Saturday, November 27, 2010

Super leftover sandwich

I wait and wait for this beauty:

Heat up some turkey leftovers for a sandwich and a 1/4 cup of your favorite leftover stuffing (mine is homemade with apples, fresh sage and a pinch of lavender). Meanwhile, get two slices of bread and arrange a slice of cranberry sauce (my husband's Nana makes yummy cranberry sauce). Pile on the stuffing, then the turkey. Cap the sandwich and there's a Thanksgiving dinner on a sandwich.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Classic escargot

I served escargot for Thakgsgiving. Wegmans Classic Escargot in the shell with garlic-butter-parsley sauce.

They were good, but a tad too buttery and they slid backwards into the shell and had to be cracked open. My daughter ate about eight. My husband's grandmother ate three and then realized they were snails and refused to eat any more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meat as lazy cooking

Perhaps today is the wrong day to ponder this, but on the other hand... It's perfect.

I spent about a decade as a vegetarian and a few months as a vegan. I hate cooking meat. Always have. The only way I can force myself to touch meat is to prepare French recipes. Because the French will eat anything they can catch.

But I cook primarily vegetarian. Own mostly vegetarian & vegan cookbooks. I've taken vegan cooking classes and subscribed to vegetarian and vegan publications.
(The Vegetarian Resource Group ~ ~ is the BEST... My dream is to attend their annual vegan fundraiser dinner in Baltimore)

Anyway, my veg*nism stemmed from my own dislike of meat, my health concerns & distrust of modern factory farming practices. I try to buy meats from local farms now, and I still don't use much meat (maybe once a week). Being unemployed also reduced some of my commitments... But eating veg*n is way cheaper than meat... And I still try not to feed my family food with ingedients I can't read.

I fail often. But I try.

Today, I made my apple stuffing. I converted my recipe to one for the crockpot, and that meant adding broth to it to keep it moist. I used chicken broth. I would prefer vegetable, but I didn't have any and to tell the truth, I'm confused why I had chicken broth.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crockpot apple stuffing

My stuffing recipe is an apple variation of the basic version in Betty Crocker's cookbook. Tomorrow I plan on using this technique from "All Recipes" to open some space in the oven... The Thanksgiving link should take you to last year's feast.

Wegmans, before Thanksgiving

The items I had on my list did not require a trip to Wegmans.  Though my desire for sushi and curiosity about the new "Classic Escargot" appetizer... I had to...

I spent $62.61, but $15 of that was silver polish, $5 dryer sheets, $5 seafood forks and $22 between escargot and sushi.

  • Giant loaf of Wegmans white bread, 99 cents (for stuffing)
  • three packages of green giant green beans with almonds, $1.47 each?
  • two boxes of classic escargot, $6.99 each
  • Wegmans "super pasta," 14.5 ounces, $1.69 minus a coupon to make it free
  • 160 dryer sheets, $4.99
  • Pomodoro pasta sauce, $2.49 minus 50 cents "shopper club" special, minus a coupon to make it free
  • Celestial Seasoning Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride herbal tea, $1.99
  • McCormick cinnamon grinder, $1.79
  • Hodgson's Mill Stoneground Rye Flour, $3.19
  • 2 five-pound bags of unbleached white flour, 99 cents each
  • three types of silver polish, $3.99 each
  • four seafood forks, $4.98
  • Sushi, $5.49 and $2.99 minus $1 coupon
  • three pounds of gala apples, $2.49
  • fresh sage, $1.99
minus $1 for a produce department coupon

Broccoli and fish, a quick dinner

Tonight I finally sat down and listed my recipes and my ingredients needed for Thanksgiving. I have quite the menu planned... but more about that later.

I had a Target dinner, their battered pollock filets and steam-in-bag broccoli. I made a garlic, lemon and butter sauce for the broccoli and mixed 1 part Archer Farm lemon-dill mustard to 2 parts sour cream, with one teaspoon Aldi country herbs. That was a pretty cool dinner...

I also discovered that Wegmans has new escargot appetizers in the shell. I am soooo serving these for Thanksgiving.


I haven’t done any real grocery shopping since I started at Target. And let’s face it, while Target has some good stuff (especially in their Archer Farm brand) paying $2.69 for a bag of tortilla chips that I know I can get for 99 cents at Aldi... Well, I have to get back into routine. Mind you, those $2.69 chips are organic, have blue corn and flax seed and have a rich nutty flavor...

I lost count of how much money I was spending by the end of the first row at Aldi. So I said the heck with it and went crazy. Apparently, even if I buy everything I want, it’s still only $100. Or in my case today, $102.20.

One of my goals was to lay off the cheese a little bit. I failed. Miserably. I got different cheese.

What did I get? Well, stuff for Thanksgiving and staples.

And a few impulse buys...

71 items...
  • Clancy Hot & Spicy Potato chips $1.29 (when I was a kid I used to devour bags of Red Hot potato chips. That’s what these are trying to be. Blame PMS)
  • Cheddar Jalapeno Kettle Chips $1.99
  • Tortilla chips, two bags at 99 cents each
  • Plain soymilk and chocolate soymilk, 64 ounces each, $2.39 each
  • juice concentrate, frozen, 100% juice, white grape raspberry, 3 cans at $1.14
  • butter, one pound unsalted and one pound salted, $2.29 each
  • medium salsa, 2 jars, either 16 or 24 ounces, $1.69 each
  • evaporated milk, 2 cans at 69 cents each
  • big bottle of honey, $4.49
  • five pounds of granulated sugar, $3.09
  • premade refrigerated pie crusts, two boxes of two crusts each, $1.89 each
  • thin pork chops, close to a pound, $3.91
  • 2 small boxes of baking soda, 45 cents each
  • 2 blocks of New York sharp cheddar, $1.79 each
  • shredded asiago, $1.99
  • macaroni and cheese, four boxes, 29 cents each
  • sweetened condensed milk, one can, $1.29
  • Rice stuffing, $1.29 (was curious to see what this was and if we’d like it. I can replicate it once I try it)
  • Small wheel of American cow’s milk brie, $3.29
  • brown sugar, $1.29
  • split top wheat bread (to break into cubes for the stuffing) 99 cents
  • Pitted dates, 3 bags at $1.69 each
  • pint of heavy whipping cream, $1.59
  • pitted prunes, $1.99
  • chopped pecans, three bags, $2.89 each
  • salt grinder, pepper grinder, $1.69 each
  • tiny cans of tomato sauce, four cans, 25 cents each
  • canned sweet potatoes in syrup, three cans at $1.19 each
  • four cans of light tuna in water, 52 cents each
  • two cans of whole potatoes, 59 cents each
  • broccoli crowns, fresh, $1.49
  • head of cauliflower, fresh, $1.59
  • jar of minced garlic, $1.49 (I hate jarred garlic, yet once every two-three years I buy a jar because I keep running out of fresh)
  • 4 cups of shredded mozzarella, $3.19
  • flour tortillas, 2 packages, 99 cents each
  • dozen large eggs, 89 cents
  • small can of tropical fruit salad, 79 cents
  • jar of mayo for my husband, $1.89
  • a very large bottle of canola oil, $1.99
  • sour cream, $1.19
  • country spice grinder, $1.69
  • Italian seasoning, $1.09

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey salsa sandwich

I made myself a delectable pre-Thanksgiving treat:
My turkey salsa sandwich.
(my husband did a bagel and milk run yesterday morning and he wanted smoked turkey lunch meat.)
- half a jalapeno bagel, toasted
- for the condiment about 2 tablespoons Wegmans mango salsa
- two slices turkey
- lots of spinach and romaine

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vegetarian Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This is one of the first few entries I’ve attempted without a home internet connection. So, bear with me if my entries are sporadic. Monday’s rice krispie treats with nutella and peanut butter came out beyond delicious by the way. I used about 3/4 cup total split evenly between nutella and peanut butter.

Tonight, I am making homemade pizza. The dough is currently rising (multigrain: 1/2 cup rye flour, almost one cup whole wheat flour, slightly more than one cup unbleached white flour). The one pizza will be a rather thin crust with Wegmans extra chunky pizza sauce (has the highest vitamin A content of any pizza sauce I can find) and extra sharp white cheddar. In my Le Creuset skillet.

A second, smaller pizza will be vegetarian buffalo chicken. Same cheese, but Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce instead of tomato sauce and some Morningstar vegetarian chicken products (probably the buffalo wings) and a few dollops here and there of Target’s Archer Farms Buffalo Blue Cheese dip.

It was delicious, but I overdid it on the Red Hot sauce. Also, I had a feeling I didn't need the veg. chicken and I would have enjoyed this so much more with fresh broccoli instead of fake meat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Crazy Target trip

Because I've been working about 22 hours a week in addition to school, doctors' appointments and household duties... I have not done any shopping. My mother-in-law and I started planning Thanksgiving and I realized I had to get something into the house before we all starved to death.

I exaggerate but only slightly.

So, since I worked until 5:30 last night, my family and I walked through the store and did some shopping. There is way more processed crap in this list than usual, but it's Target. I did the best I could. Keep in mind that including this trip, we spent about $150 on groceries thus far in November and we've spent about $175 on eating out. That figure is high because we've been trying to change some routines and it's effected our planning/budget.

The list, prices regular prices with my discounts subtracted at the end:
  • shoelaces, $1.99
  • Tortilla chips with flax seed, $2.69
  • potato chips, two bags at $2.69 each
  • the giant container of cheeseballs, $4.99
  • JIF Peanut Butter, $4.39
  • funky peanut butter my husband picked out, $1.77
  •  Dole salad $1.34
  • some Market Pantry product I can't remember $3.99
  • three regular sized cans of hunts sauce, 69 cents each
  • Archer Farms buffalo blue cheese dip, $2.69
  • 24 ounces of Market Pantry medium salsa, $2.29
  • Something Reese? 99 cents
  • Market Pantry rice cereal, $2.34
  • New England Blueberry Cobbler coffee, $4.99
  • Archer Farms Pumpkin Spice coffee, $6.99 (not impressed with the flavor, never again)
  • Tazo Rose tea, $3.29
  • Battered fish fillets, $3.99
  • Archer Farm multigrain bread, $2.89
  • marshmallows, 96 cents
  • 1 lb strawberries, 2.99
  • 4 small lemons, $1
  • Green Giant vegetables, one almond and green bean, one broccoli and cheese sauce, $1.27 and $1.38
  • Archer Farms steam in bag broccoli florets $2.29
  • Old Orchard Apple Raspberry juice concentrate, $1.17
  • Market Pantry Apple Juice concentrate, 97 cents
  • whole milk, half gallon, $1.94
  • Silk Very Vanilla, half gallon, $2.69
  • Half and Half $1.19
  • two containers of heavy cream, $1.99 each
  • frozen Archer Farms crème brûlée, $5.29
  • Morningstar meat analogs: one bacon, two breakfast patties, one chik'n nugget, one buffalo wing, $3.39 each
  • Tom's of Maine Sensitive toothpaste $3.69
  • Five pack of protein bars, $3.99
  • Up Aluminum Foil, a GIGANTIC role, $6.39
  • cat litter, 20 pounds, $7.89
  • Archer Farms fruit bars and granola bars, 3 boxes at 2.50 each minus $1 off coupon
minus 15% (10% employee discount and 5% red card) $113.04

Looking at this list, I'm a tad mad at myself for not doing an Aldi run and saving another $10 or so off some of the items on this list. Live and learn.

Daughter feeds the babysitter

Guest blog entry from my friend Gayle who watched my daughter for a couple hours yesterday:

From the mouths of babes ....

Today I child sat while mommy went to work.

As we were driving to Target the Angel mentioned that my car, Aretha, was very, very dirty. During the discussion the child mentioned she would make lunch. I thought, sure, right. She's six.

Our first stop on the way home was the car wash. She had never been to the drive thru kind. [Mimi] uses the the one where you do-it-yourself. We came out and parked at the vacs. I gave her a hose assuming she'd know what to do. She did. The middle of every area. I went and followed her and did the sides and corners.

Our next stop was mommy's other favorite store, Aldi. Her first favorite is Wegman's. Talk about extremes. I needed paper towels to do the car windows. Angel had mentioned her father-in-law makes a mean window cleaner. I usually use vinegar and newspapers. I knew Angel wouldn't have the paper. The child reminded me numerous times "that mommy didn't use paper towels, and that they were wasteful". "Yes", I assured her. "I don't use them as a rule either, but for some things they are best for the job". "But mommy says they are wasteful". And so it goes.

We get into Aldi and she asks for cereal. "No, mommy has very specific things you are allowed to eat. I don't want to buy the wrong thing. We came for cheap paper towels." They had started stocking up on the Christmas toys and she spied a doctor Barbie. Again I said "no". We get the towels and she says "I bet you'll say yes" and headed down the aisle for the fruit and veggies. She was right, I did. We bought tangerines to eat with lunch.

So we got back to her house and she starts making lunch. Calling out the nutrition play by play.

Cheese: We cut this into three squares each, 2 colors. It's protein and milk. Cheese is good for you.
Crackers: Pick those because all the colored spots are nutrition. Three one for each piece of cheese.
All on one plate. I tried to put it on our plates and she said no, you have to take it from the common plate, at the table.


Trail Mix in little plastic cups: Raisins and red things (strawberries) because they are fruit and they are sweet. And these yellow things (ginger) because they are spicy and that's good with sweet. And nuts because they are good for you. And chocolate covered raisins because they are yummy.
[Angel's note: They were chocolate covered dried plums]

Plus I heated the thyme bread that Angel left out for us.

So it works. If you start young, they understand what's important. I wanted to mention it was a bit of a carb overload, but she's six. It wasn't PBJ.

Rice Krispies Treats

My daughter has discovered mass produced rice krispies treats for sale in the school cafeteria for 75 cents each. She likes them. At six, she doesn't quite get that they are not free and that they suck all the money out of her lunch account, especially when she buys them without my permission. One day she may go hungry because she wasted all her lunch money.

I told her we could make real rice krispie treats if she stopped buying them in the cafeteria and she said okay.

I don't like the plain ones, I prefer the peanut butter. So, I needed the recipe. And we disconnected the internet at home so I'm now in the library on the Rice Krispies web site.

Rice Krispies treats from the official Rice Krispies site

Summary of the original recipe:
3 tablespoons   butter or margarine
1 package   (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
- OR -
4 cups  miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup  peanut butter
6 cups   Rice Krispies®

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until melted. 2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

For best results, use fresh marshmallows.
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.
Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended.
Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Comments from others that I took to heart:
-There's always a weak peanut butter flavor. So I usually add just a tad bit more. 1/4 cup or so, or I add some peanut butter chips to liven up that taste!
- I made this recipe with Nutella instead of peanut butter

so we'll see what daughter and I do after school!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ravioli in Leftovers

On Wednesday, while my daughter was in dance class, I recycled the leftover chicken stuffed with broccoli from Williams' on Monday night into a fabulous ravioli with cream sauce dish.

I started by heating two tablespoons butter over low in my Le Creuset skillet. When it melted, I whipped in two tablespoons of flour my stirring it around with the bottom of a plastic measuring spoon. Then I added one cup half and half and one cup 2% milk, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of four color peppercorn. I used a wooden spatula to stir until it boiled.

Separately, I prepared one bag of Wegmans Ravioli Florentine. I always get raviolis with green vegetable matter inside. It's an easy way to increase our vegetable content.

I chopped the remaining chicken breast until the chicken, broccoli and ham were all diced into small pieces. Then, I added this to the cream sauce and let it simmer. I added the cooked ravioli and let it soak over very low heat, stirring frequently, until everyone came home from dance class.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ten Minute Shopping

So, last night on my half-hour meal break I ran through Target and grabbed a few things.

The cat needed some wet cat food. He doesn't like the chicken flavor and that's all we have. So I got him five cans of fishy flavors. (4 cans at 42 cents, 1 at 37 cents).

Neither us nor the tortoise has had greens lately, so I checked out the produce aisle. Sad really, the state of that green stuff. But, it's very cold and the tortoise is picky about eating right now so I grabbed the least brown romaine lettuce on clearance for $1, regularly $1.99. After all, I'm feeding it to her right away and it was still in a state I would eat so...

Then, I got into the fruit because I noticed raspberries. They were a tad wet, so they were reduced to $1.50 for the 6 ounce container. They didn't look moldy or rotten, just overwet. And raspberries last five minutes in my house. So, I bought 2 containers. Ate one last night when I got home. Shared some with the tortoise. They were fine, just wet.

Bought a pound of strawberries, $2.49 (sale price, but not clearanced)

Four bananas at 19 cents each.

Some flavored water, four bottles for $1.99. Primarily purchased because I forgot my water bottle. Disappointed because they have sucralose and I was hoping for no artificial sweeteners.

And panty liners.

Total: $13.07
Employee discount: $1.31
Red Card discount: 60 cents

New total: $11.37

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Once a week?

I don't know what has happened that I haven't cooked... I made a pot roast in the crock pot yesterday with a combination of beef broth and vegetable stock. I didn't like it. The family loved it.

Today's school lunch:
  • Leftover beef with jus in the thermal container
  • raisins and chocolate covered dried plums
  • carrots
  • 100% juice fruit punch juice box
  • A slice of whole wheat processed sandwich bread with butter
Breakfast was milk, banana cake with almonds and an apple.