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Grocery Challenge

I have entered the All You magazine’s Grocery Challenge.  The idea is to spend only $25. per week per person and still make “creative” and “healthy” meals.  I need to get back in the mindset of saving and healthy eating for everyone so this seems like a perfect opportunity. 

I shopped today even though the challenge doesn’t start until Sunday — it’s not like I’m going to be shopping on Father’s Day so this was the best day.  If I understand the challenge I can use what I already have on hand.  I spent $57.78 at Wal Mart.  This will be shopping trip #0 since the challenge hasn’t really started yet I guess it is a trial run.  I will try to show where items come from as I chronicle the challenge on this blog — from the pantry (already on hand before the contest–which I guess all this stuff has just become 🙂  or purchased during the contest. 

Items I had on hand are marked with a (*) Recipes are on Grocery Challenge Recipe page.

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We have successfully added a Nigerian Dwarf goat to our family.  She is expecting, so soon we will be adding at least one, probably more, goats to our family.  Chicks will be arriving in a couple of weeks.  The dog has been playing “bury, dig up, bury again” with a dead gopher.

Oh, the fun of country life.

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Julie & Julia

We watched Julie & Julia  last night. Thanks to my husband’s thoughtful Christmas gift of it to me. 🙂 As always I am inspired. Julia Child makes me want to cook and Julie makes me want to blog. I know the first of the year always brings lots of good intentions out in me, but hopefully some of the good intentions will grow into actual actions.

I am currently planning my garden seed order and reading to prepare for the infamous “miniature dairy goat adventure”. The hens are laying again after a brief slow down during which I thought I was going to have to install a light for them to get enough daylight hours. However, they seem to be adjusting, so I will postpone that somewhat overwhelming challenge since there is currently no electricity in the pen. 

The roosters are still on the way out even though I am sure the hens have been grateful for the extra body heat during the recent cold snap.

 

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This is one of my family’s favorite recipes!

First is the original version — followed by “tweeks” I have done over the years.

Original:

16 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. can chopped green chilis
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
3 cups shredded cheddar/monterey jack cheese
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20 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar/monterey jack cheese reserved for topping.
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Mix the first 6 ingredients. Put about 1/4 cup or so in each tortilla, roll up, and place in a baking dish. Let them overlap — I can get about 12 in an 11×13 pan. Cover tightly with foil and cook in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil — top with remaining cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes.
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“Tweeks”
In an effort to reduce our intake of processed foods I have started making this with a basic chicken/white sauce instead of the cream of chicken soup. Melt 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan — add 3 or 4 tablespoons of flour and mix well. Add 1/2 cup or so of chicken broth (I save back some from cooking my chicken). Finish out with a 1/2 cup or so of milk and cook until nice and thick. Add it to your filling instead of the soup. My family never notices. You can play with the amounts to make it look right. I never really measure any of the stuff in the sauce I just throw stuff in until it looks right 🙂

Also, don’t worry too much about the kind or amount of cheese — I substitute whatever I have sometimes and add more or less. It’s hard to go wrong with this recipe.

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The chicken coop may actually work. The little kids and I worked on it this morning. I had to e-mail my husband to bring home more wood. Some wives may just need bread and milk on the way home — I need lumber! 🙂

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After weeks of living in an old dog house, my chickens will soon be the proud (or embarassed) owners of a custom coop. Though I fail to see how chickens who have been living primarily “under” an old dog house could be embarassed by anything. 🙂 We are headed to Lowe’s today for supplies and might even post pics.

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The bruschetta was wonderful.  Unfortunately, it was devoured before a picture could be taken.  I am still working on the photo timing.  Bruschetta is really easy to make and has such a summer feel to it.  Fresh tomatoes are a must so summer is really the best time to make it.

Start with a loaf of french bread (slicing it yourself lets you make the slices slightly thinner which I think makes for a better bruschetta)

Brush with a flavorful olive oil.

Place on cookie sheets and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, chop fresh tomatoes ( a couple of large ones) and combine with about 8 fresh finely chopped basil leaves.  Again fresh is the key.  Mine came straight from the garden.  Mix well.

When your bread is toasted to your satisfaction spoon the tomato mixture on top and then top with real grated parmesan cheese.  Get the kind from the refrigerated section of your market — not the jar kind on the pasta aisle.  You won’t be sorry you spent the extra money.

Enjoy.

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