Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our grain-free Thanksgiving meal

Contrary to "popular" belief, it IS possible to have a VERY enjoyable holiday meal without involving grain foods. Here's our menu:

Turkey roasted with Custer's Turkey Rub (found in November 2009 post)
Sweet potato casserole made with maple syrup for sweetener and chopped pecans for topping
Green bean casserole (our one concession to eating grain-free)
Sausage and apple stuffing (no bread)
Fresh cranberry orange relish
French cranberry apple pie with grain-free crust
Grain-free carrot cake


Sausage and Apple Stuffing (the favorite dish at our table this year!)


  • 10 slices bacon (6 oz), diced
  • 2 pounds pork sausage meat
  • 2 large onions, chopped (2 c)
  • 8 oz. medium mushrooms, sliced (2 c)
  • 3 medium ribs of celery, chopped (1 c)
  • 1 tsp. dried sage leaves, crumbled
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 pound tart apples, cored and cut into 1/2″ pieces (3 c)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley


Cook bacon until it just begins to brown, Crumble sausage meat in same pan
and cook till done. Add onions, mushrooms and celery cooking until onions
and mushrooms are wilted. Stir in sage, thyme, salt and pepper, then the
apples. Remove from heat, add parsley.


Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Relish


  • 2 cups washed raw cranberries
  • 2 skinned and cored tart apples
  • 1 large, whole (peel ON) seedless orange, cut into sections
  • 1 to 2 cups granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you would like your relish to be)


1 Set up the grinder with a medium-sized blade on the edge of a table with a large roasting pan or bowl to catch the mix as it grinds. These old fashioned grinders tend to leak some of the juice down the grinder base, so you may want to set up an additional pan on the floor under the grinder to catch the drips. If you don't have an old-fashioned grinder you can use a grinder attachment on a KitchenAid mixer, you can chop by hand (though that will take a lot of work), or you can chop in a food processor (be very careful not to over-pulse, or you'll end up with mush).

Grain-free French cranberry apple pie


For Crust-

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 TBSP of coconut oil plus some to grease pie pan
  • 1 egg
  • Cinnamon powder (1/4-1/2 tsp or to taste)

For Filling-

Topping -

Preheat oven to 325 °. Grease pie pan with coconut oil and mix crust ingredients by hand in a medium sized bowl. Press crust into bottom and sides of pie pan and put in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Mix filling ingredients and spread in pie crust. Mix topping ingredients and spread evenly over filling.

Increase oven temp to 375°. Bake pie for 45 to 55 minutes, until filling bubbles and top is brown.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil or your favorite cooking oil
  • 3 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, honey and butter or oil
  3. Stir carrots, raisins and walnuts into wet ingredients
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  5. Place batter into 2 well greased, round 9 Inch cake pans
  6. Bake at 325° for 35 minutes
  7. Cool to room temperature and spread with frosting.
  8. Serve

Thursday, November 10, 2011

De-skunking recipe

Stupid husky. Got it right in the face.

I found this online, and it did the job of getting rid of that sickening smell in just one application. Pretty inexpensive, too.

Removing Skunk Smell From A Dog

Here's what I used:

  • 3/4 cup baby shampoo
  • 1/2 box baking soda
  • 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 4 cups water

Mix together in a medium/large mixing bowl (mixture sort of foams up). Sponge on the entire dog (avoid getting in eyes, and mouth and nose) and work in well. Wait 20 minutes before rinsing. It really works. The above amount is enough for a small dog (12" at the shoulder). After this experience, I'm making sure I have an emergency kit on hand.

I loved this mixture, not only because it didn't leave my dog pink like tomato juice does, but because it did the job the first time AND the ingredients were things I already had on need to buy anything special.

Now to get the smell out of my bathroom...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our meal plan for October 9 – 15, 2011

I've worked out our menu plan for this week, based on several recipes we have not tried yet and centered around what we have on hand. I won't need to do any grocery shopping for this week!


breakfast – paleo pumpkin pancakes with nut butter & honey

lunch – salmon cakes with tartar sauce, carrot & apple salad

dinner – turkey & gravy, baked potatoes, leftover carrot & apple salad


breakfast – egg crepes with lemon curd & berry sauce

lunch - butternut squash soup

dinner - zucchini lasagna casserole, tossed salad, paleo pumpkin bars


breakfast – sausage/spinach/cheddar frittata

lunch – leftover butternut squash soup

dinner – BLT chicken salad


breakfast – paleo almond berry muffins with nut butter or dairy free smoothies

lunch - chicken Caesar salad

dinner – tacos/salad


breakfast - omelet with hash browns, cheese & bacon

lunch - creamy broccoli soup, applesauce

dinner – rosemary chicken & potatoes, green beans


breakfast – cottage cheese salad w/tomatoes & broccoli

lunch – chef salads, twice baked potatoes

dinner – spicy tuna steaks with dill sauce, green beans, low-carb lemon tiramisu


breakfast – hard boiled eggs, paleo morning glory muffins or coconut flour pancakes

lunch – leftovers/clean out the fridge

dinner – paleo cottage pie, baked apples or paleo apple dumplings

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

adapted from a Taste of Home recipe.

We had this for lunch today. I subbed a gluten-free cheese soup (not condensed) for the Velveeta cheese, butter, flour, milk, and sour cream. The kids AND DH love it!

Cheeseburger soup

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (I used 1 lb. because I didn't read the recipe that well before putting the beef in the pot)
  • 3/4 c. chopped onion
  • 3/4 c. shredded carrot
  • 3/4 c. diced celery
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 3 c. chicken broth
  • 4 c. diced peeled potatoes
  • 1/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 c. (8 oz.) shredded or finely cubed Velveeta cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 c. sour cream

In a 3 quart sauce pan, brown the beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, saute the onion, carrots, celery, and basil in 1 Tbsp. butter until veggies are tender (I just browned them with the meat). Add the broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, metl remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for a minute until bubbly. Add about 2 c. liquid from the soup slowly and whisk until smooth. Add mixture to the soup and bring soup to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add the cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.

Yield: 8 servings (about 2 1/4 quarts)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Honey Mustard Chicken

This is a quick-to-fix tasty chicken dish! We prefer to use chicken leg quarters but this would be good on breast meat, too.

Honey Mustard Chicken

  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 lb. (8 pieces) chicken
Mix all but the chicken together. Spread on chicken pieces. Place pieces on a foil lined baking pan that was sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400° 35 to 40 minutes.

Our meal plan for the week!

I just love to plan my meals out! Well, not L-O-V-E...but it really helps me to keep meal times organized.

Here is our plan for this week!

September 11 – 17, 2011


breakfast – almond flour blueberry pancakes (freeze leftovers)

lunch – sloppy joe salad (making up double the meat and freezing one batch)

dinner – roast beef/potatoes/carrots in crock pot


breakfast - spinach/onion/cheese omelets

lunch - vegetable beef soup (freeze leftovers in quart jars)

dinner - honey mustard chicken, oven fries, carrot salad, pickled beets


breakfast - dairy free coconut peach smoothies, gluten-free pumpkin muffins

lunch - egg salad on cucumber slices

dinner - porcupine meatballs (making double batch & freezing one), sweet potatoes (from my garden) in honey butter, tossed salad


breakfast - coconut custard & fruit

lunch - cheeseburger soup, GF pumpkin muffins

dinner - Spanish steak & rice (using cooked rice from my freezer meal supply), cucumber salad


breakfast - spinach/onion/cheese omelets

lunch - leftovers or thaw veggie beef soup

dinner - roasted chicken with veggies (one pan meal)


breakfast - hard boiled eggs, morning glory muffins (gluten-free)

lunch - chef salad or chicken salad (chicken from Thursday's dinner) on cucumber slices

dinner - salisbury patties with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans


breakfast - Caprese omelets

lunch - leftovers/clean out the fridge

dinner - Hawaiian chicken over rice (using cooked rice from my freezer meal supply), tossed salad

Snacks: peanut butter on celery sticks, sunflower seed raisin cookies, peaches, apple slices w/ peanut butter, popcorn.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

No money for groceries this week!

This is a tough time of the year for us. We usually have large chicken feed bills, my husband usually has a layoff of some sort, property taxes are due next month, and the garden is JUST starting to produce. There's no extra money for groceries this week.

Okay, no problem. I've got plenty of beef and chicken and a few cuts of pork left in the freezers. The garden is producing green beans, salad greens, zucchini, apples, a few cucumbers, a few green peppers, and a half dozen tomatoes so far. I have 4 dozen eggs in the refrigerator left from last week and one gallon of milk, along with 2 sticks of butter and a bit of mozz cheese in the freezer. The pantry holds a couple of cans of tomato sauce and 2 cans of evaporated milk, 1/2 bag russet potatoes, along with a few other things.

Let me show you what we're having for meals this week and how we can do this:

Breakfasts (choice of): spinach/onion omelets, Caprese omelets, sausage/spinach/cheddar frittata, pumpkin custard, coconut custard, hard boiled eggs & fruit (this will use some of the 4 dozen eggs, I'll use evaporated milk and coconut milk in the custards, the frittata is already made and in the freezer, I have some oranges in the refrigerator and fresh apples right from the tree)

Lunches (choice of): loaded chef salads, steak & veggie soup, leftovers (I have plenty of salad greens, green onions, tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers from the garden, a few carrots and a few stalks of celery in the refrigerator, and plenty of green beans to add to the soup)


dinner – herb crusted ham roast, cucumber salad, beet pickles, green beans, crustless pumpkin pie (ham from the freezer, dry herbs from my pantry, cucumbers from the garden, beet pickles from my home-canned store in the basement, green beans from my home-canned store, pumpkin and evaporated milk from my pantry)


dinner - grilled chicken, potato/veggie packets, tossed salad (chicken from the freezer, potatoes from the pantry, fresh peppers and zucchini, salad greens and tomatoes and even a carrot from the garden)


dinner - sausage-stuffed zucchini, green beans (zucchini from the garden, sausage from the freezer, canned diced tomatoes from the pantry, cheese in the freezer, green beans from the garden)


dinner - sloppy joe stuffed green peppers, beet pickles, tossed salad (beef from the freezer, make my own sloppy joe sauce with a can of tomato sauce from the pantry, green peppers from the garden, beet pickles from my home-canned supply, tossed salad with items from the garden)


dinner - pepper steak, green beans (steak from the freezer, peppers from the garden, green beans from the garden)


dinner - spaghetti squash w/ homemade spaghetti sauce, salad with homemade Italian dressing (spaghetti squash from the garden, homemade spaghetti sauce using ground beef from the freezer and a big can of tomato sauce from my pantry with some herbs/spices, salad from items in the garden)


Dinner – crock pot roast chicken, cucumber salad, beet pickles (chicken from my freezer, spices I keep on hand, cucumbers and onions from my own garden, homemade ranch dressing mix, beet pickles from my home-canned supply)

Snacks: popcorn, veggie sticks or slices (cucumber, zucchini, carrots, celery, tomatoes), oranges, apples, hard boiled eggs (we're usually not big snackers, and all of this is on hand.)

SEE??? It can be done! This is NOT a "meatless to save money" or "rice & beans" meal plan. I strongly believe in building a stockpile, no matter how small, for precisely these sort of weeks. I realize that not everyone has multiple freezers or a garden space, but even just stocking up on basic ingredients like tomatoes/sauce, evaporated milk, spices/herbs, butter and cheese [can both be frozen, along with milk] can provide quite a bit during lean times.

This is a gluten-free meal plan, BTW...except for the popcorn :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soft & Light Potato Flakes Rolls

I made these for my son's wedding reception and now I'm posting by my daughter-in-law's request!

Soft & Light Potato Flakes Rolls
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons regular instant yeast or active dry yeast
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or bread flour
    1/4 cup dried potato flakes
    1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water (potato water, if you have any saved)
    3/4 cup lukewarm milk
    3 tablespoons butter, softened or melted

To make dough in a bread machine: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. Assess the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle; add additional water or flour as necessary to produce a smooth, supple, somewhat soft dough.

To complete the rolls: Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans, or a 9 x 13-inch pan. Space the rolls in the pan(s), cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rise for about 1 hour, till they’re very puffy and are touching one another.

Bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 22 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, set them on a wire rack to cool, and brush them with melted butter or margarine, if desired. This will give the rolls a soft crust. Serve the rolls warm, or store them in an airtight container. Yield: 16 rolls.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Zucchini Crisp

In a never-ending quest (at this time of year) to find new recipes that use zucchini, I found this one at When I made it earlier this week, it was 1/4 gone before we even sat down to dinner!

Zucchini Crisp

  • 5 cups zucchini, peeled, seeded, & diced
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 3/4 c. water


  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Cook first 5 ingredients for 10 minutes. Place in 9 inch square or 7" x 11" baking dish. Mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over zucchini and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or without.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sweet Potato and Spinach Hash with Eggs

Eh, the name doesn't necessarily sound appealing, but this new recipe went over GREAT with my family! The kids have even requested a repeat next week.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Hash with Eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 6 to 8 cups finely diced uncooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 10 to 15 oz. frozen spinach
  • 8 to 12 eggs
  • salt and pepper
Cook bacon and onion in a large pot or Dutch oven. When onion is cooked, add sweet potatoes and chili powder. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add spinach, cover and cook until spinach is thawed. Spread mixture in 2 9 x 13 pans, making 4 to 6 wells in each pan. Break one egg into each well. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 375°F for 5 to 12 minutes, until eggs are cooked as desired (soft or hard). Serve.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roast pork/ham with mustard herb crust

Oh my, we tried this tonight and it received RAVE reviews from the family!


  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley or 2 Tbsp. dried
  • 1 Tbp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. spicy brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 lb. pork loin (or other cut) roast or smoked ham roast (not fully cooked)

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine garlic, parsley, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and salt.

In a small bowl mix the mustard and olive oil.

Line a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil, lightly greased or sprayed with cooking spray.

Place pork on foil; spread mustard mixture on sides & top. Sprinkle the garlic & herb mixture over top and sides and press in gently. Insert oven proof meat thermometer near the center of the roast.

Roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 325°F and continue roasting for 1 1/4 hrs to 1 3/4 hours until thermometer reads 160°.

Remove roast to a platter and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Easy gazpacho

In my quest to find healthy summer meals that don't heat the kitchen, I found a gazpacho recipe on and tweaked it. It's easy, there is NO cooking involved, and my kids even like it! I must say, it is better after chilling for 24 hours; the flavors blend nicely.

Quick Gazpacho
  • 2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 cucumber, preferably seedless, diced into 1/4 inch cubes (I use my food dicer for this easy!)
  • 1 small bell pepper (green, red, yellow...whatever color), diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (1 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
Process 1/2 can of tomatoes with the water in a blender or food processor until pureed. Add to remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Menu plan July 10 - 16, 2011


breakfast – spinach & cheese omelets

lunch – chef salad

dinner – leftovers from wedding reception


breakfast - dairy free smoothie

lunch - one pan cabbage “spaghetti”

dinner - provolone smothered chicken, green beans, ambrosia fruit salad


breakfast - cottage cheese & oranges

lunch - leftovers

dinner - pork chops in veggies


breakfast – sausage/spinach/cheddar frittata

lunch - chef salad, apple slices with nut butter

dinner - crock pot meatloaf, green beans, apple fruit salad


breakfast - dairy free custard with blueberries

lunch - gazpacho

dinner - honey mustard chicken, sweet potato oven fries, tossed salad


breakfast - scrambled eggs, bacon, orange slices

lunch - chicken salad

dinner - pizza burgers, steamed broccoli & carrots


breakfast - sausage links, orange slices, hard cheese bites

lunch - leftovers/tuna patties/tomato slices

dinner - spicy roast chicken (crock pot), tossed salad

Snacks: trail mix (nuts, craisins, sunflower seeds, dried banana chips), fresh fruit (oranges, apples, bananas), peanut butter or cream cheese on celery sticks.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Menu plan July 3 - 9, 2011

It's a busy week for us, with the Independence Day festivities at the beginning of the week and a wedding at the end!


breakfast – spinach & cheese omelets

lunch – leftovers & salad

dinner – pulled pork salad


breakfast - cottage cheese & fruit

lunch - tuna patties, side salad, fruit

dinner - grilled sausage, cucumber salad, tomato & corn salad, pavlova with berries


breakfast - dairy free smoothies

lunch - ham & pepper roll ups, fresh fruit

dinner - oriental beef kabobs over bed of lettuce with dressing


breakfast – noatmeal, fruit

lunch - gazpacho

dinner - grilled chicken legs, potato & veggie packets


breakfast - sausage/spinach/cheddar frittata

lunch - turkey roll ups with veggie sticks

dinner - BLT chicken salad


breakfast - hard boiled eggs, sausages, tomato wedges

lunch - chef salad

dinner - taco salad

Saturday: our son is getting married!

breakfast - ham/cheese/fruit plate

lunch & dinner - wedding reception (ham, meatballs, potato salad, pasta salad, veggie tray & dip, pickle & olive tray, potato rolls, ambrosia fruit salad, wedding cake)

Snacks: berry banana pops (pureed berries & bananas, frozen in popsicle molds), trail mix (nuts, craisins, sunflower seeds, dried banana chips), fresh fruit (oranges, apples, bananas), peanut butter on celery sticks.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Menu plan for June 26 - July 2, 2011


breakfast – scrambled eggs, cottage cheese with fruit

lunch – potluck at church

dinner – Sweet & sour chicken, green beans


breakfast - hard boiled eggs, grapefruit

lunch - chef salad

dinner - grilled fish with Aioli, tropical slaw, broccoli


breakfast - dairy free smoothies

lunch - sausage & spinach soup

dinner - Tacos


breakfast - cottage cheese & fruit, ham

lunch - sausages & baked beans

dinner - Honey mustard chicken, cauliflower salad, green beans


breakfast - sausage/spinach/cheddar frittata

lunch - turkey roll ups with veggie sticks

dinner - grilled steak salad, grilled pineapple


breakfast - ham & eggs, tomato slices

lunch - chef salad

dinner - tuna or salmon loaf, cucumber salad, low carb lemon tiramisu


breakfast - cottage cheese with lemon curd & blueberries

lunch - leftovers/clean out the fridge

dinner - artichoke chicken, tossed salad, fruit

Snacks: berry banana pops (pureed berries & bananas, frozen in popsicle molds), trail mix (nuts, craisins, sunflower seeds, dried banana chips, coconut), fresh fruit (oranges, apples, bananas), peanut butter on celery sticks.

I planned around what we already have on hand and should only have to purchase a few things: a head of cauliflower, a whole pineapple, ham and turkey lunch meat, cottage cheese, salad greens, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, oranges, bananas, and Parmesan cheese.

I look forward to these yummy meals!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Artichoke Chicken Bake

Artichoke Chicken Bake

EASY yet elegant, and tasty!

  • 14 oz. can water packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 375°. Salt and pepper the chicken breast halves and place in a greased baking dish.

Combine the artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise and garlic; mix well. Spread over chicken breasts.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until chicken juices run clear.

Makes 4 servings

This week's meal plan

Due to health concerns, we are changing the way we eat.

Since March of this year, we've been adopting a mix of GAPS/Paleo/lower carb ways of eating. It requires a huge change in the way we've been taught to eat.

I do not follow the USDA's Food Pyramid any longer. Instead, I follow a nutrient-dense food pyramid. It looks a lot different than what we're used to!

Now, you can say that this cannot be healthy, but my bloodwork showed differently. My overall cholesterol dropped by 40 points and my LDL and HDL levels are finally within optimum ranges, all without the help of medications (and it all happened in a 4 week period!) My blood pressure went down to within normal range, again without medications. My blood sugars are easier to control, my skin breakouts cleared up, I don't have digestive system issues any more, and I have so much more energy!

Changing the way we eat also requires a change in planning meals. I no longer use breads/pasta/rice as fillers. I've more than doubled the amount of veggies/fruits in our diet and I'm not afraid to eat red meat. In learning more about the benefits of whole foods, I also realized that we needed more fish & nuts in our diet to get the healthy fats. I no longer bake bread except on the rare occasion.

How do I still manage to feed my crew of 3 adults, 2 teen boys and a tween girl on a restricted food budget of $60 or less a week? Well, by eliminating bread/pasta or expensive alternatives (think gluten-free bread, low-fat cookies, etc.), I also don’t use sauces, syrups, or spreads that are required to make bread/pasta tasty. By eliminating expensive breakfast cereal, I don’t use much milk at all. Those savings can go into buying nutrient dense foods. My shopping cart is typically 1/3 full of meat & cheese & eggs, and 2/3 full of fresh/frozen fruits & veggies with a few cans of coconut milk and spices that I need.

Here's my menu plan for this week.


breakfast – spinach & cheese omelets

lunch – skipped because we had breakfast late and just weren't hungry

dinner – baked chicken, salad


breakfast - cottage cheese & fruit

lunch - tuna patties, side salad

dinner - German meatballs in sauce, tossed salad, pear & blueberry salad


breakfast - dairy free mango smoothies, scrambled eggs

lunch - ham & pepper roll ups, fresh fruit

dinner - artichoke & chicken bake, romaine salad, crustless coconut cream pie


breakfast – no-atmeal with blueberries

lunch - turkey rollups with veggie sticks

dinner - triple meatloaf, steamed broccoli, oven fried potatoes


breakfast - sausage/spinach/cheddar frittata

lunch - beef liver & caramelized onions, beet pickles

dinner - provolone smothered chicken, tomato & veggies salad with Italian dressing


breakfast - cottage cheese, grapefruit

lunch - chef salad, beef broth

dinner - tilapia, tropical fruit slaw, green beans


breakfast - poached eggs,cheese/fruit plate

lunch - family reunion (taking sweet potato/bacon/egg salad)

dinner - sausage & potato skillet, tossed salad

Snacks: blueberry banana pops (pureed berries & bananas, frozen in popsicle molds), trail mix (almonds, craisins, sunflower seeds, dried banana chips, coconut), peanut butter on celery sticks, primal energy bars

Some of the recipes are already posted. I'll post more recipes as we try them and find them to be good!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pork Chops & Veggie Sauce

This is a family favorite; even the kids love it!

Pork Chops with veggie sauce

  • 4 to 6 pork chops
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can stewed or diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. water

Add all ingredients except water and cornstarch to the crock pot. Cook on low for 5 1/2 hours. Mix cornstarch and water together and stir into crock pot. Cook 30 minutes more. Usually served over rice.


Brown chops in skillet. Add rest of ingredients except water and cornstarch. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water together and add to skillet, stirring gently to mix. Simmer until sauce thickens.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sausage & Potato Skillet

This is a fairly inexpensive, quick-to-fix simple main dish.

Sausage & Potato Skillet
  • 1 lb. fully cooked smoked or Polish sausage, sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 3 to 5 medium baking potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 medium onion, cut length-wise into thin wedges
  • garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. butter
Melt butter in a non-stick pan or electric skillet set on medium low heat. Add potatoes and onions. Cook, stirring frequently and carefully and covering between stirring until potatoes are just tender. Add the seasonings and gently stir to mix well. Add the sausage, cover and cook until sausage is heated through. Serve.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sweet potato, bacon, & egg salad

This is a tasty change of pace from "regular" potato salads and would be a GREAT dish for a brunch. We're having it tonight as our main dish, with steamed broccoli and fresh fruit as sides.

Sweet potato, bacon, and egg salad

  • 3 c. sweet potatoes, cubed, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 8 to 12 slices bacon, diced and cooked
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (may add more to suit your taste)
  • 1 to 2 tsp. dried dill weed

Combine all ingredients. Chill before serving.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Italian Sausage and Spinach Soup

My 11 year old daughter made this for our lunch today, along with a loaf of fresh baked bread from the bread machine. What a tasty and filling meal!

Italian Sausage and Spinach Soup
  • 28 to 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1/3 c. diced onions or 1 1/2 Tbsp. dry minced onion
  • 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 lb. hot or sweet Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked and drained
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • grated parmesan cheese for garnish
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the cheese. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes if you can stand to wait that long (it smells really delicious). Sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese on each serving.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spanish Beef & Rice

Tonight's meal was a "throw together" type meal, but it sure turned out great and the family loved it!

Spanish Beef & Rice
  • 2 lb. steak, cut into strips (I used sirloin)
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • hot cooked rice
Place strips in a plastic bag or bowl; add enough salt and pepper to taste and mix very well. In heavy skillet (I used my electric skillet) brown the seasoned steak strips in hot vegetable oil; saute onions with the beef strips. Add tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes with chilies, and tomato sauce. Cover and cook on medium low heat (about 275°) until done. Serve over hot rice.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday night fish dinner!

My family's not crazy about fish, but in an effort to eat healthier I am trying to include fish in our meal rotation. Thus, Friday night fish. Tonight's meal was a HUGE success! Here's what we had:

Flounder in Lemon Dill Sauce (from

  • 2 lb. flounder fillets
  • 6 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dill weed
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 good sized onion, thinly sliced

Over medium heat, heat all but the fish in skillet until butter is melted and onions are tender. Add the flounder; cover and cook 8 - 10 minutes until flounder flakes easily; baste occasionally.

Tropical Fruit Slaw
  • 3 to 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 20 oz. can pineapple, crushed or tidbits, drained (save juice)
  • 1 c. miniature marshmallows
  • 1 large firm banana, sliced
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 1 c. diced apple (no need to peel)
  • 1 seedless orange, peeled, sectioned, and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. - 2/3 c. vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 c. pineapple juice (from reserved juice)

Whisk together the yogurt and pineapple juice and pour over the cabbage, marshmallows, lemon juice, and fruits. Fold in the yogurt dressing until well mixed. Chill briefly before serving.

Peas & carrots (no recipe, just on the menu)

Lemon Tiramisu Dessert (sort of low carb, can sub Splenda for the sugar if you want)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c. sugar or Splenda
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 to 2/3 c. ricotta cheese
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp. lemon curd (I used homemade, recipe below)
  • 1 c. whipped topping
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in flour in lowest speed, a tablespoon at a time, until completely mixed in. Spread the batter in the baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Mix ricotta cheese with 1/2 the lemon curd. Add 1/2 c. whipped topping and mix until smooth. Spread over the cooled sponge base. Gently spread the rest of the lemon curd on top of the cheese mixture, then do the same with the remaining whipped topping.

Lemon Curd
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar or Splenda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine
Whisk together zest, juice, sugar and egg in top of a double boiler or a metal mixing bowl. Cut butter into 4 pieces and add to mixture. Set pan/bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook mixture, whisking occasionally, until thickened and smooth, about 20 minutes. Chill.
Can store in refrigerator in covered container for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beef stroganoff

This is a yummy recipe that was shared with me by a friend several years ago. It's VERY easy to put together and takes about 30 minutes to cook.


  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. (2 cloves) minced garlic
  • 8 oz. canned mushrooms, drained
  • 1 lb. diced beef (I use chuck, flank, or sirloin steak)
  • 1 1/2 c. beef bouillon (1 1/2 c. water plus 1 1/2 tsp. beef bouillon granules)
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 16 oz. sour cream (I've also used plain yogurt when I didn't have sour cream)
  • egg noodles

Saute' onion and garlic in melted butter. Add mushrooms and diced beef and cook until beef is browned, stirring frequently. Whisk together the beef bouillon, lemon juice, and flour. Stir into the beef mixture and continue stirring over medium heat until thickened. Add sour cream and serve over cooked egg noodles.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Homemade Jerky

This is one of my uncle's recipes. We made it this week (dried it last night) using thin strips of round steak and chicken breast. I haven't tried fish yet, but I think it would be GOOD!


3/4 c. barbecue sauce (we used my honey BBQ sauce recipe from July 2009 posts)
1/2 c. molasses
1/2 c. honey or brown sugar
1/2 c. Tender Quick salt (curing salt)
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. liquid smoke (we used hickory)
2 Tbsp. garlic salt
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Pour over strips of beef, venison, chicken or poultry in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate 36 hours, stirring every 2 hours. Hang strips to dry in warm oven for 12 to 15 hours (until meat is dry) or in a dehydrator (ours took about 8 hours to dry.)

I prefer to store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Easy sesame beef with vegetables

I found a good recipe for sesame beef on and tweaked it to make an easy skillet meal. We're having this tonight.

Easy Sesame Beef with Vegetables
  • 1 lb. boneless sirloin
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 green onions, with tops, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. (6 cloves) minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 tsp. sesame seed
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 - 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 2 stalks celery, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 1 bunch fresh broccoli, flowerets trimmed and stalks sliced diagonally, or 1 bag frozen broccoli

Trim fat from beef and slice diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Mix next 6 ingredients and pour 1/3 of it over the beef. Stir until beef is well coated. Refrigerate extra marinade and beef in marinade 30 minutes or overnight (covered).
Drain beef.
Cook and stir sesame seed over medium heat until light brown. Remove from skillet.
Heat remaining oil. Add beef and cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Heat remaining marinade with cornstarch until thickened while the beef is browning
Add veggies to beef, cover and cook until veggies are crisp tender. Add thickened marinade, stir to mix. Sprinkle lightly browned sesame seeds on top and serve with hot rice.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Homemade granola bars

I discovered a great granola bar recipe! It's not hard like some granola bars are.

  • 4 c. oatmeal
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. coconut (use 1 c. extra oats and omit this if someone can't have tree nuts due to allergies)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. vegetable or canola oil
  • 3/4 c. honey (OR 1/2 c. honey & 1/4 c. molasses OR 1/2 c. honey & 1/4 c. light corn syrup)
  • raisins, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, dried fruit pieces, chopped nuts...whatever you'd like to add.

Mix dry ingredients well. Add oil and honey. Mix well. Get your fingers in there and mix it until all is blended and slightly sticky. Add raisins or whatever you like. Press firmly into greased jelly roll plan (12 x 15 or close to that.) Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375°. They will look puffy and soft when you take them out. Do not let them turn brown or they will be very hard. Cut into squares/rectangles while still warm.

I used the honey/corn syrup mixture because I ran out of honey. I added 1 c. raisins, 1 c. chocolate chips, and about 3/4 c. sunflower seeds.

It turned out that 375° was too hot for my granola bars. I'm not sure if it's my oven, but the bars were done at about 10 minutes instead of 15, and the undersides of the bars in one corner were slightly burned. I'm going to try 350° next time.

My kids (and husband) LOVED these!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Is it really cheaper?

I've had so many people ask me if it's REALLY cheaper to make my own bread. Well, without taking into account the fact that I know my bread has no preservatives or additives, I can say that it IS cheaper. Here's a short breakdown of some recipes:

**One cup of unbleached bread flour (bought in 50 lb. bags) = around 11¢ per cup. I buy the yeast in 1 lb. packages for $3.19 and is the equivalent of 64 individual packages = 5¢ for 2 1/4 tsp. (equivalent of 1 pkg.)**

Our favorite loaf calls for 1/2 c. cooked rice (2¢), water (free), 1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil (.7¢), 2 Tbsp. sugar (3.4¢), 2 tsp. salt (.5¢), 3 c. unbleached bread flour (33¢) and 1 1/2 tsp. yeast (3.3¢). Total cost = 42.9¢ for a loaf of fresh homemade bread.

My favorite 100% whole wheat bread calls for 1/2 c. warm water (free), 1/3 c. warm milk (4.7¢), 6 Tbsp plain yogurt (about 5¢ since I make my own), 2 Tbsp. honey (15.6¢), 2 Tbsp. butter (4.3¢), 2 Tbsp. potato flakes (1.8¢), 2 Tbsp. wheat germ (6¢), 1/2 tsp. salt (.1 ¢), 3 c. whole wheat flour (64¢), and 1 tsp. yeast (2.2¢). Total cost = $1.03 for a loaf of fresh 100% moist whole wheat bread.

Italian bread: good for making garlic bread, french bread pizzas, french toast, or just plain eating calls for 1 1/3 c. warm water (free), 1 1/2 tsp. oil (.7¢), 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (4.6 ¢), 1 1/2 tsp. salt (3.7 ¢), 4 c. flour (44¢), 2 1/4 tsp. yeast (5¢) Total cost = 58¢ for a loaf of fresh Italian bread.

How about hamburger buns? 1 1/4 c. milk (17.5 ¢), 1 egg (9¢), 2 Tbsp. butter (4.3¢), 1/4 c. sugar (6.8¢), 3/4 tsp. salt (1.9¢), 3 3/4 c. flour (41.2¢), 1 1/4 tsp. yeast (2.8¢) Total cost for 12 fresh, homemade buns = 83.5¢.

How about yogurt? Without taking into account the initial purchase of plain yogurt to start:

1/2 gallon milk ($1.13), 1/2 cup plain yogurt saved from the previous batch = 5.27 ¢ (yes, that's CENTS) per 8 oz (typical cup of yogurt). Add your own fruit and sweeteners. It's still cheaper than the 40¢ - 50¢ per 8 oz. you're paying when the yogurt is on sale!

I could go on and on with more recipes and their costs, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Make your own.....YOGURT!

I've been making my own yogurt for a few months now! Not the flavored stuff you'd find in the store, but the plain yogurt that you can add your own healthy fruit purees or flavorings. I don't have any special equipment but a crock pot...that's right, a crock pot.

I found this great idea on!

8 cups (1/2 gallon) milk

1/2 c. plain yogurt with active cultures

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (optional)

Put the milk in your crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Unplug crock pot and leave it sitting undisturbed for 3 hours. Scoop out 2 cups milk; add plain yogurt and gelatin to this milk and whisk until well mixed. Return mixture to the crock pot and whisk gently until well mixed. Cover crock pot. Wrap in 2 large bath towels and let sit for 8 hours (I let mine sit overnight).

If you'd like a thicker yogurt without using the gelatin, pour mixture into a cheesecloth bag and let sit for several hours to drain.

Remember to save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt for the next batch!

Here are some pics of the process:

8 cups of milk, heated for 2 1/2 hours in the crock pot, then unplugged and left to sit for 3 hours.

whisking in the plain yogurt (I made a small mess LOL)

wrapped up for the night!

....and PRESTO! We have yogurt!

I store the yogurt in an airtight container in my refrigerator. It's good for 7 to 10 days.

Now, how to use it up?

We make smoothies (yogurt, frozen fruit, bit of water) in the blender.

Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream in many recipes.

I use it in my 100% whole wheat bread (make the dough in my bread machine, baked in the oven):

Supermoist Wheat Bread

  • 1/2 c. warm milk
  • 6 Tbsp. plain yogurt (can be Greek)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. instant mashed potato flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. whole wheat bread flour (I used stone ground whole wheat flour, not necessarily for bread, and the bread turned out great!)
  • 1 tsp. active dry or instant yeast

Place all ingredients in bread pan in order listed. Select Basic cycle (yes, Basic) and desired crust setting, or use dough setting. Press start. If using dough setting, remove dough after the cycle ends and form into a loaf. Let rise in greased bread pan and bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes.

Recently I found some TASTY recipes for frozen yogurt at

Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

12 ounces evaporated lowfat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup plain yogurt

2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

In medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over moderate heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; let the mixture cool in the refrigerator. Add the vanilla and yogurt. Refrigerate until the mixture is cold. Melt the chocolate. While the chocolate is hot, pour it very slowly into the chilled yogurt mixture while stirring gently. Freeze in a ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Peach Frozen Yogurt

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 pound peaches, peeled & quartered
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan. Stir in milk; let stand 1 minute. Place over low heat; cook 5 minutes or until the gelatin dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in the corn syrup. Let the mixture cool completely. In a food processor add the peaches and process until smooth; scraping the sides of the processor bowl occasionally. Combine the peach purée, gelatin mixture, yogurt, and vanilla in a large bowl; stir well. Cover and chill 8 hours. Pour mixture into a ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup

Combine the milk, sugar, gelatin, and salt. Let stand 1 minute. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until the gelatin dissolves. Let the mixture cool completely. Stir in the vanilla extract, yogurt, and corn syrup. Pour into a bowl; cover and chill for 8 hours. Pour into a ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

  • 3 cups raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup plain yogurt

In food processor purée the raspberries for about 1 minute or until smooth. Strain and discard seeds. Set aside. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in raspberry purée and corn syrup. Let the mixture cool completely. Combine the raspberry mixture and yogurt in a bowl; stir well. Cover and chill 8 hours. Pour raspberry mixture into a ice cream machine. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Yes, it's mid-winter and we're enjoying some homemade frozen yogurt!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Starting off the new year with another menu plan

Happy New Year!

Yesterday I spent about two hours getting my menu plan together. I had food on hand from the past two months that I'd picked up and hadn't used and I had hoped to not have to buy any groceries due to some financial shortages this month, but I will have to buy 20 lb. potatoes and just a few other things, some carrots and lettuce, probably another 50 lb. bag of flour, more milk, and eggs. It should cost around $50 - $60 for all those. I spent 15 minutes taking inventory of my freezers, pantry, and fridge, then I went to and entered the items. It came up with over 70 recipes that I had all the ingredients for! I picked many of those, added a few faves that I know I have the things for, and printed off the new recipes. Not hard at all!

Breakfasts: eggs, quiche, oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, fruit smoothies made with frozen fruit and homemade yogurt.

Lunches: sandwiches, leftovers, homemade pasta with garlic & cheese, fruit

I don't have the days planned out yet, but here are my 31 dinner meals!

  • Hawaiian chicken over rice, green beans (had this 1/1)
  • Spaghetti, homemade garlic bread, vegetable salad
  • roast chicken, winter squash, corn
  • hamburger goulash with tossed salad
  • Sloppy joes on homemade buns, steamed veggies
  • broccoli ham & cheese soup with homemade muffins
  • chicken al fredo with homemade pasta, green beans
  • salisbury patties, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans (had this 1/2)
  • chicken & veggie pot pie with biscuit crust
  • chicken broccoli dijon stir fry over rice
  • Rosemary chicken & potatoes, steamed broccoli
  • chicken wings fricassee over rice, glazed carrots
  • chicken voila (chicken bits & gravy) over rice, steamed peas & carrots
  • roasted rosemary & lemon chicken, squash, green beans
  • sausage gravy over biscuits, mixed vegetable salad
  • curried coconut chicken over rice, orange/pear salad
  • minestrone, Italian bread
  • layered chicken bake (chicken, stuffing mix, green beans, soup, mozzarella cheese, almonds), tossed salad
  • Hamburger stew with biscuits or muffins
  • chicken satay peanut curry with homemade noodles and broccoli
  • porcupine meatballs, Italian bread, green beans
  • wet burritos, corn
  • scalloped potatoes & ham, green beans
  • tuna melts, chips, veggie salad
  • chili, corn chips
  • baked bean soup, vegetable salad
  • shepherds pie
  • hot German potato salad with bratwurst, green beans
  • redneck casserole, veggie salad
  • lasagna, homemade garlic bread, tossed salad
  • taco salad