Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bread, Broth, and a Menu

It's become a tradition on Sundays to bake bread. We've been pinching pennies for several months to get our budget back in order and as much as I love Udi's... it's too expensive right now. So I pulled out the old bread machine and started cracking out a loaf on Sundays. We use it basically for sandwiches one night a week and sometimes as toast in the morning. I realize those of you who follow this blog are wondering why in the world I'm eating sandwiches when I'm supposed to be following a paleo diet.

Balance... I've realized it's very hard for me to follow an extremely strict diet for the long term. It tends to set me up for failure to say I'm not going to eat an entire food group forever and then when it happens that I eat carbs, I go WAY overboard. It works well for me short term, but not long term. So right now, we're just focusing on balance and healthy choices. I don't eat carbs at every meal, and when I do eat them, I eat small portion and get on with my life. So no need to get all tangled up in paleo politics and food judgement.

This bread is Elizabeth Barbone's recipe. I make it dairy-free by using blanched almond flour in place of the dry milk powder and it works beautifully. I make the loaf in our old "Breadman" bread machine on the quick setting and it takes about 75 minutes total. We let the bread cool completely and then I slice it and freeze it. We get about 14 slices from this loaf.

With a tight budget comes ways we can stretch our food dollar. I realized last week I had a small center cut of a beef shank in the freezer. The entire package was less than a pound which included the big shank bone in the center. I asked friends on facebook what in the world to do with such a small cut of beef and many suggested making a soup stock.

This led me to remember my grandmother making "stew beef" (which is different than beef stew... basically an even more frugal version of the stew!) So I looked around and found this recipe which intrigued me. This sounded a lot like the dish my grandmother used to make. I recalculated the recipe to make the dish with only 1 pound of beef and I made my own homemade version of onion soup mix since I didn't have any.

I put the beef, onions, water, and homemade onion soup mix in the slow cooker over night. It worked great! It made just enough for about 3 servings (the pared down version) and the next day I served the broth with Cappello's grain-free, gluten-free gnocchi they had sent me for a review. It was a really delicious combination. I'll definitely make this again!

My boys: from bottom to top - Charlie, Whiskey Jack, and Max

Because we're on such a strict budget right now, I decided to go ahead and make up a menu for the rest of the month using what we have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. So here's what we're having. The best thing about menus like this is that it basically gives you ideas for what you have in your pantry for the next few weeks. You can re-arrange and change the menus to whatever days work best for you. I also based this menu heavily off my ideas for a "yearly" menu that I shared a few weeks ago.

The (remainder of this) MONTH'S Menu!

  • Monday Jan 20 - Cheryl's celery in chestnut sauce (as a soup) with leftover turkey
  • Tuesday Jan 21- Roast chicken (from slow cooker cookbook!), baked sweet potatoes, sauteed zucchini
  • Wednesday Jan 22- ground beef taco salads with tomatoes, lettuce, avocados
  • Thursday Jan 23 - deli turkey and bacon sandwiches with sliced apples
  • Friday Jan 24 - pan-seared pork chops with sauteed peppers & mushrooms, served with quinoa or rice OR LEFTOVERS 
  • Saturday Jan 25 - homemade pizza, using Luce's gluten-free buckwheat artisan bread as the crust
  • Sunday Jan 26 - FAMILY MEAL: spiral ham (from the freezer), green beans, sweet potatoes, sauteed kale, deviled eggs
  • Monday Jan 27 - LEFTOVERS or venison (no - tomatoes) chili (we leave out the tomatoes as I'm sensitive to them in large quantities) 
  • Tuesday Jan 28 - black-eyed peas with leftover ham soup in slow cooker cookbook (will add kale or swiss chard to soup as well)
  • Wednesday Jan 29 - breakfast for dinner: bacon, eggs, grits or pancakes, fresh fruit
  • Thursday Jan 30 - nomato sauce  over almond flour pasta with a salad
  • Friday Jan 31 - deli turkey and bacon sandwiches with sliced apples or LEFTOVERS
  • Saturday FEB 1 - FAMILY MEAL: bunless gluten-free hotdogs with homemade baked beans and broccoli salad
  • ALL LUNCHES: leftovers, always make sure to have enough for the next day
  • ALL BREAKFASTS: scrambled eggs and sausage, oatmeal with pecans and pumpkin seeds (premade, just take to work), turkey bacon and almond flour pancakes

My oldest girl: Mollie, don't mess with this chick!

Max with my other girl: Maya... they are snuggle buddies! 

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  1. Love the idea of that gnocchi! I've never heard of that brand before. And now I want celery and chestnut soup! It's freezing here so it would be perfect, but I'm out of celery.

    1. Hey Cheryl! I really love the grain-free, gluten-free pasta by Cappellos! I like it more than regular "gluten-free" pastas actually! However michael still prefers the other types of pasta like Tinkyada. I will say though, that I am not a big fan of the Cappellos chocolate chips strangely enough, it has a LOT of coconut oil in it, and it tastes very coconut-oily to me! I do love Elana's chocolate chip cookies with almond flour, but not the cappellos for some strange reason...

  2. So many good ideas Carrie. Shopping my freezer and pantry and getting creative with what is already here is always a good way to extend the budget, in fact I just pulled out a roast from our freezer to put in the slow cooker tomorrow. I'll check your wonderful book for a recipe. I also love the way you've decided to use Luce's bread as pizza crust! I haven't tried it as anything other than bread yet. And celery and chestnut soup sounds yummy on this cold day, Cheryl.

  3. I had a hard time going gluten free and when I went 100% (without cheating) after 6 months I noticed that I don't crave wheat anymore at all. The hard part was what else to eat because I am not a savy cook. Having hormonal switches pull me in the directions of eating carbs it seems, but glad I am not craving the gluten anymore. I doubt if I could go 100% paleo though.

  4. Loved your idea! Thank you for sharing your recipes and menu. It's very helpful.