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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Almost There

So, I'm a bit excited because the month is almost over and we've only spent a little over a hundred eating out. Which is so much better than we did last month. We did eat out for lunch today, but then I made stromboli for dinner. I think the big difference is this month we transferred any extra money we had immediately into savings. We left us a small amount for discretionary, but that was it. Before we would always wait to transfer money, in case we needed it for something, but then we'd always spend it eating out, so even if we did need it, it was no longer there. I'm hoping we can do as well next month. We have to travel out of town several times, so I'm worried, but hopefully we can contain what we spend.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Berry Salad

This is my all time favorite salad. I love it in the spring and summer. It consists of: baby spinach, romaine lettuce, craisins, feta cheese, sliced strawberries, and when I can find them on sale, blueberries and walnuts. I use a raspberry vinaigrette for the dressing and when I serve it as a meal, I cook grilled chicken lightly flavored in the vinaigrette dressing to serve on top. It is very delicious.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spicy Lentil Soup

Since winter seems to have reemerged, here is a healthy and delicious soup to stave off the cold. I was given this recipe a couple years ago and it completely opened me up to lentils. It is from the Conscious Cuisine cookbook. Also, if you leave out the fresh vegetables, then it makes a good food storage recipe.

1/4t. olive oil
1 cup chopped, peeled carrots (2 med.)
1 cup chopped celery (3 med ribs)
2 cups lentils (1 lb) washed
1 28oz can diced, peeled tomatoes in juice
1 cup chopped onion (1 lrg)
1/2t. ground cumin
1/2t. Cayenne
1t. minced garlic
8 cups vegetable stock
1t. Paprika
1 bay leaf
1t. chile powder
1t. dried basil

Use olive oil to coat bottom of medium stock pot over med-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onion has softened, about 2 min. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, cayenne, chile powder, cumin, paprika, and basil. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils have softened, about 20 min. Remove bay leaf before serving. Makes 12 servings.

(If you want it spicy, but not hot, then leave out the Cayenne.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

This really isn't a food recipe, but it was too good not to share. I saw a recipe for liquid laundry detergent here and it not only looked super easy, but was really cheap--like $2.50 for 160 loads. I like powdered better, so that's what I made. If you would like to make your own detergent and save a ton of money here's how:

You'll need (for approx 480 loads):
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda--$3-$4 (NOT Baking soda)
this can be found in grocery stores, the top two at Walmart
Grate the bar of Zote. Add 3 cups of Borax and 3 cups of Baking Soda. Place in food processor to chop Zote into finer pieces. (The other two help make the Zote not so waxy, so it doesn't stick to your blades.)

Viola! You are now done. Place it in a sealable container. Use 1 tablespoon for small and medium loads and 2 tablespoons for large loads. Also, the dry detergent works best washing in warm or hot water (the soap may not dissolve all the way in cold), so if you wash in cold a lot you might try the liquid.

You will still have enough Washing Soda and Borax to do another batch, you will just need to get another bar of Zote.

(I took pictures, but am having trouble getting the camera to upload, so when I fix that I'll add them.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chicken Gumbo

I was looking for something a little different for dinner and found this recipe for chicken gumbo. I substituted the summer sausage for kielbasa, since my goal wasn't to only use food storage items. My husband and I both enjoyed it. Both my girls ate it, but they complained the whole time and only finished so they could have dessert. It did make a LOT. I was able to separate two more meals into zip locks and freeze them for future dinners. I did leave out the cayenne pepper because I worried it would make it too spicy (for kids) and next time I will decrease the oregano. If you don't mind spicy and like oregano, then you could leave it. It would also be really good with shrip or prawns instead of chicken.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Beef with Rice and Vegetables

This is a variation on stir-fry and a good change.
1 pkg stir-fry meat, either cut in strips or diced
(we prefer diced)
1 can chicken broth, beef would also work
1/2 pkg snap peas
1/2 pkg baby carrots
2 cups instant white or brown rice
1T Worcestershire
Directions: Add Worcestershire and meat to skillet and cook until no longer pink. Bring chicken broth and vegetables to boil in sauce pan. Once meat is cooked, add to sauce pan. When broth has reached rolling boil for 1-2 minutes, add rice, cover and remove from heat. Let set 5 minutes (or amount indicated on box to cook rice) and then serve.
Sorry I don't have a picture, I couldn't find my camera.


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