1. Shopping: We went to Aldi this week and spent a heap of money. Well, not really, but I still went over budget $6.73. That being said, grocery shopping this next week will probably be minimal.
2. Cooking: Froze 6.5 lbs. peppers from the garden. Also made oatmeal in the IP (it turned out GREAT! More details in the THM update later on), made and canned five pints of apple and grape juice, made 2 quarts of chicken broth and put a quart bag of cooked chicken meat in the freezer. I also made a THM cookie recipe (details in update at the bottom of this post). In order to make the cookies, I had to make my own pumpkin pie spice, and in order to do that I had to "make" my own ground allspice from whole allspice that I got at the bent 'n' dent. I used the Vitamix dry container to do the job. It worked like a charm.
Notes on the fruit juice: In order to make the grape juice, I filled up my steamer basket with grapes and then set it inside the IP with two cups of water. Then I set it on Manual for 15 minutes and let it release naturally. For the apple juice I set it to cook 25 minutes on Manual and let it release naturally.
3. Gardening: harvested peppers and herbs from the garden, as well as pears and apples from the orchard. We've actually been getting fresh apples for a month or so now. I already have plenty of applesauce in the pantry from last year, but I may do some more juice if time allows. I also picked some franken-pumpkins out of my patch to use for decoration and found one ripe Jack-be-little pumpkin to use for decoration as well.
When we got home, I decided that the best spot for the mums would be in front of Hubs' office. Since they weren't going in my garden after all, I gave him the receipt and they will be counted as a business expense and used as a tax write-off. Yay!
4. Got out some fall decorations that I already had and used them alongside my free garden pumpkins. I expect to get more garden pumpkins to decorate with, and also want to make a table centerpiece and possibly a wreath for our back door. If time allows.
5. Had a baby shower! I am so thankful for all of the baby gifts we've received over the last month or so. As awkward as showers can be (both for the giver and the recipient), they are such a blessing to the person being "showered". Not only from a financial standpoint (less stuff to buy) but also from a sheer logistics standpoint. That's a ton of stuff that I don't have to go shop for! In addition, I received a lot of items that I never thought about asking for but will really come in handy (or, they were just plain cute. :) .
And I just have to say: NESTING IS REAL. And it's very, very fun. So in between gardening, cooking and reading, I've been cleaning, organizing and finding places for all of the baby gear. And trying some of it out. Stuffed animals are great stand-ins for real babies while trying out different baby carriers.
My two main THM (Trim Healthy Mama) projects this week were Instant Pot oatmeal (F/P and E recipes) and and THM Pumpkin Spice Cookies (S). I also found an easy, cheap F/P snack that I really liked.
Fuel Pull Snack- homemade pickles wrapped in deli meat. I used a few turkey slices for mine. Yum! The pickles were almost free ($0.15/jar) and the meat cost $0.10/serving (from the bent 'n' dent).
IP Oatmeal- The basic recipe I used for this was 1/4 c. oatmeal to 3/4 c. liquid. I was under the impression that quick oats were high-carb and old-fashioned oats were more low-carb. I was wrong! When I compared the two side by side, I realized that the quick oats only had 13.5 g. carbs per 1/4 c. while the old-fashioned type had a full 14 g. carbs. I like the texture of quick oats better as well.
So after I mixed the oatmeal and liquid (I used 2% milk... water makes a better FP liquid) together in a coffee cup, I set it inside the instant pot on top of the trivet. Then I added a cup of water and put on the IP lid. I did this the night before, so after setting it on Manual for one minute, I set the timer for 11 hours (the IP delays cooking for 11 hours... that way the oatmeal starts to cook at 8:00 am and is ready by 8:30 when I want to eat).
The Instant Pot worked fantastic! I did try using less liquid and more oats, but that version turned out too sticky. My new instant (pot) oatmeal will be a very easy breakfast for busy mornings.
Pumpkin Pie Cookies- for my last project, I adapted this recipe for my own use. Here is the finished product:
Other THM notes: I also got to purchase some of the specialty items recommended by other THMers at Aldi. There wasn't much of a difference in the price of low fat vs. full fat dairy items, but I did see a marked difference between, for example, regular milk and almond milk. Same thing for a regular chocolate candy bar vs. the special 85% dark Moser Roth brand. And after I started counting the carbs and fats in each serving, I wondered how the chocolate could possibly be on plan with 9 g. carbs and 12.5 g. fats... for half a serving. This doesn't fit requirements for S, E, or FP snacks, yet many of the THM bloggers have it on their Aldi recommended shopping lists. It could fit if you used it in tiny amounts as an added ingredient (for example, in the cookies), but not by itself.
I also bought some Happy Farms light spreadable cheese wedges (Aldi brand Laughing Cow). The cheese wedges are a great way to stay within the E fat limit while still having cheese on, say, a sandwich. However, the cost for each wedge (serving) is $0.22 and the cost per pound is $5.16. Considering the fact that I normally pay around $2.50 per pound for cheese (and $2.00/lb. for cream cheese), these little wedges are probably way out of my budget for regular use. I am going to look for a more affordable spreadable cheese.
So the good news is that I found one cheap FP snack and an acceptable cookie recipe that was not too awfully expensive... if you're using sale-bought butter and free pumpkin puree. The other good news is that THM oatmeal is very easy to do. The bad news is that I still don't think this kind of diet is affordable for $10.00 per week. I plan to do it on our $20.00-$30.00/week, but technically I'll be pulling from baby's $10.00 to buy myself special ingredients. That will work until baby starts eating food. By then hopefully I'll have lost all the baby weight and can go back to eating less expensive crossover meals. So it's more like "THM for $20.00/person/week".
I have been experimenting lately with different ways to put up video on my Youtube channel. My phone only holds about 10 minutes of footage, and then I have to upload and delete before I can record any more. The other problem I have is that Youtube is going to get rid of their handy video editor in about a week. So not only will I be limited 10-minute videos, but I'll also be limited to using unedited videos!
Last week I tried doing Facebook Live for the first time. I liked this idea because there are no time limits to the video and also no need to edit (I guess you could if you wanted to, but normally people don't edit live video). If you didn't see it, last week's video was part of my Eat for $10 a Week series, on beverages.
This week I plan on doing the next part in the series on Facebook Live as well. Last week I did it on a Tuesday, but I'm not sure when it will work this week. I hope the internet connection doesn't fizzle out again, but if it does you'll be able to watch the non-interrupted version a day or so later.
Whew! That is my book-long FA post for this week.
Til next time,