Cheap and Chicken

I know that this post has the potential to be the most boring thing, EVER, however… I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom so things like learning on youtube and being frugal and cooking generally appeal. For that reason, I have to share this!

Yesterday I was at the local Publix (which I am usually NOT a fan of, though everyone I know LOVES them… but that’s another post), and I was trolling around in my nearly-pjs at 7:00 am on a Sunday looking for something to cook for lunch after church and came up with…chicken. Grilled. Then I got crazy and decided on “chicken and fixins” (bbq  chicken breasts with ham and monetary jack cheese melted on it). I headed over to the chicken section and saw that the bone-in with rib meat chicken was on sale for $1.99/# and boneless was over $4/pound, even more for tenders or the thin cut.

So I bought the bone in.

Now, I often buy the bone in, but I usually use it for instant pot cooking. I thought each breast was WAY too huge to consider grilling, so I decided (you know…because it was still early in the day and I was feeling very awake…), that I would learn to debone the chicken breast. From there we could just grill them in a reasonable amount of time. When I got home I looked up “deboning a chicken breast” on youtube and found the following video:

I pulled it up on my phone and grabbed a knife and got to work.

When the 5 minute video was over I had 2 of 4 breasts done. I finished the other two and then split up the breasts to make them a more reasonable portion and threw them in the fridge. I bagged up the bones (chucked the skin) and then cooked those up this morning in a stock project (with all the junk veg from my fridge). All done, this was what was left (other than the skin):

I will call this project a HUGE success. I will definitely buy the bone in again, even if I don’t make stock from the bones. It was SUPER easy and really, really much cheaper than the boneless. The video was great and I will be looking into more of his cooking videos in the future. I was concerned that with the bones and skin it would be a lot of waste and I’d be breaking even compared to buying the boneless, but there really wasn’t that much waste, and I am by no means a knife expert! I highly recommend trying it out. Next time I might get nerdy and weigh stuff out. Once again, I love youtube and all the neat stuff you can learn with a tiny bit of effort.
Have you ever deboned a chicken before? Chicken breasts? What do you think?

5 Things

I’ve been reading all these blogs where people are sharing five things that they’re loving this week so I decided I would join in!

1.Alexa

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I received this is a birthday gift and when I’m able to pry it out of the hands of the two teenagers in the house, it’s absolutely amazing! You can talk to it and have it give sports updates, play Pandora, adjust my calendar, set alarms… It’s just absolutely fabulous, and the sound quality is awesome.

2. Spring Weather.

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Low 80s. Low humidity. Low pollen. It’s rare those collide here so we’re soaking in as much as humanly possible!

3. Summer Jobs

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I’ll wrote more about this in a whole post, but I’m LOVING the kids running their lawn service. It’s great. So many lessons. So much good about it.

4. Surprises.

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This morning I came home from my walk to this. It was so delicious and we were so stuffed we ate lunch at 2. Another surprise? A dear friend came by unexpectedly with her toddler. Another friend received good news and we got to celebrate. It’s a good day!!!

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5. Tony Chocoloney.

I love you. Salted caramel. Real chocolate. Amsterdam I miss you.

How about you? What’s blessing you this week?

The Smoothie Secret

As part of this whole foods 100 Days of Real Food challenge, we have to eat 2 fruits and/or vegetables with every meal. For breakfast the easiest way for me to do this is with a smoothie. I made it the first couple of days with blueberries, fresh pineapple and almond milk. Then the pineapple ran out. I had fairly sour smoothies for a couple of days when I decided to throw some grapes into the Ninja.

Seriously.

Yes, pineapple is better tasting but WOW grapes sweetened up the whole smoothie. It was like ice cream.

Seriously.

I threw all the grapes we had into a zip lock and into the freezer before they went bad. From there I’ve been sticking a few (5-6?) in with my fruit and almond milk and it’s perfect. Fruity. Sweet. Not bitter. Today I even added unsweetened homemade yogurt and the grapes stood up to that!

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Who knew? GRAPES!!!

Have you tried grapes in a smoothie before?

Whole Foods – Week 1

We’re still on the plan. Mostly. Honestly, we’re working hard to follow the 100 Days of Real Food plan, even as we taper in with the 14 week mini course.

Here’s our week in review from Week 1:

Friday- Unplanned road trip. Healthy breakfast at home. Lunch, while shockingly salty, on plan at Tazakis. Dinner was pizza. I think they use some local tomatoes.

Saturday – Healthy breakfast. Lots of chips. “Healthy” chips. But, way too many. Chocolate. Junk. Not as much as usual, but still.

Sunday – Healthy breakfast. Healthy lunch at a local Kabob place. Yums. Pizza for dinner. Nothing local. After 5 hours of driving we were all beat and starving. I need to meal plan better.

Monday through Wednesday – Pretty solid on plan. Lots of baking. Lots of cooking. Lots of salads. Lots of smoothies. I need to find my mojo.

Thursday –  I didn’t eat 100% plan. A friend is retired from the Air Force so we went out for lunch. There really were NO healthy options. None. So I winged it and did the best I could. Light oil on my kung po chicken. Ate mostly veg. Only ate half the rice. Which was white, but better than fried. Then there was pizza (seriously – the third time this week).

I was starving after lunch. DS and I had a binge…

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Some new things I learned this week:

  • Planning is pretty key. I had a lot of good food from a Costco run, so as long as we were home, we were good.
  • Ruthless cleaning out of junk in my house has been SO AMAZINGLY helpful. I think I would have broken if we had anything “yummy” in the house.
  • I think I’m mostly through the sugar cravings. We’ve baked some (a couple recipes to follow) but we seriously cut sugar in the recipes. It still tastes sweet (and I am a JUNKIE for sugar).
  • I am sick of pizza. I even made some from scratch Friday. Ick.
  • We’re also working on portion control and I’m seeing that it’s working. We ate fewer potatoes this week than we normally would.
  • Eating fruit or a salad before we eat dinner (we’ve introduced a “YOU MUST EAT THE FRUIT OR VEG BEFORE THE MEAL” rule) fills you up with good stuff so you eat less. Really. It works. (Yeah, I realize that I sound like an idiot.)

 

A couple of recipes I tried:

Easy Cheesy Crackers – Delicious. Kind of heavy. I’ll make them again.

Homemade Wheat Thins – 100% do over. Delicious. I’ll use hard wheat next time.

 

A couple of recipes I tweaked to make me happy (and that I now LOVE):

 

Banana Bread:

  • Cream together:
    • 1/4 c. butter
    • 1/2 c. sucanat (if you like banana – you could go to 1/3 c.)
  • Add and cream:
    • 2-3 ripe bananas
    • 1/2 c. full fat sour cream
    • 2 eggs
  • Stir in:
    • 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour (soft white)
    • 1 t. baking powder
    • 3/4 t. baking soda
    • 1/2 t. salt
    • 1 t. cinnamon
  • Lastly, add:
    • 1/2 c. pecans (toasted is yummier)
  • Bake at 350. For bread – 45-55 min; for muffins 15-18 min.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • Cream together:
    • 1 c. butter
    • 2/3 c. sucanat
  • Add and cream:
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 t. vanilla
  • Stir in:
    • 2 3/4 c. whole wheat flour (soft white)
    • 1/2 c. oatmeal
    • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
    • 1 t. baking soda
    • 1 t. salt
  • Lastly, add:
    • 1 1/2 c. bling.
      • For “bling” I recommend chocolate chips, white chips, dried cranberries, toasted nuts. I would not use more than 1 c. chips to keep the sugar down.
  • Bake at 350. 9 min.

 

Things I’ll be working on next week:

  • Improving variety.
  • Working on meal planning still. I did pretty well this week. We used leftovers effectively. I need to keep that up.
  • Reduce waste. That’s huge for me. Eating this way is expensive and I need to keep a lid on it.

So that’s Week 1. Our mini goal was “2 Fruit and Veg with every meal”. We hit it most meals. We also hit about 95% of the other mini goals. On to Week 2!!

First Step… 2016

I did it.

I committed the $28. $2/week. 14 weeks.

I’m doing the14 week Real Food Mini Pledge course on 100 Days of Real Food blog. There are videos, emails, handouts, etc. $2/week. My cutting out Starbucks will cover that. LOL!!

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I’m super excited.

Tomorrow I clean out the pantry.

And fridge.

Then I get ready for this…

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I’m so ready.

And I’ll bet my amazingly awesome, fabulous, BEST ever husband will be psyched too. (Yeah, he reads the blog! 🙂 )

Anyone else working on goals and plans for 2016 yet?

Childhood Favorite

Well, minus the coffee! LOL!!

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When I was growing up (back near Boston) we used to have donuts and coffee after church each week. There were 2 services, so I guess it was a way to bridge the two groups. My parents were on the rotation to pick up the donuts – at Dunkin – of course! They picked up 12 dozen donuts at a shot. Most of the donuts were straight dozens, but we’d get to pick one. And without fail, my favorites were the cream filled and chocolate glazed.

Since childhood they’ve “updated” (ruined!) the chocolate glazed, but the cream are still amazing. Honestly, I can only eat one about every two years, and that’s usually just picking at them and eventually eating one full donut. But it’s a yummy, nostalgic donut.

I recently had my biannual donut. (The nearest Dunkin is 90 minutes away.) It was great. They’re even better with an iced coffee, two creams, no sugar. Much better than the orange juice of my youth!

I’m coming back!!

I’ve been a terrible blogger. I took a break. A rest. It was good.

But I’m back!!

Soon I’ll be sharing… about travel… and homeschooling… and stuff. Lots of stuff.

Today, oil change, crafts, gift making, church ladies’ Night. Big day.

But you know, it’s the little stuff. Today I got my ipsy.com bag in the mail just before sitting for an oil change. AND my beautybox five box. How fun!! What a treat.

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So during this busy day, I’m chilling. Blogging. Wearing cute new lip gloss from ipsy.

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Fun times!!! Thank you, Lord, for this little break!!