Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

It's Jelly Time! Aren't they purty? I just love seeing my jelly's lined up like beautiful jewels. I have 3 batches of strawberry and 2 batches of cherry so far. We picked up some Red Globe Peaches fresh from the orchard yesterday so I  am going to be working on those tomorrow. Mr. Rainbow Creek's favorite is Cherry-Peach and he always get mad when I give it away as gifts and then run out. Guess I will try to make an extra batch or so this year. 

Back to school came way too soon, and now Destructo Boy has football practice 4 nights/week too, so I am going to try to buckle down to some real menu planning. I have come to the conclusion that it is a lot harder than I thought it would be, but maybe I am just making it too hard. We have a ton of food to get used and I would love to make it to after Labor Day with no extra shopping trips except for milk and produce. I always say that, but never seem to make it. derrr!

We are loving the Belgian Waffle Maker still! I found a great simple recipe (below) and make a batch of 12 waffles at a time to put in the freezer in a zip lock bag, all ready to heat up in the toaster in the morning! I also have been pre-cooking a pound of bacon on the broiler pan in the oven, wrap it up in some paper towels and put in a zip lock to zap a couple strips in the microwave for 15 secs. in the morning for the kids. And I pre-cook sausage patties or links too. I love homemade convenience foods. And saving money too!

 While I was doing the jellies I figured why not make a little blueberry syrup for the waffles? I got 2 pints and it is yummmy. Might have to put a little squirt of whipped cream on there next time I have me some waffles.

Breakfast: Waffles, cereal or PB&J

Monday:  Grilled cheese sandwich, chips and pickles

Tuesday: Grilled tuna steaks, red cabbage slaw, noodles or rice

Wednesday: Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata, salad 

Thursday: Spicy Italian Roast Beef sandwiches on homemade rolls, oven roasted fries, salad 

Friday: Grilled pizza

Saturday: Grilled chicken, green beans and boiled baby red potatoes

Sunday: Family BBQ at the lake, BIRTHDAY CAKE for Mr. Rainbow Creek! shhhhh, it's a surprise = 0)

Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl, set aside.
Beat eggs in medium bowl until well blended, whisk in milk, oil and vanilla.
Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and beat until well mixed.
Ladle into waffle maker, cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2 1/2 - 3 minutes.

If you are going to freeze them lay on cookie sheet and allow to cool completely, place cookie sheet in freezer to individually freeze waffles before bagging them in zip lock bag. Heat in toaster or toaster oven until hot and crisp. 

I am linking up with Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Go check it out!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Frugal Finds For the Week

I finally got a chance to get out and do my first payday of the month shopping trip on Friday. My plan was to go to Sam's and then maybe King Soopers to use a few coupons I had that were expiring that day. I skipped getting on I-470 for some reason and decided to take County Line which happens to go past a Goodwill Store and Dollar Tree next door to it. Yay! 

My real purpose at Goodwill was to check and see if they had any decent jeans for the girls since school is starting so soon. We haven't figured out what those kids do on the playground to destroy their clothes so fast. But it seems that it doesn't matter if you pay $19.99 or 1.99 for jeans, the knees will be ripped out in less than a month. So that is a no-brainer isn't it?

I passed on the jeans that were on the rack, nothing too great, and I wandered to the back to look at the furniture and what-nots. Behind the furniture is the wall of small appliances and I noticed that they had a bread making machine sitting there. That is something that has been on my want list for quite a while. I just picture myself in the cold winter days baking up a fresh loaf to fill the house with that smell of fresh baked bread while my stew or pot roast is slowly simmering in my red enamel cast iron dutch oven. When everybody comes home from work and school after braving the bitter cold I will be a hero, filling them with warmth and comfort! Such is my fantasy life. But it could happen!

I noticed that there were actually several bread makers on the shelf and I pulled them all down and lined them up on a coffee table in the furniture department so I could investigate their various features. This Breadman Plus seemed to have the most potential because it makes two small loaves at a time and even has a setting for making a small batch of homemade jam. How cool is that? 
If you have ever shopped at Goodwill you know that the shelves are not meticulously organized and you have to do some digging sometimes to get to what you want. While I was trying to get one of the bread machines out I came upon this little Belgian waffle maker. 
Whenever I travel with the kids we stay at hotels with free breakfast and one of Destructo Boy's favorite things in the world is making his own Belgian waffles at the hotel breakfast. And recently Big K told me that he has been telling people that his grandma was going to buy him a waffle maker so he could make them at home. Now I honestly can't recall this conversation, but here was an opportunity to make good on my promise for a mere $4. How could I go wrong with that?

Now here is the best part. I got my first "senior discount" ever in my life when I went to check out. The cashier was an older woman and she looked at me kind of funny and said, "I hate to ask this, but you don't qualify for a senior discount do you?" I asked her what the age was for seniors and she said 55. So I have been missing out on that for a whole year?? She told me I really should come back on Mondays because the discount is 25% instead of the usual 15% and I promised her I would do that!

My total was $20 for the waffle maker, the bread machine, a stack of paperback chapter books for the kids and a wood jewelry cabinet that is going to get a makeover for a gift.

 On to the Dollar Tree, I picked up a pancake mix with a waffle recipe on the side of the box.
 Lemon juice: Miss Banana loves to make lemonade on a hot day to serve to her grandpa and friends. It is the easiest recipe ever: 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of lemon juice, stir together in a 2 quart pitcher, fill the rest of the way with water and ice. 
I picked up some baking mixes and spaghetti sauce and pickles too. Total $20 at the dollar store 
When I woke up this morning Destructo Boy and Miss Banana had discovered the waffle maker and all on their own they mixed up some batter and were busy making waffles for themselves and Big K. I had to have one too. They got carried away and made a few too many but we are thinking maybe we can make them ahead and bag them up in the frig or freezer to cook in the toaster oven on school days. Goodbye expensive Eggo's!

Sadly, I found out today that the bread machine is missing one of the kneading paddles so I spent the day finding and printing an instruction manual and looking to see if I can order another paddle. I decided to try it out and if it works OK I would order the paddle for $5.95+shipping. 
There is my instruction manual. It was 80 pages but I decided to just print the first 20 pages and then I can print out the recipes that I want to try later. I found a recipe on the King Arthur Flour website for a basic white sandwich bread and decided to try it first. 
And here it is! Cheap, easy, delicious and kid approved. I didn't have any whole wheat flour on hand that I trusted, but I am going to get some fresh and try to make it a little healthier next time. Once I get the other kneading paddle I might just cut out store bought bread altogether. Wouldn't that be nice?

So my frugal Friday was pretty successful and turned into a lot of fun. Next week I think I might try making my own laundry soap. I read about it here at The Family Homestead, and it sounds pretty easy. Mr. Rainbow Creek might think I am going off the deep end when he hears about this, but why not give it a try? It does look kind of gooey and messy scooping this gel concoction out of a bucket, will have to let you know how that goes.