August 05, 2013

What We Eat - Australia

Family: mom, dad, toddler
Store of choice: Coles and Woolworth
Total: $56 AUS (~$50 USD)

What We Eat - Texas, family 2

Family: mom, dad, toddler, baby
Store of choice: Albertson's
Total: $152

What We Eat - Texas, family 1

Family: mom, dad, toddler, baby
Store of choice: Target
Total: $123.71

What We Eat - North Carolina

Family: mom, dad, toddler, baby
Store of choice: Harris Teeter
Total: $75

What We Eat - Ontario

Family: mom, dad, toddler
Total: $263 CAD (~$253 USD)

What We Eat - Ohio

Family: mom, dad, preschooler, toddler
Store of choice: Kroger
Total: $220

What We Eat - Loas

Family: mom, dad, toddler, baby
Total: about $110

What We Eat - Arizona

Family: mom, dad, toddler
Store of Choice: Whole Foods
Total: $384
*for 1.5 weeks

(And this particular friend apparently had a lot of free time on her hands for these photos. Ha.)

What We Eat - Georgia

Family - mom, preschooler, toddler
Stores of choice: Publix and Trader Joe's
Total: $137

August 01, 2013

What We Eat - California

Family: mom, dad, school age, toddler, baby
Store of choice: Raley's
Total: $65

What this post is about:

What We Eat - United Kingdom

Family: mom, dad, preschooler, toddler
Store of Choice: ASDA and local markets
Total: ~ £85 (~$130 USD)

What We Eat - Rhode Island

Family: mom, dad, preschooler, toddler
Store of choice: Aldi
Total: $106

July 14, 2013

Stuffed Banana Peppers

This summer we've been getting a CSA box from a local farm. While Ive heard some interesting stories about some, I've been nothing but impressed by the one I'm in. Many days we've been having simple grilled or baked meat with veggies and fruits from our CSA box on the side. Simple. Perfect. Delicious. And then we got in banana peppers which aren't normally a part of our diet. Enter new recipe. New man favorite.

1 lb hot ground Italian sausage, cooked
1/2 cup romano cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 large egg
banana peppers, at least 4
olive oil
4 large tomatoes, 3 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper (or marinara sauce)

In a bowl mix together the cooked sausage, cheese, bread crumbs, and egg. Cut off the tops of the banana peppers. Remove as much seeds as you can. Stuff meat mixture into peppers.
Pan fry the peppers with olive oil in a skillet. Fry each side until browned.

If making own marinara sauce, dice tomatoes while cooking the ground sausage. Place tomatoes and butter in a sauce pot. Bring to a simmer and cook while the rest of the meal is being prepared. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve peppers with sauce poured on top. If desired, sprinkle extra cheese on it.

I clearly had extra filling left. I made meatballs out of it.

Simmering sauce.

Too lazy to fix a serving platter, so poured sauce into pan and topped with cheese.

July 11, 2013

Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

Original recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

1 stick butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of peeled and diced peaches (about 2)
1 cup of blackberries

Grease a baking dish with butter (my glass pie plate works well). Take what's left of the stick and melt slowly in microwave.
Meanwhile mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, milk, and vanilla in a bowl. Once butter is melted add it to the batter and mix well. Pour batter into greased dish. Distrube the peaches and blackberries over the batter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

May 31, 2013

What the World Eats....

A few years ago while working school aged childcare I ran across the children's book What the World Eats. It's full of pictures of what families from around the globe eat in a week, how they prepare their food, how they preserve their food, and shares how much money they spent on their food. It is extremely interesting. (The adult book is Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.)

In April I noticed these same pictures were making their rounds across the internet. People have been commenting on the amount of processed foods, how some foods are found in many different areas, and how MUCH some people eat and how little others eat. This opened up a very interesting conversation among a group of my friends as we talked about what we eat and how much we spend on groceries. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing pictures and information shared to me of what these families buy and how much they spent from across the country and even on the other side of the world. Each post will only be a snippet but together they will show vast differences in food costs and cuisine. All are families that include young children. Some have stay at home parents. Some have two working parents. Pictures do not include any eating out, but most families eat out very minimally.

Interested in the original what the world eats pictures?
Time Magazine, Part 1
Time Magazine, Part 2


I really appreciate everyone continuing to stop by and leave comments! Been getting hit by more spam recently, so I have changed the comment settings.

My family and I were out of town for 6 weeks recently. It was a great adventure on the other side of the country for us. I'll be back to posting soon. :D

April 07, 2013

Coconut Custard Cake

This was easily made dairy free for me by using almond milk. It can also be made gluten free if you follow the original recipe. Original recipe is by Marilyn Beard over at Just Making Noise. It is oh so yummy and I encourage you to try it!
Thank you to Leigh at Skylark for sharing this recipe with me!

8 eggs
4 cups milk
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups coconut flakes
1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts
Cinnamon and nutmeg

With a mixer, combine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, oil, and baking powder until smooth. Stir in coconut flakes and walnuts. Pour into 9x13 pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Top and bottom should be light golden brown.

April 01, 2013

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Recipe curtsey of my friend Leigh of Skylark.

Cut a butternut squash in half and remove seeds/strings. Brush lightly with oil and bake covered face up at 375 F for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile chop and sauté together:
two Yves veggie Italian brats (can use other veggie sausages, but these are a clear favorite).
half a container of slice white mushrooms
handful of scallions (the white part - about six of them)
few handfuls of fresh baby spinach (just wilt into the cooked mixture)
whole container of blue cheese crumbles (add last and just keep on warm)

When the squash is soft, remove it from the oven and let it cool enough to handle. Scoop out most of the flesh. Mix the flesh into the sautéed mixture. Stuff the squash shells with the mixture.
Bake covered for 15 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.

Serves two. There is often leftover mixture.

March 31, 2013

Blueberry Muffins

This recipe is adapted from BH&G. Easily turned dairy free. 

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 heaping cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 regular sized muffin cups. In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add to it the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla - THEN mix everything using a whisk. Don't try to get all the lumps out. Very gently stir in the blueberries. This is a thick batter. Spoon batter into cups, no more than 2/3rds full. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

March 07, 2013

Poor Neglected Blog

Okay, I feel bad for not updating this like I used to! I feel so uncreative since my energy is spent on recreating my meals to be diary free not trying new recipes. I also have been a little distracted....

Sooo where did I leave off? Oh yes, February 3. *sigh* I think I've remembered most of this correctly.

Feb 3 -11
Wednesday: Grilled chicken sandwiches and steamed broccoli
Thursday: Chili and oyster crackers
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: Chicken nuggets and tater tots
Sunday and Monday: fend for yourself (aka, people were sick!)

Feb 12-18

Tuesday: Meatloaf, broccoli, and quick banquettes (I recommend leaving out the sugar! No need for it!)
Wednesday: Veggie pot pie with biscuit crust (I think I still need to post my current dairy free version of this!)
Friday: fried rice with shrimp (yellow squash, peas, shrimp)
Saturday: pork bbq sandwiches and tater tots
Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: out to eat

Feb 19-23
Tuesday: fend for yourself night (sick house!)
Wednesday: Honey Dijon glazed grilled pork chops with grilled sweet potatoes and zucchini
Thursday: shredded chicken tacos (chicken cooked in crockpot with taco seasoning and diced tomatoes) with lettuce and shredded carrots. Steamed broccoli.
Friday: shrimp and garlic scampi over pasta with steamed green beans
Saturday: chicken nuggets and tater tots
Monday: chili and oyster crackers

Feb 26 - March 4
Wednesday: meatloaf, 30 minute baguettes (leave out the sugar!), steamed green beans, and mashed potatoes
Thursday: leftover cilantro lime chicken tacos
Friday: easy baked tilapia with drop biscuits
Saturday: out to eat
Monday: Mongolian beef and broccoli over rice

March 5-9
Tuesday: Spaghetti with meatballs
Wednesday: Baked chicken, steamed carrots, and fried potatoes
Thursday: Pancakes and bacon
Saturday: chicken nuggets and fries

January 26, 2013

Menu: Jan 27 - Feb 2

Sunday: chicken and dumplings with carrots and celery
Monday: shredded pork tacos with fried sweet potatoes
Tuesday: leftover chicken and dumplings
Wednesday: crockpot fried rice
Thursday: Cilantro lime chicken tacos
Friday: porcupine meatballs (recommend doubling the sauce if you want some for pouring over other foods), mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli
Saturday: leftovers or out to eat (we did leftovers last Saturday, so maybe this Saturday can be our out to eat dinner for the month)

January 24, 2013

Meatloaf (dairy free)

I wanted a week night version of meatloaf that was dairy free. Only took two attempts to have one that is a new family favorite. This one is very moist thanks to the veggies. Best yet? My toddler LOVES this version!

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 cup of crushed saltine crackers (or bread crumbs, but most store bought have dairy)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup pureed vegetables (I've been cooking about 2 cups of frozen mixed veggies and pureeing that)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together. Divide mixture into muffin tins. Top with your favorite sauce (we like a mixture of ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar).
Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

Before topping and cooking.

Mmmm...all done! These mini meatloaves do freeze well and are conveniently already in individual portions. ;)

And if you're dairy free like me and don't have the time/energy/desire to make mashed potatoes from scratch, these are diary free and have the fewest extra ingredients for an instant potato. I do make the potatoes with Earth Balance "butter" and almond milk. Not as good or as natural as homemade, but homemade doesn't fall into my week night ability!

January 20, 2013

Menu: Jan 20-26

Sunday: steak, fried potatoes, and steamed broccoli
Monday: chicken pot pie
Tuesday: chili with oyster crackers
Wednesday: teriyaki chicken over rice
Thursday: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob
Friday: chicken nuggets, tater tots, and zucchini
Saturday: leftovers or out to eat

Lunches: veggie pasta salad, hummus and pita bread, sandwiches

Snack: Playgroup granola bars made with coconut and dried cherries

January 13, 2013

Menu: Jan 13-18

My husband's schedule is a bit flip flopped from our "normal" this week, so I have a list of meals. When he's available for lunch or dinner I'll make a main meal and when he's not I'll make smaller lunch-ish items for my toddler and I.
New meal for us this week is porcupine meatballs. I am going to see how homemade mashed potatoes made with almond milk goes. Last week I made chicken salad. Going to give it another go to see if I can prefect a recipe for my tastes. Trying to get my toddler to eat tuna salad and chicken salad with me, but I know I'm pretty hopeful about that so I will make him something else when I eat those just in case.

Main Meals:
Hamburgers and salads
Chicken kabobs with veggie skewers
Porcupine meatballs with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots
Mongolian beef with broccoli and rice
Pasta with shredded chicken and tomato sauce
Out to eat

2nd Meals:
Tuna fish salad (me)
Chicken salad (me)
Chicken and veggie quesadillas (son)
Whole wheat macaroni and cheese (son)
Grilled peanut butter and honey (both)
Turkey sandwiches (both)
leftovers (both)

January 08, 2013

Fajita Seasoning Mix

from For The Mamas

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Mix together. Store in an air tight container.

I found that I used half of the seasoning for my fajita recipe. This seasoning mix turned basic fajitas into amazing fajitas. While this does have a kick to it, it wasn't too spicy for my 2 year old son.

Menu: 1/6-1/12

Sunday: steak fajitas with extra bell peppers
Monday: chicken nuggets, tater tots, and corn (yep, high class meal right here!)
Wednesday: light spicy lemon chicken, fried potatoes, and steamed carrots
Friday: going to a potluck and bringing a side – pasta salad
Saturday: Honey Dijon glazed grilled pork chops, grilled sweet potatoes, and salads

January 02, 2013

Happy New Year!

Sorry I took an unannounced leave of absence. I needed it to survive pregnancy, bouts of sickness, and a toddler. I didn't really cook anything new. I spent a lot of time doubling up on meals and freezing the double. Lots of chills, soups, meatloaves, burgers, and more. Truly nothing exciting. Since Baby Girl was born we've been eating off of those meals and have recently run out items I can eat. What do I mean by "what I can eat?" Baby Girl developed extreme "colic" episodes (talking up to 9 hours!) and showed signs of reflux. First step once I connected the dots was to follow my best friend's advice and cut out all diary and soy immediately from my diet. Those proteins are transferred by mom to baby through breast milk.  Within 24 hours I noticed a difference. Within days she was back to being the fantastic newborn she was at birth. An amazing difference. Then I learned that *I* was allergic to dairy as a baby! I never knew! Just this week I've been testing out small amounts of soy hoping to add that back to my regular diet.

I don't come from a family who has food allergies. I have no experience with something so major needing to be avoided. It's been interesting making menus and going grocery shopping. I have to keep a list up on my phone of all the sneaky dairy ingredients that companies like to throw into products. It's no longer as simple as making a grocery list and sticking to it. I'm sure in time this will be easier, but for now super long commissary trips are the norm. My whole family is stuck with my diary free diet for any shared meals because that's way easier on me. I'm so thrilled that Baby Girl is happy again that I will keep this up as long as needed.

Speaking of Baby Girl she was born via VBAC November 27th at 41 weeks, 6 days. She was 7 lbs, 12 oz. Within hours she was smiling. While it wasn't the ideal labor (over 60 hours from first contraction to baby) or ideal birth (forceps were used), I don't regret a single part of the experience. Recovery has been a breeze compared to my c/s with my son (now 26 months - yikes!). It was truly exciting to go into labor on my own and birth my baby vaginally how I wanted!

Expect new (mostly diary free) menus and recipes soon!