Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July Daring Bakers - Fresh Fraisier

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers' host and she challenges us to make Fresh Fraisiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I know this is only my second Daring Bakers challenge, but it is going to be tough to beat. I made the fraisier over the course of two days. I flavored everything with vanilla. I left out the lemon zest and did not add the almond paste to the top. This was an amazing cake. It was not overly sweet and was a perfect summer dessert. I went with the traditional strawberries as the fruit.

I was pleased with the cake. I did, however, have to bake it in a larger springform pan than the 8" that was suggested. The pastry cream mousse was wonderful. Next time I will double the recipe. I did not have quite enough to fill the middle of the cake, and it sunk in the center just a bit. The flavor was amazing, and it was a hit with my family. I will definitely make this cake again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grocery Spending Week 4 & Menu Plan

I am terribly late posting this and will blame it on still being sick with bronchitis. I have literally been sick the entire summer. Fortunately I am not as sick as I was at the beginning of the summer. My grocery spending for the month ended up being slightly over - $4.14 to be exact.

For the final week I spent $53.77. Here is what I got:

barbecue sauce
Boston butt
four steaks

That is a short list considering the amount spent. The Boston butt was cooked in the crock-pot and divided into five meal-sized portions. The steaks my husband wanted to cook for my birthday. My parents are coming over so we needed four steaks.

I need to point out that most of the cilantro was wasted. I bought it to put in pico de gallo. I decided that cilantro tastes like stink bugs. Now I have never willingly eaten a stink bug. If I did, I feel certain it would taste like cilantro.

After week four my grocery budget went on vacation a bit. Being under the weather and running to the doctor several times a week does absolutely nothing to encourage budgeting at the grocery store. I am going to dust myself off and get back to it next month.

Now for my planned meals for this week:

Homemade pizza - I finally found a crust my darling husband likes
Tomato sandwiches - tomatoes from the garden and homemade bread
Chicken tenders and French fries
Hamburgers and potato chips
Grilled steaks, twice baked potatoes, and some vegetable
Crab egg salad sandwiches
Spaghetti with meatballs, salad, garlic bread

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grocery Challenge - Week 3

I think this will get me on track with my shopping. I am three-fourths of the way through the challenge with this shopping trip. I do not feel that I have cut out much. I am just shopping smarter. I have gotten back to planning my meals and shopping by the sales. I think I may continue this after the four weeks are over.

I was slightly over budget this week; thirty-seven cents over to be exact. I could find that at the bottom of my purse so I am not stressing over it. Here is what I bought:

eight pounds sugar
cereal - 3
ground mustard
marshmallow fluff
turkey bacon
fresh pineapple
strawberries - 2
baking potatoes
sweet onions
Healthy Choice meals - 2
gallon 2% milk
toaster strudel - 4
pint whole milk
sour cream
pint heavy cream
cream cheese
pectin - 3

My total was $57.58. A large portion of what I bought was not for meals this week. I planned my menu around what I had on hand. I am planning to can some Vidalia onion relish and hot pepper jelly. I bought ingredients for those. I have some planned baking and also purchased ingredients for that. It felt good to get these extras and still stay very close to my budget!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grocery Challenge - Week 2

I had no idea how I was going to stay on budget last week. Not only was I already short on grocery money, but I also had to cook items for a two-day family reunion. I lucked out on the family reunion as I was asked to make cinnamon rolls, crescent rolls, and baked beans. I already had plenty of flour for making the bread items, and pork and beans were on sale last week. The second iffy moment came when my husband went grocery shopping with me and started tossing items into the cart. Amazingly I came in $7.21 under budget. Here is what I bought:

snack chips/crackers - 4
pork and beans - 5
dill pickles
Mrs. Dash
half-gallon ice cream - 2
toaster strudel - 4

I spent $39.60 last week. The best part is that a few of the planned meals from last week were not eaten and can be carried over to this week. I feel like I am in good shape!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July! A big thank you to all of the service men and women. My husband and I have a new adopted soldier through Soldier's Angels. Currently over 1600 soldiers are waiting to be adopted. Follow the link to learn more about the organization and perhaps adopt a soldier of your own!