The little Clay Pot

Lots of things can go in a little Clay Pot

Summer menus June 8, 2010

Summer is a hard menu time for me. Is it nice? Is it rainy? Did we decide at the last minute to invite company over? One better, did we get invited at the last minute to go someplace else?  Did I remember to order from the bounty?  Can’t we just eat s’mores for dinner?

Not to mention, I want to use every available minute to be outside or working on inside projects while I am not in school…I do not want to be in the kitchen any more than absolutely necessary! Feeding my family seems more a struggle, let alone feeding them healthy, local or organic!  And what ever happened to the budget!?

So you may notice a very picnic-y menu.  I intend to use the grill (or as my mother called it the “outdoor kitchen”) I got for my husband for his birthday every day it is not a torrential down pour…The newest menu posted for the week of 6.14.10–follows the old format…but I am thinking that I will have to come up with a more flexible template and still…my goal is to get a format that allows for cost analysis and user friendly recipes…I am working on it…promises, promises.

My secondary goal for the summer is to be diligent to post 2 posts a week…One on Monday with the menu that is food/grocery related and one later in the week that is a shameless rambling of the random thoughts that never cease to occupy my brain space.   As always your comments/questions/suggestions are always welcome.

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Waste not Want not. April 6, 2010

An Italian friend of mine told me a few years ago about her grandmother visiting from Italy.  She described the way that her grandmother ate EVERYthing off a chicken bone and how it made her (my friend) feel very wasteful for throwing away food on her plate.

My husbands grandfather has a collection of empty match boxes.  I haven’t seen it myself, but every account likens it to a rather large collection.  Apparently there is no designated purpose for these match boxes, but they are kept…just because you never know when you might want to….what exactly would you want to do with 50 match boxes?

My mother-in-law taught me to wash my gently used baggies.  At first, I openly admit, I thought she was insane.  Then a girlfriend told me about someone who threw out a gallon baggy after a package of opened crackers had been kept in it for a few days.  Now, I tell myself I wash them sometimes–so that I don’t feel guilty for the times I don’t. *GRIN*

Let’s get to the point.  As I was working on the menu for next week, considering what I have, what I will need to get, recipes, schedules, the “sensitive” palates of my children and their extreme displeasure for casserole type food…it occurred to me…”Why am I planning a meal I am not going to want to fix, and that no one is going to want to eat?”  When this happens, there are left overs that no one wants to eat, and then they inevitably get thrown away.  Combine that with some exceptional circumstances that are going to seriously mess up our daily “schedules” over the next couple of weeks…and I decided to embrace the simple.  So the menu reflects just that: Sandwiches, pizza, &  hotdogs (Now stop your grimacing, I can actually get these through CNY Bounty and they are Delicious! No preservatives and made with local meat.)

I hope this tactic works!  I even think that I am going to try to make pizza’s this weekend and freeze them so that they are all ready and I will not be tempted to order pizza for delivery…a luxury we pay an extra $10.00 for, living out here in the boonies!

 

ACK! I missed my Bounty Order! March 31, 2010

Unfortunately yesterday I was focused on other tasks that had to be done, and I forgot about placing my bounty order until after it was to late! I have not missed a bounty order in a month or two, so I am very disappointed.  I am also into “CRunCH” time with my school work, so I need to be organized over the next couple of weeks to make sure that I am not making these silly time/money wasting mistakes!

The first step is going to be a thorough inventory of the kitchen.  Please hold, this may take a few moments, and I will probably get detoured by the needs of a human under 4ft tall. …………….

OK, now that is done, to create a grocery list and a menu.  I have decided that I am going to try to get through to next Thursday with the bare necessities and a few pantry items.  I need to restock on oatmeal (if anyone knows of a place to purchase non-plastic large food containers I would love to know!) and I will need milk, and a few produce items as well as a few things for dinner next week.  I am going to try to get the milk from a local farmer, and the oats and most everything else I will get from Troyer’s.   The menu for next week is very budget friendly, and so I should be able to maintain my $100.00 mark.

I am still trying to figure out the best way to post a grocery list or a break down of what I have purchased–that is not labor intensive.  I have considered scanning my notebook that I take with me and use to keep track of prices, and I think I will try to play with that this week.  I am also looking at some other blog themes that may allow me to organize a bit differently.

Also please take the time to read Mama Beth’s comment on the Breakfast on a Budget post…she is the amazing woman who shared the oatmeal/granola recipe and I greatly respect her experience, expertise and energy!

 

Spring Planning- March 22, 2010

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Finally getting into the swing of things with this new schedule.  Although I am starting to think that schedules are overrated and that I need to learn to adapt at a quicker pace.  But the weather has been lovely and it is starting to demand my full attention, insisting that we spend every possible moment outdoors…cleaning up the yard, playing with the dog, and dreaming about the garden that will be growing soon.

I am not an educated gardener.  I buy seeds, (or if the income allows plants from a nursery) I stick them in the ground, I water, weed, and cross my fingers.  Last year we put in 4 6×6 raised beds.  One of them went unused because of poor planning on my part.  This year I am trying to be more educated about where and when to plant what.  My hopes are to actually can/freeze some of the food we grow for next winter…but I have been saying that for about the last 7 years!

I am also looking into some of the local CSA’s (will spend some more time on this concept at a latter date I think).  I think that it may allow for me to focus on the few things I can grow and preserve, and not get over done with all the things I would “like” to grow.   I think the concept is also great for people who do not have enough space to provide a summer’s worth of bounty.

The spring planning is fun, but I can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt!

 

Holidays–local style. March 18, 2010

Chag Pesach Sameach

Our family loves Passover.  It is a time for us to do something special, festive and meaningful.   I enjoy preparing the meal because it is foods that we do not eat all the time…and we all enjoy eating it!

This year I purchased my lamb, carrots, eggs, and apples, via CNY Bounty.  It will be the first lamb we have gotten from a local source, we are very excited.  The honey is local, and the walnuts are from Troyer’s Amish store up the road from me.  I will have to buy my parsley, matzoh and parsnips from a chain grocer, but I hope to buy my grape juice from  Nelson Farms.  I could dig up my own horseradish…but I may opt for the store bought version…It depends on if I get to be out side with a shovel on on of these 50 degree days coming up!

The cost breaks down as follows

  • Lamb chops- $22.75
  • 4 lbs of carrots (they will not all be used for this meal of course) $5.85
  • 1 doz eggs- $3.25
  • Apples- $5.53
  • Honey- In the Pantry
  • Walnuts- In the pantry
  • The rest is yet to be determined…but shouldn’t be bad.

So the whole meal will be about $50.00.  Not to bad for a holiday meal.

In other news we are still adjusting to our new schedule and I am coming into the “busy” time for school, papers to write, meetings to attend, tests to take etc.  And my Husband started his on-line classes. So My menu planning is going to be essential in keeping things under control…but…since when have our lives been under control?  *Grin*

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.  And they made His grave with the wicked– But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor [was any] deceit in His mouth.  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put [Him] to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see [His] seed, He shall prolong [His] days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.”

Isaiah 53:7-10

 

A Day Late and a Dollar Short. March 13, 2010

We have already addressed that sometimes lifestyle, or LIFE in general keeps us from leading a well planned, budgeted existence, so we won’t go over that again…but let’s take note that sometimes when we run into a glitch it takes a while to recoup and heaven forbid that we run into two glitches in a row!

This week my husbands work schedule got changed…so my “routine” of shopping on Thursday or Friday will now have to adjust to shopping on Monday or Tuesday.  Thank you for being patient while we adjust.  So in lieu of some thoughtful banter I am posting my CNY Bounty order that was delivered 3/11/10 and breaking down how I will use it.  Hope to be back in the groove on Monday with some ideas for breakfast and a better format for posting exactly what is being purchased and used each week!

Product

Producer

Price

Use

Milk – Whole – 1 Gal

Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery

$6.31

Mostly for Drinking.  We normally go through about 3 gallons a week.

Yogurt – Orange – Quart

Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery

$4.06

For 1 lunch (with apples and bread) and 1 breakfast (with granola and fruit)

1/2 and 1/2 – 1 qt

Queensboro Farm Products

$1.55

For the husbands coffee

Apples – Empire

Split Rail Apple Farm

$5.53

For lunch.  We normally do slices to make them stretch.

Eggs

Tea Party Acres

$2.93

For cooking, and hard boiled for lunch.

Salad – Bouquet

Finger Lakes Fresh

$2.00

For..salad.

Utility Carrots – 4lb

Stick & Stone Farm

$5.85

These are lovely!  Used in cooking, salad, and as a raw veg.

Breakfast Sausage – bulk

Drover Hill Farm

$6.49

(this was actually out, so I won’t be using it.)

Hot Dogs – All Pork

Ingallside Meadows Farm

$7.80

These are for Monday nights dinner.

Lard – rendered

Ingallside Meadows Farm

$4.52

I will use this for cooking, like Crisco.  But I am thinking I will try to get some more to make soap.

Arm Roast – Large

Mizrahi Manor

$11.41

This will be served on St. Patrick’s day!   See the menu for 3.15.10

Product

Producer

Price

Use

Milk – Whole – 1 Gal

Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery

$6.31

Yogurt – Orange – Quart

Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery

$4.06

1/2 and 1/2 – 1 qt

Queensboro Farm Products

$1.55

Apples – Empire

Split Rail Apple Farm

$5.53

Eggs

Tea Party Acres

$2.93

Salad – Bouquet

Finger Lakes Fresh

$2.00

Utility Carrots – 4lb

Stick & Stone Farm

$5.85

Breakfast Sausage – bulk

Drover Hill Farm

$6.49

Hot Dogs – All Pork

Ingallside Meadows Farm

$7.80

Lard – rendered

Ingallside Meadows Farm

$4.52

Arm Roast – Large

Mizrahi Manor

$11.41

 

My Apologies. March 8, 2010

  • My Apologies, but the menu will not be published until Tuesday 3/9/10.  On the up side please use this opportunity to post a recipe or an ingredient and I will see what I can do to work it into the menu.
  • ALSO, I have been slaking on keeping up with the cost analysis portion of this endeavor…That should get back on track this week as I figure out more about the formatting on here etc.
  • Finally, any feed back/suggestion is always welcome.  So please do comment if you have an idea on a topic that would be beneficial.