Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Clean Out The Freezer Challenge - Week #1

So, another snowy, cold week. It's getting old. Or maybe it's me who's getting old. At least January is over and hopefully February will be a little better! We are still watching our ever-changing icicle. This week, it morphed into what looked to me like dinosaur bones. Very cool.
Sunday - Spaghetti Night. Tinkyada Spaghetti with Newman's Own Marinara Sauce for my daughter and me. Barilla Penne Pasta with Newman's sauce for my hubby. Green tossed salads for all.
Monday - Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole. See Jenn's recipe. Instead of making my own cream sauce, I used a can of Progresso Cream of Mushroom soup. I also sprinkled in some shredded cheese I had left in the fridge. Talk about comfort food! Thanks again, Jenn!
Tuesday - Breakfast for Dinner. Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast for family, Glutino GF cinnamon-raisin bagel with light cream cheese for moi. Yum.
Wednesday - Soup night. Left-over Sausage and White Bean Soup. (See January 22 post.) Green tossed salad.
Thursday - Monday night's leftovers...
Friday - Turkey Chili. This is a staple at our house. I usually use a can of diced tomatoes, chopped onion and green pepper, then add my own spices...chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper...but this time I used a can of Great Value (Walmart brand) "Chili-Ready" tomatoes. It was awesome! All the stuff I usually add, it's all in there! Just add meat and black beans and *poof*, chili in a flash! (I also added a can of GV tomato sauce, but that's optional.) The great thing about Great Value brand is that they say "Gluten-Free" right on the label. Thanks, Walmart! Served with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese on top and Tostitos corn chips.
Saturday - Outback Steakhouse. Oh baby! My very favorite place to eat. Warm, GF bread with whipped butter, 6 oz steak, loaded baked potato, fresh steamed green beans. Pure heaven! The waitress even gave me a full frozen loaf of GF bread to bring home. I'm in love.
So, gone from the freezer is:
6 chicken tenders
1 bag frozen broccoli cuts
1 GF cinnamon-raisin bagel
3 freezer bags of left-over sausage and bean soup
1 package ground turkey breast
Also - used for lunches - 1/2 bag frozen strawberries for strawberry/banana smoothies, 1 salmon fillet, several bagels (thus the need to buy more), the box of vanilla ice cream and a bag of old, Hormel Chili that I actually threw out because it looked gross.
I did buy 1 loaf of bread and two packages of Ray's NY Bagels (for the family), 1 package of Oscar Meyer Beef Hotdogs and a carton of Edy's Double Churned Fudge Tracks ice cream for the freezer, so I broke my rule of not buying anything new. But these are things that are in constant rotation at our house, so they won't get pushed to the back...never to be seen again.
Hope you all had a good week and have a great Super Bowl Sunday! Go Steelers!
PS...am planning to make Kim's Buffalo Chicken Dip. It's supposed to make 20 servings, but I'm making it for just my husband and I. Oink! I'm guessing I'll have leftovers. Maybe I'll have enough for the freezer.... ;)

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Hey You! Food Hoarder!"

So, for some reason, when the weather gets cold, I tend to buy way too much food. Hello, my name is Lisa and I'm a Food Hoarder!
I know when this is happening when I open the freezer door and something falls out and hits me in the head. It happened Saturday. I was knocked in the noggin with a box of frozen chicken nuggets. See it, right there on top, the black "Bell and Evans" box teetering on the edge???
After I came to, I decided that my challenge for the next couple of weeks is to try to use up everything in my freezer before I buy anything else to put in it. Look! I don't even have room for the ice-maker tray! My box of Light Vanilla Ice Cream is taking a nap there!
Oh, and it's not just my freezer, it's the pantry as well. Especially the GF shelf, the one with the half-eaten box of Nut Thins, several different baking mixes, bags of GF oats....
I'm not even brave enough to show you the other cupboards where the boxes of cereal and canned goods are kept!
I have vowed for the next couple of weeks, to only buy perishable items at the store...milk, salad stuff, fresh fruits and veggies...
I started unloading the pantry yesterday. I actually made that box of Gluten-Free Pantry Truffle Brownie Mix. I must say, it was delicious! My family and I gobbled up more than half the pan. So, one box gone...a few inches gained on my backside.
Tonight I'm making Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole, inspired by Jenny. I'm going to substitute a can of Progresso Cream of Mushroom soup and bake it in the oven. We'll see how that goes. That will take a few of the individually frozen chicken tenders out of the huge package we bought at BJ's Warehouse several weeks ago. Slowly, whacking away at the shameless pile of food I have crammed in every crevasse.
Hey guys, wish me luck!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Week's Eats

The past week sure was a crazy one! Snowfalls, icicles the size of stalactites hanging from the house, water main breaks, boil water advisories, two lost white-tail deer in our back yard.
Dinners this week were meant to be quick and easy.
Sunday - Sausage and White Bean Soup - courtesy of "The Crock Pot Lady". This soup was so easy and so good! Leftovers are in the freezer!

Monday - Stouffer's Frozen Lasagna with Meat Sauce for the family, Gluten-Free Lasagna for me. Tossed Salad for all. KD's Fish Fry, a local restaurant that serves delicious GF fish frys and such, just started carrying home-made GF dinners in their freezer case! The lasagna was a little light on sauce and heavy on pasta for my taste, but it was ok in a pinch. I also picked up a GF Eggplant Parmesan while I was there and will have that another night!

Tuesday - Breakfast for Dinner. Scrambled eggs, bacon, GF bagel for me, toast for the family. Easy and always a big hit.

Wednesday - Beef Tacos with all the fixin's, green salad. Old El Paso Stand 'n Stuff Taco Dinner Kit. Hubby likes soft tacos, so for him, I use flour tortillas. I forgot that my daughter had tacos for lunch in school, so she had her favorite...warm bagel, two slices deli ham, slice of cheese, green salad.

Thursday - Bell & Evans Chicken Nuggets, Oreida Shoestring French Fries, green beans - We have these nuggets quite often and we all love them! They are WAY better than McDonald's and they are Gluten-Free so I can eat them too!

Friday - Summer in Winter! Oscar Meyer hot dogs, deviled potato salad, Lays potato chips. It was a whopping 42 degrees here, so I decided to have an indoor, Winter picnic. The best part was, no bugs!

Saturday - GF Pizza at Uno's! YES!!! We finally got to go and try the new GF pizza at Uno's. I have to say, it was really nice to be able to go out with the family and order a pizza. The pizza was good. The crust was very thin and crispy, but a little bit crumbly. In fact, I couldn't pick up the pieces, I had to eat it with a fork. Nevertheless, I was still in heaven. I ordered the plain cheese pizza, ate three of the six slices and brought the rest home for another meal. It was very tasty and will definitely be going back for more! My hubby had the Buffalo Bites appetizer. My daughter had the Tiny Dinos chicken nuggets with a side of apples and mandarin oranges and ate every bite....Hubby and I both had the House Salad minus the croutons and red onion. Hubby and daughter had dessert (The Brownie Bowl), while I sipped a decaf. I made the comment that they should make their brownie flourless, like Outback Steakhouse. My hubby said something like "You GF freaks can't have everything!" What a guy! All in all, a very nice dinner out!

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Gluten-Free Week

Food-wise, this was a good week. I made some yummy, tummy warming meals that my family gobbled up. It's been very cold her in Upstate NY. It hardly reached above the teens all week. When the temperature dips this low, I love to cook. The down side is that it's very hard for me to diet at this time of year. I know, the New Year's Resolutions and all of that jazz, but I just can't eat cold salad on a cold night! This week's menu consisted of: Sunday - Goulash. Both GF and regular. I can't get my gluten-eating family to embrace rice pasta. So, I make the meat sauce in one skillet, GF elbows in another pot and wheat elbows in a third pot. I drain the pasta pots and add the meat sauce to each pot. Works out fine, but makes lots of dishes to wash! Monday - Breakfast for Dinner. Scrambled eggs, bacon, whole grain toast with cinnamon sugar for the gluten-eaters, GF bagel with butter for me. Delish. Tuesday - left-over goulash. Put both kinds in separate casserole dishes, added more tomato sauce and loads of shredded mozzarella. Baked in the oven until bubbly. Yum. Wednesday - Homemade Mac 'n Cheese with regular pasta for the family. Made in a skillet, started with a butter and flour roux, made a cream sauce with milk, added lots of sharp cheddar cheese, added cooked elbows and some cut-up spiral ham I had frozen, left over from Christmas Eve dinner...family said it was fantastic. I had frozen Amy's Rice Mac 'n Cheese...it's my favorite of the GF variety. Yes, I microwaved it first...it's no good frozen! Thursday - Rotisserie Chicken from local Price Chopper, boiled white potatoes, corn. I contacted Price Chopper and was told that the "plain" rotisserie chicken is GF and they even claim to roast it on the top of the oven so that the juices from the other chickens don't drip down and contaminate the plain ones. I don't know if I really believe that or not, but I haven't had any bad reactions to it yet... Friday - today. Pork chops with apples and onions, baked maple and brown sugar acorn squash. This recipe I got a long time ago from a cookbook that I probably don't even have anymore, but I remember the recipe. Cut up an onion (I like sweet onions) and put it in the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a few sliced up apples on top of the onions. Add a sprinkle of white sugar on top of the apples (yes, I know)...Add a few pork chops on top of the apples. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Finally, top with more sliced apples and a few pats of butter. Cover and bake for 1 to 1-1/2 hours in a 350 degree oven. As for the acorn squash, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, put the halves in a casserole dish, fill the squash "bowls" with about a tablespoon of light brown sugar, a tablespoon of butter (yes, I know again) and a drizzle of REAL maple syrup. Cover with foil, bake right along with the pork chops. You can also do this in the microwave, minus the foil, on high for around 15 minutes or until you can flake the squash "meat" with a fork. My husband doesn't like pork chops or acorn squash, but will eat both of them made this way. I'm sorry that I don't have any pictures of my meals. I got a new camera for Christmas, but keep forgetting to take the pictures! I guess I'm just too hungry to take the time!!! I will try to do better next time! I'm also so excited that I bought two new Cuisinart stainless steel sauce pots last night. It was time to retire our 10-year old non-stick cookware we got for a gift the year we were engaged. The non-stick coating was starting to flake off into our food! That can't be a good thing. I can't wait to try the new pots!

Just to Follow-up

So, I know I said in my last post that I was going to call my doctor...again...and ask for a new script for a different antibiotic. Well, I ended up having second thoughts and taking the drug that evening. Guess what. Leg pains again. So, yesterday afternoon, I left another message for "phone nurse". Again, no return call. I didn't take the Avelox last night and the leg pains are pretty much gone this morning. However, the sinus problem is still there. "Phone nurse" called this morning and actually asked how I was feeling! Then she told me that she had called in a script to the pharmacy for Zithromax. I thanked her and told her that I was sorry that I was being such a pain, but I didn't want to take any chances!!! I will be picking up my script after I have some lunch. The sun is shining, it's Friday, and even though it was -3 degrees this morning when I woke up...life is good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Medicine - A Bitter Pill

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to try not to whine so much about my medical issues. I swore to "let go and let God" take care of things. Then, this week happened. After suffering with a cold that has been lingering since late November, I decided that my home remedies (saline rinses, humidifier, decongestants) were not working and that I'd better get to my PCP for the inevitable script for antibiotics. Now, first of all, I hate taking medicine. It almost always sends my stomach into a burning, churning frenzy that can take months to resolve. And then there's the warning labels. Being the "good" patient that I am, I ALWAYS read the warning labels and list of possible side effects when I receive a new script. So, Monday I gathered up the courage to go to the doctor. After a nice little chat with the nurse and my doc, I left with my script for the antibiotic "Augmenten". Now, my daughter takes Augmenten every time she gets a sinus infection, so I didn't think much of it. I went to my local drug store to get the script filled, came home, and as always, read the patient information that came with the meds. Well, right off the bat, I noticed that the info warned not to take the drug if you are allergic to Penicillin. RED FLAG! I am allergic to Penicillin and have been for as long as I can remember. So, I call my doc. Leave a message on the "phone nurse" line. No call back. So, I don't take the meds. Tuesday morning arrives. 9 AM. I call and leave another message on the "phone nurse" line. No call back. Finally, at 2 PM, I leave a third, not so friendly message on the "phone nurse" line. About a half hour later, I get the phone call. The annoyed-sounding "phone nurse" tells me that a new script has been called in to the pharmacy. I politely ask if this new med is related to penicillin in any way. Nurse says "no". In fact, annoyed nurse tells me that "they didn't know I was allergic to penicillin". Keep in mind that I have been seeing this doctor since I was in my teens. I am positive that there was a big, red, sticker on my chart, warning of my allergy. So, anyway, by this time my infected, sinus-head was pounding! Later that evening, my wonderful husband went to the pharmacy to return the first meds and pick up the "new" meds. Upon his return, I again read the patient information that came along with the script. This antibiotic, "Avelox", has MANY serious warnings about causing tendinitis, nerve damage, heart palpitations and other awful sounding problems. RED FLAG again! I already have nerve damage and heart palpitations...do I want more? So, what did I do? I shrugged it off and took the medication. I figured it would either kill me or cure me. Later, while helping my daughter with her shower, my ankles started to hurt. The pain slowly went from my ankles, up to my lower legs. Now, I often have nerve pain these days, it's just a byproduct of the neck surgery I had last year. This seemed a little different. So, today is Wednesday and I am still in pain and I am about to leave yet another message for the "phone nurse". Hopefully, I will get a call back at some point and maybe they can come up with a script I feel comfortable taking!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Just As Promised....

Happy New Year, Everyone! I told you I'd eventually get around to posting a picture of my super cool hand warmers! All right now, try to keep the laughs down!