Friday, February 27, 2009

The culprit has been found!

No.....a rogue salmon did not swim into the brownie batter.....

First, let me back up to the dinner before the brownie. Perhaps this was the origin of "eat dessert first"?

For dinner, as per the menu plan, salmon. I relented slightly and offered the small folk a choice of tuna burger. A choice that was most eagerly accepted. That leaves more yummy salmon for me. Oven baked sweet potato fries were also not so popular with the kids, or for that matter, Honey. More yum.
I was particularly pleased that I had gotten a large slab of fresh salmon from Sam's (about $14) and divided it up into 2 meals. I even used the spify vacuum pack bags with the extremely COOL little vacuum tool. And, boy did that little sucker work - no pun intended. The thawed salmon look fresh as can be, and tasted great.

But everyone has a preference about how their fish is one piece was coasted with (blech) butter and salt substitute, one with (yummy) soy-ginger marinade, and the last, simply sprayed guessed it.........
PAM. See that muffin tin?

Apparently, although I am insenely obsessive about keeping my hands clean, there must have been some cross-contamination on the can.....and voila;
The Salmon Brownie Muffin is born.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The mystery of the fishy brownies......

A few days ago, I bought an impulse box of brownie mix. Ahg.....$3.29 of wasteful spending. Since I bought it, I figured I'd better actually use it.

#2 was very helpful as my ingredient finder, measurer and mixer. A great teachable moment - she is working on fractions, and her 12 tables. We use muffin and mini-muffing pans so there is no cutting of sticky brownie required - a huge time and mess saver. We only managed to get to 2 dozen though.

When the brownies were done, we were all excited to have a taste..............and all simulatneously scrunched up our faces after the first bite.
Not exactly bad, but absolutely a "salmon after-taste."
How the heck did that happen??????

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Could it possibly be Day 24?

Yup. That's what the calendar says.....

24 days of cheapskate challenge.
As I look at the menu plan, I have to say, we have kept pretty much on track. Tonite's meal: tuna burgers. The team ( primarily #2) was not enthused. Then I rememebered that I swapped something else for "Beef Taco" night...because I'd forgotten to take the beef out of the freezer on time. Thus, we had the meal formerly know as "February 17".

So yummy. And pretty cheap. I did have to make a quick stop at the (magical) produce market for lettuce though. Of course that turned into a head-of-lettuce-plus-some extra-tomatos-and onions and-peppers- for-next-week, but still just $32. With a bottle of wine and an impulse box of brownie mix.
There was even a little bit of leftover taco filling and veggies for a lunch or snack tomorrow. (Yum.)
Just 4 more day till take-out!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Too busy cooking to blog.....Cheapskate Challenge Day 18

I call these guys

the "Twins".

Dinner last Friday and planned leftovers for Saturday. ($8.54 for the 10+ lb. pair, by the way.) Originally, the menu called for Pork Fried Rice....but that's a whole other story. Now that would have been quite a trick, my friends.....

Unfortunately (or fortunately ?) we had the first slippage of the challenge on Saturday night. Guests. Who we hosted for dinner....because I forgot to return their DVD to redbox. Know what happens then? Mmmmm, a nifty $25 fine. So we invited them to dinner because they flat refused to take cash for my little misadventure.
So I just could not serve Meal # 2 (see below) to our guests. You guessed it.....take out Chinese. Which reminded me why I started this all in the first place. Because it cost the same as a WEEK of groceries. Although I did throughly enjoy my Scallion Pancakes and General Tso's Chicken for several lunches.

And may I say, said DVD...Mamma Mia! was so. not. worth. it. It's been a long time since I couldn't bear to sit for one more minute of a movie. So sad, because I loved the show, and the music, and the actors....but this was pure torture. But, I digress.

So the "Twins" broke down like this:

Meal #1: 1.5 chickens for 6 of us. The .5? the legs and wings. Who know, my kids LOVE the wings and drumsticks. Blech, I mean broccoli and instant mashed potatoes on the side. And lest you think me a total ogre tothe kids during the challenge, Klondike bars for dessert (less than $0.42 each.)

Meal #2

Add tortillas, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomato,
plus a healthy glob of salsa (PACE preferred), and voila......Chicken Quesadillas. For those of you not watching their weight, feel free to add a "dollop of Daisy" sour cream too. Had some avacados as well, but I was too lazy to cut them up. Due to some grumbling on the part of some children, only 2 of us enjoyed the quesadillas.

So, for the past 17 days, my family has stuck to the menu plan and listened to "No, I am not buying [insert wasteful item here], did you forget that it's Cheapskate Challenge month?"

And now I've got to get back to the kitchen......

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cheapskate challenge, Day 1

So all three of you who read this might be wondering.....what is she talking about with this "Cheapskate Challege" business?

Well, since you asked:
While having the the inevitable "New Year's Resolution" talk, Honey and I were discussing goals (his) for the year. I'm not much for resolutions, since I never have managed to follow through on many. Ok, any. But he did bring up a good point: finances in a devastating economy. He suggested a month long spending fast.

A spending fast? Excuse me, as any dieter knows, fasting usually brings on binging. MAJOR binging. Certainly, getting control of spending was a wise idea. So, I rolled it around in my head for a while.

And here's what I came up with: Cheapskate Challenge.

How little could we spend in a single month and still get by. How could we minimze spending on the things we have control over? Obviously, mortgage, insurance, taxes, utilities would be have to be paid. But we did have choice when it came to food, entertainment and other discretionary spending. So I proposed a challenge. To see just cheap we could be over the course of one month. Fortunately, February is the shortest month of the year!

We've planned a month's worth of low-fuss meals (thanks $5dinner Mom!), and agreed to put a moratorium on restaurant, take-out and other expenses that are not absolutely necessary.

So after just one day, I tortured the cashier at Dominick's and almost had a nervous breakdown in CVS, but that's a story for another day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Groundhog Day? What kind of idiot listens to a ....groundhog?

It's tough to get through the a winter like this when your legs are only 8 inches long!
Poor Fuji is literally up to her neck in snow. She is still kind confused about what a walk is for, but she is getting faster at doing her business.

Meanwhile, the family gears up for a new tradition:

Cheapskate Challege

..stay tuned for gory the details.