Weekly Meal Plan #3 & Pigeons

Well it’s Tuesday and I’m just now posting a meal plan for the week so.. a little behind.  I’ve already made Monday and Tuesday’s meals.  Here’s the plan:

Monday: We had Oven Fajitas, Budget Bytes which I’ve made 3 or 4 times now and we love them every time.  Sam even loves them.  (A lot of times we supplement his dinner with yogurt or cheese or whatever we can get him to eat).  I also cooked some brown rice and added a can of pinto beans and some taco seasoning for a side.

Tuesday: Vegan Pot Pies, The Minimalist Bakers (see below)

Wednesday: Slow Cooker White Bean Soup, Budget Bytes & Corn Bread Muffins, Allrecipes

Thursday: Church Home Group, we’re ordering pizza

Friday: Probably out to eat or leftovers

Snacks: 5 Ingredient Vegan, gluten-free Fig Bites, The Lemon Bowl (see below)

The Pot Pie and Fig Bites 

I’m bringing a vegan friend who just had a baby a meal tomorrow so I worked that into our meal plan.  I’m going to bring her vegan pot pie and some fresh fruit plus the 5 ingredient fig bites listed above.

For the fig bites, I ended up making them apricot/cashew bites instead of fig/walnut.  I used unsulfered apricots so that’s why they’re a darker color and raw, unsalted cashew pieces in place of walnuts.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe.  They’re really easy and pretty much a homemade Larabar in ball form.  Mine were really sticky.  I found having damp hands really helped with the rolling.  They taste great and were really fast to make.  The recipe ended up making 30.

For the pot pie, I made a double batch so we could have it for dinner.  I followed the recipe exactly and made an 8×8 pan and a round pan of pot pie.  I made a double batch of their vegan biscuits too and ended up having a ton leftover so Sam got to play around and help out.  Vegan cooking is great because Sam can help and if he happens to take a bite, it’s no big deal.

I baked the round pan for us to have for dinner and froze the square pan, uncooked for my friend to just bake from frozen tomorrow.

Here is the round pan, uncooked:

And here it is fresh out of the oven.  It GREW!  Definitely bake these on top of a baking sheet because there’s a good chance it’s going to bubble over.  It tasted great though!  I used low sodium veggie broth and then just tasted my filling and added salt as needed.

This recipe requires very few ingredients and it’s cheap and completely from scratch. Next time I make this, I’ll probably double the recipe and make it in a 13×9 pan because Aaron, Sam and I almost finished off the dish below.

I also wanted to mention that we did eventually taste the pickles I made and they were surprisingly great!  I guess we were expecting them to be kind of weird and not taste like what we’re used to, but they tasted just like pickles.  I’ll definitely make them again.

And one last thing, we went to check out another house today for a possible investment.  It’s for sale for $22,000 so you can imagine the state of this house.  It’s three stories and we got up to the third floor and there were PIGEONS living in the house.  Oh my.  So that one’s out.  Too big of a project for us.


Homemade Tortillas & Accidentally Trespassing

I’ve been planning to make homemade tortillas for months.  I pinned the recipe from Homegrown and Healthy a long time ago but I just kept buying them at Trader Joe’s.  We go through about 2 packages of them a week and they are $2.79 each.   I make most of our bread in our bread machine and it saves us a lot of money so I wanted to start making tortillas for the same reason.

Tuesday was the day.  I was planning to make fajitas for dinner but we had no tortillas.  (I purposefully bought only one pack at the store last week to try to force myself to make them).  I looked up the recipe and made the dough — just flour, water, olive oil and salt.

The recipe made 10 large tortillas so it’s definitely much cheaper than store bought.

It’s a little bit of a time consuming process because you have to roll out each ball of dough and then cook them in a skillet one at a time.  I made it into an activity that Sam and I could do together though since the dough would be completely safe to eat raw since it’s vegan.

I gave Sam a small cutting board and a tiny rolling pin and he sat across from me and we both rolled out dough.  It kept him entertained the whole time I made the tortillas which was about 30 minutes (so win in toddler activity world).  I gave him a little pile of flour too which made a mess but he really liked.

The tortillas turned out great!  They were pretty easy to roll and cooked quickly on a dry skillet.  I would recommend rolling them as thin as possible because they puff up a bit when cooking and a couple of mine are kind of thick.

They didn’t stick to my pan at all so I don’t think you need to use any oil or butter in the pan.  Flip them once they start to bubble but you can also lift one with a spatula to check doneness.  They cooked for about a minute to a minute and a half per side over medium heat.

After they were all cooked, I let them cool almost completely but put them in a resealable bag before they were completely cool to create some moisture so they would be easy to bend and roll.

They taste great!  Aaron didn’t even know they were homemade since they look so much like the Trader Joe’s version.  I’m hoping to make a couple double batches soon to freeze for when the baby arrives.

My Bread Machine

Also, you can see my bread machine in the background of the picture above so I figured I’d mention it.  I have a Zojirushi bread machine  that my grandma bought for me probably about 6 years ago.  Mine looks like the picture below but there is a new model  now that is selling for $249 on Amazon.

I would definitely recommend this bread machine.  I use it 2-3 times a week and it’s still going strong.  I make dough using the dough setting and then make rolls and bake in the oven.

I’ve also used the jam setting to make jam a few times and it’s turned out really well too.

And just a random story about today… 

Aaron and I went to check out another house for sale here in Mt. Lebanon.  We’re not really looking for a house for ourselves but possibly an investment property.  Plus we’re both just oddly interested in the real estate market.

So we found the house, which was vacant and in really rough shape.  The house had a weird parking situation where there was supposed to be off street parking that you pulled into from the parallel street behind the house.  We pulled into the parking and walked up to the back door.

Sam and I hung out on the back porch while Aaron walked around to the front figuring the lock box was on the front door. (Aaron has his real estate license).  I decided to just check the back door and it was unlocked so Sam and I walked right in.  Then we went to the front door to let Aaron in and then realized there was no lock box.

We walked back through the house and heard Aaron yelling, this is the wrong house.  hahahaha.  We accidentally walked into the house next door which was also vacant.  Oops.  How odd that two houses right next door to each other were both vacant and one was completely unlocked.

So I grabbed Sam and we got out of there quickly and walked over to the correct house…

Coupons, Shoes, Pizza, Fan

A Few Random Things


Friday night, Aaron put Sam to bed and I went to Target to do my first serious couponing shopping trip.  It was so confusing!  I was in Target for almost 2 hours…  In the end, I saved $37 in coupons and with the Target Cartwheel app so I was pretty pleased.  My total bill was brought down from about $140 to a little over $100.  We have SO MUCH peanut butter right now.

 A Pair of Tom’s

Remember how I mentioned that I wanted to get Sam a pair of Tom’s shoes?  Well I found a pair for myself on Craigslist last week for $10 so Sam and I ventured to Squirrel Hill to meet the lady to pick them up.

Here’s Sam wandering along Forbes Ave.

And the new (to me) golden, herringbone Tom’s:

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

I made barbecue chicken pizza for dinner one night last week.  The plan was to make regular pizza but we didn’t have any tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese (remember me mentioning that I didn’t follow the meal plan at all).  We also didn’t have any barbecue sauce so I ended up making some.  It was a really easy recipe.

I cooked a giant onion in a skillet over low heat until it was brown and very soft then added a big chicken breast until it was cooked through and then shredded the chicken.

Stretched the pizza dough onto the pan.  Added the chicken:

Then added the barbecue sauce:

Then the onions:

Then grated cheddar cheese:

And bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes:

New Ceiling Fan

Monday night, we finally went to Lowe’s and bought the ceiling fan for Sam’s new room (I had a coupon that was expiring that day).  Aaron put it up last night and it looks great!  I love it!  I want to buy another one for our bedroom now.  He’s also been painting the walls in that room and it’s almost done.  Saturday is dedicated to working on that room.  Exciting life! I know.

Weekly Meal Plan #1

I’ve been really trying to meal plan lately because it saves us money on groceries and it also results in me actually cooking rather than us eating cereal or sandwiches or eating out for dinner.

I hate throwing food away so usually if I buy the specific groceries for a recipe, I’ll make it.  I usually check my Pinterest recipe board, my bookmarks and I’ve also been reading Budget Bytes and picking three or four recipes to try.

All of the recipes below are new to me except for the lentil and vegetable soup which we really liked.  Homemade pizza is on the menu for us a lot because we all like pizza, it’s cheap and relatively easy and I usually have the ingredients on hand.  I make the dough in our bread machine and I’m planning to post that recipe.

MondaySalsa Chicken Casserole – Budget Bytes

Tuesday: Lentil and Vegetable Soup – Budget Bytes

Cornbread Muffins – Allrecipes.com

Wednesday: Kung Pao Chicken with rice- Budget Bytes

Thursday: Homemade Pizza & Salad (or tacos and salad)

Snacks:  Peanut Butter Choc. Chip Granola Bars – Glorious Treats

Garlic-Dill Refrigerator Pickles – The Kitchn

Note: Fridays and Saturdays we usually eat out (one of the two days) or eat whatever we can find in the house.  The leftovers from these meals are almost always consumed for lunch the next day.  Aaron usually comes home for lunch and Sam and I always have lunch at home.  Sundays we have dinner at church.

Breakfasts are usually eggs and toast for me.  Sam has whole wheat pancakes or french toast plus scrambled eggs and fruit or oatmeal and fruit.

I hope this gives you some recipe ideas!  I’d love for you to give me links to your favorite recipes or just recipes that you want to try!  I’m always looking for ideas.

A few random things:

Sam and I shared a snow cone yesterday at the farmer’s market.

I’m about half done cutting in the white color in Sam’s future bedroom.

I bought a bed skirt for $2 at a thrift store yesterday for our bedroom:

The battle continues in me and the tomato plant vs. deer.  They took a few bites out of the top of my plant so I added some more fence and used up all my kitchen twine.


A few of my absolute favorite recipes

We’re back from Florida!  Sam and I got home yesterday and we’re slowly getting back into our routine.  I’m going to post about the trip with some pictures soon but in the meantime, I thought I’d post links to some of my favorite recipes that I make again and again.


Oven Fajitas — Budget Bytes

I follow this recipe exactly except I use red, orange or yellow peppers instead of green because I don’t like green peppers.  I also skip the onion powder in the seasoning because I never have any.

Curried Lentil Soup — Epicurious

I use white beans instead of chickpeas, skip the green onions and add extra carrots.  I also usually double this recipe so we have leftovers.  It freezes well.

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup – SouthernFood

I add extra carrots and celery, use dried parsley and mini ravioli or tortellini for the noodles.  If I don’t have seasoned salt, I just use regular salt.  I often use frozen chicken breasts and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew – Allrecipes.com

Sometimes I use sweet potatoes in place of regular potatoes and only 1.5 pounds beef stew meat.  I prefer to cook it on low in the slow cooker for 10-12 hours.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake — Epicurious

The BEST chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted.  I use dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet, vanilla bean paste, canola oil in place of vegetable, whole buttermilk (no substitutions) and I weigh the ingredients.  I also bake in 3-9″pans.  I don’t make the ganache frosting but make a regular chocolate buttercream.