One woman's adventures in cooking for her Dutch-American family.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu Monday: Week of March 7

First off, last week was one of the worst weeks of my adult life, up there with my two miscarriages and realizing that I would never fully recover from my brain injury. I had plans to post our dinner each day to show what we were able to scrounge up despite not shopping for groceries last week. Instead, I spent the week at the vet with my sweet Shih Tzu, Bailey, who, in less than 3 weeks went from being pretty healthy to a bit under the weather to dying of liver failure. We said goodbye less than 48 hours ago.

Cooking was not a priority this week.

This week the shock is wearing off and the grieving begins. I plan to divert my thoughts with a lot of playdates for my son and a lot of cooking for me.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Too sad to eat.

Had an appointment with my neuro-ophthalmologist at 5 due to some recurrent vision problems I'm having. Between the grief, the mental fatigue and eye pain, we had leftovers. I had Raisin Bran Crunch and my hubs chose Hutspot, which he embellished with hot pepper mustard and Frank's Chili.

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups. Beth's BudgetBytes blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I think these look so pretty and would be a great meal when we have company. Hope it turns out!

Speaking of BudgetBytes, since y flour bins are full again, I'll be making some cinnamon raisin bread again.

By special request, we'll be having homemade tortilla chips again.

***updated 3/8/11: we will be having tortilla chips, but in honor of Ash Wednesday, we had homemade Shamrock Shakes tonight instead. Super easy to make, and even though I try to avoid food dyes, I splurged out of nostalgia.

Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup. Still, really love this soup!

Raspberry Oat Bars.
A good friend of mine had a baby this week, and has been having a rough time recovering. I'm hoping these will left her spirits. (And yes, this is ALSO from BudgetBytes!)

I'm really excited that a friend is coming over for a play and cooking date. I'm going to show her how to make cinnamon raisin bread and we'll make oatmeal lactation cookies for the new mommy mentioned above. These cookies have lots of brewers yeast and flaxseed for milk production. I also add a good amount of cinnamon, which also helps. And no, men do not produce milk if they eat them. They are just really yummy, mostly healthy, super helpful cookies for new moms.

Elegant Orzo. Along with the sweets, I'm also bringing dinner for my friend and her husband.

Indonesian Pilaf. Since I don't know how well I'm going to feel this week, I'm doing mostly recipes I know, and this was a big hit when I first tried it.

Homemade English Muffins. I found this one on Facebook and I had to try it. We've done away with most processed foods, but I still buy Cheerios and Raisin Bran Crunch for the boys and I. I'd like to have a few other non-processed options, so I'm curious to see how these turn out.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Growing up in Minnesota, it's pretty much mandatory that you have to like Wild Rice. Did you know it's the state grain? You betcha! Oddly enough, I found this on "What's Megan Making?" Megan lives in Michigan.

Oh, and as a follow to last week's Fiscal Fast challenge, grocery edition. We spent a total of $6 on food items for the week. This week, we spent about $100 again on food items, which is still $25 under budget. We could have done better if I hadn't run out of white flour, wheat flour and bread flour this week. I've been making lots of bread foods lately!

Our new grocery challenge is to go with cash. Each week, we'll take out our budgeted $125 for groceries in cash. Then, we'll do our shopping, always starting at our farmer's markety store for the produce and bulk goods. Then we'll hit the other stores we frequent: a grocery store and Target. We'll pay for our groceries with the cash, and household items with our check card for this challenge. Any cash we have left over will go back to the bank, in our savings account.

I think we do pretty good as a family of 3 (and our two year old eats like an adult!) on $500 a month (groceries + household items like diapers and wipes), but I know we can do better, and I think by separating those food from non-food items, we'll have a better idea of what we're spending.

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