Monday, October 6, 2014

Do Not Read While Hungry {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is food.

We're finally all beginning to recover after last week's illness (thank God!) As a by-product of being sick, I had part of a box of Rice Chex sitting on top of the fridge, preparing to go stale (since we don't drink milk, we don't really eat cereal, and plain Chex are really only appealing when nothing else is), but since Adam's had a rough couple of weeks, I decided to try to modify the Puppy Chow recipe on the back of the box into something that he would like (I adore the original version of Puppy Chow, but he's more of a white chocolate person).

I actually checked the cabinets before we left to make sure that I didn't buy any unnecessary ingredients (lo and behold, there was powdered sugar and waxed paper that I had forgotten about) and also managed to remember to bring a market bag to carry everything home in. Because we didn't have a whole box of Chex (and because he likes them) I got a bag of mini marshmallows as a supplement, and by a wonderful happenstance everything that I needed was on sale.

We got home and I got to work making Polar Bear Mix while Brooklyn "helped" by emptying the cabinet that I keep paper and plastic bags in:

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of mini marshmallows and 7 cups of Rice Chex. In a one quart microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup of white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of butter, and microwave for 1 minute. Stir, then microwave for up to 30 seconds more, until it can be stirred smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour over cereal mixture and stir to coat. Pour coated mixture into a 2 gallon zipper baggie with 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and shake until coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool and store in the fridge.

It made a bunch and while it may not always be the most economical snack, it was this time, and it was definitely a hit (he agreed to leave the leftover marshmallows and white chocolate chips untouched in the freezer if I would make him another batch when this was gone - that's big).

Before he got the Bug last week, Adam made tacos using the tostada shells that have been languishing in the cabinet (I assumed they were stale - apparently not, at least not after piling them with ground beef and cheese and sticking them in the oven for a few minutes). With the leftover ground beef (and a partial bag of Fritos we already had), I made half a batch of taco casserole (moved up in this month's meal plan queue from next week to this week) which should enable us to finish out the week without needing to do anymore cooking, or grocery shopping. So far, we're ahead on the grocery budget and there's no foreseeable reason why we shouldn't be able to stay that way.

I've started a new habit (because goodness knows I need the fluids - I don't drink much, and soda was accounting for a decent percent of what I drank) of having a cup of tea after breakfast - on the balcony if the weather is nice enough to leave the door open, or at my desk if not. It's much more enjoyable than having it with breakfast, since that time is spent helping Brooklyn eat in between my own quick bites, and smacks more of utility than pleasure.

Speaking of food, and [not] eating out, there's a wonderful local burger/salad/shake place called Big Orange (that gets gf buns from the local allergy-friendly bakery!) that's our go-to place for when we have out-of-town company (which is saying a lot, since I don't like hamburgers, and Adam only likes his dad's). But I am a visual eater - make it pretty and I'll eat it - and they have aesthetics down. My current favorite is a work of art comprised of a turkey burger topped with pesto and cheese and a fried egg (and peppers, but I leave those off). Because October is also Socktober for knitters (I know, I know, we're so clever) I wanted to do a design in sock yarn - and something inspired by beautiful pesto-laden goodness seemed like a good idea (since I also tend to buy yarn based on color, it wasn't difficult to translate a food to a knit doesn't resemble part of a cheesy fastfood uniform). So I'm working on that this week while not eating out, with the mental agreement that whenever I finish it, we can photoshoot the design at its namesake and it will taste all the better for having waited.

Coupon-clipping, meal planning, freezer meals, buying in bulk... there are so many ways to save on groceries! What are your favorites (or are you more like me, deciding what you want and then just going to get it?)

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