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Y’all who know me at all know I’m a slacker. It’s sadly true, and try as I might I tend to be unorganized. The very flexible rules on GWW for example make that clear, and although it often feels good it really ain’t that great for me. It’s easier to do things that are easy, and often I find myself falling into that pattern. So with the help of the beloved CB, I’m trying to break out of that a little by hosting an event that makes me be more organized and healthier in my eating habits.

Any of y’all wanna cook with me? The book is so frigging good, and I’ve been loving it so far. CB decided she wanted to cook from it too, so here were are! Craving Ellie In My Belly. It’s your standard weekly event, choosing recipes from the book Foods You Crave. If y’all feel like giving it a try, send me an email at lemontartlet(at)yahoo.com and let me know. There’s plenty of room, and we’re friendly enough as long as you keep us fed!

2/17 Breakfast : Eggs, Biscuits
  Supper : Cabbage Rolls, Macaroni And Cheese

2/18 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
  Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Crockpot Chicken Salsa (ala the charming nikki from Crazy Delicious )

2/19 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
  Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Fish Chowder

2/20 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Turkey Burgers, Garlic Fries, Baked Beans

2/21 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
  Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Meatloaf

2/22 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
  Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : French Toast, Omelets, Fruit

2/10 Breakfast : Eggs, Biscuits
  Supper : Chicken Pot Pie

2/11 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
  Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Pizza, Salad

2/12 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
  Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Cabbage Rolls, Macaroni And Cheese

2/13 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Salmon, Fettuccine With Walnuts And Parsley

2/14 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
  Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Steak, Smashed Potatoes, Salad

2/15 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal
  Dinner : Soup, Sandwich
  Supper : Spaghetti And Meatballs, Garlic Bread, Salad

Chicken Soup

L.O.V.E. Sandwich

This is what’s currently planned as the menu for the coming week. Grocery shopping has been changed to Thursdays now, because I did it this week and I really like the more relaxed feeling of being prepared for the weekend. This is the first week of my state project, and my first time in TWD and the DB. Hows’ the for a whole new range of projects! The best part is that Tuesdays With Dorie works out for me so that I can bake on Saturday, and share the results with the family on the usual family Saturday suppers. This week is a little different, there’s a get together on Sunday (B-Day celebration, not the Super Bowl), so Saturday we’ll be having D’s mom over here and I’ll do supper. Which part of the meal has to do with Alabama and why, I’ll explain when I put up the pics each day. Alabama gets shorted a day (sorry y’all!) by Fat Tuesday being this Tuesday. Holidays of any sort are always big cooking days for me, and I don’t want to ignore any of them.

2/1 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal

        Supper : Fish Chowder 

2/2 Breakfast : Whole Wheat Pancakes With Strawberry Sauce

        Dinner : Fish Chowder

        Supper : Pot Roast, Roasted Veggies, TWD 

2/3 Breakfast : Apple – Pecan Muffins, Eggs

        Supper : Supper at D’s Mom’s 

2/4 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal

        Dinner : Soup, Sandwich

        Supper : Oven Fried Chicken, Fried Green Tomatoes, Cornbread

2/5 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal

        Dinner : Soup, Sandwich

        Supper : Jambalaya, Dirty Rice, King Cakes

2/6 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal

        Dinner : Jambalaya

        Supper : Fettuccine With Walnuts And Parsley, Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Orange Essence

2/7 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal

        Dinner : Soup, Sandwich

        Supper : Turkey Burgers, Garlic Fries, Baked Beans, Peanut Butter Cookies

2/8 Breakfast : Whole Grain Cereal

        Dinner : Soup, Sandwich

       Supper :  Meatloaf, Dirty Broccoli, Dill/Cheddar Biscuits

Tuesdays with Dorie is a great little baking group, started by the wonderful Laurie over at Quirky Cupcake. I’ve admired their baking skills, read along with their adventures, and longed to join up to add in my messy baking skills. So eager was I to join, that yesterday I begged for an invite quite hastily… without stopping to think I needed the book. After the welcomes were given, after the enthusiastic hellos from the great girls of the group, my common sense decided to show up late to the party and mention that I didn’t *have* the book. How embarrassing it was! They were all very nice to me, and welcomed me to hurry back as soon as I got it, but I didn’t really have much hope that would be anytime soon due to our tight budget.

Today Fed Ex came to the door, and carelessly dropped a package on the door mat without even bothering to knock. Everything we’d ordered for Christmas had already come, there wasn’t anything expected, and yet a package from amazon.com sat staring up ta me with my name on it. It was with much confusion that I opened the package, and smiling up at me was Dorie Greenspan’s book. Baking, From My Home To Yours. My beloved man, after hearing my story of my mess up and joining me in some chuckling over my typically impulsive behaviour, had the book over nighted to me. In spite of our tight budget. In spite of me telling him everything was fine and I didn’t mind waiting. I won’t lie, I teared right up and got my glasses all streaky wet. The words aren’t there to tell y’all how I feel right now, all I can say is it’s good.

D, you truly are my knight in shining armour. I love you so much.

Make grocery bags so we won’t use the plastic ones.

Get the garden ready

Make the menu for the month

Probably like some of y’all out there, I have a tendency to get a good idea and jump in without doing all of the planning I should have. The one week a state project is gonna happen, but it was silly to try to start it in the middle of the month with not much grocery money left and no menu planning. The 1st of February is when the new monthly budget begins, and I’m gonna start this then. Alabama is too deep in food tradition to short it by trying to do this with only what’s on hand without warning. The month of February will be Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, and Arkansas. Any suggestions from natives out there on what to make? If y’all have any ideas on what represents these states, do me a favour and let me know!

Speaking of projects, my seeds got here from The Cook’s Garden. There’s a whole mess of them, and this means there’s gonna be lots of work to do out back. Who knows how vegetable gardening in the land of the one season is gonna turn out.

It would have been nice to start off this project with a grocery list and a full menu, but that ain’t gonna happen. Most of the shopping was already done for the month when I decided to do this, and I’m almost up to the budget. D said that we could probably stretch the usual budget a bit if we needed to but I’d like to do everything I can without doing that. The challenge this month will be to represent each state, and use what’s already in the kitchen!

The first state is Alabama, and without further rambling here’s tonight’s recipe : Whipped Sweet Potatoes. What better way to start talking about Alabama then by bringing in sweet potatoes and pecans (that’s pee-KHAWNS) and putting them in a pink cup? It was a simple recipe tonight, nothing fancy while giving me the chance to play around a little.

Picture 190

It was easy, grabbed one big can of sweet potatoes from the pantry and mashed them, then I added 3/4 cup brown sugar, a sprinkle of nutmeg, two tablespoons of orange juice, and one egg. The mixture is whipped together with a mixer until creamy, and it’s set aside. A few handfuls of pecans were chopped up in another bowl and mixed with some brown sugar and butter, and then pressed onto the edges of a custard cup to make a coating. Filled the cups with the sweet potato mixture, and baked it at 350 for about 40 minutes. It ain’t fancy, but it’s a nice sweet potato custard that isn’t loaded with white sugar.

The rest of the meal was improvised from what I had on hand, some flounder fillets poached in a broth of water, dill, onions, lemon juice, lemon zest, paprika, garlic, and pepper, with some cherry tomatoes thrown in a few minutes before serving.

 Picture 193A can of lima beans went with everything. It was a decent meal, a bit bland but good in a simple way that my tummy was happy about after being icky for a few days.

Picture 188

After a lot of thought, the menu theme is decided on. It’s dorky, and sounds like an elementary school lesson plan project… It’s the year in US states! With a few days for holidays kept holiday themed, the rest of the year can be divided up into the 51 states (including Puerto Rico lest my darling leafy girl beat me), which should work out to about a week per state. To make sure none are forgotten, I decided to do them in alphabetical order. Nothing fancy, the rules are only that each dinner has to have one part of it be related to the state of the week, and that none of the recipes are ones I’ve used before. No gourmet food, just what I can find that makes sense for each state as I learn about it’s food history. Please join in if y’all ever feel motivated to!

What would be fun is to make new recipes every day for a month. It sounds very challenging for a girl like me, who’s used to making the same recipes every time! Variations on them anyway, admittedly I’m often announcing “I don’t know what I’m doing in here, this is a warning to you!” For whatever reason, D has gotten into the habit of cheering loudly whenever he hears this. He claims that every time I try something new it comes out delicious, which is why he perks up whenever he hears the announcement. One of these days, he’s gonna regret the enthusiasm when I serve up something that doesn’t work! The theme thing is something I want to try too. Taking on a theme for a week, even a month if it goes right. Any suggestions for either of these projects would be appreciated!