Sunday, January 8, 2012
Housework, Home Harvest and Menus
I shall not tell you I hit the floor running this morning, for it would be a blatant falsehood to say so...I was so very tired this morning! Indeed I've been so very tired every morning since John went back to work this week. My own fault for starting off the week with a sleep deficit. You see, I was in the middle of a book and hit the climatic point at bedtime Tuesday night...Of course, I needed to see how things turned out and so I stayed up far too late reading. I groaned mightily when 5:30am came around I can assure you. And with the usual busy week, early mornings, I've been running on a bit of a deficit ever since. Quite my fault, and I've tried not to let a complaint escape, but I'm afraid my groaning at the alarm is complaint enough!
I did have a rest day yesterday however, which helped somewhat...or should have done if I'd gone to bed on time last night, but John and I were caught up in a crime drama and I let the opportunity for full rest escape once more. Silly, silly me.
Nevertheless, housework hardly cares whether one is tired or not. I did share that groceries were our biggest expense when I shared my budget this past week...and I am certain that I can do more to lower costs in that area. It falls, happily, right in line with the pantry freezer challenge for this month, this trimming the budget.
Today I cleaned house and washed linens. It was time to turn my mattress, so I put the mattress pad in the washer as well and then after I slid the mattress out to turn I put on the pad and fitted sheet, so much easier than groping down between the wall and washstands! A bit of scrubbing here and there and housework was soon done.
I've planned menus for the majority of the week ahead using one package of chicken breasts and 1 1/4 pounds ground beef, which I'll share today as well rather than on Monday. I have changed two things this past week as I've gone about my household. I've determined that I should try to 'harvest' something each week in my home and I'd like to explain this idea of harvest in the way that I view it.
For me, a harvest is when I have an item and I find another use for it than originally intended. I've shared before that I save the root ends and tops of celery, carrots and onions to use to season broths. Or how I use eggshells and tea bags and coffee grounds as fertilizer for plants. That is a harvest in my eyes. This week I've saved end pieces of breads for a strata (breakfast casserole), made croutons, will use some cider I haven't finished to make jelly (also using apple peels and cores), and used milk that was expiring to make pudding. These are 'harvests'. Using newspapers and cardboard to mulch flower and garden beds is a harvest of sorts, as they might only seem so much trash and the same for shredded paper which might go in the compost. I am trying to look at how I might make the most use of things.
I wanted a salad yesterday to go with my meal of chicken pot pie. But I had no tomato and a plain green salad didn't seem very appealing. The strawberries Mama had given me last Sunday were on the shelf and I recalled a recipe that called for strawberries and sliced almonds on a bed of shredded lettuce. It was a delicious salad and I am happy to say that the strawberries were very good used in that way. Another harvest of sorts as the remainder of the strawberries were put in the freezer for use in making pies later, and the tops went into the compost bucket.
So now on to menus. I will not assign days to the menus as I so seldom follow my own plans daily. Instead I'll just list the menus I mean to make this week:
From the packet of 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts I mean to make three dishes:
Almond Chicken, Rice, Tangelos
1 chicken breast will be used and stretched with onions, carrots and celery with a light soy sauce and topped with sliced almonds. All served over a bed of rice. I had this dish in a favorite Asian restaurant and thought it well suited to the variety of vegetables available this time of year.
Chicken Parmigiana with Pasta, Italian Beans, Green Salad, Garlic Toast
I'll cut the largest and thickest chicken breast in half thru the width. Pounded thin, I will have two nice flat pieces of meat to fry lightly. I'll use leftover pizza sauce as my sauce on the chicken and serve over pasta.
Enchilada Chicken Casserole, Corn, Black Beans
The last chicken breast will be steamed and shredded and then used to fill corn tortillas, covered with salsa verde and baked.
Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes, English Pea Salad
I'll mix the ground beef with onions, bread crumbs, garlic and salsa (using what I have in the fridge) for the meatloaf. I'll use roughly 1/2 pound of this mixture to make a mini meatloaf.
Porcupine Meatballs with Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Cabbage, Corn Muffins
The other 3/4 pound of the ground meat will be mixed with raw rice and steamed in crockpot with tomato soup. The sauce is awesome over mashed potatoes and I think we'll be happy to have this meal as our temperatures cool off once more.
For our other two meals:
Breakfast Casserole, Hashed Browns, Fruit Hash
A very little bit of turkey sausage will be browned and added to bread cubes, and tossed with grated cheese, onions and possibly mushrooms for a breakfast casserole. Fresh and canned fruits will go into the fruit hash along with mini marshmallows. I failed to make it this past week as planned, so it's on the board again.
Vegetable Soup, Toasted Corn Muffins, Peach Cobbler
This is a contingency meal if we've not got enough leftovers to make up our last meal for the week. I've plenty of vegetables to make soup, shall utilize the leftover corn muffins and because I found peach slices in the freezer, a taste of summer in the cobbler.