Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Uh Oh! I forgot my menu! What Penny has been up to lately...

My apologies to all of you who look forward to Menu Mondays...I do have an excuse and it's not the best, but it's the truth.  I'd been bitten by inspiration on Sunday while reading "The Simple Dollar".  There the author had posted the picture he was using as his wallpaper that week: Van Gogh's Sunflowers  which was a study in yellows and ochres, almost a monochromatic color scheme.  I didn't know until this morning that the version featured as the wallpaper was actually the FOURTH version Van Gogh did of this particular painting. 

As said, when I saw the painting, I immediately had a vision of the picture in a variety of strong, bright colors and determined that it was a paper craft project I would enjoy doing with some of the scrap papers I'd recently purchased.  When I went to pull out those colors Sunday evening I laid aside a variety of greens and browns and had a second vision of yet another version.  That was the color wave I worked with on Monday, though I still have the bright hot colors ready to work with later this week.  Interestingly enough, this color wave is similar to one of the first versions that Van Gogh did. 

So Monday morning I worked very hard and very fast, determined to have time to do my own example of the picture.  Here is my particular viewpoint next to a black and white copy of the original.
I thought I had covered all my work bases and went right to work.  I'll confess, I kept having a feeling I'd forgotten something, but couldn't imagine what it was.  It wasn't until this morning  as I began prepping for our dinner, that I realized I'd forgotten to make out menus!

Saturday I visited the antiques mall as I've already shared.  I thought you might like to see my cake carrier.  It has a series of inverted lines that allow the carrier to lock and it is quite secure when in the locked position.  You can see a portion of my little countertop that I call "The Baking Center".  I dearly love this area.  Manuela mentioned she'd recently moved her Kitchen Aid mixer to a rolling cart so that she could move it to the area where she used it, while leaving counter space free.  My own mixes is to the left in this photo and is permanently plugged in.  In the past it sat on the opposite side of the kitchen and was in a deep corner of unusable space.  It stayed plugged in there too, but I had to pull it out of that corner in order to use it. 

The baking items seldom found room to be set out on that particular counter and it was all just wasted steps and time.  I have the baking supplies in the cabinets above this countertop, as well as sugars and flour in the
old canisters I bought last year.  I lined those canisters with appropriately sized plastic bags because I just didn't want my foodstuffs next to the old metal.

Yesterday was grocery day, a regular Big Shop.  While my list of needs was short, I thought it a good time to stock up on sales items that were well priced:  like craisins, salt, salad dressings and a few items that were needed but not on sale: mostly spices and seasonings.  It proved to be an awfully long day.  I left here and went by to do some banking, stopped at CVS to purchase the craisins, laundry detergent and granola bars that were on sale and discovered the very good price on their store brand bathroom tissue, also an item on my list. 

From there to a different bank to tend to business, then to Walmart.  I don't normally go into Walmart, only because I find the variety of items tempts me too much, especially when I must stick tight to my budget.  I won't go in at all if I feel I am weak to resist, but I felt relatively capable yesterday and must say I did very well. 

Susan's birthday is this weekend and in conversation she'd stated an early wish list for Christmas 2011: a Georgia Bulldogs hoodie and a bottle of cane syrup.  Well I'd recently bought the bottle of cane syrup for her (we only use Roddenberry's here and always have.  Granny told us it was the best years ago and we've found it to be truth.) when I picked up one for myself.  And it seemed to me that a hoodie wasn't such a high priced item I mightn't be able to afford it NOW. Our Walmart has a wide variety of Bulldog items.  I checked with Alan about sizes and so there I was yesterday in Walmart, attending to both Susan's birthday, our pharmacy needs, and looking for items for a Red Swap with a friend.  I knew my budget for the birthday gift and the swap items and my grocery budget, so no great fear of temptation making me overspend yesterday as all were stringent.

I found a hoodie in the exact size I needed and it was the ONLY one there!  None in any other sizes at all.  I couldn't believe my luck...and then I discovered there was NO price tag on it.  I went to a manager and asked how I'd get a price and she questioned me about what other items were in the area.  I explained there were no more of this particular brand or style.  A thin zippered type by another company was marked $22.  "Well then, we'll just charge you $22.  Go on to the register and tell them M. said the price was $22."  I felt so blessed to get that hoodie for that amount.  I'd really thought it might cost as much as $40 and was prepared to take the remainder of the cost above the birthday fund from my personal allowance.  Susan seldom asks for anything specific for herself and I wanted very much to please her.

By the time I left Walmart I'd already been out for 3 hours.  Chance called to remind me to get something to eat.  He didn't have to convince me to go eat either, because I'd skipped breakfast yesterday morning...I just plain forgotten to eat.

So a quick takeout lunch.  I opted for the Taco Bell Quad Steak Burrito.  It wasn't the best meal I've had, but it wasn't bad and I liked that it had a nice mix of carbs/protein to keep my blood sugar levels balanced. 

Then I got busy with the grocery shopping proper.  That took me roughly another 3 hours.  I stood in the parking lot at the last grocery and packaged up Susan's birthday stuff and the children's coloring books, etc, plus my Swap items so that I could stop by the post office on my way home.  Stopped off to pay a couple of bills and did the post office thing and came home.  Trudy loves to 'guard' the groceries (not that Maddie or Misu ever bothers them, but this is her job as she sees it) and did her duty very well while I unloaded the car and carried things in.  Then she came in the back door for her reward.

I didn't quite finish putting groceries away.  I was just plain tired.  This is the second time I've put off putting away all but the cold items.  I don't want to make it a habit but I just wanted three things: to change into my warm robe and slippers, put my feet up and have a cup of coffee.  Instead, I pushed ahead and fed the pets and made coffee, changed clothes, prepared a light supper and talked with Kay.  Kay's husband shipped out for Afghanistan yesterday evening and my girlie was upset.  I talked to both of them before he left, just as Chance and I spoke with them both Monday evening.  It was an emotional conversation and Kay's original intent was to come home last night.  I talked as long as they could speak to me and THEN I sat down and put my feet up and had my supper and coffee and I didn't move until I heard Chance's car come up the driveway two hours later.

And that is why I forgot all about the menu plan you see...I was just distracted by other things.

We slept in this morning (almost 8am when we rose!), then I prepared a big breakfast of Blueberry muffins, grits and cheese eggs.  After breakfast we did Bible reading and I read email.  Chance went off to practice music for worship this weekend and I got up and got busy putting away those groceries, emptying the dishwasher and dishdrainer, empting the sink of the dirty dishes, and other general household duties. 

Each week before I go shopping, I ask Chance, if there is anything special he'd like to have.  This week his reply was "Chili Mac."  I had all on hand needed to make that meal though I did find Chili-O seasoning yesterday, something else that man of mine really likes and when I do find it in stores I generally buy a packet.  I can't say I find $.99 too much to spend to please my husband, though I might trim the budget many ways.  Chili-mac is pretty much a pantry/freezer meal and a wonderful budget stretcher.  I might have made half as much for our needs, but went ahead with the full recipe (1 pound ground beef, 1 can each of tomatoes and kidney beans, 1 packet Chili-O mix, 3 cups uncooked macaroni) since I wasn't sure what time Kay might arrive.  I put the remainder of the Chili-Mac in the fridge for a meal  this weekend.

That's a picture of my 'pantry' meal as I call it.  Chili Mac with a Pineapple Salad as side dish.  .  I served the Chili Mac with an offering of toppings: freshly chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese and oyster crackers.  Really this isn't that much different from Cincinatti Chili  which features  chili topped spaghetti with the same choice of toppings.  I might have extended the meal a bit further by adding in a pan of cornbread, but I didn't feel we needed it.

Please ignore my messy looking counter. I hadn't refilled the bottles with water to put in the fridge for Chance.  This is a very small bit of counterspace between sink and stove and at that moment was rather crowded

Kay called a bit ago and said that due to car troubles and still more snow, she's staying put in the apartment and will come down at a later date.  We didn't mind her coming down but were both agreed that we'd encourage her strongly to go back to her home after a day or two.   We know this time is difficult for her, but fortunately she has a strong network of support with the unit wives there, and her two sisters in law who also understand deployment.  Kay's brother in law is also in Afghanistan and he was married while on leave last month.  Doug has also been deployed and Kay is close to his wife who has been a real blessing to Kay over the last few months.  I'm glad that my girl has ready support from family.

Well I shall end here and go work out menus.  I do have a few ideas now, starting with today's meal, lol.

1 comment:

Rhonda said...

we had my version of chili-mac tonight as well, great minds think alike :) mine does not use chili seasoning but Italian seasoning instead. It tasted really good on a cold night.

I am thinking about Kay, I hope she can find a rhythm to fill her days, 11 months is a long time.

I think your Van Gogh version is great, who knew he had 4 versions?

and let me know you make a layer cake for that pretty cake taker - I'll be right over.