I have done so much soul searching about this blog and where it needed to go. And after a much needed posting where I expressed to you my feelings I felt inspired by the responses enough to come to a decision. I am continuing to blog, doing what I love but in doing so I am going to set things up a bit different. You see my purpose for starting this blog was initially a challenge to improve our food budget and eat healthier. One of the many things I loved about this blog is how it felt to be challenged and even more so how it felt to succeed. I also loved when I would hear from readers how I had inspired them to change their spending and cooking habits.
So I have decided two things, one I won’t be blogging quite as often as I was per month so as not to overwhelm myself but secondly every month I am going to give myself personal challenges and sometimes asking you to challenge me so focusing on quality postings rather then quantity. So every month with my new challenge I will post within the rules of my challenge and push myself to grow even more. As I am about to become a mother again one recurring challenge is going to be how to make sure I continue to provide us with meals that are easy to put together so it fits into our crazy lives. Along with the new focus I am hoping to launch a new redesign which is going to be very recipe orientated to make it easier for people who use this blog as their cookbook, like I do, to find the recipes they want. Thank you everyone for your impute over the past month and I hope you enjoy the journey with Small Wallet, Big Appetite.
So Challenge number 1 for October is going to be 30 minute meals. This month I want to focus on meals that from start to finish take only 30 minutes or less because lets face it when you have a family and/or a busy career you don’t always have the time to assemble more complex meals. This pasta dish was very kid friendly and makes enough for 6 portions which for us is perfect because that means it fed us for two nights in a row which gave me a night off from cooking. Served with a different vegetable side each night it satisfied both the toddler and the adults in the family.
500g (1 lb) lean minced beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 garlic, clove
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
225g (8 oz) uncooked pasta any shape
750mL (3 c.) reduced-sodium beef stock
150mL (3/4 c.) milk
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp mustard*
80g (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
*If using English mustard like I was be aware you might want to use less as it will be very hot. I use about 1/3 tsp of English mustard
I want to go a little bit off topic for a second. Have you ever heard the phrase “You don’t know what you have until it is gone”? I actually hate the phrase. I think one of the most important things we can do is stop and appreciate what we have because if we only realise what we had when it is gone then we aren’t paying enough attention to life and it is passing us by. I am unbelievable blessed and I know it. With family that is incredibly supportive, a child that amazes me every day and mostly with a husband who is the most incredible partner in life. So today I wanted to share a recipe that is special because it is the first thing he ever cooked for me when we got together. It is such a simple breakfast but it has become a special treat that he makes me from time to time and every time he does it reminds me how blessed I am to have someone like him in my life.
Scrambled Eggs on Cheesy Toast
2 eggs per person
2 slices of toast per person
It is Brunch Week! What does that mean? Well all this week a large group of bloggers have teamed up to give you brunch recipe ideas and we have some fabulous prizes from some great sponsors. I won’t be able to participate in the whole week as I am off to Rome on Wednesday. Yes you heard that right, Rome. My little brother is doing a destination wedding so we have almost a week in Rome and I am so excited.
But enough about fun adventures and back on to breakfast. I often get stuck with new ideas for breakfast and brunch. But I really stuggle with creativity with it. So when I heard about Brunch Week I thought this would be a great oppertunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and try to get more creative.
I mentioned before that I have a lot of won ton wrappers to use up so my first recipe I decided to get creative and use them. I had seen a lot of people use won ton wrappers for things like lasagne cups so I thought I would take the same principle with eggs. First I tried pre-cooking the wrappers but that resulted in oddly shaped cups and then they overcooked once I baked them with the eggs. So round two I tried adding the eggs to the won ton cups and baking it together and this time it turned out perfect. Make sure to spray your tin with a light spray of oil so that they can easily come out once they are baked. You can use any filling, in the same way you would do mini quiches.
Won Ton Breakfast Cups
24 won ton wrappers
120mL (1/2 c.) milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
40g (1/2 c.) cheese, grated
6 rashers of bacon (if using streaky bacon you might want to use more)
So as you know I love taking recipes that are normally very processed and making them home made. So when I happened upon a recipe for home made tater tots from Seeded At the Table I knew it was time to tackle an old favourite from my childhood, Tater Tot Casserole. This dish is what I would call a perfect example of a classic American recipe. Until I moved away from the US as an adult I never realized how much we love casseroles and using cans of condensed soups. When it comes to American style casseroles it is incredibly difficult to find any recipe that doesn’t use convenience items like tinned soups. But the thing is it really isn’t that difficult to put together a home made sauce as a substitute for tinned soups. It is not only healthier but it is tastes better.
While this dish is often thought of as a kids meal, this from scratch version is sure to satisfy the adults too.
This week was meant to be my week to get caught up a bit on life. I am working two part time jobs at the moment, well I say part time, one of them is my freelance work and that can vary with how much work comes so sometimes it feels more like I am working a full time job while juggling a part time one. But this week I was off from my part time job and I really thought things would be looking up with more time to get caught up with life. But sadly that just wasn’t how it went, my freelance work piled up on me and yet again the rest of the house and life seemed to get pushed to the side and forgotten. And to top it off, this week has been a major stressful work week for my husband.
What do you do at the end of a very stressful week?
When we were living in Texas we had this pub down the street that had the best burgers and our favourite beers. It was our bad week retreat. But these days having a toddler and trying to save money and eat out less means that having guilty treats like that for bad weeks doesn’t work so well. So instead we opted for hubby picking up some beers and I gave my Bacon Cheese Burger Soup idea a try. It was amazing!
Coming from such a healthy weekend last week this might seem like a calorie loaded meal but hey everything in moderation, right? This soup has all the goodness of a burger in a warming soup form. And after the rough work week it turned out to be a perfect substitute for our pub burger and beer night.
This week Sunday Supper is all about soup. While I do love soup all year round I go a bit soup mad during winter because there is just something about soup that warms you from the inside out on the cold winter days. My thing with soup is it is so easy to throw together a soup that there really is no excuse for tinned soup. So if you have found yourself stuck in a boring soup rut you need to check out the amazing recipes the Sunday Supper crew have put together, we have more then 40 ideas to hopefully last you the rest of the winter.