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Two weeks of meals with minimal groceries.

money is the devil
I decided to see if I could go the next two weeks with the barest minimal of groceries. I've got some stuff stashed in the freezer and cupboards, so I sat down to see if I could make it work. I did. The key seems to be to make sure I split some of the meats into two meals. I've learned over the years how to cook dishes so it's harder for Travis to tell there's less meat. Really it's just cutting it up or making casseroles or stews. So here's the menu for the next two weeks. I planned two meals on days when Travis doesn't work. Travis eats bananas and apples for lunch and breakfast. I usually clean up leftovers or make weird little meals he won't eat.

Thursday: Soft shelled beef tacos, 1lb ground beef and 1 can black beans. 1/2 reserved.
Friday brunch: Monte Christo Casserole Recipe- sliced ham from last week's 2lb purchased
Friday dinner: Hot Turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes, left over 1/4 turkey breast
Saturday lunch: General Tso chicken & Kimchi potstickers,-frozen chicken breast
Saturday supper: Taco Salad, 1/2 taco filling from Thursday. lettuce from last week.
Sunday brunch: apple pancakes & 4oz bacon from freezer
Sunday supper: Leftover turkey noodle soup, see last week's recipe
Monday: Beef fried rice. Leftover rice from saturday, 1/2 package Carne asada beef from freezer. Look this product up at aldi! it was seriously cheap
Tuesday: Quick pan chili, 1lb ground turkey & black beans. reserve 1/3 for later
Wednesday: Ham & Pineapple pizza. Pizza crust & pineapple from cupboard, sliced ham from last week.
Thursday: Beef enchilada.Recipe. If I don't have enough tortillas, I'm going to try making me own like these.
Friday lunch: Chili mac, mac& cheese box and Leftover chili
Friday supper: Chicken fingers. frozen chicken breast cut into strips. salad & corn sides
Saturday brunch: No yeast cinnamon rolls. Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats
Saturday supper: Corned beef scalloped potatoes. I got a 2nd small corned beef right before St. Pats. we could eat it all in one setting, but if I put just a bit in this dish, I can use the rest for another meal.
Sunday brunch: Ham & Egg sandwiches. I'll need to buy more eggs. I only have 1/2 doz.
Sunday Supper: Turkey Tetrazzini casserole I made couple months ago & stashed in freezer.
Monday: Chicken parm & spaghetti. frozen chicken breast & cupboard staples
Tuesday: Corned beef Ruben paninis & tomato soup
Wednesday: Tuna helper from the cupboard.

So there you have it. I'll have to buy some more eggs and a can of saurkraut, oh and a bundle of bananas. I got lucky last week and got 3 big loaves of bread on the day old rack for $.89 each. we stashed two in the freezer. I've got a full tub of oatmeal and two boxes of cereal to keep me going. I also have some orange cake and cherry coffee cake stashed in the freezer which Travis will eat for lunch if we run out of apples.

Happy Eating!

Grocery and Menu Planning

Funny Food
I try every week to sit down with my sales ads and make menus and grocery lists. It helps me to not have to worry about what's for dinner. And don't feel like you are locked into the schedule. If something comes up Sunday afternoon and you can't bake that turkey, he'll keep until Tuesday or wednesday. Just pull out mac& cheese and make that turkey when you've got time to throw him in the oven before your afternoon commitments. I put tuesday in as pizza night, but I may yet skip that if the budget doesn't look squishy enough for it.


Menu:
Sunday: Roast turkey breast with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli - sit down dinner
-Easy recipe for turkey here. Oh and if you don't have a rack, make balls of aluminum foil and use them to keep your breast off the bottom of the pan.
-Turkey on sale for $0.99/lb.

Monday: Spicy Italian Beef Sandwiches - crock pot meal
-Recipe here. from Iowa Girl Eats.
- I've make this a few times and we don't feel it needs both the peppers and the veggies so I skip the Giardiniera mix. You could skip the peppers and just add the giardiniera for the flavor and less spice.
-I plan to use a rump roast because it's on sale for $3.88/lb. I've also seen recipes sub a can/bottle of beer for the beef broth.

Tuesday: $10 Take and Bake at Papa Murphy's or mac & cheese.

Wednesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu Paninis
-Recipe here. And if you don' have a panini press, this website will help you do it the old fashioned way with what you have.
-Don't buy bread crumbs! Use bread heels. For how-to and other ideas try this link
-Serve with a green salad or fresh veggies
-3lb bag of frozen chicken breasts are on sale for $5.99 and HyVee deli shaved ham for 1.99/lb.

Thursday: Turkey noodle soup with veggies - longer prep time
-Recipe here. You can reserve the turkey from the earlier roast, and simmer your carcass overnight in a crockpot with celery and onions for broth.
-Use whole wheat or garden rotini noodles to up the fiber.
-Also feel free to add any veggies you want to this soup, like zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, etc.
-Frozen veggies and the pasta are on both sale for $.99 each.

Friday: Pot Roast Bolognese
-Recipe here. Don't worry about gravy, just use the meat and broth from the previous sandwiches.
-This might sound and even look intimidating, but I promise you, it is easier than it looks and SOOO worth it. Personally I skip the nutmeg, and I also cut up the veggies for this at the same time I as I was doing it for the turkey soup.

Leftovers, sandwich stuff, and a couple meals worth of mac&cheese with hot dogs or ham will round out the meals for this week.

Weekly Snacks and Treat ideas
Fresh strawberries and yogurt. 1 light yogurt at .40 mixed with 1 cup of sliced berries serves 2 for less than a buck.
Fresh radishes, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. clean, peel, slice and store in separate containers in the fridge for easy snacking or to top salads all week long.
Carrots and celery. Don't buy pre-cut, baby, or pre-washed. Buy it whole and use as needed. If your celery starts to go limp as mine ALWAYS does, cut all the ends, wash it, and toss it in a plastic bag or container with some water. within a couple hours it will be crisp again. Oh hey! and it's ready anytime to munch on!
Asparagus is on sale this time of year. Steam it, roast it, or just add it to your soup or green salad. It's super fast and easy.
Cottage Cheese is on sale, $2 for 24oz. Buy it this week and use it for sides, breakfasts or snacks. If you don't get it eaten by next week, plan to make lasagna or ziti pasta.
Store brand cheerios and Chex are on sale. With a $1 bag of marshmallows you have breakfast on the go bars. If you can afford it, stir in ground or whole flax seed to up the Omega3's, protein and fiber. Marshmallows make everything taste better.
Bananas and brownie mix is on sale. Did you know you can sub bananas for oil. Mmmm Brownies!

-----
Aldi list
mushrooms .99
3pk bell peppers 1.69
asparagus 1.29
3lb Onions .99
Cheese sticks 2.69

Hy-vee/Fareway list
Sugar .99
blue bonnet x2 1.16
Honeysuckle Turkey Breast 6lb $6
Iceberg lettuce .68
cottage cheese 1.99
rump roast 3-4lb $12-14
Swiss cheese block $1.67
zucchini 1.48
strawberries 1.28
fresh broccoli 2.30
rotini pasta $1
frozen chicken breast 6
ham 2
bread for paninis
french/hogie rolls
pineapple 2.77

----
Total about $55.
I could do this for less if I didn't do the rump roast and the turkey in the same week. Pork chops would have been cheaper, but I had planned to do the beef recipes last week thinking i had a roast in the freezer. I didn't have a roast and I was disappointed.
not peachy
Anyone want to read my insightful work of alternate reality? It is "brilliant" but so far from the "assignment" that he couldn't even give it a grade. Well maybe if he knew how to write a fucking assignment!! *grumble* Anyway. It's basically fiction to his point of view, so here it is for your enjoyment.

Program Consolidations and Policy Reform
Issue Adoption, Implementation, and Budgeting Memo

The Office of Management and Budget reports that there are 84 federally funded, means-tested assistance programs in the United States. The four largest of those programs, in order, are Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Supplemental Security Income. According to research done by the Social Security Administration, 41% of Supplemental Security Income recipients still live below the poverty line and 55% of those same recipients live in households that are enrolled in the SNAP. With the farm bill already a divisive issue and policy debates stalling out over funding SNAP, the current political climate is ripe for the introduction of non-traditional propositions. Transitioning control of SNAP from the USDA to another agency, like Department of Health and Human Services, might just be that type of proposition, especially if it was framed as a cost-saving measure.

Making such a change to the current structure of entitlement assistance programs at a federal level will require a concerted effort of formal governmental actors. Ideally a focusing event like an acute economic depression or program failure would unite public opinion, legislatures and top level bureaucrats to call for major changes. Since such an event would not be in the best interest of the bureaucracy or the low-income families they serve, an incremental approach might be more effective. Incrementalism is a policy tactic of making small changes over an extended period of time. Such incremental changes in policy could start with information sharing between programs in much the same way that the Department of Homeland Security coordinates sharing information between intelligence agencies. Public health and welfare agencies like HHS and the SSA are already invested in SNAP and acknowledge that their programs are affected by SNAP funding and policies. If the agencies involved presented a united proposal for consolidating means-tested assistance programs under the purview of a single new agency, such a proposal might be seen as more politically feasible.

Such an action would also require the support of informal actors. Researchers who study welfare trends, doctors who are paid by Medicare and serve patients who subsist on entitlements, would need to be publicized by the media. These actors would stress the importance of offering more uniformed care from the doctor’s office to the grocery store as a means of improving public health. They could highlight the stress and hardships face by low-income individuals forced to keep multiple appointments with multiple agencies with limited time and resources.

One could pain the picture of a single care coordinator who meets with low-income individuals, evaluates all of their needs, and helps them complete a single registration form. Such an agent could work with a doctor or specialist to ensure that a patience receives dietary counseling that helps them meet dietary recommendations with their level or resources. Transportation to training and therapy could be arranged by this single agent with such a comprehensive approach. The media would need to highlight such a well-organized eventuality.

In the debate of program consolidation, the budget will no doubt play a pivotal role. Again, Incrementalism would be the key. Over the course of a few years, duplicate positions within programs could be eliminated, standardized registration of resources and needs would streamline paper work, and consolidated office space might reduce overhead costs. There would be a greater need for street-level bureaucrats to fill the need for the care coordinators, but with few upper levels of bureaucracy, the funding and man-power could be gathered from the existing levels of appropriation.
In conclusion, given a focus and concerted effort, it would be possible to eventually implement sweeping entitlement reforms without the damaging repercussions of a disastrous focusing event. Careful planning and execution would be key to successful policy change, but if a political actor had a plan for what they wanted to implement and organized crucial formal and informal players to frame the need for issue in a positive light, change is possible. 

Jul. 25th, 2013

burnt orange
I saw a series of tweets insinuating that Christians should be in favor of central welfare and health care because Jesus said go feed and care for the poor.

Jesus did say go feed and care for the poor. He DID NOT say go to work and expect your government to feed and care for your poor! In fact he said to pay your tax and just generally stay out of government. Expect the Lord to provide, not a government entity or ginormous, faceless charity.

Quickest of Updates

feel the love
I thought I had something profound to put up here, but as soon as I sit down, I forget. Anyway.

Summer internship started May 20th. This is a new dimension of the food bank. People who need help, people who think they are owed, people who seem to be simply going through the motions and others who aren't sure where they're going or why.

One lady today was telling me how awesome it is to have the Culligan water delivered to her home. They don't have to buy bottled water or deal with those heavy cases anymore. It saves so much plastic, she told me. And I wanted to ask why she needed to come to the food bank for food if she can afford bottled or home delivered water. I bit my tongue and moved on.

Then there was the young widely-tattooed mother with three young kids and another on the way, supposedly with no man living with her. I see Tonia's point about about the important of fathers in child rearing. But then there was also the young couple with an 8 month old. Neither of them are working, receiving food stamps, or have a permanent address. They're effectively homeless, surfing from couch to couch so no one gets sick of them. They needed to be rescued, but there's only so much I can give.

Alright. I need to run. This post didn't have a point. Just that the world is a cruel place and I want to change it.

I thought I was breaking an addiction

burnt orange
So there are some lovely ladies doing their nails around these parts. rock_chick_333, embroiderama and poisontaster all have great pics of their homemade manicures. I have mostly envied their longer nails. I've been a nail bitter all my life. I've seen worse, but I have never been able to get mine to any presentable length. Most of the time I don't even know I've chewed one off until it's gone. It something with a book or a tv show or the computer. I'm so focused on whatever I'm doing that I don't even notice I'm chewing.

So the other day I'm wandering around Walmart, which if you know me, is completely out of character in the first place. There was a display of Sinful Colors nail polish in the middle of the aisle. I picked up this beautiful teal color. My favorite color. Later that night we were going slow at work and Sheila said she didn't mind if I painted at work. It was so pretty going on, but then it dried. It was matte. My fingers looked like they were topped with sloppy M&M's. What do I do with matte finish? Well I suppose I ought to go find something to cover it over. So now I have 3 bottles of nail polish where a week ago I had zero.

Well I decided I would keep painting my nails in order to try and stop biting them. It's working! I'm on Day 8 of the Pretty Nails Project. And I've got pictures under the cut, if you care. :)

Some of these pictures aren't very pretty...Collapse )

Also, the newest problem. Even though I painted this new lovely manicure last night, I want to clean them off and paint again... with some new color I don't even own yet! I think I may have a problem.

We're honestly looking for help

Captain Dummy
So as you may know, I volunteer at the Grout Museum on Friday afternoons. That's where I am now. There is a gal who is working for us through workforce development. She's working on her GED in her off time, and workforce development is paying her wages, and we consider her a volunteer. It's a learning opportunity for her to get some work experience, and the museum gets an able body without having to pay them. Everybody wins, except, I guess, you as the tax payer who's paying her wage, but whatever.

When she first started "Stella" was a bit slow on the uptake. I remember the volunteer coordinator being frustrated. I didn't meet her until about a month later when we were working crazy busy spring break together. She had this awesome spiel for selling memberships and wasn't afraid to give it to anyone who stood still. Personally I admired that talent and actually stole her tactics when it was my turn to sell memberships.

The coordinator told me later that her spiel had been the one she'd heard the coordinator giving all week, but had just jumped and ran with it. Again, admirable. She is learning, and she's got a great attitude, she was just a slow learner. This brings us to the problem I'm asking for help with.

The volunteer coordinator asked me, honestly, if I had any idea how to help Stella, an adult in her 20's, learn to spell or read better. She was having trouble pronouncing Combustion, she was reading facility as faculty, and spelled student stundent in a written note. Now these all seem like minor things, but I'm sure the reason she didn't complete high school and hasn't been able to get a job is because she has some form of a learning disability. My coordinator and I genuinely want to help her. We know that this problem will only hinder her when she goes out into the real workforce after her time with us. She's sweet, she's personable and reliable. She's a great employee if you've got the time to train her twice as long as other employees, but what can we do to help her recognize her challenging areas and have a plan for them?

My friend Eric has the most god-awful handwriting and spelling ever, but he knows this. The first thing he did when he got a legal assistant job in an office was make up a spread sheet phone message program he could type everything into, spell check and print to hand to his lawyer boss so that the woman NEVER saw his handwriting.

Anyway, I'm putting it out into the universe hoping for suggestions and ideas on how to help this gal while preserving her dignitiy and not hurting her feelings.

Two down, one to go.

Captain Dummy
In case you all didn't know, I finished one of my three classes before spring break. There were some hairy minutes there when I was floundering. I got myself all sorts of behind in my other classes and turned in a final project I'm not exactly satisfied with for that class. Well regardless, it's over. I checked out the grades, and between my extra credit and final exam, I'm running 299/300 points. All that's left for her to grade before finals week is that final project that I did okay, just not as great as I could have done.

So the other classes. Between spring break, going back to work at McGregor's, Trav's family, my friends, and hormones, I've still been in a mess. I've been two papers behind in both classes for like a week now. I just turned in the two I was behind in budgeting. The one that's due on the 15th for that class is math!! i love math. I'm actually excited to get that one done this next week. Now for Seminar. I'm trying hard to participate in class, but I have this feeling she's docking us all for participation anyway. I have missed a few classes there, and I think that counts against me. I've got to put some energy into finishing those two reports early in this coming week. One is just a chapter report, one page, and the other is a one page introduction to my research paper. The research paper needs to be very on its way by the 25th when I have to present the idea to my classmates. I'm going to get it done though.

I've had a pretty great weekend. I've got to get out to the store and pick up a couple more necessities, we're out of bread, peanut butter and bananas. Yeah. that's our staples. Mom very nicely bought me toilet paper yesterday when she came down. That was before I made her do yard work in her nice clothes. I'm such a horrible daughter, but my yard looks so nice already. Now wait until the green stuff grows and it looks all overgrown and sloppy again!

Oh nice. My phone just told me the battery is dying. I've been running it pretty much non-stop since I took it off the charger at 7am. between facebook, twitter, texting, pictures of my coffee cake and pandora during studying, it's had a busy morning. Alright, ladies and gents. I'm going to run off and do some more productive things before I go hang out at my mom in law's all evening. I wonder if the phone can charge and play pandora while I fold clothes for an hour?

Procrastination by Ranting

sexy
So I followed a link that followed a link that had me reading an article about Vicky Secret starting a line of clothing and marketing it to middle school girls. Read it here.

Now in this article I was struck by this paragraph:
'With young teens representing about $335 billion worth of spending power, according to Retail Analyst Hitha Prabhakar, there is money to be made, loyalty to be won, and an entire consumer group to milk and manipulate. Apparently, exploiting young girls with beginner-level lingerie in hopes that they will deliver a lifetime of loyalty to Victoria’s Secret was too big a temptation for Burdfoerfer to refuse – dollar signs overrode decency.'

Okay when was the last time you met a middle schooler who had a job. A paper route, you say? I very much disagree. Most papers in my area are delivered by aging, semi-disabled people. Child labor laws won't let most of them work real jobs, except for a few hours at the age of 14. So that tells me that the target audience doesn't actually have $335 billion dollars at their disposal. They have PARENTS at their disposal. My Saturday morning cartoons and after school sitcoms advertised all sorts of things from jeans to perfume, to breakfast cereals every day of my young life, and you know what happened when I wanted those things? I had to as my mom, and she usually said no. I didn't really have any way around that. But I'm worried that, like my friends who can't even tell their kids to stop interrupting their adult conversation, parents aren't able to tell their children 'No, you can't have grown up underwear.'

I'd like to point out that I'm using a children's fictional animated character as my journal's standard 'Sexy' icon.

Happy Easter... Oh look! I have an egg icon.

Funny Food
It was a pretty good day. The family cooked way too much food for just the 5 of us who were at mom's. My brother brought up one of the Delarme twins. I know it's terrible, but after 20 years, I still have trouble telling them apart. I should have known it was Paul and not Phil. He's got more piercings.

Funny that I read the first few lines of my last post, and I must have had a hormone fueled freakout the first week of March. I kinda felt like that again last week. I was SOOOO angry over politics and legislation and stupid people on the internet on Wednesday that I cleaned my kitchen, banged around my house and ended up shutting off my phone at game night. Looking back I can't even tell you what made me so emotional, but there it was. That night, and the next day, I made a point to dope myself up on magnesium. That got me back on track for the last couple days of the week. I still spent more time distracting and planning than actually doing anything. I have my whole week of meals planned for next week. I have a plan for hitting the food cravings I'm having this week and stay on my budget as well.

OH speaking of food cravings. I can't seem to get enough maple syrup and salty things this week. It started with a bag of Chicken & Waffles Lays. They really aren't anything to write home about. Its kind of like maple syrup and chicken bullion, but I could not stop eating them. Then Trav and I went out for breakfast at Newtons, and I only had a half order of biscuit and gravy, but after being turned on to it by another waitress months ago, I asked for a bottle of syrup and kept drizzling it around my plate with the sausage gravy. Then Friday, in the face of my empty bag of lays, I was dipping store brand wavy chips in lite syrup out of my fridge. Yeah.... It was sad. It's gotta be PMS, but I've got to get a handle on this. I'm feeling very fat, out of shape and just generally unhappy with my body. It doesn't help any that we had a big feast today and I came home to discover that the Easter Bunny had filled my basket on the dining room table with fun sized candy bars. I'm tickled Tonia got the chance to do it though, because I'm pretty sure she meant to sneak over here and surprise gift me a couple other times this year and I've foiled her plans by being home.

I suppose I ought to record for posterity that I'm back at McGregor's part time. It's kind of nice to not have all the stress and responsibility while still being there doing a job I feel competent at. There's a gal there that's just kind of annoying me with her attitude though. I shan't name names, but just pray for me if you're the type. I need to put positive energy in the forethought of my mind when I work with her so I can smooth feathers and laugh. There is another girl there who I just have to say I love. She's so amazingly snarky and funny that I laugh almost to crying every time we work together. THAT!!! THAT is how I want a job to be.

I do keep telling customers that I took an 8 month vacation and they were joking on Saturday that they're going to start keeping a tally for how many times I use that as an excuse for forgetting something. The hardest part of the whole deal is that they changed my password and I can't for the life of me get my fingers to not type the old password.

Alright. I decided on my research topic. I got one resource already this evening. I'm going to google a couple more before I go to bed. I'm going to write it on PILOT's. That's Payment In Lieu of Taxes.

Good night, sleep tight, write well for those of you on my FL doing that.