Out of Town

We moved 1000 miles away from our friends and family and just had a new baby....

Monday, January 31, 2011

Week One over

So Week One is over. Shabbos clean up was hard, even though we didn't eat at home at all. We went out for Friday night last minute, so I brought my Persian Meatballs that I had already made along with some basmati rice and sushi. I have been making Thai inspired Sushi, with fake crab, green onions, cucumber, avacado, cilantro, sriracha sauce, and sometime crushed peanuts...Yummy.

For lunch I brought taco salad. It was delicious as well. We did the Shabbos clean up on Sunday morning since my 8 year old had avos u'bonim (father and son learning) on Saturday night, with a hotdog party and a magic show.

Sunday my mother in law came in, so for lunch we had pizza made from the leftover pizza dough from Wednesday. Then we went shopping at Target, Costco, King Soopers and Sprouts. We spent about $110.00. Of course, we forgot to buy bananas and milk (oops :)) which we got today (Monday).

Sunday night we had pad thai, I love this recipe, it is very easy. I don't use butter, and usually I don't even use chicken, just cook a couple extra eggs. I garnish with crushed peanuts, cilantro, limes, and green onions. I don't use the exact measurements for the sauce in this recipe, either, just the proportions. I make it non-spicy for my kids (who request this almost once a week). I either make a second batch for my husband and me, or I just add sriracha and/or dried chile peppers at the end. Either way it is yummy.

Tonight we had waffles for breakfast, since we had no milk..They were OK, but not great. I am going to have to find a better recipe. After work, I made soft pretzels, The kids went swimming with grandma, and these were a great snack before gymnastics. They were yummy, the kids enjoyed them, and it is certainly cheaper than buying the ready made ones. The texture wasn't perfect, and I might try a different recipe next time. Overall, though, they were not bad.

For dinner we had shakshouka, and Israeli dish of tomatos, peppers, onions, etc. cooked together and then eggs are poached in the mixture. I served it with laffa bread. This is for the adults, the kids had hotdogs.

For dinner

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 4

Last night was so much fun. Our friends came over with their kids and his parents. We made pizzas and everyone had a great time. I made 4 big pizzas and a little one for my 4 year old who doesn't like sauce :). I still had dough left over (enough for about 2 more pizzas) that I saved for another time.

Our friends brought a big Caesar salad, some toppings (green pepper, red onions and green olives) and fruit for dessert. We were all very stuffed and there was enough left over for the kids to take for lunch today.

Since starting the meal planning, my days have gone so much easier. I have a plan of what to do when we get home.

Even though it was a big night last night, with a big mess, I got the kitchen 90% clean last night and the dining room about 70% done, so not too bad. Tonight when I get home I am going to start cooking for Shabbos (meatballs, rice, green beans, kugel). We might end up with guests, so we'll see...the menu might change. And we got invited out for Shabbos lunch, so I am going to make a big taco salad (romaine lettuce, 2 cans of corn, a can of black beans, a can of pinto beans, cherry tomatos, a bunch of green onions, black olives, some cilantro and/or parsley, and grilled chicken. Then I serve avocado and jalapeƱos on the side. Yummy and very filling.

We are almost done with our first week. A nice plus is also going to be that Friday afternoon cleanup is going to be pretty easy.

My only worry is how to deal with Saturday night clean up. It is hard for me to be motivated after Shabbos to clean up right away, but if I don't, Sunday will be terrible. I guess I just need to get it done right away.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 3

Last night was great! When I got home, I put up the dough for the laffa and made the falafel filling. Then we went to the grocery store to get some french fries.

The cost of the meal was as follows:
1 lb organic garbanzo beans: 1.65
bunch of cilantro
bunch of parsley
2 bunches of green onions: total 2.00
1 cucumber: 1.00
4 tomatoes: 1.32
laffa (flour, yeast, etc) .50
incidental spices, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil: .50
techina: 1.00
French Fries (about 1/3 of a bag): .85
can of pickles: 1.50
A little chummus: .50

Total: 9.75

Included in this price I made about 50 falafel balls (so plenty of leftovers) 12 laffas (similarly lots of leftovers), techina, zhug, and Israeli Salad. It was delicious, my year old and baby loved it, my 4 year old ate laffa, chummus, Israeli salad, Fries and pickles, and my 2 year old ate one falafel ball and some pickles and a little laffa.
Tonight we are having guests over for dinner, so we will have the leftover falafel and pizza. I will be making my own dough, so that will cost about .50, then I expect to use a can of olives (1.50), about 2 lbs of cheese (8.99), sauce that is also home made (about .75) and some various produce for toppings. We will be feeding 6 adults and 6 kids. Our guests are bringing some green olives for the pizza as well as a green salad.

The sauce looks really simple and it is, but it is delicious and better than any canned I have found.

The cleaning went well yesterday as well. The kids did their parts and I did mine, so when we went to bed, everything looked nice and clean.

I also took a sewing class last night, so now I can use my machine and I hemmed 2 pairs of pants for my 8 year old that have been waiting for a few months :) Yay!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 2

OK. So yesterday the cleaning lady came, so there wasn't too much cleaning to do last night, just some books for the kids to put away.

We had chili and baked potatoes for dinner last night. 1 lb of ground beef, an onion, about a cup of raw kidney beans, a box of chili seasoning and 4 potatoes. I would say it cost about $8.50, not the cheapest, but not too expensive.

Last night I also made bagels. They aren't too hard. I used this recipe. It was really yummy and tasted just a good as a bagel store, and better than the bagels at the grocery store. Best of all, a dozen costs about 50 cents! Yay.

Tonight we are having falafel and laffa. The Falafel recipe I am using is from The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden. It is a fantastic book, the sephardic recipes are amazing. I also made the bagels out of this book, and while they weren't quite a good as the recipe above, they were still delish.

I have never had luck with falafel, but hopefully tonight is my lucky night. I am also making laffa, which is like big pita bread. My dear friend Barak gave me this recipe, and it is a hit whenever I make it. It has become my signature food for all the potlucks we go to.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Starting up the Blog Again

OK. I haven't written on the blog for about 3 years. But we are starting a new plan in my house, and I want to keep a record of it. I would not expect anyone to read this, but it is good for me to write down my thoughts and plans.

I have been reading some great blogs over the past few years. In particular, Oceans of Joy, A Mother in Israel and her companion blog Cooking Manager, and Orthonomics have inspired me to try to get organized, cut my food budget, and get my family on a better path.

With that in mind, we are starting a food prep and cleaning plan that will hopefully cut our food bills and keep our house neat and organized. I have committed to cleaning up for 15 minutes a day the main rooms of our house (living room, dining room, kitchen). I will do this with my 4 year old and 2 year old between the times that we get home from school at 1 pm and when my 8 year old gets home at 3:45.

Also, we have created a menu for the week. This is, for me, the key to being both organized and frugal. I am going to try to stay out of the grocery store for the rest of the week, except for some fruit that I still need to buy for the week. But on Sunday we went shopping to 3 stores, spent about $45, and that should be all we need to spend this week. Of course, I am fully stocked up on meat and cheese.

Last night we had chicken fried rice with veggies. I cooked 2 cups of asian rice. I fried one onion, added my leftover shabbos chicken (a wing, a breast and a thigh), a bag of frozen peas and 1/2 a bag of frozen corn. It was yummy, filled everyone up (except for my 4 year old who had yogurt instead) and cost only a few dollars to make.

The rest of the week is:

Monday: Meat chili with rice
Tuesday: Falafel with laffa and Israeli salad
Wednesday: Homemade pizza
Thursday: Noodles and cheese
Friday (Shabbos): some type of fish, chicken soup with lots of veggies, meatballs, veggie kugel, rice, and green beans
Shabbos day: chummus, coleslaw, turkish salad, cholent, taco salad with chicken, kugel

If we keep up the plan for 2 weeks ( the cleaning and the meals) we are going to go out to a restaurant to celebrate. We haven't eaten out since Sukkos when we were visiting family in LA. Before that, I think the last time we ate at a restaurant was when my baby was 2 months old and he is 9 1/2 months now... My kids are really excited for the reward, so hopefully it will keep us all motivated to continue.