea of what I want to cook, I want to cook it that night. Even if it means running to the store for 3 more ingredients. Its going to be a challenge to make myself plan meals backwards working from the foods that I already have.

Tonight’s dinner cost $3.00. I made open faced chicken parm sandwiches with a side of potato soup. The soup came from my mom and I made the marinara from my leftover market tomatoes, the bread from scratch and topped the chicken with fresh mozzarella I had leftover from last night’s dinner.  I spent $3.00 on the chicken, which isn’t bad, but I could still do better. I have 3 or 4 things in my freezer that I could have made a similar meal with, but my heart was stuck on chicken. This is going to be a very challenging month.





Cherries!!!

13 07 2009

Hooray for Kroger’s 99 cent sale on cherries. I stocked up on almost 8 lbs and I’m honestly seriously considering going back for more. The last batch of cherry jam turned out amazing, so I think that’s the fate of most of these new cherries. (Even though the last thing my family needs is more jam!)

cherry jam

cherry jam

*Photo courtesy of ReinventingJess

I love this stuff. Its amazing in PB&J and perfect on toast all by itself. I know it would be perfect on top of cheesecake, but I haven’t had the excuse to make one yet. The recipe is so ridiculously easy that pitting the cherries is the longest part of the process for me. Well, that and cleaning the kitchen.  Here is where I found the recipe. I’ve used plenty of their other recipes for fresh fruit; I highly recommend them. This is the simple version of the recipe:

4 cups of pitted cherries

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2.5 cups of sugar

1 box of pectin

* I did find that when I pulsed the cherries in the food processor, the jam had a more even consistency and it set up much better.

I’m sure I’ll save a pound or two for something more interesting. My last cherry pie turned out pretty well, so I’m thinking maybe some individul cherry turnovers or the classic cherry crumble. Assuming, of course, that we don’t eat them all in snacking before it comes to that. I just know that at some point next winter, I’m going to be dreaming about the taste of fresh cherries and it would be such a treat to be able to pull out some wonderful desserts from the freezer. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself and my hubby as I keep running back to the store to get more cherries.

Here’s the cherry pie that I baked for the fourth. My photography skills are seriously lacking, so please forgive the lighting. It tasted much better than it looked and I was quite pleased since this was the first pie crust I’ve ever made from scratch.

cherry pie





Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies

23 06 2009

3648142769_85c0dc032a_b

Don’t you just love those Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies?  I do too, but last time I indulged and bought a box, they had shrunk!  I also hated the ingredient list. That’s why I love this version made with all natural ingredients.   I made these as a treat for my dear husband for Father’s Day, but I’ve snuck a couple myself and it goes without saying that the kiddos went crazy over them.   I found the recipe here, and I honestly don’t think I would change a thing. Usually after running through a recipe once, I try and start figuring out how to improve it. Not this one, though. The only tip I have is to find a consistent measuring device to drop the cookies out with so that they are each the same size. I used the 1 1/2 tablespoons from Williams and Sonoma and packed the dough in each time and leveled it out. It was kind of pain to the get all the cookies on the pan that way, but it was worth it. They all cooked at the exact same time and they all came out the exact same size.  Make some today and your family will love you for it. Or at least they’ll eat all the cookies and make yummy sounds.

3648949640_fae48a0926_b

(Btw- the lovely pictures are courtesy of my photography savy friend, Melissa. Thanks, Wynk! )





Channeling My Inner Betty Crocker

13 03 2008

Today I made strawberry muffins. I started with the recipe from this site and I added about a quarter cup of cream cheese (because I’m convinced that cream cheese is the baking equivalent of bacon- and everything can be improved with bacon!). The first batch turned out OK, but it was still missing something. More cream cheese! So for the last batch, I filled the tin up half way with batter, put a little scoop of cream cheese in the center, and then added the rest of the batter to the tin. To top them off, I sprinkled them with fancy crystal sugar. The result was perfect! My proudest moment came when Tori and I got home from school and she wailed, “Hungry Mama!” and instead of scrambling around looking for something, I was able to hand her a nice, fairly healthy, home-made muffin with fresh fruit in it! Which she took two bites of, declared, “Ew! Gross!” and set back down on the table. It was a nice moment while it lasted.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins