Thursday, March 11, 2010

groceries, meals & things...

i think i've mentioned it before, and i'll say it again: meals are not my favorite responsiblity.

now i realize that in a world of lots & lots of terrible things, it's just a good thing that we are all healthy, we have a job & a roof over our heads and we're able to have good food to eat pretty much every day.

but i still hate the whole meal planning, food buying, meal preparing grind.

i will admit that i do plan out a menu each week, making it easier to shop & keeping me from last minute runs to the store (which i hate).

i'm also listing my menu each week over in the sidebar for anyone who might be a bit like me, trying to find some inspiration anywhere they can when it comes to meal planning.

my favorite sources for recipes have been (in the past) old recipes passed down from home & the old red & white better homes & gardens cookbook(circa 1961) , the good housekeeping illustrated cookbook & taste of home magazine.

today, i find myself turning to, tasty kitchen and (a current kick) the pioneer woman. i have found some other good sites too, especially for baking, but more on that later.

this week i made split pea soup. now i know what you're thinking.... yee-uuuck! well, think again. don't judge before you taste. seriously. back in the day before children, i used to make this for the two of us. we loved it. somewhere along the way, i stopped making it. but i've been on a serious, soup-once-a-week kick for months, so it was on the rotation. although the mere idea of pea soup was not appetizing to the guys, after tasting, they were in agreement: it's good stuff!

pure perfection, i am telling you. pure perfection.

{something about cooking with peppercorns & ham hocks. you just don't do it every day}

split pea & ham soup

1 ham bone or ham hocks with enough ham on them to make 1 1/2 c. of ham, approximately
16 oz. pkg. dry split peas
2 carrots, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
7 c. water
1/4 tsp. peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1-1 1/2 tsp. salt

in dutch oven over medium heat, heat ham bone, split peas, carrots, onion & water to boiling. tie peppercorns & bay leaf in piece of *cheesecloth, add to soup. reduce heat to low; cover & simmer 1 hour. discard bay leaf & peppercorns. add salt if needed. remove bone, cut off meat & discard bone. cut meat into bite-size chunks and return to soup for serving. makes 6 servings.

*i don't use the cheesecloth, i just throw the peppercorns & bay leaf in & pick them out before serving. it's a good idea to count your peppercorns, otherwise, you live dangerously!

so i say, give it a try - report back later!

something else i do to keep organized is making my grocery list out around the menu & other things we're out of. i have a big spreadsheet that lists in order of the aisles and has space for price comparisons between my favorite stores. i'm liking this more & more as i am working on a new budget. this helps me see just how much i would save by running to more than one place to pick up any number of items. i am not a fan of shopping at 3-4 places to get my groceries. (seems to defeat the purpose of saving money, to me)

so, while i do not look forward to the whole grocery/meal planning experience, it's a necessity of life.... better make the most of it!


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