Monday, September 28, 2009

EZ Homemade Rice Pilaf

I thought I would share with you my simple recipe for making delicious rice pilaf. I love the rice pilaf that is made by Near East, and I always wanted to duplicated it. I think (aside from the addition of pine nuts) I've got it! It's so simple, only 4 simple ingredients! I don't normally use white rice, but I sent my husband out to Costco to get some things, including rice and he came home with a 25lb bag of WHITE rice!!! But, now I get to make a really quick pilaf :) What you will need: 2 T. Butter
1/2 c. Orzo Pasta
1/2 c. Uncooked White Rice
2 c. Chicken Broth


In a medium saucepan, melt butter of med-high heat. Add orzo and stir until pasta browns.
Add rice and chicken stock.

Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cover.
20 minutes later, fluff with a fork!
I add peas to it at the end in order to get more veggies into the girls :)

I also took a picture a little while ago of the Beef and Spinach Curry that I have on the menu plan for this week, thought it might encourage a few of you to make it! I just bought two 1 1/2 lb flank steaks at Costco for $14.00 Not organic or grass fed, but this meal is too good to pass it by due to our budget. I added a link to the pic just in case:)



share on: facebook

Menu Plan Monday- Week of Sept 28, 2009

This week is a big shopping week since last week I hardly bought anything and pretty much ran out of a lot of pantry items.  Tomorrow I pick up my veggie and produce share from the Organic Co-Op.

Here is what we will be receiving

Butternut Squash  

Romaine Lettuce 


Spring Mix 

Chocolate Pepper  


Cremini Mushroom 

Grape Tomato 

Yukon Gold Potatoes 

Alfalfa Sprouts 

Gala Apples 

Bartlett Pears 




Fruit Share:  Peaches, Raspberries and Cantaloupes 

Here is the menu plan for the week:

Breakfast:  Eggs/Toast, Pancakes, Cereal, Waffles, Oatmeal/Muesli

Lunch: Chicken Salad, Leftovers, Quesadillas, Hotdogs(uncured)


Monday: Chicken Salad w/ Red Leaf Lettuce & Easy Homemade Rice Pilaf

Tuesday: Ham and Leek Shepherd's Pie- DELICIOUS!!!! Go buy a ham steak tonight if you are in the buying club! It's only about $4.00 and with the leaks and potatoes, it is delicious!! 

Wednesday:  Beef and Spinach Curry- Really good if you like lite Indian Food :) Served over Rice

Thursday: Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole w/ Organic Chicken Thighs & minus the chili

Friday: Pizza w/ Organic Pineapple, Tomato Sauce, Onion - VEGETARIAN ( You can swap out half of the flour for whole wheat.

Sunday: VEGETARIAN-  Sweet Potato Burritos    Spinach Bars 


share on: facebook

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Keep It Sane Saturdays

I often times feel like I am playing catch up from the week on Saturdays. But what I really want to do is rest, relax and not do how do I compromise?

I let appliances make me feel better. When I don't have much energy, I at least make sure to do two things:

1. Start the dishwasher
2. Start the washing machine.

This way, I know I at least have two things that are being cleaned and I am not doing a thing. Now this does take some work ie- loading the dishwasher and loading the washing machine, but it doesn't take your whole morning. Usually by mid morning, I can muster enough energy to get the rest of the house in decent order.

Just thought I would share that. When you are in a time crunch, need a little encouragement, or just don't want to clean.... use your best assets...your appliances!


share on: facebook

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Update on Organic Grocery Budget....

I kept all of my receipts from this past week, and here they's going to be close!!!

Salsa- All Natural
- $3.99 for Lily's B-day Party
Organic Milk- $3.50
Water Refills- $2.32= 8 Gal
Lemons- Not Organic- for party to make lemonade- 9 ea.- $3.87
Pasta-All Natural- $2.09
Pasta- All Natural- $ 2.09
Shredded Mozzarella Or
ganic- $3.89
Organic Canned Pineapples- $2.79
Cucumbers- Not Organic- They didn't have them- $ 1.50
Limes- Not Organic-
$ 1.00
Jalapeno Pepper- $ .04
Organic Bananas- $ 2.28
Lemon Pepper Chicken- another Cheat...bad :( $ 7.39
Bulk Organic Cous Cous
- $ 1.82
Pasta- All Natural- $ 1.19
Rudy's Organic Wraps- $ 4.99
Organic Kefir- $ 4.29
Organic Pasta Sauce- $ 2.99
Organic Unbleached White Flour- $ 5.49
Bulk Organic Carrots- $ 1.43
Organic Bananas- $ 2.85
Organic Frozen Peas- $ 2.39
Organic Celery Bunch- $ 1.99
Organic Zucchini- $ 2.50
Grass Fed Flank Steak- $ 13.43
Grass Fed Skirt Steak- $ 13.79
Water Refill- 2.32- 8 Gallons

Less Bag Refund- -.30

Total= $97.92 + Tax= $104.28

That brings my grand total to.......
$421.28......I failed!! Ahhhhh.

I looked back at my purchases, and my largest purchases were when I was feeling lazy and bough pre-cooked chicken....that was about $15.00 worth of my money. And the last thing I did was buy the expensive grass fed beef, which totaled about $26.00. Those items right there put me over. I don't normally purchase those items, and it is now easy for me to see how when I don't stick to my plan, I can easily go over. We're not too far off, I am going to have to buy some more chicken from Costco before the end of the month.

Does it count that there were 5 weeks in the month? Didn't think so.... maybe I'll try this again next month.

Do you have a grocery budget? Do you stick to it? Do you include your paper goods and baby goods too?


share on: facebook

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday Week of September 21, 2009

This week, why not get "Down and Dirty" in the kitchen :)
Try some of these delicious meals sometime this week !

This week is a finish the fridge and cabinet week. I will be cleaning out my cabinets in the hopes I can find some meals to prepare:

Breakfasts: Eggs & Toast, Oatmeal, Muesli, Whole Wheat Pancakes, Waffles

Lunch: Leftovers, Chicken Salad, Quesadillas


Monday: Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash- Never made last week due to leftovers. (Vegetarian)

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wraps- to use the spinach

Wednesday: Turkey Burgers with Green Salad Plus

Thursday: Spaghetti w/ Zucchini and
Garlic Bread from Costco mmmmm

Friday: Whole Wheat
Pizza w/ Peppers, Onions and Pineapples w/ salad

Cantonese Dinner (Slow Cooker) I will use Flank Steak instead served with

Sunday: Grilled Burgers , Baked Beans , Fruit and Salad + FOOTBALL SUNDAY!!!!!

Enjoy! I know we will :)
I will add another post on some of my final shopping for the month this week. Hope I can stay in budget! It's pretty close this week due to the football party... Thanks

share on: facebook

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Football Season is here!! Hubby get's crafty!!

This past summer, we went to a friends house in North Carolina, and they were playing the game "Corn Hole". I know, what a wierd name, but its really just bean bags thrown towards a wooden box that has a hole in it. The name originated from the midwest where the bags were made with corn inside.

So this year, to celebrate the football season, we decided to make our own "Football themed" cornhole game!

Here is how we did it:

My hubby made the board w/ our little helper Lily:

When the board was finished, it looked like this:

Can You Tell Who We Route For???? GOOOOOO GIANTS :)

I'll show you how I made the bean bags since that could be fun for children too....

1. I cut two pieces of fabric to 71/2 " squares.

2. I placed the right sides together, and sewed a 1/2" seam on all four sides, but leaving about 3" on one side to fill the bag.

3. Turn bag right sides out.
4. Fill the bags with exactly 1 lb...of Navy Beans:

5. Hand sew the final 3" of the bag, or just fake it like I did and run the filled bag through the sewing machine with the smallest seam you can make.

6. Results? One great bean bag...I mean corn bag :)


share on: facebook

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday -Week of September 13, 2009

This week, I am continuing to share with you my receipts from food shopping. I went on a small trip this weekend, costs are below. So stay tuned for more receipts as I will have to go to the store at some point for more milk, eggs and pasta!
Here is what I will be receiving this week from the Organic Buying Club I belong to:

Orange Cauliflower
Red Cabbage

Red Leaf Lettuce

Acorn Squash
Sweet Onions

Cremini Mushrooms

Russet Potatoes

Gold Apples
Yellow Nectarines Valencia Oranges Yellow Peaches Bananas
Fruit Share: Black Seedless Grapes, Honey Dew Melon and
Sugar Baby Watermelon

Here is my meal plan for the week:

Breakfast: Eggs & Toast, Waffles, Pancakes, Oatmeal

Lunches: Leftovers, Quesadillas & Chicken Salad

Play Group Granola Bars- SOOO GOOOOD I use Agave instead of Honey!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches- Leftovers from Sunday!

Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas w/ Fresh Cilantro, mashed black beans, red peppers and rice.

Wednesday: Shepard's Pie

Thursday: Grilled Chicken Salad w/ homemade Rice Pilaf- EASY RECIPE I'll share this week! This will use the redleaf lettuce and tomatoes

Friday: Chicken and Dumplings w/ fresh crimini mushrooms from Better Homes and Gardens Cook book

Saturday: Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash but with Quinoa instead of Cous Cous like in the recipe. (Vegetarian)

Cauliflower Hamburger Casserole

Well, that's about it. Depending on my monetary budget. I might add in a Rotisserie Chicken ( I know, cheating) to Saturday's meal, but you can get them at costco for about $4.

We'll see. I'll keep you posted.

Weekend Receipts:
Frozen Organic Peas- $1.64 Tortillas- All Natural - $ 2.88 Rotisserie Chicken- $ 6.75 at Publix (Cheating Again) aahhhh

Total w/ Tax: $12.00

Added to Previous Receipts- Grand Total: $ 317.00

I am researching the closest Grass Fed Beef Farm to Florida. If I find anything I will post about it.


Add Video

Remove Formatting from selection

share on: facebook

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Organic Frugal Food Budget- Week2

OK, just did the shopping for this week went a little more than I wanted to, but I needed to refill a lot of staples. I went to Whole Foods and Costco:

At Whole Foods:
Organic Tea- 4.69
Organic Beans- 3 ea. @ 1.69
Organic Balsamic Vinegar- 5.39
Organic Mustard- 1.69
Jason Power Smile Toothpaste- 2 ea. @ 6.99- large ticket item, but we needed two tubes.
Compromised on Chamomile Tea & didn't buy Organic but it was 1for 1- $2.99
Organic Potatoes- $5.23
Oatmeal Soap- 2 ea. @ 1.99
10 Gallons of Water Refill- $2.90
Organic Peaches- $2.33

Total: $49.30

FYI- Everything I buy is as minimally packaged as I can get it, and there are no preservatives in anything. This significantly lowers your food cost.


Organic Ground Beef- 3 lbs- $12.99
Pork Tenderloin- Not organic- Having a Football Party- But good deal- $13.13
Organic 8 pck Diced Tomato Cans- $7.99
5 lb bag of yellow onions- not organic- $ 5.99
All Natural Naan Flatbread- $5.99
Bananas- Not Organic, but Whole Foods didn't have any- $ 1.32
Craisins- Ironically, they are just cranberries and sugar, nothing else!- $ 6.99 for a 3 lb bag.
EVOO- Not Organic- $ 10.39 for 68 oz
Guatemalan Free Trade Coffee- Not Organic- $ 13.99 for 3 lbs
12 Grain Bread- $ 4.89 for 2 loaves
Canned Chicken- All Natural- $10.99 for 6 large cans
Diapers- 222 count- $42.69 = .16 per diaper
BBQ Sauce- 2 bottles for the Football party- $4.99
Cashews- $ 11.69 for 2 lbs

Total : $156.81

Grand Total for Today:

$ 206.11

Add $ 7.00 for Organic Milk and Eggs that I forgot oops.....

Grand Total for Month:
$ 305.00

Can I keep it under $420 this month? Stay Tuned :)


share on: facebook

Friday, September 4, 2009

Organic Frugal Food Budget

Recently, I went to Maine for a family reunion. One of my cousins was asking me how I could buy almost all organic, and not break the bank. I told her that almost every month, I can buy all of our food for $400.

Here's the breakdown of my budget:

$100 meat- Organic Meat- 6 lbs for $24, Ground Turkey(Not organic)- 4.5 lbs- $21, Organic Chicken Thighs- 2 pckgs- $45 = $90

$118 organic fruits and veggies from buying club - Always $118 per month
$100 staples- flour, butter, milk etc. - This varies, but I usually am right up there.

$100 - anything else I need for the month

My total is approx- $418 per month give or take a few dollars and depending on whether or not I need to buy diapers or large quantities of paper towels or toilet paper.

I am going to try to keep track of all the specifics I buy this month on this blog. And give you a running tally through out the month so you can see how close I am to my budget.

We have a lot of meat left over from last month when I was away, so that purchase will probably not take place until closer to the end of the month..

Here is what I have bought so far:

Produce: $59- All Organic- Good for 2 weeks

Eggs: 4 dozen @ $3.50 - All Organic- $14
Milk 2 Gal- $3.65 ea. - $7.30- Organic Whole We try to buy Organic Valley brand and not Horizon b/c of their animal practices:

Extra: Cold Cuts- Special for hubby's birthday lunch- 1 lb- $8.09

Bread: Whole Foods- Whole Wheat Crunch- $3.50- ( Not Organic)

Please note: There are some things that I buy that are not Organic, but are all Natural with no preservatives. I will specify if that is the case.

Total: $91.89 for week so far!

Some ways that I accomplish this goal is to buy as much as I can in the bulk section or at bulk stores like Costco. I try to buy everything all natural w/out preservatives or processing. If I want cookies, I make'em myself. This takes more time, but definitely saves it's more healthy!!

Let's see where these posts take us!
I'd love to hear your budget if you buy all or mostly Organic, and what you do or want to do to lower it!


share on: facebook