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Saturday, February 21, 2015

TIME MANAGEMENT

When I talk to my friends about how I plan my grocery shopping or what I do to prepare for my week of 8-5 employment most of them just say I DON'T HAVE TIME. But you really do if you are a good time manager. 

I learned a long time ago from my Nana how to plan for the week. She was a stay-at-home Mom of 4 children. Back when there were no luxuries in the house. She did have a mixer, but it was a hand held mixer.
She didn't do all her chores in one day or a weekend. She spread the duties out in seven days.
Examples:
  • Baking and laundry was a daily chore.
  • One day she ironed, one day she would scrub the bathrooms.
  • She had no carpet so she swept and used the dust mop under beds. (less allergies) 
  • Papa was the gardener. Nana picked what she needed for each days meals and canned or froze the rest.
Okay so it was a busy life even for a stay-at-home Mom. If you think you have no time in your already busy life you might want to get a spiral notebook and write down how you spend your time daily. I can GUARANTEE you spend to much time on the computer or apps on your phone, window shopping at the mall, going out to eat, or long conversations on your phone. Wait we can't forget the taped TV programs you just can't live without.

Of course, there are only two of us in our Tin Can. Now that hubby works four 10 hour shifts the time is tighter as we commute.We are up at 5am and home at 6pm. Preparation is the key.

My life:
  • I plan the EASY part of my menu for our work week. I might buy one or two prepared Trader Joe's meal, make two meals in the crock pot, and one soup and sandwich during the week. Week ends are based on the weather. Good weather means BBQ and on bad weather days we use our Walmart Grill inside.
  • Remember try to plan menu. I make my menu on my Friday break, because we shop on Saturday.
  • When we get home Saturday I wash off ALL my produce, even produce with skin.
  • I try to do my laundry on Friday, saving the rest of the week for other duties. (Hubby cleans our tin can at the same time)
  • Sunday's I bake or cook for the week. Only taking 2 hours.Example: Bake muffins, make salads for lunches.
  •   I even brown the roast the night before if I am making a roast in the crock pot, sealing the juices. I also chop up the veggies and put them in a bag. Put the spices and extra stuff on the counter, for a quick get-a-way.
  • I also make hubby's favorite lunch the night before. Yep, antipasti. I use uncured salami, pepperchinis, dried tomatoes, chunks of cheese, olives and low-fat Newman's Salad Dressing.

    I try to make it simple and fast during the week since I only have three hours after work before I go to bed.
    During the week I have very little time to use the computer. I cook dinner, do dishes (no dishwasher), shower, and try to read a bit before bed. Even after all this I seem to make all of our meals from scratch, even pancakes.

    Time savers: make a double batch of waffle mix, cook them all, and freeze some for busy mornings. OMG our mornings are real busy. Breakfast, making lunches, and getting ready for work. All done in 45 minutes. Soooo I better be organized.

    It is possible to be organized. It does take time to get it down. Our weekends you will find us sipping a glass of wine on our deck listening to the birds and watching the cattle.
    Life is simple when well planned.






George Foreman Griller

It's not really a George Foreman Griller, but a Walmart griller.

Since it has been cold and windy I have been grilling inside and now am addicted.

Dinner: Baked Cod and grilled vegetables.

Mix: brussel sprouts cut in half, mushrooms washed and cut in half, onions in chunks or green onions in large pieces, or any vegetable you like. Add olive oil and seasonings. We add salt, pepper, thyme, oregano.
Set grill at 350 degrees and close lid. They are done when you can stick a fork in the veggies. I kind of like mine a bit crunchy not gooey.
After cooking you can toss with Parmesan cheese.

While the veggies are cooking:

Mix bread crumbs ( I use Trader Joe's organic bread crumbs) and add spices you like. I added dill, thyme, salt and pepper.
Bake on 350 until golden or cooked through...about 20 minutes. We buy cod parts in the frozen section of Trader Joe's. I just take out as much as I want. It's very easy.
Add Trader Joe's Tarter Sauce with Dill and Jalapenos. 



Of course add a glass of wine, again from TJ's.

 
Sorry I can't turn this around for some reason.
Add some spice to your fish dishes


Yes you can make great taco's with a lot less grease on this grill



Sunday, January 4, 2015

On The Lighter Side

While on Christmas vacation we got off track on our diet. Sooo back to reality starting this week. No food resolution just a continuation of our Weight Watcher Diet. It's not a diet, per say, its a healthy way of eating.

Hubby will be working early mornings starting in Jan 2015, leaving at 5:45 am getting home at 6 pm, so we will be eating breakfast on the road like My McMuffins or My Breakfast Burritos. Its all a matter of planning. Yep, four 10 hour shifts compared to my 8 hour shift. We commute together so I will bring a book or my knitting to kill 2 hours before I go to work. Fortunately, we work real close to each other.

To Do:

Get coffee pot ready for morning, just push the button in the AM.

Assemble on the road breakfasts and coffee thermos. 

Lunches already made and in frig and lunch boxes ready. (lots of good carbs/protein)

This means intense menu planning including snacks, breakfast, and dinner also everything done the night before.

The key is prep work on the weekend after buying groceries. There are a lot of pre-made healthy foods you just need to read the labels. Of course Trader Joe's is a big help with dinners.

So today was my cooking day. Here is what I did to prepare for the new long week.

1. Tuna salad ( will have this with a low-fat piece of bread or 5 saltines).
2. I hard boiled 6 eggs. Easy for the road and add to a muffin.
3. Batch of muffins (blueberry with home made applesauce instead of oil)
4. Cooked up the ground beef and a few Itallian sausages for chili Monday). Froze the other Itallian sausages.
5. Made salsa for tonight's tacos with black beans.
6. Cooked taco meat with onions for tacos tonight also.
7. Batch of salmon patties for lunches (3 cans of NO PINK COLOR added salmon from Costco).

We purchased three bean salad and pickled beets from Costco to add to our lunches. We also take fresh cut up apples and carrots for lunch and snack.

Yep, preparation and shopping off a MENU is important for these long weeks.



Revised "Famous Taco Salad"

Taco Salad    3 servings   9 Weight Watcher points

15 ounce can black beans    If you don't like black beans buy organic re-fried beans (almost 3 srvs of beans)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 lg onion chopped
1 cup red wine or broth (wine is 5 points)
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
1/2 Pound ground beef
2 Tablespoons taco seasonings
3 C Romaine lettuce
2/3 Fat free Salsa
2 Tablespoons diced or shredded low fat cheddar cheese
2 Dollops lite sour cream
1/2 Avocado sliced


 Combine beans, brown sugar, onion, and wine (or broth) in small pot and cook till most of the liquid is gone. Salt and pepper to taste. Let them cool while you brown the meat mixed with taco seasonings.
Build your salad:
1/3 beans on each plate
In order top beans with:
Half lettuce, one serving of ground beef, half salsa, 1 tablespoons cheese, 1 dollop of sour cream, 1/4 avocado sliced.
You can substitute ground beef for any meat.
Hubby adds Salsa Verde to his salad.


I thought I had a pic of this. As soon as I find it I will post it. This recipe is pretty self explanatory. Start with the beans, lettuce, meat and toppings.
Make the meat before hand and just heat up if you want.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chicken, Chicken, Chicken.......please

I am so tired of chicken recipes. I usually substitute them for turkey. I really don't like chicken and  "Eat Right For Your Blood Type" explains why blood type B should not eat chicken.

It is important to leave off chicken for Type Bs. Chicken contains a Blood Type B agglutinating lectin in its muscle tissue, which attack the bloodstream and potentially lead to strokes and immune disorders. Type Bs thrive on deep-ocean fish, but should avoid all shellfish. The shellfish contain lectins that are disruptive to the Type B system.

So far I have found two web sites that give me great Weight Watcher Recipes. Check out Laa Loosh and SkinnyTaste.

Check out Weight Watchers Online. I signed up for three months and have pretty much got it down. I need to KEEP TRACKING MY POINTS in order to keep losing weight.

So far I have lost 12 pounds and gone down one pant and top size making me very happy. I used to hate shopping but now shopping once every 6 weeks for new clothes is nice. I will continue to buy jeans /pants at Walmart and tops at Kohls until I have reached my goal. After that, its off to Macys to buy the good stuff that will last over time. You know, the little black sleeveless dress on sale? The one where you can accessorize into many ourfits. Adding things like a sweater over the dress, a jacket, so many options. Buying basic quality clothes and accessorizing is the way to look like you have lots of outfits. I am not ready yet, but can't wait.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Roast Beef with Mushroom Sauce

My cooking day was filled with cooking a roast at 300 degrees, then made salmon patties. Later I made a three bean salad.

Working all week and limited hours to cook leads me to cook once a week for weekly meals and our lunch menus. I also buy a couple premade meals from Trader Joe's. And yes, I do read the ingredients.

Since I had roast beef slices and quite a few cremini mushrooms I made a sauce to pour over rice.

Roast Beef with Mushroom Sauce

In large open pan add 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil. Heat just a bit and add 1/4 diced red onions (or what ever onion you have).

Sautee for a few minutes than add 5-6  washed and sliced cremini mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes until they soften.

Add juice from roast. Heat until almost bubbly. Add 1/4 C half and half or what ever dairy you have.

Stir and cook on low heat for 3 minutes.

In a small bowl add 2 Tablespoons half and half and 1 Tablespoon corn starch or flour. Whisk to get all the lumps out. Add to mixture.
Once it thickens add slices of roast beef on top and cover.
Serve over rice.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Cooking For the Week

On Sundays I do my weekly cooking in between blogging, and various other things. I am preparing items that will make my lunch week easier.

Today I am starting out making apple/cranberry whole wheat muffins, baked veggie egg rolls, salmon patties, and tuna salad for the week. Muffins and fruit are a good breakfast as is muffins and soft boiled eggs. Egg rolls are an addition to some meals and my mid morning snack at work. We have breakfast at 6:30am and my lunch isn't until 1:00 so I am hungry by 10:30. Salmon patties can be lunch also. And good old tuna salad is great with celery sticks as a spoon or crackers.

Before I get cooking I always fill up the sink with hot soapy dish water. This way I wash as I go. Since I don't have a large kitchen or counter, for that matter, I use the same bowl for all my tasks.

Apple/Cranberry Whole Wheat Muffins

Since we are on Weight Watchers I changed my muffin recipe just a bit. Instead of  2 cups of white flour I use one cup white flour and one cup whole wheat flour. I also substitute the 1/2 C oil for unsweetened applesauce. I had two extra gala apples and make a simple sauce adding cinnamon.

(cook small peeled apples pieces in a tablespoon of water and a few shakes of cinnamon. Cook on medium heat until soft.)

Muffin Mixture plus re hydrated cranberry's

Ready for the oven


Baked Egg Rolls with Sweet-Sour-Spicy Sauce

This is my second attempt at Egg Rolls. I think I have it now.
I was looking for a mid morning snack at work that had very little calories and was low on Weight Watcher points.
I found this recipe online and adjusted it to my taste.

Cut up 4 green onions. If the stalks are to big cut it length wise. I tried grating ginger but it doesn't work very well so I cut it up in small pieces. I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of FRESH ginger.

                                        Saute both in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 3 minutes.
 
Grate two large chunks of carrot. The top skinny part doesn't grate well so I ate them for snack.

I added a 10 oz bag of shredded cabbage, carrots, 1 tablespoon Mango Habanero Hot Sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Cook until cabblage is soften. LET COOL. Make sure all the liquid has been cooked out.


A moist towel over the plastic that is over the phyllo dough
Add caption
The next part has to be fairly quick. I used phyllo dough for my egg rolls. You need to keep the phyllo dough moist while you are rolling the egg rolls. I took 2 sheets off, put the plastic back over the dough and put a moist towel over the plastic, NEVER ON THE DOUGH. 
I then sprayed the top of both sheets with olive oil. Just a quick spray.


Next you fold in half so it looks like this and spray with olive oil again. Not much oil. Turn it around so you can roll it up like a burrito.


Place a large spoonful of your mixture on the lower part. I get a bit carried away, but I would rather fill up with veggies than phyllo dough.


                  Roll the dough around the mixture and tuck it under the mixture so it's secure.


Fold ends over and continue to roll making sure the sides stay in so the filling will not
come out.


Spray a pan with olive oil and then spray the top of each egg roll and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. A conventional sheet pan won't fit in my oven so I use a glass pie pan.


I had enough to make 8 egg rolls. I had a little bit of apple sauce left over from the muffins, but not enough to make a roll so I added some fig jelly spread and wrapped it up just like the egg roll. Hubby was happy.
Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes or until they are brown on top. You might have to flip them over to get the bottom side brown.



       Okay the final product and only 3 Weight Watcher Points. To top it off they are delicious.
As far as hubby is concerned the dipping sauce the the ultimate. He puts it on various meats and even on the salmon patties.

Egg Roll Spicy-Sweet-Hot Sauce

Combine: 3/4 C sugar, 1/3 C ketchup, and 2/3 C water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add:         1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoon Mango Habenaro Hot sauce (more if you want more heat) 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger chopped in small pieces. Combine and cook 3 minutes.
Combine: 3 tablespoons corn starch and 1/2 C water. Disolve and add to mixture.
Cook until it thickens and 5 minutes more.
Set aside and cool.

You will be hooked on this stuff. It's easy to make and is good on almost everything.

Salmon Patties

There are two different kinds of salmon at Costco. This has no PINK DYE. Why would you put pink dye in a fish product. I don't know, but we chose the salmon without dye.


Combine: 3 cans of salmon, 4 green onions chopped, 2 stalks of celery sliced up (cut celery length wise a couple times so the pieces are smaller), 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon grill seasonings, 1 tablespoon Habeno Sauce, and about 1/2 C bread crumbs.  I use Trader Joe's Organic Bread Crumbs with out any additional seasonings.
At this point you can add more or less heat if you want. We have been adding more heat to our diets during fall alergies.


                         Yum...yep they are going to be good for lunches...adding that spicy sauce.

Actually I love to cook. I would rather spend a couple hours cooking the weeks meal than cook each night.
I make a menu each week before I go grocery shopping and make my list from that. I include what we will need for two lunches-to-go and what we will need for breakfast.

Because we  have limited time after work I have resorted to buying 3 dinners from Trader Joe's prepared meals in the frig or freezer section. I also buy something I can put in the crock pot one night that is good for two days. Now that equals 5 working days. I just add a veggie or salad with each meal, which is easy.For the weekends we have something easy we can put on the BBQ.


I hope you will make one of these recipes. If you need more info on frugal grocery shopping see my other page.