Saturday, December 31, 2011

Steak and zucchini cakes

Little Miss came home from winter Girl Scout camp, and since it's New Year's Eve tonight and I work the closing shift, I made a hot meal for lunch.

Over the summer I froze some shredded zucchini, and today I retrieved a pack of about 3.5 cups. Once thawed and drained of excess moisture, the zucchini yields about two cups.

The zucchini cakes are a variation of the crabbi-less cakes in Deidre Imus' Imus Ranch Cookbook. Today I made a use-up-the-leftover-Christmas-cheese version.

I started with 1.5 cups of cornflake crumbs, probably about 1.5 cups of various cubed cheese that I broke into tiny shreds (Colby jack, Gouda, and tomato laughing cow). For seasonings, I added about 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon lemon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon ranch dressing, 1 tablespoon mayo, and 1/2 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce. Add an egg, shape into patties and fry about five minutes on each side being careful not to let the cheese stick to the pan.

I made little steaks with a brandy cream sauce.

Both of these (the zucchini cakes and the steak in brandy cream sauce) I've blogged about before. They are family favorites.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Classico Sausage Skillet

I received a phone call from Target today at 10:20 asking me to cashier from 10:30 to 2:30. I made it there by 10:48 and spent the day running back and forth between lane 12 and making pizzas at the café.

With my daughter away at Girl Scout camp, my diet has consisted of burgers and Christmas cookies, eggs and corn chips.

So when I got home, I asked my husband to whip up the following:

Classico Alfredo Sausage Skillet

- 1/2 box whole wheat rotini
- 1 pound ground sausage
- 1 jar Classico roasted red pepper poblano Alfredo sauce (I think... I had a Target coupon to try it)
- grated Parmesan

Darrell prepared the pasta while he browned the meat in my skillet. Then he added the sauce, then the noodles and we sprinkled with the cheese.

The sauce had a small bite and a layer of sweetness so I probably should have added a pinch of fresh ground black pepper. And broccoli. But I was starving so...

Monday, December 26, 2011


I asked for a SodaStream for Christmas. My mother-in-law came through.

Years ago I started diluting my daughter's juice with seltzer as a refreshing summer treat and it gets to the point where I can go through a liter of "bubbles" a day.

What complicates this is the fact that only Wegmans has good bubbles. The brand of bubbles at Giant go flat a day after you open them and Target only has flavored bubbles which are more expensive than plain and often have artificial sweeteners.

We made our first two liters last night-- and prepared juice with bubbles for her and flavored water for me (with one of the sample flavors).

I drank a liter plus of bubbles and got up four times during the night to use the bathroom.

The SodaStream Genesis is simple to use, does not require electricity, and is a slender machine. What freaks me out is that the bottles are not only not dishwasher safe, but they can't be washed in hot water/water hotter then 120 degrees.

They also suggest carbonating the water, chilling it and then adding soda syrup directly to the bottle-- I'd be afraid that would taint the bottle with flavor.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookie exchange

Earlier this month, one of my work colleagues organized a cookie exchange. I volunteered to participate but I never heard any details so I figured it was a bust.


I found out today that I have to make 8 dozen cookies on my day off.

So I made the peanut butter from the child's school fundraiser, then oatmeal-strawberry-raisin, then Algerian cookies that I made the wrong shape.

And I ran out of sesame seeds and used poppy.

The Algerian Sesame Cookies

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Team Member Appreciation Days

Some times I can't believe how much I enjoy working at Target. With Christmas coming, it can be aggravating and super busy, but I work with some incredible people.

Last week, Target employees (team members) got an extra discount on iTunes gift cards.

This week, we get an extra 10% off "Target-owned brands." As one pleasantly surprised colleague said, "That's half the store!"

So I went to work early and did my household shopping. I had about $15 worth of coupons and I was primed for deals. I think all together I had $330 worth of stuff and the final tab was $248.97.

My husband got two shirts, both Merona (a Target brand) at $17.99 and $12.99.

Cleaning supplies:
- Up and Up dish detergent (TB= Target brand) 2 @ $3.44 each
- Up and Up dryer sheets (TB) $3.99
- Up and Up fabric softener (TB) $3.24
- Up and Up laundry detergent (TB) the one that does 96 or 98 loads... $11.49
Minus a $2 coupon

- cashews, big jar, unsalted, TB, $11.99
- asiago herb crackers, TB, $2.19 minus 75 cent coupon
- Ocean spray cranberry juice, $2.69 minus $1 coupon
- 4 packs of Market Pantry 100 percent juice juice boxes, TB, $2.64 each
- 2 large jars of peanut butter, TB, $5.09 each
- 4 cans of whole black olives, TB, $1.17 each
- 3 boxes of vegetable stock, $3.09 each
- yogurt dressing, TB, $2.99
- funky soups, TB, 6 at $2.29 each
- 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce, TB, 6 at 57 cents each
- strawberry basil balsamic vinegar, TB, $4.99
- 2 somethings at $2.79 each, TB
- Classico Alfredo poblano sauce, $2.54 minus $1 coupon
-,Archer Farm coffee, raspberry scone, TB, $6.89
- Tazo rest tea (my favorite), 3 boxes at $2.79 each
- fairly big jar of ground ginger, TB, $4.49
- McCormick pure almond extract, $3.35
- Sugar, TB, $2.79
- Birds Eye vegetable risotto, $1.87 minus 50 cents
- something TB, 3 at $1.97
- market pantry orange chicken, TB, $5.49
- eggs, 99 cents minus 50 cent coupon
- Silk soymilk, 2 at $2.99 each
- heavy whipping cream, TB, $2.29
- extra sharp cheddar, 8 ounces, TB, 5 at $2.19 each
- 2 organic spinach pizzas and 1 organic tomato pizza, TB, $3.99
- up and up soap, the Target brand version of Dove, 2 eight packs at $8.49 each
- deodorant, $3.59 - $1 off coupon
- large trash bags, 108 of them, TB, $13.79
- Cottonelle double rolls 18-count
$15.99 - $1 coupon
- tissues, TB, 3 at $1.39 each and multipack $4.99
- 20 pounds of Iams, $23.74
- cat litter, 35 pounds, $10.99 - $1 off coupon
- Morningstar breakfast patties, 2 at $3.69 each
- market party black forest ham, TB, 3.04
- archer farm multigrain bread, TB, $2.79
Minus $1 coupon
Minus $5 target coupon

Subtotal: $309.68
Team member discount: -$31.91
Team member appreciation discount: -$20.47
Red card discount: -12.87
Tax: + $4.54

Total: $248.97

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hard Boiled Eggs

I realized today that I haven't given my tortoise cheese or eggs in months. So I'm making her a hard-boiled egg.

I hate hard-boiled eggs so I was fairly certain I remembered how to do it-- eggs in water, boil, cover and let sit 15 minutes.

But just to be sure I googled it, and found this:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Harissa craving

Had to go to Forks Mediterranean Deli. Read this passage in my book and had the worst *need* for lamb shawarma swimming in harissa: "He ate couscous from a big clay bowl... He poured harissa sauce and we ate with our fingers." (From Ted Morgan's My Battle of Algiers.)

So I bought 3 gigantic lamb shawarma with 2 packs of large zaatar bread, 2 packs of homemade zaatar bread (of which daughter ate one immediately), one bottle olive oil, one side of harissa, one bag of dried strawberries, one bag dried blueberries and a nice container of majhool dates.

I spent $57 but $24 was the lamb shawarma.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Steak followed by Bottom Dollar

Tonight's dinner was steak in a brandy cream glaze, Green Giant Healthy Vision vegetables and Uncle Ben's long grain rice. More processed than usual but I haven't gone shopping since Thanksgiving.

We headed to Bottom Dollar after dinner since a new one opened and we had a $10 off a $20 purchase coupon.

We spent $39.32.

We bought:
- 2 bags of Frito style corn chips, $0.99 each. (We plan on bringing 'ugly bean dip' to our upcoming holiday parties.)
- 2 bags tortilla chips, $1.09 each
- 3 small cans chunk light tuna in water, 59 cents each
- Goya canned black beans, 67 cents (for the dip-- I have a dry bag, but I don't know if I'll have time to make them before the party)
- one can Goya passion fruit nectar, 85 cents
- whole black olives, 2 cans @ $1.28 each
- 2 cans creamed corn, 2 cans whole corn, 59 cents each
- 2 cans pinto beans, 65 cents each
- mayo, $1.60
- geisha sliced water chestnuts, 99 cents
- 1 can pear halves in light syrup, $1.28
- diced tomatoes, 2 cans at 88 cents each
- box of golden raisins, $2.99
- boxed macaroni and cheese, 39 cents each (2 boxes)
- unsweetened applesauce in the individual portions, $1.67
- box of seedless raisins, $2.18
- lemon extract, $2.05
- ground beef, 1 lb, $3.66
- red onion, 41 cents
- almost 2 pounds of gala apples, $2.75
- large green pepper, 50 cents
- cantaloupe, $1.68
- mango, 98 cents
- carrots, 78 cents
- 2 pints raspberries, $2.48 each
- extra sharp cheddar, one pound, $3.58
- crunchy cheese doodles, 99 cents

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Massive egg sandwich

I have a 12:30-6 cashiering shift today so I made this big sandwich for 11 a.m. breakfast:
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- homemade bread and butter pickles, about 8
- 2 eggs, over hard
- fried black forest ham
- extra sharp cheddar
- chipotle cheddar
- honey mustard
- buffalo blue cheese dip

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lazy Soup

I got lazy today and threw this soup together:
- 1 can Campbell's vegetarian vegetable
- 1.5 cans water
- 1 can cream style corn
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup prepared white beans
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sesame Turkey Barbeque

So, I cook like a spaz. Sometimes I start mixing so many flavors that in the end, I don't know what made the recipe work and what was completely unnecessary.

We have turkey left that had been frozen. We've been eating those super yummy spicy turkey mash up wraps.

I decided to make turkey barbecue, except my family isn't keen on barbecue so I thought I'd try something
more Asian inspired.

The base of this recipe was Betty Crocker's barbecue sauce. As written:

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Boil. Then stir in:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

What I did:
3/4 cup no HFCS ketchup
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon black strap molasses
About 1/2 cup Iron chef orange teriyaki sauce
About 1/4 cup Newman's Own sesame ginger dressing
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon walnut oil
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup sesame seeds

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mash Up Turkey Soup

We got the leftover turkey out of the freezer and then I made last minute arrangements to cover someone's shift tonight.

I whipped out the crock pot and threw in:
(this could be nasty)
- one cup rice, unprepared, which I then steamed and ended up using about 1.5 cups prepared rice
- one can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
- one can broccoli cheese soup
- 1.5 cans unsweetened soy milk (then it ran out)
- 1/2 can vanilla almond milk
- shredded turkey
- 1/2 cup pickled mixed vegetables
- frozen white beans
- turkey
- 1 can green chiles
- 1 can petit diced tomatoes
- about 1/4 teaspoon country herb blend
- about 1/2 teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin and black pepper

Okay... One hour later. I cook by smell, I can't eat something if it smells bad. And this smells putrid.

I upped the chili powder, added a pinch of Indian chili powder, garlic powder, minced garlic and paprika. I tasted a piece of the turkey and it was edible- just smelled gross.

After the seasoning melded in the crock pot for a couple hours, my mother-in-law and other family members commented that it smelled delicious. My husband went shopping, and the soup evaporated into a pâté, or so he described it.

He filled tortillas with turkey and the leftover soup and they were FABULOUS!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Avoiding failure

Today started strong. It's December first so I have to forgive myself for blowing November's food budget in a flurry of ear tube surgery, report card rewards, stress eating and Thanksgiving.

Breakfast was vegan pumpkin waffles with maple syrup from the freezer.

Lunch was hurried after an eye doctor appointment so it was a bowl of Boo Berry with unsweetened soy milk.

So I had to make myself something hearty for 4 o'clock snack (before work.)

I opted for two scrambled eggs in small tortilla shells, Archer Farms summer fruit salsa and a touch of pepper jack cheese.