Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Leftover plan

I'm looking forward to breakfast tomorrow already...

If we have real maple syrup, I'm going to have a vegan breakfast of Morningstar breakfast (sausage-style) patties and leftover cornbread.

If we don't have maple syrup, I'm going to use my mother-in-law's homemade strawberry jam for my cornbread...

Or maybe, if I don't want to go vegan, I'll use a little of my imported French butter on my cornbread.

Cornbread and sausages

Tonight I'm planning cornbread and spinach-asiago chicken sausages. I had planned to make Eileen Bresslin's vegan cornbread recipe but I ran out of soy milk.

Eileen's recipe:

Preheat oven to 350. These muffins, or cornbread, need to go in a hot oven as soon as they're mixed.
  • 1.5 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix dry ingredients. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Pour liquid into dry, mix until just combined. Bake 30-40 minutes. Note: You may not need quite that much oil.

I added parsley and flax seed to mine tonight.

Now for the sausage... I decided to try and make a sauce. In the bottom of the pan I started with:
  • About 1/4 cup apple juice
  • About 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • About one teaspoon cornstarch
Whisk as bring to a boil to reduce and thicken. It smelled sweet, so I added:
  • About 1/2 teaspoon four color peppercorns
  • About 3/4 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • About 3/4 teaspoon garlic
  • About 1/8 teaspoon curry
After it seriously thickened, I added:
  • three spinach asiago chicken sausages, sliced
  • about 1 cup French cut green beans, frozen and thawed in the microwave
Then I served with the cornbread, using some of the excess sauce as gravy.

(Note: These are the same sausages I got at the warehouse club a few weeks ago and had in the freezer. We've eaten them in pasta sauce, and as sausage sandwiches, and now this funky recipe.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Midnight snack

I didn't get dinner tonight so I survived on a Special K breakfast bar, a die of cheese, two pieces of salami and a quarter-sized peanut butter cookie at a special writer's meeting.

But afterwards, I stopped at Wegmans.

Figured I'd get some of those vegetable egg rolls I adore and some mint chocolate milk. They didn't have my milk. So I got Pomme Lambric (Belgian Apple Beer).

Now, when I originally got the 2 egg rolls and the milk before class one night, it was $4.03 or something similar.

Five egg rolls were $5.99 and the 750 ml of lambric... $10.99. Not cheap. But so tasty.

Turkey and Brie sandwiches

Today's lunch was a subtle variation on last night's dinner.

Today, we had simple turkey sandwiches with brie and lettuce, on multigrain sandwich bread from Giant, and seedless red raspberry jelly from Wegmans. Then for a side we had the leftover Dole Italian Salad with chianti vinaigrette and I added dried cherries for a new flavor.

Fabulous. Heavenly. So simple and so cheery.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On Chocolate

Now, I'm a fan of good chocolate and for the most part I can refuse everyday chocolate. I love a dark chocolate Godiva truffle with a fruity filling of one of those candies from Antoinette Chocolatier in Phillipsburg.

But for cheap luxury, and holiday tradition, nothing beats Palmer Double Crisp. Their bunnies and "Crisp Kringles" are the best! And three little Santas about four or five inches tall is $1 at the dollar store.


My husband went to the store because I wanted a sandwich. He ended up making two trips into the store because he forgot the coupons.

What makes this interesting from my standpoint is today I decided no more using my visa, I'm trying to stick to "cash"/checking account.

Our local Giant doesn't have the best produce, so this is what he bought:

Trip 1, total $32.74:
  • Kraft Grated Parmesan, $3.49 (he couldn't find anything cheaper)
  • Tostitos (for nachoes), buy one get one free at $3.99
  • two cans of Giant black beans, 59 cents each
  • Honey Turkey, 1/2 pound, $3.57
  • Deluxe ham, 1/2 pound, $4.55 (highway robbery, grrr)
  • Spring mix for Blue, our tortoise, $3.50
  • Dole Italian Salad kit, $3.99
  • Asiago bagels, six, $2.79
  • My favorite multigrain sandwich bread, $4.29 (that's ridiculous and why I usually make my own)
  • Chocolate soy milk, $2.39
Trip 2, total $18.13:
  • 2 cans Campbell's minestrone, $1.09 each minus 50 cent coupon
  • vegetarian beef strips, $3.99 minus $1.50 coupon
  • 2 packages spinach bites and 2 packages broccoli bites, $3.99 minus $2 in coupons (these freeze well and count as a vegetable on those hectic nights)


I am so excited for dinner. I'm feeling a tad under the weather and I'm not sure whether it's allergies or a cold... Since sneezing and running nose seems to be the main issue, could just be allergies.

I mentioned to my husband that I would really like a simple sandwich, as in from the deli counter, and he volunteered to run to Giant. (Must be partially because he was home alone with the little one all day.)

I am so thrilled with tonight's meal plan. We're each having half an asiago bagel with soy mayo, lettuce, honey turkey, deluxe ham, smoked guoda and cheddar and vegetarian bacon. Sides are Dole bagged Italian Salad with garlic croutons and some sort of red wine vinaigrette and Veggie Patch Spinach Cheese bites, which we're trying because we had a coupon.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Still surviving on leftovers

We used our new cheese board and utensils today for another cheese platter of brie, cheddar and commercial spinach artichoke heart dip with Wegmans vegetable and wheat characters, still leftover from my husband's holiday cheese platter at work. This was the portion he didn't take to the office, but still... getting very tired of cheese.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The new coffee contraption

My mother-in-law bought me a French press coffee pot for Christmas, a Swiss contraption, the Bodum Chambord.

From Wikipedia: A French press, also known as a press pot, coffee press, coffee plunger or cafetière, is a simple coffee brewing device, probably invented in France in the 1850s, but first patented by Italian designer Attilio Calimani in 1929, who made subsequent design improvements over the years, and further refined by another Italian, Faliero Bondanini.

Now my mother-in-law didn't buy me any coffee and I'm not putting Folgers in this puppy. So, with some cajoling from my husband, we headed to Wegmans. He had every intention of getting ground specialty coffee. But as I didn't see us using this pot every day, I thought whole beans would store better and allow us to grind our own.

Of course, this required a coffee grinder and in true cheap fashion, I headed to the household aisle of Wegmans where I found a Cuisinart grinder on clearance for $15. And I just happened to have a $20 gift card to Wegmans which was essentially my Christmas bonus from the non-profit where I work.

Then to the coffee aisle. In college, I adore Viennese Cinnamon coffee. Closest Wegmans had was "cinna-nut." $7.99 for 12.2 ounces of whole beans. Plus some half and half and some milk. For a grand total of $28.12 minus the $20 gift card.

Now when we got it home, we carefully made the coffee. I ground some, measured it. Heated the Le Creuset tea pot. Boiled the water. Let it calm. Measured it in the measuring cup. Poured it into the press pot and let it brew 4.5 minutes.

We drank with half and half and a splash of French brandy. Fabulous!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Daddy's omelette

For dinner the other night, Daddy made a leftover omelette with spinach and tator tots. He had a holiday party where he made a cheese platter, so he used the leftover cheddar and some ham his boss gave him to make an awesome omelette...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ravioli with gouda and broccoli

This recipe was designed to use up holiday leftovers from my husband's work party, primarily ham and some smoked gouda.

I started with some steam-in-the-bag just picked broccoli cuts from Wegmans, which honestly, disappointed me a tad because of the number of stems in the bag. With those prepared and about 12 large cheese ravioli cooking, I got my Le Creuset skillet and began concocting a sauce.

First, I melted four tablespoons butter, then added the broccoli, hearty sprinkles of garlic pepper, and sprinkled breadcrumbs over the broccoli. I let that sizzle a few minutes (like two). I added about 3/4 cup soy milk and 1 heaping teaspoon flour, working very carefully to keep the flour away from the broccoli until I got the butter milk and flour incorporated. I added about 3/4 cup tiny pieces of ham. Then I also added about 1/4 cup of small chunks of gouda. After that melted, I set the sauce aside and, with drippings still in the pan, added about two teaspoons extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Then I fried the ravioli over low heat and sprinkled them with another 1/2 cup finely grated smoked gouda.

Then I returned the sauce to the pan, stirred it all up, and added another 1/4 cup finely grated smoked gouda. And served. It was fantastic.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Today I'm making bread. I didn't intend to make bread, but it just kind of happened and I thought I'd experiment and make cinnamon raisin bread...

If you're looking for my previous entries on bread and different recipes, click on the label for bread at the bottom of the entry or follow this link:

Now, my initial flour mix:
  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
In separate bowl:
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
I mixed about 3 cups of the flour mix into the water bowl and made a dough. Then I added to the flour mixture bowl:
  • 1 cup oats
Now, I placed the dough in the slightly warm oven to rise. It should be doubled and ready for step two in 2-3 hours.

Okay, a check at 10:30 reveals that the bread is ready for phase two.

I sprinkle half the oat/flour mix where I plan to knead the bread, then I add some white flour around the parameter and flour my hands. I knead the dough and add raisins, disappointed that I only have a 1/2 cup raisins in the house...

Now, leave it sit to double again. Should take an hour.


Yesterday for breakfast my husband made these little sandwiches. Today for breakfast, we're having fresh pineapple and gingerbread cookies... It looks like lunch will be commercial spinach asiago artichoke dip with crackers. I am very excited to report that my good friend Jessica gave me an adorable round cheese board and some cheese utensils for Christmas. This will be the family single cheese board, since my new slate cheese board is cumbersome and difficult to wash.

Oh, and my mother-in-law thanked me yesterday for Thanksgiving and commented on how nice it was. My sister-in-law mentioned that she's a tad disappointed no one is making pancakes for the family Christmas morning. I said I would gladly make her pancakes if she came to my house. My mother-in-law interpreted this to mean I would make breakfast for anyone who wanted it. So, we'll see...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another tuna casserole

Since lunch was spicy and used both meat and beans, I opted for a milder dinner. In one pan, I cooked 1 lb of egg noodles.

Meanwhile in my Le Creuset skillet, I did the following:
  • Added three tablespoons butter
  • about 1 teaspoon basil
  • one teaspoon garlic pepper
  • and some serious shaking (maybe 1.5-2 teaspoons) of the seasoned parmesan mix that came with the spinach rigatoni things from Aldi
Once the butter melted, I added:
  • one cup soy milk
  • one packet of cheese mix from Wegmans cheddar and shells mac and cheese dinner
While that cooked, and I stirred, I prepared about two cups cauliflower in the microwave and opened a can of tuna. Then I added them to the skillet.
  • one can tuna
  • about two cups cauliflower
I drained the noodles and added them.
  • 1 lb egg noodles cooked.
I stirred, and added more of the seasoning
  • about 1 teaspoon Aldi parmesan seasoning
  • about 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • about 1/4 cup sour cream
Stick in oven at about 35o until the family is ready for dinner.

Starting chili

We got about a foot of snow... okay, it's probably more like eight or so inches. But that makes me want something hot and stew-like. Beef bourgogne would be fabulous, but working with what I have on hand, it looks like chili. And if I can gather the ingredients, I'd like to make the kind with cornbread dumplings...

If this link works, it should take you to my previous chili recipes:
If not the link in the labels below for chili should help...

But let's see today...
  • about a tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • about one and a half cups browned hamburger crumbles from the freezer
  • one clove garlic coarsely chopped
  • about 3/4 teaspoon Indian chili powder
  • about one teaspoon pizza and pasta seasoning
That's sizzling in the pan. I added:
  • almost two cups Wegmans vegetable stock
As I wait for that to boil, I'm debating between Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes or the cheap Italian style from Aldi... I'm thinking fire-roasted.
  • One can Hunts Fire Roasted tomatoes
Waiting for that to boil. I'm going to boil it for about 10 minutes to reduce some of the vegetable stock. Then I'll simmer covered for about an hour. I added:
  • one tablespoon cocoa powder
  • about a half teaspoon four color organic peppercorns
I let it cook for about 30 minutes and seeing how it reduced down, I added:
  • 1 cup thai broth (also Wegmans, I had it in the freezer)
Perusing my chili recipes, I'm thinking this calls for:
  • one can (15.5 ounces) light red kidney beans
  • one can dark red kidney beans
(I'm out of black. I love black beans.) I'm still debating whether to add corn and/or pineapple. It all depends on the flavor.

Well, my goal is always to make chili that has a nice flavor but isn't too spicy for the child. I usually only succeed in making either bland chili or five-alarm chili. Today, it seems like this concoction is three-alarm chili. So I added:
  • 20 ounces crushed pineapple (minus a couple ounces for the tortoise)
Smells and looks great.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

egg sandwiches on garlic bagels

We had egg sandwiches on garlic and vegetable bagels for breakfast and leftover crockpot mac and cheese for dinner...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Crockpot mac and cheese

Okay, so I'm bummed. My roasted red peppers are moldy.

I'm crossing my traditional hot spinach dip with a recipe for crock pot mac and cheese. This will be dinner. Still have leftover pork for lunch.

This is the starting point for the mac and cheese:
"8 oz mac (cooked) mix with 2 tbs oil. Put in crock pot and add 4 tbs butter, 1 can evap. milk, 1 1/2 cups milk, 3 cups of various cheeses (whatever you like), salt, pepper, onion powder to taste--put on low for 2-3 hours. "

So I started with:

  • About three tablespoons butter
  • four tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • one package chopped spinach, thawed, liquid added to crock pot
  • 1/2 clove garlic sliced
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic four color pepper
Now, it looks like I need about 2 cups liquid and three cups cheese...

So, I added:
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
That seemed the "soupiness" I like...

Now, I added about 1/4 cup grated romano. And will add a little pepper jack and the rest cheddar. Should be great.

I'm thinking of making a bowl of the other cheese and asking my mother-in-law to add it when she brings my daughter home from school.

I shredded all the cheese and placed it in a big container in the fridge and asked my five-year-old to please put it in the crock pot, carefully, when she gets home from school. We'll see if she remembers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


It was a quick but hearty food day:

  • Breakfast: Cream of wheat and sliced apples
  • Lunch: Leftover pork, noodles, broccoli and beans from last night
  • Dinner: (because Daddy's at a holiday party) scrambled eggs and tator tots with ketchup and a side of baby carrots with dressing. And blueberry juice to wash it down.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pork with black beans, egg noodles and broccoli

I had a craving for something different... A long time ago, my mother (Mimi) mentioned something about how good for you black beans are and she made a pork, black beans and egg noodle dish in beef broth that was pretty good.

I thought I'd make my own spin on it.

I started with two small crowns of broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces.

In my Le Creuset skillet, I placed the following:
  • Several tablespoons lemon juice
  • one tablespoon butter
  • Several tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of one large clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon four color pepper
I cooked this for a few seconds and then placed the raw broccoli in the skillet and cooked it in the sauce. I sprinkled it heartily with It's a Dilly Seasoning (probably about two teaspoons, it came out fast) Don't cook too long. Want to leave it crispy.

I removed the broccoli from the pan. Then, I began a new sauce, the same, but more:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • less than 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • the other 1/2 of the large clove garlic, sliced
My husband sliced two thick boneless pork chops into stir-fry like pieces. I sprinkled them directly with the four-color pepper and added them to the pan. Cook about five minutes on each side, on low side of medium.

Meanwhile, cook one pound egg noodles. Open one can black beans. Rinse well.

Add broccoli and beans to finished pork, in skillet. Drain egg noodles. Add to skillet.

Finish with about 16 ounces vegetable stock. I use Wegmans. Let simmer in skillet until hot.

I thought this was fabulous.

Odd little lunch

My husband has his holiday luncheon today at work. So I prepared for my daughter:

Some italian blend mixed vegetables (zucchini, carrots, lima beans and broccoli) and a Boca vegan burger we got at the warehouse club. I heated the burger, added shredded cheddar cheese, swirls of ketchup and ranch dressing, and she loves it (even though we don't have a bun of any kind). Served with chocolate soymilk.

Apple platter breakfast

Apples with dippings this morning.

My five-year-old sighed and asked for something special for breakfast. I don't have a whole lot of special these days.

So, I did my best.

My girlfriend sent some Harry & David apples and pears. I took a big old red delicious apple and sliced it. Made some cinnamon sugar. I put the cinnamon sugar in a tea cup, put the tea cup on a coaster. Arranged the apple slices on the coaster and put a hunk of peanut butter on a plate. I gave the child the plate and a butter knife and told her to coat the apples with peanut butter and/or cinnamon sugar.

It's a hit.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Modified Corn Lemongrass Sausage soup

I have started a new entry because I have desecrated the vegan nature of the soup with which I started.

I started with Imagine Foods vegan Corn Lemongrass soup...

In the crock pot:
  • 1 container Imagine foods vegan corn lemongrass soup
  • about 1.5 cups cauliflower
  • about 3/4 cup peas
  • 2 spinach asiago sausages, cut into chunks.
Well, if I can trust the package of the sausages, it's still a gluten free meal.

This turned out well. My husband really liked it.

Corn Lemongrass Soup

A while ago, probably last winter, I was in the mood for a "different" soup and I had in my head I was going to try something corn chowder-ish. I was looking for a soup I could use as a base and I selected Imagine Corn & Lemongrass soup. I brought it home and avoided it for the next six months.

I looked at the package today and it said, "Best if used by 11 Dec 09." Oops.

Guess we're eating it today. Honestly, I'm afraid of it. Hence, why I avoided it for so long. The package says it would go nicely with tofu or shrimp. I read one online review that said to serve it with chicken or add spinach, that it's a good soup but very light.

I'm tempted to warm it now, and taste it, and then decide what to do with it to make a nice hot lunch for my family...

Off to the kitchen... Guess I'm having corn lemongrass soup for breakfast.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shopping while brain dead

Okay, so I went to Wegmans yesterday after buying some wine for friends and when I got there I had no idea what I needed to make it through the next few weeks.

So, this is what I bought. I spent about $30, excluding the cheese flight and the cheese board mentioned in my earlier entry.

  • Two percent milk, half gallon $1.70
  • Frozen apple juice concentrate, 2 @ 1.39 each
  • 4 packages frozen spinach, 89 cents each
  • French cut green beans, frozen, 79 cents
  • 2 lbs of frozen peas, $2.19
  • frozen broccoli in the steam bag, 79 cents
  • Bird's Eye green beans with toasted almonds, 99 cents
  • Wegmans spinach and feta peorogies, $1.69
  • Frozen cauliflower, 2 bags at 79 cents each
  • Celestial Seasoning sugarplum tea, $1.99
  • 100% juice, blueberry, $2.99
  • Wegmans white grape juice, $2.49
  • Wegmans unbleached white flour, 99 cents
  • 2 kiwis, $1
  • one pineapple, $2.99

My first cheese flight

Yesterday we spent the day with good friends... Sometimes there are people that you don't see often or haven't seen much, but you know that the mix will work and it doesn't take long to get everyone laughing... I hope that's the way our hosts feel about yesterday. Two families, five kids. We were supposed to have dinner and watch a movie but we never quite made it out of the kitchen... And the kids played for seven hours I believe with only one minor injury forgotten quickly enough...

My job was to bring wine. I selected a Barton & Guestier Vouvray, my staple in the cheap but delectable French wine department, and a Beaujolais-Villages from Beaune (Joseph Durhin, I believe) because my normal Beaujolais was on sale and therefore sold out. I also added a sparkling raspberry wine, a cheap wine but one our family likes for something bubbly and fun. The tab at the liquor store was $32.

But then I went to Wegmans. And they had the slate cheese board I'm wanted on sale... And since we eat more cheese than meat in this house, I went for it. It was a slate cheese board so you can write the name of the cheese on it...

My goal was to purchase some fun cheeses that wouldn't be offensive to the children, but yet still be exotic and inexpensive. For budgeting purposes, I considered the expense similar to eating out, since our hosts would be providing dinner ( a delectable feast of salad, Russian baked chicken, rice and beans, bread, cookies, and the cake shown above is the hearty Russian equivalent of apple pie. )

And while I may be frugal, I love good food and I love sharing good food with friends.

Not pictured above is my last loaf of homemade multigrain bread and the little pre-made baguettes my hostess made. And note to self: her kids love crackers. If I every need a gift for them, I'm buying crackers at the warehouse club.

First, in the totally unnecessary splurge department, I bought imported French triple cream butter. It was on sale for $3.99 a half-pound. Consider I normally pay $1.50 for a whole pound for the American substance we call butter, but hey, it's the holidays and I wanted to see if it was good. And it was. Worth the price? I don't know but that's why I call it a splurge.

Next was a cute triangle of Brie de Nangis. It was $2.40 and tiny. But the folks at the cheese shop said the flavor would fall between the medium brie and the intense/earthy brie. I don't like intense brie, but I do like medium brie and I consider myself a cheese sissy for not liking the "intense" cheeses. So I thought this was worth a try. It was delicious.

I checked out the Roquefort for fun, but the smallest piece was a $70 half wheel. Not fun.

I checked out the goat cheeses and purchased an ubiquitous lump of French feta. I'm not sure if it was actually French, or simply made in the French-style, but I bought it. $3.36. My receipt says it was Valbreso. Some internet research suggests that it's a sheep's milk cheese made with the milk leftover from the production of Roquefort.

I then moved to the port salut and selected a Chaumes ($4.35). Because I like Chaumes. According to

"One of the most popular cheeses in France, produced by the Fromageries des Chaumes, one of the most famous and the biggest cheesemaking company. The soft rind is bright tangerine-orange and the interior is smooth, supple and quite rubbery. The nutty, almost meaty taste and aroma are mild. Affinage takes four weeks. It is used as a table cheese and also for grilling."

According to Wikipedia: "a cow's milk cheese from Périgord (South West of France), made by traditional cheese-making processes. Translated literally, "chaumes" is French for stubble."

And finally the American addition: a big wedge of New York champagne cheddar, $5.66.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Entry to come...

Today's entry may not come until tomorrow as we're visiting with friends (and making a cheese flight and bringing wine). Plus I just got home from Wegmans... and I bought my cheese board!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Perfect Seasonal Breakfast

I served leftover pumpkin spice waffles from the other night, with my daughter's favorite almond sunset tea with (soy)milk and honey. And a clementine. Seems like a perfect seasonal breakfast. The tea seems to help my daughter's dry cough (even she remarks this is the case) and everything else just seems to hit the spot.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Appetizer Night

Okay, so tonight is appetizer for dinner night. (We're in hold over mode until grocery shopping Saturday morning) My husband's choice. He came home with:
  • milk
  • eggs
  • broccoli
  • baby carrots
  • some hamburger
  • some vegetarian sausage patties
And for dinner:
  • Health is Wealth Broccoli and Cheese munchees
  • Health is Wealth spinach munchees
  • tator tots
  • mozzerella
The Spinach munchees have lots of Vitamin A (40% RDA in six munchees), plus vitamin C, calcium and Iron. The broccoli munchees have 6% Vitamin A, 25% Vitamin C, and the iron and calcium.

Yummy Yummy Taco Salad

While I walked our daughter to school in some very nasty wind, my husband made this incredible salad:

  • organic spring mix
  • black beans
  • black olives
  • New York Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • tortilla chips (broken)
with a dressing of
  • sour cream
  • mango salsa

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cinnamon sugar toast

It's a snowy, slushy day. And we have next to no everyday items like milk and eggs. I made some gorgeous multigrain bread yesterday (and brought it to class where the professor very adeptly sliced it into equal slices for the entire class).

My bread is one of my wheat-white-rye concoctions...

My daughter asked for something hot for breakfast so I made my stepmother's specialty: toast with cinnamon sugar. My stepmother does not cook, and when I first visited their house she would offer me toast with cinnamon sugar. I had never had it before so it was an incredible treat.

Today, I made the same thing for my daughter, with real butter, on homemade multigrain bread.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pumpkin waffles?

My pumpkin waffle recipe comes from the Post Punk Kitchen, but my kitchen is in disarray. I have no eggs, milk or soymilk so even making a vegan recipe may be interesting... let's see where experimenting gets us...

The original (and delicious) PPK vegan pumpkin waffle recipe:
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons soy yogurt
  • 2 cups soymilk
  • 15 ounces pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix with fork and prepare in waffle iron.

I doubled the recipe, and used a can of sweetened condensed milk and two cans of water instead of soy milk. It was what I had. I mixed wheat and white flour. I also used pumpkin pie mix and reduced the sugar.

Bizarre little breakfast

I already have some multigrain bread (unbleached white, whole wheat and rye flour) rising... My daughter and husband had a special lunch out yesterday to commemorate the end of the semester and the end of "lunch with Daddy" days while Mommy is in class. My daughter ordered a white Sicilian with broccoli and sausage from Pizza Doro. We'll probably have that for lunch (and I'm thinking I'll let her have ice cream after, her kindergarten teacher will love me for that.)

For breakfast I served my daughter a clementine, some cashews and graham crackers. Not standard, but good stuff.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Penne Regate with Chicken sausage

We tried the chicken sausage with spinach and asiago in penne regate with red sauce and grated cheese tonight. It was good. Better than I expected. I purchased the sausage at the warehouse club because it sounded different and had a nice vitamin A content that made it a nice "vegetable" addition...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Stuffed Quesadillas tonight

Tonight I made stuffed quesadillas... because despite going to the warehouse club last night we have no milk or eggs and I didn't thaw out meat and we had tomato soup for lunch so that ruled out anything with tomato sauce so no pasta (and I had hoped to have pasta tomorrow)

Now that was a run-on sentence.

In a skillet, I layered some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled some garlic pepper, with the heat on medium low, I added a tortilla shell, piled it with black beans and sliced black olives, then lots of extra sharp cheddar, a little pepperjack for zest, and a lid of another tortilla shell. Cook until crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside.

Serve in nice triangles with mango salsa and sour cream.

Soup and crackers

Still no homecooking, but I hope to get inspired before this evening. It looks like lunch will be at 2 p.m. today so we opted for a light lunch not to interfere with dinner.

V-8 Tomato Herb soup and whole wheat Toasted crackers...

We've never tried the soup before and the crackers are the last pack left from Nana's birthday party...

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Ah, the lovely snowing weather... We load the family into the car and head to the gas station and the warehouse club. This is my first trip to any store since my husband's trip before Thanksgiving... So... We spent $172. What'd we get?
  • 1 pound organic spring mix (primarily for the tortoise) $3.98
  • The Never Ending Story on DVD, $4.86
  • Adam & Eve 100 % juice 6.75 ounce juice boxes, 36 boxes (for school), $8.20
  • Spinach & Asiago Chicken sausage 3 lbs for $11.97 (selected because of the vitamin A content. The addition of spinach gives it some green vegetable presence)
  • Cat litter, 35 lbs for $10.74
  • Hunts Tomato sauce, 12 15-ounce cans, $6.98 (not convinced the generic wouldn't be cheaper, but for convenience...)
  • Land O Lakes cocoa, 42 packages of seven different flavors, $11.28 (That should last the winter)
  • Six pounds of baking soda, $6.16 (for cleaning)
  • 1 gallon vinegar, $2.48 (again, think I could find it cheaper elsewhere, but I never remember to look... so... for cleaning)
  • The HUGE pump of French Vanilla coffeemate, the equivalent of 3oo of those single serving tubs, $9.88
  • Six pounds of penne rigate $4.88
  • 4 lbs of frozen cheese ravioli, $8.87 (the school wanted more than $9 for 3 lbs as part of their 'Market Day' fundraiser
  • 3 lbs of frozen blueberries, $5.68
  • 16 big old vegan Boca Burgers, $9.86
  • American brie, $5.46, for my husband's Christmas party at the office
  • 2 bricks, 2 pounds each, of Land of Lands extra sharp cheddar cheese, $5.56 each
  • Eggplant cutlets, breaded but unseasoned, 3 lbs
  • Cascade dishwasher liquid, 10 lbs, $8.94
  • 10 boxes of Kleenex, $12.98 (in this house, we need tissues by the case)
  • 36 double rolls of Quilted Northern, 286 sheets a roll, $16.88 (Now, the Member's Mark generic brand was only $14.88, but there was only 200 sheets on each of their rolls) The Northern had 10,296 sheets. The Member's Mark only 7,200. That's 41 cents a roll versus 46 cents a roll, with an extra 86 sheets on the more expensive roll. That's almost 1/3 more toilet paper for a nickel!

No cooking...

I haven't been cooking this week. We ate stuffed shells from my husband's mom, leftover pot pies from the freezer, Fred the Friendship bread for breakfast, and boxed macaroni and cheese with vegetables for lunch. Thursday night's dinner was Papa John's pizza and last night's was the diner with my dad.

This morning my daughter has breakfast with Santa.

Got to love the end of the semester/ holiday season/ busy time of year at my office.

Tight finances have also contributed, but an unexpected windfall means grocery shopping is in our future.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fred the Friendship Bread

My friend Gayle brought us a sourdough starter so we could make friendship bread. She brought it November 21 and my husband ended up baking it last night with our daughter.

Day One: Receive the starter

Day Two: stir

Day Three: stir

Day Four: stir

Day Five: Add one cup each of flour, sugar and milk.

Day Six: Stir

Day Seven: Stir

Day Eight: stir

Day Nine: stir

Day Ten: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and one cup milk. This is the new starter. Divide into four containers of one cup each. Three are for friends.

With your cup of starter, add the following ingredients and bake:

2/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 to 1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Beat by hand until well-blended. You can add 1 cup raisins and 1 cup nuts, if desired. Grease two loaf pans with butter, sprinkle with sugar instead of flour. The recipe says to bake at 325 for 45 minutes to an hour, my husband said it took much longer so it might be better at 350.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Meal plan

Tonight for dinner we're having stuffed shells my mother-in-law randomly made for us.

Tomorrow we're having the broccoli cheese pot pie in the freezer.

Grocery situation looking desperate. We may be subsisting on soup by the end of the week.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mulligutawny (II)

I've made Mulligutawny before, but today I'm revising slightly for the use of leftovers... I will place in crock pot on low...

  • About 1.5 cups shredded turkey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper
Sauté in skillet.

  • one can petit diced tomatoes, drained
Cook about 30 minutes on low, stirring occasionally. While that cooks, in crock pot combine:

  • about 20-25 ounces Thai broth
  • 14 ounces low salt chicken broth
  • about 3/4 cup brown rice (I used instant)
Then put everything in the crock pot on low...

The original post on this soup:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fruity Baked French Toast

I can't find my recipe for baked French toast, but this won't stop me. I'm combining the vegan recipe for French toast, my imagination and my leftover homemade bread from Thanksgiving...

  • 8 slices homemade white bread
  • 8 slices homemade multigrain bread
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup homemade applesauce
  • 1 banana
  • juice of 1 clementine
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
Okay, so the jury is out on whether this one will "work." In a bowl, I mixed: the eggs, applesauce, banana, juice, milk, honey and vanilla. I dipped the bread into the mix and layered it into my greased (with butter) 11x 7 casserole dish. Then I added the cinnamon and the nutmeg to the egg mix and poured over the bread. (I had two layers of bread.)

I'm baking and 350 and then I figure I'll broil it depending on how much of the liquid gets absorbed.

After 20 minutes at 350, most of the liquid absorbed, but it was still mushy, so I rearranged it a bit and increased heat to 420, for another 10 minutes...

As the pieces got crispy, I served with cream cheese and my mother-in-law's blueberry topping.

Now, if you'd rather try a recipe for vegan French toast, here you go (from Eileen Bresslin):
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 10 slices stale bread
  • vegetable oil
  • cinnamon
Mix soy milk and orange juice, dip bread in mix lightly (do NOT let bread get soggy) sprinkle with cinnamon and fry in oiled skillet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Spinach Omelettes

So, for the last 24 hours I have thought about the omelette I wanted to make with the leftover white meat of turkey. I made it for dinner tonight and served with Nana's homemade applesauce.

Angel's Turkey Spinach Omelette with a hint of curry
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • about 1.5 cups turkey, white meat, shredded
  • about 1.5 cups cheese, cheddar, shredded
  • about 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground four color peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
In a skillet, not a huge one, melt the butter, add the olive oil and the two peppers. Add the spinach, sauté about one minute, add about half of the curry. Add the turkey. Add the other half of the curry to the turkey. Stir. Let sauté, stirring ocassionally, until the liquid begins to disappear.

Pour the hot turkey/spinach filling into a bowl and set aside. Pour eggs into the hot skillet. Let cook on medium or medium high depending on your cookware about one to two minutes. Add the turkey spinach filling. Let cook until the eggs are almost "solid." Add the cheese. Let sit another minute, probably would work best if you covered it to help melt the cheese. Then fold the omelet in half and press down to make sure nothing runny comes out. If it does, let the omelette continue cooking until the runny stuff hardens, as long as your frying pan is not hot enough to burn the eggs.


Yesterday we survived on leftovers! Delicious and magnificent!

Pie for breakfast (healthy, I know.)

I had a salad with hot bacon dressing, leftover spaghetti from Wednesday, a bit of corn bake and a broccoli mini-pot pie.

My husband took Wednesday's leftover rice and vegetables and mixed in some dark meat of turkey and lots of butter; he's skinny, he can do that.

Then for dinner we had big plates of the other Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mini broccoli pot pies

The last item for pre-prep is broccoli pot pies... I put little aluminum foil discs in the bottom of cupcake tins to keep them from sticking and rip ready-made pie crusts into pieces about the size of my hand.

We made WAY more filling than we needed. So we made a broccoli cheese calzone kind of thing for another day. And froze it. We started out with 24 cupcake tins with the crust in them.

In a bowl, we mixed:
  • Three crowns fresh broccoli cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cans broccoli cheese soup
  • about two teaspoons garlic pepper
We scooped a large heaping tablespoon into each tin, pinched the crust closed and then baked at 375 until brown (about 20 minutes.)

Sweet Potato Crunch

My husband's Aunt Carolyn makes a variation of this dish, so I thought the recipe came from her. It appears the one I have came from "Janet Muchoney" in the Weis Recipe Exchange...

Sweet Potato Crunch
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
For the crunch:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cupped pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine, melted
In a large bowl, mix the first set of ingredients. Pour into 9x13 inch greased pan. Mix remaining dry ingredients. Layer on top of creamed sweet potatoes. Pour melted butter over topping.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

My modifications:
I didn't use fresh yams (and Gayle is mad at me for this, or perhaps disappointed). I used two 29 ounce cans of Taylor Yams in syrup, drained. I also reduced the white sugar to 2/3 cup. I upped the pecans to 1.5 cups because I like pecans...

And I used an 11x7 dish not realizing how small it is...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Apple Bread Stuffing

I'm prepping for the holiday tomorrow and I keep staring at the pile of bread cubes wondering if I'll have enough for stuffing. The 2-quart round casserole dish is full...

The Betty Crocker 25th Anniversary Cookbook offers this basic recipe for "bread stuffing."
Bread Stuffing
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1.5 cups celery (chopped with leaves)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 9 cups soft bread cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Heat margarine in dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook celery and onion in margarine about two minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Now there's two pertinent variations to note from the cookbook:
Casserole Stuffing (the kind I prefer, baked not 'Stove Top') and Apple-Raisin Stuffing

Casserole Stuffing: Place stuffing in ungreased 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake at 375 until hot. About 30 minutes.

Apple-Raisin Stuffing: Increase salt to 1.5 teaspoons. Add 3 cups finely chopped apples and 3/4 cups raisins with remaining ingredients.

What I plan to do:
Angel's Baked Apple Stuffing

I hate onions and celery... so those are gone...
Using the basic ingredients from the list for Bread Stuffing... I will put the butter in my (Le Creuset) skillet and sauté about three cups apple with all the herbs/spices and four color pepper. I'm going to skip the raisins. I'm going to use fresh herbs I have in the freezer (some from my garden): hopefully sage, thyme, a pinch of rosemary and cloves if I have them.

I will mix my homemade bread (cubed) into the sauce and press into a baking dish, unless it's a small enough amount I can bake it right in the skillet...