Saturday, February 28, 2015

Product Review: Starbucks VIA Pumpkin Spice Latte

The next flavor of Starbucks VIA that I tried was pumpkin spice latte. Unlike the previous Colombia and French roast, this VIA includes powdered creamer (I assume) mixed in with the grounds. I added 8 oz of milk heated in the microwave, let it sit, and then stirred. The flavor was great! It tastes just like a pumpkin spice latte from the coffee shop. The mouth feel was kinda weird though, almost silky, and almost in a bad way. It was pretty thick even though I used 1 percent milk, so I added a little bit of plain coffee and a spoonful of Splenda.

Overall, I would say that I can take or leave this VIA. I love pumpkin spice, but if I'm going to do it, I was to do it right and get it from the coffee shop. However, if I ever get a craving for pumpkin spice out of season, then this is a fine substitute. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cooking with M: Weekend Baking

I am taking today to try out two new recipes  I came up with. If they turn out well, I'll be sharing them on the blog soon. Because of that, there is no post from me today--I just want to tease you with the prospect of oatmeal chocolate chip banana bread and peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you Sunday for the What's for Dinner series!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pantry-Only Challenge: Update

As you have heard by now, Baby K came early. This was an excellent move on his part to help Mommy out with her Pantry-Only Challenge. I had planned to go shopping on Tuesday, just to pick up a few essentials to have on hand when we got back from the hospital. Well, clearly that didn't happen! Luckily, my neighbors got together and we received three tasty meals the week we came home. Unluckily, JI was off all week due to the weather, so he lived mostly on cereal and cottage cheese with olives. 

You can see that the pantry isn't too empty, but I have used up a lot more than it seems. We are completely out of all but those three cereals, wraps, crackers, bread, oatmeal, all canned goods except eight cans of beans and six cans of soup, down to one peanut butter, one macaroni and cheese, two jarred sauces, three cat foods, bottled water, and lots and lots of condiments.
In the fridge, it's pretty barren as well. Mostly leftovers and beverages. We don't even have any fresh fruits or veggies other than a really sad stalk of celery and an even sadder bunch of green onions. And the freezer, as you can see, is nothing but miscellaneous ingredients -- a few containers of taco meat, four burritos, a pie, and some veggies. So pathetic, but at least I am accomplishing my goal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Freezer-Only Challenge Wrap Up

I did it! I got through the whole month without buying any meat and only using what was already in the freezer. The Freezer-Only Challenge was actually much easier than I expected.

My worry was that I wouldn't be able to figure out what to do with what was in the freezer. Or, that I'd want to make a certain dish but not have the meat for it. A few days along the way I did have to adjust what I'd wanted to make based on what we actually had. Really, the hardest part was staying away from that sale meat.

Even after a month of cleaning out there is still lots of meat left in the freezer. None of it is falling down on my head now or toes now, though. What I'm running low on is ground turkey and chicken (we don't eat much ground beef). This challenge taught me that I use those most often so that's what I really need to stock up on regularly. Ground meat is very versatile and used in so many recipes. Being a cheaper cut (is it really a cut if it's ground up?) helps the budget, too.

Now that the challenge is over I want to keep the freezer manageable. I'll still be stocking up during big sales (meat is so expensive otherwise). I just won't do so to the point I'm getting injured trying to get something out.

How did the challenge go for you? Did you make it? Is your freezer more manageable now?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sparkly Snow Dough

JI was running around like a crazy person after missing three weeks of school, so I had to act quickly. I looked up a basic play dough recipe then added glitter and food coloring. I told JI that it was special play dough for boys (because that's his thing now) and he loved it. The fun lasted for minutes. Hopefully, he'll be more interested tomorrow.

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