Tuesday, September 29, 2009
My daughter had the last of my mother's meatballs and sausages in red sauce for lunch, with an apple and some fritos.
My husband and I had my mom's leftover rice curry. BUT my husband used the last of the vegetarian Morningstar Chikn Nuggets and I had planned to make those into chicken stir-fry with the microwaveable/steam in bag vegetables and concoct some sort of Asian-style sesame sauce. I didn't get to the sauce. My husband felt bad about using the nuggets, so he chopped up one chicken breast from the freezer and fried it. We served with brown rice and some low-sodium soy sauce.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
At one point I mentioned I planned to recycle the lemon sauce from the chicken the other night, a French style recipe that included lots of butter, fresh herbs and wine (though I used grape juice.) We did end up eating it on whole wheat spaghetti, with tuna and peas and garlic pepper.
This vegan recipe was posted the Facebook page of a friend of mine. It sounds like an incredible variation on guacamole. I have not tried it as I just got the recipe today.
Roasted Red Pepper Avocado Dip
2 roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 clove of garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground salt
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (optional)
Sorry for the lack of posting, but I threw my back out sneezing. We went out to dinner Friday before this event, at one of our favorite Mom-and-Pop restaurants (Little Italy Food Center in Pohatcong).
Saturday my mom invited us for dinner after my injury and stocked us with leftovers that we've been eating. The price "recipe" seems to be a pork with black beans and egg noodle concoction she made. She made it with beef broth and pre-seasoned pork, but I'd season my own pork (or omit it entirely and replace with broccoli) and use vegetable broth instead of beef.
Tonight we had this for dinner with a side of store-bought prepackaged Ceasar Salad.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
But I have to go to the office while my daughter is in kindergarten to screen a volunteer. On top of it, I have an economics quiz tomorrow, a big French test Tuesday, and last minute stuff for a training I'm giving at work next week.
And the teacher made color day a Thursday instead of Friday.
So while I'm trying to study this morning, my office keeps calling. I start the dishwasher and something blocked the water flow so half the dishes aren't clean.
I planned leftover baked potatoes for lunch, with heaps of frozen veggies-- carrots, lima beans, zucchini, snap peas-- and I began seasoning them with garlic pepper and grated cheese while the potatoes were in the microwave. They smelled awesome.
Then huge chunks of moldy cheese started falling into the veggies.
So the potatoes got served with garlic pepper and sour cream with a side of Mornindstar vegetarian chicken nuggets. C'est la vie.
I made a double batch of pancakes using Betty's Crocker's 25th anniversary cookbook.
The basic recipe for pancakes is this:
1 egg, beaten until fluffy
1 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar or brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
(combine ingredients and fry on griddle)
The Betty Crocker oat variant is this:
substitute 1/2 cup oats for 1/2 cup of the flour. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. (This actually makes the calorie content go down from 100 to 85 calories a pancake)
Now, they claim the yield is nine four-inch pancakes.
So, this is what I did:
Angel's banana-oat pancakes
2 eggs, beaten until fluffy
1 cup oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1.5 cups soymilk
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons canola oil
6 teaspoons baking powder (which isn't that 2 tablespoons?)
pinch idiozed sea salt
2 extra ripe small bananas mixed thoroughly into batter
1 banana, perfect eating condition, sliced to stir into batter
Leftovers get frozen for quick, yummy breakfasts later.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Nothing gourmet on the menu tonight... For breakfast my daughter had cereal and an early lunch of leftover chicken and mac and cheese with peas. I had cottage cheese and a banana for breakfast and the same lunch.
For dinner, we're having fish sticks because I unexpected had to work late tonight, but we're serving with frozen cooked squash that I will flavor with butter and brown sugar.
Tomorrow, we'll have some sort of leftover baked potato for lunch and I'm thinking some sort of pasta for dinner with the leftover sauce from the chicken. I was thinking pasta with that sauce and tuna, but my husband made a face at the idea.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
When did it get to be after 11? I got off the phone with my daughter's potential girl scout leader and looked at the clock and let's just say lunch should have been on the table... and it's not.
So I whipped up a fried egg on storebought seven grain bread with ketchup, served with pretzels and fresh strawberries and white grape juice diluted with seltzer.
I wanted to make something this morning, yummy yet suitable for the freezer. So, I took my coffee cake streusel recipe and adapted it into muffins with chocolate almond topping. The topping did not stick to the muffins as well as I'd expected so I shook it off onto a plate and plan to freeze them for a future project.
About one cup Emerald dark chocolate roasted almonds, chopped in the food processor
About one cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
The muffin/coffee cake
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
(equal amount lemon extract if you have it, I didn't)
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons soymilk
Preheat oven to 350. Cream sugar and butter. Beat in egg and extract(s). Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternatively with the milk. Pour into muffin tins. Top with topping, bake 25 minutes.
Yield: eleven muffins and tons of crumbs
Sunday, September 20, 2009
We attended the Riverside Festival of the Arts today and had a late lunch of beef brisket sandwiches. For dinner, we had a picnic while my daughter and I rode our bikes. No one was very hungry because of such a meaty lunch, so we had the Dole Southwest Salad with bananas for dessert and water from our bike bottles. The dinner cost me about $3 total, or $1 per person, because the salad (which came with salsa ranch dressing, tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, radishes, shredded carrots and lettuce) was buy one get one free at $3.99, and the bananas were 59 cents a pound.
My daughter made the mistake of getting her bike going really fast and then deciding to see if she could ride one-handed. The answer was no. She has a nasty though superficial crash and scraped her elbow in an ugly way. So after we washed her up, I made her Easy Now traditional medicinal tea with honey and soy milk and my husband told her it was Mme. Pomfrey's special potion.
This week has included a series of crazy events.... My husband made a variety of meals and even took photos of them, so I hope by the end of the day to have a series of new entries.
Yesterday, I finally did a quick grocery shopping trip. I went to Giant and I originally planned to get about $40 worth of groceries to get through the week, but decided to get a wider variety since it was going on my charge card.
I had a 14-hour day on Thursday attending a conference with colleagues in Philadelphia (The Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women) and one of our meeting points was next to a liquor store so I treated myself to two bottles of Barton & Guestier Vouvray at $11 a bottle. Last night my husband uncorked one of the nicely chilled Vouvrays and at my request added fresh raspberries.
For breakfast this morning, we're having some fresh raspberries and strawberries and toasted store-bought baguette with melted cheddar and vegetarian bacon.
Yesterday at the store, I spent $103.41. I bought a lot of foods that aren't in my typical repertoire, but I don't see my situation changing anytime soon. So I tried to find foods that were inexpensive, didn't violate the principles, provided nutrition and ease of preparation.
- 3-46 ounce bottles of Juicy Juice in various flavors, $2.39 each (have to remember to stock up on concentrate the next time I'm at Aldi)
- Ajax dish soap, 16 ounces, 99 cents (I usually wait until I have coupons for Dawn because I'm allergic to most other dish soaps, but since most dishes go in the dishwasher... here's hoping.)
- Earthgrain 7-grain bread, $2.49 (yes, I bought bread)
- Nature's Promise mac-and-cheese, two boxes, $1.25 each (the natural/organic mac and cheese, after all, Kraft is 99 cents. Add a veggie and it almost is a real meal.)
- bananas, 2.2 lbs, $1.30
- seven lettuce blend (for the tortoise) on sale for $2
- Dole Asian Crunch salad, Dole Southwest salad, buy one get one free at $3.99 (and I add some stuff and make one package into dinner salads for all three of us)
- 5 lbs of russet potatoes, $2.99 (my husband makes these hugely-piled baked potatoes as dinner or lunch)
- raspberries, a pint, $2.99
- strawberries, a quart?, also $2.99
- 4.14 pounds of boneless chicken breasts, $12.38
- French baguette, $1.99
- Green Giant frozen vegetables: the cauliflower with cheese sauce, broccoli in cheese sauce and vegetable medley. On sale for $1.59 each, plus a $1 off coupon (for another trip) if you bought three. Add these to rice and it's a quick lunch. Add some protein source and it's a dinner.
- Morningstar Vegetarian Italian Sausage, $3.49
- Morningstar Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets, $3.49 (great to chop up and add to those Dole Salads)
- Amy's Pockets, $2.29 each, I bought two vegetable and two broccoli cheese. Grab and go lunch if needed.
- Health is Wealth Spinach munchies, $3.49, great hot snack or vegetable side
- Frozen squash, 99 cents (never bought it before, but I thought I could make squash with either maple syrup or brown sugar and butter)
- Frozen spinach, 89 cents
- A HUGE bag of frozen peas, $2.59
- frozen mixed vegetables (akin to the vegetable california medley from Aldi) $1.19
- Giant frozen steam-ready broccoli, carrots, snap peas and water chestnuts, $1.35 (great for a quick stir-fry even a Daddy can handle)
- 24 ounces of fish sticks, $3.49 (yeah, I cringe at this one, but my kid and spouse love them so occasionally I indulge them)
- Light and Lively cottage cheese, $3.49
- Coffeemate, one 16 ounce Parisian Almond Creme and one 32 ounce French Vanilla, $1.99 and $3.09
- 18 eggs, $1.59
- Nature's Promise Soymilk and chocolate soymilk, $2.39 each
- Giant 8-ounce cheese, buy one get one free, $1.95 per block (4 blocks = $4)
- Giant unsalted and regular butter, 1 lb each, $1.79 each
- 24 ounces of sour cream, $2.25
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I'm not quite happy with the breakfast selections around here these days and we can always use something quick, easy and nutritious. I love those Quaker Oatmeal Bars (not the breakfast cookies, those don't have much in the way of nutritional content) and thought maybe I could make something similar at home.
I searched "oatmeal raisin breakfast bar" and found the following:
Makes: 14 bars
Preparation time: 30 minutes
1.5 Cups rolled oats
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried raisins
1/2 cup melted butter
oil for greasing
Preheat oven to 375F, grease a 11x7 inch tin.
Stir oats, sugar and raisins together in a bowl.
Press the mixture into the pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.
Remove from oven, cut into bars and cool in pan for 5 minutes.
Store in air-tight container for 15 days.
Now, this looks frightening similar to my tried-and-true granola recipe from The Imus Ranch cookbook. And of course, I can never stick to a recipe. So, I mixed up the following:
4.5 cups oats
1/3 cup sugar
2 + cups trail mix
some cashew crumbs from the bottom of the container
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup butter
1/8 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
Eliminate the butter and the honey and this recipe could easily become vegan...
Mine are cooling now... and I bet I end up with three or four bars and a big pile of granola...
I was right, and the reason my bars didn't maintain their shape is because I didn't use enough butter. You know, good old fashioned butter. And butter is what cools and hardens and makes them keep their shape.
Monday, September 14, 2009
No wonder I thought my cooking lately had been boring. I also felt like I had done a ton of grocery shopping and there should be food in the house but there isn't and it looks like I didn't buy any.
Yesterday my friend and neighbor Bob called. I'm cleaning out the garden, would you like Basil? My mama taught me never to turn down free food, so of course I said yes. He brought up an enormous tree of basil. I was up to my eyeballs with work, so I set my sister to cleaning it.
The phone rings again. Hi, me again. How about some Tarragon? Sure. He bring this huge tangled ball of tarragon. I then put both my sisters to work.
Now I was faced with 2 large colanders of tarragon, and a giant bowl of basil. Not to mention the dishpan full of "waste" for the compost bin. How the heck do I was and dry ll this. Time was ticking on the basil. It turns black in a New York minute. Cold stops the blackening, so I knew it had to go in the fridge dirty until I decided.
Normally when I was herbs I just dry them between cotton towels. I am too cheap to use paper towels, and I'm not gadget oriented so I never bought a salad spinner. Heck, I never even used one until my fund raiser last June. It was cool.
A salad spinner would be perfect for the job. I knew my neice has one and we were going to see "Julia and Julie" (at the Boyd. Old, lots of character, and only $6!) maybe she could come early and we could take the herbs for a ride in her spinner. She did. We did.
The entire process, with two working took five, maybe six minutes. My way would have taken at east an hour, if not more. It turns out that a salad spinner is not a gadget. It is a great thing. The herbs were drier than I could ever get them with towels, in seconds.
Now I didn't want to just throw them in a bag into the freezer. They still would have been a lump in December when I needed them. I needed something closer to individual. So I pulled out my cookie sheets, covered them with wax paper, and spread the tarragon out on two, and then the basil on two more. I stuck them in the deep freeze and went to the movies.
This morning I had to decide on packaging. I usually chose "tupperware". It stacks, it's easy to label and keeps my freezer organized. But for herbs I found zipper bags work best.
Herbs go from frozen to thawed in a very few minutes. Make sure your hands are clean, and the bags are open, labeled and ready to go before you start. Pull out one tray at a time and fill the bags, close them and put them right back in the freezer.
Then this winter, when you need fresh basil and they are charging $3.99 for two sprigs in the store. You've got "fresh" in the freezer. It can't be used for a garnish, but really, is garnish worth $3.99?
For breakfast our daughter had two bowls of generic Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, then we went for a bike ride and she had a snack of trail mix, cinnamon grahams and dark chocolate powdered roasted almonds.
My husband and I had waffles with peanut butter for breakfast. He packed the leftover fish my mom (Mimi) made for our daughter Saturday night and some english muffins to make sandwiches for their lunch together, with a side of leftover vegetables and fries and sweet potato fries from the restaurant Friday night.
I packed leftover tuna casserole for my lunch, and threw some zucchini (already shredded) from the freezer into the fridge to thaw. We'll have zucchini cakes from the Imus Ranch cookbook for dinner. Click zucchini or Imus for more details. Deirdre Imus' cookbook is a great one for veg*ns.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday night we went to a seafood restaurant with my dad, where my daughter ate and ate and ate: salad, shrimp, half of grandma's chicken, fries, sweet potato fries, bread and butter, water, pineapple juice, a few bites of veggies, ice cream, whipped cream AND a haagen-daaz bar. This was _after_ she had milk and three slices of watermelon at school (for red day) and a pumpkin scone for an afterschool snack and a couple handfuls of fritos because she caught me red-handed.
Yesterday she spent the day with her Mimi and we had a party for author Kaylie Jones to attend. Hence, no food entries.
Today we had bean burritos for lunch. To use up the nacho stuff from the other night. We had refried beans, lots of black olives, cheddar cheese and mango salsa.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Since my husband's birthday is tomorrow, I baked fresh bread for dinner tonight and bought about a pound of stuff from the Wegmans olive bar (about $8): marinated mozzerella balls, asiago artichoke dip, antipasto with olives and meat, and sweet corn bruschetta. Served with fresh blueberries, raspberries and raw baby carrots.
So, our daughter solved our dinner dilemma last night by requesting nachos. We made them with mango salsa, black olives, cheddar cheese, beans, and tomatoes from the garden.
This morning for breakfast we each had half a cinnamon raisin bagel with cashew butter.
My daughter considered yesterday's yogurt with mix-ins a "deluxe" breakfast, so I upped the ante for lunch today: Vanilla yogurt with cinnamon grahams, peanut butter crunch, AND dark chocolate covered almonds, grapes, and now she's eating an apple. The kid never stops...
I have fresh French-style honey-wheat bread on its second rise. After my daughter gets out of school, I plan to run to Wegmans for some fancy cheese and some fruit for a pre-birthday dinner for my husband.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I should go into the kitchen and make myself a nice scrambled egg with some sort of toast. I have about an hour before I leave for class. I vacuumed. I did the dishes and even made some iced tea.
But I don't want to make a nice breakfast with real food. I want one of those special K protein bars that I bought at the warehouse club. I mentioned last week that they taste like rice krispie treats covered with chocolate. And I'll wash it down with very vanilla Silk soy milk.
Now I believe the per unit cost of these bars were 43 cents each. Each one has 180 calories, 6 grams fat (3.5 saturated, which is a lot), no cholesterol, 230 mg sodium (again, a lot in my mind), 5 gram fiber (that's good), 15 gram sugar (lower than I expected), 10 grams protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin D (4%), Vitamin E, Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, Vitamin B12, and zinc.
On Monday when I got home from class, my husband made tuna on toasted English muffins (in the freezer from the buy one, get one free sale) and melted cheddar with spring mix (from the tortoise's stash) and tomato from the garden...
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I can cook cheap. I can cook fancy. I can cook comfort. But I have yet to master cooking without time...
Yesterday we went to my in-laws for dinner (Dinner in One Dish and the last of the season's sweet corn and greens with hot bacon dressing and homemade applesauce AND banana cake for my husband's birthday).
Today for breakfast, the kid had cereal and then a slice of cake around 10. At 11:15 ish I fed her leftover dinner-in-one-dish (she ate TWO big plates) and then while she went to school I planned to make a broccoli pot pie for dinner.
Except we had eaten most of the broccoli.
So I took a Pillsbury pie crust (coupon), added what fresh broccoli we did have, a can of Campbell's broccoli cheese soup and a half can of soy milk. I then got some frozen peas, some frozen cauliflower and some frozen carrots and added them to the mix.
Added the second pie crust, covered the edges with tin foil, and set the oven to heat to 425 degrees at about 4:15 so it can be done at 5.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Last night we had whole wheat penne with red sauce/pizza sauce, fresh broccoli and grated parmesan.
This morning, my husband offered my daughter leftover sicilian for breakfast and she said she'd rather have cottage cheese. So we had pizza. And let her have cottage cheese.
She left with Mimi around 10, and around 1, my husband made egg sandwiches with cheddar cheese and diced tomato from the garden. Mine was on the last jalapeno bagel.
We did some errands this afternoon and ended up at Aldi, unintentionally. I note the cheese prices have gone up. It's still cheaper than Giant, but the gap is getting smaller. This is what we got:
- Aldi brand Peanut Butter Krunch, $1.89
- 2 boxes of spinach-artichoke dip, $1.99 each with lots of vitamin A. I use it as a hot lunch for the three of us with a loaf of homemade bread. One box is just enough for the three of us.
- 1 box mozzerella sticks, an unusual treat for my husband, $1.99
- 1 box frozen jalapeno cream cheese poppers, for the next grown-up movie night, $1.99
- flour tortillas, 99 cents
- 34.5 ounces coffee, $4.99
- decaf (small can), $2.99
- butter greens for Blue, $1.69
- coffee filters, 99 cents
- onion petals, also a treat for hubby, $1.99
- 2 blocks New York extra sharp cheddar, $1.49 each
- Aldi brand Frappacinos, 99 cents each (2)
- 4 small cans tomato sauce, 25 cents each
- Cheddar Jalapeno Kettle chips, $1.99
Saturday, September 5, 2009
My apologies to any loyal fans who have noticed I have fallen down on the job. The first week of school for both my daughter and I proved more impossible than I thought. I hardly slept, let alone cooked.
This is what I remember about the last several days:
- Wednesday morning I had a fried egg on homemade foccaccia for breakfast. That was delicious.
- Wednesday evening my husband made boxed mac and cheese with lots of fresh broccoli.
- In the middle of the night Wednesday, I was starving so my husband made me half a poppy seed bagel with tuna and melted cheddar, open faced. Mmmmm...
- Thursday night we got a sicilian with broccoli and sausage.
- Yesterday my boss gave me a ton more tomatoes which reminded me that I have some in the garden, ripe on the vine.
- My daughter has been eating all my cottage cheese. She likes it with homemade jelly mixed in.
- Special K peanut butter chocolate protein bars taste like chocolate covered rice krispie treats
- Last night my husband made steak sandwiches on bagels. Chipped steak meat with cheddar cheese and pizza sauce. We served with fresh blueberries.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Okay, so wee one had her leftover bagel for breakfast. I had half a poppyseed bagel with cheese. Her dad had a banana.
Her dad packed himself trail mix. Then we went for our bike ride and she came home and finished her bagel and ate a pile of strawberries. She's also had some Very Vanilla soy milk. So for lunch, since it will roll around for her in less than an hour, I'm thinking her leftover raw carrots from yesterday, yogurt and some of the dark chocolate powder-coated almonds for protein. And something similar for me.
For dinner I'm thinking homemade foccaccia with tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Still lots of tomatoes. We served with the salad I got on sale yesterday.