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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Menu Plan: November 14 - November 20

I never posted my modifications to the Indian Summer Gratin this past week, so here they are:

I doubled everything right off the bat. I probably used more like two pounds of squash and one and a half pounds of potatoes. We didn't have butternut, so I used some other winter squash we did grow and used our own French fingerling potatoes. We didn't have leeks, and I wasn't interested in a trip to the store, so I used one red onion and one yellow onion. I didn't have fresh thyme, so I used dried with much success, just reducing the amount I used. I used our Kamut bread to make the breadcrumbs. Since we are out of fresh corn season, I used Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn kernels. I almost always buy bacon ends, rather than slices, when we buy it separately from getting a whole hog, because it is cheaper and has a higher meat to fat ratio. We can pick up local, pasture raised bacon ends for $2.39 a pound and the sliced for $2.89 a pound. So, I used the bacon ends in this, which put a little more meat in the dish. Also, because I had been running shy of time, I put the squash and potatoes with the butter in the oven to start cooking while I prepared everything else. Because I had precooked the squash and potatoes a bit, when I layered everything else in the pan and put it in to bake, I left it uncovered and baked it all for 30 minutes. It was a huge success and was loved by our family and our neighborhood families at the harvest dinner.

We had a happy accident this week, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to recreate it. I've made copycat recipes for grape nuts which are one of the two dry cereals Rich really loves. They tasted good, but not like the cereal. Well, this week, I was banging together a loaf of bread with a mix of white whole wheat, kamut and spelt flours. I used milk for the liquid and honey for the sweetener, with normal amounts of salt and yeast. However, I had too much flour in at first, for the liquid, so I added some olive oil and more milk. Then realized I added too much liquid, so added more flour, and so on and so forth. I started and started that loaf of bread four or five times and it was probably a four pound loaf by the time I was finished. It tasted fine, but it was dense and heavy. We still used it for toast. Rich, meanwhile, toasted several slices a bit more and crumbled them up in a bowl with milk and brown sugar. It tasted exactly like grape nuts. Now, to see if I can make it again. Without burning out our bread machine.

I am so pleased, because I am almost completely finished with my Thanksgiving shopping (and our groceries for the next two or three weeks). We used our Fred Meyer rewards rebate, the extra coupons that come with it (one for $5 off produce, one for $5 off frozen foods and a 40% off clothing coupon that I used to get a nightgown, pj bottoms, socks for the boys and tights for Amira), the store coupons for a free turkey, butter, some coupons we found in the store on canned tomatoes and diaper wipes, some butter coupons I had in my purse and our reusable bag discount to get $313.79 worth of groceries, the clothes and a fat separator for $87.99, including tax on the clothes and housewares. It would have been $87.89, but the fellow forgot to count two of the bags, which he noted and apologized for and I certainly wasn't going to insist he give us a dime. This included a 20 pound turkey and an 18 pound turkey. I have a few things to pick up in town, three things I forgot to get at Fred Meyer and order the milk and we should be all ready. My goal is to get it all by Friday, so I can beat the weekend mobs. One of our neighbors has turkeys ready to butcher, also, and if we can buy one from him, we'll keep these frozen ones in our deep freeze for other meals and use the fresh turkey from down the street for our Thanksgiving bird. We've been hearing his turkeys calling to ours, but ours are not quite ready for butchering, so we were resigned to using the frozen one from the store until we saw the sign outside his house on our way to the harvest dinner.What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Hi Ranee, I hope you and your family are doing well! The sweet potato hash sound delicious.
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