Mama Duck
Ahhhhhhh colder weather is finally here. I know in a few months I'll be complaining about heating costs, but for now I'll enjoy the seasonal weather.

Joe and I are in a battle of sorts these days. I'm for cutting costs more and more and he thinks our spending is fine. I highly disagree. I think that with what we each spend on 'little things' or extra trips we probably spend $150.00 a WEEK on groceries... that is just way too high for 2 adults and a toddler.

I went shopping on Friday since I knew my usual grocery store was having good sales. I was thrilled with my positive trip. Step one was getting the spending to around the idea of what I want budgetted. With the sales I decided to shop for 2 weeks. Funny but thats what my mom always did when we were growing up and it was just as easy. If I time it right I'll always hit the sales. I also have decided to become a coupon fan. I spent an insane amount of time on Thursday trying to find coupons. I found many and printed them out. Then remembered my list and forgot the coupons. Oh well.. it's once again a first step. My grocery total for 2 adults and one toddler.. for a little over 2 weeks worth of dinners.. breakfasts.. and most lunches....was $138.00! I've been spending that or more each WEEK! To me this is a big thing.. but it usually doesn't take much to excite me these days, lol.

Sunday - Chicken Breast with Balsamic Glaze
Monday - Pizza
Tuesday - Kielbasi and sauerkraut
Wednesday - Chicken and dumplings - slow cooker
Thursday - Spaghetti and Meatballs
Friday - Beef stroganoff over noodles
Saturday - Mediterranean chicken wraps

as usual a couple of other trips have been made by Joe. I wish he'd just tell me what he wants s I can pick it up when I go. He spent about $32.. still keeping us at a new lower level... around $75 per week. Hopefully we can get thru to next week without spending much more.
Mama Duck
This is cross posted from my regular blog as it was too funny not to share, and I know some people don't see the other.......

The following conversation came to me in an email this morning and just cracked me up. Granted I am working on sleep deprivation... and its my morning to be at work by 6:30am (6:38 was today - but I was still in first, lol).

The conversation was started last night btwn some friends and I over what we made for dinner last night. Since I do meal planning, I've gotten back into different dishes. The majority of these are very easy but sound impressive. Sunday's I do try to do something a bit more special....

......I know! Talking to Kelly is like being in one of those Lean Cuisine commercials.

Me: I had sloppy joe's

Kate: I had frozen ravioli

Kelly: I had Balsamic chicken with Balsamic reduction fancy stuff and mashed things (the mashed things were seasoned and mashed chickpeas)

If it makes anyone feel better tonight's meal is ....... Pizza, lol

Mama Duck

My boss has expressed an interest in my providing a fresh baked treat in the office for our patients. Not too overwhelming as it's any day I choose and only 1 day a week. As I'm trying to re-establish a name as a baker it benefits me as well. This week I chose to make No Fail Sugar Cookies with a topping of granulated white sugar and granulated evaportated cane juice. The cane juice gives the cookies a mild maple flavor. They went over very well. here's the recipe I used, this was found on Cake

No Fail Sugar Cookies

Difficulty: Easy

This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters. The dough holds its' shape and won't spread during baking. Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.
6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself)
1 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below)

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe can make up to 5-dozen 3" cookies.

HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess -- Rather than wait for your cookie dough to
chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

The hint at the bottom works wonders, not only is there less mess.. but it;s faster and more efficient. I actually added my topping after they were baked and cooled. I used a simple sugar glaze brushed on with a pastry brush. I had the cookies on a cooling sheet over a baking pan and then liberally covered them with a half and half mix of sugar and evaporated cane juice. Shake off the excess.. put back into your container holding the mix and repeat until all cookies are covered. I'm making another batch of these this week to send to troops overseas for Hope the officer rcving them likes them as much.
Mama Duck
Sunday - Penne pasta with sausage - I had to dig to find this again. It's a great hearty meal.
Monday - Pizza - you get better prices on a Monday then on a Friday or Saturday
Tuesday - lol -my world renowned Beef Stroganoff - hey if you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at? we love this with lots of sauteed onions
Wednesday - frozen lasagna - not mine.. store bought
Thursday - malaysian fried chicken
Friday - Macaroni and cheese
Saturday - Eggs, pancakes, sausage or bacon... we have always enjoyed a big breakfast out, but our schedules never allow us to do it anymore. Maybe I'll even make omelets, lol
Mama Duck
What the heck - let's toss everything in one post, lol.

The weather is turning cooler and my thoughts are going to heartier, warming meals. This time of year is so changeable that I may be starting too early though, lol.

Lost the shopping list somewhere btwn the house and the store... menu has changed...

Sunday - turkey chili with rice
Monday - Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup - ok I know you're looking at the grilled cheese sandwich link and thinking I'm nuts. A 'RECIPE' is needed for grilled cheese? its more for a different way to cook them that I'm trying out, lol.
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Chicken and dumplings
Wednesday - chicken parm and mac and cheese - frozen entrees
Thursday - moo shu chicken - oops - corrected wrong link, now this goes to the moo shu recipe i use, lol
Friday - kielbasi and saurekraut
Saturday - chicken enchiladas

Shopping List
Ground turkey - $1.99 per frozen tube - 2 tubes = $3.84
Split chicken breast - $1.49lb - $7.50
26 oz can diced tomatoes - $2.00? - $2.00
1 can each pinto and kidney beans - $1.00
3 cans cream of chicken soup $1.50
2 refrigerated containers of bisquit dough $2.48
kielbasi - $2.44
4 oz can green chilis - $1.34
chili mix $1.76
tortillas $2.09
dish soap $1.76
napkins $1.97
McCormick mixes (future meals) $4.00
milk $3.06
peanut butter - organic $3.88
sauerkraut $.62
premade small lasagna - $4.98
misc fruits/veggies $4.97

'planned' list - $51.19

2 caramel apples with nuts - $2.00
espresso coffee - loving my $3.00 yard sale find espresso maker :) - $3.16
oyster sauce - for our always popular malaysian fried chkn $1.78
matchbox cars for "JP" (suuure Joe) $6.00
Deodorant - $1.88
light bulbs - $1.44
funtensils for JP - $2.12
new toothbrish for JP $2.87
parchment paper $ 2.34
candy for Joe $4.98
lipstick (splurge for me) $9.97
water $1.38
mysterycharge - can't figure out or remember what these are - on the receipt its listed as: pfbabybag 2 @$1.50
Pert 1RL 2 @ $.72

$44.36 - I either need to get MUCH better at lists, or I need to set an 'extras' budget. 50% of grocery costs should NOT be 'extra's.

now there is a missing receipt and I've no idea what I did with it. I went to another store for a few more things. I'll up date this when I find it. Some of the items above were updated as I remember what I spent at the other store. The nice thing is that while still way too high for my liking i was determined to do very little shopping next week. I went thru everything we have and planned next weeks meals with whats on hand. The only thing we 'should' need is milk, eggs and bread.. the usuals in the life of a family with a toddler, lol.
Mama Duck
Yes i took a week off, lol. Now to work on this weeks.
Mama Duck
Oops seems I'm a bit late in planning this week. I was so busy on the holiday weekend I never found time to squeeze this planning in. I found recipes that used ingredients I already have at home. We went shopping yesterday with no menu plan in mind so I'm going to keep that as our weekly shopping.

Sunday - easy as we were at a BBQ and didn't have to cook, lol
Monday - Had a late lunch out so we just had ice cream sundaes for dinner.
Tuesday - Honey Baked Chicken
Wednesday-veal parm with frozen veal patties - Joe can handle this one
Thursday-Maple Garlic Marinated Pork
Friday- Cheeseburger pie - good thing Peanut and I are taking up jogging
Saturday- sauteed (we need a grill) chicken breast over salad - malaysian fried chicken? lol

I had a brain storm this week with the malaysian fried chicken we eat so often. I cleaned out a glass salad dressing bottle and made the marinade. I added the oil (1/4 for the pan) to the mix so that it would be pourable. Now I can whip up a dish of this even faster and easier, lol.