Meal Planning

We’ve been meal planning for a year now. Before last year I used to just have an idea on what we’ll eat and shop for materials. I then would end up popping into the grocery store 2-3x a week and often times not using what I bought. While not expensive, they add up and in general just a waste. For example me buying a broccoli that was on sale or mushrooms that I thought I’d make for a dish but then end up not using the mushrooms because I didn’t have everything I need to make the dish.

So now, every week, with Google and Pinterest’s help, I’d spend an hour planning our week’s menu and another hour to shop. When I plan meals, I try to use an ingredient a couple times during the week. Coriander or cilantro is a good example. When you buy this it comes in a decent size bunch or packaging. So if there’s a Mexican dish that requires a bit of cilantro, I’d try to come up with another dish, i.e. curry, to add to that week’s menu. When I buy a whole chicken, I can do a couple of things with this whole chicken. I can cook it all and be done with it or I can split it into two: White and dark meat, and cook two dishes or also use the carcass to make broth. We try to also incorporate a lot of veg into our meals which then eliminates the need to use a whole lot of meat.

With meal planning not only have we been eating better, our food budget has averaged about £65 (depending on exchange rate, between $100-$110) per week. We try to do organic or sustainable and free range at least for meat if possible. For veg, I rummage through the sale bin first. If nothing there, I’ll just buy whatever that will fit the meal for that day IF the meal doesn’t already have veg in it. We don’t drink soda, smoke or eat a lot of junk food so my cart is mostly filled with grocery goods. We also make a lot of things from scratch and only when I know I’ll be pressed for time that I’ll buy pre-made sauces. On occasion I’d buy pizza and already made meals. The later is for backup when I didn’t get a chance to cook before M needs to go to gymnastics.

Here’s this week’s meal:

Monday: Spaghetti
Bought some cheese for this and used the below to make the sauce. Made this last night and it was YUM!

Tuesday: Soto Lamongan (an Indonesian chicken soup dish) Lemon grass and kaffir lime needed here

Wednesday: Thai green Curry
Lemon grass and kaffir lime needed here also. I have my own recipe for this but I can’t think of it on top of my head. BUT, it’s more less like this one below except I add two stalks of lemon grass and 3 kaffir lime leaves to the curry.

Thursday: Shrimp and Quinoa And the rest of the cheese will be used in this dish also

Friday: Vietnamese Slow Coocker Chicken

Beef Bourgignon This dish needs wine, and the rest will be consumed by me ;) I do have the Julia Child’s cookbook to do this recipe but if you don’t, here’s is one posted online

Sunday: Pork Chops (was going to be roast but the meat was expensive this week)

That’s how I meal plan and since I am a confident cook, I do often remove or substitute ingredients. For example I may use parmesan for my cheeses even though one recipe ask for cheddar. BUT, I only do it if I know the taste and texture won’t be so off. Or if a recipe requires galangal, which I can only get at Asian markets, I’d often just go without since the food will still taste good just not as authentic.

Want more? Visit my Pinterest food board:

Follow Savitri Wilder’s board Food & Recipes on Pinterest.

Gluten Free Dog Treat Recipe

Gluten Free Dog Treats


I am here chuckling to myself. Who makes gluten free dog treats, right?

But we do.

And not just cause it’s cool or what our crunchy friends are doing. We do it because our dog is allergic to many grains.

Before making this recipe I scoured many via Googling and Pinterest. After looking at a few recipes, which I saved to my doggy Pinterest board, I figured that as long as the dough ends up like a sugar cookie dough and baked until it’s dry, the treats should have the right texture and crunchiness. I also figured that putting things like peanut butter, cheese, broth, bacons, pumpkin puree and even pre-made baby food are also acceptable (for storage and health reasons).

After a bit of trial and error, I came up with this recipe:

2 cups rice flour
1 egg
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup hot broth (I used lamb for mine but chicken or beef will do too)


  1. If you don’t have pre-made broth, dilute 1 bouillon cube to 3/4 cup of hot water, or, if you have leftover bones/chicken carcass, boil those.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, egg, peanut butter, cheese and broth. Knead until smooth.
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough (don’t forget to flour the pin and area you’re rolling to prevent sticking) to about 1/4″. You can then cut to pieces or use a cookie cutter. Our treats were about 1.5″ diameter. Just the right size for a Lhasa or Cocker size dogs.
  4. Bake in a lightly greased pan at 350, 180 or gas mark 4 for 25 minutes or until dry (if your treats are bigger, go at least 30 minutes).

That’s it! It took minutes to mix using things that we have around the house and our dog, Max, LOVES the treats and I think it was his best Christmas present ever!

Gluten Free Dog Treats

Oh, if you’re wondering how long the treats last stored in an airtight container, I’m not sure. It’s been 11 days since I made the treats and they still look and smell like how they were almost two weeks ago. I’ll update in a few days or weeks on the longevity of these treats.

The recipe above made about 48 little treats and I am sure it cost less than $2.

If you give this recipe a go, do share your results and whether or not your fur baby liked the treats :)

Ta ta for now!!

This entry was posted in Recipe.

Our Simple Menu


A £45.04 turkey comes in a nice fancy and sturdy box. I’ve never felt more proud carrying a turkey than this morning. Seriously!!

The turkey is fresh. This is our first fresh turkey. Even the turkey we got from our local farmer in MO was frozen so this is a treat. There’s no smile, no birth certificate or a photograph, but, based on the box the turkey had a good life and will make six adults, one teen and seven children happy tomorrow!!


I cook like I craft. Now and then I get a feel for something complicated or just time consuming to prepare but for the most part I am a quick and simple kind of girl. So for this year’s Thanksgiving I will be serving (I linked to the recipes but I usually improvise as I go):

  1. Turkey – of course
  2. Mashed potatoes + gravy (I’d cook it after everything else is done and after turkey comes out I’ll stick this in the oven to heat)
  3. Green bean casserole (prep in the a.m. and then stick in the oven 30 minutes before serving)
  4. Glazed carrots (I make the glaze in the a.m. and then the carrots will take 5 minutes to boil)
  5. Steamed corn on the cob/kernels (depends on what hubby brings back this evening)
  6. Corn bread (maybe using this one but did love this one)
  7. Stuffings, I just follow the recipe on the package and stuff it in my turkey
  8. Gravy
  9. Cranberry sauce (make later tonight)
  10. Pumpkin pies (hubby’s recipe and he’ll make this from scratch tonight)

I don’t have a plan of attack but everything, I think, has been graphed in my head. We’ll see how it goes!

Have a great holiday!!!

This entry was posted in Recipe.

My First Crepe

Breakfast Crepe

It’s the first day of M’s Easter break and for once we’re not going anywhere. Tthere are still many places within an hour or so from us that we haven’t explored yet. We will drive to a few but other places we want to take the train. I even got a discount pass for that. We need to take advantage of the National Trust pass that we have and just know the area better.

To celebrate, I made a swanky brunch: Crepe. M had her first crepe when we went to France last time and although the dessert ones were good, her favorite were the meat crepes. She kind of ended up eating crepe for three or so days straight cause she loved it so much he he… While in France I got lucky and got to the birth place of Mauviel: Villedieu-les-Poêles. It was a total accident! While looking for the vet’s office I saw these GORGEOUS pots and pans. Copper. And thought: Hmmm, name sounds familiar! When we got back to the cottage I Googled and sure enough, they’re great pots and pans brand. So when we went back to get the dogs’ paperwork taken care of to take them back to the UK I got a couple and one’s a crepe pan. You want to know how much I paid? 23 Euros or less than $35 when the retail US price is over $150!

It’s been weeks since we got back from France and wanted to try making crepe earlier but just intimidated. But after trying it, it’s not bad. Just make sure the batter isn’t thick – should be thick milk shake consistency more less. For somebody who’s used to cooking pancakes the runny-ness was a bit troubling but the crepe turned out great.

I pretty much followed the recipe above but added a teaspoon of sugar and vanilla. The inside of the crepe were two over easy eggs (just placed side-by-side… if we didn’t have this in France I wouldn’t have thought of doing this!), slices of cheese, bits of onions, and fresh spinach. I placed the cheese, onions and spinach first with eggs on top so that the cheese would melt and the rest cook a tad bit. The result: YUM!! A bit of France was here this morning!

I made a card too yesterday based on this week’s Waltzingmouse’s sketch. I used some leftover paper from a Pebbles project and a flower piece that I bought while market shopping last week. There’s a little craft/art shop in Bury St Edmunds. Very nice one although the scrapbook/card items can’t be compared to the shops in the US.

Happy Anniversary

Here’s M’s newest photo. So lucky to be able to spend many days with my two girls. I hope the US government settles their disputes and get a good budget going because I sure would like to take this little girl on the little adventures I promise her besides being able to pay our rent, utilities and groceries.


Before I go, here are some close-ups of the project and the crepe. Have a great weekend all!!

Happy Anniversary

Breakfast Crepe

Some Favorite Things

Thank You

First most recent favorite thing: Potato and leek soup. I found it on AllRecipes and of course I had to tweak it just a bit:

2 good size garlic cloves chopped
2 shallots sliced
1 tsp white pepper

I also didn’t have any American bacon (pork belly and more fatty) so I used 250g (about half a pound) British bacon (from the back cut of pork which is less fatty) and I added a tbs of butter. But if you use American bacon I’d not use the extra butter.

In terms of cooking. I let the potato boil with the broth (I used cubes) as the original recipe directed but for the other portion I sauteed the bacon first for about 4-5 minutes (English bacon doesn’t get crispy), then I added the butter, garlic and shallots, and then gradually the leak until the leek was soft. I think this took 5-10 minutes. Then I dumped everything into the pot of potato and broth. Last was the cream and pepper. I let it mix for around 5 minutes.

Here’s a garlic tip. When chopping garlic use your knife to cut the rough edge off. Then put the flat side of your knife on the garlic and smash the knife (or push down hard if you’re the stronger than me) with your hand (careful not to cut yourself!). The wider the knife the better (I chop with a chef’s knife). After it’s smash just pull the rest of the skin off and use your knife to chop the already crushed garlic a bit more so that it’s finer (unless you love chunky garlic). Here’s a video that does more less of what I usually do. My friend in college taught me how to chop this way. Before this I had to painfully remove the skin first and then chop.

Oh, on the cream, hubby got double heavy cream and the recipe only requires heavy cream. I don’t know if this made a difference but goodness, the soup was DIVINE!!! Wish I took a photo of it. We were too hungry {::SMILES}.

Second most favorite thing: Baby Signing Time. Not only is this Jovie’s most favorite video series they are also teaching her how to communicate with us. While she’s getting there in speaking she’s still mostly babbling so signing has helped us quite a bit! Here’s a little sampling of the video:

If you have little ones I seriously recommend teaching them how to sign. It’s also suppose to increase their IQs too and speech. While M loves My Baby Can Talk for her first signing video (she went to Signing Time later on) Jovie doesn’t care of that much and prefers the Signing Time series. They’re both excellent though and I highly recommend them. M spoke early, at 14-mo, but she knew how to use 2-3 words in a sentence right away. Jovie, while just going bok bok (book) or mo mo (more) she can already sign using 1-2 signs at a time. On average kids don’t start putting words together until at least 18-mo. The only downside is that at 14/15-mo-old she’s already very demanding. She’d wake up asking milk, cereal AND ice cream. In the middle of the day she’ll sign bus which basically means she’d like to ride the bus that goes to Cambridge. She always tells me when there’s an airplane nearby and when she wants water or a bath. Jovie’s hand never stops talking that’s for sure!!

Third favorite thing: Just living here in the UK with the family. Life is wonderful and I’ve never been happier!!

Card info:

I made this card some months back for the Embellish call but never formally submitted it although I did email it to Ash. I dunno, after looking at it I didn’t feel like it was pub worthy. The theme was using buttons creatively and I don’t think my button usage was very creative. There’s nothing new there don’t ya think? So here it is. For the card I used Practicing Creativity’s stamps. The punch was Martha Stewart’s and the twine I got from Etsy, Annie42.