the Trigger-happy housewife

Bringing the constantly fantastic and painfully insane together daily!

Simple & yummy!

Real quick, because lately if it ain’t quick it ain’t happening! lol Two fast, fun things to eat:

First up, Banana Cups – basically a banana ice cream made and then portioned out to be portable and quickly accessible!

All you need to make them my way is bananas (very, very ripe) and coconut oil. Of course, you can add chocolate chips, coconut bits or anything that you would like!

Next is a dish I make a lot and I think I shared here before. At least a variation probably! I love to cook for my wife. It makes me happy that even though she is out of town I can still be a big part of her daily life.

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Maybe not.

So I started the cooking/counting and tracking with gusto. It was going well. I found that most of my meals cost between .55 cents and 2 dollars to make. I took a lot of pictures and several time sat down to load them. Here’s the thing: I can’t right now. There is too much with the packing and the schooling (wrapping up as winter break approaches) and the Christmas gift making and EVERYTHING else. So, I figured that documenting my food cost would be good enough for now. I am trying to remember every time I grocery shop to take photos and from there I should be able to tell how much the food budget is.

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Weekly grocery trip: $122.97

Walmart: $78.50

Save-A-Lot: $38.44

Winn-Dixie: $6.03

food

 

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Feeding a family.

I have been really pouring over the budget, figuring out where and how to save. I coupon when it fits, but I don’t have the time or the space to “stock pile” and I don’t see any reason to save money on things I don’t actually use…

Anywho, as I Googled I found a slew of blog post and articles on the topic of stretching the family food budget and on feeding the family. Thing is half of those were couponers who fed their family on three dollars a week by saving a thousand dollars – um, not helpful for me. Many were people who were feeding LARGE families or who were challenging themselves to feed the family on ten dollars a week. Some utilized six deep freezers and hunted meat. Nothing resonated.

Then I found an article about a woman who talked about feeding her family on the 500 dollars that SNAP provided and how she often skipped meals. It struck me because that is my goal. 500 dollars for a family of four. I am not on any food programs, though I have used them in the past when I needed them. (Two particular times in my life is the months following hurricane Katrina when I lost my home and job and was completely lost in life, and another was after a storm took our power for days and we lost all of our food we were allowed a month of emergency food assistance which was seriously miraculous. I was so overwhelmed looking into the mess and thinking, “How can I possibly replace this in our budget!”)

I was reading it and there were several points that kind of confused me, but what really struck home was that I DO THAT. I feed my family of four (two adults and two teens) on 600 dollars a month, only lately I have been striving to make that number 500. Only we home school and ALL meals are made in the kitchen: breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruit, snack. The end. I decided to actually LOOK look and really get into where our food budget goes. Over the next week (I would like longer, but this week at least) I will be documenting all the meals that come out of my kitchen and the cost.  To give a fair picture I decided to document all the food currently in the house.

Don’t be judgey about the mess of my fridge (I didn’t even realize until a flash was going off) or the quality of food. This isn’t about how to eat (though I try to be balanced and I try to talk about our choices with the kids.) This isn’t about what should or shouldn’t be cooked. You will see processed foods and you will see snacks and you will see me not eating enough or eating too much. I am going to be honest, and that will probably be messy. Be kind, I am opening myself and my kitchen in an effort to help myself and add something to the conversation.

My pantry:

The fridge and freezer:

The twee deep freezer:

The photo not included (because my phone ate it) was of the bread box and it would have revealed a half pack of small white tortillas (used before I started tracking,) a pack of hamburger buns (most of which were used before this,) and a half of a loaf of wheat bread.

And there it is, a full account of all the food in this home! Saturday is the first day that I am going to be crunching the numbers and documenting everything.

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Today’s Gourmet: Fingerling pancakes!

If I am honest here I tell you that I just have not been good. Pain levels are up, anxiety is up, fatigue is blanketing my life. I feel exhausted the moment the day starts. Stress is a factor and so is the fact that this is my moon time. (Think about it.) Add that to the fact that the last week’s delivery left me feeling overwhelmed (there was so much because we were still trying to compare farm boxes) and icked out (because one of the bundles of greens was completely infested with grubs) and you got a girl who just wasn’t in the mood to cook! Now, I do want to say in my unnecessary defense that even when I am so over cooking and moving and everything I still cook at least five meals a day – three for the girls and breakfast and dinner for my wife! That can make me even less creative or likely to do it for myself!

Yesterday I woke up feeling awful again, after feeling slightly better the day before I thought, “No! You get up and you stick to your plan!” So I rolled around the kitchen and I decided to cook! Once I got over the ‘I just want to sleep’s I was glad to be doing it. I even took out my camera and decided to make it a blog post! I am sure there are a thousand ways to make potato pancakes, I skipped looking any up and went my own way.

Fingerling pancakes with arugula/red pepper scrambled egg whites.

Fingerling pancakes with arugula/red pepper scrambled egg whites.

If you want to play along you will need five ounces of potatoes (fingerling for today’s exact dish but I will totes be playing with a sweet recipe and sweet potatoes,) one thin green onion, one large egg white, salt and pepper. Of course all of this is “to taste” so really you can add or skip anything you want!

Look, because we are so close on that level I will share this as well:

The aftermath of my cooking! This - this - is why I just can't sometimes, because then I have to clean it as well! lol Having a straightened kitchen helps make the clean up easier and that is where I am now. I leave it, enjoy my meal warm and the promptly sort it all away!

The aftermath of my cooking! This – this – is why I just can’t sometimes, because then I have to clean it as well! lol Having a straightened kitchen helps make the clean up easier and that is where I am now. I leave it, enjoy my meal warm and then promptly sort it all away!

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Good Eggs – NOLA

The other day I stumbled across a friend’s Facebook status about her produce delivery from Good Eggs and I was interested to say the least! I seriously have been complaining to my wife about the lack of fresh produce, the lack of a market for so long! Now that I don’t have reliable transportation it’s even harder to deal with, so finding a grocery option that delivers FRESH and local produce was such a blessing! As well as offering a variety of baked goods, freshly made food and groceries they offer several different weekly boxes. I ordered one from both of the farms I was interested in so that I could make an informed decision!

I swear that cooking is art to me, and the same thing that happens when I get new paints or pens happened in my kitchen! I was so inspired and excited to touch and taste and play with these ingredients! Also, it’s kind of like a week-long friendly Chopped basket because you don’t know what you are getting. I literally Google’d everything as we unpacked and I looked at things like – can I boil? can I roast? can I saute? What I learned it that I can kind of do whatever I want!

This weeks deliveries were great, again. This is also the last week I feel like I need to order from each. I have decided that on the regular basis I would rather order the box form Hollygrove Market & Farm.

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PB & B

That’s not a typo – this is a BACON post. PB & BACON! What?! I made this for my kids, after announcing that I wanted to do a food experiment. Both girls promptly rejected being my testing subjects. Honestly, I can not blame them there has been a lot of artichoke hearts and spinach-type dishes (I like that, they do not.) When I added that a main ingredient would be bacon they immediately changed their stance. The resulting toasted bread, peanut butter and bacon sammy has been a SMASH to say the least! lol They have eaten it with fruit for at least one meal a day (at their own request,) traded snacks for it and also had it for breakfast and dinner twice! lol

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A cookie for my sweets!

Paisley has been with our family for a year as of Valentine’s Day! She was scooped up off the streets on February 1st from what I can tell of her records. She had been hit by a car, broken ribs, cuts and abrasions all over her sweet underweight little body. Our boy, Wiley, was also found in February. February 22nd of 2012, he was starving, had a deep wound that wrapped around his neck (from a chain or rope) and was heart worm positive.

Both of our babies are so loved and I try not to think of the life they had before our family. It’s hard when daily things trigger a fear reaction that is so completely over the top you know it comes from the damage of another life. Like, the other day my wife was using the hammer and when she walked in the house with it Paisley almost lost her mind in fear, running to her kennel and crying. It took her the whole afternoon to go near my wife again. Those things happen, and I think to myself, “I will fill them with so many happy memories they have no room for the bad!”

We take car rides, just because. We cuddle, all the time. We go for walks, and jogs. We celebrate the month of their rescue – puppy party style! This month I made cookies they could eat, though I am working out a cake recipe!!!

It’s one banana to every half cup of oats, and every half cup of oats makes three cookies. I doubled it to make six (three for each puppy.) This is also my human recipe – though for humans you can add raisins, or a tablespoon of Ovaltine to make chocolate cookies!

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A weekend of YUM!

This weekend inspiration met time and the food coming out of my kitchen showed that it was a good marriage! Seriously, I was on fire! lol A few things helped, like my wife (who was under the weather) was home and so some of the all on me fell to her – I am so blessed!

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Easy Baked Salmon

Seriously are you ready for some seriously delish salmon? How about making it snappy to cook and even snappier to clean up after cooking? I know, right? Let’s do it! salmon (1)

Ingredients:

  • Salmon. Yes, I use frozen salmon because it is affordable and allows me to buy and store in my deep freezer and defrost only what I need.
  • Onions, cut in half and then sliced very thin!
  • Portabella mushroom, half a cap per salmon fillet. Sliced thin (1/4″)
  • Garlic, fresh is best but I was out so the “bottled” stuff had to do.
  • Lemon, again fresh is best but clearly I had not planned very well!
  • Butter. I use Smart Balance Light.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Olive oil.

Preheat your oven to 400^ and then set to work! You need a 12″x12″ square of foil (or bigger) for each piece of fish. Lightly spray your foil with non stick spray and then set the fillet in the middle. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the fish. Place the onions and mushrooms on top of the fillet. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and then drop one clove or one teaspoon of garlic over it. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the whole thing and then top with a pat (or tablespoon) of butter. Close your foil up like an envelope and then place on a cookie sheet. Repeat until you have done every fillet. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. I like to serve with the juice poured over it and a side salad or mixed wild rice!

salmon (2)

This is really easy to change up also. Like, Key Limes and garlic are really good together or onions and apple – yep!

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