I have to go into work for a couple hours tomorrow, so I left a couple hours early today. My boss will generally give me the option of leaving early or getting some OT, and after some irritation with some things yesterday, I decided to take this afternoon off. I figured I’d get the grocery shopping out of the way, even though I could very easily have done it Sunday before Meet the Press (which I’m not even sure I want to watch, as Rep. John Boehner from my home state of Ohio will be on, and any time that man opens his mouth, my blood boils. I am done talking politics now, otherwise my head will explode.). But it was nice having an afternoon off.

We didn’t need a whole lot at the store this time–The usual bananas, milk & yogurt was all we really needed. I did have to get more pork chops, as Jay is an awful lot like Homer Simpson in the aspect that both of them would live off pork products alone if allowed. I did also stock up on laundry stuff, as Seventh Generation stuff is on sale this month, and I had some coupons. And Organic Valley butter is also on sale. I did something a couple weeks ago that I regretted–Horizon Organics has butter that is now being stocked in my Hy-Vee, and because it’s about 2 bucks cheaper than Organic Valley, I bought 2 lbs. I won’t be doing that again. I swear the stuff is already rancid, and it’s been in my freezer since I bought it. I hate to waste food, when we’re already on a tight-enough budget, but I’ve been waffling on whether or not I want to throw it out. I stopped buying anything from Horizon Organics a couple years ago, once I learned they’re basically a large factory farm that pretends to be organic. But for right now, the butter is still in my freezer.

I did also need some potatoes, because the bambino has been requesting the Pioneer Woman’s BBQ meatballs, and since I had the time this afternoon, I obliged him:

They’re a little time-intensive, but very well-worth the effort. They go from this:

To this:

(At this point, raw in the center or not, I had to restrain myself from popping a couple into my mouth)

And finally:

Obviously, Ree’s pictures are far better than mine, and I did tweak her recipe only slightly. Both the sauce and the meatballs call for chopped onions in her recipe. As I cannot stand onions (it’s not the taste–I love onion flavoring, but I can’t handle the texture. It grosses me out, the same way the texture of coconut grosses me out.), and my husband doesn’t care for them either, I used a heckuva lot of onion powder instead. They were delicious enough that Jay had 3 servings, and I’m hoping that the 4 that are left are still waiting for me when I get home from work tomorrow (although I’m pretty sure that’s extremely wishful thinking on my part!).

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The first day back to work after Daylight Savings Time always drags. I spent most of the morning wishing for 5 o’clock, then got busy enough that around 3, I was wishing that the clock on my phone was correct, and it was the clock on my computer that was incorrect (someone forgot to update the clock on the phones until after 4 this afternoon). I was pleased to discover when I got home that I still have a back yard, and that there is greenish grass underneath the melting snow and amid the mud.

I also discovered that Popchips are evil. Kendra was kind enough to get me a subscription to the Weight Watchers magazine for my birthday last year, and they occasionally have ads for Popchips. Living in Nowhere, SoDak, they don’t carry them anywhere around here, but I did find them in the Sioux Falls Target last evening when we were there. So I bought some. Big mistake. I held off on opening the bag until this evening, then proceeded to eat 95% of it. There’s still a handful of crumbs left, and the bambino had a couple little-man handfuls, but I pretty much cleaned out the bag on my own. I have a bag of salt & vinegar ones that are taking all my willpower to stay away from. I’ll probably stuff those in my craw tomorrow night while I watch The Biggest Loser.

In between shoveling in Popchips, I made a nice dinner. A take on grilled cheese & tomato soup, but a little fancier, if you will. Beefy Tomato Pasta Soup:

(This is before I tossed a large handful of croutons on top)

And grilled cheese panini (No recipe here–Just a couple slices of homemade bread and a slice of organic cheddar; slather both sides with butter, and grill on a panini press):

Thanks to the Popchips, I was only able to eat half of it, and left a bit of pasta in my soup bowl. Despite the bambino taking 2 microscopic bites from his sandwich and zero bites of his soup, it went over well-enough, as Jay ate my other sandwich half along with his whole, and cleaned out his soup bowl. For whatever reason, I felt I needed some hot cocoa after all was said and done, and I am now here at my computer regretting it. Good thing I’m already in flannel elastic-waist pants!

It cracks me up a little that this cup of yogurt, and the quarter-cup of granola I added to it are a 5-Points breakfast. I was going to have my oatmeal & strawberries (which are only 4 Points), but I wasn’t sure exactly when I might get around to eating said yogurt, and since I paid $2.50 for it, I’m sure as heck NOT throwing it out. I will say that the Oikos is growing on me, and I like the strawberry version better than I liked the vanilla I had the other day. For one, the tartness of the strawberries mask the tartness of the yogurt (which is one reason I stayed away from yogurt for many many years). For another, it seemed a lot thicker and creamier than the vanilla. One of my coworkers & I were discussing Greek yogurt yesterday, and I happened to bump into her at the store last night–They’d restocked on Chobani, so she’d picked some up. Had I not bought a bunch of Oikos already, I’d’ve picked some up for myself! It’s hard not to like a yogurt company that sends you a birthday card!

I kind of like my mundane Saturday ritual…The bambino & I go to the grocery store, he gets some chocolate milk & crackers to munch while we shop, and I get a cup of coffee so that I don’t maim or bite someone’s head off due to lack of caffeine. I’m thinking that I’m going to have to up my grocery budget if possible, if I’m going to continue buying organic or natural. I can’t wait until the farmers’ market starts up in a couple more months…And we can get our garden up & running. Granted, since this will be our first year attempting a vegetable garden, I’m trying not to have too high of hopes, but if I can at least get some decent tomato soup and/or pasta sauce out of it, I’ll be happy.

I bought a couple containers of Oikos this morning, to give them another try. I think, though, I prefer Chobani, when it comes to Greek yogurt. For one, it’s about 50 cents cheaper than Oikos. And it’s just a hint milder-tasting. I see that Dannon and Yoplait also have Greek-style yogurts out now as well, but I don’t think I’ll be trying them. I’ve read a few online reviews that say they aren’t that good, and I’ve been trying to stay away from as much HFCS as I can. I will say, though, that my Oikos Vanilla tasted pretty good with the Bear Naked Maple Pecan granola I also bought. I usually make my own granola, but I neglected to buy pecans, and I’ve got enough other things to try & accomplish today that I didn’t want to bother.

Jay’s been really nice this week, and treated us to dinners out 3 nights in a row. As such, the only meat that I bought was some Organic Prairie Ground Beef (I had a coupon), and some steaks that the bambino requested (which were on sale). Everything else I got was either to restock the pantry (spaghetti, broth, bananas, potatoes) or necessities (diapers, napkins). Since I haven’t cooked in 4 or 5 days, I can pretty much reuse the menu I made last week. I’ll tweak it a little bit, but I haven’t really cooked since Tuesday night.

I’m planning on maybe getting the laundry done this afternoon, since it looks like we’re going to Sunday dinner with the in-laws tomorrow. That way, I can fix breakfast in the morning (after Meet the Press), and make some bread after we get back.