Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Budget Bytes

I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!

What, pray tell, am I in love with? (Default to 'what' because we already all know my husband is the real love of my life, so that disqualifies any 'whom's)

Budget Bytes.

Today marks an important day - I'm blogging about a blog. It's a first for me. I prefer to share my own ideas, or at very least, pull from an eclectic database of ideas (Pinterest and Martha Stewart aside...), but this one blog in particular has been popping up in my dealings so much lately, that I just have to give it a public, figurative high-five.

Budget Bytes is the wonderful blog that I found the two recipes I linked to in my post yesterday. If you remember (or read it, for that matter), I wrote about making a Singapore Noodle Bowl and also reminisced about making those Teriyaki Meatball Bowls a while back. All Budget Bytes. And lo, even while I was signing off on my post last night, I alluded to another scheme (smoothie packets) that I had seen kicking around on Pinterest, and when I went to find the pin, it turns out the link was to Budget Bytes again! That was it. I had to publicly declare my undying affection. What else could I do?

Why, you might ask, is the blog called Budget Bytes? Well, 'bytes' is a synonym which wittily recalls 'bites' one would take of food, as well as 'bytes', which are units of digital information. So we have food, and we have information. The information this particular blogger provides, are the actual costs of preparing portions of the recipes she posts. Brilliant! She breaks it down into how much you'll actually be spending to make these meals, and she does it all cheaply.

Hop over there and check out some of her favorite recipes; her post on Top 10 Freezer Meals looks intruiging!

Well, now that I've professed I think I can contain my raptures a bit better and move on to other subjects.

Today is a day of meal planning. I've got a number of things that I'm meal planning for right now: I've got family suppers, family reunions that I'm organizing meals for, helping my sister with meal planning, bringing dishes to potlucks, bringing snacks to Play Date, and a friend who is expecting just solicited my help planning meals today as well. It may sound like a lot, but meal planning is a labour of love, my friends. Why wouldn't it be? I get to look through all my wonderful cookbooks and magazines, browse Pinterest and look through grocery flyers - all things that I enjoy doing!
We've got another potluck at church this Sunday and I decided that cold entrees are totally the way to go. Last time I made sushi rolls, which went over great, but almost as important, I wasn't fighting for an outlet for a crockpot! I had to talk myself down from making Jalapeno Popper Dip this time, but the lack of keeping-warm is really worth changing my mind over. So, this time around, I'm whipping out a Pampered Chef dish that I've had loads of success with in the past: Teriyaki Bacon Cups! They're actually called Bacon & Water Chestnut Cups, but let's face it, which sounds more appealing: Teriyaki or Water Chestnuts? They're an odd little concoction of onions, bacon, water chestnuts, ginger and sauce, and the cups are hollowed out rounds of cucumber, but they are absolutely delish, and guys go crazy for them!
For the meal planning I'm doing for my sister and my friend, it's a bit more than simply picking a dish. I'm actually making up spreadsheets of their weekly menu, individual recipes and all the required ingredients, a grocery list for the week, and a break down of how much of what food they'll have left over at the end of the week. I've made up a three-consecutive-week meal plan for my sister that ranges from Apple Pie French Toast Wraps to Panko Crusted Pork, and all of the meals take about 30 minutes to make, weekly groceries come in at about $50-60, and every scrap of groceries will get used up that week, or in the following week's recipes. Oh yes, and I made all of the meals relatively low-fat since my sister's starting her post-baby recovery. The hardest part of this line of meal planning is actually knowing that my brother-in-law will be eating whatever I choose, so I've had to bulk up some of the meals - like the BLT Lettuce Wraps... Instead of sprinkling little bits of bacon in them, there will be full slices of turkey bacon to make it a more man-satisfying meal. And if nothing else, my sister can blame me for his rumbling tummy and lack of red meat.

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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