Sunday, December 30, 2012

Getting ready for a Pantry for the month!

2012 is winding down, and we will be greeted with a brand new year.
A clean slate.
A chance to begin anew.

Set with my grandparents' silver, which was one of the few things we could salvage after their home was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan.  They are now deceased, so this is a sweet remembrance for me.

Each January, I plan a menu for the month, because we need to watch our budget after Christmas spending.  We also have a couple of big trips coming up to save for.  Jessica at Good Cheap Eats and Life As Mom is hosting a Pantry Challenge.  Jump in!

This weekend, I've been working on our menu and doing some shopping to get us set for the new year, and I think we've got a decent plan.  I'll be out of town for a few days, and the boys usually go out when I'm not here, but they've threatened to surprise me, so we'll see!  We have just harvested potatoes from the bed, and have a grapefruit tree that is loaded with fruit, so I'll be making good use of those.

My husband's green thumb produced this...
We will be incorporating a few meatless meals, which are always exciting at our table.  Hubs is definitely a meat and potatoes guy.  He did, however, LOVE this meal from last week:
Tiropeta, salad with Greek dressing, and homemade tomato soup with homemade whole wheat croutons. Yum!

We will start off this week with a BANG - my mother's famous homemade lasagna - I've never had any as good as hers!

For this week:
Sunday~ Mom's homemade lasagna, homemade garlic rolls
Monday~ possibly leftover lasagna, or a snacky dinner if we're not in the mood for it (which I doubt!!)
Tuesday~ HAPPY NEW YEAR! A pretty traditional southern New Year's dinner: ham slices (portioned out from our enormous Christmas ham), young blackeyed peas (harvested from our garden this summer), collards (also from this summer's garden), homemade macaroni and cheese (I'll sneak some butternut squash in there so we don't feel too guilty about eating it!!)
Wednesday~ Potato torte, tossed salad
Thursday~ An experiment: rice & beans with assorted toppings - taco meat, salsa, cheese, sour cream, jalapenos (a little like a taco, but with the emphasis on the rice & beans)
Friday~ Teriyaki chicken, jasmine rice, oriental vegetable stir fry
Saturday~ Eggplant parmesan (blanched eggplant in the freezer from the summer garden) or leftovers, depending on how much there are.

We are also going to begin incorporating at least two servings of vegetables into our evening meal (in colors other than white, as I have to say to my 12 year old).

6 - Pioneer Woman's chili (with added bell peppers from the garden)
7 - Chili-stuffed bell peppers, or chili-topped potatoes for those not fond of bell peppers, along with tossed salad
8 - Breakfast for dinner, to include eggs, bacon, waffles, grapefruit, and strawberry smoothies
9 thru 12 - Mom is out of town, so the guys will fend for themselves

13 - Spaghetti, tossed salad, homemade french bread
14 - Mom has an evening meeting, so it'll be a Fend For Your Self night (FFYS)
15 - Roasted vegetables and pasta, tiropeta
16 - Pizza (in the freezer)
17 - Breakfast for dinner
18 - Blackeyed peas, rice, collards, cornbread (veg from the summer garden)
19 - Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted green beans (summer garden), corn on the cob (from the summer garden), homemade rolls or biscuits

20 - Open-faced turkey sandwiches, green beans, roasted squash (both veg in the freezer from the summer garden)
21 - Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday: Burgers & Dogs on the grill, coleslaw, corn on the cob (garden)
22 - Homemade turkey pot pie (with leftover turkey)
23 - FFYS - Mom is taking the girls in chorus to see the opera!
24 - Sweet & spicy kielbasa, cheesy hashbrown potatoes, green beans
25 - Breakfast for dinner
26 - Pasta fagioli, garlic rolls

The last week of the month is unplanned at the moment.  The above menus pretty well clean out our freezer, and I'm hoping there will be some decent sales on meat so I can round out the month.

Here's to minimal trips to the grocery store (milk, eggs, cheese...) 
and a frugal month of menus!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Menus!

I love Christmastime.  I love the traditions, the gatherings with friends and family, and especially now that my older boys have a choice where to be, I love that they want to come home for the holidays.
Hubs, Airman Son, me, and ds#3...
first photo together since Airman's graduation from Basic Training!

Last week's menu... well, we sort of followed it.  Everyone has finished their antibiotics and are somewhat back to normal.  There were many things that went undone last week, but so many adventures to report as well:
  • A large gray cat was found in my classroom (he had been hiding for several days)
  • We delivered goodies to our local USO (we've decided this should be a tradition)
  • Our school had a tornado warning and we were in the hallways for almost 2 hours
  • My choruses went caroling in the halls
 Ready to carol!

We didn't go see any lights last week - we were invited to a party with friends and opted to do that instead.  Hopefully we'll get to go this week.

Airman Son arrived safely.  Family dinner was had on Saturday evening and there were no leftovers.

Which brings us to this week!

Sunday~ Out to dinner with extended family for a Christmas gathering.  No cooking!
Monday~ Spaghetti (which we have not had for the past two weeks) and those zucchini.  FINALLY!
Tuesday~ Christmas Dinner: Ham, scalloped potatoes, Swiss beans, fried okra (Airman's request...consider it a Christmas present), salad, homemade rolls, and plenty of desserts. Airman has duty on Wednesday, so we'll have an early dinner and he'll hit the road.
Wednesday~ Leftovers from Christmas Day :)
Thursday~ Greek salad and tiropeta
Friday~ Ds#3 gets his braces adjusted... so it'll probably be some soft pasta or soup
Saturday~ To Be Determined... the nice part of being on vacation!

From our family to yours, have a blessed Christmas and New Year!

Stop by Menu Plan Monday and share your celebrations!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December Menu #3

Last week my guys were both feeling under the weather.  Wednesday, Hubs finally went back to the doctor and got a diagnosis of bronchitis.  Saturday, I took ds#3 back to the doc and he's now on antibiotics for a sinus infection.  Gotta get these boys well!!!!!

Here's our plan for this week:
Sunday~ Zucchini chips (which we did not have last week) with spaghetti
Monday~ Leftover chili (the venison worked GREAT - no detectable difference at all.)  Ds#3 and I will also deliver treats to our local USO.
Tuesday~ Cheesesteak sandwiches.  We'll take leftover steak, saute mushrooms, onions & peppers, and melt cheese over the top.  YUM!  Hot chocolate & homemade cookies for after-dinner treat.
Wednesday~ Breakfast for dinner.  Deliver presents to teachers.
Thursday~ Nachos
Friday~ LAST DAY of SCHOOL - vacation begins!!!!  Woo Hoo!!!!  We are going to see Christmas lights, so we will probably eat out as well.
Saturday~ Airman Son comes in today.  We'll have one of his faves: beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, salad, fried okra, and rolls.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December Menu #2, and a little lipstick fun

Last week is a blur... I had three concerts last week and ds#3 had a research paper (which, of course, he forgot about... until the night before it was due...).  I also played Christmas Carols at a Ladies' Christmas Tea for church, which yielded some deliciously fun pictures, but it was one more thing to add to the schedule (pictures and details below!).  It was extremely busy and almost nothing went according to plan.  We ended up going out to eat more than I would have liked, but we will make up for it this week. :)

Here's what's cookin':
Sunday~ Steaks on the grill, baked potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, homemade bread
Monday~ Beef and mushrooms over egg noodles (using up the last of the roast from last week)
Tuesday~ Jambalaya
Wednesday~ Pioneer Woman's chili (I tried it with some venison that was given to us... smells delicious but I'll let you know how it turns out!)
Thursday~ Nachos made with leftover chili
Friday~ Must-goes from the week
Saturday~ Spaghetti with zucchini coins (scored for super-cheap at the grocery store) But I'm also planning to roast a turkey from the we'll see.

And now... our pictures from the Tea...
My sister's sultry look while playing with CoverGirl flipstick in Stunner.

Sis & I after we both painted our lips with Stunner flipstick.

Mom & her best friend after they tried Minx flipstick.
I received some free samples of these CoverGirl flipsticks from BzzAgent to try - we had so much fun - some colors were less flattering (I cannot wear the Minx, but it looked great on my mom!) and some were unexpectedly fun (we thought Stunner would be too bright but it is perfect for a little holiday glam.).

It's a lipstick with two sides and two colors: one is a shimmery frost and the other side is a solid shade.  We loved mixing and matching and experimenting!  Although I don't usually wear lipstick, this was a nice moisturizing color that is exactly the punch my holiday look should have.  

So, if you're looking for an easy, fun way to dress up your look this December, try 'em... you will love 'em!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December is here!

Last week's menu did not go exactly  according to plan (I know - you're shocked), but we managed.  We went out to eat twice... that is my husband's way of coping with stress.  So we did.  But it's okay - just means some meals moved down the calendar a bit.

Can you believe that these tomato plants are blooming in DECEMBER????  Not sure how long they'll last, but we'll take them while we can!

Here's our amended plan:
1 ~ Roast in the crock pot, mashed potatoes, green beans we had the chili nachos that were scheduled for Friday instead
2 ~ Roast in the crock pot, mashed potatoes, green beans3 ~ Open-faced roast beef sandwiches concert night
4 ~ Frozen lasagna concert #2
5 ~ Chicken with mushroom gravy, egg noodles
6 ~ Ds#3 is in this concert, so we'll go out after it's over
7 ~ Steak, baked potatoes, salad (ds#3's request)
8 ~ Sausage, homemade mac'n'cheese

Every year in December, I put up a Christmas countdown for my son.  When I decided to do this, my big boys were too old for it to be much fun for them, but I've done this for my youngest boy since he was three.  He is getting older, and I wanted to make this a more spiritual experience than just opening candy.  Here's my list for the days leading up to Christmas.
1: plant grass seeds (to be the bed for Baby Jesus in our nativity) late getting this put out, and hubs didn't get the grass seeds, so he got a note and chocolate :)
2: show God's love to another person (along with heart stickers for him)
3: remember God's faithfulness and sing Christmas carols around the piano
4: make someone happy/laugh (smiley stickers)
5: show God's love (piece of chocolate)
6: concert tonight! Out to eat afterward
7: favorite dinner for ds
8: decorate the tree

I'd love to hear how you celebrate the season!