Have you ever seen the show Master Chef? I know the exact dish I would prepare for Chef Ramsey if I ever had the chance to try out for the show. A girl can dream right? Anyways, I feel like I have my own little mystery box challenge every week. Ingredients are delivered to my doorstep, and I am to create great tasting healthy meals with those ingredients using only the supplies in my kitchen. My judges? A 2 year old (who actually isn’t that picky of an eater, although he would eat applesauce all day long if I would let him), and a 32 year old man who loathes onions and tomatoes, and loves pizza and ice cream,

Even though I blew my budget at Costco last week, I still went to King Soopers to purchase what few groceries I did need this week.

Sunday we had my sister and her little boy over for dinner and we grilled veggie burgers (and cow hamburgers for her and her son), and I made an amazing kale salad. I used 3 of my Valencia oranges, cut two up in the salad and squeezed the juice from the third into the dressing. This concoction was inspired by my amazing sister-in-law. It was kale, orange, raisin and almond salad with a citrus balsamic that I made myself. It was by far the best kale salad I have ever had!

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Monday, Noah, Abagail and I went to the store for the small list I did have. Then, we came home and had a picnic on the living room floor. I picked up a loaf of bread from the Great Harvest Bread Co. over the weekend at Berry Patch Farms, and we had veggie sandwiches and I made a coconut milk smoothie. I am just learning about coconut milk and oil and all of their health benefits, but how can something this creamy be healthy??!! But it is! It’s crazy! It was delish and Noah and I drank the whole pitcher. Bananas, lots of spinach and coconut milk. Yum! Did you know that early Spanish explorers called coconuts “coco” which means monkey face?? You just learned something new today! Coconuts are extremely healthy for you in all of its forms. Check out this interesting website to learn more!
http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org

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For dinner, we had the most amazing salad. A carrot salad with almond butter dressing. I used my entire pound of carrots. With cilantro from my garden and lime juice mixed with agave nectar, lime juice, almond butter, raisins and carrots a very tasty salad was created. The entire dinner we were making yummy noises, we couldn’t believe how well the flavors combined. It was so yummy! I also made potato wedges with drizzled sirracha sauce. I used up all four of my potatoes. It took me slicing two potatoes into triangles to finally grasp slicing wedges! Heehee.
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Tuesday I used my cucumber from the delivery and made a minty cucumber quinoa salad. I have to say, we did not care for it. There was too much mint! It smelled amazing, but the taste was not appetizing. I was super bummed because I was really looking forward to this salad. But hey it is OK, we tried something new.
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I used my lone sweet potato this week to make baby food for Abagail. I baked it, of course and puréed it in my Ninja food processor with a little coconut milk. I’d say she likes sweet potatoes, don’t you??
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Wednesday night was salad night. We had 2 salads and biscuits for dinner. I made the kale and citrus salad again and used up my remaining 2 Valencia oranges. I also made a cherry, wild rice and quinoa salad,  where I used up my remaining celery. It was tasty, but I have such a hard time with quinoa sometimes. I either make great dishes with it (my favorite is a BBQ quinoa salad with black beans, corn, peppers and creamy avocados) or I completely miss (Tuesday night’s dinner). I just need to keep experimenting I guess, because I am tired of the same old quinoa dishes.
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Noah loves quinoa, which I am grateful for, so he demolished it. I ate more kale salad than anything. I cannot get enough of that salad. Noah is learning to like kale more and more each time we have it. I am glad that we are starting young with him, letting him taste all different kinds of fruits and vegetables. It will be so good for him as he gets older to make smart food choices away from home. With this new budget he has been eating apricots, plums, pears, oranges, apples, kale, pea pods, carrots with tops (that confused him as he is used to baby carrots), celery and peaches. It has been a wonderful 2 weeks, watching him get excited about fruits and vegetables, knowing where they are in the fridge and getting them himself. I went to a lecture last year, where the doctor said to put all of the food you want your kids to eat at eye level in the fridge, so they see it and know where to find it when they get hungry. That is so true, at least in my experience.

Thursday, the final day of the first two weeks of my new budget. I have to tell you, I am exhausted! All this meal planning and cooking the majority of our meals from scratch, I’m pooped. But I was telling Levi tonight over dinner, that even though I went over budget, I stuck to my meal plans. I didn’t budge from it. Although it would be nice if I didn’t budge from my budget, but luckily I have another 2 two weeks to try again! So, tonight we had sweet potatoes and spinach salad for dinner, along with left over pea pods and cherries. Nothing special tonight, but it was delicious.
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I also made salsa with my 2 tomatoes and red onion. Our neighbor across the street grows peppers and offered us some, and I used one in the salsa. It sure gave it good flavor!! I love making home made salsa, it’s a recipe that you cannot really mess up!
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I have had a lot of fun the past two weeks. I really love to cook and trying new foods. I love feeding my family creatively kind foods and love even more when they enjoy it. Looking forward to the next two weeks and whatever recipes they will bring!

Total $$ Spent:
Door to Door Organics: $75.55
King Soopers: $61.41
Costco: 179.08
Total: $316.04
(166.04) over budget

Until next time…
Have a fabulous day!!

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