Sunday, November 11

Menu Plans, Wish Wash and Saying No to HFCS

There's something about fall that causes me to want to do things around the house and the range from cuddling up under a blanket with a good book to actively doing things around the house. The past few weekends, I've been making progress on several projects.

1. I've almost caught up reading all of my Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines and this morning actually constructed a meal plan before going grocery shopping. This evening I kicked off my week of meals with a hearty cannellini bean, tomato, spinach and sausage stew (I subbed sausage and spinach). Very delicious indeed. For the rest of the week, I plan to try my hand at a chicken and cashew stir fry (I'm trying to replicate take out so I can eliminate all that MSG); Crisp Pork Medallions with Creamy Caper Sauce; and I'm also going to make and freeze some Make Ahead Lunch Wraps so I can avoid eating out so much.

Here's a pic of tonight's stew:

2. Today I made my own laundry detergent. Yea you heard me. I know it sounds crazy. But when I have to dish out $15 to $18 for a huge bottle of Tide, it's painful. And, I've got to think that there's a bunch of chemicals in there that aren't necessary. So I found this simple recipe online and made it myself. It took about 30 minutes and cost about $2. That will be about a $0.01 a load. Now I have some extra cash for saving for my next trip or my next splurge on good cheese.

3. I made and canned salsa a few weekends a back with the last of the good summer tomatoes and Serrano peppers from the farmer's market in Muskegon. It was my first time canning on my own and if I ever have my own garden some day, I'm definitely going to do more of it.

4. I've also been trying to stop eating high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) altogether. It's really difficult to eliminate it completely. Usually I cook things fresh, but sometimes ingredients you have in your pantry sneak it in there. Ketchup will be the toughest thing to give up I think, though I have read recipes for canning this...I'm intrigued. I also discovered recently that Worcestershire sauce has HFCS in it and the label says the recipe is from the early 20th century. I'm not a betting girl, but somehow I suspect HFCS wasn't in their original recipe. I wrote the manufacturer's a scathing letter. :-)

5. I've also made some progress on my living room pillows, but not enough to really report yet. More on that later.

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