Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tire Pizza

One of our favorite things to do on the weekend is watch movies/TV and eat pizza.  Sometimes we buy plain ole regular pizza, sometimes we buy fancy four cheese alfredo pizza, and sometimes we make pizza. 
Tonight we made pizza.  Normally, we make the pizza recipe from my Fleischmann's Rapid Ride Yeast cookbook and decorate it with tomato sauce/paste, cheese, and pepperoni.  Recently I got a new recipe, called Lisa's Pizza (Dough) from the blog Little Tummy Yummies, that I've been wanting to try.
I decided that there were aspects of both recipes that I like, so we decided to combine them.  Here is what I did.  By the way, it's called Tire Pizza because I combined T,Y, and R from tummy yummy and rapid rise.  That sounded stupid, and I thought "tire" sounded kinda catchy...

Tire Pizza
1 c tomato sauce (1 small can), warmed
1/4 c olive oil
1 pkg rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 t dried oregano
2 c whole wheat flour
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
3/4 t cayenne pepper  
1. Preheat oven to 450.  Stir sugar and yeast into warmed tomato sauce and place in warm, draft free plac for 5 minutes (I left in microwave).
2. Combine flour, salt, oregano, and pepper.
3. Combine olive oil with tomato sauce mixture and stir into flour mixture.
4. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 - 10 minutes, on floured board or in mixer.  You may need to add some water to make the dough the correct consistency.
5. Cover with warm moist towel and let rise for 10 minutes.
6. Either split dough in 1/2 (for thin crust) or not (for thicker crust) and roll into 12 in circle.
7. Place on pizza pan or stone, prick dough with fork, and let rest for 10 minutes.
8. Lightly brush crust with olive oil; parbake for 5 minutes.
9. Decorate as wanted (We used tomato paste mixed with onion powder and garlic powder, cheese, and ham.)
10.  Turn oven down to 400.  If 2 pizzas, cook for 10 minutes; if 1 pizza, cook for 15 - 25 minute (Watch exposed crust for burning.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I love coffee... that doesn't taste like coffee... or cost $5+... So I've made myself happy with coffeepot coffee and flavored creamers. 
That is, until now.  My mother has gotten me hooked on pumpkin spice lattes.  I take one to school every morning, and I am SO sad when it runs out during 4th period.  I am even sadder on days it runs out during 2nd or 3rd period.
I like them so much, I've even started drinking them on weekend nights so I can stay up with Chris to watch movies... and then stay up even later to read.
They are SO good that I wanted to share them with everyone else!
Here's the finished product that is magnificient...

And here are the ingredients...

Yes!  It is as simple as stirring a scoop (or 2 or 3) of Maxwell House International Latte Pumpkin Spice into a mug/carrier of hot water and topping it with whip and pumpkin pie spice. 
Bon Appetite!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Egg Salad

So, I'm not going to do a meal post this week, because we totally cheated... We ate with parents and simple meals like a can of soup left in the crock-pot with some ham... We absolutely ate well on our $50 budget this week and will be able to stay under for next week (Thanks, parents!).
I am going to share a staple meal on our weekends.  It is a very simple to prepare and simple ingredient recipe that can be eaten as a sandwich, with crackers, or alone.  Chris often asks for it, and when he doesn't, it's my "surprise" meal for him.  It is the amazingly plain...

Egg Salad
3-5 eggs (depending on servings)
Any combination of the following or anything else:
mustard (any kind)
onion powder
garlic powder
liquid smoke
worstershire sauce
red pepper
black pepper
lemon juice

1. Bring the egss covered with water to a boil.

2. Cut the heat off, cover, and leave the eggs for 20 minutes.

3. Peel and mash the eggs with a fork.

4. Combine the egg with any of the remaining ingredients (or whatever else you want).

*I read somewhere to mix everything up except mayonaise, then add that last to get the best flavor*
5. Serve on a sandwich, salad, crackers, or alone.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

$50 Grocery Budget

Here are meals from week 4 of the $50 grocery budget.
Truth be told, we went a tiny bit over on the budget this past week (like $55), but Kroger was having a big sale and I had coupons for the items, too.  It was stuff we have to buy anyway (dogfood, paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap), so I figured why not go a little bit over budget but get the stuff for $2 off.  It turned out okay, because we were under budge this week.  As of now, we are stocked on paper towels, toilet paper, clothes and dish soaps, meat (for 12 meals), vegetables, and staples (flour, sugar, spices).  We figure we can get by with just the basics next week and balance the budget out.
Here's the menu from last week!

Chicken Lasagna
whole wheat pasta, tomato paste and sauce and spices, chicken, lowfat cheese

Chicken Salad
baked chicken breast on a green salad

fish and spinach
baked salmon with spices over spinach madelinne

chicken soup
cans of chicken broth, creamed corn, diced tomatoes with onion and garlic powders and a chicken breast served with whole grain tortilla chips and cheese

We did not cook at home.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Work Week's Worth of Meals on a $50 budget

Here is a sample menu from our $50 budget.
*Please Note*  Some things used in the menu were not bought with the $50 budget (it was from our freezer), and not everything bought with the budget was used for the suppers.

Monday Night
Black Bean Soup with Ham
This recipe came from my Joy of Cooking cookbook (it looks gross, but it was yummy!).

Tuesday Night
Oven fried Salmon with Home-Made Tartar Sauce, Carrot Fries, and a Salad
Salmon from Top Chef Whitney Miller's cookbook, carrot fries from pinterest.
The carrot fries were delicious!  We didn't make very many (it was hard chopping the carrots up small enough), and we gobbled up what we made wishing we had made more.

Wednesday Night
Turkey and Carrot Souffle
The turkey is from the freezer (leftover from Christmas), and the carrot souffle is from my Whitney Miller cookbook.  I will absolutely make the carrot souffle again - it was wonderful!

Thursday Night
Pork loin (leftover from Christmas) with BBQ Sandwich and Squash/Zucchini chips
I followed the carrot fry directions with squash and zucchini. 
They got too brown; I think they were too thin.  They were still yummy, though!

I do not have a picture for Friday night.  It was my Daddy's birthday so we went out to eat at Tin Shed BBQ in Clinton (It's great; try it!).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Grocery Shopping

A few people have asked me how I am able to spend $50 or less at the grocery store each week.  I certainly don't feel like I do anything exceptional, but I'll try to explain my basic plan.
*Note* Over Christmas break I went to The Dollar Tree and Big Lots and wrote down the size and cost of every product they have that we normally buy.  I then matched the cost to what I pay at Kroger.  Most products were cheaper at Big Lots or The Dollar Tree.

1. I make a menu.  I try to use as much of what is already in the cabinet/freezer/fridge as possible.  I plan only suppers because I usually take a salad, sandwich, or leftovers to school and Chris usually eats at his parents' house (Yes, he's an adult, but he gets to see his family everyday and it's free.).  I try to make sure each meal has a meat, at least one vegetable, and a grain.  I also enjoy cooking, so I try to make new recipes each week.  Chris will throw in grilling or smoking some, also, especially on weekends.

2. I make my grocery list based on what I need for cooking that week and what we are out of around the house.

3. I match my list to the Kroger sales paper (If I have rice on the list and the Knorr rice mixes are 10/$1, I get that instead of my usual whole wheat rice.  It may not be as healthy, but the difference is not that huge.).

4. I then match my list to my coupons (I have my coupons separated into manufacturer and Kroger.).  On my list I put a star next to each item and write down how much off the coupon is (this is for step 7 and to make sure my receipt is right).

5. I match the Kroger sale prices of items on my list to The Dollar Tree and Big Lots prices (Granted I have been doing this only 2 weeks, but I went to 3 stores the first week, and 1 store the second.  I imagine there will be few times I have to go to all 3).

6. I then prioritize my list into "Needs" and "Maybes" (One time pizza was on sale, I had a coupon, it would be nice to keep it in the freezer for weekend nights, but it was not a priority, so it went onto the "maybe" list.).

7. At the grocery store I write down the cost of each item I pick up.  I add the items, tax, and subtract my coupons.

8.  If there is money below my $50 budget I do one of two things - A. pick up items on my "maybe" list or B. check out the meat that is on sale (I like to keep our freezer stocked with fish, chicken, ground turkey or beef, and at least either a porkloin or pork chops.  I do not buy any meat over $10.  I also divide the meat up before freezing it.  I divide a porkloin into 1/4s, I freeze 2 porkchops together, etc....). 

Like I mentioned earlier, this is only the second week of this "experiment."  There could be lots of problems with this plan that I haven't encountered yet.  So far (even before I had this $50 plan I tried to keep it below $100) my trips have worked out where I do not need all of my staples (flour, sugar, rice, etc... and shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, etc... and meat) all at the same time.  This helps in being able to keep within my budget.  Although it is time consuming (It takes about 45 min - 1 hour to complete steps 1 - 6.), I enjoy doing this.  It feels good spending such little money, and I feel like I'm helping to get us closer to our very own house!      

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Warrior Dash

We, along with some friends, are going to be competing in the Warrior Dash on April 21, 2012.  The Warrior Dash is a 5K interspersed with obstacles... like a wooden fence to climb... and a field of "mines" to weave through... and a waterfall that beats you down as you swim under it... and a mud pit where you have to crawl under barbed wire... all culminating in a pile of hot coals you have to run over followed by a crazy fella with a sword who tries to knock you down. 
Needless to say, we are going to need to train for this.  Unlike the 1/2 marathon in 2010 which we were COMPLETELY unprepared for, we want to be prepared for this event because Chris and I are looking at it as my birthday present (my birthday is April 26). 
Our training plan is this: get into shape.  We plan to do this in the following ways: on days we are both at home before nightfall (a difficult feat these early-evening days) we will go walk/jog/run in the neighborhood; on days we are home after nightfall we will work on our muscles for the obstacles (P90X, weights, tower, yoga, etc...); we will also eat SUPER healthy (vegetables at every meal, fruits, and minimal to no sweets). 
I am posting this on the blog because hopefully if people know our plans, we will be forced to follow through for fear of embarassing ourselves.
Hopefully a positive update-post will be coming up!