An Abrupt End

Well things aren’t quite going the way I thought they would in August. This month I had planned to do a zero spend month. I’m writing to tell you that that isn’t going to happen. I will spare you the pictures but I was involved in an accident in which our only vehicle was declared a write off. It was something that was unexpected and unavoidable. I ended up in a head on collision with a deer. We did take a few days and eat out with the stress of having a severe accident and dealing with our insurance company (they were amazing by the way) something had to give and cooking was one of them.

Since the no spend challenge didn’t work out I do still want to use some of the foods we still have in the house and pantry so I look forward to sharing the meals and snacks I come up with soon.

No Spend day 1

Today was day 1 of no spend day and I think we ate pretty well. Of course that’s not surprising since we are fully stocked at the moment. I have to apologize now because I forgot to take pictures of everything.

The kids started off their day with some oatmeal and I had some coffee both of which I didn’t get pictures of.

For lunch I made some delicious cucumber sandwiches.

Then for a fun activity and afternoon snack/ after supper dessert the kids and I made some s’mores brownies. They were a gooey, sweet treat.

And dinner was a delicious creamy mushroom chicken, some rice and some roasted broccoli.

I can’t wait to see what we cook up in the kitchen tomorrow and how much money we will have spent by the end of the week. Have you ever done a no spend week, month etc? What types of foods did you feed your family?

What Happened to this Summer?

I had all kinds of plans to start writing regularly on the blog again. But to be honest I’ve just been navigating thru lockdowns and restrictions and daily life. I have however missed blogging, and since we are doing something new this month I thought what a perfect way to get back in the saddle.

What are we doing you wonder? Well we have decided to do a low spend month and use up some of the food we’ve accumulated with sales over the past few months. I have lots of canned and frozen veggies that need to be used up, and some fresh produce to start the month off. I have canned and frozen fruit as well, a variety of different meat, pastas and pretty much everything you could want. I’m excited to show you all the creative and delicious meals we make along the way. I was going to do a before and after picture of the freezer and fridge but they’re so disorganized I don’t think I will bother.

In other news that’s happening around the house I’m starting to plan the upcoming homeschool year and trying to figure out some sort of workout routine. I didn’t plan my workouts last year because I was assuming we would get back to normal and hike a few times a week with our homeschool group but that proved to be challenging in these time. So this year I will establish some sort of routine. And thankfully we have the puppy to keep us active if my workouts fall to the wayside.

How did you keep busy this summer? What do you have coming up this month?

Food Challenges

Since we are in lockdown I am trying to get creative and keep the kids minds off the virus and onto fun things. A few years back my kids were obsessed with a Teen Titans Go episode where they did Burgers vs Burritos. So of course the chef in me decided we were going to get into the kitchen and make our own food challenges. This week we had Taco salad VS homemade stuffed crust pizza and homemade burgers vs burritos. The kids loved it. And the winners of the challenges were stuffed crust pizza and burgers.

During these trying times we need to focus on fun family memories. I hope you try your own challenges and let me know below.

Cereal Dessert

A little while ago I had touched on frugality when it comes to food. I am here to say that not all frugal things are a hit. I decided I was going to trick my Cheerio loving child by buying an off brand box. It was not received well lol. So I had to figure out how I was going to use this box of cereal and not throw it in the compost. I needed something that was going to overpower the taste of the cereal he didn’t like.

So I made this! We turned it into a chocolate and peanut butter dessert 🙂 The kids loved it and we avoided throwing out food, but from now on I’ll just be watching for sales on Cheerios.

A New Family Member

2020 and 2021 have been anything but normal. So we decided it was time to add to our family.

I would like to introduce everyone to Dobby!

Now this guy has been amazing. Not only is he great at cuddling but he loves to go on walks. Since he is still a young pup we aren’t walking very far but I have high hopes of him loving to hike with the family. I never knew how much you much love you could give and receive to a precious pup. He has been our sunshine during these crazy times. It doesn’t matter what’s happening in the world he will great you with his tail wagging and cover you in kisses.

As well as getting more active I am slowly getting my eating back on track. And with moving more and eating better the scale has started moving downwards again.

I’m pretty sure the next few blogs will be scattered but I am a little rusty but miss this outlet. Chat soon!

First Week of 2021

Can you believe a week of the new year is already in the books? How has your first week gone? Now we could talk about the pandemic but quite frankly I don’t want to.

I am choosing to focus on my health rather then what’s going on in the world. What does that mean for me? Making sure I am working out either outside or on my treadmill. Maintaining some sort of schedule so we have some normalcy. Writing or at least mentally reciting everything that I’m grateful for. And since I have a love for cooking I am trying to test out some new recipes that satisfy my inner chef and keep me on track.

I haven’t made any New Years resolutions but I am excited to see what 2021 has to offer. What are you most excited about?

2020 Coming to an end

Oh 2020 has sure been a ride. It was full of up (buying our house) and downs (the crazy pandemic that is still going on).

Even though it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride here’s a few things I’ve discovered. No one is immune to stress eating especially when there’s a pandemic. Shopping is no longer mom’s break time but a marathon of following arrows and knowing the limits of foods. I’ve also discovered that ever pantry list that you will find online to prepare for winter or a pandemic is not bariatric friendly. What you will find on all these lists are flour and grains which are great for bulking up meals during hard time but horrible on your stomach if you’re a bariatric patient. So now that I feel like I have a grasp on what life looks like for the time being, it’s time to pull up my socks and make a list of foods I should have on hand that fall in line with the lifestyle I want to live.

The first thing on my list is oats. Which might sound boring but as a bariatric patient I can make protein balls, baked oatmeal, overnight oats, muffins, bread etc that won’t wreak having on my digestive system.

The second thing would be powdered milk. Now while this isn’t the best tasting item I can add water and make myself a smoothie or there’s even recipes to make yogurt from powdered milk.

The third thing would be meat. It can be canned, frozen or fresh but we need to keep our protein up all the time. Come to think of it I should have probably made this number 1.

The fourth thing would be protein shakes and protein bars. While not something to I would eat all the time these are perfect to keep up the protein. And there’s a variety of shakes you can get in ready made (rather pricy or powdered protein shakes)

And then I have a mish mash of other items. Quinoa, canned soups, canned/ frozen fruits and veggies, some alternative flours (but you can stock up on these as they do need to be cycled thru rather quickly.), beef jerky, cottage cheese and eggs.

Get more Out of your Food

There’s been a lot of fear about food shortages since the pandemic has started. Now weather that food shortage be actual food not being able to get to the grocery store or the food flying off the shelves because people are preparing in case there a second wave the fears are there. So I thought I would share some tips that will stretch your food budget and allow you to get more money out of the food you are buying.

My first tip would be to buy meat that’s on the bone. It typically tends to be cheaper then the boneless, skinless meats. Also there’s always some sort of bone in meat on sale. Now why do I prefer bone in meat besides it being easier on the budget? I can make bone broth from the bones which I can use in recipes or in soups. The cost of store bought broth is expensive and usually doesn’t pack a lot of flavour. The powdered versions you can buy are full of flavour but also full of salt.

My second tip would be don’t throw away the fat! When you roast a duck or cook bacon your left with a decent amount of fat. Now you could just toss that fat but that would be such a waste. If you put the fat thru a fine mesh strainer and store it in your fridge you can do a lot of things with that fat. You can roast your vegetable in the fat, you can substitute the butter in bread and biscuits with the bacon fat. Or you can make bacon, chocolate chip cookies with the rendered fat!

My third tip is don’t throw your vegetable peels/ scraps away, instead freeze them. You can throw them into your pot when making your bone broth to add extra flavour.

My fourth tip is also don’t throw out your fruit scraps! A friend of mine recently introduced me to apple scrap jelly. So you save your peels and covers and boil them with some sugar and water to make a delicious jelly. You can do the same thing with pears and I have to do some research on some other fruits as well. Oh and your orange peels can serve as a great pot pourri, or you can soak them in vinegar to make a homemade cleaner or throw the peels in your garden to keep cats from using your garden as a litter box.

My fifth tip skip the packaged oatmeal and buy yourself a huge bag of oats instead. Some ways to jazz up some oats is to add homemade or store bought pie filling. You can also add some jams or jellies. You can add some yogurt and frozen fruits. And of course you can’t go wrong with some cinnamon and brown sugar.

And the final tip I will leave you with today is make as much as you can from scratch. I understand that not everyone can do this but it is seriously my biggest money saver. Having three kids it’s way cheaper for me to make homemade baked goods then buying any of the store bought ones.

What are some of your food stretching/ money stretching tips?

I did it

So I took the plunge and I’ve recorded two grocery haul videos. The thing is I haven’t yet mastered the art of editing. Right now I’m trying to decide if I just take the plunge and throw these two videos up unedited or not. I also don’t have an intro video like most bloggers but we all have to start somewhere so I will probably just upload them and get better with each video that I post.

So you’ve probably already guess it but I since I’ve filmed two grocery hauls I obviously added to my pantry and freezer therefore ending my challenge. I did put a dent in the supplies that I had and I have replenished so I feel good. Prior to covid I probably would have pushed the challenge way further but not knowing what is going to happen I like to have my pantry and freezer well stocked. I’ve always had a well stocked pantry and freezer even prior to the pandemic. I always have a minimum of 2 weeks of groceries at all times.

So what have we been eating? For breakfasts we’ve been having some cinnamon buns, banana bread, BLT’s (I have mine deconstructed and the rest of the family has theirs on bread or bagels) waffles, pancakes and yogurt parfaits. Lunches have consisted of homemade lunchables, fried bologna, sandwiches, cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped hot dogs, leftovers etc. Suppers have been fish with roasted broccoli, air fried duck (if you haven’t seen that picture on my facebook go check it out), duck quesadillas, chicken chow mein, stuffed zucchini and more.

What have you been eating?