Today is the first day…! Yep, I have started a blog. Who woulda’ thunk it? These days I am full-time at home and in the past six months I have learned a lot. I have also been asked a lot…so rather than continuing individual responses, I am going to join the ever growing population of mass communicators and have the ever exciting adventures of Stoney’s Crew documented in the big, bad, scary land of the web. I hope that I can give you some ideas for your own personal growth along the way. All that I ask in return is that if you have any ideas that you would like researched and discussed on this site , that you let me know by using the “Comments” feature on this page. I also ask that if one of the ads that you see on the sidebar interests you, go ahead and click on it, I will trust you to come back and visit again. If, like me, you have random thoughts that occasionally pop into your head, go ahead and use the Google search engine on this page; it won’t hurt my feelings. If you find that you enjoy what you see here you can either add me to your favorites or subscribe to my email updates, your choice. I am not demanding…well, o.k., maybe sometimes!
I have noticed that folks are looking for a thrifty, healthy, and fun lifestyle. I am a firm believer that you can find fun in a lot of different places, just pay a bit of attention…these are called blessings, and I am very thankful for them. The thrifty part is a given these days, the really tough part is tying the healthy into thrifty. And by healthy, I don’t mean foraging through the forest and surviving on pine nuts or living (?) on prepackaged meals! (College students are you listening?) I have become an avid follower of some blogs and message boards in the past six months and some of those things are going to be incorporated here. I will even be providing links to some of my favs!
There are several blogs that issue and/or support challenges each month. Last month, it was a "Cook from (read clean out) Your Pantry" challenge to see how little you needed to purchase new at the grocery to augment your meals for the month and to see how much you could save of your budget doing so. Generally, I was able to purchase only fresh veggies and fruit for the month. There were, of course, the off-program purchases that I could have thought through a bit better. Bottom line, I learned something about our eating and food purchase habits and having identified them I am able to adjust them to make healthier choices.
This month there is movement for “Once A Month Cooking” (OAMC) challenges. Although you can create your own defining elements of the challenge (helps you better meet the goals you set) I generally am not a fan of OAMC. Full-fledged OAMC requires an expenditure of 1-2 days of full-time, full-focus cooking and/or food prep. It also requires a full month of social commitments ahead of time. Stoney’s Crew likes to be able to be more flexible than that. Another reason is that there are times when smelling something good cooking just makes you smile, and if you do all of your cooking in one or two days, you are missing a bit of smiling. That said, I do like to make things in such a way that I can simplify meal preparation down the road. Less mess clean-up is an added bonus! You see, I have this issue with random ideas…
What I do like to do is Partial Prep. One mess clean-up resulting in multiple meal ideas. Now we are talking my language. Technically, this would qualify for OAMC without the full day(s) commitment. Are you warming up to the idea yet?
When I was working outside the home, I started this thing called Menu Planning. I worked 60+ hours a week and for a couple of years I was on the road 3-4 days every week. Stoney was at home with a pair of kids unattended. Yes, all alone, all by themselves with a fully stocked pantry and freezer. Yep, Stoney was the chief cook when I was gone. I quickly discovered that when I had a menu for him to follow with easy-to-prep meals, he cooked. If I left him to his own devices, they ate out! I think you get the idea here. After I was no longer traveling as much, the meal planning slid to non-existent, most likely due to my 60+ hour work weeks. As Menu Planning became more of a fond memory, I noticed that we were eating out more and more often. That is a huge budget-buster and our health was suffering! With that said, I am a proponent of Menu Planning and in the last year have gotten back to the basics. To show you that I do, here is this week’s menu.
Evening Menu for the week of 2/1/2010:
2/1: Chicken Subs, Salad, Green Beans
2/2: Chicken Pizza, Salad, Mixed Fruit (this pizza is an experiment, I will report results)
2/3: Chicken Noodle Casserole, Salad
2/4: Egg Rolls, Fried Rice, Salad
2/5: White Chili, Salad, South of the Border Corn Muffins
2/6: Sloppy Joe Sandwiches (I am hoping that bird is gone by now!), Salad, Potato Wedges
2/7: GO COLTS! Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, Peas, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie GO COLTS!
"Is this woman chicken crazy or what?" Please don’t beat me up, yes, I realize that there are several chicken meals this week. I have a personal challenge to see how many meals I can get out of the chicken that recently found its way into my slow cooker. I have tried to keep track of how many meals I could get from a single bird before without back-to-back meals and for various and sundry reasons could not remember to keep track. So, back-to-back it is! I didn’t post lunches, because we usually have leftovers. Any leftovers will go to my official bird meal count. Normally it is Stoney and me only (2 adults) so leftovers are consumed as lunches. The Kid will be home from college next weekend, so that will add to any meal counts, if that bird is still clucking! Depending on your family size, you may want to adjust the quantities. The idea here is to give you ideas to build off of. If I am overly ambitious next week, I may even provide you with meal cost breakdowns…I do hope I am not being overzealous setting that as a goal!
So here comes our very first adventure starting with the 2/2 blog entry! The first of several days of cluckiness… “Me & a Chicken Makes?”