Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 15 - Stuffed Bell Peppers

I have never really been a big fan of stuffed bell peppers, but this recipe was easy and I had leftover ground beef cooked from last week, so I figured, "why not"?

As you can see, I cooked them in the crock pot instead of doing the parboil and bake routine, so they may not be exactly like they are supposed to be, but they still taste the same.I would highly recommend the crock pot method over the boil and bake because they only took 3 hours on high and during that time I went to work, but could have done any number of funner things! It seems like a waste to stand in front of the stove for an hour boiling and baking when you can take 10 mins to toss it in the crock and go.

So, the verdict is...I still don't have stuffed bell peppers on my favorites list but I could see making this for 4 people especially since they turned out so pretty. I luv the stuffing, actually. It's the bell pepper outsides that I dislike for some reason. Sometime I'm going to make the filling w/o the bell peppers, I guess that will basically be some kind of rice and beef casserole. Not so impressive, but I'm after content not beauty when it comes to food. :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ratatouille! Day 12 - 14 (Not the movie, ha!)

Ok, so this wasn't as fun as the movie. But it tasted great! It was sweet and savory at the same time. I used EV olive oil and the whole dish was scrumptious, if I do say so myself!
I almost ate the whole pan, because I wasn't able to really split it up to only make 1 serving - of this 8 serving recipe. That's ok though, there are leftovers coming up for the rest of this week. I'm actually looking forward to them :)

I saw the movie Ratatouille, and somehow as cute as that rat was, I couldn't get over the fact that he never washed his paws while he was cooking - think of all the sand and dirt that got in the food...gritty! I washed my hands, and the veggies really well - no grit in my food!

P.S. there's no eggplant in here because I'm allergic, I doubled up the Zucchini though, is that ok?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sad days 10/11

These past couple days have been a little sad for me. Since I discovered my problem with gf bread, I don't feel brave enough to have PB&J sandwiches so I'll be having lunch meat leftovers and veggies. Which is good! Don't get me wrong. Just had to say I was sad about the bread.

I am pretty down with the Cream of Rice cereal. The menu calls for it with sugar and Orange Juice. I wonder, should I stir the juice in with the cereal? Because it's pretty bland and I had to use a lot of sugar.

That's all, since the other meals are repeats all I can really say is that I'm glad for the Soup on these cold winter days!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I hate to say "NO" to a free tour across Europe...

Today the subject of me traveling across Europe, for work, came up and me - the drama queen - said "It would kill me"! Not a completely false statement, but maybe a little over dramatic.

We are talking Germany, London, Ireland and Scotland, France, Italy... etc., leaving in 2 weeks. Basically, a tour that includes me training people on our new system in 12 different cities. But in between the trainings I would be free to do whatever I wanted - and the company pays!
But, today I couldn't fathom it.

Talking about travel upsets me inside a lot (I try to keep the crazy bottled up inside as much as possible) because I used to go places all the time with no thought about it. Used to. That's a phrase I use more than I'd like. Now, for me and my special needs, a trip to Vegas takes hours of planning, shopping, shipping food and any number of inconveniences.

Along with my celiac I have a number of other developing health issues, so the thought of traveling to far off places is overwhelming. Besides, I'd be!
All by myself in places where I didn't speak the language, need to make my own meals (can I learn to say "where's the grocery store?" in 15 languages by the end of the month?) and would more likely than not, end up sick in a hotel room, canceling trainings and flying home early - not to mention the threat of deep vein thrombosis on those 12 hour flights...
Even if I didn't have special needs, me traveling alone for 2 weeks in Europe just doesn't sound safe anyway.

I'm completely disappointed. I didn't for one second actually consider it and not too long ago I wouldn't have rejected it for one second!

Tonight, I am sitting here wondering if I'll ever be able to do something like that. If I want to do something like that even. Maybe, if I was going with someone fun and had time to plan? If I didn't have to budget or do it for work? I'd like to think I could and the would is a matter of choice, but somehow I'm not sure. And that makes me really sad.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Good winter food - Day 6 & 7

So, the roast on Day 6 was easy and tasted good - I made it in the crock pot. I love cooking in a crock pot. Especially mine that the inside comes out to go in the dishwasher. There is nothing better than loading up some ingredients in the morning and coming home to the smell of something delicious! When I walked in, garlicky goodness filled the house.

Stew is just one of the best things to come home to on a cold snowy day, like we've had for weeks!

The breakfast Bacon and Potatoes was simple and delicious. I actually saved the grease from my bacon cooking extravaganza a couple days ago so I used a spoonful to fry the potatoes and Onion in, then added the frozen bacon kind of chopped up. Super good - 3 days of leftovers set up in the freezer.
Something interesting about the recipe though, it reminds me of a German Potato Salad recipe I made once. I think that if I had some apple cider vinegar and a couple spices it would be German potato salad. I will have to dig up that recipe and see if I can't put it into permanent rotation too. Now that I know to save the bacon grease for future use - that might be workable on my low- maintenance system too.

As you can tell, my posts are slowing down. As the menus are starting to repeat, I don't want to.

Things I learned:
Save your bacon fat so you can make quick breakfast potatoes (it didn't take much for that nice bacon flavor)
Add more water to the Crockpot if you want it to be more soup/stew because it seems to evaporate
Cut as much fat off the meat first - it ended up kind of greasy because it cooks out and has no where to drip out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

When bad things happen @ the store

I have a story to share about a bad thing that happened to me at the store not too long ago. Picture me in line at Walmart after my monthly stocking-up trip...groceries, tp, soap & a few other things, all loaded onto the conveyor belt heading toward the cashier. Then, the cashier picks up a bag of flour the lady in front of me is buying and it bursts! All over the scanner and the beginning part of the belt. The cashier swings it away and flours the entire bagging carosel too. I wait, holding my breath to see what she does. She calls for someone to get a new bag of flour and continues to scan and bag the other items. Doesn't make a move to clean up after what she's done and they are waiting on the new bag of flour. It comes, gets scanned and the lady pays. Still no clean up of any sort as the cashier begins to scan and bag my items, before the first lady has even turned to walk away!*

My instincts kick in and before I know what I've done, I turned, gave a slight smile to the guy behind me, said "excuse me", backed out of the line and walked away - right out the door and went home.

The question in my head was: what if I let her bag up all my stuff and take it home? A vision of hours cleaning my car out where the bags had been, cleaning off each package before it could be put away and feeling "contaminated" for a long time after that overwhelmed me. After all, I haven't allowed gluten (outside of a rouge muffin or hamburger a guest brought with them) in my house for over 3 years. This is a gf zone!

I was mortified by the time I got home, thinking I could never show my face in that store again after leaving $200 worth of stuff on that belt. I felt rude for doing it and like a wimp for not stopping the cashier and asking her to clean up the flour before she started my order. I also felt angry that she didn't have the sense to do it. Gluten free issues aside, it's not nice to send customers home with stuff covered in flour!

So, what are your thoughts? Any similar experiences to share?

P.S. I almost always use self checkout now :)

On a related note, I saw this story: Truck Spills - Flour: What a nightmare!!

*on principle I hate it when they start scanning your stuff before the person in front of you has even turned to walk away - it's really rude! How hard is it to wait 15 seconds for her to put her wallet away before you start the next?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marinara for 2 days, day 4/5

Yum! I used Tinkyada rice pasta shells instead of spaghetti noodles. Why, you ask? Because I've never mastered the skill of eating spaghetti - I make a huge splashy mess. But, shells and rottini are my handy pastas.
I really enjoyed the Newman's Own Brand Marinara. It's all natural and kind of sweet tasting. It was a nice contrast to the Balsamic dressing I used on the salad.
I was sure to keep some aside (this wasn't hard - it's a huge jar of sauce!) for the meat stufed zucchini the next day.

I have to confess, I did not stuff my Zucchini for this recipe. I chopped it up and stirred it in with everything else because it didn't have seeds to scoop out! I guess I could have made Zucchini topped with beef sauce, too late!
It was delicious though! I have to admit also, that I have had better meals on this f$ than I've made for myself in a very long time. Obviously, someone went to a lot of work to make this menu plan appetizing - for sure! They also know how to use herbs and spices - something I've been slacking on learning. I headed for the fridge to get some parmesean to top it, out of habit, and remembered - nope! None to be had. And I was glad! It was so good, kind of sweet and comforting - strong cheese would have ruined it.

What I'm learning:
How to use spices and what they actually make your food taste like.
Cheese doesn't always make it better ;^)

This is another to add to my regular hits list too. I think that sauteeing the zucchini with everything else until it is soft will work just a nice as baking it and cut the prep time in half, depending on how small you chop the veggies and how high the heat is for the beef. For a fancy meal (like for company), I'd definitely go with the full on stuffed version because I'm sure it's much more impressive. Plus, baking makes the whole house smell good.

Problems I'm having:
I want to cook everything all at once so I can see what it's all like now. I'm not very patient, I know. I haven't ever really done a cooking experiment before and it's getting to be addictive.

Last night, I even dreamt about the menus and cooking the different recipes, Is that weird?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bread day!! Day 4

Today's menu has Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches on it. I remember as a kid having a PB sandwich almost every day. At one point I was so tired of them I stashed one under the bed so my mom thought I ate it. I don't know how long after that she found it - it had dried up though.
That was back in the gluten days though and since going gf I haven't had a pb&j except maybe on a corn tortilla (which is yummy toasted).

So, I made gf bread (from Pamela's bread mix). The shopping list seems to intend that you buy pre-made but the mix makes 2x as much for the same price as a frozen Udi's loaf, so I decided to do that instead. The recipe calls for 2 eggs, some oil & water and stirring for 3 minutes in a mixer. I would recommend getting a bread machine if you plan to have bread often. I saw a pretty decent one for $99 it would pay for itself in a few months.

I did it all by hand! I'm actually pretty happy with it though, gf bread doesn't require kneading and shaping - just a really strong arm for the last 2 of 3 mixing minutes if you don't have a heavy duty mixer (like I don't). Ooofta! by minute 3 I was more just stabbing at the dough with the spoon than mixing it - thick and sticky stuff! But - the whole process took about 5 minutes and it was in the pan to rest for an hour, then to bake for 70 minutes.
When it was cool, I sliced it and it sliced much easier than regular bread too!

This particular loaf had a really nice crusty outside and soft, chewy inside. It was kind of heavy - not fluffy - but not unlike other bakery breads I have had.
I'm guessing the Udi's loaf would have been the fluffier type - it looked fluffy but it was frozen, so who knows?

My Conclusion:
Gluten Free bread is easier and better than wheat bread. Everyone should eat it instead.*

My past experience with baking gf bread was a Bob's Redmill brand Cinnamon Raisin mix. It was a very similar process and tasted really good too.

My time saving tip:
Cook multiple packages of bacon, like I did today (3) when breakfast called for it. Ever notice how much better the bacon starts cooking toward the end of the package? I take advantage of that by keeping it rolling as long as possible and freezing what I'll use later. I think it has to do with the grease being the right temperature or something.

My Conundrum:
Personally, I think bacon is the biggest waste of $ if you're grocerying on a budget, all fat and salt. But oh it is SO GOOD! I can eat a pound of it alone in one sitting if it's a good brand. The best thing is there's no such thing as a bacon hangover. You can eat and eat and just feel fine.
Reason #2 I needed to freeze it - so I don't cheat it all up!!

*I'm not putting bread maker on my wish list because I found out through this experiment the bread doesn't like me - probably the high yeast content so I'll stick to my corn tortilla sandwiches.

Oh and don't forget to save your bacon grease!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fried Rice Yumminess- Day 3

This was actually the 2nd time I'd ever done a stir fry. In my whole life! I was worried because the first time didn't turn out well. I think everything burned and I didn't have the right ingredients to start with. I was following instructions a friend gave me "Just grab some veggies and meat and throw them in the pan for a few minutes with some soy sauce". I had gf soy sauce but it was awful!

This time, my stir fry turned out great! This recipe didn't call for soy sauce (obviously since it's soy free) and it turned out delicious (as you can see). I tried to alter the recipe but what is 1/4 of 1/2 cup of peas? Do you have a 1/8 cup measure? So it was a spoonful of this and a pinch of that. I think I ended up with 2 servings because I didn't try to split an egg and I was probably a little generous with the veggies. It was a whole lot of food!

Take Aways:
I'll be making this all the time now. It was so, my kind of low maintenance cooking!! Easy, fast and yummy (and cheap!!). If anyone ever suggests getting Chinese takeout I will scoff at them. Why wait for delivery of some greasy MSG laden goo, when you can have fresh in 10 minutes or less? My friend (with the stir fry advice of yore) said frozen veggies don't work - um this is proof to me they do! Fresh would have gotten mealy, I think.
Also, after eating this I had tons of energy and my tummy was totally happy. I think it was the perfect combo of starches, fiber and protein to get me through the rest of my day.

Things I would change:
Nothing! I actually could have popped home to make this over a lunch hour, if I needed to :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

F$ Day 2 makin changes

I'm high maintenance, there I admit it. Not that it's a bad thing!
But, when it comes to food I like to be low maintenance. Today they threw in a lunch that required cooking - raw stuff!! I'm not quite up to that challenge since I have a job outside of my home with no kitchen equipment. Thankfully, I had leftover turkey soup (yeah, it's supposed to be for tomorrow) but I'm swapping them.
I can't believe I'm already making changes to this!
So, I've gone through the menu and figured out how to swap dinner leftovers for cooking @ lunch.
Things I wonder:
What if I don't feel like cooking for dinner?
Does this plan assume if you're on food stamps you're not working outside the home? hmmm... I'm sure all the meals are interchangeable, no worries!

Anyway, Day 2 was not bad. I actually feel like it was a lot of food. I got plenty of protein and vegetables and starches. It's good. Not having cheese for the tacos was odd. I love, I mean l.o.v.e. cheese and it is like missing something I can't quite put my finger on. But that's ok.
Changes I'd make:
Use canned refried beans for the tacos
Never plan a lunch that needs actual prep and cooking beyond a microwave

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 1 on a Food Stamp Budget

Today is the first day of my Food Stamp Budget project (F$). To recap: I found this website, was intriged and am giving it a try: See my previous post "Shopping" for how much it cost.
Surprises:Hebrew National Kosher Beef franks have Soy in them... that seems wrong somehow (so I couldn't buy them since this is a soy free project too).
Hominy is just white corn
Side notes:
I spent 2 hours cooking to prepare several things and freeze them to help cut down on prep time during the week (I need my extra 20 minutes in the morning!). During those 2 hours I made my Turkey soup for dinner, cleaned the celery, peeled carrots and potatoes, washed the salad, baked the cornbread muffins, scrambled eggs and fried breakfast potatoes. All tucked in to single serve ziplock containers and stored/frozen for the next 4 weeks.

I actually started with the last week of the month on the menu and will move backwards ( just because I'm really not in the mood for Chili now. So, I had the hot dog for lunch with the chips and orange and it was way too greasy!! Also, I haven't had a hot dog in long time and I remember why now - icky repeats all day :( I purposely got the Oscar Meyer 100% beef quality franks, even though hot dogs are cheaper but this still left a puddle of fat on the plate and that nasty preservative aftertaste. Thankfully, there is only 1 more Hot dog day this month so the rest of the package can go to someone else (see what I mean about feeding 4 is cheaper than 1 - you can't just buy 1 hot dog @ the store...)
The Turkey soup was really good though! I've never added Thyme to my soup before I think it will be a staple from now on.
Things I'd change about today's menu:
Tuna salad with the chips would be a better option, less grease and fewer preservatives.

What I'm looking forward to:
More Corn Muffins - yum!

Does it bode well to start this on Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 13, 2010


It was actually so much fun to go to the store and just pick up exactly what was on the list, no impulse or stocking up on good deals allowed. I got to just groove out to the Justin Timberlake song on the speakers (reason #2 I shop King Sooper's - I luv the music they play. Sometimes it's dance, sometimes oldies - always worth singing along to). I didn't even think about picking up anything impulsive. I think this is the least stress I've had grocery shopping in 3 - 6 years. God bless the gfcfsf food stamp diet!!
I followed the shopping list almost exactly divided by 4 (, and my grand total is: $224.50. I think it's high because buying for 4 is much cheaper than for 1, for example - 1 lb carrots = $1, 2 lbs=$1.57. Also, I did not buy a 12 pound turkey to roast and use for soup and leftovers, instead I subbed out a 1 pound turkey breast but it cost the same. Also, the spices were a hefty portion and prices in Denver are higher in general than other places. Still, $200 for 4 weeks of food is pretty thrifty! I forsee leftovers as well because some stuff just isn't divisible by 4.

Things I wish:
That there was no raw poultry on the menu - that grosses me out and causes the disinfectant wipe parade in my kitchen. But, it is an inexpensive and multi-purpose protein source.

There was going to be dessert. But, I'm also sort of glad because this is going to be much healthier.
Things I wonder:
Why isn't there any fish on the list? It's heart healthy and inexpensive.

Tomorrow - day 1 and a pre-cook day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

1 day left to the Food Stamp project!

Tomorrow is my last fridge-purge day before I start my Food Stamp menu project. Today's random goodies?

Have to use up milk so I started by doing my super-instant, no clean up pudding recipe (.75). It's embarassing and if it was for anyone but just me, I'd make it in a bowl but since it's me and I'm going to eat it with a spoon over the next 2 days I just dump the 2 cups of milk in the measuring cup, top it with the pudding mix and whisk it. It is critical to put the pudding mix on the top or the whisk will not be able to stir it all in from the bottom...

The next mash up is chicken (1.50), the last of brussels sprouts and instant mashed potatoes (I used regular milk this time though). Viola! Lunch:

And more chicken (1.50) for dinner, but pickles n cheese too boot. Luv pickles!!

I'd estimate the day at $4.50, if only I could cook chicken I'd save a bundle! These 6 oz packs are $3 and I could get a 3 pound bag of frz for about $6. But, my sanity is worth something, no?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cleaning out the fridge

Still preparing for the Food Stamp Budget project by eating random stuff from the fridge. Today was Quinoa with milk and maple syrup - super yummy for breakfast!

Quick greek salad for lunch: (Almonds not beans)

Dinner - Chocolate ricotta stuff.

It's got a creamy cakey texture. I really like it. I have to give the Southbeach Diet credit for this recipe though. I changed it a little, instead of a packet of fake sweetener I use a packet of Raw sugar, tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp of vanilla with about 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (not their suggested measurements either). It is crucial that you mix the sugar (or Equal) with the cocoa then add the vanilla to make a paste, then mash it all up with the ricotta or it just doesn't work right. Nobody likes a dry ball of cocoa powder on a spoon!

And a bowl of Corn Chex - yeah, boring.
Total today? $3.25

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Instant secret

Above is a picture of the beginning of dinner today...6 brussels sprouts, 2% cheddar and Hormel Turkey Pepperoni slices. Is this unappetizing? I mean, I think it's good but I'm a cheese addict and probably one of 3 people on earth who like plain brussels sprouts more than chips and cookies. I also think a well balanced meal just needs to have more than 3 colors...
and a little more ...I made enough instant potatoes to have leftover tomorrow mmm)....
Here's my secret to instant potatoes and a great travel tip for gf too. I use powdered milk (in packets bc they travel better). I do a 1 part milk powder : 2 parts potato flakes and add hot water until they are the consistency I like. What's so great you ask? Well, no cook time if I'm using hot enough water, like from a coffee maker or even the faucet if you have a high setting on your water heater. They are extra creamy because I'm probably using more milk (less water) than the recipe on the box and it's fat free! No guilt about the butter I dump on. If I've gone lactose intolerant (which happens sometimes) I can drizzle EV Olive Oil on them or sprinkle soy cheese too!
Grand total today? ~$6

Coming Sunday...GF food stamp budgeting

This month's brain child came from an interesting article that sent me to this website:, where they have developed a plan for living on a food stamp budget - gluten, soy and dairy free.

I'm totally intrigued and decided to give it a try in the spirit of proving that gluten free doesn't = expen$ive.

So I'm going to take it and scale it to be for 1 instead of 4 because I don't plan on adopting 3 people for every meal this month. Unless I have volunteers??

One thing I don't agree with is that they say it would be cheaper to use non-gf foods for people in the family who don't need it, but why would you? For the $5 savings per week you are putting at least 1 person in danger of glutening, which believe me, is no fun! I'd pay $5 a day to make sure I never got glutened again!

Another curiosity on my part is the concept of food stamps. Once in a while there's a news story about people on food stamps barely scraping by - so I've always wondered...

My greatest hurdle to overcome - the lack of chocolate chips and wine.

So here's the link to the menu: I'll be spending the rest of this week using stuff up!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ever want to know what other people's grocery bills are?

Since we know that I'm eating leftovers today, I thought it might be interesting to show you my grocery reciepts for January. Proof of where I get my estimated costs and sometimes you just wonder right?
Right about now I'm wondering where my blog is going too...

So, for lunch today I packed a yummy Quinoa meal. Tossed it with Balsamic Vinegar, a little olive oil, feta cheese and Hormel Chicken breast strips, S&P. Was yummy - could have used some onion and olives but I was in a hurry, oh well.

So there's my story of the day. Until next time...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cooking Day!!

I try very hard to have a cooking day every couple weeks where I make batches of things that freeze and re-heat really nice. Yesterday was that day and here is what I made:
1. Package of Quinoa (great side/main dish with almost anything)
2. Crockpot full of BBQ Beef ribs

I have to say, if you're not familiar with Quinoa, which I wasn't until about a year ago, you should try it. It tastes great, cooks super fast and is a source of complete protein. Bonus for the GF party, right?

One box is around $4.59, but that is 6 cups of cooked Quinoa (a serving is 1/2 cup). All nutrition considered and gf aside - much better value than something like couscous.

Once you have your giant bowl of Quinoa it can go in lots of directions. Served with any number of sauces, meats and veggies as a side dish or as a main dish when you do something like stir in some feta, red wine vinegar, olives, red onion and diced chicken (one of my faves!). I also love it for a comfort food breakfast with some butter and maple syrup or Soymilk and a dash of cinnamon. You'll see - you'll love it!

Next I throw some stuff together in the Crockpot for BBQ.

Here's my recipe that I start with but hardly ever measure anymore so it's more of a splash, glug and pinch, depending on how much sauce I need. Also, to save on dish washing, I stir up the sauce right in the Crockpot before I add the meat (no browning necessary).
*be sure and taste the sauce to make sure it's right before the meat goes in*

4-6 hours on high does the trick and then I serve it with the Quinoa or mashed potatoes on the side and a vegetable like broccoli or brussels sprouts

Grand total for today + 3 days of leftovers for lunch: ~$18.00

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lunch @ Starbuck's

Silly me, I tried to have lunch at Starbuck's again, it's really not healthy because I always go for thick creamy sugary treats. But, it's my favorite place to meet up with friends because:

1. They are everywhere so that's really convenient
2. I can always get something safe
3. They usually have those cozy seating areas and patio tables for sunny days (of which we have 300 here per year!)
4. The bathrooms are usually clean

My fall back is usually a Soy Chai Latte bc I reason that the soymilk has protein and calcium and the chai has all those antioxidants and spices that are supposed to be good for your innards. So, it's almost a meal and a Venti has about 300 calories so that counts too.

But today I was craving something (let's blame PMS) and went crazy by ordering a Java Chip Frappucino - Grande. I usually ask to see all the ingredients labels, but I was feeling brave and just asked what was in it - "Coffee base (milk sugar and coffee), chocolate chips and ice". Ok, sounds good. I coupled that with a pkg of Lucy's Cinnamon cookies (these have become my favorites) and walked away with a $5.51 sugar rush, 600 calories.

It was worth it too. Yum Yum Yum! And if you're wondering, yes the Java chip Frapp is gf :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's the weekend :)

Today was an at home, easy day, I was drained from the week long event. I poured half my brain out and we seemed to find some serious solutions, I feel like it was a success!

So, this morning I managed to eat my breakfast (.88) and workout before nap time, LOL. Then had to go to the grocery store for some supplies and library (another of my favorite $ savers, books, mags & even new release or classic movies, the lib!)

Lunch was a bowl of Corn Chex and milk (.86). Real milk because the store was out of my favorite Very Vanilla Silk soy milk :( and an apple leftover from our snack stash this week (I got several apples, oranges and half a bag of Jolly Ranchers free).

Regular milk is good for things like instant potatoes and instant pudding but some how I just can't sub it in on cereal or Chai lattes without feeling a little deprived. But my kitty enjoys the little treat after I'm done :)

Anywho...dinner = leftover fish and veggies from Bonefish and Crystal light (.3)

Grand total today: $2.04. I hope this isn't poke your eyes out boring, but I think it's cool to see that gf isn't expensive at all. What do you think?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bonefish Grill anyone?

Dinner with the work team to celebrate our week and accomplishments instantly went from "where should we eat - let's vote" to "where can Cocoa eat?" when I said, "count me out of 'the Village' I can't eat there - gluten issues." Some part of me was happy, I get to choose and actually go, part of me was sad because I also wanted to go hang out with friends and had to cancel.

So, we went to Bonefish Grill, despite being "expensive", a word that I've never had a grasp of gf or not.

Want to know how it went? It's a good example of why half of my hesitation to eat out is the actual taste of food and service and the other half is actually fear of being poisoned.

So, to sum up my Bonefish experience, which is not unusual for the several times I've been there:

The glass of St. Michelle Riesling was good $7/glass
I ordered the Chilean Sea Bass w/ mango salsa (nothing to write home about), $20 and the Creme Brulee $10

Pro- I can trust that it will be gluten free
Con - may still be raw and despite sending it back will return raw but with more veggies and sauce
Pro - only 1 appetizer is gf so I got to have dessert first (creme brulee but they also have a gf giant ice cream and fudge sauce laden chocolate brownie - YUM!)
Con - the service almost always sucks (one time was ok when it was just 4 of us)
Pro- very friendly lighting (candles on tables)
Con - they use way too much salt and sugar in their foods
Pro- close to where I live/work

Here's the breakdown:
First off, I have to say our waitress was barely worth tipping and I have a feeling she specifically ignored me because I asked for a gluten free menu right off. I ordered a glass of wine at the same time as everyone else, yet my glass of house wine arrived at least 5 minutes after everyone else's various cocktails (there were 10 of us btw). 2 more rounds of drinks were ordered and consumed, which I got food came - fish cold and not flaking at.all. It took 3 tries on my part and 2 of the girl by me to get the waitress' attention (she hovered at the other end of the table), I asked to have it cooked more and it arrived 90 seconds later - still cold and I mean icy - not luke warm, not heating lamp warm - cold. Couldn't get a doggie bag until the girl near me asked for 2! (one for me, thanks sweetie!) I nuked it for 6 minutes when I got home before it was flaky so I know that it was basically raw when they brought it to me - both times.

Don't know if we were charged for the drinks that never came because one really nice guy in our group picked up the entire check. We'll see it on his travel expenses next week, don't worry.

I did enjoy my steamed vegetable medley, the creme brulee was delish and had blueberries on top, which made my day and the mashed potatoes were made with real garlic, not the powder - so good!!

In case you're wondering, the rest of the day was uninteresting food-wise, Apple & yogurt for breakfast ($.75), snacked on mixed nuts, nut thins (free) until Dinner.

Grand total $37.75 for the day of which I paid $.75 (not too shabby!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who hasn't had cereal for dinner?

Another day another meeting - too tired to cook or even wait on the microwave so tonight is a lovely bowl of Corn Chex (.60) and Very Vanilla Silk soy milk (.30) - this is pure comfort food!

As I was pulling in to work today someone actually cut me off and pulled into the space I was pulling in to. Can you believe it? Almost causing an accident and by the time I was parked he was in the building. But, I know what he looks like so I am building up my tirade and next time I see him boy will he be sorry. Or, I'll forget about it and next time I see him I'll be like, wait, what was I going to say?

Letsee...breakfast, the usual (.75)
Snacked on a Larabar again (1.00) and an Apple (.25)
Lunch I popped home for a salad with Chicken on it (2.50)

Crystal Light (.30)

Grand total for the day? $5.90 Not too bad for having breakfast twice, no?
I need suggestions for meals for next week...a normal working week so I'll be much more creative! Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's for dinner tonight?

It's a weeknight so I'm pretty much looking for quick, satisfying and no dishes
to wash. So, I've grabbed the spinner, cut the stem out of some Bibb lettuce (.40) and
washed it up - time spent - 1 minute. Washed and sauteed some Mushrooms (~1.00) with
basil, garlic, oregano & Extra Virgin Olive Oil (negligible) . Topped it with some ricotta (~.50) and
parmesean (~.25) . Dressed the salad with balsamic vinagrette and a few cherry tomatoes (1.00)
done! Total time - 10 minutes. Cost - apprx $3.15/serving.

Did the usual yogurt and banana breakfast (.75)

Wimped out and had an Amy's Tamale dinner (3.12) for lunch.

Snacks: Diet Pepsi (.60), handful of chocolate chips (~.25), cup of Rice Chex (.30).
Total for the day: $7.57

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Instant gf foods

So, this week I'm practically living on instant foods. Since I have a full week of all-day meetings I don't want to take chances on anything that might poison me so here's what I'm eating. No prep time!!:
Breakfast: Yogurt (.50) & a Banana (.69/pound so approx .20)
Lunch: Hormel cooked Chicken breast (1.50), canned veggies -nuked (.50), cheese (1.50/8 oz so ~.46)
Snack: cup of Minute Rice, ready to serve (.90)
Snack: Larabar (1.00)
Dinner: Soup made with chicken broth (.25), frozen veg mix (.25), misc spices, S&P (negligible)

Total: $5.56, for a whole day! Most people spend that much on a morning coffee and doughnut.

Larabars are so delish! They come in many flavors, my faves are Lemon, pecan pie, cashew cookie and ginger snap. I feel like I've had dessert after eating them but really I've had a full serving of nuts and one of fruit - so good!
On a side note, the rice cups are pricey, each package (of 2) comes with a coupon (so far) for $1 off the purchase of 2 packages. I'm finding them for around $2 a package so the coupon makes them less than $1 each for a cup of rice. Such a splurge!! But, I can eat them hot or not, no additions needed bcuz they have a little bit of sunflower oil and salt in them so actually really yummy plain.

I'm also throwing in a box of NutThins for snacks as needed for the entire week - the box was $2.39 for about 90 crackers, give or take. Love them in Cheddar flavor!

So there you go, not expensive not inconvenient, totally healthy and yummy. See you tomorrow :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rule #1 - only eat things you like

I've spent my life being confused by the FDA's food pyramid, the 4 squares theory and various fad diets. Going gluten free really changed all that for me. I had a complete attitude change: I will only eat things I like that are good for me. The bonus here is that no one will guilt me over it. Who would be mean enough to tell someone with celiac disease that she can't have a handful of chocolates, a goblet of wine or a nice chunk of cheese?

Since this first week of February is a giant 4-day, all-day meeting, I'll be living off some very safe very instant foods and will post tomorrow about how I survive a week of work w/out cooking breaks.

Today, I thought it would be fun to post my list of favorites and things I almost always have on hand. These of course are Rule #1 foods :)

In no particular order:

Mogen David Wine (it's not a guzzling wine, it's a savoring and comforting drink)

Dannon Naturals Yogurt - Coffee flavor (active cultures and a little pick-me up with my calcium)

Organic Bananas (non-organic upset my tummy but these are my friend)

Kroger low sodium, no MSG Chicken Broth (need I explain?)

Semi sweet chocolate Chips (Kroger or Nestle)

Kroger Creamy Peanut Butter (I zap 1 Tbs w/ Chocolate chips for 1 min to cure my cravings)

Fresh and Frozen Spinach (goes with almost everything!)

Kroger frozen stir fry veggies with rice

Hormel cooked meats (lunch meat or turkey pepperoni)

Silk soy milk (great for running out the door breakfast)

Instant Mashed potatoes (Great Value/Walmart brand)

Minute Rice (instant or ready to serve cups)

Tubs of crumbled feta or shredded parmesean cheese


Angus filets

Crystal Light (varied flavors and only the boxes clearly labeled gf)

Obviously, I shop a lot at King Soopers (Kroger) and Walmart. KS because they label and carry a lot of gf products and it's always been my store since I was a kid. I especially love that they have started putting brown tags on the shelves in front of gf items so you can pick them out quick as you zoom by. I've come to tears of joy more than once at dicovering a new group of brown tags in that store!

I shop less than I used to for food at Walmart because they used to label a lot of their Great Value brands gf, then I started finding that ingredients changed on some faves and went from gf to poison so it doesn't make me so happy. Last week I saw Betty Crocker brand gf brownie mixes there and they carry some Amy's brand gf frz meals though, so I still hit the grocery section for staples when I'm in to get my tp and soap.

I don't know if I'll get any followers on this blog, but if you read me, please leave me a comment - nice or mean - so I know. Thanks!