The Grocery Shopping Daze

In a daze.  That’s what I am when grocery shopping with my two, cute, sweet, adorable, BOYS.  The youngest is too big to ride in the buggy, that is, except that big ‘0 car buggy at Kroger that takes every bit of my leg power to push!  My youngest (3) is really not the challenge, but my dear 6 year old.  Grocery shopping with my Sammy has been challenging since he learned he could get out of the two-seater Walmart cart.  I remember one time I even had Daddy have a talk with him about cooperating with Momma, staying in the cart, blah, blah, blah.  And here we are, 4 years later, and I hate grocery shopping days.  And especially on this day, my mind drifts to the thought that I’d have an easier go at this if I stuck him in school and didn’t homeschool….on these days, the yellow bus looks appealing. 

I’ve tried everything to embrace shopping day.  Organized.  Unorganized.  Have them help me.  Have them hold the cart.  Allow them to run up and down the isle.  Don’t allow them to do previous mentioned.  Reward.  Punishment.  Smile genuinely.  Fake smile.  Grab arm and whisper in their ear.  Speak loudly so that an isle over can hear me.  Have breakfast at Chick-fil-a and shop early.  Have lunch at Chick-fil-a and shop late.  Leave them at home with Dad and shop at night.  Leave them with my Mom and hurry-shop during the day. 

So we shopped at Albertson’s today to spend $20 (I spent $40…that tells me something about Albertsons and why I don’t shop there) so I could get a Jennie-O Turkey CHEAP.  Then we went to Krogers for big shopping and my effort was to have the boys take turn being my helpers and they would get paid.  Somewhere in that they both ended up pushing the cart, which was really nice and helpful.  But the end of the trip was a kicker….with my buggy LOADED, I asked Sammy to help pull from the front – and this lead to a scrape on his boots which I still don’t know if he actually got hurt, but the blood-curdling scream that came several seconds later…was because??  Which annoyed me…..then I try to manuever my buggy (LOADED) past this white car….and get stuck on their side mirror…which actually moves back in place, but then a 2 gallon water falls off from underneath while I’m trying to make sure my out-of-control-loaded-buggy does NOT scrape with white car….Sawyer says “Mom, the water!”  I’m yelling “Really!  Do I get to have any more frustrations today?????”  and yell at Sawyer to just leave the water!  But he picks it up and lugs it to the car…sweet boy.  As oldest finally pulls it together (’cause I’m not thinking he was hurt) and then runs his mouth when I try to tell him I didn’t intend to hurt him or his boots…I’m realizing I’m melting and should not have turned down the LARGE Hershey’s Chocolate bar Sammy offered me at checkout! 

I’m at a loss here.  Unless I just simply decide, it is what it is and it won’t always be this way.  At this point, the yellow school bus is not an option! LOL!  And I’m grateful it’s not, as we have some marvelous times.  But the next time it’s grocery shopping day and Sammy offers me some chocolate, I’ll say “Thank you for reminding me I need chocolate!”  And pick up a Sonic diet vanilla coke on the way home!    Alas, my pantry and fridge are full with two turkeys in the freezer.  We’ve all had a nap and supper tonight is an Easty chicken Tortilla Soup.  For this, and God’s grace that we are now smiling again, I am thankful!


Redeeming a meal

Lately I’ve been trying more new recipes than probably my dear family would prefer.  Trying to eat cleaner and decreasing the meat at a meal.  So, I can think of at least 2 that my family is ok with, and both in the Mexican flair – Chicken Tortilla Soup and Corn Tortilla and Black Bean casserole (which we had tonight). 

Strangely to most I would think, I try to ask Father “what’s for dinner?” and listen for His preferences.  Yes, to some, this is a weird thing, and personally, I think it a bit weird as well.  But I’ve experienced cooking in the kitchen with the knowledge of His presence and guidance in this everyday occurance of cooking a meal for my family, and I must say, it’s extraordinary. 

So Monday, I kept pressing for “what’s for dinner?”  and He kept coming back with this new soup recipe, Curried Lentil Soup.  I’d already made Molasses Spelt bread that morning, along with Pecan Sandie cookie dough to freeze for a playdate, and THEN I tried a spinach casserole of lunch which was eaten by 2/3 of us.  Sawyer Wayne said “yucky.”  Well, worth a try is what I say.  So I finally relented after continuing to seek Him, and made the Curried Lentil soup.  It was eaten by 1/2 of us; kids gave it a thumbs down but Tony and I managed to eat it (it wasn’t that bad).   But it’s not to be in the menu rotation, if you know what I mean. 

So now I have this full “cool whip” container of Curried Lentil Soup.  And it’s been cold here where we are.  And sometimes I just get downright chilly.  So the other day for a warm up snack, out comes the curried lentil soup.  It had lost it’s soupiness, so I put about 3 scoops of lentil soup and 1 c. of water.  I added more cumin and curry, along with some salt (which was helpful) AND some red pepper flakes for extra extra spice and warmth!   And MY OH MY, that was some GOOD STUFF!  I then became delighted that I had that soup all to myself.  And to help bring down the  heat in my mouth, two bites of Greek Goddess Honey yogurt.  Wow.

So, that’s my story of a redeemed meal.  I say it’s better to try something new than not.  Is that maturity?

Food: 5 MORE fridge/pantry staple items, + 5 more

I ran out of this yesterday after writing my first post on my 5 pantry or fridge staple items. POPCORN! We eat popcorn at least 3 times a week for snack or movie time. I forget the brand since I store it in a jar in the pantry. But we get it from our local health food store and it’s organic. I’ve fluctuated between it and the Food Club brand. There IS a difference in the quality and not that much difference in price. Even if I went with Orval Redenbaucher’s (whew – I probably just butchered that, but you know the brand), I think my organic is cheaper. I’ll check on that today since we’re making a trip for several staple items we are out of.

SO, here’s 6-10 in the pantry/fridge

6. Popcorn, organic
7. EGGS – we eat A LOT of eggs and when I made my fried rice last night, I was 1 egg shy and really prefer three in my fried rice when I don’t add meat
8. Corn tortillas – we do taquitos on Saturday morning or Sunday night, along with soft tacos with beans and spanish rice
9. Rice – still settling on brand, but usually choose to save money here; prices fluctuate, but I prefer Jasmine or Basmati, but usually get Food Brand, long grain
10. Dry beans – black or pinto, usually both. I have a great crock pot recipe for beans and do these at least once a week.

There it is! For me more than anyone else! Off to the store since we are out of some of our staples 🙂

UPDATE:  After trip to the Granary, my favorite organic popcorn is Arrowhead Mills, 1.75 lb. bag for $2.75.

12. Peanut Butter, Arrowhead Mills, sometimes organic, sometimes not

13.  Albacore Tuna in water

14.  Onions, i always cook with yellow onions, prefer the sweet ones, but right now, any onion I’ve brought home has made my eyes water :/

15.  Avocados, these use to be a luxury item, now they are a necessity!  And today, Walmart had them for 44 cents!

Food: Staples in my pantry/fridge

My friend Faydra, at Groundspeed, blog tagged me to give up our 5 food staples in our pantry. So here goes!

1. Spelt Flour (has replaced my forever used unbleached all-purpose)
2. NOW brand Maple Syrup (time for a Granary trip – we are out of this)
3. Nuts – anykind, sometimes peanuts in shell, almonds. Our freezer has many bags of pecan pieces I order in the fall;
I use these for my fruit salad and anything else they need to go into.
4. Farmer’s Cheese, homemade (aka Tvorog cheese) – this serves as my sour cream, yogurt (mix with honey or syrup). Yummy. Goes well with muffins or fruit. Everyone is happy when they eat it!
5. Apples, Apples, Apples!

Ok. I may have put more info with that than needed/wanted. I’m continually developing my staples list and one day hope to have it easily available on paper, other than in my forever-forgetting mind!

In the Kitchen again

Short time to blog; my water is on for my most recent addiction, evening Cafix (caffeine free) – so yummy with a bit of stevia and half n half!

Back at it this week with a few new recipes.

The Potato Soup recipe I tried this week bombed for my family. I held my head high and ate it. It had cinnamon in it and although the boys and I eat a bit of cinnamon on this and that, dear husband not so fond of that much. I know what he’s looking for in a potato soup recipe – rich and creamy. This wasn’t that. I was glad to try it since it was basically dairy free (can use olive oil and calls for coconut milk). So, scratch that one.

But soup has been my aim this week as it is C O L D in our little part of Texas! So today I threw together a friends Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe for lunch. Success! Well, my youngest said yucky – but oldest and husband ate it up. Weirdo me didn’t have beans on hand (normally don’t buy mine but crock pot my beans) so I had to quick cook some. We were on cheese ration as there wasn’t much shredded cheese left. But I’m trying to limit that as well. So 3 out of 4. I’ll take that and not worry. It was easy and threw it in the crock pot so I could work on rearranging/cleaning out the spare bedroom to set it up for our school area.

One of the best things I did this week in the kitchen was put a large package of chicken thighs in the crock pot on Sunday evening. It made a wonderful broth (i used this in my potato soup recipe). The chicken I used throughout the week, first in Chicken Pot Pie (I tried the cream soups substitution recipe I got off recipezaar….it was ok and it probably IS cheaper, but I prefer the soups), which I actually made again later to share with my Auntie (we have 1/2 left to eat for lunch tomorrow….love easy Sunday dinner!). I also put it in my soup recipe today. Oh, and I probably put some in our weekly lunch “usually veggie” soup.

Tried my Spelt bread with molasses earlier this week and it was a hit, even with the husband (shocker!). It was gone in 3 days. This bread is easier to digest – and tastes wonderful to boot! So, another batch coming up on Monday!

Farmer’s Cheese has served us well. I have slipped a bit into Raw Food (picked up Raw Food Diet Detox at the library) so we had mashed up sweet potatoes for breakfast the other day with a bit of FC and drizzled maple syrup. I added granola to mine and Sammy’s. We ate it up. I think youngest went “yucky” again. Hmmm…are his taste buds changing??? Goodness, anything with maple syrup on it can’t be yucky, can it??

Tonight I tried a Dijon-Cider dressing recipe out of the above mentioned book. Whew. Tart. Husband was willing and I think it was easier to work with on our salad. We finished our last bit of Italian dressing the other night and today I threw out the remaining bottles of dressing (all had high fructose corn syrup included, with one being its FIRST ingredient! Yikes!). So I’ll keep looking for a more pleasing dressing. And I think I knew this but was in denial…ketchup has HFCS – bummer. What to do about that? We don’t use it often, but still. I had put raw organic baby carrots ont he table first, to help me eat them instead of fries with our fried fish, and secondly, to see if the boys would eat them. And they did! ANd then Sammy kept wanting more ketchup to dip carrots into…hmmm. Anyhow, boys didn’t eat salad tonight – not sure what they would have thought. Me? I prefer Balsamic Vinegar – love that stuff! Anyhow, seeking dressings made from scratch and that would fall into a healthy category.

My homemade applesauce is 2 1/2 quarts gone. Since a friend of mine gave me the jars, I’m sharing the last quart with her as a thank you and housewarming gift since she recently moved. I’ll be making more applesauce next week but perhaps changing the white sugar to something else, maybe succanant (sp?) or ….

But for breakfast? Saturday morning buttermilk pancakes and I did not have to twist anyone’s arm to eat a little bacon we had available. So as one can tell, I’m not diving off into the raw food craze. However, the book I picked up has provided me with some wonderful information. Information not obesssion, is what I’m after so that I can continue to make better choices for me and my family.

But today – my husband offered me LOVE. Well, I said “Thanks for the drugs.” when he handed me a cold REAL coke (which I hadn’t had all week…). We were trying to get some things done around here and boys were driving us crazy about the time they are normally resting or napping….but we were gifted back with them going to bed early:)

Well, off to cozy up with my cafix and watch those Cowboys! How bout them Cowboys??! (To hear my youngest say that brings a huge smile!).

From my kitchen window: Tales of a Happy Homemaker

This is where I was most of my first day of 2010. In my kitchen. Beautiful day outside, with lots of leaves in our back yard, even though we don’t have any trees 🙂 A chance to hear the boys playing in the back yard – sometimes this went well, sometimes not so much!

I’ve been inspired by several to be in my kitchen. I would first give hats off to the movie, Julie and Julia. After I first saw it several months ago, I was off in the kitchen trying new things immediately. Not French cooking, but NEW to me dishes. Recently I saw it on DVD – and I just really enjoy that show. I enjoy the happiness that both the J’s found in cooking. And since I’m responsible for feeding 3 others – and boys/men at that, a joyful attitude towards the kitchen is helpful!

My second inspiration comes from the blog I follow Owlhaven. She’s a Mom of 10, most adopted from several different countries. She’s a wonderful inspiration. On her blog I’ve found several recipes and have tried at least 3-4 within the last few days! A few days ago I made her homemade granola recipe that has received rave reviews from the kids and hubs. It is a wondeful topping to the homemade tvorog cheese (aka “Farmer’s Cheese”) that I made mixed with a dab of honey to sweeten! Yummy! This morning I spent my time peeling 10 lbs. of apples to make homemade applesauce. And boy, did it turn out yummy as well! But I forgot, last night I made pasta carbonera (off Owlhaven’s blog as well). It was an easy meal to fix (spaghetti/bacon/onion/garlic/basil or sage/parmesan cheese). I think I need some more spice, but I’m willing to try it again. Easy and cheap is how I would describe it.

That is probably the 3rd reason for my inspiration – trying to save on my grocery bill. Well, actually, that’s only my partial inspiration. Perhaps what propels that is the desire to feed my children wholesome food – even perhaps whole foods. And we’re working toward that end. An ingredient that has worked it’s way out of our pantry is High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is in so many things offered. Yogurt being one of them, along with wanting to avoid Splenda, brought about the Farmer’s Cheese which delightfully fills in for yogurt as well as sour cream, or even a cream-cheese like spread. I was crossing my fingers on the granola, as I continue to try to find an easy go-to snack for the kids that’s not processed. As we passed by the Nutrigrain Food bars at the store (which haven’t been in our house, to my dismay, for some time) and Sammy asked for them, my response was “I’d love to feed them to you cause their easy – but they’re not the best for you.” I was grateful for his acceptance of that truth! Something about having kids makes you want to give them the very best – and learning how to prioritize in the midst of that desire, one of my first priorities is teaching them good eating habits and to enjoy whole foods!

Next up: Spelt bread with molasses. This is my dear Judy’s recipe that she has finally written down after learning the process of it being completely down in the fridge. That recipe is LOVE to me. We’ve had this bread several times and SO enjoy it! I can’t wait for it to smell up the house and to eat it! And it will go well with our tvorog cheese as well. Yum.

And somewhere in between I’ll be trying a green smoothie – something along the lines of spinach/apple/carrot/tvorog/honey. I’ll post how it turns out. Along with my inspiration to try that.

Well, my blog time is spent. I’m pooped. We’ve had our black eyed peas and wonderful cabbage (made by the hubs – which was fattening) along with homemade cornbread. Our dessert was easy peach cobbler with a special treat from Schwan’s – cinnamon icecream! Let’s just say, the kids were happy about that!

I had hoped to blog about what Father had shared with me during the Christmas holidays and how I was drawn closer to Him through music. But I have a feeling that is to remain between He and I for now. However, I received some MARVELOUS Christmas gifts and hope to share some photos SOON!