Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nettle tea and pie

Since I'm concerned about my iron intake, and my iron pills have been swapped for a multivitamin, I am making nettle tea in the French press.

Breakfast will be nettle tea with local honey and a slice of sweet potato crunch pie from the Pocono Cheesecake Factory and a few almonds.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A new family heirloom

My friend Gayle is a graphic designer who loves type. She used "Shared Book" to make my blog into a three-volume cookbook!

Isn't that awesome!?!?!

Except for some reason, I'm missing volume 1 and have 2 of volume 2.

Speaking of Gayle, she accompanied us to Camp Moseywood where we left my daughter for a week of resident camp. Don't expect much cooking while she's gone. For one, with her not here I'm not motivated. Two, the reserves are low and I'm trying to make it until Friday to go shopping.

I might thanks to some canned goods passed along from Gayle and some groceries my friend Dan gave us in exchange for some errands since he just got out of the hospital.

The last few months have emptied the bank account. But, it's almost the end of the month and our totals aren't too bad.

$220 on groceries.
$140 on eating out.

Last month I spent
$150 on groceries
$368 on eating out (ouch!)

In May:
$288 on groceries
$230 on dining out

$207 groceries
$234 dining out

So maybe I have been good with the budget this month...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Successful grilling?

Anyone who has followed this blog knows that when we grill, serious misadventures follow, to the point where we doubt our successful grilling endeavors because they feel *too easy.*

When your NOT trying to keep a fire lit in a windstorm or seeking shelter in the middle of heavy rain, it seems overly easy to light the grill, put food on the grill and voilà dinner... Too damn easy.

Today I took a head of cauliflower, brushed it with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled it with sea salt and cut it into large chunks to layer in the grill basket.

I put those on the preheated grill for 15 minutes and they began to turn nicely brown. I flipped them and put some bratwursts beside them for about five minutes. I have them in another basket, so I flipped them and put them under the cauliflower.

In a few more minutes, we should have a meal.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Time to pickle

We had one huge pickling cucumber so we picked it and got out our canning equipment. Since we don't have enough cucumber, we're also pickling some carrots from Klein Farm.

Last summer, I was given some Ball dill pickle seasoning mix so I'm trying it, using apple cider vinegar as the base.

The tomatoes in the garden aren't getting red. Two of my peppers don't seem to be getting bigger and despite bees in all the flowers, my cantaloupe is looking like a dud.

But all my pickling cucumber plants, both in the ground and in pots, are going crazy. My corn has some new growth.

And i found a pepper plant I had forgotten about struggling for air next to the crazy sorrel.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vegan "meat" pockets

This dish shall never be replicated. It's one of those use-what-you-got style dishes.

My plan is this:
Thaw zaatar bread and cook in oven.
Marinate gardein beef tips and sauté in Le Creuset skillet with carrots from local farm.
Serve on zaatar with roasted red pepper dip and lettuce from our own garden.

- garlic powder
- country herb seasoning
- canola oil
- about six drops sesame oil
- about six drops blackstrap molasses
- about six drops soy sauce
- black pepper
- ras el hanout
- about six drops green tabasco sauce
- about six drops sesame teriyaki sauce

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hot veggie sandwich

Toasted herb bread with butter served open face with broccoli, carrots, and roasted red pepper spread and Caesar dressing. Melted cheddar and Colby.

Sweet potato chips.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Naughty parents

Daughter went to her Mimi's. This meant husband and I can have a junk food from Aldi and movies from the library might.

I had $20 in my wallet and spent $18.11. Now keep in mind, this is a grown up naughty fest, not a family meal.

- black pepper and sea salt kettle chips, $1.79
- sweet potato chips, $1.99 (will be shared with the child)
- crunchy cheese curls, 99 cents (can be transformed into magic vegetable topping later)
- tortilla chips, $1.19
- pirate's booty (cheddar flavor) $2.29 (for the child)
- jalapeño poppers, $2.49
- crescent rolls in the can, $1.49
- shredded Parmesan, $1.99 (for spaghetti some day)
- take and bake cheesy breadsticks, $3.89 (and I froze half)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Garden omelet with feta

Using up leftovers, so these chunky omelets used everything up. Family loved them, but they wouldn't have been so yummy without the feta.

Serves 3.

Whisk in bowl:
- 5 eggs (last ones from the farm)
- about 3 tablespoons water
- about 3 cups torn greens from the garden. I used sorrel, lettuce, escarole, and basil.
Stir and toss in hot skillet, generously oiled with extra virgin olive oil.
When the omelet firms on the bottom but still gooey on the inside sprinkle
- about one cup crumbled feta
Once it's mostly firm, fold it over and cut it three
This is when I maniacally flip mine back and forth to make sure the egg cooks all the way through

Yogurt parfait with nuts

I made the best looking yogurt parfait for my daughter this morning. It was so good looking I had to make one for myself.

Ingredients (in the order they were layered, bottom up)
- strawberry sauce left from yesterday's pancakes
- vanilla yogurt
- homemade granola with dried fruit, blackstrap molasses and cashews (made last week, see earlier entry)
- Archer Farm butter crunch cashews
- Emerald vanilla bean almonds
- a pirouline chocolate-hazelnut cookie

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mediterranean Feast

It's close to 100 degrees. I did a lot of work today, and it's my husband's busy time of year at work. So I opted for zaatar bread and feta for dinner from Forks Mediterranean Deli.

Now, the busier they are in that slice of heaven, the more I buy. Today I went in for their cold pressed extra virgin olive oil from Beirut, feta and their homemade zaatar bread. I didn't see their homemade zaatar bread so I got their bakery zaatar.

I got a pound of fresh Greek feta ($5.94). They also have Bulgarian and French feta.

Zaatar bread was $3.75 a pack for 2 approximately 12-inch breads. I got two. They freeze well.

The olive oil was $5.99 for 16 ounces.

Then I started adding on:
- hummus, about a pound, $4.31
- madjool dates, more than a half-pound $3.90
- 6 pieces of baklava, $3.36
- less than a half pound of roasted red pepper dip (mouhammara), $2.41
- pitted camaratta olives, 1/4 pound, $1.44
- dried strawberries, about a 1/2 pound, $3.57

Dark chocolate chip pancakes

We've low on groceries, so my meal plans for this week need to be creative. I whipped up these incredible pancakes for lunch. They are dairy-free, and the eggs came from a local farm.

Mix until moistened and fry 'em up:
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1/4 cup Bolthouse farms berry smoothie
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground sea salt
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips, 60% bittersweet

- 1 cup water
- 2 cups frozen strawberries
- 1/4 cup strawberry preserves
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon marmalade

Monday, July 16, 2012

Garden nachos

These would have been incredible if only our tortilla chips weren't stale because somehow the bag was open...

- cheddar cheese
- chives from the garden
- greens from our garden and what's left from Klein Farm
- Archer Farms raspberry salsa
- Archer Farm buffalo blue cheese dip
- ground beef from Klein Farm

Channa Dal

I love Indian food. Up until recently, my daughter has always loved Indian food. I noticed these Channa Dal packs at Target on clearance for $2.78. And they have three servings. Now as much as I love home cooking, I still work closing shift and sometimes I run out of ideas and let my husband cook dinner.

Like last night. I cooked a nice lunch, he worked all day and we had leftover cooked brown rice so I thought it would be a great night to try the Channa Dal.

I'm having my serving for lunch today with a hearty dose of sweet peas.

Now I don't know anything about Channa kernel or urad kernel but this is quite tasty and has some zing to it. I'm enjoying mine with mango smoothie.

The manufacturer of this mix is Jyoti.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vegetarian sausage topping

To accompany the cornbread I made today, makes three servings:
- 2 Morningstar breakfast patties broken into bits
- one small green pepper (my first from the garden), diced very small
- one apple, sliced very thin
- butter, if desired
- local honey, if desired

Using butter, no stick spray, oil or your favorite vegan spread, sauté peppers and apples until soft. Add vegetarian sausage. Stir fry until hot. Drizzle with honey. Serve over cornbread.

Honey Cornbread

At one of my vegan cooking classes taught by Eileen Breslin, I got this recipe for cornbread:


And it's a family favorite.

What I like about vegan cooking is its minimalism. Unless you're talking about stuff like quinoa or seitan, it is usually stuff you have laying around the house.

A vegan doesn't panic if he runs out of milk and eggs during a snowstorm.

So in addition to the health benefits and animal rights, veganism offers simplicity in the kitchen. And I like that.

Today's cornbread might not be considered vegan by hardcore strict vegan standards because I used honey. The original recipe uses sugar, but I thought honey (from a local orchard) would help our immune systems. We're allergy sufferers in this house.

Today's recipe:
Preheat oven to 350. Batter must go into the oven immediately for best results.

Dry ingredients (mix separately from wet, then combine with dry, mix until moistened and bake 30-40 minutes)
- 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground sea salt

Wet ingredients
- 1/4 cup local honey
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened Silk soymilk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Honey Fried Bananas

I imagine if you'd like to make this vegan, swap the honey with agave nectar.

Coat bottom of frying pan with honey. Warm. Add sliced bananas. Sprinkle with lemon juice and cinnamon.

For one banana, use roughly 2 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Super Fruity Granola

I'm a total fan of Deirdre Imus' granola recipe in the Imus Ranch Cookbook. I am a huge fan of the cookbook even though I'm not a fan of her husband. Don, is it?

She runs a charity letting kids with cancer work her ranch, and this is the food they serve there. She considers her recipes vegan even though she uses honey and eggs-- the eggs she gets from her own chickens.

Today's granola had the following:

- about three cups old fashioned oat meal
- 1/2 cup cinnamon almonds
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
- a handful of slivered almonds
- about 2.5 cups dried strawberries, craisins, raisins, golden raisins, and dried blueberries
- cinnamon
- less than 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ginger

For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix. Preheat oven to 300. Spread across large cookie sheet. Cook about 45 minutes, turning every 10-15 minutes and mixing with the turner.

I served some to my daughter this morning with a graham cracker and vanilla yogurt parfait.

Berry Banana Smoothie

For two:
(would be best with a handful of ice cubes but some child used all ours)
In a blender combine
- about one cup frozen berries (ours had thawed, they were leftover, frozen would have improved temperature and texture)
- 2 bananas
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reconciling with Hostess

So, between gestational diabetes, my past as a vegetarian, my time on the Penn State Cooperative Extension advisory board in my local county, my responsibilities as a mom, my budget and my anemia, I spend a lot of time thinking about my food and where it comes from.

And if you keep fresh ingredients in my house, I will create fabulous meals. But between working evenings and my employee discounts at Target, it's easy to get a few frozen dinners, some clearance meat and junk food.

I try to be a mindful eater. But every once in a while I eat something that reminds me of my youth. My mom didn't cook. She didn't make vegetables. She gave me kool aid, Oscar Mayer bologna on white with orange American slices, and probably enough high fructose corn syrup to make me an addict.

I have been longing for one of those orange Hostess cupcakes.

And I walked by them yesterday.

Guess what I just shared with my daughter.

Tuna sandwiches

Today's lunch:

Tuna on the multigrain bread I made yesterday with local greens from Klein Farm. Sweet potato fries with dip made from 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, 1.5 tablespoons Pennsylvania maple syrup, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 heaping teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon.

Zesty egg wrap

For my breakfast I scrambled an egg from Klein Farm, placed it on a small flour tortilla with Klein Farm's garlic cheddar and greens. I added Archer Farms Raspberry Salsa and a slice of Morningstar vegetarian bacon. Served with sun-brewed unsweetened, decaffeinated black tea with organic rose hips.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Target clearance shopping

We went to Target for some juice and I ended up spending $80, though $10 went for garden tools and $10 went for a gigantic bottle of multivitamins (my doctor has released me from daily iron but asked that I keep taking a multi with lots of vitamin D).

What else did I get?

- two 11.5 ounce jars of cashews, one unsalted and one butter crunch, $5.49 each
- two canisters of Emerald almonds, one dark chocolate and one vanilla, $3.59 each
- True North chocolate nut clusters, three at $2.10 each
- two packets of Channa Dal, $2.78 each
- coffee, the big can, $7.19
- big canister of old fashioned oats, $3.29
- can of peaches, 97 cents
- jar of mandarin oranges in juice, $1.84
- 4 5-ounce cans of tuna, $3.09
- hostess orange cup cakes, two at $1 each
- McCormick pure vanilla extract, two 2-ounce bottles, $3.42 each
- quaker white corn meal, three at 83 cents each
- brown sugar, $1.18
- whole wheat flour, five pounds, $3.14
- unbleached white flour, five pounds, $1.99
- eight bananas, 24 cents each
- old orchard apple raspberry frozen juice concentrate, 100 percent juice, $1.47 each
- vanilla yogurt, 32 ounces, $2.39

- vitamins $9.69
- tools, $1.98 and $6.99

Sub Total: 95.62
Team member discount: - 9.54
Red card discount: - 4.29
Tax: 47 cents
Total: $81.96

Multigrain Batter Bread

This recipe is adapted from the Betty Crocker 25th Anniversary cookbook.

I needed to use up some unsweetened vanilla almond milk that my daughter did not like, so I opted for bread over waffles or cinnamon buns.

I will post the original ingredients first and list my adaptations (which made the recipe vegan) in parenthesis.

(mine is not four grain)
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached white, and I substituted 1/2 cup whole wheat flour into the mix)
- 2 tablespoons sugar (okay, now the vegan way I would do this is agave nectar, but I also use local honey since I am not vegan)
- 1 teaspoon salt (I use fresh ground sea salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 packages yeast (I don't use the packages. I have a brick in the fridge. I used about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 cups very warm milk, 120-130 degrees (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
- 1/2 cup very warm water
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used rye)
- 1/2 cup wheat germ (I used Bob's Five Grain hot cereal)
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oats (I used regular)
- 1 1/4 cups more white flour
Cornmeal, olive oil

Mix the first set of flour, the sugar, salt, baking soda and yeast in a large bowl. Add milk and warm water and stir (with wooden spoon) until moistened.

Stir 3-5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients (not cornmeal or olive oil) until it forms a stiff batter.

Grease two loaf pans and dust with corn meal.

Divide batter between them and shaped with floured hands. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. Bake 25 minutes until loaves are golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Pear refresher

A few entries ago I made a fabulous batch of chilled pear soup. This morning I used the remaining portion as a fruity beverage by diluting it 50/50 with the carbonated water we make with our Sodastream.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

To the farm

We went to Kline Farm today for eggs. We bought more than that. I had $36 cash and spent $29.

The haul:
- local honey
- lettuce
- carrots
- kline's maple vanilla yogurt
- kline's garlic cheddar
- kline's bacon cheddar
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 dozen eggs

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chilled Pear Apple Soup

Ah, these 100 degree days... Makes me anxious to visit Djibouti or the Sahara desert.

I had the eight-year-old prep a variant of Eileen Bresslin's vegan chilled pear soup. I say variant because I lost the recipe long ago and I added applesauce to it.

- 1 can pears, the big car, the 30-some ounce can. I use pears in juice, and I drain half the juice
- about two cups your favorite applesauce
- about one tablespoon or maybe slightly more lemon juice. Up to half a lemon worth.
- ginger to taste
- spearmint leaves from the garden

Combine all the ingredients except spearmint and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl.

Roll the spearmint leaves between your fingers and then lay across top of bowl. Chill until nicely cold.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Picnic leftovers

We're still in the grip of a heat wave. So the menu includes lots of leftovers from my mother-in-law's Fourth of July picnic.

We started the morning with a breakfast of fresh cantaloupe, Morningstar vegetarian breakfast patties and Grammy's Blueberry Crumb pie.

She also made an ice cream cake with fudge, Oreos, and malted milk balls. Nicely decadent.

I also did some weeding in the garden (some things have gone insane since we left on our DC trip).

And started organic green tea brewing in the sun with a big clump of my garden mint.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Post vacation cop out

My neighbor came to Philadelphia to retrieve my daughter and I to the train station. He wouldn't accept toll, gas or parking money so I took his son to Friendly's for dinner.

Today I used my husband's leftover bologna to make sandwiches with spring mix, extra sharp cheddar and new pickles on hot dog buns.

Dinner was processed stuff. Morningstar spicy black bean burgers, uncle ben's broccoli cheddar rice with extra broccoli and Mott's unsweetened healthy harvest blueberry applesauce.

Soon I must start cooking again. Vacation must end sometime.