Thursday, June 7, 2018

MAKING MEALS from "NOTHING"

How many times have you heard "we don't have anything to eat in the house?"   I know I have heard that many times while raising my kids and having a house full of kids, friends, friends kids and now their kids.    

When my kids were young I cooked dinner most nights at home, going out to eat only on rare occasions or the necessity of eating at the ball field more times that I care to admit.  We would have a "leftover" night about every 10 days ... and I would just take everything out of my packed fridge and put it out on the counters and the kids (and whomever else was here) could put anything they wanted on their plate.  I had not a care if they wanted "all meat,"  "all veggies,"  "all bread,"  or what ever ...at the end of the buffet line it would be my time to dump what was left in the trashcan.

I learned a new trick after time and that was "freezing" the leftovers and making the more healthy meal of "soup" with the left overs of whatever was left.    HA!  this worked well too...  after time and tried and true methods I have become somewhat of an expert of "pantry" or "fridge" shopping and have blogged about these experiences in the past.      

I was feeding my family on $30 or $40 a week way before it was cool and could throw together a zero cost week with little effort.   I haven't blogged or done a pantry challenge in a while. This month I had to put out more than $1K in taxes for 6 months of real estate and personal property and felt the need to make up for "lost money."  

I have an empty outdoor freezer and need to restock it... we had a faux pas incident at easter and lost all of the items in it, and there were many.

In complete contrast, I also have an indoor fridge and a couple of pantries.  I have stockpiled over the years , have stockpiled in excess recently and have a well stocked pantry with many expired items in it I am sure.  Its time to "clean this up."  

So today...... I started the challenge...

with a little hesitation I am going to introduce you to one of my 3 pantries, my fridge and my freezer... (all of which my husband and daughter made fun of last night at dinner out) ... so I am sure the posting of this will bring them a tiny bit of discomfort or humor... not sure which..




as you can see they are CHOCKED FULL TO THE BRIM and are in desperate need of cleaning out

DAY #1    BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE TIME

***smoothies at home are somewhat of a modern day meal.    My kids would have loved to have a "milkshake" for dinner than actually sit and eat many times, this I know for sure.   Too bad I didn't think of this then but ... at least I know now.   



this was my FIRST round of adding things to the blender from the freezer:   frozen kale, frozen grapes, a tiny bit of left over frozen blueberries

Checking the Fridge.... I found a granny smith apple,  2 apricots, ginger root and some pecans.... since there is no "recipe" I follow any longer for my smoothies , its basically anything goes....



I had this in my pantry for an extended amount of time.  I bought it from the clearance rack , knowing that this aloe water would be good for "burns" or "sunburns" not really thinking I would drink it.  Well I never used it for first aid on the outside so.... opened it up, tasted a very tiny amount and didn't mind the taste so in went a splash to the blender.   

I then scooped 2 tablespoons of Collegen   that my friend recommended to me recently for good measure .  (hair, skin, nails)
and WHIRL AWAYYYY

and there you have it.... soooo very delicious, nutritious and not to mention helping to clean out my stockpiles too... I am sipping on this while typing this blogpost and my mind is already getting excited about what's next on the menu!

Smoothie recipes are plentiful on the internet if you are the type that feels like they cannot be creative on their own.   I have been inspired by ordering and enjoying the freezer / blender ready smoothie cups HERE  I took advantage of the 3 free with order and loved them.  I quickly realized that the most unlikely pairing and blending of ingredients made for the best tasting smoothies ever.   So here I am working like a scientist with no beakers SLAYING IT if I do say so myself.

Now not only am I getting healthy from these smoothies but I am making some GOOD DIRT with my compost ... AND putting water in my VITAMIXER (won from an internet contest) to make some healthy water to water my plants outside ... yes... you can feed your plants REAL FOOD in the water instead of chemicals.

food for the compost

food for my plants.... this is water in the blender to "clean it"


SO there you have it... get on board with me making smoothies, soup, casseroles etc ... shop at home in your pantry and fridge!


Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018 Southern Women's Show RVA



2018 Southern Women's Show was at the Richmond Raceway again this year.  FREE parking for everyone and lots to see and do. I went there on Saturday with my Beautiful Daughter and Ryker too. We took a stroller for him but as you can see the VINO we bought got babied... too





Our Favorite Room was the room with the Food and Tastings and FUN .... FOOD LION WAS ROCKING IT ....




Kelly hit the VAULT on the prize wheel..... what I was TRYING for ... LOL but I got a can lid








Here she is IN THERE ,  it was hard to VIEW people in there ... through the camera.... but you get the idea!  GRAB $$,  they were all ones and she grabbed one per second she was in there ...  $20 on her FOOD LION CARD and a  $10 off $
Coupon so $40 for $10 will be the end result with NO additional savings! WOW!40DA LOOT!!!!






It was Saint Patricks' Day and Ryker was the cutest Leprechaun EVER! 




WE LOVED THE CHINCHILLA RABBIT that BUTLER STUDIOS HAD for EASTER PHOTO PROP!   WHAT A BEAUTY!!



They didn't know if the bunny was a girl or a boy ?  What the heck?   We didn't really care ... we loved on "it" a lot!




What a Great Young Lady!   Claire Hollingsworth of Powhatan won the CHOPPED JR prize of $10K and was there raising dollars via "Girl Power" and Brownies!  Her Hummus was delish too! 





Saint Patricks day wasn't complete without a visit to 

O'Charleys and we had so much fun playing games and eating good food!  







Even the BLACK BOLT FAIRY had a GOOD TIME!





What a GREAT DAY with GOOD FAMILY FUN!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Making an imperfectly perfect Dinner ...EASY and cleaned out the fridge too!

Sometimes I need to get creative with "whats on hand" and create a dinner from what I have in the cabinet , pantry and fridge.   "Throwing" something together that will be DELICIOUS  and at the same time using up things that are near expiration dates....

The pie shells that were in the freezer were on the verge of freezer burn & cracked in places, the limes were turning color, the cans nearing expiration etc etc... so.... I took out the ricotta that was bought to be in a dessert and the mozzarella and parmesean and thought .. YES LASAGNA
 and KEY LIME PIE  (lime curd on hand!)!

I have thrown a dinner together for tonight and it took me about an hour to prepare and cook and all that I had to buy was a box of "oven ready" Lasagna Noodles to complete the task.  I wanted to make this as EASY as possible and as GOOD AS IT GETS sooo here ya go the photos tell the story...

INGREDIENTS: 






CUT & DUMP...








MIX And LAYER 






AFTER 25 MINUTES ... WALA 




INGREDIENTS:

QUICK , EASY AND DELICIOUS LASAGNA
  • Minced Garlic
  • Basil 
  • 1 LB Hamburger Meat
  • 2 cans of seasoned (italian) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 can of tomato paste
  • 1 Container of  Ricotta
  • 4 total cups of Monzarella
  • Seasoned Parmesean (italian)
  • Salt / Pepper
  • 1 Small box of oven ready lasagna noodles
350 degree oven

Mix together first three ingredients and cook well 
Mix together tomato products and add salt and pepper (to taste) and put in pan and cook until well blended
Mix together the cheeses (I used a solid block of Monzarella that I used separately and did not mix with other cheeses)

After your hamburger and tomato mixtures are finished cooking layer in pan.  Start with the SAUCE on the bottom   Add noodles and then cheeses and top with hamburger.  Repeat this 3 times ending with Cheese/ Sauce on the top.  Cover with Foil and cook for 20-25 Minutes or until noodles are soft and cheese is melted through.     Let the finished Lasagna sit to firm before serving.


EASY, QUICK AND DELICIOUS KEY LIME PIE

  • two frozen pie crusts
  • two limes
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 container of Key Lime Curd
  • two eggs
Let Pie Crusts sit out to thaw... mine were far from perfect and I did not go patching the crust, going for the more "rustic" look!     Combine the milk , eggs and curd and use a mixer to blend well.   Pour into pie crusts and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes ...  Top with sliced limes cook and refrigerate before serving.   Can serve with whipped cream or ice cream if you like.