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Frugal eating at home and how I got a fantastic A1c!

March 29th, 2015 at 03:21 pm

Sunday is usually meal planning day for me. I worked a 5.5 hour shift today but got most of the week done last night and finished it after I got off work today.

Awhile back I realized there's a very strong correlation between meat consumption and my higher blood sugar readings so I cut back on meat. I mean, waaay back. I still eat fish and small amounts of beef, pork, and chicken but not daily or even weekly. I call myself a "faux vegetarian". Whatever, it works. :-)

My food guidelines are pretty easy. If it's a vegetable I usually eat it raw or lightly cooked and unless it's a starchy vegetable I don't really limit the quantity. Starchy vegetables are a rare treat for me. If it's fruit I eat it now and then and in strict moderation. Fruit needs to be fairly low on the Glycemic Index like berries and melon. Pasta, beans, and grains are things I have once in a blue moon and then just a very small amount. And if it's meat...well, I think long and hard and usually decide against it. There are exceptions to all those guidelines, though. It's a matter of moderation, balance, and keeping my eye on the prize so to speak. But it stinks that the less expensive foods are things I can eat only rarely and it's very hard to stay within my budget for food.

My next to the last A1c was 5.9 and my last A1c two weeks ago was 5.1. For those of you unfamiliar with Diabetes and A1c, that first number is very good for a Type 1 and that last number is in the non-diabetic range so I'm pretty dang proud of both test results!

I didn't get those results by just cutting out most meat, though. I also walk. A lot. I use a Fitbit Charge HR to count my steps and even when I'm at home and watching television, I generally walk/jog in place. I've lost about 9 pounds in the process but it's taken me four months to do so. Four ridiculously long months! Age and the constant influx of insulin via my pump make weight loss quite the challenge but progress is progress, right? Besides, I've had some non-scale victories, too. My work pants are much looser and I simply feel better. I have more weight to lose but am focusing on the positives and not the fact that it takes so freaking long for me to lose a few pounds!

Anyway, here's my menu for this week:

Sunday night - Two boneless pork ribs (bought for .99 a lb at Albertson's), raw bell pepper strips, and a large salad.

Monday night - Homemade french onion soup, sans bread with extra cheese and a low carb muffin in a minute with butter

Tuesday night - Leftover french onion soup and a salad

Wednesday night - Very large salad, complete with cheese, black olives, and artichoke hearts

Thursday night - Dinner at Mom's house so it will be her choice. Heaven help me, she loves the carbs! I'll choose as wisely as I can, though. She always has salad stuff so if nothing else, I'll make a salad.

Friday night - I'll be at work but will take along leftover soup and an avocado

Saturday night - Vegetables roasted in broth and homemade almond meal crackers

Yeah, I eat a lot of salad and soup. I love them and they're thrifty and delicious so why not?

Keep it simple is my motto!

December 27th - January 2nd menu

December 28th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I worked until 6:30 last night so it was a YOYO (You're On Your Own) night. The man person had a sandwich made with some of the barbecued chicken I prepared yesterday and I had some Dreamfields pasta cooked in beef broth with a little stewed tomato and garlic. It wasn't exciting but it was cheap, hot and filling while watching the Cowboys game!

Tonight we're having garlic baked salmon with salad and steamed carrots.

On New Year's Day we'll have black eyed peas, cabbage and fish of some sort for lunch.

The rest of the week we'll have, in no particular order:

Roast beef slow cooked with sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions, served with tossed salad

Open face roast beef sandwiches (made with leftover roast beef) and green beans

Vegetable beef soup using the last of the cooked roast and vegetables

Sticky Chicken cooked with fresh green beans and served with salad

Homemade chicken pot pie (using Carbquick to make the crust), salad, and steamed spinach

And that's it for this week, tasty, nutritious, and thrifty food!

Happy eating!

Frugal eating

May 20th, 2008 at 10:53 am

Since this week's check will be about half of normal (since I was out of town for 4 of last week's work days) we're eating from the pantry as much as we can.

The man person had a lunch of creole chicken and rice leftover from last night. I just had steak and gravy pulled from the freezer and some steamed green beans and a small salad. Tonight, DH will finish off that steak and gravy, probably putting it on bread, and I'll have green beans, a few slices of apple, and some swiss cheese for my dinner at work.

I just dug through the freezer and found some barbecued beef roast from two weeks ago and cooked, chopped chicken from three weeks ago so I'll thaw those and use them this week.

Tomorrow night we'll have thinly sliced roast with green beans and a salad. Thursday we'll have the chicken with pasta and alfredo sauce with carrots and spinach. Friday night we'll have more of the leftover roast, probably rolled into low carb tortillas with fresh vegetables, and Saturday we'll have 'everything but the kitchen sink' salads to use any remaining leftovers. Sunday we'll have a roasted chicken with green beans and mashed potatoes and any leftover chicken will be used in the coming week's meals.

That takes care of this week and we have more stuff in the freezer for future meals. There are distinct advantages to cooking more than needed and cooking ahead. I love being able to provide DH with a good meal even when I'm at work and it's good to take a decent meal to eat rather than just a sandwich. And it really saves on eating out expenses! We've spent very little at restaurants lately and having a freezer stocked with cooked food is one of the reasons for that.

Do you like to cook ahead? If so, about how long does something sit in the freezer before its eaten?

Grocery shopping & two week's worth of dinners

March 9th, 2008 at 07:21 pm

We went to the grocery today and spent $74.20. That was more than we'd planned to spend but since we'll have two bottomless pits in and out over the next week, that's fine. We'll need it all and then some!

So here are the meals we'll have for the next two weeks. The menu might change a bit if we go out to eat a time or two (we do plan for those) but this gives the general gist of two week's meals. There are too many carbs in most of the meals but darn it, it's hard to eat low carb on a budget! I just won't overeat..or will try not to. *sigh*

Beef tips and wild rice made with a couple of the charcoal steaks, served with a salad and green beans

Breakfast of turkey sausage, eggs, and toast

Slow cooked beans

Turkey chili with corn chips, crackers, or tortilla chips and salad

Pressure cooked hen with carrots, potatoes, onion, and green beans

Slow cooker chicken and rice made with leftover chicken and wild rice,
probably served with salad and a green vegetable

Breakfast again of french toast and turkey bacon

Skilletini with a salad and whole wheat rolls

Quesadillas made with leftover chicken, low carb tortillas, and served with salad

Pressure cooked beef roast (Ray's 3 envelope roast) and vegetables

Beef vegetable soup made with leftover beef roast and vegetables

Slow cooker chicken and biscuits made with leftover chicken (a new to me recipe I want to try)

Red beans and rice with salad

Leftover beans with more salad! lol

This week's meals - suggestions and ideas needed

March 9th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I love to cook. It's one of my all time favorite past times. I check out cookbooks from the library, haunt garage sales for deals on them, and am just generally obsessed with cooking and books about it.

Unlike so many fruglies who give up all subscriptions, I subscribe to three magazines - National Geographic, Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country. The three of them are worth every penny to me - NG for the sheer pleasure I get looking at the breathtaking photos and reading the stories of far away places and CI and CC for the kitchen knowledge they impart.

But over the last month I've gotten away from cooking so much and I really have to find my way back.

I have absolutely got to get back to planning meals at least a week in advance. Without that, we eat out too often, and that's a real budget buster! Spring Break is here so the 16 year old male bottomless pit is visiting and his 15 year old sister, almost as bottomless, will be here for a few days, too. In light of these facts, I need a little help planning meals. I've done it for years so I know how but my brain is tired of doing it and I need a little push.

In my freezer, I have a couple of whole hens (tough when baked or roasted but I can use the pressure or slow cookers for stewing), a package of charcoal steaks (5 small steaks), some ground turkey and turkey breakfast sausage, a package of beef smoked sausage, a dozen chicken tamales, lots of vegetables, and plenty of cheese.

In the fridge I have a dozen eggs but will get more today. I need to buy milk and bread, too.

In the cupboards I have plenty of canned vegetables, rice, beans, pasta, flour, salt, all those necessary things.

I have three slow cookers, a microwave, a digital pressure cooker, and an electric skillet. We have no oven or grill right now so baking/roasting/grilling are out.

Here are some thoughts I have on meals I can make this week:

Cut one to one and a half of the steaks into bite size pieces and use it to make 'beef tips' and rice. Rod and Stephen both love that. Serve it with a salad and a green vegetable.

Have breakfast one night, using ground turkey to make turkey sausage and have that with eggs and toast.

Cook beans in the slow cooker one night.

Make chili with ground turkey one night.

Cook a hen in the pressure cooker and use that for a few dishes. I have a few stand bys we like with cooked, cubed chicken but need some more ideas. If you have something you make with cooked chicken, please let me know!

Any other ideas?

This week's dinners

January 12th, 2008 at 08:20 am

Today's lunch will be the leftover creamed chicken from last night over toast. That should finish off the creamed chicken.

Tonight's dinner will be chicken quesadillas with some of the leftover chicken from last week. The rest of the week we'll have, in no particular order:

Cornbread dressing and gravy made with leftover homemade turkey sausage, served with salad and green beans

Chicken salad made with what should be the last of the leftover chicken, served with fresh fruit

Slow cooker chile relleno casserole, served with spinach and tomato salad

Black eyed peas with hot water cornbread

Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and toast or english muffins

Super salads made with leaf lettuces, spinach, and lots of veggies

There are three meatless nights and two nights with a small amount of meat. Yaaaaay for meatless meals! They're a boon to attempts to improve the health and improve the wealth.

Too many days off, money to the challenge, and weekend plans

January 11th, 2008 at 07:38 am

I'm off today and tomorrow and then work Sunday (and wouldn't you know, I'm scheduled to work during the Cowboys game!) and am off again Monday. In fact, this coming week I have four days off. That's too many days off. I'll enjoy them, I'm sure, but the bank account likes to eat larger checks rather than smaller ones. Ah well, it is what it is.

My challenge money is up to $32 now thanks to change I found, some change DH gave me, and a couple of meatless meals.

Sometime today I absolutely must do laundry. I've been meaning to for several days and still it sits! But now we're down to almost no clean clothes so it really must be done today. It's going to take me quite awhile to do it so I'm procrastinating but the more I procrastinate the longer it's going to take. Bite the bullet, Denise, bite the bullet!

Tonight's dinner will be creamed chicken over toasted english muffins with salad and green beans. We have some of the chicken I cooked in the slow cooker leftover and some of that great gravy DH made so I'll thin that with a little milk, add the chicken and a few vegetables, and it will be good, I'm sure.

I was just emailed the electric bill for the little house I rent. It's almost $65! Too much considering I was there maybe three nights during that period but a neighbor was watching my cat and worried he'd get cold so she kept the heat on for him. Ehhh, $65 for a non-frozen cat is reasonable. Wink

Okay, off to separate the clothes, again....

Current food inventory and meals for the next week

December 31st, 2007 at 08:53 pm

Part of my pre-New Year activities is taking an inventory of the food on hand and planning meals. Between the weird work hours I have now and the steadily increasing food prices, meal planning is more important than ever. So here's my inventory and the meals for the next week.

In the freezer:

6 whole chickens
5 lbs ground beef
10 lb ground turkey
3.5 lb chuck roast
2 packages of Gorton's fish fillets (the grilled kind, 2 fillets in each package)
3 lb turkey ham
2 lb turkey bacon
several varieties of shredded cheese
20 lb whole tomatoes
green beans, lima beans
mustard greens, collard greens, and spinach
broccoli and cauliflower

In the refrigerator:

1/2 gallon of milk
butter and margarine
country bob's sauce
worcestershire sauce
salad dressing and mayonnaise
baby carrots
green onions
several kinds of cheese, shredded, sliced and block

In the cupboard:

numerous cans of the vegetables we eat
a few cans of fruit
black and green olives
marinated artichoke hearts
canned marinated mushrooms and plain mushrooms
chopped garlic
cream of whatever soups and the ingredients to make homemade versions
chili (which I prefer for chili corn chip pie)
brown, white, and wild rices
dried beans and peas
plenty of spices and condiments

I also have 5 avocadoes and 4 bananas

Tonight we ended up getting a smoked chicken from the local grocery deli. There's enough left to use later in the week so it will get eaten quickly.

Tomorrow I'm preparing the Gorton's fish fillets and black eyed peas. Not so much because it's New Year's Day as because I like that combination. Wink

The rest of the week we'll have, in no particular order:

Chicken & dressing casserole (made with the leftover chicken from tonight), tossed salad, and green beans

Leftover black eyed peas with tossed salad

Chili made with 1/2 lb ground turkey and Ranch Style Beans and served with tossed salad

Hamburger skillet dish (homemade) with broccoli and green beans

Super salads with several leaf lettuces, tomato, green onions, bean sprouts, and shredded cheese

Supper menus for the next week

October 8th, 2007 at 06:26 am

Tonight I'll have a homemade egg, turkey ham, and cheese sandwich on a reduced carb english muffin. Then, for the next week, I'll use food I have so I don't need to do more shopping. I'll have, in no particular order:

Chicken Fajitas with a side salad

Scrambled eggs with a thin slice of turkey ham and one slice of whole wheat toast

Roast beef hash served with green beans and spinach

Chef salad made with roast beef, chicken fajita meat, and turkey ham

Tuna salad rolled up in leaf lettuce and served with a salad

Veggie meal which will more than likely be steamed cabbage, carrots, green beans and spinach

Homemade beef and vegetable soup with a salad and a slice of buttered whole wheat bread

Those are all frugal meals and most will be planned overs or left overs. Yaay for 'used food'. Smile

Supper menus for the next two weeks

September 26th, 2007 at 08:24 pm

I'm stretching what I have to last through this month. Since I have Type 2 Diabetes, I try to keep the carbohydrate intake down and can't fill up on the inexpensive foods like pasta, beans, rice, and potatoes.

I have a 3 and 1/3 lb beef boneless rump roast I bought for $1.99 a lb and it's thawed and ready to go. I find that if I cook the entire roast it doesn't last very long as I'll eat it two or three times a day and snack on it, too.

So rather than cook the entire thing, I'll divide as follows: one third will be thinly sliced and used for pan frying or grilling and will be added to salads and other dishes, one third will be cut into chunks to use for soup, beef "tips", and the remaining third will be cooked as one piece with lots of carrot, potato, and onion. I should get at least 6 meals from that roast but may get 8 or more.

So, here's my basic dinner menu for the next two weeks in no particular order other than tonight's meal. I might change the meals slightly but this is the basic plan and I'll stick to it for the most part.

Wednesday - Thinly sliced boneless rump roast cooked on the George Foreman grill with a little olive oil and generously seasoned with fresh garlic and basil, served with steamed cauliflower.

***Note - I steamed the entire head tonight and thought I'd turned off the burner. I'd actually turned it to high and the pan scorched some but I think the cauliflower is fine. The house sure stinks, though! Have I mentioned how much I detest an electric oven/stove? If not, consider yourself told now. Smile***

Leftover great northern beans and tossed salad.

Tuna salad rolled in leaf lettuce, served with green beans and half a baked sweet potato.

Beef franks with chili, cheese, red bell pepper, and onions.

Sliced turkey ham cooked on the GF grill, scrambled eggs, and pumpernickel bread with butter.

Beef and cheese melt. I just recently had this at a friend's house and it was great! The overall effect is similar to Philly Cheesesteak, one of my favorite things to eat. We made it with beef labeled Carne Picada but I'm going to use thin strips of the boneless rump roast instead since that's what the beef looked and tasted like and that's what I have. Cook the beef with chopped onions and chopped green pepper. Add some garlic and other spices to taste. When the meat and veggies are cooked and tender, throw a handful or so of your choice of shredded cheese on top. Don't stir it - just cover it and let it sit until the cheese is melted. Spoon onto lightly toasted rolls or buns and enjoy! I'm going to add sliced mushrooms and eat it rolled up in a low carb tortilla with a salad on the side. I'll prepare a little extra to use later for beef quesadillas.

Chef salad with a crusty roll.

Oven baked chicken with tossed salad and half a baked sweet potato. I'll bake a whole chicken, de-bone what I don't eat and use it later.

Beef and vegetable soup with a crusty roll.

Beef and chicken quesadillas made with LC tortillas on the GF grill and served with tossed salad.

Poor Man's Steak, brussels sprouts, and pumpernickel bread with butter.

Beef tips and gravy over faux mashed potatoes and served with tossed salad.

Leftover Poor Man's Steak with leftover faux mashed potatoes.

This week's dinners

April 23rd, 2007 at 11:50 am

I don't normally think ahead about what to serve for breakfast or lunch. DH eats the same basic thing every morning and I rarely eat a thing before 11:30 AM or noon. When I do get hungry I either eat leftovers or whip up something quick for myself.

With those things in mind, here's this weeks night time meals in no particular order unless otherwise noted:

April 23rd - Beef and gravy (left over beef chuck roast cut into small pieces and simmered in mushroom gravy) over wild rice served with Normandy style vegetables and tossed salad that includes beet greens and green onions from the garden

Tuna salad sandwiches with chips and salsa

Egg pie with smoked beef sausage and green onions from the garden served with tossed salad and green beans

Stir fried beef over homemade noodles served with spinach and baked cabbage

You're on your own night where we eat leftovers, cereal, soup, or whatever else we can find

Veggie night where we'll have a huge salad with all kinds of vegetables and cheeses in it

Beans and hot water cornbread

This week's dinners

March 17th, 2007 at 11:31 pm

We have a fridge full of leftovers so Sunday night is YOYO night. In the fridge are leftover purple hull peas, hamburger steak, onions and mushrooms in brown gravy and plenty of vegetables. We also have two gallon size zipper bags of cornbread. So, we'll each have whatever appeals to us. Here are the rest of the week's meals in no particular order unless otherwise stated:

Monday night - Chicken and dressing made with whatever cornbread doesn't get eaten tonight and some canned chicken in the cupboard. With it we'll have a light gravy and leftover vegetables.

Spaghetti made with a sauce from one of those huge cans of tomatoes I dealt with recently. We'll have it with green beans, salad and garlic toast.

Soup made with ground beef, any leftover vegetables languishing in the fridge, more of that sauce in the freezer, and seasonings.

What my other half calls "big ass" salads meaning they have just about everything one can think of on them.

Sloppy joes with low carb tortillas, spinach and salad.

Scrambled eggs, turkey ham and toast.