Friday, April 30, 2010

May's First Aldi Trip

Did my first round of grocery shopping from the May budget. I'd like to cut the grocery budget as much as I can, as I don't know how much more I can do to cut the price of gas for the car, oil to heat the house, or even the electric bill. Food seems to be one of those necessities that at least has some flexibility as to what you spend on it.

I gave myself a budget of $50, a goal of two weeks of food, and $65 cash in my wallet.

I headed to Aldi to see how I could do. Now, I forgot the ketchup. I also didn't see cream of wheat. But all in all, I think I did well. We'll see what you think:

  • Bananas, 2.5 lbs, 76 cents
  • Frozen peas, 95 cents
  • Steam Easy Spring Vegetables, two bags, $1.49 each (hmmm.... twice as much old fashioned "California Medley" is much cheaper.)
  • 64 ounces plain soymilk, $2.29
  • Whole wheat pasta, $1.o9
  • 1.5 cups chopped pecans, $2.89 (yeah, a splurge. So I can make those fruity nutty oatmeal cookies that almost taste like Quaker Oatmeal Breakfast Bars)
  • Three cans chunky-style soup (two chicken and dumpling, one broccoli/cheese) 1.39 each
  • tomato sauce, 4 tiny cans, 25 cents each
  • 75' of Aluminum foil, 2.29
  • Big jar of medium salsa (for the husband: he doesn't like the mango salsa that has all the vitamins in it) $1.69
  • carrots, (fresh) 99 cents
  • 2 cans apple-raspberry 100 percent juice concentrate 92 cents each (hmmm... looks like we're sticking to apple from here on out, 30 cents difference)
  • 2 cans white grape-raspberry 100 percent juice concentrate $1.24 each
  • Miracle Whip (aldi brand) $1.69 (enormous jar. Sigh. I miss my nayonnaise)
  • 2 cans medium sweet peas, 55 cents each (for the tortoise)
  • Box of raisins, $1.49
  • three boxes of plastic baggies in various sizes for the freezer, $1.95 each
  • bran flakes, $1.49
  • aldi brand peanut butter captain crunch, $1.49 (succumbed to the "um, mommy? Can I please have peanut butta cwunch?")
  • three boxes cheap mac and cheese, 35 cents each
  • one bag tortilla chips, 99 cents
  • A big bag of lemons, 2.69 (anything tastes good in lemon butter sauce)
  • spring and butter lettuce, $1.69
  • Italian blend lettuce, $1.99
  • Broccoli crowns, $1.49
  • strawberries, $1.19

Total: 51.16

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yesterday's Omelet

Yesterday, my daughter and I made a six egg omelet for the three of us to split for lunch. She sliced the black olives. We also added some frozen chopped spinach, a hint of four color pepper, some cheddar, and the leftover asiago.

Italian Style Veggie and Rice skillet

One more day and my husband gets paid. The cupboards are getting bare, but yet are older stocked with items like eggs, flour and butter.

I took a bag of steam in bag Italian vegetables, with some sort of mildly seasoned sauce, and the last Boca burger. I threw the veggies in the microwave and fried the veggie burger in olive oil and butter and a dash of soy sauce. I chopped it up, added the veggies, a pinch of four-color pepper, and the leftover two cups of cooked white rice. Added some garlic powder and a little over a tablespoon of butter to keep the rice from sticking to the skillet and...


Far from fabulous. But a fairly healthy lunch.

NPR on Marmite

Oddly fascinating and well-written:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


So, breakfast # 1 was cream of wheat made with 2% organic milk, a glass of water and a cup of coffee.

Breakfast #2, in search of protein and fruit, was a glass of unsweetened sun tea, leftover perfumed pineapple and a serving of cashews.

We have minimal fresh veggies, no fresh fruit and no fruit juice. This will be rectified over the weekend.

broccoli cheese quesadillas

For a quick easy dinner last night that included a green veggie, my husband (at my suggestion) made cheddar-broccoli quesadillas in the skillet and served with mango salsa. Not high cuisine, but tasty and kid friendly. Included a green veggie, an orange fruit, calcium and protein. All good in my book. And literally, he chopped the broccoli and cooked it in the microwave, slapped it inside flour tortilla shells with lots of cheese and cooked with cooking spray in the pan. That's all. Nothing fancy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Leftovers in lemon-butter sauce

Today for breakfast we had raisin bran and I forgot to have my second breakfast. That made the morning challenging.

It's cold and rainy so my multigrain pizza crust didn't rise properly (still tasted fairly good and kind of like a soft pretzel). But the pan pizza came out nicely.

The perfumed pineapple, well, my daughter over perfumed it and I over-buttered the crumbs again so it was far from perfect but edible.

But I made up for all of this with dinner.

I started with some white rice in the steamer.
Assembled the following:
  • Le Creuset skillet
  • 1 clove garlic sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed)
  • butter
  • lemon juice
  • 1 crown broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces (2-3 cups?)
  • 2 chicken sausages with apple (from Trader Joe's), sliced
  • 1 chicken breast prepared "chicken frances" leftover from the diner last night, chopped
  • leftover rice from the diner
  • 1 slice garlic bread from the diner

Okay, so I started with two tablespoons of olive oil and a slice of butter in the skillet as I dropped the garlic in on low. I added the chicken, because it came out of the fridge and was cold. Then the sausage. Then the broccoli. Every time the liquid got absorbed, I pushed everything to one side of the skillet (now at medium heat) and added a couple tablespoons of butter and equal amounts of lemon juice and blended them vigorously. Then I let the sauce seep to the other side of the pan and mixed everything up again.

I probably made this little batch of sauce three times and then I added the leftover rice from the diner and two heaping serving spoons of white rice from my steamer. More vigorous stirring.

Then, when the liquid disappeared and the rice started to stick, I moved everything to the coolest side of the skillet, reduced the heat to low, and added another couple tablespoons olive oil and mixed it up one last time.

And served.

I put the garlic bread in the skillet (once I pushed everything to the side, again) and fried each side a minute to get it warm without getting it soggy. Who says you can't reheat garlic bread?

All in all, I used 3/4 stick of butter and equal amounts lemon juice for the sauce. I love lemon-butter sauce.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Baran's blog

My friend Baran has started her own food blog, 30 Minute Food... Some of the recipes have an ethnic twist since Baran is from Turkey (now living in Chicago).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Salads on a budget

So, it's been a great food day here.

Breakfast was cream of wheat made with organic 2% milk and fresh sliced strawberries.

Then, an hour long bike ride.

Lunch was a feast of our favorites... gourmet salads and biscuit sandwiches.
My husband was lamenting that my vegetarian sausage (Morningstar breakfast patties) multigrain biscuits sounded yummy. So I made the last two sausages for him and my daughter and fried an egg for myself.

Then I prepped salads:

All salads received romaine lettuce (from the warehouse club), asiago (from Aldi), stilton with amaretto and dried fruits (my inlaws bought it at the warehouse club and couldn't figure out what to do with it), and cheddar. My daughter and I added raisins. My daughter picked Wegmans organic Caesar salad dressing, and I went with the sesame ginger vinaigrette (also from Wegmans) and then for my salad, the clincher, I added hot wasabi bar mix. Fabulous stuff!

I call this salad on a budget because I literally rooted around my cupboards and threw whatever I found in. If you've read a few entries in this blog, you'll already know that I rarely go to the store if it wasn't my plan. I substitute whatever I can, wherever I can.

I may include one of my oatmeal fruit cookies for dessert.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Breakfast was shredded wheat and my oatmeal cookies...

Lunch was leftover eggplant parm my husband made Sunday, piled onto sandwiches.

Dinner was the leftover nachos from Mex Tex the other night. Can you believe we also had our leftover meals last night?

Tonight, we went to the warehouse club. Didn't want to, because my husband doesn't get paid until next week and I was really hoping to make it to May without shopping.

I spent $92, which brings my grocery budget for the month to $213 plus the $60 I spent taking the little one to dinner for her good grades.

I bought:
- 12 boxes of Kleenex, $12.98
- The big pump of Coffeemate French Vanilla Creamer, $9.88
- 20 pounds of unbleached white flour, $6.38
- Tall kitchen trash bags, $9.26
- 10 cans of tuna in water, $6.57
- Organic 2 percent milk, 2 half gallons, $3.12 each
- one pineapple, $2.92
- 4 pounds of butter quarters, $7.22
- 2 lbs extra sharp cheddar cheese, $5.32
- A quart (I think) of strawberries, $3.98
- 2 pounds of romaine lettuce, $3.17 (for me and the tortoise)
- 18 large Egglands Best eggs, $2.93
- 14 bars of Dove plus a bottle of body wash, $12.70

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Asian-style steak leftovers

I'm sure I've posted my Asian-style sauce recipe before... Last night I planned to marinate the leftover meat from the weekend, the asparagus and the carrots, with some added "california blend" veggies from the freezer... I mixed all that into the sauce and let it marinate overnight.

Now, I'm heating my Le Creuset skillet with about a teaspoon butter, a teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon walnut oil and almost two tablespoons sesame oil to stir-fry everything.

I have rice in the steamer.

Clicking "asian" will lead to some variations in the sauce. Or this is the basic recipe:

*note* part of the reason I made this was to use up leftover pineapple. I forgot the pineapple! Had I remembered the pineapple I would have sauteed it in the oil before I added anything else.

Cashew butter and raspberry jam

So, yesterday I didn't have any brainstorms as to what to serve for lunch. I thought I'd take the standard American route and go peanut butter and jelly on storebought wheat.

But then I found seedless red raspberry jam in the back of the fridge and the remnants of a jar of cashew butter. That's what we had with a big red delicious apple and a glass of chocolate soy milk.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Veg Sausage Biscuits

My daughter slept late today and so my husband did not make us cream of wheat as he does most days.

My daughter had a small bowl of cocoa pebbles with whole milk when she woke. (A gift from her mimi, I didn't buy them.)

Then at nine a.m., I got two of my multigrain biscuits out of the freezer and two Morningstar breakfast patties (vegetarian sausage) and made little sausage biscuits with ketchup, served with a serving of 100% fruit juice and one of my oatmeal-dried fruit cookies from yesterday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

And the etcetera of the week

The other day I tried to make some beef with red wine sauce. Like a simplified version of beef burgundy because I didn't have any stock. It didn't work. It ended up as beef (which was good) in red wine stock (not as good but edible).

But the leftover meat was great in this salad today:
Greens, shredded carrots, emmental cheese, meat and cabernet vinaigrette.

My mother-in-law brought the Lebanon bologna earlier this week.

Oatmeal Cookies

The original recipe:


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (I only used 3/4 cup and I didn't pack, I added about 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 cup wheat with 3/4 cup white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
  • I added: 1 cup dried strawberries in bitesize pieces, 3/4 cup chopped dates and probably 3/4 cup raisins.


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and nuts until just blended. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies should be at least 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for about 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

The original web site:

Oh! They turned out AWESOME. Now to make them bigger and with a tad more weight to serve as a breakfast bar.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mommy's meatballs

  • 1/2 cup mixed Italian vegetables, smashed
  • about 1 cup hamburger
  • about 3/4 cup cheddar cheese cubes
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs from homemade bread
  • 3 small cloves roasted garlic
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
Smoosh vegetables and garlic with pastry blender. Add all ingredients except cheese. When everything is mixed, fold in cheese.

I'm going to fry them in the Le Creuset skillet in the extra virgin olive oil from Forks Mediterranean Deli.

Okay, so I based this on a recipe from and I noticed it didn't include egg. My meatballs don't appear to be binding. I don't know if it's because I'm frying them and turning them too much or because of the egg. Or because of some of my strange ingredients.

I finally smashed them all and added the sauce to the frying pan and let it all simmer into meat sauce.

Arroz con leche

My daughter has a fever today, and a friend recommended Arroz con leche for her.
I found this recipe (and some more complicated) on,1913,144182-233205,00.html

This was their list of ingredients:
1/2 c. white rice, uncooked
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 tbsp. raisins
Cinnamon for garnish

I didn't quite have that, so I mixed this is the steamer:
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamin
  • 3 cups soymilk (I wish I had almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Skillet pizza

My daughter and I made a pizza crust after school. I think this is what we did:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rye flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon iodized sea salt
  • 1 packet Papa John's pizza seasoning
  • 1/3 cup corn meal
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
Mix and set in a warm dark place. Could take an hour to rise. (Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes)

  • Wegmans extra chunky pizza sauce
  • monterey jack cheese
  • cheddar
  • asiago
  • parmesan
  • black olives
  • four color organic peppercorns
  • Pasta and pizza seasoning
  • Garlic powder
Here's the plan.
I hope heat my Le Creuset skillet on the stove over medium high with a thorough greasing of extra virgin olive oil. Then, I plan to carefully arrange the pizza dough inside and put the toppings on and bake in the skillet.

Will it work? I hope it will. I thought it was a cool idea but now I realize, it's PAN PIZZA.

Parmesan Tuna Sandwiches

So, I did make tuna sandwiches for lunch on the store bought wheat bread from Wegmans. (I bought it because I had a coupon.) We only have one can of tuna, so that means a half-sandwich for each of us (Mommy, Daddy and Baby).

My tuna today was:
  • one can solid white tuna packed in water
  • 2 tablespoons safflower mayonnaise*
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 3 slices Wegmans whole wheat sandwich bread sliced in half.
*What shocked me is that my mayonnaise is really mayonnaise. For years, I've been using vegan/soy mayonnaise for health reasons and because I hate mayonnaise in the traditional sense. But when I was scraping the last of the mayo out of the jar, I noticed that the ingredients listed eggs. I had purchased safflower mayonnaise instead of soy!

What made that even more compelling was the high vitamin E content in the mayonnaise. 1 tablespoon of that safflower mayonnaise has 2o% of the RDA of Vitamin E. Interesting.

To accompany these meager sandwiches, I also served tortilla chips and mango salsa (vitamins A & C thanks to the salsa) and applesauce. We also had a snack a few minutes ago of dried Italian meat stick so I'm sure that will also help compensate for the half-sandwich.

Seitan wraps

I used my homemade seitan last night to make wraps with Aldi steam-in-bag Season's Choice Italian blend vegetables.

I fried the seitan over medium low heat in olive oil and sesame oil to make it crisper and give it some extra flavor.

This morning, we had frosted mini-wheats. For lunch I'm anticipating half tuna sandwiches on store-bought wheat and tortilla chips with mango salsa.

For dinner, I want to try and make pizza in my Le Creuset skillet. Using it like a pizza stone...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Celery kid lunch

Today's kid feature:
  • 4 "ants on a log": celery, peanut butter with raisins on top
  • one graham cracker
  • baby carrots
  • fruit cocktail
  • one gummy worm
  • apple juice

Two breakfasts today

It's a Monday and what I like to call a two breakfast day.

I function best if I eat six small meals a day. I had anecdotal evidence this was the case and then I had gestational diabetes, which proved it for me.

So, today at 6:45ish, my husband made me a bowl of cream of wheat, made with soy milk and a touch of sugar and a handful of fresh blackberries smashed into it. Delicious.

My daughter had the same, and at 9:3o we got home from her doctor appointment and I was starved. I made a fried egg and constructed a perfect egg sandwich: my French country bread from yesterday (toasted), extra sharp cheddar cheese, and horseradish mustard. Washed down with a diluted glass of orange juice.

My daughter had some toasted bread with butter and a slice of the cheese.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

On the camera

Downloaded some photos of my bread and found these:
  • A fruity daddy lunch with kiddo of apples and peanut butter crackers with banana AND leftover mac and cheese with cauliflower
  • My dinner salad tonight

Grocery shopping

Went to Wegmans. Needed flour. Had a budget of $30 for the odds and ends that would get us through the week until my husband gets paid this Friday (and I should have my last check coming from my previous employer). The most we could spend was $38, because that's all that's in the checkbook in the middle of this week.

I ended up spending $34.81.

What did I buy?

  • Wegmans whole wheat sliced bread (had a coupon), $1.69 minus $1 coupon
  • Coffeemate Parisian Almond Cream creamer, $1.99 (splurge)
  • Wegmans original soy milk, half gallon, $2.79 (resisted the Silk Almond milk... that was $3.29. Also resisted the Silk very vanilla. End of the week. I can buy it next weekend)
  • Unbleached white flour, 5 lbs, $1.69
  • Wegmans spirals mac and cheese dinner, two boxes, $1 (fifty cents each)
  • Big box of cream of wheat, $3.29 (Aldi would probably be cheaper, but I'm not going to Aldi for one box of cream of wheat)
  • Fasigs whole bean coffee, decaf coffee cake (splurge), $4.99
  • Chunk light tuna, one can, 75 cents
  • Morningstar vegetarian sausage patties, $3.49
  • Dove, 2 pack, $2.69 (another splurge that might be leaving our budget for a while)
  • Wegmans Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette dressing, $2.50 minus $1 coupon (love Wegmans dressings)
  • Organic bulk field mix for the tortoise, $1.30
  • Wegmans French blend bagged salad, $2.50 (I know I could save money buying my own lettuces, washing, chopping, and mixing... but that makes WAY more than I need and I end up wasting a lot of it)
  • blackberries, and HERE is the rub... they were $2.99 and I just noticed that he charged us for TWO packs instead of one... GRRRRR...
So I was closer to my budget than I thought. Try to save money and the store manages to get you in the end anyway...

French country bread

In the mood to start something new:
I really want round French country bread, so I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.

First step:
Sponge Starter (Begin 2 to 16 hours ahead)
1 cup (8 ounces) cool to lukewarm water, preferably spring water (90 to 100°F)
1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) King Arthur White Whole Wheat or Traditional Whole Wheat Flour

To Make The Sponge: Stir all of the sponge ingredients together to make a thick, pudding-like mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on a counter overnight or for at least 2 to 4 hours. If you're making this in a bread machine, place the sponge ingredients inside, and turn the machine on for just a few seconds to mix the ingredients together. Turn the machine off and close the cover. Let the sponge rest for 4 hours or overnight (anywhere between 2 and 16 hours is fine, the longer the better).

What Angel Did:
I thought I'd double the recipe. And I thought I put 16 ounces of warm water in the bowl. I used a little more than 1.5 teaspoons dry active yeast (the same yeast Gayle bought me last summer) and a touch of honey. Then I added 3/4 cup Wegmans unbleached flour (and ran out), and had to finish with a heaping cup of white flour from Aldi, then I added another cup and some extra of whole wheat flour from Wegmans.

I preheated my oven a bit, covered the starter with a wet dishtowel and set it in the warm oven to rise.

Two hours later... As usual, I got the two sets of directions mixed up. Now I've used too much yeast in the starter and need to adjust this for the dough. Well, since I didn't realize there was two sets of yeast, I guess I'll use the other amount for this round.

The King Arthur instructions:
All of the sponge starter (above)
1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water, preferably spring water (l00 to 115°F)
3/4 teaspoon active dry or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 3/4 to 4 cups (1 pound to 1 pound 1 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

To Make The Dough: Stir down the sponge with a spoon and add the water, yeast, sugar, most of the flour (hold back about 1/2 cup to use if required), and salt. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, to make a soft dough, 10 to 12 minutes.

Note: You may also do this in your bread machine, using the Dough or Manual setting. After the dough has finished kneading, place it in a lightly greased bowl, and continue as directed below.

Big Tip: Mix ingredients together using up to 80% of the flour called for: it will be a loose, messy mass. Let the dough rest for 12 minutes, and you'll see it change in texture, to be come much smoother. Continue, kneading and adding additional flour as required. Overall, the dough handles better once its had time for the flour to absorb the water while resting and relaxing. By using this method, you'll tend to add less flour, and have much bigger holes in your finished bread.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or plastic container, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and a damp towel, and let it rise until almost doubled (depending on the weather, this could be l to 2 hours). If you're going out, or if you prefer, let the dough rise slowly in the fridge. If your dough has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature; it'll warm up and rise at the same time.

After its first rise, deflate the dough gently, but don't knock out all the air; this will create those "holes" so important to French bread. Form the dough into a round ball. Place two cookie sheets atop one another, and place a semolina- or cornmeal-dusted piece of parchment paper on top. Gently place the ball of dough on the cookie sheets, seam-side down. Cover it lightly with a tea towel, and let it rise the second time until it's puffy and about 40% to 50% larger, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes (depending on the weather, luck, and magic). Slash or cross-hatch the bread with a sharp knife or lame. Dust it with a little flour.

To cook on the grill:
Preheat your grill to High. Place the bread (on the doubled-up cookie sheets) on the grill, and close the cover. Immediately reduce the heat to Medium (400°F), and allow the bread to bake for 25 minutes, or until it's well-browned. Reduce the heat to Low, and carefully place the bread directly on the grill. Continue to bake until completely done, about 5 minutes.

For Regular (Oven) Baking: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Slash the bread, spritz water into the oven with a clean plant mister, and place the bread in the oven. Reduce the heat to 425°F and spritz with water every few minutes for the first 15 minutes of baking. Bake the bread for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until it tests done. Yield: 1 large round bread or two medium breads, 10 to 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (1 hearty slice, 1/12 of recipe, 97g): 180 cal, .5g fat, 6g protein, 38g complex carbohydrates, 1g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 534mg sodium, 74mg potassium, 2mg iron, 89mg calcium, 56mg phosphorus.

Chicken and dumpling soup

Consider this a review...

I hate to use processed soup because the sodium content is incredible, not to mention the preservatives. We had chicken and dumpling soup from Aldi for dinner last night. The ready-to-it, non-condensed kind.

And it tasted almost as good as my mother-in-law's.

Now nutrition-wise, it didn't do much. But for in a pinch, "darn it's cold"-style comfort food, I was impressed.

A surprise gift

A friend stopped by today with several pounds of aged cheddar cheese, some crackers and some nuts. Plus some snack meats and a wedge of Jarlsberg, a small veggie platter and some artichoke dip.

The gift was appreciated and may inspire me to prepare some homemade mac and cheese with the last of my emmental cheese, some boring old monterey jack and maybe some of that fine cheddar... Seems a sacrilege to use such fine cheese for pasta.

My daughter saw the cashews and right away asked if she could have some...

Some things don't last long in this house.

What's fun about giving and receiving food is the adventure in taste. The giver takes what they know about the recipient and selects items that they are familiar with, in hopes that the recipient will also enjoy them. It also gives the recipient a chance to eat and experiment with food items one would never purchase on a whim.

I would never purchase dry Italian sausage on my own. But I tried a hunk: juicier than I expected, with a kick like pepperoni but another note in there of something I want to say unpleasant or earthy, that's almost necessary to counteract this hint of sweetness...

Already the adventure begins... Yummy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sausage and rice with veggies

Tonight I prepared Trader Joe's chicken sausage with apples (3 sausages) in my Le Creuset skillet with about 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 2 cloves fresh garlic. When the sausage finished cooking, I sliced it and added the broccoli from one broccoli crown and a couple cups of fresh chopped cauliflower. I let that sizzle for a while until the vegetable soaked up all the "juice" and then I added another tablespoon olive oil, the last of my French butter (probably three tablespoons) and about three tablespoons champagne vinegar.

And then I added the long grain white rice I had cooked in the steamer with garlic powder and four color black peppercorn. (It was 1.5 cups unprepared rice) And stirred it all up and let it cook until the rice turned a soft yellow (and wanted to stick to the bottom as I stirred. I stirred constantly.)

I was nervous about it because of the champagne vinegar, but it was good. Really good. I had two plates and I'd really like another...

Kid lunch

Since we had a tea party, I didn't expect someone to be hungry.

So I served her a hard-boiled egg, raw carrots, leftover raw cauliflower (we added it to mac and cheese for dinner last night), organic Ceasar dressing from Wegmans and a chunk of sharp cheddar.

She's happy.


With all of my issues lately, I've been paying closer attention to MY nutrition and couldn't remember where the nutrition tracker was that I used to use... but this might be a good resource, thanks to a serendipitous NPR story:

Tea Party

We had raisin bran and soy milk for breakfast and a 9:30 a.m. tea party with Celestial Seasonings sugar plum spice tea, homemade multigrain biscuits with Wegmans raspberry jelly, fresh dates, and dark chocolate (powder) coated almonds.

Life is good.

Multigrain Biscuits (experiment)

  • almost one cup unbleached Wegmans all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
(for a total of about three cups "flour")
  • 1 generous tablespoon baking powder
mix thoroughly. Add:
  • a tad more than 1/2 teaspoon iodized sea salt
fold in:
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • one cup soy milk
Knead. Cut with bottom of glass once pressed thin. Mine made 19 biscuits. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
based on:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Make-Your-Own Girl Scout Cookies

I have not tried this.

But I will.

Crêpes sales (Dirty crêpes) reruns

Today for breakfast we had yesterday's blueberry muffins. I also had a banana.

My daughter had her banana with lunch, which complemented the "dirty" crêpe (chocolate) with peanut butter filling I gave her with chocolate soy milk.

Oh, my. Looks like we're overdosing on chocolate.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blueberry Banana Nut Muffins

The starting point:

Because baking is only fun if you break the rules and do your own thing:
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1.5 sticks butter, melted
  • 1 cup and a little more unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2.5 tablespoons coffee
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 pinches iodized sea salt
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup regular flour
  • (I should have added some oats but forgot)
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • about 1.5 cups fresh blueberries

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.

2 Mix in the sugar, egg, applesauce, coffee and vanilla.

3 Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.

4 Add the flour, mix until it is just incorporated. Fold in the walnuts and blueberries.

5 Pour mixture into a prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin. I made about 26 muffins.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spinach with hot bacon dressing

For lunch today, we had some fresh spinach with some of my mother-in-law's hot bacon dressing and some sausage waffles from the freezer. Yummy. Looks like my husband's hamburger helper style pasta for dinner...

Kiddie Sunrise

I don't think my daughter likes orange juice.

Too sweet.

So I took a wine glass this morning, and added a couple tablespoons of cherry juice and three maraschino cherries into the bottom, then filled half the glass with OJ and the other half with plain seltzer to dilute it.

She enjoyed watching the colors swirl and the cherries are a prize at the bottom of the glass.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Dinner

I didn't cook today. I meant to make homemade bread, but I forgot.

Let's see... for breakfast we had slices of Fruity Fred and orange juice and easter candy.

At 10 a.m., I needed something more so I asked my husband for a scrambled egg.

For Easter dinner, my mother-in-law hosted:
Now, I'll only speak for me. But I ate a ridiculous amount.
  • fresh dandelion greens and hot bacon dressing (three servings! Have you ever looked up the nutritional info on dandelion greens? Lots of nutrients, anti-oxidents and the omega fatty acids. Interesting.)
  • some corn bake (recipe is on the blog)
  • a small portion of scalloped potatoes (the boxed kind)
  • a big helping of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots
  • a tiny piece of ham
  • a few spoonfuls of homemade applesauce (it was runnier than usual)
  • two small slices rhubarb custard pie
  • one small slice blueberry crumb pie
  • about six or seven homemade chocolate creams
  • several glasses of iced tea
  • one cup decaf coffee with half and half
After that at 2 p.m., I had a mere bowl of raisin bran for dinner.

But tomorrow back to cooking... Stay tuned. Have some fresh spinach and some hamburger that needs using up...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

More Super Salads! (Croutons)

We're having more salad tonight (It's a spring thing for me. I *want* it.) I bought fresh spinach to add to last night's salads and we're transforming my last homemade baguette into homemade seasoned croutons.

We heated the oven to three hundred.

We sliced the bread, put it in a bowl, drizzled some extra virgin olive oil on it, and sprayed it down with cooking spray. My daughter mixed them all up and we poured generous amounts of the following in there:
  • garlic powder
  • pizza and pasta seasoning
  • parmesan cheese
  • parsley
  • four color organic peppercorn
  • garlic pepper
And bake as long as it takes, turning every 15 minutes of so. They smell scrumptious.

Day Two/Grocery shopping

I went to Aldi this morning.

This is no simple feat as we're broke, but I transferred $100 from the savings account simply so that we're not hungry and broke. And since I'm being treated for iron and Vitamin D deficiencies, now is not the time to consider eating poorly.

But before I regale you with my tales of grocery success, I'll report what we've eaten so far today.

  • 1 cup coffee (with French vanilla non dairy creamer)
  • 6 ounces fruit juice
  • 1 bowl cream of wheat made with soy milk and a touch of sugar
  • bran flakes (with added raisins, lots of raisins) and soy milk
  • about 6 ounces of orange juice with an equal amount of seltzer
  • 12 ounces unsweetened green tea with blueberry
(And my daughter is on her second bowl of raisin bran)

After my daughter gets out of dance class, we'll probably have leftover macaroni and cheese with vegetables made by my husband the other day...

But the groceries:
Grand total: $82.78

I forgot butter! How is that possible???


  • One bag frozen asparagus spears, $1.99
  • Steam-in-bag vegetables, Italian blend, $1.49 each (three bags)
  • frozen california medley, 95 cents
  • one frozen concentrate 100% apple juice and two apple-raspberry, 92 cents each
  • More than a pound 80/20 ground beef, $5.15
  • Wheat (ritz-style) crackers (I LOVE these), two boxes, $1.79 each
  • flat leaf fresh spinach, $1.49
  • condensed vegetarian vegetable soup (which I may end up using as a sauce or to flavor foods instead of vegetable broth), four cans, 49 cents each
  • Chicken and dumplings soup, 2 cans, plus one can chicken/broccoli soup, $1.39 each
  • tiny cans of tomato sauce, eight at 25 cents each
  • Spring Mix for the tortoise, $1.69
  • kidney beans, two cans, 59 cents each
  • corn, canned, two cans, 55 cents each
  • small can mandarin oranges, 49 cents
  • baby carrots, 49 cents (cheaper than whole, though I understand whole carrots are better for you, but these were 1/2 the price)
  • fruit cocktail, 2 cans, in juice, 85 cents each
  • apricot halves, 2 cans, 99 cents each
  • black beans, 2 cans, 59 cents each
  • tropical fruit salad, 79 cents
  • boxed mac and cheese, three boxes, 35 cents each
  • bite sized frosted shredded wheat, $1.89
  • bananas, 2 pounds, 71 cents
  • two plain and one chocolate half-gallon of soy milk, $2.29 each
  • half gallon of orange juice, $1.79
  • 8 ounces new york cheddar, $1.79
  • three varieties of whole wheat pasta, three boxes (or was it four?) $1.09 each
  • bran flakes, 17 ounces, $1.49 (they wanted $2.29 for the same size box with raisins. I can add my own raisins.)
  • Oatmeal, $1.79
  • garlic, three small bulbs, fresh (from China, that's kinda spooky) 69 cents
  • rosemary triscuit-style crackers, $1.49
  • box of raisins, $1.49
  • two packages of flour tortillas, 99 cents each
  • head of cauliflower, $2.19
  • two broccoli crowns, $1.69
  • tortilla chips, 99 cents
  • frozen raspberries, bluberries and blackberries, $2.89
  • Havarti dill cheese (splurge), $2.49
  • long grain rice, $1.49
  • eggs, $1.45

Friday, April 2, 2010

Super Salads

So, this is my first full day on medication for Vitamin D and iron deficiency. I made a pledge to myself to eat healthier. Iron pills can make you constipated, so I want to make sure I get plenty of fiber.

  • about 6 ounces apple-kiwi-strawberry 1oo% juice
  • cream of wheat made with soy milk with a touch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup coffee with non dairy French vanilla creamer
  • 1 slice fruity fred, thawed from the freezer (Amish friendship bread with almonds and dried cherries)
  • green iced tea with blueberry
  • small bowl minestrone soup
  • homemade multigrain baquette
  • Trader Joe's hummus
  • about 6 ounces chocolate silk
Afternoon snack
  • sweetened green tea (grrr, though it was unsweetened)
  • a banana
  • large salad with two types of bagged greens (and some carrots and cabbage)
  • asiago
  • cheddar
  • chopped pecans
  • dried strawberries
  • raisins
  • red wine vinaigrette dressing
  • a side of Motts Healthy Harvest No Sugar Added Country Berry Applesauce
  • 16 ounces unsweetened soy milk with Banana Moo Magic Powder

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Salad wrap

I offered my daughter a salad and hummus wrap and she declined, so I added three types of cheese to the mix instead: emmental, velveeta and cheddar. Topped with Wegmans Creamy Ceasar dressing. But no hummus.

Sides of applesauce (no sugar added) and plump, fresh california strawberries.