Cheese and Crafts with Truly Grass Fed & Tryazon!

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Cheese and Crackers!

On Thursday we invited some friends to the park to sample Truly Grass Fed Cheese and paint some wooden crafts.

Screen Shot 2019-08-11 at 7.33.14 PM.pngIf you haven’t heard of Truly Grass Fed, here is some info about what they are and their philosophy, “The Truly Grass Fed way of dairy farming has been passed down through the generations and has continued to evolve and innovate with the times. Our belief in sustainability and in preserving the beautiful land of Ireland is ingrained in our values and informs our way of life. We love what we do and we’re passionate about maintaining our unique way of farming. We truly believe that ensuring our cows live outside for most of the year, providing them with 95% grass to eat and treating them with care and respect makes for superior-tasting cheese and butter. We are proud of the products we produce, and we are excited to share the abundance of our labors with those looking to discover a little piece of Ireland in an exceptional hunk of cheese or generous spread of creamy butter.” You can learn more here.

IMG_6662The cheese was soo good! Rich, creamy and sharper than most cheddars. The moms gobbled down the samples (seriously, it’s so good). In San Diego, you can find Truly Grass Fed at Vons stores- It’s in the deli with the fancy cheese!

Screen Shot 2019-08-11 at 7.29.56 PM.pngWe snacked and painted, and the kids ran off to play at the playground before it got too hot.

Everyone in attendance received a reusable cloth grocery bag and a money-saving coupon.

And if you want to learn more about Tryazon, their website has tons of information about all of the cool campaigns and parties they have coming up!

I received coupons for free cheese and the party favors (bags and coupons) for free in order to facilitate a group party with friends and their kids. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated, however, we did get to keep the charcuterie board.

 

 

#choosetruly #trulygrassfed #tryazon

Is Summer Snacking Wrecking your Grocery Budget?

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Chatting with a friend via Insta yesterday, we were lamenting the “OMG DO THEY EVER STOP EATING!!” of summer vacation.

I’ve never begrudged my kids snackies when they are hungry, but seriously, on days when we are at home, building Legos and watching movies- THEY EAT ALL DAY.  I can’t let them rummage through the cupboard and eat whatever, so I started the snack box (for the pantry) and snack drawer (in the fridge).

We’ve had “The snack box” and the “snack drawer” in our kitchen for about 2 years now.

In the cupboard, I’ve got a basket like this one. It’s full of various types of treats and snacks. Instead of buying individually bagged treats, I often buy a box of whatever (in the photo below it’s animal crackers) and divide the large box into snack-sized Ziploc bags).  It just depends on what is available at Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only on my weekly shopping trip. Those are my go-to snack stores.

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The Snack Drawer in the Fridge
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Pantry Snack Box- Refilled weekly

The Pantry Snack Box contains shelf-stable stuff: Juice boxes, crackers, chips, dried fruit, fruit snacks, individual Peanut/nut butter cups. I usually tuck a couple bags of microwave popcorn too. Sadly, we have none left. I was informed that I *must* rectify that matter tomorrow.

The Fridge Snack Drawer contains some of the following: Cheese sticks, yogurt, Ziploc bags of fruit or veggies (watermelon wedges, strawberries, grapes, carrots, celery, and jicama are just a few favorites), little cups of hummus, guac, ranch dip (homemade with greek yogurt and ranch dip mix).

The snacks vary by week, and I took these pics today- It’s midweek and they are pretty picked over- I did refill the Pantry Snack Box with stuff from the cupboard. That’s my secret- don’t put it all out at once. I stash the extras in the back of the pantry, where tiny arms can’t reach.

For those who read my blog regularly, you know that my weekly family grocery budget is $80. I spend about $25 of my weekly budget on stuff for the snack box/drawer. Sometimes more, sometimes less. During the school year, the function of these becomes for packing lunches in the morning. The Big Kid doesn’t really like sandwiches, and as he’s a vegetarian he gets most of his protein from nuts/seed butter and dairy sources.

I also keep Go-gurt style tube yogurts in the freezer- Those are mostly for Bitty, Big Kid doesn’t care for yogurt too often.

For the grown-ups, there is a basket in the pantry full of protein and fiber snack bars (Along with other more “grownup” snacks- which are sometimes new snacks that the kids veto after sampling). I get those at Grocery Outlet or 99 Cents Only. Grocery Outlet locations in my area always have a great variety of protein bars, snack bars, and protein cookie (Like these, which are also a hit with the Big Kid, so I have to dole them out) for a lot less than grocery or club stores.

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Close-up of the Pantry Snack Box. There is a little bit of something for everyone!

This is how my family keeps everyone fed at home and on budget. I’d love to hear about your family’s ideas to solve this issue.

Weekly Meal Plan

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AHHHHH!!! The last day of school is Wednesday.  Summer school doesn’t start for the big kid for 2 weeks. I’m going to have to ramp up my frugality to 11! Here is my article about keeping kids fed over the summer, and my article on free lunches this summer for kiddos. 

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Chicken meatballs & Cheesy cauli-rice.
  • Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner (Waffles, bacon, and melon)
  • Wednesday: Frittata and fruit salad
  • Thursday: Nugget Night! This was such a hit last week, we’re doing it again! The big kid is a vegetarian, so I make him Chick’n nuggets, and the rest of us have chicken nuggets or another variety of meatless nuggets. The Buffalo Chick’n nuggets are popular among the grown-ups. I serve carrot sticks, and apple slices on the side.
  • Friday: Date Night (dinner out)
  • Saturday: Birthday party leftovers! Bitty’s 4th birthday party is Saturday and we’ll have pizza, cake, and fruit leftover.
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

Weekly Meal Plan!

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I’m done with college! Now I’m back to all of my frugal habits, I’m no longer even more pressed for time. I’m stoked to be able to get back into my groove of cooking healthy food, exercising, and keeping up with the kiddos!

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

This weeks meal planning goal is to eat up what we’ve got in the pantry. I’m finishing the pantry inventory this morning after my coffee. I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Chicken Soup (using the roasted chicken I made the other night)
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti (I’ve been buying this kind because it’s high in protein) with bolognese sauce, steamed veggies
  • Wednesday: Madras Lentils, riced cauliflower
  • Thursday: Nugget Night! The big kid is a vegetarian, so I make him Chick’n nuggets, and the rest of us have chicken nuggets or another variety of meatless nuggets. The Buffalo Chick’n nuggets are popular among the grown-ups. I serve carrot sticks, and apple slices on the side.
  • Friday: Homemade Pizza Night- I’ll be making a few extra crusts to toss into the freezer.
  • Saturday: Burgers- We’ve got a bunch of meatless burgers floating around the freezer. The kids will probably have the Veggie Burgers from the 99 Cent Store (Chef Ernesto- they are like potato cakes with other veggies in them- they are super good with cheese and salsa) or grilled cheese. Served with applesauce- we have tons of it.
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

Oh, and I’m making cookies this week! These cookies to be precise!

Weekly Meal Plan!

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The kids and I are going camping this weekend, so I’m only meal planning through Thursday! We’ll be going to a Society for Creative Anachronism Event, Potrero War. The kids are looking forward to playing with friends, making s’mores, doing crafts, and the big kid is really looking forward to participating in Thrown Weapons with his Grandpa.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

This weeks meal planning goal is to eat up what we’ve got on hand that will spoil first. I’m not going to the grocery store to buy anything but milk and butter (oh no, we’re almost out!).

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Leftover homemade pizza and strawberries
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti (I’ve been buying this kind because it’s high in protein) with red sauce loaded with veggies
  • Wednesday: Madras Lentils, white rice, and steamed veggies
  • Thursday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup (I’ve got a couple batches of soup in the freezer, so I’ll grab one and defrost it the night before. It’ll probably be Veggie Tuscan Soup).

Family Recipe: Abasitas

I haven’t done a family recipe in a while. My mom made a batch of these recently and sent me home with a few.

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na na na na na na na na na- Bat Plate!

Turnovers, hand pies, pasties, kolaches, whatever you call them, I love them. Eating with your hands is done in almost every other culture on earth, but us westerners tend to frown on it.

 

My mom invented these rich, savory turnovers based on the flavors that I loved as a kid (and still love). It’s a pastry or yeast dough exterior, filled with cheese, chicken, breakfast sausage, and green chilis.

The batch she made last week used crescent dough that was rolled out. You may be able to see the remaining perforation in one of the photos.

In the past, I’ve used my pizza crust recipe (found here). It’s really up to you what kind of dough you use for exterior. Crescent dough is rich and buttery, and I think it works well for this recipe, so it’s what I’m going with. You can get the crescent dough in one large sheet if you want and cut it up, or, we used the regular rolls, and just did 2 crescents per hand pie.

Abasitas 

(Makes 16-20 depending on type of dough used)

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped up (You can also use 1.5 cups of chopped up rotisserie chicken meat)
  • 1/2 lb of Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage, cooked, crumbled, and drained of fat
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 4 oz. can Ortega Chilis, chopped 
  • 1 batch pizza dough (recipe linked above), or 4 tubes crescent roll dough

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix first five ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Roll out/unroll dough; Separate into 4 rectangles. Pinch together perforations to seal up.  If you are using another type of dough, roll out on a floured surface and use a sharp knife to cut the dough into approx. 8×5 rectangles.
  4. Place approx. 1/4c of filling in the middle of each piece of dough. Fold over, and seal edges of the dough by pinching edges together, you can also crimp the edges with a fork.
  5. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet (I always use parchment paper– it makes clean up easier) for approx 12-15 minutes until the dough is golden brown.
  6. Remove cookie sheets from the oven and allow hand pies to rest for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to rest a few more minutes before devouring.
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Yummy cheesy filling!

I serve these with a green salad. They are good cold the next day too. They make a great picnic addition.

After they have cooled completely, store them in the fridge or the freezer. You can reheat them in the toaster oven!

They are a great food to batch cook.

April 11 is National Cheese Fondue Day!

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Who doesn’t love cheese? Ok, so vegans and those who are lactose intolerant, but the rest of us LOVE cheese!

The Melting Pot is celebrating National Cheese Fondue Day April 8-11 with an awesome build your own fondue deal for just $12 per person.

Step 1 – Select Your Cheese Blend: Aged Cheddar and Emmenthaler or Gruyere, Raclette and Fontina or Butterkase and Fontina

Step 2 – Select Your Base: Lager Beer/Bouillon blend, White Wine, Vegetable Bouillon or Redbridge Gluten Free Beer

Step 3 – Select Up to 3 Add-Ins (additional items are $.50 per item): Brie, Feta, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Basil Pesto, Creole Mustard, Green Goddess, Salsa, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Garlic, Spinach, Artichoke Hearts, Bacon, Jalapeno, Almonds, Walnuts, Asparagus, Artichokes, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Potatoes, Scallions, Shallots, and Diced Tomatoes.

Step 4: Select Your Seasonings: Black Pepper, Garlic & Wine Seasoning, Mustard Powder, Nutmeg, Tabasco, Worcestershire

Step 5 – Select Premium Add-Ins (Optional – $1.50 each) Serves 1-2:

Andouille Sausage, Salami, Prosciutto, Apricot Almond Orange Crackers,

Grilled Vegetables – Bell Peppers, Asparagus, Fingerling Potatoes

Roasted Vegetables – Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Zucchini

$12.00 per person*
All cheeses are served with artisan breads, seasonal fruits and veggies.
Choose one per cooktop. Vegan cheese available. See server for details.

*Price includes: cheese fondue for 1 and artisan dippers. Tax, gratuity and surcharge not included in price. Must order per person. Valid only on April 11, 2019. A 4% surcharge will be added to all Guest checks to help cover increasing costs and in our support of the recent increases to minimum wage and benefits for our dedicated Team Members.

To find your local location and book a table, click here.

If you want to celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day at home, here is my favorite Fondue recipe.

 

Talk Back: What’s your favorite cheesy dish? Do you like Fondue?