Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cyndi's Teriyaki Chicken tutorial

This is yummy and easy even if it isn't authentic!
It's kinda pretty too!
Start with legs and thighs. Frozen will take longer so I try to use thawed.
Arrange chicken in baking pans.
You need black pepper, ground ginger, brown sugar and soy sauce.
That's it!
Sprinkle brown sugar over chicken.
Next shake plenty of ginger over chicken. Yum!
Sprinkle a little black pepper. Freshly ground is nice if you have it.
Shake soy sauce over your chicken. So pretty!
Oven at 400
Place the chicken in and turn about every fifteen minutes for that golden brown color. It takes about an hour to finish from thawed. A little longer for frozen. Check carefully to make sure chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear before serving. The extra sauce is good over steamed rice!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Being flexible is important

I was looking at the dinner menu tonight and something really bothered me. I was making delicious sloppy joes and serving green beans from a can. Now Joes are finger food (even if I do use a fork). So I thought about it today and decided to change the vegetable to baked sweet potato fries. Now that's more like it! Then I realized I should have a dessert to serve my company, so I decided on key lime bars. I spent 4.70 at the produce stand and got a bunch of sweet potatoes. This is why you have to keep a few dollars around for the week. It's going to be a great dinner tonight!

Monday, March 14, 2011

This week's grocery/menu examples

On the dinner menu this week we have:
Monday: Biscuits and gravy w/ mixed veggies
Tuesday: Sloppy Joes with green beans (missionaries eat with us that night)
Wednesday: Home made pizza
Thursday: Potato soup, green jell-O
Friday: kids eat boxed mac and cheese, mom and dad eat dinner at church social for adults
Saturday: Chicken veggie stir fry over rice
Sunday: Beef stroganoff, green beans, wheat rolls

Since gas is so expensive now, I'm giving up my end of the week trip to WinCo, and instead I'm spending more on Mondays and making sure to pick up food storage items at that time. I still leave about $10 in the food budget in case I need to run to the store during the week for something.

First I make a list of what I need to make the menu work, then I think about things I want to stock up on. Here's what my list looked like before shopping today. I always estimate before I shop. It was over to $80, but I was assuming the actual cost would be a bit lower on some things.

Milk x2 6.00
Sour cream 3.00
Eggs (18) 3.00
Butter 2.50
Ground sausage 3.00
Buttermilk 3.00
Ground beef (2lbs) 6.00
Burger buns 2.00
canned green beans x2 2.50
tomato sauce x4 2.00
Evaporated milk x2 2.00
green jell-O 1.00
boxed mac' n' cheese x6 3.00
beef steak 4.00

flour x2 6.oo
sugar 5.00
laundry soap 6.00
tuna x4 3.00
corn x2 1.50
pancake mix (10lbs) 7.00
shortening 3.00
salt 1.00
applesauce 5.00

Now they did not have pancake mix in the 10lb bags like they usually do, so I bought peanut butter instead. Other than that and four pieces of bulk chocolate for the kids, I stuck to the menu. Here are the actual prices I paid. (Same quantities as listed above)

Milk 4.67
Sour cream 1.18
eggs 1.85
butter 3.51
ground sausage 2.78
buttermilk 1.86
ground beef (3lbs) 8.00
burger buns 1.96
canned green beans 1.16
tomato sauce 1.92
evap. milk 1.78
green jell-O .35
boxed mac n cheese 2.52
Beef steak 3.31

flour 5.56
sugar 4.42
laundry soap 6.22
tuna 1.92
canned corn 1.16
peanut butter 4.67
shortening 3.64
salt .42
applesauce 2.92

Don't ask me how I was so far off on some things. I was just not thinking straight, but with the two totals here's the difference. My estimate would have cost 80.50 before tax on the laundry soap. My actual cost was 68.82 including tax on the laundry soap and chocolates for the kids. That leaves me with 11.18 left in grocery money for this week, and I got that in exact cash back so there's no chance to over spend. When I get a bit more food stored up, I'm going to try doing this shopping at Safeway or Fred Meyer for a month just to see if it can be done at a conventional grocery store. How do your local prices compare?

Shopping with kids

Today I thought I'd try to get back into home school issues since that was why I started my blog in the first place. This applies to anyone who has to shop with kids though. Read on!

The number one rule about shopping with kids is: Don't! If at all possible, leave them at home!
Obviously this isn't always an option or I wouldn't be posting about this.

When you have to take them along, spend some time in the car outlining a few basic rules. Here is our list of rules for shopping with Mom:
1) Stay together! Safety first. Everyone needs to keep up and stay as a group in parking lots, store isles, and lines.
2) No yelling! It's just bad manners.
3)No asking for anything! This is my rule. It makes it easier when I can show my kids that I have a list in my hand and say "That's not on the list." But really the kids have learned not to ask at all.
4) No yanking on, riding on, walking in front of, or pushing, or pulling the shopping cart! If you've ever tried to get around with four kids yanking on a cart, you understand why I have this rule.
5) Finally, no touching any merchandise.

These are my rules, and we review them in the car on the way to the store.

Now we know that children respond well to rewards and praise, so when I take them with, I remind them that if they can obey the rules (and make the old folks smile at us), they can each choose one piece of chocolate from the bulk bins at the end of our shopping trip. I am really strict on this. If they don't earn it, they don't get it. That way, they know I mean business. They learn fast.

One more thing we do every time: Potty first. I don't mean before we leave the house. After all, the grocery store is like 15 minutes from home. A lot can happen in that time. When we get in the store we make a beeline for the restrooms. Everyone goes, and everyone washes their hands. Then we go back and get a cart and get going on our list.

I've also started teaching my kids to stand back against one side of the isle while I look for an item on my list. This keeps them out of the way of other shoppers and gets lots of smiles from old folks:)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March menu

A little late, but here are some dinner ideas for March. Still going strong on $80 a week!

Lasagna, green salad, wheat rolls
Roast turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing
ham fried rice, fresh orange slices
buttermilk pancakes, sausage, applesauce
Mom and Dad eat out/kids ramen w/babysitter
Grilled cheese, tomato soup or chicken noodle soup
Hot dogs on buns, baked beans, jell-O (Doritos were on sale so we had chips too)
Spanish rice, green beans, corn bread
Home made macaroni and cheese with little smoked sausage, broccoli
chicken and dumplings
cheeseburgers, tater tots
tuna noodle casserole, peas, whole wheat rolls
chili, corn bread
sausage gravy on biscuits, mixed veggies
sloppy Joes, green beans
home made pizza
potato soup, green jello (St. Patrick's Day)
(adult church social-kids boxed macaroni and cheese)
chicken stir fry over rice
beef stroganoff, green beans, wheat rolls
chicken pot pie, oranges
baked potatoes
chicken enchiladas (church potluck)
Chicken fettuccine Alfredo, broccoli
salmon, rice, carrot raisin salad
Chicken rice a roni, mixed veggies
Navy bean soup, corn bread
broccoli beef, steamed rice, wheat rolls
Spaghetti, garlic bread, corn
Breaded fried fish filets, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Love Game

We call it The Love Game. We play it about three times a year, but we always play on Valentine's Day. It was easy to make, even though it took a few minutes of my time. I have been able to fit it into a manila envelope where we have kept it save for almost three years! Each family member takes a turn rolling the die and moving the pawn. (I made mine from a wooden turtle cut out from a gift tag, and hot glued to a metal bobbin for an old sewing machine) If you land on a music note or a heart, you choose the appropriate card. The music cards have songs about love that the kids know from church. We sing the song together as a family during the turn. Then the next person goes. The heart cards say things like "shake hands" or "say I love you" or "blow a kiss". These actions are done on that turn and then it goes on. We play until the pawn moves around the board once or twice, depending on how much time we want to spend on family night. The board is laminated with contact paper and the cards are heavy card stock.