I’ve heard of all sorts of people making homemade butters – peanut, cashew, sunflower, coconut, and almond. I finally decided to give almond butter a try since I’ve been successful twice now at making almond milk from scratch (which I *still* need to photograph and post). How hard could making almond butter be, right?
Well, after pausing the movie that my sick kid was watching – because I have amazing timing and all – it took a solid 20 minutes of thinking I was going to kill the food processor. There were a few stops to scrape down almond chunks. I stopped a few more times because I just *knew* that a second more and it would give up the ghost. But in the end…
Everyone who has been on Pinterest has likely seen the baked “hard boiled” eggs. Stephanie made them the other day and I decided to do the same. She said that one batch came out sort of soft boiled, and I cannot do anything short of 100% cooked eggs, so I took her incident as a sign and bumped up my oven a little bit.
Those dots all over the shell caught me by surprise. Though I figured it was the many pores in the shell at work, and most of it rinsed off anyhow.
I did 2 dozen eggs, in my normal muffin tins, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Ice bath as soon as they came out of the oven, and then back into the ice bath after I peeled them.
Due to some milk that needed to be used up like right.this.second, and a small container of heavy whipping cream also camped out in my fridge I decided it was time to make ricotta. I may also be making spinach lasagna tomorrow for dinner, and I thought it would be a good idea. Homemade is (almost) always better than store bought after all. So make ricotta I did.
Then I had to go to Trader Joe’s after I got Sophia from school as I needed to get a flower assortment for flower arranging in her class (Montessori is awesome, and I will surely make a post on that sometime in the near future). While I was there I decided to get some whole milk and fresh lemons to try another batch of ricotta. I see a problem forming here. After getting Nola from school we had to go to Target to procure cotton balls for a diorama she needs to do. While there I got buttermilk and more heavy whipping cream. See the problem yet?
We got home and instead of starting dinner… I made another variation of ricotta. (I did eventually get dinner made, no worries.)
Pinterest strikes again. I saw Stephanie pin a menu board, and the description made me think “meh”, but at one point I finally clicked on it. The shopping list description was not really accurate at all from what I can tell, which was why I was not really interested. I have list making OCD. I don’t need help in that department. At all. I will stalk the stores a few days prior to grocery shopping to ensure I have the right prices, and then I make a spreadsheet.
I do have one problem though. Sticking to a menu plan. I manage to stick to it for a few days, and if I can get a week of actually following my menu plan I’d be shocked. Part of my problem is that I have my menu on my computer in a – prepare to be shocked – spreadsheet. David doesn’t creep around on here to find my menu plan. I’m glad he doesn’t because I don’t need him rolling his eyes at my always open SimCity Social window.
I’m working on finding recipes that past muster in my house.
It’s not easy.
I’m picky as hell. David doesn’t eat pork, and is currently leaning towards being vegetarian. Sophia is a self imposed vegetarian 90% of the time. Nola, well this is a bless her heart moment, because the little turd has decided that she’s only a carnivore and does not like plants. *head desk* Anyone see how this could be tricky for me? No? Me either. /sarcasm
Despite all that, I’m at the very least going to stick to my few rules of thumb when it comes to food for my family…
~ No MSG.
~ No HFCS.
Pretty simple. I get a little skeeved out by the word hydrogenated as well, but that’s less a concern than the two listed. I’m not in a position to buy all organics anymore, and I’m not going to turn my nose up at a cheap bag of pasta. My problem is that so many of these “easy” or “omg yum” recipes contain cream of something soup, or Lipton onion soup packets. Both contain MSG. While I still have some left, and will use them up as not to waste them, I will not purchase them again. I can make homemade cream of mushroom soup, and I have a homemade “cream of ?” mix I made from a recipe on Pinterst as well. I’ll have to find an MSG free alternative to the Lipton soup mix. If you know of one please let me know!!
Now, back to getting this house back in order so it doesn’t look like I’ve neglected it for an entire week.
My girls love cheese. They love crackers. They love cheesy crackers, especially the ones shaped like fish. I of course am becoming increasingly greedy with my allotted bi-weekly food funds. I’ve seen many cheddar cracker recipes floating around Pinterest and decided it was time to make some. It’s fairly simple, you’ll make a little bit of a mess, but no worse than any other baking. Which means I ended up with flour on the microwave mounted above the stove. No, I’m not totally sure how.
In my Thrift Store Score post I mentioned the artisan bread recipe I’d been aching to try. I made a few batches that all turned out sort of “meh”. So I talked to Stephanie, who has been making the artisan bread for some time now and found out how to work home milled flour in. I spent a pretty penny on the grain mill after all (by “I” what I really mean is “David”), so I want to use it as much as I can.
With some tweaks in place between the recipes I’ve seen I finally found a decent middle ground for my elevation, oven, flour, dutch oven … you know, all those variables that can totally screw up a recipe.
Before I left for Alameda I said I was going to meal plan. I got my Bountiful Baskets stuff on Saturday, and over the remainder of weekend I finished up my shopping. I forgot some stuff from Costco when I went Friday, which worked out to my advantage. Saturday evening Stephanie and I brainstormed meal ideas via Facebook chat.
Sunday 29th – Crockpot Spinach Lasagna
Monday 30th – Crockpot Southwest Chicken
Tuesday 31st – Lentil Soup
Wednesday 1st – Southwest Chicken Burritos (also known as leftovers night)
Thursday 2nd – Beef Stew (I’ll post a recipe for this later in the week since I’m going to use Marmite!)
Friday 3rd – Homemade Pizza
Saturday 4th – Leftovers, or if no leftovers – David can cook, because I’m on strike today!
I actually already have the starts of next weeks meal planning going! I have lots of veggies in mt fridge, a pack of tofu, and a 2-pack of roasts from Costco (one is getting cubed for stew). That right there is already 2 meals out of the way. Now the big thing for me is STICKING TO THE MEAL PLAN. Yes, some days it’s just so much easier to stroll into Papa Murphy’s and call it a day. Sometimes I have no issue with that, especially when I have a coupon, but I can’t cave in on the first week of trying to be good. I’ll reserve that for the first week of school when I feel like I’m in over my head.
August is the start of a few months worth of crazy for me. In the past all activities in the house have revolved around Nola. School, soccer, Girl Scouts. Well, Sophia turns 5 on Thursday (noooo!) and it’s her turn to start school, soccer, and Girl Scouts as well. I’d mentioned in a prior post that I was doing AYSO coach training. I’m coaching BOTH my girls teams. O_O My time is going to be limited. With 4 practices each week (2 for each team) until games start on August 18th (then down to 1 practice and 1 game per week), soccer camp the first week of August, school starting on August 20th, and getting doctors appointments done for both girls out of the way I am going to be busier than ever before. Oh did I mention that we may very well be moving units within the complex in the next few weeks? Because that might happen too.
What am I getting myself into?! I know I need to make a solid plan for meals or I’m going to end up at Papa Murphy’s a few times a week, and that just can’t happen. Two VERY active kids are going to need good meals. Nola will be having bagged lunches going to school since we cannot afford nearly $4 a day for their organic lunches (Sophia is half day, lunch at home like normal for her). The school takes a very firm stance on junk food not being brought in, and I’m perfectly okay with that. It just means I need to plan on more than just PB&J.
Bountiful Baskets will help me with keeping produce costs down bi-weekly. The only problem there is the basket is a mystery until I see it. Not so great for planning ahead, but I can do it! I want to try and avoid processed foods as much as I can. Though sometimes a box of Zatarain’s red beans and rice paired with some turkey kielbasa is what happens, and I’m okay with it – so long as it’s remains the exception.
Inexpensive, but still healthy.
I’m going to be heading out to Alameda again to see my friend Stephanie and her three kiddos. Once I get back I’ll plan as much as I can, especially for days where we won’t be home from practice until well after David is home. I think he’ll have to help more than I want to admit. ;)
In my honey wheat bread post a few days ago I made mention of homemade butter. I love homemade butter. My kids love homemade butter. Nola asks for it with homemade bread. It’s like .. well .. bread and butter together.
When I was back in Texas I found a page showing how to make homemade butter with pure muscle by shaking the hell out of a container. I admit I used that method up until a few weeks ago. I stumbled upon a much easier method. Yes, Pinterest was involved, how did you know? Since then homemade butter has been a staple.