Another beautiful fall weekend in upstate New York.  Saturday we drove North to Burlington, Vermont.  The trees were amazing.  We weren't going to a craft fair or farmer's market for the first time in awhile.  Instead, we were going on a dinner cruise with my work.  It was a lovely evening but a long drive {2 hours and 45 minutes each way}.  We had a chance to walk around Burlington, which was nice, before heading out on the water.  Between the fall colors and the holiday weekend, it was a very crowded town.

$60.00 A Week Grocery Budget Challenge + Weekly Meal Plan - Week of October 10, 2016

Pumpkin yeast bread
We roasted our pie pumpkins this weekend which means pumpkin officially goes on the menu for the next few weeks!  In addition to adding it to baked goods, we like to eat it as a side, just like butternut or acorn squash.  We find that it actually has more flavor.  When I roast the squash and pack the puree for freezing, I usually mix it with the pumpkin puree making it a tasty combination.

Also on the menu this week is creamed Brussels sprouts.  I FINALLY found a dish that J loves using Brussels sprouts.  He enjoyed them so much he actually requested them this week.  This just goes to prove that cream makes everything better......

All meat comes from the stockpile.  We added burger and beef short ribs to the stockpile so we are now officially set for meat for fall, winter and likely most of spring.

Weekly Meal Plan

$60.00 A Week Grocery Budget Challenge + Weekly Meal Plan - Week of October 3, 2016

Quick & Easy Clam Chowder
So, we did some stocking up on meat this weekend.  Our freezers are again bursting at the seams.  We bought a full roast that, when cut up, totaled 10 pot roasts.  Yes, 10!  We just couldn't beat the price.  We use chuck roast meat for a few dishes throughout fall and winter including pot roast {of course}, French dip sandwiches, Chili Con Carne, Beef Pot Pie and Beef Stew.  Additionally in bulk we bought Alaskan Cod, pork chops, Italian sausage, and sea scallops.  We still need to buy burger, beef short ribs and a bit more oxtail {for soup}, which we buy exclusively from Long Lesson Farm at our Sunday Market.  Best grass-fed beef ever!  Once we've bought those we will be all set through spring with meat and seafood.  We expect to run out of chicken just before spring so we may need to purchase some from local farmers until we are able to raise the next flock in April or May.

Our freezers are now stocked with: chicken {quarters and whole - from the chickens we raised}, pork ribs, pork chops, pork tenderloin {2 left}, pork shoulder roast, bacon, Italian sausage, ground pork {bartered from a local farmer who loves our soap}, rib eye steaks, hangar steaks, pot roast, burger {a few packs}, cod, salmon {4 steaks left}, scallops, sliced peppers, eggplant, homemade pesto, artichoke hearts, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, corn, and chicken and beef stock.

I'll be making Cottage Pie {Shepard's Pie made with ground beef} on Thursday.  I'll make a double batch and freeze the second one to use in the next month or two.  This way I'm not taking any extra time to make a freezer meal and we've got something ready to go for a night when we'll need a quick {and delicious} dinner.  I'll try to get the recipe posted this week!

Weekly Meal Plan:


A beautiful fall day at the Adirondack Museum
Fall in the Adirondacks.  There's nothing like it.  We were vendors at the Adirondack Museum's Fall Harvest & Fiber Fest on Saturday up at Blue Mountain Lake.  We absolutely LOVE attending their functions.  There is so much attention-to-detail and thought that goes into the planning and you just can't beat the atmosphere.  Each and every time we go it's like getting together with old friends.  From the museum employees and volunteers who visit with us every single time to the public coming to enjoy the museum.  Many of them regular customers of ours.  

Adirondack Lake
The leaves were just starting to change so the drive was spectacular.  Because we get so busy with

BBQ Beer Can Chicken

I read numerous articles about beer can chicken prior to actually giving it a try.  I guess I assumed it would be difficult.  It most certainly is not.  The interior stays moist and delicious with a hint of BBQ smokiness while the skin gets crisp and carries all that wonderful flavor of the rub.  Although you can use pretty much any liquid to keep the bird moist while cooking, I continue to use beer.  I figure since it works so well, why change it?

The rub makes enough for 2-3 chickens so I make the full batch and keep it on-hand in a jar on my spice shelf for BBQ chicken breast, pork ribs, etc.  Although I have also successfully added BBQ sauce to the chicken at the end of cooking for a little extra pop, it is delicious with just the rub too.

When purchasing your chicken make sure it's not so big you can't close the cover on the grill.  I hadn't thought that through one time and, although I was successful in closing the lid, it was a little too close for comfort.

BBQ Beer Can Chicken


Happy Fall!!  The weather was BEAUTIFUL in these parts this weekend.  Upper 60's and sunny.  You just can't beat it.  We spent the entire weekend outside - a craft show on Saturday and the farmer's market on Sunday.  Both were super busy.  By Sunday we were running out of soap!!  I guess you know what we'll be doing this week.....

With the change in weather we have switched back to hot coffee.  Yes, the summer mornings are now gone and the crispness of fall just calls for steaming hot coffee.  Although I still crave a smooth cold brew from time-to-time, it just doesn't feel right to be bundled in a sweater, jeans and a jacket, sipping an ice cold coffee.  Hmmm....no.  No matter how delicious it is {especially homemade with a dash of sweetened condensed milk and a splash of homemade simple syrup, then topped off with

$60.00 A Week Grocery Budget Challenge + Weekly Meal Plan - Week of September 26, 2016

BBQ Beer Can Chicken
It's officially soup season!  This will now be the primary lunch for us for the next few months.  Although the grill doesn't get officially put to bed until later in Fall, it will be used less and less.

Brussels sprouts gratin is on the meal plan for this week.  I'm excited about it.  J is not.  I think he'll like it though.  I'm trying a recipe out of Shaye Elliott's{from the Elliott Homestead} newest cookbook found here.  We splurged a bit this week with the addition of both Pak Dong {Thai pickled cabbage} and cashews to the grocery list.  I now have J hooked on Pak Dong - he originally hated it.  It's a mouthful of flavor!!  Sweet, spicy and tangy...all in one bite!  It takes time, but I can usually get him on my side......

Weekly Meal Plan

Quick & Easy Eggplant Parm

I had not been a fan of eggplant parm until about 18 years ago.  We were invited over for dinner by a guy who worked for my husband.  Joe and Connie, two of the sweetest people ever, wanted us to come over so they could get to know us better.  We had just been transferred to Connecticut where my husband was the Chief in charge of the area where Joe worked at the Coast Guard Academy.  J was about 25 years younger than Joe but they got along great.

Connie welcomed us with open arms when we arrived, and the house was absolutely filled to the brim with delicious Italian scents.  Joe showed us around while Connie completed dinner.  After our tour she rushed us into the dining room to get settled.  In came platter after platter of amazing food.  Pasta with meat sauce, sausages, salads, and eggplant parm.  Huh, I thought.  I'll take a "thank you" portion of the eggplant parm and force it down.  The texture is what I had a hard time with.  Although we didn't communicate it at the time, J was planning the same strategy.

After I devoured the "thank you" portion I couldn't believe that I wanted more!  It was simple and delicious and J and I both reached for a larger helping at the same time.  No slimy texture, no bland sauce.  Connie eventually passed away from breast cancer, but before she did she gifted me a collection of her recipes.  She and Joe had 3 boys and she had compiled their favorite recipes for their wives so they would be able to make the delicious dishes long after she was gone.

Connie was an amazing woman who taught me more about life than I even realized at the time including a lot about kindness and humility.  I hold onto dear memories of our friendship and I treasure each and every recipe she shared.  Every single time I make this dish we end up reminiscing about her.

{Secret Ingredient} Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese

Creamy, cheesy, ooey, gooey, and delicious!  Exactly what homemade mac & cheese should be.  I'm a big fan of stovetop mac & cheese, not such a big fan of it baked.  I think it all comes down to texture and consistency.

The secret ingredient bumps up the cheesy goodness, something a lot of homemade mac & cheese recipes miss the mark on.  Of course, if you're hankering for a good stovetop mac and don't have the ingredient on hand, it's still a very delicious recipe.  I like evaporated milk for it's creaminess and the same goes for adding Monterey jack cheese in addition to cheddar.  It adds that ooey and gooey to the delicious!

$60.00 A Week Grocery Budget Challenge + Meal Plan - Week of September 19, 2016

Quick & Easy Eggplant Parm

Weekly Meal Plan:


Have you ever had a weekend that felt as though it was a week long?  And not in a good way?  Yup - that was this past weekend for us.  After a super busy summer we are headed toward a very busy Holiday season which means a lot of shows, a lot of orders and a whole lot of cranking out the products.  Don't get me wrong, we are absolutely grateful for it all.  The dogs, however, not so much.  This means they are slightly neglected {in their eyes, of course}.

This also means home improvement projects take a bit longer to complete.  My dining room and office are the perfect case in point.  Um.....not yet complete.  This week the tiny bit of painting that is left should be complete but we still have curtains to decide on and order, a hutch to decide on and order, and a light in the office to install.  And a table to paint {side table}.  And a bookshelf to make for the office.  And.....you get the picture.

Table Top
We did get our new dining room table and I love it.  The wood on the table top is gray elm.  It almost