Archive for Menu Plans and Shopping Lists

Menu Plan 4/2/15-4/8/15

We followed most of this weeks menu plan, except that in order to use up some extra leftovers I moved the burritos meal, and served leftover french onion potatoes with the pork steaks (instead of cheesy broccoli rice).

We did an overnight vacation (kind of a late anniversary getaway) near Chicago last week, so our hot dog meal was planned specifically to be something I could cook easily in the microwave in our room. (Yes, I use microwaves sometimes when I’m on vacation.) I won’t tell you all the snacks I packed, but you could assume if you like that there was other junk food associated with our vacation…

Because we did some other activities in area (an arcade and SkyJump, an indoor trampoline park), we ended up doing our ‘date night’ dinner as a quick meal on the way home instead of doing a nicer, longer dinner. (We didn’t even get Chicago style pizza the whole time we were there!) But we did happen on a really good place to get good food quickly: Johnny’s Beef and Gyros. We both got gyros, but there were plenty of other options like hamburgers and hot dogs and salads, many of which had a Chicago twist of some kind in the toppings. It was so good, that we may just plan future Chicago trips around stopping at the same place!

While we’re on the subject of restaurants, we have a double date planned for this coming week, where we’ll be going to Hokkaido. While I fully admit to not being a sushi expert, Hokkaido seems the nicest (though this does translate into being pricier) of the sushi places we’ve tried in the area. As relative novices in the sushi world, it’s especially fun to get use their ‘unlimited sushi’ option to try new kinds of sushi without having quite as much pressure to order something we know for sure we’ll like. Another bonus to Hokkaido, especially for a double date, is that while three of us will probably be ordering the unlimited sushi, they do have some nice steak type options available for less adventurous eaters among us.

I’m getting very ready for some lighter spring foods, so this weeks menu is a combination of using up a few ‘leftover’ winter foods and moving into some light, fresh foods. The details, however, are very subject to change depending on what I find when I go grocery shopping.


Social Event x2


Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

Rotisserie Chicken (from Costco, for church fellowship meal)

Chicken Heart Pate, Bruschetta, Baguettes

Apricot Pork Steak, Carrot Salad (I’ll likely add rice or pasta to this last minute, I’m just not feeling it right now)


We should enough leftovers to cover most lunches. If needed I may fall back on toasted cheese sandwiches or something from the freezer.


Eggs and toast, maybe beginning to transition into fruit and smoothies. Also, after having a couple of very low energy days, I discovered that a heartier oatmeal breakfast improved my energy levels a little, so I may do some kind of fruit and oatmeal combination a few times.

Baking and Extras:

I’m hibernating my water kefir grains in the fridge again, so any extra time and energy I have for kitchen projects can go into actual baking. Maybe some apple fritters, homemade kahlua, and homemade baguettes to go with our bruschetta? Oh, and I still need to start a new batch of yogurt, and maybe some sprouts.

Shopping List:

I didn’t get the Kroger ad this week, and I’m not seeing a lot that’s jumping out at me in the other ads, so I mostly have a basic Costco list. I may also stop by Aldi for .99/lb ham and some basic staples. (Most of my typical grocery prices are stored in an app on my tablet, which is too low on charge to turn on right now, so I’m working off memory on the price estimates.)


ground beef, about $35/10lb

chicken, (maybe, depending on price)

rotisserie chicken, $4.99

onions, about $8/8lb

tomatoes, not sure of price

carrots, $6.99/10lb

bell peppers, not sure of price

cream cheese, $6.99/6pk

turbinado sugar, not sure of price


organic potato chips (depending on price–I found then on clearance last time and loved them!)

ham, about $8/8lb

eggs, about $3/2dozen

pineapple, $1.29 (I just found out the pineapples are in season in early spring!)

granola bars, about $1.89 (for ‘desk snacks’ for my husband)






Menu Plan 3/26/15-4/1/15

We followed the first half of our menu plan this week, but then we replaced the burritos with quesadillas (using up some leftover chicken in one of the quesadillas) and replaced the pork steaks and broccoli rice meal with a previously unplanned social event.

Part of the week I continued to feel bleah as I recovered from the stomach bug I’d had, and the second part I was still glad to have easy meals and leftovers as I ran around like a crazy person trying to catch up on all the cleaning and such that I needed to get done after having been sick for most of a week.

In this coming week we’re having a couple of less healthy, more fun meals, and then just some more simple, mostly out of the freezer meals. I’m looking forward to when our Farmer’s Market opens so we can start to enjoy some truly fresh vegetables!


Hot Dogs (with fermented ketchup and sauerkraut), Baby Carrots

Date Night/Dinner Out

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

French Onion Potatoes (for church fellowship meal)

Pork Steaks and Cheesy Broccoli Rice (from the freezer)

Meatloaf, Potato Salad, Peas

Burritos (using burrito filling from the freezer)


We should still have plenty of leftovers, and we’ll fall back on hamburger patties or grilled cheese if we run short on protein for lunches.


More of the same: eggs (for my husband), toast, homemade hot cocoa (unicorn fuel version). Once we start getting some more fresh fruit in season I’ll start up the breakfast smoothie habit again.

Baking and Extras:

I didn’t really get anything done with baking last week. This week I’d like to keep up with water kefir, make ketchup and start a new batch of homemade yogurt. Other than that, we’ll just see how the week goes.

Shopping List:

I actually did a quick shopping trip at the tail of the last sale cycle at Kroger. (I found organic spinach half price on manager’s special and threw it in the freezer for when I start up those smoothies again.)

There are a couple of good sales this coming week, though I don’t know if I’ll try to get out shopping again or not. For those who are interested, here are the noteworthy sales as I see them:

Shop N’ Save:

roma tomatoes, .88/lb

chicken leg quarters, .68/lb

pork spare ribs, $1.68/lb

organic applesauce (24 oz), $2



ham, .99/lb

avocadoes, .69 each

mandarin oranges, $2.29/3lb

cream cheese, $.89

butter, $1.89/lb



split chicken breast, .97/lb

eggs, $1.28

(3/26 & 3/27 only) turkey breast, .99/lb


Menu Plan 3/19/15-3/25/15

We ended up adding a couple of extra social events to our plan for this past week, but aside from that, and a brief bout with a stomach bug, we followed our menu plan pretty well.

The Pear and Feta Rice Pudding turned out well–I made it very heavy on the pears and feta and kept other spices low key, with just a few dashes of salt and a dash of cinnamon and fennel, and it managed to ride that precarious line between sweet and savory that I was aiming for.

I experimented with a whole wheat version of homemade ramen noodles, using half a cup of hard red wheat flour and a fourth of a cup of soft white wheat flour, and using my food processor to do the dough kneading. It turned out quite well, except for the fact that I over salted them when I added the seasoning. They did have a bit of that whole wheat flavor, but the texture wasn’t bad. I’m planning to use the leftovers in a soup to dilute the salt a bit.

The french onion potatoes using spices from the french onion dip turned out well, though even doubling the salt wasn’t quite enough salt for my taste. Potatoes absorb a lot of salt! I also need to remember in the future to make sure the potatoes are well stirred before serving, because a lot of the spices and butter dripped down to the bottom of the crock pot during cooking.

I did get corned beef, potatoes and cabbage in the crockpot on St Patricks Day, but then discovered I was coming down with a stomach bug, so I ditched my more elaborate plans for making Irish Soda Bread and homemade Irish Cream in favor of curling up on the couch, playing Hexcells Infinite and sipping coconut water. My husband ate a bit of supper, but stayed cautious about food in case he was also about to come down with the stomach bug, and I stuck with beef stock and a banana.

I’m feeling mostly better, but have heard of the possibility of relapse in a couple days with this particular bug. Adding that to the question of whether my husband is going to come down with the bug or not makes menu planning a bit difficult this week. I’m going to try to focus the menu on foods like chicken, broth and rice that can be easily digested, and then adjust for more or less simplicity as called for the events of the week.


Social Event

Leftovers + Hamburger Patties (We have plenty of leftover rice and potatoes in the fridge, but less in the way of protein leftovers.)

Beefy Noodle Soup

French Onion Potatoes (for church fellowship meal, using spices from homemade french onion dip)

Burritos (using burrito filling from the freezer)

Pork Steaks and Cheesy Broccoli Rice (I found another package of Cheesy Broccoli Rice in the freezer! Yay!)

Leftover Corned Beef, Cabbage & Potato + Irish Soda Bread (If we’re feeling well enough, I’ll use the leftovers from St Patricks Day to do a late celebration.)


We should have plenty of leftovers for lunches this week, but if we run a bit short on protein leftovers I may make grilled cheese or tuna salad.


The usual eggs (for my husband) and toast, plus maybe some unicorn fuel hot cocoa for me, and the possibility of banana smoothies.

Baking and Extras:

Last week I did finally make preserved lemons, though I lapsed a bit with keeping up with my water kefir and sourdough starter. I’m not going to make any elaborate plans for the week, so the only definite on my list is keeping up with water kefir. Other possibilities, if I get to them, include experimenting with sourdough banana bread, making sourdough bagels, making yogurt and making Irish soda bread.

Shopping List:

We should finally have a car again after tomorrow (yay!) but I didn’t see any super amazing deals in the Aldi ad, and in the interest of keeping our plans for the week low key, I probably won’t do any grocery shopping.



Menu Plan 3/12/15-3/18/15

I feel like I didn’t follow last week’s menu plan at all, though I honestly can’t remember what we ate on certain days over the past week. I was able to get Aldi, so I really ended up winging it for a lot of  meals based on what we now had in the house that sounded good. We ate hamburger patties (the pre-made just beef ones Aldi sells) several times, and also had tuna sandwiches (with tomato), macaroni and cheese, squash, burritos, more pears from the #10 can we opened last week and corned beef brisket with potatoes. We also got Chinese takeout when we had two of my nieces and my husband’s sister over to jointly celebrate their birthdays (after an afternoon out doing coffee and shopping with them), and had at least one meal’s worth of leftovers from that.

I have been slightly improving at getting fermented foods on the table to go with our meals on a regular basis. Getting the water kefir going again helps a lot with regular fermented food consumption too!

Another food prep side note: I’ve realized that I personally would eat a lot more raw onion if I kept pre chopped onion in the fridge all the time. My husband doesn’t love raw onion, so it rarely feels worth it to pull out the cutting board for the sprinkle of raw onion I would use, but if I pre-cut a whole onion or two at a time, those little sprinkles would probably add up another serving of vegetables in my diet over the course of a couple of days. (Not much I know, but I’m a big fan of little changes in the right direction. Plus, it would probably be even more than that as I’d also be more likely to throw onion into everything I cooked if it was already chopped.

I’ve had more energy the past couple of days and have been able to get caught up on some housework that really needed to get done, and I’m hoping the energy will continue so I can make progress on some other projects, including getting back to more regular posts and videos here.

As the weather has turned springlike I’ve been contemplated the proper way to continue my low key attempts to eat seasonally. In other words, spring makes me want fresh food, but nothing is really in season yet here. I’ve decided to start some with some lentil and alfalfa sprouts to enjoy this week and go from there.



Pork Steaks, Pear and Feta Rice Pudding (This is a completely experimental plan to use up leftover pears and rice, and feta that’s been in the fridge for a while.)

Hamburger Patties, Sauteed Onions, Homemade Ramen Noodles

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

French Onion Potatoes (using french onion dip spices) for church fellowship meal

Chicken Thighs, Bruschetta

Corned Beef Brisket, Potatoes, Irish Soda Bread, Sauerkraut



Leftovers, plus grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup as needed to supplement the leftovers.


I’ve been doing a unicorn fuel version of hot cocoa for breakfast often this week (raw milk, raw cacoa, honey, coconut oil, turmeric, cayenne, sea salt, cinnamon, maca and nutmeg, with variations on the spices as my mood changes). My husband has been mostly having scrambled eggs for breakfast, sometimes with toast or fruit

I see myself continuing to be very happy with the ‘unicorn cocoa’ breakfasts, perhaps supplemented by a banana or apple or piece of toast on hungrier mornings. Similarly, I think my husband is happily in another eggs for breakfast groove, though the store bought bread may be giving him digestive issues so he’ll be using whatever bread I make this week (which will hopefully include another batch of sourdough bagels).

Baking and Extras:

I’m really, really going to make preserved lemons this week. I did keep up with my water kefir well, and continued to not kill my sourdough starter, even starting a new batch of sourdough bread (yay!). I’d also really like to make more sour dough bagels and just get back to more baking and kitchen experimenting in general if I’m able to this week.

Shopping List:

I have no plans to go shopping this week, but there are a few sales at Aldi I’d love to take advantage of if the opportunity arises:

organic apple juice (64 oz), $2.49

mushrooms (8 oz), .69

baby carrots, .49/lb

Menu Plan and Shopping List 3/5/15-3/11/15

We followed the early part of last week’s menu plan well, despite the fact that I came down with a cold that wiped out my energy. (It didn’t seem like a bad cold at first, but combined with the fact that I still hadn’t really gotten my energy back since the surgeries in January, I wasn’t able to get much done at all.)

We had a couple of meals mostly from the freezer, ordered subs on Saturday for a fun food we didn’t have to fix, and changed the potatoes for church fellowship meal to very simple crock pot baked potatoes.

At that point, however, with my cold symptoms increasing and my husband starting to come down with the same cold, pulling a very milk based crab chowder out of the freezer didn’t seem like such a good idea, and I didn’t have a lot of cooking energy to work with. We also haven’t been to the store in a few weeks, between car troubles and health issues, so I was very thankful to discover we did still have some easy to fix meal ingredients around!

The last few days of meals have involved easy to fix foods like sweet potatoes. leftover green beans, cheesy fried potatoes, hamburgers, pork steaks, canned pears and a bit of ramen. (Sans MSGful spice packet of course–when ever we do eat ramen noodles I use my own blend of spices. In fact, I’ve used a lot of immune boosting spices such as garlic, turmeric and cayenne on most of the foods we’ve eaten this week.) (Also lots of tea and a bit of homemade fermented ginger ale and turmeric tonic.) We’ve eaten surprisingly well under the circumstances, but I’m also about ready to jump at my next chance to get a ride to the grocery store. (Or just to have more energy for cooking the ingredients I have… That would make me almost as happy…)

I’m still planning our meals for the next week to use mostly ingredients I have on hand, and to mostly be low prep time in case I’m still working on recovery, but I’m sure I’ll change it around a bit depending on which of these considerations ends up with higher priority.


Social Event

Burritos (using burrito filling from the freezer)

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

French Onion Potatoes (for church fellowship meal, using french onion dip spices–or just baked potatoes again, depending on how I feel)

Crab Chowder (from freezer–if I have energy I’ll make these Pumpkin Crescent Rolls to go with it)

Pork Steaks, Rice, Green Beans with Sauteed Onions

Chicken Thighs with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots


Leftovers, but for the lunches that we’ll be short on leftovers, probably more cheesy fried potatoes, quesadillas and, if I get to Aldi, maybe tuna salad.


I have continued to forget about using squash for breakfast, so I’m going to pull it out from the freezer right now… Okay, I’m back! I also found a pouch of guacamole while I was looking for the squash, but I won’t use that for breakfasts… probably…

We did make a batch of sourdough pancakes  (proof of how easy they are to make that we had those this week), and still have a few leftover, so we’re probably in the ‘leftovers for breakfast’ sort of groove this week, with the addition of some scrambled eggs for my husband.

Baking and Extras:

As you might guess, I haven’t been doing much in the way of extras this week. I have managed to keep my water kefir grains and sourdough starter alive, but that’s about it. This week I’m hoping to do a bit more, at least a batch of bread or rolls, and make those Preserved Lemons I keep talking about, as well as, of course, continuing with my water kefir.

Shopping List:

I’m planning to keep my shopping to a quick Aldi run this week. They don’t have a lot of super amazing sales, but Aldi is my top choice for a ‘one quick stop’ shopping trip, because I can get out spending the least amount of money for the least amount of effort.

mayonnaise, about $2

graham crackers, about $1.80

eggs, about 3doz/$4.50

tortillas, about 3pks/$4.50

lemon juice, about $1.89

corned beef roast, apx. 5lb/$10

cream cheese, about 2/$2.40

oranges, 4lb/$1.69

bananas, about 5lb/$2

fresh vegetables (of some kind, depending on selection and price)

sour cream, about 2/$2.60

bread, about $1.50

hamburger patties, about 6lb/$18

salmon fillets, about $8

ramen noodles, about $2

frozen pizza, 4/$8

tuna, about 5/$3.50

canned salmon, about 2/$4.40








Menu Plan 2/26/15-3/4/15

I had a bit of a crimp thrown in my menu plan this week by having the transmission in our car die, leaving me unable to get to the grocery store. (I do have plenty of friends in the area who would happily give me a ride to go get groceries, but this week it was simpler to revise my menu plan than to arrange a ride.) I changed around the ingredients a bit and still mostly followed my menu plan, but with a lot fewer mushrooms than I’d planned on, since I missed the Aldi sale on mushrooms.

Our Saturday ‘fridge scrounging’ meals did indeed include cheesy fried potatoes, and for our other meal I pulled out some salmon fillets from the freezer and made a quick maple mustard glaze (about half brown mustard and half maple syrup, probably leaning a bit on the mustard side) for them. So quick and so yummy! I’m going to have to remember that ‘recipe’ for future use.

We tried the Turmeric Roasted Potatoes and they were a great success. My husband picked up the ‘cheesy’ flavor more than I did, but we both really liked them, and I know I’ll be using that seasoning combination again (probably on fried potatoes, especially).

As for the chicken hearts… Next time I’ll bread and fry them (instead of sauteeing them with onions) so my husband can enjoy them more, but in this particular case I really didn’t mind not having to share the leftovers. I ate chicken hearts, sauteed onions and turmeric potatoes for three meals in a row (yes, I ate them for breakfast the next day!) and was still loving them. Perhaps I have a bit of organ meat deficiency in my diet?

We had an extra social event thrown into the week, so I took the elements of two meals that we both had partial ingredients for and we had pork steaks with baked sweet potatoes (skipping the kale and feta gallete, and bypassing the ground beef which I couldn’t find at all the freezer that day, though two packages quickly turned up when I looked today). I usually like my baked sweet potatoes with salt and pepper (and of course, lots of butter, but that part goes without saying, right?), but I was in a bit of different mood this time and tried mine with butter and cinnamon, which I quite enjoyed as well.

This coming week I’m going back to using some freezer meals I still had left in the freezer, partly to stretch the length of time I can go without grocery shopping (though hopefully it won’t be too long until we can replace our car) and partly in hopes that spending less time on meal prep will allow me to catch up on some other projects I’ve been trying to get to recently.


Social Event (if this doesn’t work out because of our lack of transportation, we’ll have Stuffing Casserole from the freezer and Green Beans)

Burritos (using burrito filling from the freezer)

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

French Onion Potatoes (for church fellowship meal, trying out the seasonings from French Onion Dip on potatoes)

Crab Chowder (from the freezer)

Pork Steaks, Rice and Green Beans (For some odd reason, rice actually sounds good lately…)

Chili and Cornbread


Mostly leftovers… I’m going to pull out a package of ground beef to turn out leftover baked sweet potatoes into hash, so it can be a fully proteinated leftover meal. If we still run short on leftovers, maybe I’ll pull out some bacon for bacon grilled cheese sandwiches.


As usual, I’ve done a variety of breakfasts including leftovers, toast and cheese, and hot cocoa. I also tried making sourdough bagels, which turned out pretty well (my husband said they were as good as store bought bagels, but not quite to the level of bakery bagels yet, which seems pretty good for a first try), and we used those for a few breakfasts. As predicted, my husband ate eggs several mornings, as well as bagels and toast some mornings.

This coming week I suspect will be more of the same, though I may open a big can of fruit to help with the lack of produce since I haven’t gone grocery shopping. Using that squash from the freezer might help too.

Baking and Other Extras:

My water kefir and sourdough starter are both surviving so far (though I did go a bit longer than usual between sourdough feedings…). I’m enjoying having homemade ginger ale again, and hope to get a ginger ale video up on the blog/youtube soon. I also made bagels (as mentioned) and sourdough lemon sponge cake, which we haven’t tested yet because it’s for an event.

This week I really need to make the Preserved Lemons, and I may try baguettes or more bagels with the sourdough starter, but I might also just stick with bread and pancakes for using up starter as needed.

Shopping List:

I have no intentions of attempting to go shopping this week, but there are few sales items that caught my eye. For instance, HyVee has frozen veggies (10-16 oz) on sale for .68.

Aldi has pork butt roast for $1.99/lb, chicken breasts for $1.79/lb, lemons for .99/lb, baby carrots for .49/lb and oranges $1.69/4lb.

Kroger has whole chickens for .88/lb, pineapples and avocadoes for .99 each and butter for $1.99/lb, as well as continuing some good ‘seasonal pricing’ on eggplants (.99), kale (.99/lb), etc.

Menu Plan and Shopping List 2/19/15-2/25/15

We had an average adherence to menu plan this week, mostly following the plan but moving a couple of meals and skipping two due to extra leftovers and unplanned events. Oh, and because of a busy Saturday I forgot to defrost meat for church fellowship meal, so we improvised at the last minute and took a #10 can of applesauce and a small jar of green olives. (In case you were wondering, the applesauce was very popular and the olives were not.)

I renamed the savory bread pudding as a stuffing casserole and it turned out so well that it got its own blog post (mostly so I could remember how to make it the same way next time).

This week I’m counting on having more energy for cooking meals, but we do still have a few freezer meals to fall back on if life (and my energy level) doesn’t go according to plan.


Social Event

Astoria Crab Pasta and Stuffed Mushrooms

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging (probably cheesy fried potatoes this week, since I got 50 pounds of organic potatoes in my Azure Standard order)

Orange Chicken Thighs (for church fellowship meal–I’ll also do something with potatoes if I have energy on Saturday)

Ground Beef and Sweet Potato Hash (I like to add some Indian seasonings, mostly cumin, garlic and turmeric, to this kind of hash)

Pork Steaks and Kale and Feta Galette (I’ll use the Nourishing Traditions soaked yogurt pie crust, and homemade cheese in place of the ricotta)

Chicken Hearts with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions, Turmeric Roasted Potatoes


We should have leftovers enough for lunches most days, and if we end up short I’ll probably do something cheese based like homemade macaroni and cheese, cheese fried potatoes, or grilled cheese on sourdough bread.


We’re still loving the sourdough pancakes (though the novelty is perhaps starting to wear off, and we’re going to settle in on pancakes once or twice a week), and with raw cacao and coconut oil recently back in the house I’ve enjoyed hot cocoa for breakfast a few times (sometimes a variation on the unicorn fuel version). As I do more sourdough experiments I may produce more breakfast foods soon, and I suspect my husband will go on a scrambled egg kick again soon after having more carby breakfasts recently. Also, I keep forgetting we have squash in the freezer, which works really well for breakfasts with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar (I’m writing this here as a mental note so that we *might* actually eat it for breakfast sometime before squash is in season again.)

Baking and Extras:

My water kefir seems to be almost back to normal (yay!) so I’ll be trying to get back in the groove with that. I haven’t yet successfully kept two ongoing ferments alive at the same time, so we’ll see how I do with both water kefir and sourdough. I have lots of ideas for experimenting with the sourdough including lemon sponge cake, baguettes, bread bowls and bagels, so hopefully I get to try out one or two of those ideas this week.

I also want to make preserved lemons with the organic lemons from my Azure Standard order, and depending on how many lemons I have left after that project I may try something like limoncello, candied lemon peel (and lemon syrup from the leftover juices) or a lemon pudding.

I also need to try to get my homemade yogurt going again, and make some homemade vinegar cheese.

Shopping List:

In addition to what’s on my Kroger list, they have frozen veggies on sale for $1 (10-16 oz).

asparagus, $2/2lb

organic kale, $1/lb

angel hair (not sure of the price on this… hopefully not too much more than $1, but I may go for organic if it’s less that $2 a pound)

canned crab, about $2.79

tuna, $2/4

sour cream, $4/4

yogurt, about $1


eggs, about $3/2 doz


roma tomatoes $2.40/3lb

onions, .69/3lb

cream cheese, about $1.29

parmesan cheese wedge 3.99/8 oz



Menu Plan and Shopping List 2/12/15-2/18/15

This week we followed our menu plan, except for one day. I would say that’s impressive, but it mostly just means that we got our social events scheduled before I did the menu plan instead of after… The one exception was yet another ‘last minute’ birthday evening of games for one of my husband’s siblings, and I wasn’t sure crab chowder was going to be a popular meal, so I went with pork steaks and broccoli rice casserole from the freezer.

I also took a loaf of sourdough bread to church fellowship meal on Sunday in addition to the chicken thighs I had planned. My sourdough starter is taking off well and I’m going to have to start refrigerating it more (so as to feed it less) or giving away a lot of sourdough bread…

I’m starting to get just a hint of my energy starting to come back as I’ve gotten back in the rhythm of taking my vitamins daily, but I’m still keeping most of the meals simple and relying heavily on freezer meals this week.


Social Event


Crab Chowder (from the freezer)

Chicken Thighs (for church fellowship meal)

Savory Bread Pudding (To use up that first meh loaf of sourdough bread I made–Something like this recipe, but with fewer eggs and adding mushrooms, peppers and parmesan and using fake sausage and using sourdough instead of white bread and milk instead of half and half. But otherwise pretty much the same.)

Burritos (using burrito filling from the freezer)

Keilbasa Chowder (from the freezer)


We have a couple of lunches out this week for various reasons, and aside from those I think we should have enough leftovers for all our lunches.


We did sourdough pancakes a few times this week, which I think are working well, and we’ll probably do a couple more times this week. My husband will probably do eggs and bagels a few times as well, and I’ll do toast, fruit and milk (or homemade hot cocoa) as the mood strikes.

Baking and Extras:

I need to keep up with the sourdough starter, but I also don’t want to be putting all of my limited energy into sourdough bread this week, so I may hibernate it a bit in the fridge. I should pull out my hibernating water kefir grains though, and see if they’ve resuscitated yet. Aside from that, probably a very low key week for baking projects.

Shopping List:

My husband’s mother volunteered to pick up groceries for us when she goes to Costco this week so that I don’t have to put my energy into grocery shopping yet. Of course, as soon as she offered, I forgot everything on my mental list except for tortilla chips, so it’s possible that my entire grocery list for the week will consist of tortilla chips. (I know we’re still doing well on basics because we’ve been using so many freezer meals, so we have meat and cheese and veggies and butter… so what am I forgetting?)

For those of you who are doing more extensive shopping this week, note that Aldi once again has citrus on sale. Also, they have 6 quart bamboo mixing bowls for 6.99, which would be amazing for making sourdough bread. (Most of my mixing bowls are metal, which is not recommended with sourdough, so I’m constantly getting my giant ceramic bowl down from it’s perch on top of my kitchen cabinets now that I have sourdough running.)


Menu Plan 2/5/15-2/11/15

As usual, we followed about of  half of the meals on our menu plan this week… To start with, while my soreness has just about completely healed since my surgery, my energy levels are not nearly back up to normal yet, and that comes with some brain fog as I’ve started pushing myself just a little bit to start getting some work done around here again. (Don’t worry, I’m still resting too, but I’m completely sick of just sitting on the couch, and I even think I do a little bit better with a couple hours of work and then a nap than just sitting all day.)

This lead to small issues with fixing even easy meals, such as putting the pork steaks in a preheated oven and then turning the oven OFF. Thankfully, they didn’t sit in the warm oven long to go bad, but our supper was going to be delayed by this error, so I pulled out a package of ground beef from the freezer and fixed cheese burgers instead.

The pork steaks went in the fridge when they finished cooking and served very nicely for additions to quesadillas and stirfrys for lunches later in the work.

The weather caused us to miss church on Sunday, so we finished off some more leftovers instead of using our #10 can of applesauce that we’d planned to contribute to fellowship meal.

The last change was because of needing to reschedule having my husband’s little sister over for her birthday present of a game night at our house. Neither our abundance of leftovers nor the originally planned chowder seemed quite festive enough, so I pulled some more pork steaks out of the freezer and make parmesan fried potatoes and sauteed green beans with mushrooms and onions to go with them

The food highlight of the week was going out for endless sushi on my birthday. It’s like the more upscale version of a sushi buffet– a nice restaurant, which to my limited experience seems to make high quality sushi and offers this deal where for a flat rate you can keep ordering 2 to 3 maki rolls at a time as long as you can keep eating them.

This was a very nice way to try out some new kinds of sushi without as much of the pressure of feeling like I’d wasted money on it if I didn’t like it, because hey, after I finished that roll, I could just order something else! We tried a deep fried sushi, which we both liked a lot. We also discovered that I’m not a huge fan of raw asparagus in sushi and that while I am a huge fan of smoked salmon in sushi, my husband is ambivalent to it. Oh, and eel sushi is pretty good.

All in all, it was fun experience, we had some really good sushi, and we’d like to go back sometime for the lunch version of their endless sushi, which doesn’t include their signature maki rolls (such as the deep fried sushi), but is significantly cheaper.

This week’s menu contains a lot of repeats from last week’s menu as I’m continuing to rely heavily on freezer meals while I’m slowly getting my normal levels of energy back.


Social Events x3 (It’s birthday season in both our families, plus we have some social catching up to as I’ve not been up to doing much with friends the last month or so.)

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

Chicken Thighs (for church fellowship meal–it’s a sign of the brain fog that I didn’t think of this last week…)


Crab Chowder


Some leftovers, probably some type of ground beef and veggie stirfry (maybe with noodles) for a couple of the days, maybe grilled cheese sandwiches if they’re needed. (I picked up some sweet mini peppers when they were on sale last week at Aldi, which will make an easy way to add veggies to lunches as needed.)


I’m starting to do some minor experimentation with some sourdough starter I got last week, so I suspect (if all goes well) we’ll at least have plenty of sourdough bread for toast in the upcoming week, and if I feel up to it, I’d really like to try sourdough pancakes over the weekend as well. Other than that, my husband will probably be eating some eggs and bagels, and I’ll do my normal rotation through fruit, homemade hot cocoa, chicken stock and any leftovers that sound good.

Baking and Extras:

I have lots of ideas for my sourdough starter, but I’m keeping things fairly low key this week, as I think I should at least have energy to catch up on dishes all the way before I start elaborate baking projects. My water kefir grains are currently in the fridge (hopefully) recuperating from my serious neglect  of them after I had surgery, so they’re not a factor in my projects for another week or two. Oh, and I just ordered some uncleaned chicken gizzards (very cheap) from our local organic farmer, so at some point I’ll have to experiment with cleaning and cooking those.

Shopping List:

I was able to do some light shopping at Aldi while running a couple other errands with my husband the other evening, which means I’ll be able to put off a full shopping trip until another week when I have more energy. (Yay!) So I did pick up the mini sweet peppers, grape tomatoes and mushrooms that were on sale after all, and am enjoyed having more fresh veggies in the house.

This week’s Aldi’s sales include lots of berries and citrus for their average winter sale prices. Also, if you’re in need of any kitchenware you may want to check out their sales on stainless steel utensils ($2), stainless steel bowls ($10/2pk) and kitchen canisters ($13/3pk).

Kroger has both ham and whole chickens for .99/lb, as well as eggplant and bell peppers for .99 each, frozen veggies for $1/12oz, and the ever tempting Talent gelato for $3.99/pint.

Menu Plan 1/29/15-2/4/15

I realize it’s been two weeks since I post my last menu plan post, but since I had a second, follow up, surgery in that time, we’ve still been in that same non menu plan state the whole time. We once again had an outpouring of food from friends at church and are still trying to finish the last of the leftovers from those meals.

Because my second surgery was a shorter, simpler surgery, recovery went a lot faster. I felt like I completely skipped the first stage of recovery from the first surgery and went straight to drinking lots of water, eating lots of food to recharge my iron and vitamin levels and being able to move around semi-comfortably instead of with great difficulty.

It was hard for me to relax quite as much as after the first surgery, especially since I’d already spent over a week on the couch and I wasn’t feeling quite as bad, but my husband continued to assure me that I needed to just focus on resting and recovering, and I did my best to oblige by watching an entire Jane Eyre miniseries and finishing the book I started after the first surgery.

Once again, we very much appreciated all the meals that came in so that I could focus on resting instead of food management. We did realize after several days of eating other people’s cooking that I cook with a lot more fats (mostly in the form of butter, though sometimes coconut oil and lard) than most people do, but snacking on a batch of French Onion Dip my husband made for us helped fill the lack of fats we were starting to feel.

This coming week we’re going back to something resembling a normal menu plan, though I’m not planning to start doing much cooking for at least a few more days–I’ll mostly be pulling out freezer meals and reheating them.


Date Night/Dinner Out

Pork Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans (Not quite a freezer meal, but still mostly just throwing stuff in the oven.)

Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging

Applesauce (for church fellowship meal–less food than I normally take, so if I come up with something else that’s very low prep I’ll take that too)

Chicken Thighs, Cheesy Broccoli Rice

Burritos (Using mixed beans, rice and beef burrito filling from the freezer and Aldi’s organic jars of salsa–all I’ll have to do is warm up the tortillas)

Crab Chowder


Leftovers should work for most lunches. Realistically, the days we’re short on leftover we’re probably going to be eating frozen pizza, ramen (with butter and my own spices instead of the seasoning packet) with ground beef, or possibly grilled cheese or quesadillas. I’m in favor of healthy food, but I’m also in favor of low stress meals at certain seasons in life, and I’m okay with some white flour in our diets as long as it’s generally balanced with more nutritious foods.


Probably mostly eggs for my husband. In theory I would eat oatmeal this week, but again, being realistic, I’m probably going to scrounge leftovers that look good, maybe cook up some frozen veggies (I had peas for breakfast once last week) and supplement with toast as needed, or until we run out of bread.

Shopping List:

I’m not planning on shopping this week, though some of the produce sales at Aldi are very tempting! They have mini sweet peppers for $1.49/lb, avocados for .49, mushrooms for .69/8oz and grape tomatoes .99/pint. Also, it’s worth noting that they dropped the price on their organic jars of salsa from $1.99 to $1.69. I like homemade salsa, but it’s also really nice to have a couple jars of salsa around to take to unexpected events, for days when I’m out of fresh tomatoes, or just days when I’m feeling especially tired.

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