A cold front rolled in this weekend, and with it came rain that began Saturday afternoon and has fallen steadily through Sunday morning. The forecast calls for another inch of rain by night fall, which is fine by us. Rain and fog make for yucky driving conditions on the mountain so it's the perfect excuse to stay home with the fire roaring and binge on season 3 of Orange Is the New Black.
We put our housebound status to good use yesterday; Hubby assembled our new Norditrack elliptical machine in the upstairs loft, while I worked on creating a Meal Binder. I came across the idea on Little House Living, a homesteading blog that I follow, and thought it would be a great resource to help better plan dinners and, subsequently, better budget our grocery expenditures each week.
I'll be reentering the workforce in July so Hubby will become, as he puts it, Mr. Mom. He works from home and I'll be commuting to an office each day, so he'll be preparing most of our dinners from here on out. He's a good cook and really great with the grill, but meal planning and grocery shopping are my forte. So to make his life easier, I'm working on creating this Meal Binder for him that is full of our favorite recipes.
It's broken up into four sections - poultry, beef, pork and side dishes. Each week I'll choose five recipes and do one big food shop for the ingredients. I'll flag the recipes in the binder so that he knows which ones we have ingredients on hand for. All he has to do is decide which one he's in the mood to cook each evening. And then he needs to cook it. And I can come home to my little family and a yummy dinner and life will be grand. Well, maybe not so grand for him since he's the one cooking. Agree to disagree on that one.
The idea/hope/goal is that this process will a) give us a ballpark budget of what groceries should cost each week when we properly meal plan; b) deter us from ordering take-out, something which we do too often; and c) ensure that I'm not stopping at the grocery store on my way home from work each day, something I've done in the past that drove me insane. And I don't want to be insane.
I'm considering adding a breakfast section since I have a lot of quiche, frittata and pastry recipes that we eat on a quasi-regular basis. This week I baked a batch of strawberry oatmeal bars and we've been eating them in the mornings with our coffee and as snacks throughout the day. So much better than spending $4 on coffee and a bagel at Tim Horton's every single morning. Okay, Hubby won't agree with me on that one. Agree to disagree.
Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
1 & 1/2 cup oats (can be quick or old-fashioned)
1 & 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 & 1/2 stick cold butter, diced into pieces
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
12-ounce jar of strawberry preserves (you can use any flavor of preserves but I think strawberry is great for summertime)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add the butter and cut it in with a pastry cutter (or your hands but this will require a bit of elbow grease) until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle half the mixture into the pan and pat lightly to pack it. Spoon the preserves over the packed mixture and spread evenly and gently using a butter knife. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the layer of preserves and pat lightly again to pack.
Bake until light golden brown (30 to 40 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool in pan. Once fully cool, cut into squares and enjoy.
Welcome! I'm a pie-baking, dog-loving, antique-hunting patriot. I'm a fan of rustic home cooking, the Yankees and scenic drives through the mountains.