Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sick... Blah.

Sickness is running through my house.

It started out on Friday when I had to pick up my four year old from school because she threw up. She had a stomach bug, which I ended up catching and got sick on Saturday night. Sunday I was asleep all day and Monday my two year old came down with a cold and later on a fever. Today she still has a fever and is miserable.


I haven't gone grocery shopping since last week and most likely won't be able to go until Thursday since I have to work tomorrow- though that is up in the air depending on how Jilly feels in the morning. My husband did run to target on Sunday to pick up some milk and bread (yep, my stomach bug ended my very long no buying bread streak- I'm very upset with myself about it) but I am still going to have to be pretty creative on what kind of dinners I can pull together until I can get my butt to the store.

And as for the housework, well that has fallen to the wayside. My husband did do a ton of laundry this weekend for me (so sweet of him!) but I have not been able to keep up with my cleaning schedule though I am going to try and at least clean the toilets today and dust a little. Oh yes, I also have to fold and put away all of the laundry my husband did- he does not dare fold because he knows how picky I am about it.

Even though our lives have been thrown upside down a bit this week, all that really matters is that we all love each other and are here to help each other. I would much rather have my children remember me as a mom who cuddles and cares for them when they are sick than as a mom who has a perfectly clean and tidy house. And, what a great reminder of how wonderful my husband is- him taking care of me when I'm sick totally erases all of those moments that he makes me want to strangle him  ; )

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Homemade Gluten Free Italian Breadcrumbs

Last night for dinner we had Italian Breaded Pork Chops- which were delicious.

The recipe calls for Italian seasoned breadcrumbs which are something that I do not keep on hand for a few reasons. Reason one is that I prefer to make things from scratch as much as possible, reason two is that I am gluten free so I cannot eat regular breadcrumbs and reason three is that gluten free breadcrumbs are super expensive and I am cheap.

As you can tell, I ended up making my own Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and I was very happy with how they turned out.

First I brushed each side of gluten free bread with melted butter (I am mostly dairy free so I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread) and then sprinkled each side with Italian seasoning and some salt. I used store bought gluten free bread that I got a good deal on but you can just as easily use homemade bread or regular bread if you are not gluten free.

I placed the bread in an oven preheated to 325 degrees for about 30 minutes, making sure to flip halfway through. Once done, let the bread cool.

Place cooled bread into a large zipper top bag and maliciously beat with a rolling pin- this is the best part because smashing things is fun. Once the bread has been reduced to crumbs you are done! This recipe makes a panko style crumb, but you can easily make a finer crumb by utilizing a blender or food processor (though definitely not as fun). Plus, I love panko crumbs because they make your food crispier and who doesn't love them a crispy, baked pork chop?

Making your own seasoned breadcrumbs is so easy to do but what makes it even better is that it's also cheap to do and more healthy for you. I really love being able to control the ingredients in the food I serve my family- though I'll be even happier when I find a gluten free bread recipe that I actually like so I don't have to rely on store bought. Since I switched to making my own breadcrumbs my family has not grumbled once about wanting me to use store bought and they can't even tell that I am using gluten free ones!

Next time I plan on making a larger batch so that I can save some in the freezer for nights when I'm short on time, which when I think about it is pretty much every night  ; )

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Monday Grocery Shopping

Today was my first day doing my shopping during the week. My four year old was at my mom's for a sleepover so thankfully I just had my two year old with me- next week I'll have both of them and I am slightly dreading it.

Whole Foods

3 lb Bag Tangerines $3.99
Iceberg Lettuce $2.29
(2) Organic 1/2 Gallon Milk @ $4.39 each (local- from Maine)
So Delicious Ice Cream Bars $4.99 - $1 MC - $1 Whole Deal Coupon - $1 Ibotta = $1.99
Feel Good Foods Egg Rolls $4.99 (gluten and dairy free- so excited to eat them!!!!)
365 Frozen Corn $2.49 (certified gmo free)
Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread $4.29 (dairy free)
(2) 365 Cage Free Eggs @ $2.99 each
365 Tortilla Chips $2.79 (certified gmo free)
365 Veggie Puff Chips $1.99 (certified gmo free)
Natures's Path Organic Corn Puffs $2.19
2.26 lb London Broil $11.28
2.13 lb Bone In Pork Chops $10.63
2.85 lb Beef Brisket $19.92 

Less $30 rebate card (got from an Energy Star rebate on our refrigerator that we bought over the summer)

Total: $53.60 after Ibotta rebate

I know your eyes are probably popping out of your head about how much I spent on the beef brisket considering mainstream brisket is less than $2 a pound, but it is antibiotic and nitrate free which is very important to me. I will not buy any meat that contains those things because they are not good for my family to eat- I would rather not buy meat at all then buy meat filled with questionable ingredients. Plus, I loath factory farmed meat.

Stop and Shop

5 lb Bag Potatoes $3.99
3 lb Bag Onions $3.49 - $3.49 (free when you buy potatoes)
1 lb Organic Carrots .99
1.93 lb Cabbage .56
Stop and Shop Pure Cane Sugar $2.00 (gmo free)
Morton Kosher Salt $3.19
5 Alexia Fries @ $3 each - $5 Instant Savings - $1.50 Catalina = $1.70 each
(2) American Flatbread Pizza @ $5.99 each - (2) $1 MC = $4.99 each
Clif Kids Z-Bars $3.00

Less $3 off $30 home mailer coupon

Total: $28.21

I had another $1 Alexia coupon that I got in a home mailer but for some reason it got deleted from my order- oh well, you win some and you lose some.

As you can see, I am trying to stock my freezer with easy, husband friendly foods that can be made when I am at work on Saturdays- if I don't do this then the kids end up eating fast food.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekly Menu Plan

I always have a menu plan in my head but I really need to be more consistent with writing it down. As you can tell if you read my blog, consistency is something I suck at- I am working on it.

Rotisserie Chicken from the grocery store (I was sick- my husband made a judgement call)
Baked Red Potatoes


Italian Breaded Pork Chops (new recipe for me-will alter recipe to be gluten and dairy free)
Baked Red Potatoes
Green Beans
Beets in Vinegar

London Broil (this recipe is for steak but works well on London Broil as well)
Roasted Potatoes
Parmesan Crusted Baby Carrots (new recipe for me)

Pasta (regular for my family, quinoa for me)
Homemade Meatballs (gluten and dairy free- from my freezer)
Homemade Italian Bread (for my family)

Take Out (I'm not going to be getting home until after 5 pm, so I won't have time to make dinner)

I work until 6 (and don't get home until 6:45) so my husband is in charge of dinner for him and the kids- most likely a frozen pizza or frozen raviolis. I will eat something from the freezer when I get home.

I am participating in I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Hands Off the Glue Sticks Parents...

I always thought that when I had kids and they had school projects that I would be the type of mom who would want what they did to be perfect- as in perfect up to the standards of something I could do.

Well, thankfully I am not that kind of mom. I'm actually the kind of mom who sits back and lets my child do what they want- though I do help when needed or asked. I want my child's work to look like they did it themselves and for my child to be proud that they did it themselves.

A few weeks ago Tyler and the entire first grade were assigned a big project to do on a European country. They had to make a poster or diorama and write three facts about their country, and then in school they wrote little reports. Tyler chose to do a diorama using Legos- he is obsessed with Legos and using them made him so excited about his project (thank goodness because he is not always so keen on doing homework).

He did it pretty much all on his own- I would say 95% was Tyler and the other 5% was my husband and I helping him find needed Legos and spelling words for the facts he had to write. Tyler knew it was his hard work that made such a cool thing and he was so proud of himself.

From talking with other moms and seeing what other kids turned in, it is a little appalling to me how much "help" kids got on their projects. I know that first grader handwriting is not the neatest and their drawing abilities are not super advanced, but what in the world does a child learn from their parent doing most of the work? I feel like it makes the child become disinterested in what the are supposed to be learning- I can guarantee you that if I built Tyler's diorama (as other parents did to their kids) then he would have been blah to learning about Portugal and would have cared less about handing in his project.

Seriously parents, back off of your kids stuff. Let them do their own work, even if it doesn't come out looking like something that can be hung in an art museum. Letting them do it themselves is part of them learning and helps them gain confidence in themselves. Plus, I already did all of my own projects when I was in school- been there, done that and don't want to do it again  ; )