Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions?

I always cringe at the whole "New Year's Resolution" kick.  In the back of my mind, skeptical little me says something like, "Yeah, right. Sure. That's gonna happen."  And to be honest, most New Year's Resolutions fail. Miserably.  Maybe because we promise ourselves too much change too abruptly.  Or maybe because we throw in the towel after one little setback thinking that all is lost, and our lives turn into a little Greek tragedy in our minds.  Surely I'm not the only one prone to overreact.

Like two weeks ago when I not only broke the Pyrex baking dish therefore ruining dinner, but then also left the burner on all night long under dinner number two destroying any chance of leftovers.  The fact that I also sabotaged the last two batches of yogurt (over the period of a month) pops up in the back of my mind and the end result is me crying in the kitchen wondering if I've completely lost my mind and thinking there is no hope for me to be able to successfully cook healthfully for my family, the world has come to an end.  Dramatic and over-the-top, I know.

In spite of my resistance to New Year's Resolutions, I find myself making them.  Normally to myself or my husband, not out loud to other people, lest they should point their fingers at me and mock me when I fail.  Truthfully, I make resolutions more often than once a year.  There are summer resolutions, beginning of school year resolutions, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter resolutions, and more in between just because.  It is quite possible that I self reflect to much.  However, minus the self-condemnation and perfectionism, self reflection allows us to move forward into positive change.

So...I'm going out on a limb here and letting you in on a couple of my goals for this year.

1. Food Budget  I know I always say that eating healthfully isn't expensive, but I haven't been tracking actual grocery costs in a while.  It's time to put some numbers to my claim.  This year I plan to keep a spreadsheet on our grocery costs and blog about them at the end of the month to hold myself accountable.  I will include money saving tips in these blogs as well like how to turn two chickens into many meals and savings. Cha-ching!

2. Meal Planning  I know, it's shocking. You thought I was perfect in this, right?  I've been making menu plans halfway but not really assuring that we have all the ingredients on hand for the menu.  Oops.  We also haven't been looking ahead on the weekend to get ready for the week.  Which results in some chaos around the dinner hour, especially when the kids have activities.  Today we went to the grocery store and picked up the few items we needed for the week and spent a little time prepping.  And I didn't even lose it when my beloved blender bit the dust.

Below is our current menu plan.  Enjoy!

         Side Note: If you're wanting to make diet changes see my previous post here to         help you get started.

Winter Meal Plan

Saturday- Lasagna, Steak, or Meatloaf  (Lasagna and meatloaf are freezable.)
Sunday- Chef's Choice (Tonight is salmon; next week will be wings not fried in vegetable shortening, though.)
Monday- Crock pot Bean Soup or Vegetable Soup (I use my cookbooks or search the web based on what we have on hand.)
Tuesday- Spaghetti or Parmesan Chicken (Cook meat on the weekend to save time.)
Wednesday- Leftovers night
Thursday- Quesadillas or Bean Burritos (We can beans and keep them on hand.)
Friday- Clam Chowder (Disclaimer: We haven't tried this recipe yet, but it looks similar to one I lost. We will probably tweak it a bit, of course.) or Chicken and Dumplings (recipe below)

  • The Best Ever Chicken and Dumplings

    I sliced and diced this recipe from a couple of different recipes and tweaked it a little. Yum.


    • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 1 (14 ounce) can free range chicken broth (or homemade)
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
    • 1 (9 ounce) package frozen baby peas
  • Dumplings

    • 1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
    • 2 t baking powder
    • 1/2 t baking soda
    • 3/4 t salt
    • 3 T butter
    • 1 large egg
    • 2/3 to 3/4 C cold buttermilk, as needed

    • Stew

      1. In a 3-4 quart crock pot, mix potato and carrots.
      2. In medium bowl, combine chicken broth, flour and spices and blend well until smooth.
      3. Pour over vegetables in crock pot.
      4. Add chicken.
      5. Cover crock pot.
      6. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in center. Remove chicken and pull from bones, if desired.
      7. Add peas and cover again.
    • Dumplings

      1. In a medium bowl , whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the margarine with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the egg and 2/3 C of the buttermilk and blend until a lumpy, thick, soft dough is formed, adding the remaining buttermilk if it is too dry. do not overmix.
      2. Using an oversized spoon, scoop up some dough and drop immediately on top of the finished simmering stew in the slow cooker, taking care to place each dumpling on top of something. Cover and cook on HIGH until the dumplings are cooked through, 23-30 minutes. Pierce the dumplings with a toothpick; it should come out clean. serve immediately.

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