Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Time has gotten away from me the last couple of days.  It was all great suspense as DD Meghan drove into a Wyoming to Colorado blizzard.  We got lots of updates and plans changed by the hour as she holed up in Sheridan, WY to wait it out.  When she left Sheridan she was halted by road closures, compact snow and ice as well as blowing snow.  Yikes!  My jaws ache from gritting my teeth.

By yesterday she was with friends in Colorado and by this evening she was almost to Oklahoma.  She drove in warm sunshine the whole day.  What a relief.  But I don’t think I’ll stop grinding until she arrives safely in Killeen, TX.  It should only be one more day, I hope.

In the meantime, I’ve not been feeling all that great.  Stress really sucks the energy out of me.  Plus, I ate cheese again, convinced that I was wrong about the reaction last time.

Uh…nope.  I was right.  No more cheese.

So today I was achy and sore and dragging butt.  I tried to eat cleanly; apple for breakfast, hot buckwheat cereal for lunch, and some lovely baked chicken thighs for dinner.  I’ve still got the dried rosemary my Auntie brought me from her garden and I am loving it with chicken!

I also wanted some kind of sauce or gravy to go over the leftover cooked buckwheat which we were eating for dinner.  I made a roux with Smart Balance margarine and brown rice flour, then added some chicken broth I had in the freezer.  Tasted pretty good.  It’s true; everything is better with gravy.

I’m trying to do a little more planning since last month I waaaaay overspent on groceries trying to find what I liked out of what I could eat.  Now I have to get seriously organized in my meal plans, shopping list and food budget.

That does not sound like me.  But I’ll give it an honest try.

In the meantime, I need to learn not to let the fridge and pantry get too low on safe things to eat.  Right eating doesn’t come naturally to me yet and once I get hungry then my decision making skills deteriorate fast.  That’s the situation where I thought maybe eating pepper jack cheese would be okay if I just put it on a rice cake.  Yeah, right.

Speaking of cake, it’s about that time again.  I haven’t had a cake or dessert or a cookie in too long.  I think tomorrow I am going to try Apple Cake from Karina’s Kitchen.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Sadness and chocolate pudding

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

The sadness is from saying goodbye to Meghan for an indefinite period.  She left yesterday morning to move to Texas.  She’s driving..alone..all the way.  I already talked to her this morning and she’s holed up in Sheridan, WY, socked in by a blizzard and counting her diminishing cash.

So yesterday I was sad, anxious and tired.  This calls for treats, right?  It’s the end of the month, the cupboard is bare but I need some comfort food.  Seriously.

Enter chocolate pudding.  I found a simple recipe here.  I substituted arrowroot for cornstarch, used rice milk and Baker’s unsweetened cocoa.  Gluten, corn and dairy free.  Oh, and I used organic brown sugar instead of white.  The result?  A passable extremely-dark-chocolate-tasting pudding.  The only complaint is that the recipe calls for straining (which I skipped, of course, because it would take too long) and I should have tried it because it was kinda grainy.   But it hit the spot and did the job.  Whew!

The other exciting event happening today is that I’m going to see my doctor for the first time in about 6 months.  Last time I visited her I was still taking 6 tramadols a day and having breakthrough pain and exhaustion.  This is going to be so fun to share with her all the wonderful news of doing so much better!!!  She’s going to be happy for me.

Well, there goes that promise

October 2, 2009 2 comments

Sorry I didn’t do a recipe update like I said I would yesterday.

In my defense I will say that I had several interactions with my mother…which usually results in eating a batch of cookies and/or a quart of ice cream.  Well, I don’t have these things available anymore so I had to actually cry.

What is the world coming to?

My mother is very old, very sick, and very frustrating.  She loves me and my sibs the best she can…and most of the time that just creates confusion.  Whattya going to do?  I only have one mom and she’s not going to last forever so I just am trying to walk through it a step at a time.

Okay, back to food.

Yesterday I was so hungry.  Not so much the kind of hungry you get after skipping some meals…which I didn’t.  No, it was hunger for something comforting, filling, mothering (I guess).  Quinoa and hummus would not fit the bill.  Yesterday was the day before payday and we were pretty broke so I had $10 to spend on dinner for the four of us.

Off to Albertsons.  Definitely not the health food store.  But I found some beef round steak on sale cheap and picked up five.  Then to the veggies where I got a head of cauliflower.  Not organic and it makes such a difference.  But I was in no shape to go all around town. Last but not least, I splurged on some portabella mushrooms.  Total spent?  $11.60…HA!

Beefy, mushroomy dreams began as I drove home.

So the menu looked like this:

  • Beef strips and mushrooms in gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Roasted cauliflower

Yes, I said potatoes.  I thought I would go with a food challenge that shouldn’t do me in.  The roasted cauliflower was a recipe I got from Gluten Free Goodness, an excellent food blog that I must remember to put in my links. She cooks with no gluten, dairy, soy, eggs or corn.

Anyway…I made the potatoes with vegan margarine (which is disappointingly full of soy) and hemp milk since it is a little more creamy than rice milk.  I find the hemp milk has a stronger taste but it couldn’t affect the mashed potato taste so it worked beautifully.

I’m going to try and approximate the beef recipe because it was good!

Beef Strips and Portabello Mushrooms

  • 3 lbs of round steak (Yes, this is a wild guess.  Just get enough round steak for your family.)
  • 1 cup sliced portabello mushrooms
  • 1/2 to 1 cup brown rice flour (which is the only usable flour I had in the house)
  • 1/4 scant cup seasoning mix.  I used two kinds of Mrs. Dash.  But as I say that, I’ll bet it has corn in it somewhere.  Argh!

I used my big soup pot/dutch oven type pan.  This recipe would work even better in a crock pot but I was pressed for time.  I cut the round steak into strips.

In a bowl I mixed the flour and seasoning salt together.  Here’s the place to improvise.  Got some rosemary?  Try it.  Your family loves Italian?  Throw in some Italian seasoning.  I think I also put a dash of cayenne in the mix.

A big handful at a time I put the beef strips in the flour mix to coat.  Then into the hot pan with some canola oil.  I would have preferred olive oil, though it might have been too hot for olive oil.  But we are out of it.  So canola oil it was.

I fried up the beef strips…and there were a LOT of strips.  The flour thickened the juices nicely.  When the strips were about cooked through I put in the mushrooms and soon thereafter, I put in some water (just about 1/3 cup) to extend the gravy and salt/pepper to taste.  Then let it get all warm and bubbly and thick.

Mash the taters, and serve the meat over them.  Hits the spot.

And how did I fare with the potatoes?  Not too good.  It wasn’t shocking but I started to wake up from body pain in the wee hours.  Getting up this morning I feel sore and stiff and my throat feels sting-y (yeah, I’m so technical).  But it’s also raining outside so I have to figure that in.

In the end I’d have to say that potatoes are do-able but in small amounts and not with any other marginal foods like cheese and egg.  Seems like my two lists, Can eat and Can not eat, are morphing into three.  The new one called “Can probably eat a little bit without too much problem but don’t try and push it.”  I think potato is on this list.

So there you are.  At least it’s a recipe finally.  Even though you had to wade through some mother issues to get there.

Great dinner

September 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Even if I do say so myself.  Remember that I’m doing this diet on the cheap.  I went to the store this evening and found some thin pork steak on sale.  I cut them up into serving size pieces and dredged them in a “breading” made from ground almonds and a little gluten-free baking mix.  I browned both sides in canola oil and set the pan onto medium low for the short time it took to cook all the way through.

In the meantime I was roasting sweet potato shoestrings in the oven…another recipe from Karina’s Kitchen.  I’m loving this artist/cook/blogger/gluten and dairy free goddess.  The potatoes are simple to make but there is something magic about the taste of sweet potatoes seasoned with salt, pepper and cinnamon.  I’m getting more inclined to sneak cinnamon in whenever I can because just a hint makes anything taste (and smell) ever so slightly exotic.  And if you live in a medium small town for your entire life, like me, you need exotic whenever you can get it!

I finished the meal with simple steamed broccoli.  Low carb, strong protein, and delicious eating.  Not to mention cheap.  Which of course I just mentioned.

I stuffed myself…not the best way to go but I won’t be sad about not making dessert.  If I get snacky before bed I’ll pop a few sweet green grapes courtesy of my neighbors, Pavel and Svetlana.  Pavel knows how to grow the grapes.


I should say also that the hemp shake I made for lunch carried me through the whole afternoon, through a trip to the store and back again.  Plus, enough energy to dream up and cook dinner.  That’s a good thing.

In fact…that is a great thing.