Friday, September 7, 2012

Part 2 Monthly Cooking: How to Break Down Your Shopping List

I thought today I would share with you how I have broken down my shopping into Monthly, Weekly/Bi-weekly and Staples.

I've broken my list down into three separate sections since some items are a weekly or bi-weekly purchase because they spoil, or, like the items on my staples list, they are things that are shelf-stable and they often last for more than a month. 

My monthly shopping list covers the ingredients I purchase to prep our 30 days of dinners. What is listed are the items I will always buy. If there is a great sale on turkey or a nice roast, I will pick that up. The same goes for seasonal produce. My weekly shopping list is also added to the monthly, to cover those necessities for that week. 

Monthly Shopping List

Lean Beef (Occasionally)

Sweet Potatoes
Frozen Blueberries


Shredded Cheese
Cottage Cheese


Green Tea
Chrystal Light
Dehydrated Okra (if you have never had some - try, better than chips and a great energy pick-me-up)
Trail mix (bought from dried goods store, not the kind with M&M's and sugar)
Peanut Butter
Almond Butter
Dark Chocolate

I have a salad every day for lunch at work. I haven't yet found a way to make spinach or tomatoes last a full month. Carrots I buy weekly because I go through the biggest bag my grocery store carries in a week and a half. I try to keep my fridge from filling up to much. We also consume close to 2 gallons of milk a week as well as 2-3 cartons of eggs. 



Unsweetened Almond Milk
Greek Yogurt
String Cheese

Bread for Husband

This list is something I have to have because of where I live. Most of the Gluten Free flours or baking necessities are not available in my town. When I drive to the "big city" I have this list on me and I will stock up. 


Rice Pasta
GF Oats
GF Breadcrumbs

Rice Flour
Xanthan Gum

Tapioca Starch
Potato Starch
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Brown Sugar
Olive Oil

Canola Oil

Tomorrow I'll share a few of my chicken preps for once a month cooking!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

This recipe I am sharing with you today? I love it. It is full of healthy goodness and easily adjusted to many different flavors. I make a double batch at a time and freeze them for a fabulous quick breakfast throughout the month.

Baked Oatmeal

2 Eggs
1 T of Vanilla
1/2 c of unsweetened applesauce (optional)
1/2 c brown sugar (if you have sweetened applesauce, skip the sugar)
1 banana, sliced (or more banana if you are a big banana fan)
1 c of fruit of your choice (can be fresh or frozen) such as blueberries, cranberries, peaches or even chocolate chips!
1/4 c coconut (optional)
3 c of Gluten Free old fashioned/rolled/steelcut Oats
1/2 t salt
3 t baking powder
1/2 T Cinnamon
1/4 t Nutmeg
1 1/4 c Milk

Oven at 350 degrees.

Mix eggs, vanilla, applesauce and brown sugar until combined. Add in the banana and other fruit (or, if using chocolate chips, add them last,  like you would to chocolate chip cookies). Add and mix in salt, baking powder and spices. Then add in the oats. Mix in well, before adding the milk. This will seem far too soupy but it is okay.

Using a measuring cup pour the batter into greased or lined muffin tins, destributing the liquid evenly.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the middle of the muffins are set.
If you chose to freeze them, ziplock bags or air-tight containers work best.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gluten Free Egg Muffins

I have given up on food photography for the time being. Living in a 105 year old adobe house is great and I love my 2 feet wide window sills - except for the lighting. My house isn't photo friendly and two kitties think a light box equals playhouse! For now I'm going to focus on regular posts with awesome recipes - I'll try pictures again - but for now they get in the way of me actually posting.

This is one the recipes I make weekly - as much as I try to get everything done once a month breakfast and snacks are the areas I fail at. Some things freeze great - like the lovely recipe I'll be sharing with you tomorrow - while others, like this one, do much better in the fridge. I make a batch once a week and they are usually gone before the week is even over!

They are also great fuel if you are working out in the morning. Pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, depending on your microwave - and you are out the door, breakfast ready to eat. Hand held eggs you guys, that is so awesome! Plus, you can tailor them to each of your family member's taste without extra hassle. Win-win. Prepping for school breakfasts, running late to work, whatever you have going on, I'd give these a try, they'll last longer then a doughnut or a bowl of cereal and you will know you ate and fed your family a healthy breakfast. In 30 seconds.

Gluten Free Egg Muffins
10-12 Large eggs, beaten
Whatever else you'd like to add to your eggs:
Spices such as:
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder

Grease down your muffin tins and heat up the oven to 350 degrees. The amount of egg you use does depend on how many different extras you chose to add. My husband is an egg and cheese only guy so 6 eggs makes  6 Gluten Free Egg Muffins. I add more, sausage, onions, bell peppers, spinach and tomatoes along with cheese, I use 5 eggs unless I come home with jumbo eggs, and then I will use 4. (as you can tell this is a very flexible recipe - which is why I enjoy it so much!). Only fill your tins up slightly over half full. Beat your eggs along with your chosen spices and salt and pepper to taste. I use a measuring cup to spoon the egg into each muffin tin to keep it tidy. Fill up the tin to almost - full, leave at least 1/4 an inch of leeway, they will rise. I then use a fork to slightly stir the ingredients before popping them in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to one week.

Tip - don't over heat in the microwave or the eggs will turn rubbery.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gluten Free Cornbread (and it rises!)

So in the spirit of making my home life a little more Susy homemaker and less a war zone I've started to make lunch into our main meal of the day. Today was beef stew and I decided to try making Gluten Free Cornbread. And I nailed it! I am so excited you guys, trying a new Gluten Free recipe is always stressful, the ingredients aren't cheap and after the time and the heat of the oven you just aren't sure it will turn out. I hate it.

But I love these.

Gluten Free Cornbread

1 and 1/4 cup of Gluten Free Cornmeal
1/4 cup of Sugar (I actually used about a tablespoon and half less)
1/2 cup of Brown Rice Flour
1/2 teaspoon of Xantan Gum
1 teaspoon Cream of Tarter
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt (or Kosher Salt)
(if you are like me and use the dried buttermilk add 4 Tablespoons now)

ADD and MIX but do not over mix
2 Large Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla (or a dash or two more if you are like me and love the stuff)
1/4 cup MELTED Butter
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Honey
1 cup of Milk (or buttermilk if you didn't use dried buttermilk, but NOT water, no matter what the package says)

350 degrees

Grease an 8x8 pan (mine is glass) and set in the oven to warm up while you mix up the ingredients. Take out of oven and pour in mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you want, brush the top of the cornbread with honey when you take it out of the oven for extra awesome.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gluten Free Once a Month Menu and Shopping Trip Part 1

Thanks to a medical emergency on my part - its been another month. I do apologize! But unfortunately the issue was with my sight - which is thankfully just fine now and I still have 2 fully functioning eyes, Praise God!

So, since it's been so long, lets just jump right into our new series, shall we?

Gluten Free Once a Month Menu and Shopping Trip

Seriously ya'll, how exciting is this? I had this lovely inspiration because of Pinterest. I love LOVE love Pinterest! And there are all these great articles on there about saving money by cooking and shopping only once a month - Awesome! ... Except that all the recipes and advice is directed towards people who have no issues with Gluten.

Over the past three months I have been experimenting with a Gluten Free version and this is my first post in the series.

Since, we people who ride the Gluten Free/Celiac train know, eating Gluten Free often requires a few extra steps. This post is dedicated to the tips I've learned in making the entire process much easier and much simpler.

A few starting steps. Check your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you currently have. Incorporate that into your monthly recipe roundup. (There is NO reason not to use up what you already have, attempting to go off a recipe line-up verbatim, it will just lead to wasted food and wasted money)
I highly recommend pulling everything out of your freezer. This does two things: it helps you to visualize how much space you have. (I have enough room for two months of meals and a little space left over.) And it helps you to know what you have in there (we all have that box of Popsicle's from last summer or that forgotten roast in there)
Take 4 sheets of paper and label them “breakfast” “lunch” “dinner” and “snacks”. (I don’t care how healthy you chose to eat, if you don’t budget for snacks you will over-spend in this area every. Single. Time.)
On the “lunch” and “dinner” papers write out 30 meals. I’ll give you a few examples of what I do. Bulk ground beef is cheaper where I live so 5lbs = 5 meals. I know I need at least 5 dishes using ground beef. I write out 5 numbers and fill that in. (Remember, this does not need to be in the order you will eat the meals. All you are doing is getting your meals down) Also some dishes will leave leftovers for other meals. Example: I make lasagna using 1lb of beef and I have 3 meals for myself and husband. I can put them all on the dinner page or two on the lunch page for take to work meals.
After you have your main entrĂ©e’s written out, add your sides next to them. For example: I serve at least 2 vegetables with every dinner, this serves two purposes: one, it helps get us eating more greens, two, the more sides, the less meat (which is usually the expensive part) in each meal. I try to serve the correct portions of meat (generally the size of your fist) this makes each purchase of meat go father. (remember men usually require more protein.)
Now onto your breakfast and snack pages. Everyone does breakfast differently so consider how your family eats. For my husband and myself, he has class at 7am. I don’t get home until after 11pm. He has a bowl of cereal before he goes to class and when he gets back around 930 or 10am I make a big breakfast. So we budget for cereal and “second breakfast”. I also don’t write out 30 separate meals for breakfast because I often make several batches of muffins and freeze them. Toss in a few dozen eggs and some bacon and our breakfasts don’t require 30 separate meal plans. Find out what works for you.
Now your snack plan. This is another page where I don’t write out 30 separate snacks. I make several different things, such as spinach chips, oat bars, a batch or two of something sweet, and maybe a new dessert recipe, I freeze whatever I bake since GF goods go bad so much quicker then non GF. I also have a “snack station” in the fridge with individually packaged things like baby carrots and cheese. This easy access helps cut down on the impulse to stop and get fries on the way home from work, or a soda an candy bar from the convenience store.
Some other points to consider:
  • I don’t “pre-cook” most of my dinners. I have various marinades and sauces I pour over the raw meat and then freeze. The day before I pull out a meal and place it in the fridge to thaw overnight. This method still keeps my meal cooking time between 20 to 30 minutes before dinner is on the table. This includes my sides.
  • I do pre-cook the ground beef and divide it up to be made into taco meat or put into a marinara sauce or chili or whatever before freezing into meal portions.  I also add finely shedded carrots to my ground beef. It makes it go further and helps add more veggies to our meal.
  • I do divide up the frozen vegetables I purchase into portions. This makes it easier for me at least, to serve several different veggies a night for two people.
  • A lot of people suggest you use Ziploc bags (gallon sized) for your freezer meals and freeze them flat so that they are stack-able. I tried this, but I didn't like how much plastic I was throwing away. I invested in some Tupperware of different sizes for my needs and label them with masking tape. So far I am liking this a lot better. It keeps stuff from falling out if I need to dig around to find something, and it makes tossing the meals together on my "cooking day" much faster. 
  • I make and freeze burritos for us to take to work they are ready to be heated up and eaten. I wrap each one individually in Ceran wrap before placing them in a large Ziploc bag or container to prevent the tortillas from hardening when they are re-heated.
  • I also buy 2 10lb bags of potatoes, after removing a few nice big ones for bake potatoes I chop one bag into slightly big bite sized pieces and slice the other bag with my mandolin. I then boil the potatoes, the chopped ones I boil until completely done, the sliced ones I keep slightly crisp. After they cool I freeze them in meal sized portions. I can use a portion of the chopped potatoes to have mashed potatoes in 6 minutes. Just re-heat them in the container they are in with the lid barely vented to keep the  moisture in and they will taste like they had never been frozen.
  • Another cheap but great “filler” is rice. I can get a LOT of rice from Sam’s for $18. I can add rice to our chicken burritos (its not weird, think Chipolte) and make Mexican rice and add to enchiladas’. Serve rice with your teriyaki beef/chicken whatever. Dried beans are another great filler to make meals go further, and they are a great source of protein minus the sodium if you make the beans yourself instead of using canned. Add them to your burritos, for example.
  • If you chose to do the monthly cooking thing (I actually make enough for almost 2 full months) collect all your recipes you will be using into one place. Write a complete list of everything you need from the store, don’t forget to check and see if you already have it in your pantry. (make sure to keep your recipes in one place for the putting together of meals, it makes it go so much faster!)
  • I usually go shopping the night before and keep any meat I buy in the fridge – never re-freeze thawed meat! The next day start putting your meals together. 
  • If you plan on doing any baking as well  I recommend doing that either the day before or the day after 
  • Don’t forget to eat while you prep your meals!
  • wear comfy shoes, if you have a rug in your kitchen move it wherever you will be standing. 
  • And take a few breaks. 
  • Make sure everything is labeled and dated.
Another way to help with the budgeting is by keeping 2 separate lists on the fridge one is for your monthly shopping as you eat your way through the month, the other is for any weekly shopping for perishables such as milk and eggs. Only buy what is on the list. 

  • Keep your eye out for sales on items like meat. Also it can help to keep a list in your purse of the prices you are willing to pay for the “big” items. Make sure the sale that looks so great at the grocery store is cheaper than what you can get at Sam’s or Costco and vice versa for example.
Also, for budgeting purposes: Make a commitment to packing your lunch every single day. It is why I recommend writing out the lunch page in such detail. You don’t have to stick to sandwiches. But if you eat out even twice in a work week that is 8 times in a month even at $5 dollars a meal that is 40 bucks! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

3 sauces in 30 minutes: Gluten Free Soy, Teriyaki and Worchestershire

Didn't I promise ya'll a post yesterday? I did... but then I ended up going home yesterday and going straight to bed, because today I am working 16 hours (and I don't get lunch breaks). I'm not complaining however, its extra money to go towards our first BIG purchase as a married couple - a new NEW mattress. I have never owned one. I am sooo excited!

But I did promise - and I broke it, but, but I have a great way to make it up! 3 recipes. three Gluten Free sauces, done in 30 minutes. All three done in 30 minutes. And saving you money. Check it out!

P.S. I have no pictures because I used up all the sauces before I found my camera. but trust me, you don't need pictures of brown soy sauce or teriyaki or Worcestershire sauce to know this is too easy to not make!

Make in the order I list the recipes below and you will be done in half an hour - tops!

Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water4 T beef bouillon granules4 T cider vinegar 1 T dark molasses1 t sesame seed oilpinch of black pepper

Put your 1 and 1/2 C of water on to boil. Once it is boiling add the rest of the ingredients and stir until the bouillon is dissolved! Which takes a minute tops for me. And you just made cheap, easy fast Gluten Free Soy sauce! (averages around 2 cups)

While the water is boiling for the GF Soy Sauce, Toss together this easy recipe:

Gluten Free Worchester Sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon molassesjuice of one lime1/2 tsp ground clove1/2 tsp onion powder1/4 tsp garlic1/4 tsp of chili powder
Got that? Here is how you make this: Dump all ingredients into a bottle and shake to mix. You. Are. Done. Yeah, it is that easy. You're welcome!

And finally....

Gluten Free Teriyaki sauce:
1 and 1/2 cups cold water3/4 cup packed brown sugar1/2 cup soy sauce (remember that Soy Sauce you just made? yeah use that)1 teaspoon garlic powder 3 Tablespoons corn starch (or 2 Tablespoons if you prefer a thinner sauce. I enjoy thick marinade style)1 teaspoon sesame oil

Dump all ingredients into a saucepan and over medium-ish heat whisk (do use a whisk here, to help keep the cornstarch from clumping up)pretty much constantly until it begins to boil. Let it thicken for a minute or two. I do longer, but that is for marinades.

And you are done! 3 sauces in 30 minutes, all Gluten Free and cheaper then what you can buy in the store!

By the way, I am the only one who thinks it is weird that all the SOY sauce my grocery store carries has wheat in it? Or that this very soy-tasting Soy sauce recipe has no mention of soy?

Check back tomorrow for a surprise take on soup for the summer.

It's easy peasy.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back In Business!

WHERE did we go for a month? Well I have very exciting news to announce! My co-blogger-recipe-maker (my mom) received a book offer! Her first book is due to be printed in about ten months!!!! Celebration time my friends.

Of course this meant a lot of editing work and the start of web design and advertising... and guess who got called for that? Yeah, me. It's okay though, she's promised me a house if she makes a lot of money. So help a girl out and buy her book!!

In the meantime here is her website - check out what's happening and some of her other books to be published!

Never fear, however! Recipes and money saving tips for a Gluten Free life will be resuming Wednesday 11/07 with regular updates.

A sneak peek of what we have planned for you includes prepping a month of freezer meals - all GF! On a budget you'll have to see to believe. And some amazingly easy I-never-thought-of-making-that sauces such as soy sauce, teriyaki, and Worcestershire sauce. Healthier and tastier....

See you Wednesday!