Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Second thoughts....

led us to cancel the trip. It just didn't feel right, somehow.  So, now we are planning on just staying home for the two weeks, resting, and hopefully doing a few tasks around the house before galavanting in our own hood.

The man is in Alberta this week. He is getting back on Thursday just in time to go to MCC, to get the results of the CT Scan he had on the 17th.  Our hopes are high that all will be well, but you just never know. Perhaps that is why I am hesitant to make any holiday plans. So much can change in your life in such a short time.

Since I have been having trouble with my car battery, simply from lack of use, I am taking the long way to go anywhere these days, just to charge it up a bit. Today I went to Canadian Tire for a grand purchase of saran wrap, via the perimeter!  I ended up at Extra foods at long last - the place I really wanted to go to begin with, but is it even a mile from my door?  My driving habits have changed quite a bit since the new shopping centre was built just around the corner and down the street! |This frivolous use of gas and time was all in the name of healthy alternator usage!  The good news is, that the groceries for the week consisted of a single white onion,, three shallots, a package of summer sausage and a squeeze bottle of mustard!  I found some chicken thighs, as well, for the freezer. They were such nice plump white ones in a package of four...perfect for us in quantity and quality.  Couldn't resist them!

I am determined to buy only small amounts as needed for the next few months, hopefully changing my way of shopping forever. It is so much easier to come home with a small shopping bag full of stuff to put away!  After feeding the masses for years, it is no longer necessary to have large amounts of food on hand, in case the whim hits to entertain. To look after our own simple needs seems to be enough to keep us more than busy!The days of buying jugs of milk, and bags of several varieties of fruits are gibe. It simply is a time to keep it simple.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

If you would have told me a month ago....

that we would be planning to vacation in Mexico this November, I would have told you that you were nuts! But here I am, tickets in hand for a delightful two weeks on Banderas Bay!  Whooooot!

So, now the problem is, how in the world will we find shorts for the man? And will his trunks fall off in the water? What the heck. We can always hit Wally world when we get there, if all else fails. He has lost as much weight in the past few months as I have over the past eight years. But I didn't have to suffer as he did, so it is easy to forgive him!

This will give me the needed nudge to go through all of my clothing next week. I was planning on putting the summer things in a suitcase....who knew that I would actually take the suitcase to the airport?  I have learned to travel very light over the last few years. The hotel that we will be staying at is conveniently located on a major street, with a laundromat right on the corner. There really isn't any shopping to speak of, and other than the obligatory bottle of tequila to buy at Wally world, I really don't see shopping fitting into the vacation. Now, the next one?  Maybe!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Menu plan for October 23 - 29

Comfort food: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Cream corn

From the freezer:Chicken Soup***Pizza

Pork Chops *,Scalloped Potatoes, Salad

Stir Fry, Pork**, Vegtables, &, Rice
Baking day: Carrot Cake

Pasta with white sauce, Salad

Pickere, Boiled Potatoes, Mixed Veggie


"Eat The Pantry" and Wednesday - baking day

Following the new plan, the house is smelling pretty good this morning! It was Tea Cake Wednesday!  With clotted cream and preserves, these are great, tea time or not!

Of course, as usual, there is an easy way to do things! Why I had to wait to be this age to figure these shortcuts out, is beyond me. But I digress. It is so much easier to buy a mix, bang it into the Kitchen Aid and let her rip!  Today, to a basic Tea Biscuit mix, I added some glace fruit, to make them even more delish. Since gluten free recipes do not behave like standard flour recipes, it is really the most economical route, as one little mistake can set you back ten dollars or more, for one simple recipe. This way? A little less risk.   They are cooling as we speak, waiting to be wrapped in multiple layers for the freezer. 

I have also assembled the chicken divan, for our supper tonight.  The menu gets a bit mixed up during the week, but generally, the recipes all get made, on one day or the other.  Hubby is eating real food now, and he is down to one protein shake a day. I really want his appetite to come back - I never realized what a joy it was to have him to cook for all of these years. He is adding foods daily, although the amounts are a lot less than before. And is it ever showing on our food budget!  There is a silver lining in every cloud, isn't there?

So, I have the lettuce all washed for the salad tonight - part of the "eat what you buy" plan of attack. If it is ready, and easily accessible, there is no reason for it to go to waste. As for salad dressing, I have one little bottle of thousand islands that I use when the calorie intake for my day is low, but usually, I mix a bit of olive oil with an acid of sorts and the results are much tastier than the store bought ones.  

I have also managed to make another weeks menu plan out of the food that I have at hand, so perhaps I should refer to October as "Eat the Pantry" month, although I am sure I could easily make our stores last until well into November, with a few minor additions. That is a pretty good idea, so here it goes. Officially? It is now "Eat The Pantry" time!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It is all going according to plan....

I finally finished the menu plan AND the grocery shopping for the week. We really do manage to keep our budget low when we eat at home.  (The grand total for today, was 26.13.  And I even bought a couple of steaks, a little extra treat for one day this week!) Since we are forced to eat out a lot when travelling, we both prefer simple fare at home. Today I made fresh tomato soup....if you have never done that? TRY IT because the flavour is out of this world. Simple recipe too.  Took all of thirty minutes!  A simple cup of soup to start our dinner.  There is still enough for lunch tomorrow, too!

So, this weeks menu was and is:

Sunday:  Roast chicken, potatoes, peas (leftovers become Chicken divan, and soup stock for next week)
Monday: Tomato soup, meatballs& rice
Tuesday: Steak and salad
Wednesday: Chicken Divan, side salad
Thursday: Macaroni, cauliflower with cheddar cheese bake with green salad
Friday: Cod, simple boiled potatoes and higgelty piggelty sauce
Saturday:  Meatloaf, mashed potatoes  and creamed corn

I am going to try to bake something every Wednesday this winter. This week, I am going to make tea cakes...you know, the ones with the little squares of fruit in them? The cost of gluten free stuff is horrendous, and not as good as homemade, either. So, a little planning and a little extra effort should prove to be a good thing.  Last week I made banana nut muffins, and I still have eight of the little beauties left. To have a few things stashed away in the freezer is a lifesaver for the times when I really want something that remotely resembles the beauties at Tim's!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Evening

After our meeting, we were both hungry....so at nine in the evening, I roasted a chicken, boiled some potatoes and heated up some sweetlet peas. With a pan gravy, we were in hog heaven. Rick actually ate almost 1/3 of a cup of potatoes, a chicken leg and thigh, and half a cup of peas. It sure makes me feel good to have him eating again. Of course, there isn't any salt in anything, but that is working wonders for me too, since all of a sudden, people are noticing that I have actually lost fifty pounds or so....fifty three to be exact. But it has taken a very long time. It seemed that the weight came off when I wasn't looking, because when I really, really try? NOTHING happens!

The fact of the matter is that we need a trip south to get some new clothes. Well, I do, anyway. Rick can buy up here so easily, since he has always been able to take off the rack clothes and make them look good! Me? Not so much. I have these monkey arms and legs, and a spider midsection. Makes for interesting shopping, that is for sure.

I am working on the menu plan for next week...should have been done by now, but that darn chicken took my desk time!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A VERY successful day in the kitchen!

They do happen, every blue moon you know!  First thing this morning, I made a batch of refrigerator pickles. These are sooooo good, and easy to make, too. I used those mini seedless cucumbers and they worked out so well.  I also made them with Splenda, so there are virtually no calories in the whole batch...I have always considered cucumbers and peppers to be free foods, as the calories are not worth the math effort to count!

After a little break to watch TV, I made a batch of banana pecan gluten free muffins. I didn't forget them in the oven this time, so they came out lovely and moist.  A little more TV. Then, seeing that the cucumber pickles had too much brine, I thought I would take some of it, and some of the onion and peppers, and add them to a can of mixed beans. Voila. Bean Salad.  So, now the weekend salads are looked after.  More TV.

Supper came along, and I was getting the grumblies, so I made the chicken parmigiana. WOW.It turned out really well!  You would never know that it was gluten free. And what a pretty presentation, too. One chicken breast made at least three portions, so two are in the refrigerator, cooling. We can either eat them this weekend or freeze. I am banking on this weekend, since Rick is getting a little of his appetite back. He had a yogurt today. That is a major taste hurdle for him, as it is quite tart. But he is good at challenging his taste buds. The "sip of the protein shake, and a spoon of the yogurt" method worked a treat!

My week's worth of groceries that I bought last week, is going to stretch to payday!  With the pantry items I have on hand, I could even stretch a little further if I am too lazy to shop this week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This Weeks Revised Menu Plan

Sunday:  Honey Ginger Chicken Thighs

Cream of Leek and Potato Soup (2 portions  for freezer)

Meatballs and Rice (2 portions  for freezer)
Chicken Parmigiana with Caesar Salad (1 portion for freezer)
Pasta with Tomato  Sauce
Baked Sausage and Vegetables
Saturday:  OPEN

I find that if I use small freezer bags to freeze leftovers, they fit so much better in the freezer!  I have a Fridge Binz that holds the bags upright, just like file folders, so it makes finding something to quickly reheat a breeze.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

A lazy weekend enjoyed by all....

is coming to an end. Hubby is off to Saskatoon for a conference tomorrow morning at 4, so I am planning a blitz on this house. It will be the first time we haven't been together in months, and separation anxiety is beginning to set in.  He is leaving with instructions, so hopefully, he will be okay. Flying was the only option this time, as he is scheduled for a CT scan on Monday, and there just wasn't enough time to drive.

Today, he tried on his clothes. There is very little left in his closet, but to tell you the truth, it was a long time coming. He needs a few new things, but we aren't sure where his weight will level off. He is a shadow of his former self, to say the least. I have forced him to shop for pants, and for new pj's.  It took monumental effort on his part to do that much, so I am pleased he managed.  

When he comes home, we must go buy a suit, a sports coat, a thick wooly sweater  and a pair of dress pants. It is enough to make you cry, to know that I just had every one of his suits dry cleaned, too! Ouch. 

The fact is that men are so easy to dress!  One shopping trip and it will all be over. I am going to haul out the bags (five green garbage bags at last count, heavy beggers!) of clothing and leave them at the curb for the diabetes collection, after I go through my clothes as well. 

This shrinking business does have a downside. BUT the good news is that I still have a leather jacket that goes with everything I own!  I doubt that I will ever go without one again. I layer it up when it is cold, and when it is just a bit chilly, it is good to throw over a t-shirt. I can even put it with a dress! Yep. Money well spent.  And when this one gets too big? Another will be sought out. 

The fact is that a wardrobe with ten essential pieces is more than enough for anyone, so why do we insist on cramming as many garments as we can into our closets? I have a problem with discarding the old when I bring something new in...I am not sure that I will love the new piece, and regret tossing the old, so I stash it in the closet. And there it stays. For months. Ideally? I think everything you need for a season should fit in a carry on bag. And as I shrink, so will my wardrobe!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Busy day at our house. Our fence blew down in the wind yesterday. Oh joy. Another expense.

While Rick discussed the situation with our wonderful neighbours behind us, I cleaned the kitchen and made butternut squash soup....with curry, ginger, chili and garlic...it was a hit, and served with a good bit of whipping cream, made the man VERY happy.

We did a bit of shopping. What a nightmare. Forgot it was Thanksgiving weekend and no one in the city had food, so they were buying it all at Costco today. We not only went to one Costco - found two pairs of sleep pants and for T-shirts for his new skinny body, but went on to another to find a sweater/jacket thingy that will be perfect for this type of weather.

Had to stop at Shopper's to take advantage of the 20X the points offer....I am a points junky!  And it was such an easy way to bank some extra points for my next big splurge day. Anyway, by that time, he was really tired out, so after a quick stop to buy a couple of things at Extra foods, I surprised him with a pumpkin pie! He loved it, and managed to eat one whole piece!  So, just as I was eyeing the remainder and praying for pie eating visitors to put me out of my misery, two showed up! Pie is now gone, as is my temptation!  It was nice to have nice cheery visitors after this house has been so empty for so long.

And that is the news for today.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday's gone....

First thing this morning, I made a batch of bison cabbage rolls. Since the menu plan went the way of all good intentions, I was left with half a pound of bison after last night's meatball recipe.  So, as well as mixing in some rice,  I added some green and red peppers, onion and celery into fine dice (gotta love that Nicer Dicer!) and stretched that meat to make a head of savoy cabbage into cabbage rolls! Surprisingly, hubby was able to put away a whole one, to spite the tomatoes. Things are looking up!  So, now my totally overfilled refrigerator has to accommodate one more dish.  Supper tonight was a pork loin chop ( 1" thick, and more than enough for the two of us) hash browns and creamed corn.  Hubby had leftover mashed potatoes from last night, as he still favours soft foods over crispy brown ones!  Goody. More for me! I do love home made hash browns!  It boggles my mind why anyone would buy the frozen ones when they are so good if you make them from horror of horrors, a real potato or two!

So, that was my exciting day.   My To Do  list is growing longer and longer, but I felt a bit under the weather today, and just wanted to stick to the basics and hunker down at home. The weather has been unusually hot for this time of year, and maybe that is throwing me off my game. I should have known better than to put on our winter bedding!  Just like washing my car brings on the rain, a fluffy quilt brings on an Indian summer.

Ah well. I don't know what will happen tomorrow!  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Winter Bedding

The big change over came today. I know we are having a bit of  a "heat wave" at the moment, but strike when the mood hits, is my philosophy!  So, our bed is made with a nice puffy quilt. At the moment, it is a bit damp from the heavy spray of water it had to remove wrinkles, but in an hour or so, I will put out the pillows and put on the finishing touches!  If only I could get moving on the clothing issues in this house. Rick's clothes are all to big. Mine are all mixed up. Winter, summer, some fit, some are too big, some are too ugly. I have no idea where it all comes from, but I am inundated with garments that no longer fit, or have lost their appeal. Maybe I should just get rid of things one by one as they frustrate me?  Then it won't be quite so traumatizing!  But it will be slow going, that is a fact!

My menu plan  isn't going to work. Too many things the man can not handle, but not to worry. I will take the same ingredients and make them "wet" enough for his tender throat.  So, tonight? The baked cod becomes cod with "higgelty piggelty" sauce...a tastey reminder of our trip to Germany. Ahhhh the land of gorgeous fish and potato dishes!  Simply put, it is heavy cream with a touch of curry, and a few mixed vegetables. Served over the baked fish, with potatoes, it is a simply delightful dish.  Same ingredients, just a different prep method. I was getting too complicated with this menu business, so it was bound to fail!  As for the Waldorf salad? I will still try that recipe, because it intrigues me.  And dessert?  Fruit salad will never go to waste in this house! I will make enough for tomorrow's supper as well as lunch tomorrow.

So, the new menu for today is:

  • Waldorf salad
  • Fish in Higgelty Piggelty sauce
  • Steamed Potatoes
  • Fruit salad for dessert. Yes! DESSERT!  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday - Grocery Shopping Day

Three stores and more money than I had planned to spend! A grand total of $114.21, but for the amount of time I spent doing it, I was sure I would have cracked the $1000 mark! I had a menu plan, complete with recipes and shopping list, but it is pretty difficult to buy half a stalk of celery. As a result, the total was much higher than it needed to be, with food enough to last two weeks at least.  I am thinking ten pounds of potatoes was a little excessive, but now that hubby can eat a little again, it is opening up a big can of kitchen time!

Speaking of which,  the total was affected by two pairs of pants that jumped into the cart at Costco so I guess the dollar drain wasn't as bad as I think it was!  And of course, the box of protein shakes to supplement hubby's meals added to the total, and that really isn't food per se. I did buy one  exotic ingredient...celeriac to use in a Waldorf salad. Should prove interesting! (I also picked up a matching binder to use for menu plans and recipes.  Hmmm.....I am beginning to see my grocery bill wasn't as steep as I originally thought!)

The menu plan for this week, from SOS Cuisine, using local ingredients:


  • Waldorf Salad 2 servings
  • Preparation 15 min / Standing 10 min
  • 160 calories per serving
  • Waldorf Salad
  • Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup celeriac, shredded 200 g
  • 1 apples, cut into thin slices 180 g
  • 1/4 green peppers, finely diced 40 g
  • 1/2 Boston lettuce, or curly leaf 100 g
  • 4 tsp mayonnaise 20 mL
  • 1 tbsp yogurt, plain, 2% 16 g
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp walnuts [optional] 12 g
  • salt to taste
  • ground pepper to taste
  • Method
  • 1. Cut the apples into thin slices, without peeling them, but eliminating the core. Place
  • them on the serving plate. Clean the lettuce and place it on the serving plate, leaving
  • the centre for the celeriac.
  • 2. Peel and shred the celeriac, then put it in a bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice to
  • avoid darkening. Add a pinch of salt. Finely dice the bell pepper and add it to the
  • celeriac.
  • 3. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the yogurt. Pour it over the celeriac and toss
  • well. Adjust the seasoning then transfer to the centre of the serving plate.2 servings
  • Preparation 10 min / Cooking 10 min
  • 270 calories per serving
  • 4. If desired, garnish with walnuts(*). Let rest 10 min to allow the flavours to blend, then
  • serve

Haddock with Almonds and Ginger Squash Purée (make ahead)
Winter Fruit Salad

Spinach and Mushroom Salad
Basil-flavoured Chicken and Pepper Stir-Fry and Steamed Basmati Rice
Winter Fruit Salad (repeated)

Cream of Potato Soup "Parmentier" (make ahead)
Mixed Legume Salad
Baked Apples (make ahead)

Warm Cauliflower Salad
Pasta in a Bolognese Meat Sauce
Baked Apples (repeated)

Cream of Potato Soup "Parmentier" (repeated)
Tuna and Cabbage Salad
Ice Cream with Cranberry Sauce

Every day that passes.....

seems to get me into more of a mess. I did manage to tackle the washing and ironing today, and toss out a few of the man's more "used and ugly" clothes. My closet, however, remains the bane of my existence.  There are too many things in my closet, in my cupboards, and in my house in general. Where does it all come from? Why is there so much after I have so diligently given and tossed? I think my tolerance for junk is becoming smaller with every purge!

As I seek the perfect method for getting rid of junk, I seem to miss the most obvious course of action. Toss it and get on with life!

Eventually? I would like to have a closet like my sister's. They downsized from a large home to an apartment. She has a couple of feet of hanging space for her duds in her bedroom, and more than her share of hall closet. The woman is a leather jacket junkie , and has quite the collection.  She wears simple clothes, but always has that third layer to add snap and pizazz.  But I digress. I have far too much and wear far too little of it.  Once and for all, I need to have a good clear out to start the season off right. The weather this week is unusually warm for this time of year, so I have been given a bit more time to get ready for winter!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pants Shopping and Other Trials

Saturday we  braved the crowds, and went shopping for new pants for the man. He tires so easily now, but with the two of us on the job, we managed!  He found new jeans, black and indigo, and some twill pants in black. With the shirts he has in his closet, he will be able to manage until we figure out where his weight will land. He is feeling a little better now, so he is out for a walk. I wonder if he wore his new pants?

As for me? I tried on my winter pants to check the length. It is all good. The waistbands are tight, so that gives me a little incentive to hold back at the table a little! LOL  As for the bigger things, out they go. I am fed up with trying on six outfits before venturing out. Fact is? I usually pick a couple of things to wear, and wear them shamelessly!  Even my nighties need weeding out!  The same ones are always in the wash, so why keep the rest?  Ah, the miseries of clothing!