Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What's for Dinner: Our Weekly Menu Plan

Here's something I haven't done in a while, but I thought I'd share what our menu plan is looking like for the week.  This "plan" is just that...a plan.  We'll be getting paid this week, which means we'll be picking up our groceries this week as well, so depending on availability of items I might have to change up what we are eating to adapt.

Can I just say, though, how much I love doing grocery pick up?  The biggest advantage I've found is that I can start adding things to my basket two weeks before I actually have to go grocery shopping, so I have plenty of time to figure out needs versus wants, if I should pick up a couple more of certain items or not (depending on how much the final bill will be and how much we need to put into savings that week) and most importantly I can make SURE we are living within our grocery budget, so rises in prices are calculated online for me so I don't have a shock bill when I go to the store and trying to do it all on the fly.  I don't have to worry about dragging Alvah through the store and having him get grumpy waiting in long lines.  I can just go, pick up groceries and go home.  Really if there is one thing that came out of Covid that I appreciate it is the entire concept of pick up and go groceries.

Also, please enjoy the kind of sparse fridge shot above.  It is pay week, so it gets kind of empty as we prepare to fill it up for the next couple of weeks of meals at the end of the week.  

In other news, I want to thank everyone for supporting the blog that orders through my associate links for Amazon.  It has really helped me to get things we need around the house.  Like our fridge is slowly breaking from age as the shelves and plastic give out from plastic fatigue and things just get too old and brittle.  One of the things that broke a long while ago was our deli drawer.  My husband looked at it and kept trying to figure out a way to fix it, but really he was figuring it was a losing battle.  I saved up my associate fees and was able to find these drawers (associate link) and ordered them.  They just clip onto the underside of the fridge shelves and they are kind of small, but they get things like boxes of butter or little bits of cheese or my daughter's deli ham off of the fridge shelves and I'll tell you what it makes things so much easier and less awkward.  I can even fit a few containers of left over veggies and things into them so they don't get buried into the back of the fridge.  Weird the way you don't miss things like a deli drawer until it's gone.

Anyway, onto the menu plan for this week.  

Weekly Menu List 

Grilled chicken, coleslaw, Mac and cheese

Cuban sandwiches, roasted carrots, canned pears

Hawaiian chicken, coconut rice, tropical fruit

Pizza night (Friday)

Burgers, coleslaw, oven fries

Greek chicken, greek salad, Tzatziki sauce, pita bread

Salmon, Japanese style, miso soup, rice, fruit (fruit cocktail)

Days for Dinners:

  • Monday:  Grilled Chicken (marinated in Italian Dressing), coleslaw, Mac and Cheese.  

The coleslaw recipe was good, but I am going to add more vinegar to it next time as we like a more tangy coleslaw.  But, I was able to use up the cabbage that was left over from St. Patrick's Day that has been sitting in the fridge.  I think we are going to eat coleslaw more this summer as it really hit the spot.

  • Tuesday:  Hawaiian Chicken, coconut cilantro rice and tropical fruit (this stuff, associate link)...the tropical fruit is one of our favorite side dishes to have and I do try to ration it as it isn't the cheapest thing to have in the pantry...good stuff though.
  • Wednesday:  Cuban sandwiches on sourdough bread (use ground Cuban meat in the freezer), roasted carrots, canned pears (we have a bunch of pears to go through)
  • Thursday:  Burgers on sourdough buns, oven fries, coleslaw (I have more cabbage, so I am going to make more coleslaw).

For the salad I will be using yellow onion as that is what I have, black olives instead of Kalamata olives and crumbled feta instead of chunked as that is what I have on hand...to help keep costs down as the produce alone will cost enough.  I haven't had Greek salad in YEARS and it sounds really good, so I am going to try and afford the produce to make it...we'll see how expensive the groceries get by the end of the week as I might have to cut it out...we shall see).

  • Sunday:  Japanese style salmon, rice, miso soup, fruit cocktail or fresh fruit (depending on availability).

I'm not sure if I have enough frozen salmon to have it, so I'll have to check the freezer, so I might have to change the plan, but we shall see.

So there you go folks.  Our tentative menu plan for this week.  I'm hoping I can use up things in the freezer that need to be used up (like the salmon) and just keep getting things more and more streamlined and organized around here.


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Some of My Favorite YouTube Channels

Behind on blogging again.  Story of my life.  Bright side, for the most part I've just been really busy around here.  I'll get more into that in a bit, but for now, I thought I would answer a question I got a while back.  

Someone left a comment on a post asking what some of my favorite channels on YouTube were, or what were my favorite things to watch online...something along those lines.  While I do have some things I like to watch on Amazon Prime video from time to time, for the most part now a days, I mainly watch YouTube.  So, I thought I would start with some of my favorite things to watch on YouTube today.  

So, here you go folks.  Some of my favorite things to do on the YouTube.

My favorite things to watch are mainly homesteading, cooking and just daily life vlogs.  Don't know why on some of them...I just find them relaxing.  Now, mind you, before everyone goes "Good Lord, all she must do is watch TV..." no, not that's not the case at all.  I actually barely watch TV during the day.  I'm too busy during the day.  But, when you have a kid that doesn't sleep and will wake the entire household if you don't keep tabs on him, you end up watching a lot of stuff to keep yourself awake.  So, that's where I found most of these channels...late a night.  But, I do admit that a few channels, like Three River's Homestead, I try to watch the day the video comes out and enjoy it as she's one of my favorite channels to watch.

In no particular order:

Three River's Homestead Trying to find inspiration on how not to waste anything?  This is the channel for you.  She also has a child with anaphylactic dairy and peanut allergies and she herself is gluten free (and on the GAPS diet sometimes) to help manage her Crohn's disease, so if you are juggling dietary restrictions and trying to figure out how to manage that, she might be a great resource to check out.

Farmhouse on Boone I follow this channel mainly for sourdough inspiration, but she's got a great channel all the same.  Her recipes are top notch (I always add instant yeast to her recipes to make them into sourdough highbred recipes to save time and sometimes I add more flour for that purpose as well, but they have all been delicious that I have made).

Seed and Sparrow Homestead. She has some of the best bread recipes that aren't sourdough around and she has some great all around recipes as well.  I also love her kids running around in the background making noise because...you know...real life *laugh*.

The Hollar Homestead I really love this family and their hard working, get-up-and-go attitude and they do a LOT.  I've actually learned quite a bit watching their channel this last year about everything from what pigs to raise (if I ever do that), how to make different recipes, how to make and cultivate compost...it's amazing how much they learn and share with others.  And their daughter is absolutely adorable and loves to help her parents, which I find so stinking cute.

Celebrating Appalachia.  This is one of my channels that I seldom miss an update when she posts up a video.  I love this family and their love for the place where they live and everything that goes along with it.  I even bought her cookbook with some of the gift cards I got at Christmas and use it quite a bit.  Her recipes are simple and delicious and she loves to garden and work the land.  Her family reminds me of my family back in PA and I have an genuine affection for the channel.

Acre Homestead. I used to watch Becky all the time, but I've found as my financial situation gets tighter, that the last thing I want to do is watch someone put together elaborate dinner parties and things.  It's not that I don't think she has a right to do that or something, don't get me wrong, but she's just in a completely different stage of financial life than I am right now and the length of her videos (a lot of them almost an hour or more) are just too long for someone like me who gets to wrestle time in minutes from the day, not hours.  So, now a days I tend to just watch her freezer cooking videos to see if she tries any new recipes that spark my interest and that's about it.  But, she's fun to watch, so I wanted to include her channel here for others to check out.

Little Mountain Ranch.  I started watching this channel as she's in a growing zone that is similar to mine and I wanted to see if I could pick up some tips on varieties of things to grow in my area.  She cooks and does other stuff, of course, and that has me going back to see what her and her family are up to.  It's a fun channel and I enjoy it.

Sarah Terese Co. Sarah Terese's energy is infectious and she's actually been a good motivating channel for me when it comes to detail cleaning things as she's kind of type A when it comes to being neat and tidy.  It is good for me as I tend to go for big messes first and will overlook the minutia in the cleaning department.

nyangsoop.  This is one of my favorite "happy place" channels.  It is a Korean vlog of a gal who lives in the Korean countryside and her interior decorating is absolutely gorgeous.  I love how warm her house is (lots of wood), how pretty her scenery is and her cat Taco is a cutie.  It is a nice laid back channel to watch.  She doesn't update too often, but when she does (and as soon as she gets the subtitles working in English, which sometimes takes a couple of days) I watch the video immediately.  It is truly one my favorite spaces on YouTube.

Nami's Life.  A Japanese vlogger I subscribe to, who has a really nice, laid back channel.  I enjoy her videos for sure and have picked up a lot of ideas for Japanese cooking from her as well.

Cecilia Blomdohl. Ever wondered what life was like on Svalbard, an island close to the North Pole?  Well, now you don't have to wonder!  I love this channel for her eye for photography and scenery, her love for the outdoors and her cozy cabin and life.  I also love to compare what she pays for groceries compared to us to see what the differences are (oddly enough, not too far off in some cases) and also watching someone who understands what it is like for the grocery store to be out of a bunch of things when the plane or the boat is late *laugh*.

Choki. A vlog about a Japanese woman and the life of her and her cats.  I love her cozy interior decorating vibe and she's another channel that I've picked up a bit of Japanese cooking from.  I want to try her recipe for Japanese milk bread one of these days.

Imamu Room I started watching this channel for the bento boxes she would put together for her husband, but have stayed because the family is cute the way they interact with each other and her way of vlogging is funny and real.  

Townsends. I've learned a lot about the 18th Century through this channel over the years and 18th Century Cooking is still one of my favorite things to binge watch on YouTube when Alvah isn't sleeping.  I'm hoping I can learn more about cooking over open fire and on wood stoves through the channel in case of situations where it will be needed *laugh*.

And a few others:

Moomin Official.  I absolutely LOVE the Moomins!!!  I linked to the Official Moomin Channel for the sake of simplicity, but I tend to watch the straight playlists of the 90's Moomin anime on YouTube that others have posted up (they have a playlist of the Moomins 90's Full Episodes and Compilations on the Official channel to start with, though...I just prefer a straight playlist without the Compilations part).  I watch the Moomins a lot and watch them quite a bit.

Lofi Girl. I listen to Lofi girl a lot late at night when I'm trying to hopefully get the son to relax and go to bed.  

Vintage Music Channel. I listen to older music a lot as I appreciate it and enjoy it quite a bit.  This is the best channel I've found for great playlists that have a nice variety of music on said playlists.  Right now we are binge listening to the Vintage Spring Music Playlist and the kids and I all enjoy listening to it :).

And there you go folks.  Some of my favorite things on YouTube.  I know it is kind of a long list and in no particular order, but my son isn't feeling good today so the idea of doing alphabetical order and separating into categories just is not going to happen.  Sorry.  

Hope you find something fun or new in the list!  What are some of your favorite channels to watch?

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Farmer's Loaf: A Freezer Cooking Recipe

Right, be prepared for a post that is not mine, but just a recipe I wanted to share.  This recipe, however, is worth sharing, as it gives you the most moist, yummy meat loaf!  My daughter absolutely adores this recipe.  The only thing I'll change the next time I make it is to cut down on the onions as the recipe does end up rather onion heavy for me and my husband.

So, let's get to it!

This recipe comes to us from, "Hazel Meyer's Freezer Cook Book", which was published in 1970 (I'd share a pic of the cover, but it is just green with simple text on the binding as the book is missing the dust jacket).  My husband got this cookbook for me for Christmas and I've had a ton of fun, so far, with it.  It is a cookbook that is all about food you can freeze (obviously) so it was an obvious book for me to reach for when I wanted to try some freezer cooking meals this last January and February.

Nice thing about this recipe?  Not only do you get meat in your diet, but also a bunch of veggies as well, so it's a nice "one pot" type of application.

I put my veggies through the food processor instead of a meat grinder and it worked, kinda.  I ended up with a bunch of potato chunks at the end of it.  I think next time I make it I'm going to par cook my potato a little bit to make it easier to process.  The chunks of potato I ended up with DID bake and were perfectly find in the finished product, but you did end up just biting into a chunk of potato which was a bit distracting while eating it.

So, onto the recipe!

Farmer's Loaf

  • 3 large white potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large green pepper, seeds removed and quartered
  • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage meat (I used Italian sausage)
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or undiluted evaporated milk


1.  Using medium or coarse blade, put vegetables and apple through a meat grinder (I used the food processor and just processed things till really fine if I could get it to that point).  Combine the mixture, including all of the juices with the other ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.  Pack into 2 buttered bread pans (9x5x3") and cover both pans with foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

2.  Freezer portion:  Remove 1 pan, cool, chill in the refrigerator, then freeze.  Store up to 3 months (we've already gone through both loaves, so I say 3 months works *laugh*).

3.  Serving the unfrozen portion:  Uncover and continue to bake for 30 minutes.  Unmold, slice, and serve with tomato sauce or brown gravy (we used ketchup and it worked great).

4.  Serving the freezer portion:  Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 40 minutes.  Serve as above.

So, the next time you are looking at making a new meatloaf recipe, give this one a try!  It turned out really well for me and I plan on adding it to my freezer cooking rotation!


Quick Life Recap

Please enjoy the unrelated stand in photo above, mainly because I'm really wishing it were Spring instead of it snowing like mad out today.  And really, it was a huge dragonfly and really impressive to take a photo of before it flew off (nature hates me photographing it and things will immediately take off when I get near them, so I was impressed this came out *laugh*).

And now, onto our regularly schedule posting.

Okay, for those wondering where my frugal Friday post was for last week and the aforementioned extra post I was planning on doing too...well...life got in the way.  It was a week.  My husband pulled something in his neck/shoulder the weekend before Easter doing something and has been in severe agony for nearly two weeks now.  I've actually spent a lot of time while he's home helping to get him fresh ice and things so he doesn't have to get up from a chair in the hopes that I'm alleviating his pain even a little bit.  He went to the doctor's last Friday and ended up on muscle relaxants and icing orders, which he's been doing religiously, but it hasn't gotten any better, so he's going to try the chiropractor next after he talked to my sister-in-law, who is a massage therapist, for advice.  

Then, my cat Prince was on my lap last Wednesday night and he just went nuts licking the chair of all things and I was trying to figure out what was going on when I realized he was bleeding everywhere!  I thought it was coming from his tail end, so I ended up taking him in as soon as we could on Thursday to the vet (we don't have any vet hospitals open anymore near where we live) and I was really thinking we were going to have to put him down (although what drove me nuts was that he hadn't acted sick...at all!).  My husband ended up taking the day off and staying home with the kids while I went in.  The vet, fortunately, came in and seeing all the new blood on Prince's tail looked at him considering and quickly came to the conclusion that she thought it was an injury that had gotten infected.  Sure enough, she checked and found said injury at the VERY base of his tail, so where I thought he was bleeding internally, he was bleeding externally after all.  She shaved the area, gave us a script for some pain killers and anti-inflamatory drugs and gave him a long lasting antibiotic shot and irrigated out the wound as well.  Cost me a decent amount (ended up putting that on the credit card, unfortunately, as vet care costs have gone through the roof the last couple of years), but at least it wasn't something really, really bad, so I'm counting my blessings on that one.  We are now over me having to shove two pills down his throat a day and he's begging for food again (the antibiotics started to get to him and the pain, I think, and he was out of it for the early part of this week), so I'm glad he's on the mend.  Trying to keep him away from any fights with Belkar for the time being as this whole experience has spooked me to what two house cats can do to each other in a normal everyday cat fight.  Yeesh.

So, when it came to frugal stuff last week, there wasn't much to report, but a bunch in the opposing direction (sigh), so I am just adding things to the money saving list and will share it, hopefully this weekend, if nothing else goes wrong.  Here's hoping.

So, yeah, consider blogging a work in progress at the moment and hopefully I can get caught up here with life getting in the way.

Oh and one other thing that I'm not sure where to post it up at, Julia (if you read this) I got your comment e-mailed to me by Blogger so I could post it, which I did (supposedly), but for some weird reason it does not show up on the blog.  It shows published on my blog end, but not on the public end.  I'm baffled on that one.  I e-mailed blogger about it and am waiting on a reply from them to see if they can figure out what is going on with that.

So, now that you guys are somewhat caught up, I'll post up some more upbeat things here *laugh*.