26 January, 2015  |   Comment

Recipe for Whole 30 HJ Burgers

One of January’s challenges is keeping on the Whole 30 while feeding the rest of my family.
They love me, but they will not participate in any such thing.

It’s totally cool.
I get to eat burgers like these.

We get around the meals with food like Whole 30 HJ Burgers. I eat these meat patties wrapped in butter lettuce with onions, bacon and mayo. They eat these burgers with delicious hamburger buns and Zesties. We’re all happy.

Ingredients
1 pound hamburger
1/2 pound pork sausage
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp kosher salt

Fixins
Bacon
Lettuce
Tomato
Mayo
Mustard
Avocado

Directions
Mix the garlic salt, seasoning salt, kosher salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Crack and beat the egg in another small bowl until blended.
Cut 12 pieces of wax paper into pieces roughly 8×8 inches square.

Wash your hands.

Unwrap the meat onto a large cutting board.
Squish the meat together, add the garlic salt and pepper and seasoning salt and the egg.
Continue to smoosh together with your hands.
Create a shape unlike any found in nature and laugh and weep at the same time.

Scoop into snowball sized balls. I can make 10 of them.
How many can you make?

Squish meat balls to a thickness somewhere between 1/2 and 1 inch.

Stack the hamburgers in between the pieces of wax paper.

Put the hamburgers in the refrigerator while you pull the rest of the fixins together — wash the lettuce (dry it too), slice tomato and onions, frizzle the bacon.

Heat a cast iron skillet (we use this griddle from Lodge) over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.

Cook each burger for about 3 minutes per side. You can do this on any flat pan-like surface.

For the rest of my family, I add the cheese after I flip the burgers.

For me, I go cheeseless.
It’s a sacrifice I make for one month, every year.

Then we toast the buns that I won’t eat and I serve the burgers with all the fixins.

So, what are you eating by the end of January? Any new foods in your rotation? Any tips for lettuce wrap burgers? Tell me these things.

19 January, 2015  |   1 Comment

Meal Plan Monday

Prediction: This week will overflow with loving words. #mealplan

Last night, you’ll see we had roast chicken. Sunday’s roast spiced chicken was flavored with a mix of 1/4 cup ghee, 1 tablespoon seasoning salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp rubbed sage and garlic rubbed under the skin. Since I am Whole 30-ing it this month, I like to frontload the week with foods I can eat for lunch. Last night’s chicken leftovers will go in Monday’s lunch.

Sunday, January 18
On Sunday, I also made Wednesday’s butternut squash soup. The flavors just get better over time. Sunday night I also cut the beef and carrots for Monday’s pot roast.

Tuesday, January 20
Tuesday is taco night. Due to what’s in the fridge, I’ve already changed the taco meat from pork carnitas to old fashioned ground beef tacos. My picky family goes loco over ground beef tacos. I use Penzey’s Taco Seasoning. Ha! Now you can too! Taco night leftovers also do well in breakfast burritos or taco bowls the next day.

Tuesday night I’ll also make the spaghetti and meat sauce for Thursday’s dinner. I doubled up on meal prep on Sunday and Tuesday — one of those things that don’t take as much effort as it looks in writing — just requires a little preplanning!

Wednesday and Thursday, January 21 and 22
I have late night meetings on both Wednesday and Thursday, so I’ll make sure at least half the meal is pre-made. Poor James has things hard enough, juggling tap and drama and ballet and a full time job and people.

Friday, January 23
We’re extending the fun of James’ birthday for another 40th birthday dinner with our friends. We’re really excited about this one.

Saturday, January 24
Wrap the whole week up with a Helpie Selfie. We’ll have a leftover party just in time for next week’s meal plan.
(You know how that is.)

1 January, 2015  |   Comment

Things I did right: Meal Plans

Last night I went on a bender of tallying up all my shortcomings — listing all the times I overindulged and underappreciated. When I finished, I moved on to my general thoughtlessness, selfishness and bad temper.

Oof.

This morning I awoke with a shame hangover with only one cure.
Counting up the things I did right.

In 2014, I planned my meals every gosh dang week.

She likes short ribs

Here’s the post where I outlined the logic behind my meal planning — it is still mostly true. But I have a few more tips that made meal planning work even harder for me this year.

1. Publicity:  Instagram helped. Making it public forced healthier decisions and a regular schedule. Join me, won’t you?

Thai Pork Lettuce Bundles

2. Veggie Box: We are active CSA participants – we signed up for Farm Fresh To You  which delivers veggies to our door every Friday. If you’re in California, you can too – if you’re inclined, use the code HELE4346.

We’d originally cancelled our membership, we just couldn’t justify dumping so many uneaten veggies each week (Despite my attempts, I could get no toddlers to try turnips). But then, they introduced box customization. We can pick nearly exactly what we want in our box. We can also see the prices to compare with our local grocery store. This means that we’re getting healthy fruits and veggies we’re likely to eat, delivered to our door every week. For fruits and veggies in season, it’s cheaper than Safeway.

They are called Shishito Peppers because the bottoms look like little lions! (Shishi in Japanese.) Rawr!

2. Scheduling: I pick a time for weekly grocery shopping and work backward from there. If I have an hour and a half late Saturday morning, I set aside 20 minutes before that to make my meal plan and shopping list. The meal plan and shopping list are two sides of the same piece of paper, so I remind myself what to get. I won’t shop more than once a week, so this saves us time and energy.

August so far

3. Better leftovers: We threw out a lot of food at the first half of the year — so I had to get  better about planning meals with lunches in mind. I front-load the week with dinners that give good lunches and then we taper down the quantity, eating more leftovers as we get to Saturday.

Dorothy is sad at dinner

Things that didn’t work for me
Amazon Subscribe and Save: I couldn’t justify the sinking feeling in my heart when I saw the gas, effort and waste that went into a regular delivery of paper towels and toilet paper.

Couponing: I do my best with the Safeway app — but I just don’t have the time or mental space to keep coupons straight.

Too Adventurous: We have space in our brains for no more than one brand new recipe a week. Pinterest makes this challenging, but for a family at this time in our lives, it’s best to stick with what we know.

I have a few hundred meal plans from over the years collected on Flickr if you want to see what we eat for dinner on the regular, peep and judge freely!

Here was the one meal plan we stuck to in its entirety – pens at the ready we’ll be even better in 2015
Last week was the first in YEARS we ate everything according to meal plan. (I think we can do it again.)

Happy meal planning to you!

 

20 November, 2014  |   1 Comment

Thanksgiving Budget 2014

Thanksgiving 2013Next week is Thanksgiving. One of our guests is a chef, so my competitive side is coming out. I’m like that. With my guests. Stop talking Helen Jane.

Anyway, Thanksgiving Budget. I have a bad habit about prying into money matters so it’s only fair that I share some details with you. We did it back in 2011 and we’re doing it again — $260 — a huge amount of money for Thanksgiving — here’s how we’re spending out and cheaping out on the budget this year.

cranberries

Spend out

Cheap out

Wine

Table settings

$60

Yesterday I outlined how the wine money gets divvied out. I forgot to add that we always have a bottle of sparkling apple cider for the kids. They love joining in the toast. This will sate 5 grownups and one hairy dog.

$0

The kids always make something amazing for the table — plus! We have some leftover gourds from Halloween!

Turkey

Cornbread & Dinner Rolls

$70

As in 2011, I’m spending the most on our bird. This year I bought the bird for a youth group fundraiser, but our local FFA also raises turkeys for sale. Yours might too!

$5

We’ll make less expensive cornbread — and I’m not shy about telling a helpful guest that they could bring the dinner rolls.

Vegetables and fruits

Potatoes

$50

We make an extra big veggie purchase before the big day to accommodate all our sides. I make the cranberry sauce a week in advance and use the toaster oven to roast the sprouts.

$5

Mashed potato supplies will run me a little less than $5 this year. For this, I am thankful.

Cheese & Appetizers

Dessert

$15

I prioritize guests and snacks. This year we’re putting out some Franklin Teleme, spiced pecans and dried cranberries with some Nut Thins. Easy. Done.

$10

Pumpkin pie is another one of those Thanksgiving things that guests are happy to supply. As a host, I want to make sure I have ice cream, whipped cream and coffee on hand.

Day after Thanksgiving meals

Thanksgiving day meals

$35

I include the “day after” budget as well because I’m spending that cash all in one go. We like our sandwiches on bakery bread with the good bacon.

$10

On the actual Thanksgiving day, we eat cheap. Fruit or cereal for breakfast. Snacks for lunch. Save that cash for the big meal

20 November, 2014  |   3 Comments

Wine Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition

Back in 2011 I set a Thanksgiving budget and we stuck to it. The budget’s a little less this year – about a third less – and for that we’re lucky and three cheers for Thanksgiving! Tomorrow, I’ll go through this year’s budget.

Our wine budget is now around $60 for the big day. I know! I ain’t complaining. We’re making it work with these three bottles of the wine I’ve been drinking lately for work and fun.

2013 Giesen Riesling
Giesen Riesling
I know, I know I should be drinking American to kick off this meal, but with the way things went with Lord of the Rings, it seems like New Zealand could be, like, at least part American. With a low alcohol point (12.5%) this is the perfect wine for kicking off the holidays but maintaining your cool. Good for people who say they don’t like sweet wine but secretly do. Round, floral and delicious, sip it when the kids are wrassling within eyeshot. Costs about $13.

2012 Niner Pinot Noir

niner-pinot

Costs about $30. Pinot Noir makes the millennials happy, it makes your Gen X aunt happy, it makes your snooty brother happy. This one is a great deal, coming from the on point Paso Robles region of California — from a shiny new winery. It’s balanced, it’s got a slight cranberry taste that makes Stove Top sing.

2012 Renwood Zinfandel
renwood-zin
Zinfandel wine powerhouses Renwood make American wine from a truly American grape. Their winemaker is one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40. Youth is also an American value! Bold and tasty — it works to punctuate your end of meal political “discussions.” Plus, Zinfandel is just fun to say. Costs nearly $20.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...