Thursday, March 25, 2010

Food Revolution

If you haven't had a chance to see Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution yet, please go to and watch it (you can also find it at, but it starts playing video immediately, so I didn't want to link it). This show is truly showing what the major problems are with the food system in America and offers a glimmer of hope for the future of one American town.

For the last few years, I've been trying to bring more real foods to my family, cutting out the processed junk and preservatives and I've seen the pizza for breakfast in the public school system. Every day when I look at the choices my daughter has for lunch (usually one healthy-ish and one not so much), I realize she's more likely to pick the worst one if given the choice. So I pack her lunch most days and try to include fruit, veggies, and real food, not chemicals.

Some days I succeed and some days I resolve to do better, as I'm sure we all do sometimes. But just seeing the resistence of the people Jamie is meeting while trying to help them gives me chills. Because I know that I could be just like them. It's easy to justify pulling the frozen nuggets out when there isn't enough time to cook something from scratch. But I also know that I'll be paying the price with my weight, my health, and ultimately my life.

With classes like Home Economics being phased out of schools due to funding, many people graduate and go out on their own without the knowledge of how to prepare a healthy meal or shop for a week's worth of groceries without hitting the freezer aisles. People don't know how to cook a pot of rice or beans, some of the healthiest, lowest-fat foods there is, or even know what all the things in the produce section are.

While I don't know much about Jamie Oliver and what he stands for, I do appreciate this show spotlighting some of the very issues I'm concerned about and I hope the show will open a few eyes to the health concerns that are sweeping our nation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 3/22/10

Finally back on schedule with Menu Plan Monday...! Yay! We got a new fridge, and are slowing filling it back up. We got very fed up with take-out, fast food and convenience items while the old fridge was being fritzy, so we've been cooking more than usual and since we started fresh with the condiment shelf, have been having to make a few adjustments to our recipes since the old stand-by's haven't been replaced yet.

Here's what we have planned for the week:

Monday: Beans/Sausage/Rice with greens (need to take the beans out of the freezer!)

Tuesday: Easy Mexican Skillet (saw this recipe on Cooking During Stolen Moments and just had to try it)

Wednesday: Roast and veggies (crock pot recipe from Southern Plate)

Thursday: Stroganoff (leftover roast over noodles with sour cream added to gravy)

Friday: Open for now - maybe breakfast for dinner if we don't go out

Saturday: Stuffed Peppers (also from Southern Plate)

I've been finding lots of great sounding recipes on Southern Plate and saying I'll have to make them sometime -- I decided this is the week.

What are you planning for the week? For more recipes and menu plans, check out Menu Plan Mondays over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Not!

I keep meaning to post for Menu Plan Monday (@OrgJunkie if you need ideas for the week) but the last few weeks I've been planning more on Monday afternoons than Sundays. Unfortunately, this week our refrigerator has decided to give up the ghost, so we'll be without fresh foods til Wednesday at the earliest. This puts a huge damper on my menu planning skills.

Yes, I know many people (especially people who like to stockpile and therefore, need to rotate food) would consider this a challenge, to create a few meals without fresh foods... Having the refrigerator die on us has really been a blow to me.

I have come to the realization that while the purchase of a new refrigerator did not hurt us financially, it could have. We scraped together the money using our sparse savings, including some money we had set aside to build a deck this year. We both agreed that increasing our credit load was unacceptable, and managed to get a fridge that we both were happy with, while not spending any excess money that we did not need to.

But it made the pit of my stomach ache. I realize we don't have a large enough emergency fund, we have too large of a credit load, and we aren't doing as much as we can to get out from under our debts and create a solid financial rock to stand on. If Murphy decided to visit us right now, we could find ourselves between a rock and a hard place too easily.

So I've been rethinking our goals for the year, rearranging some priorities, and will be reworking the budget to see where we can trim some fat. I'll be posting some of our numbers and goals here soon so you can follow along, and hopefully cheer us to victory! Wish us luck!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - March 1 edition

I did manage to write up a meal plan for this week, but I didn't get it done today. Had to get it done today, because I had to make my grocery list and go shopping, because there was very little left in the house! We've had a bit of the respiratory bug that's been going around and there's been little cooking happening here lately, but now that everyone's feeling more like eating regular meals, a restock of the pantry and fridge were crucial!

I decided to ask everyone what their favorite meals were and what they wanted me to cook this week and actually got some responses, which was shocking! So there's some new recipes on the list for this week.

So here's the plan:

Monday: enchiladas (done and they were yummy. This will also be lunches for G for the next couple of days)

Tuesday: Oven-fried Chicken (E's request) with mashed potatoes (according to G, the red ones taste the best mashed)

Wednesday: Beans and Rice (I have some Northern beans cooked and frozen from my last big batch I can throw some ham in)

Thursday: Chicken Fried Steak (I think I've seen a recipe for this on Southern Plate but I have to find it)

Friday: Pizza (I might even try to make my own crust)

Saturday: Open

Sunday: Leftovers or veggie soup

For breakfasts, I'm going to try to either make oatmeal for the troops or cook some sausage and biscuits tomorrow night to heat up for on the road meals.

Lunches will either be leftovers or sandwiches.