Happy Monday everyone! Another week of menus and I've been trying to figure out what sounds yummy and easy to make. Hopefully this menu will fit the bill.
Tonight I'm making tacos. I have some soft flour tortillas that need to be used up and hamburger in my freezer. Plus I have all the extra trimmings in the fridge, the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and salsa.
For the rest of the week here is my plan...
I'm going to make my new favorite version of chicken noodle soup. Instead of noodles I use pot stickers that I buy frozen from Costco. I add a little soy sauce or Yoshidas sauce to the chicken broth to give it a yummy Asian twist. I'll serve a salad and crackers with this.
A couple weeks ago I found some rye bread on sale at Costco and grabbed the 2 loaf package and put it in the freezer. This week I'll get some corned beef or pastrami from the deli and some swiss cheese to make reubens. I'll serve coleslaw and chips on the side.
I did not get my pizza last week. To many other things happening and leftovers to finish up so I'm hoping this week we can have pizza. I've not had pizza since before my operation and I'm definitely craving it! :)
This week in "Friday in the Kitchen" I'm sharing my recent
grocery haul with you.
Now that my last child has left the nest cooking and grocery shopping are looking a lot different. As I mentioned on Monday's blog post it's taking me some time to adjust to how much food is enough. My brain still thinks big, the grocery needs are small.
An example of how small is milk. My hubby and I are not big milk drinkers. After a few times of tossing milk that had gone bad before we could use it up we've finally figured out that we only need a ½ gallon every couple weeks. I still laugh at the contrast of many years ago when all 8 kids were still at home and we went through a gallon a day. And even as my kids left home I still had teenagers and they could go through a lot of milk as well. So it's been a process of downsizing the groceries as well as teaching myself to think smaller, as in much smaller.
I thought I'd share this weeks grocery haul with you. Currently I have a lot of food in my freezer and each week I try and plan at least a couple meals using up my freezer food. Of course with my current situation that is even harder to do, but that's the goal. I've had to tell myself to stop buying sales and good deals that I don't need. 🙂
We shop at two stores for our groceries. One is Costco and the other is WinCo. WinCo is a bag your own grocery store with excellent prices for our area (the Pacific Northwest).
Here was the haul from Costco...
I purchased a bag of frozen skinless/boneless chicken thighs (good for quick easy meals), a bag of decaf coffee (hubby drinks half decaf and half regular), a bag of Kettle sea salt potato chips, 2 dozen eggs and 5 pounds of cheddar cheese. The cheese comes in 2- 2 ½ lb bags and I freeze one of them.
The total for this trip was about $60, but this included a package of my favorite Puma brand socks (which were $12.00)...
So all in all groceries were about $48
Here is what was purchased at WinCo...
Mostly it was fruit and veggies. I find if I buy my fruits and veggies from Costco we don't eat them up fast enough. My biggest goal is little to no food waste so we just try and buy what we need.
I still had lettuce and cabbage at home so all I needed was some salad veggies: the tomatoes, mushrooms and cucumber. I also bought an acorn squash and 2 large beets. Since I'm not eating a lot of fruit right now I got enough for hubby's work lunch, the apples, oranges and bananas.
It was time to buy another 1/2 gallon of milk and weekly we buy half-n-half for our coffee. We've tried buying the bigger size of half-n-half but find once we open it, it only lasts a couple weeks. So we buy what we need and know won't go bad.
Finally I picked up a few pantry items that needed restocking, olives, ketchup and canned milk. I buy the canned milk for those times when I'm baking or cooking something that needs milk and don't have enough.
Oh, I almost forgot.. the cookies! :) their bakery makes some yummy chocolate chip cookies. Nothing beats homemade but when you don't have the energy to make a sweet treat, these cookies do the trick.
The total for WinCo was $26
We still had a lot of items at home that did not need to be replaced this week such as bread, butter, oils, meat (other then chicken), salad dressing, tortillas for wraps, lunch meat and so forth.
Our grand total spent on groceries this week was about $75 ..
Wednesday Snap Shot will have a little different look for awhile. When I'm back up and running again, I'll return to the previous format.
Good morning/afternoon (depending on where you are at) . I hope your week is going well. My week has been good. I've had several good days and then a few days all I wanted to do is sleep.
Yesterday was a positive day for me. My hubby and I went shopping. We hit three stores, Costco, Winco (grocery store) and Walmart. I actually made it through all three stores. I'm loving the progress I'm making. I still wear my FitBit and challenge myself to walk a little more as often as I can. Yesterday was a record at a little over 5000 steps. One of these days I'll be back to my regular 10,000 steps a day.
We've had a few lovely spring like days so I took advantage of that and walked outside. Each time I again challenge myself to walk a little farther. I made it down my road a little ways and back up to my house.
Monday was my youngest sons birthday. I can't believe my baby is 20 now! Where do the years go? We went to see his new place and take him out for a bite to eat and catch up on his busy life.
Also got a recent picture of me and hubby.
Being able to get out and about is feel great.
The weather today is not so sunny. Mostly rainy which seems to be typical spring like weather in the PNW. That little white speck in my pond is my duck, Ping. He is not bothered at all with the rainy weather! 😉
My plans today are to do a couple loads of laundry and cook some dinner. I'm doing my pork chops today with some baked potatoes. Should be simple enough. And if there is a break in the rain I'll take a little walk and see how far I can go and rack up some steps.
Well that is all for this week's Wednesday Snap Shot! I hope you all are having a great week.
I'm struggling with how much to cook for two people. My youngest son always did a great job of eating up leftovers. Also my appetite is small right now and between that and swallowing issues (which are improving, but still difficult) I eat tiny portions and end up with to much food left. Last week the pork chops did not get made and we had the pulled pork for 3 nights. The new challenge is to figure out how much is enough. My brain still wants to cook for lots of people! 😃 Anyone else cooking for two find it a challenge?
On the plus side I find when I have to much I can freeze it into individual servings for use in my hubby's lunch.
Today is my youngest son's birthday so we're going to go and visit him and get a bite to eat with him to celebrate his day.
For the rest of the week here is my game plan...
Trying again with these. I plan to either bake or fry them and make gravy with the juices. I'll serve baked potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts on the side.
Pretty simple to make. French bread and a salad will round out the meal.
Pizza is sounding so good to me. I have not decided it I'll buy one already made, or a 'take and bake' pizza or make one. If I make one I'll buy my pizza dough already made. The grocery store I shop at has pizza dough ready to go. I've used it before and it's pretty good. I'll make a salad as well to go with this meal.
I'm not sure what Menu Monday will be looking like over the next several weeks. Mostly because of my eating restrictions and the fact that my daughter Emily came up from Sacramento and spent a week with me in the middle of February and while she was here she cooked up several meals and put them into individual servings in the freezer. These are the meals that my hubby has been eating. I've cooked a couple of times so far but my energy is returning and I'd like to see if I can do a little more in the kitchen.
Some of my kitchen endeavors are going to be super simple. Tonight's dinner is an example of that. I have orange chicken and pot stickers from Costco in the freezer. That is easy to cook up and hubby is in charge of salad making. So we'll have that for dinner. I know I can eat the pot stickers and I'll see how I do on the chicken. I've also been able to have basic salads (no hard or crunchy type veggies in it) as long as there is dressing to soften up the lettuce.
My thoughts for the rest of the week...
I have a small package of pork chops in the freezer and am going to figure out a good way to cook them. I want to also serve potatoes and some roasted veggies with this.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
My daughter made the pulled pork while she was here and put a couple containers of it in the freezer. I'll pick up some coleslaw and we'll have sandwiches. Hubby can have potato chips on the side with his.
Skillet Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese
I found THIS recipe online and it met my criteria.. easy to make, and something soft enough for me to eat. I'll serve a salad or cooked broccoli on the side. If I have leftovers I'll freeze them for my hubby to take to work.
I want to thank each of you who have left me comments of well wishes, prayers, and offers to help me. Healing has been about all I've had energy to deal with and have not been able to get back and reply. Hopefully over the next few days I can do this.
I've had several people ask me how I'm doing in my recovery. I wanted to give you a little more of the details and an update.
This honestly has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to walk through. Recovery has been long and difficult. It has left me feeling exhausted most of the time. However I do seem to be turning a corner now and that has been so nice.
It has been 6 weeks now since my surgery. My main surgery, the one for my hiatal hernia (Nissan w/Fundoplication is the official name of it) has healed very well. I'm thrilled with the results of this. I don't have any more heartburn or acid reflux and no longer need to take any medications for this. I sleep better then I have in years due to not getting woke up countless times during the night because of the heartburn or acid reflux. I don't regret having this surgery.
I do regret the way it ended. After the surgery had been completed they sent a scope down my throat to make sure my esophagus was open and ended up ripping a 4 inch gash in my esophagus. This resulted in 6 days in ICU, intubation, chest tube, and much more. Thankfully I was heavily sedated as the few times I did come conscious were pretty horrific. Afterwards it left me barely able to walk (you loose body strength the longer you are not using your muscles. My nurses told me it can be 50% of your body strength after just 5 days) and completely unable to drink or eat anything by mouth. They put a stomach feeding tube in me and for the first 4 weeks that was my sole source of getting food, water and medications.
After I got home I still needed a lot of care. My wonderful, loving husband was my caretaker. He took 4 weeks off of work to be able to help me with the feedings, medications and regaining strength. I had weekly visits with a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist and nurse, as well as follow up visits with various doctors.
As of now I'm down to just the speech pathologist and nurse. I'm up and doing more and my strength has slowly started coming back. I'm able to take care of myself and do a few basic simple household chores. Just being able to do those things is huge from where I started.
My main issue now is my throat continuing to heal and regaining the complete ability to swallow. Swallowing is something we take for granted but I've had to basically relearn how to do this and force my muscles to do what they should naturally do. I'm at the point I can eat and swallow softer type foods such as eggs, ground beef, cooked veggies, soft cooked chicken and so forth. I usually need to have water to help it all go down smoothly. I've made enough progress in my eating and drinking that the doctor was able to remove my feeding on Tuesday. It's still a lot of work for me to swallow and eat. It takes a lot of concentration. And I still have little to no appetite. I've lost 15 pounds in the process and while weight loss is not something I mind, there is a good way to lose and not so good way. For now I try and concentrate of foods that are the most calorie and nutritionally dense and I'm eating more then I was a week ago and the weight loss has slowed down.
Today was probably the first day I felt like I had the energy to sit down and write a post. I'm praying that each day and each week that goes by my strength will continue to improve and my throat will continue to heal. I look forward to my life going back to normal again.
I was going to try and reply to everyone that left me heartfelt comments on my “Update” post. My energy level is limited so I decided to let you know here instead.
Thank you, thank you for your prayers, concerns and positive thoughts. It means so much to me.
I'm doing a little better each day. I have a couple follow up appointments with my doctors this week and I'll see where I'm at according to them. Right now my biggest desire is to get to the point where I can swallow liquids again. Swallowing is a labor for me as my throat is healing. They told me it would take time for the swelling to go down and things to stabilize. I can swallow soft liquids, such as smoothies or nectar and some soft foods such as applesauce and mashed potatoes but in very small amounts. Not enough to sustain me or keep me hydrated. They sent me home with a feeding tube where I'm getting the calories and water needed to heal and recover. I'm praying that I will have healed enough to have the tube removed later this week or next week.
I wanted to share this picture with you. I've not had all 5 of my daughters together at the same time in about 6 or 7 years. When I was in the hospital all my children came. The California daughters and my oldest daughter who lives in Kentucky came to be by my side. My best friend who is like a sister to me also was there and took this picture of my girls..
Once again thank you for the prayers! I'm so grateful for all the prayers and kindness from you all.
I finally have a little bit of energy to be able to update you all. As many of you know in mid January I went in for surgery on my hiatal hernia. The surgery went as was planned up until the very end. I'm not going to go into all the details but a very bad mistake was made by one of the surgeons resulting in a tear in my esophagus. It required emergency surgery to fix this and I was intubated and sedated and in ICU for 5 nights. I spent another 3 or 4 days in the hospital and then was able to come home. Because I have wonderful support they could let me go home that soon.
I've been home a week now and it was a rough week. So many adjustments to make and strength to regain. Amazing how quickly and easily we lose our body strength when we don't use any of our body for 5 days. I have weekly and twice weekly visits from a registered nurse, physical therapy, occupational therapy and a speech pathologist. This has literally turned my life upside down.
I know I will recover in time. As the nurse said to me, “We're not talking days or weeks but most likely months until full recovery”.
My desire is to get back to as much of my normal life as possible, as quickly as I can but I honestly don't know what that looks like or how long it will take. But blogging is on the top of my list of enjoyable life pursuits. I know I'll be back here posting regularly again very soon.
Since I'm still in recovery mode this Monday morning and don't have a menu I thought I'd share a few recipes that I compiled from this blog to give you some ideas for your menu this week!
Cheddar Bacon Chicken Bake
Easy, delicious and quick to make.... who could ask for more from a meal?
I used about 3lbs of chicken breasts divided into 2 9x13 pans. This recipe could be cut in half very easily.
3lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (thighs would work as well) 1 cup ranch dressing, divided 1lb bacon, cooked and crumbled 4 cups grated cheddar cheese, approx
Cut up chicken into bite size pieces. Divide between 2 9x13 pans. Drizzle ½ cup ranch dressing over each pan of chicken. Divide cook and crumbled bacon and spread half of it over each pan of chicken. Top with cheese. The recipe gives and approximate amount of cheese. You can top it with more or less depending on your tastes.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes (or until chicken is cooked completely). Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes to brown cheese.
I served this chicken with tater tots. But it could be served with rice or mashed potatoes or pasta. Whatever suits your taste. I also served a salad with it...
Sweet Potato Bacon Soup
I've made this soup a few times now. It is easy and so good. It's a lot like potato soup but with a twist... sweet potatoes or yams. I've done it with both. And it is good no matter what. In the pic below I did add few red pepper pieces when I cooked the onion. I had some to use up in the fridge. The soup is versatile.
Sweet Potato Bacon Soup
4#'s sweet potatoes, peeled, and cubed 1# bacon 1 onion, chopped 1 cup whole cream (approx.. could have been a bit more as I just dumped it in) 1t granulated garlic Salt and pepper to taste
Put the sweet potatoes in a soup pot, cover with water, let cook until they are soft. While that is cooking.. cut up the bacon and onion and fry them until the bacon is crisp.
When the sweet potatoes are done cooking, pour off the almost all of the water (save it!). Add the bacon and onions, the cream and garlic.
Add enough of the reserved cooking water to make it a nice soup consistency. It does thicken up by the next day. You could either add more cooking water (if you save it) or a little more cream.
Add salt and pepper to taste..
Very easy!! And good!! :D
Creamy Burrito Casserole
1lb hamburger ½ a medium size onion, chopped 2 to 3 T taco seasoning 1 can refried beans 1 can cream of mushroom soup ½ cup sour cream 6 large size tortillas 3 to 4 cups of grated cheddar cheese
In a large frying pan cook hamburger with onions until hamburger is no longer pink. Add taco seasonings and refried beans. Stir well to combine.
In a small bowl combing cream of mushroom soup and sour cream.
Cut or tear tortillas into strips.
In a 9x13 pan spread half the soup/sour cream mixture. Top with half the hamburger mix, half the cheese. Repeat layers.
Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until cheese is melted and all is hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips and a salad.. and enjoy!!
Crockpot BBQ Kielbasa (you can adjust the size of this recipe easily to work for your family)
3lbs kielbasa (I actually used chicken sausage from Costco. The brand was Aidells) 1 onion, sliced 5 or 6 large mushrooms, sliced 1 bottle (more or less) bbq sauce (the size is not that important as the main goal is just to cover the sausages & veggies with it. I used about 2 or 3 cups)
Put kielbasa, onions, and mushrooms in crockpot. Cover with sauce and stir. Put lid on. Cook on low for about 3 to 4 hours. I served this with rice and coleslaw.
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