It’s time to Economize

Both my calories and spending have gotten out of wack.  We’ve all been there.  Holiday weekends are a great excuse to over indulge, in quantities consumed as well as the caloric content, and all that food usually isn’t inexpensive.  Then, unexpected expenses hit, and you have no choice but to cover them.  Sometimes all these things simply happen at the same time. Well, it’s time for a little belt tightening, around the waist as well as the wallet.
Sunday we celebrated Labor Day as a family. All the kids and grandkids were here. The smoker was fired up for Smoked Ribs and Michael grilled hot dogs as well. While we were waiting for the main event, everyone did a bit of grazing on Southern Caviar and cream cheese with Pepper Jelly.
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Not everyone in our family is a carnivore. I used Fresh Ricotta Cheese to make a batch of Spinach Stuffed Shells and topped them off with Rosy Cream Sauce instead of the usual Homemade Marinara Sauce.  Even the carnivores were pleased with these.
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Sweet and Hot Cheesy Corn Muffins always go well with pork, but I did leave the peppers out of half a dozen of them.  Depending on the peppers you choose, my corn muffins aren’t really spicy hot at all, but some people, especially kids, assume they are just by the looks and the name.  Oh well, more for me!
Whenever we entertain picky eaters I make it my mission to sneak in nutrition wherever I can. With that in mind I offered a new version of mac and cheese, Butternut Mac and Cheese. (Sorry, no picture, but it looks just about like any other.) While not any lower in calories, this dish boasts lots of fiber and vitamins and packs 23 grams of protein per serving. It tastes pretty darned good, too, with plenty of cheesy flavor and almost no hint of squash.  No one knew the difference.
For a change, desert was a simple offering, my Father’s recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies.  That was plenty.
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Aaron, Jen, and Xander live south of Birmingham and chose to spend the night. The next morning’s breakfast was modest, just a blueberry version of my Easy Cherry Almond Pastry and a  Hash Brown Breakfast Pie.  That was enough to fuel us for a hike at the Madison County Nature Trail on Green Mountain.  Xander was a good little hiker and seemed to enjoy himself, especially at the little waterfall and looking for turtles from the covered bridge.
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The rest of the week, Michael and I tried our best to use up all the Labor Day leftovers. Gosh, was that a chore, but we were determined not to let it all go to waste. I know, I know, I always cook too much, but what if someone were to go hungry?
Be thankful for what life gives you.

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