Warning, this will be an Update Post, but there will be a New Recipe at the end, so totally worth it! I took another little break, in my general part of the globe we have a dreadful thing called “daylight saving time”. It’s a terrible time change that happens twice a year, the old fall-back and spring-forward explains it all. Sunday morning we sprang ahead one hour and there for lost an hour in the day, it doesn’t seem like much, but it does throw me for a loop every time. I know a lot of you are familiar with this internal clock derailing event, but for those of you who aren’t, time change = tired and sleepy for a least 1-2 weeks. So I will blame my lack of sleep for my lack of creativity, but I will admit that having some extra hours of daylight after work does improve the moral overall.
UPDATE #1 – Meal Planning
I am now on week 3 of our meal plan, and I’m experiencing the learning curve stage. I am still very happy with the organized meal plan and less frequent visits to the grocery store, but I need to fine tune my recipes and how they are included in the monthly plan. My fiance returned to work recently and he often works out of town and may or may not be at home for supper time. When he is out of town and I know that I will be on my own for the week, I usually try to make a large casserole and eat left overs most nights. I actually like eating left overs (some people don’t for some reason) and what ever meals I had planned for the week can be pushed back and used when my fiance is home.
Last weekend I made my first trip to the grocery store in 2 weeks! I had to pick up items like milk, bread, fresh fruit, cereal and some lunch items. Most of these things are items that I do not want to freeze or do not have the room for in my freezer, or things that I ran out of during the span of the first 2 weeks. I put a magnetic white board on the fridge and have been using this to keep track of items that we run out of, then add those items to my list on my iphone before heading out to the grocery store. I spent a total of 60$ for this trip, I made sure to look through the flyer and mostly picked up items that were on sale. In 2 weeks, I will make another Costco trip to pick up certain things, please see https://recipesontheriver.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/meal-planning-and-meatloaf/ for an explanation of my “Costco Philosophy”.
I added another app to my iphone called Checkout 51 , I’m not a big fan of coupons but this is a completely different way to use coupons and it’s Canadian! I’ll be honest, when I watched those “Extreme Couponers” shows I was a little jealous. Those people spend a lot of time clipping coupons and organizing massive shopping trips, but they also saved A LOT OF MONEY! Sadly, those types of savings are not attainable in Atlantic Canada, and I really don’t think I could or would dedicate 20+ hours of my life every week to couponing. So back to Checkout 51, every week the app will display about 10 new items, and to my delight, a lot of these items are healthy. In a nutshell, you go to the grocery store, get the items you want, scan the receipt onto your phone once you get home and then you receive a credit for the items you purchased. Once you have accumulated a total of 20$ you can request a refund check and voila! Coupon success without clipping a single coupon! You can receive anywhere from 50 cents to 3$ off the listed items, and if you purchase the items when they are already on sale you’re savings are even higher. You can get more information or download the app from the website http://checkout51.com/, the only downfall is that there is a limit of 1 item per “coupon” and there also a limited amount of “coupons” available. Over all this app is useful and easy to use, it also helps you keep more money in your pocket and that’s always nice 🙂
Update #2 – Smash Book
I had a great time working on my Smash Book, I did most of the work on a day when I was feeling a little under the weather. I dug out my “memory lane” box and picked out some precious items, I also flipped through my photo albums to find some corresponding pictures to go with them. I’m one of those annoying people that bring their camera to most family or social events and take a bunch of pictures, so needless to say I have LOTS of photos to chose from. I decided to theme my Smash Book around adventures that my fiance and I have had together since we started dating over 5 years ago. I was actually a little surprised that I didn’t have an abundance of mementos and trinkets in my box (guess I went a little crazy with the de-cluttering), but I did find the best ones and, well, smashed them into my book! It was fun to just stick things where I wanted to, and not worry about things being perfect. Here are some pictures:
I mostly included photos and ticket stubs, but I had a few random receipts, pamphlets, posters, maps and even some little notes that I had written in my college agenda. You can really add anything you want, there is no right or wrong. I had purchased some pre-made pockets, there are 4 in a pack and only cost a few dollars, in those pockets I tucked away posters and larger items that I could not paste inside the book. I also used the black pen (the other end of the pen is a glue stick!) that came with the book to write little side notes and important dates here and there on the pages. I’m still a bit of a perfectionist so you’ll notice my photos have not been cropped and are all facing the right direction, but that’s just how I prefer it. I still have some items to add, and once I’m done I will still have lots of pages left to fill. Over the next few months I’m going to make an effort to save little tidbits here and there to add to my collection, and I also plan to make another album for our upcoming nuptials in August. I’ve been doing some research on good ol’ Pinterest and discovered that some people use plain note books and make their own home made Smash Books, so if you want to try it out but don’t want to spend money on the book and accessories, you can easily make your own from items you have laying around the house. The fun part is to get creative while preserving some fond memories 🙂
I’m going to share one of my favorite Pinterest Recipe finds, home made Big Macs! I was a little reluctant to try this recipe at first, some of those “copy cat” recipes can be pretty disappointing, but this one delivers. I like this recipe so much because its a MUCH HEALTHIER version of a classic, and you can decide how healthy you want to make it. The most important part of this recipe is the famous Big Mac sauce, but I will also include the hamburger building basics, and I promise, the sauce tastes EXACTLY like the original, if not better! This recipe makes 4 burgers:
1 pound extra lean ground beef
salt and pepper
4-8 slices of cheese
4 whole wheat sesame seed buns
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
2 cups lettuce, cut in thin shreds
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
4 tablespoons low-fat French dressing
4 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
3 teaspoons minced onion
1 teaspoon white vinegar
couple dashes of salt
– In a small bowl make the sauce by mixing together mayonnaise, dressing, relish, vinegar, onion and a dash of salt.
– Form the beef into thin patties. Season with salt and pepper. Grease a skillet with olive oil and cook patties over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side. Add a slice of cheese to each patty and melt. Remove from heat.
– To assemble burger cover (and I mean COVER) the bottom bun with sauce, sprinkle with onions, add pickles. Place hamburger patty on top, cover with shredded lettuce, slather more sauce on the top bun.
I stray from the traditional Big Mac by cutting out the middle bun, and I also like to toast my hamburger buns in the oven. I find some whole wheat buns can be dry or a bit heavy and by toasting them it makes them a little lighter and crispier. I also like to keep my hamburger patties simple, with the sauce you really don’t need to over season the patties, salt and pepper is just fine! You can also make your big mac the way you want it, I like to lay out the ingredients on the table and let people build their own burgers. I like extra cheese and no pickles on mine (I know, pickles are must but I don’t like them). On a side note I have discovered “lettuce shreds” at the grocery store, its pre-shredded ice berg lettuce, it sells for 2$ a bag (look for it in the bagged lettuce/salad section) and I use it on burgers, sandwiches and in salads. For 2$ you can’t go wrong, who wants to sit there and shred lettuce…. Here is the link to the original recipe I found on Pinteret http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/homemade-big-macs/#axzz2NZ30S0Rh.
Hope you enjoy, its one of my favorite burgers and YES its in my meal plan 🙂