Thursday, February 28, 2013

And a quick trip to Target

Went to Target shopping this afternoon. Didn't really have a plan but needed staples and had some coupons I wanted to use.

I spent $119.43.

- baby oil, for husband's clay projects, $2.49
- Emily of New Moon DVDs of Season 3 & 4, $9.99

- 10 bars of Dial soap, $4.69 (we normally buy the Up and Up version of Dove, but it looks like Target won't be making it anymore since it all went on clearance and now it's gone. Dove is more than $1/bar and I'm not paying that.)
- Up and Up cool mint mouth rinse, regularly $2.99, free with my special just-for-team-members coupon.

- Archer Farms raw unsalted nuts: cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and walnuts, 10.5 ounces, regularly $5.49 on clearance for $4.66 (I bought two jars
- big old bag of Market Pantry roasted and salted peanuts in the shell, $2.99 (my daughter begged for them. She can be so odd.)
- kashi dark chocolate almond granola bars, $2.99
- fresh express iceberg garden salad, $1.47
- Hunts no high fructose corn syrup ketchup, $1.77
- Archer Farms soup, two chicken curry and two loaded baked potato, 4 at $2.29 each
- salsa, regular $2.49, on sale for $1.89, plus I had a coupon for $1 off.
- water chestnuts, $1.07
- baby corn, $1.59
- penne pasta, 2 boxes at $1 each
- New England coffee, price cut (it used to be $6.99) now $5.99, I bought two
- Archer Farms vanilla coffee syrup, $3.99
- Bigelow mint tea, $2.19
- Celestial Seasonings tangerine orange tea, $2.25
- various canned beans (I have dried beans in my cupboard but haven't had time to make them). Light red kidney, dark red, white northern, black and garbanzo, 79 cents each
- mandarin oranges in light syrup, the big can, two at $2.04 each
- tuna, the big can, three at $2.34 each
- bananas, 7 at 24 cents each
- personal watermelon, $3.69
- Silk milks, two Very Vanilla soy and two vanilla almond, $3 each
- Fage yogurts, 2 at $1.27 each
- Noosa yogurt, 3 at $2.39 each
- Chobani Flipz, 2 at $1 each (I had no idea these were on sale)
- Archer Farms frozen pizzas on clearance, one bolognese and one spinach feta, $3.81 each plus a $1 off coupon
- steaks, the same ones we had on Fat Tuesday, two packs, on sale for $4.49 each (normally $7.99 each)
- market pantry white grape juice, $3.29
- market pantry cranberry grape juice, $2.84
Minus: $1 for buying 2 market pantry juices
Minus: $1 for buying $5 in fresh produce
Minus: 15 cents for reusable bags

Subtotal: $138.90
Team Member discount: - $14.05
RedCard discount: - $ 6.24
Tax: 82 cents
Total: 119.43

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sausage chili

I got the last few coconut flour cornbread muffins out of the freezer and wondered what I could make to go with them. I had ground Italian sausage in the fridge, so I thought a chili with sausage might work.

I lightly browned the sausage in my big ol' Le Creuset skillet, with a little bit of coconut oil. I added a can of petite diced tomatoes (and yes I've read how now canned tomatoes are on the no-no list for many wholesome eaters, not only are they probably GMO but the cans are treated with... What is it? BHA? If I grow enough to can my own, I won't have to worry about it...)

Anyway, the tomatoes and meat are simmering away... I start tossing spices in, totally willy nilly as I've often seen Rachael Ray do. A lot of chili powder, some garlic, a few shakes of cumin, a few shakes of oregano, a little four color peppercorn, a pinch of paprika, and a good dump of cocoa. This is an operation done by smell. You want it very aromatic, because the beans will dilute it.

I added some water so it wouldn't stick and believe or not I piled about two cups frozen baby carrots on top. Stirred all that in. Then after 45 minutes or so of simmering on medium-low, I transferred it to the crock pot on high. I added one more cup water, 2 cans dark red kidney beans (reduced sodium, rinsed and drains), and the leftover black beans AND the leftover corn from the fridge.

I put it on high for an hour and then reduced the heat to warm for the rest of the afternoon.

Jalapeño ranch dip

I was in Manhattan yesterday after a very busy weekend so I'm not even sure what I've eaten lately.

One of those weekend nights, I took advantage of Target's buy three get one free chips and salsa sale. Got potato chips, blue corn flax tortilla chips, traditional salsa and the new Archer Farms jalapeño ranch dip.

The dip does not fill the shoes of the discontinued buffalo blue cheese dip we loved. It's a cross between ranch dressing and sour cream and onion dip with jalapeños thrown in. I like it. It's got a nice kick, but... It's not as good as the buffalo.

When I got home from my interview, my mother-in-law had made the family a very traditional dinner: chicken, mashed potatoes (with jar gravy), corn and applesauce. I tossed some cold chicken in a wrap with salad, corn salsa and the dip. That was nice.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ravioli and Brussel sprouts

So tonight I made Bertolli roasted tomato and mozzarella ravioli (that I got on clearance) in an olive oil sauce with a serious side of Brussel sprouts.

I put a small amount of butter on each serving of ravioli then sprinkled them with fresh ground Italian seasoning, garlic pepper and basil. I drizzled extra virgin olive oil over top.

The Brussel sprouts were sautéed briefly in coconut oil, fresh ground four color pepper, garlic powder and sprinkled with salt. I topped them with olive oil also and placed them, in the Le Creuset skillet, in a preheated 450 degree oven for ten minutes.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Burrito bar

Dinner tonight was make-your-own-burrito with the following ingredients:

- tortilla
- Fresh Express iceberg garden salad
- homemade corn salsa, the last from my summer canning season
- black beans
- Morningstar black bean burger, crumbled
- green giant cheesy rice with broccoli, which I seasoned with garlic powder, chili powder, fresh ground black pepper and cumin

Monday, February 18, 2013

Breakfast banana cookies

No school today.

Breakfast for the little one is Girl Scout shortbread cookies, homemade nut butter and banana, stacked up like an open-faced sandwich.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fried ham and cheese

I heated some ham in the skillet and fried a tortilla shell in a little coconut oil before stuffing it with the ham, cheddar and ranch dressing and topping with another tortilla shell to make a quesadilla style sandwich.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Homemade deluxe nut butter

So, child and I embarked on our first nut butter adventure in a hand-me-down food processor with a cute French name.

I had roasted my raw almonds after a hearty soak. The cashews came roasted but unsalted.

This yielded almost a quart of nut butter. I was surprised at how much it made!

Child and I ground everything in stages, constantly scraping down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula when the blade began to struggle.

- one cup cashews
- one cup almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 2 tablespoons local raw honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- about four tablespoons water (toward the end)

Scrumptious. Perhaps to heavy on the honey. Texture reminiscent of Cream of Wheat.

Chocolate covered strawberries

I had some strawberries in the fridge.

I have Ghiradelli 72% dark.

I have a child willing to assist.

We made chocolate covered strawberries. We had just started cutting and melting chocolate when the neighbor boy showed up on our doorstep with a valentine for our daughter.

He always wants to help. He is very good at measuring and following directions but every time I give him a knife, he cuts himself. He's going to be 8 in a few months.

I gave my daughter-- almost a year older than neighbor boy-- my chef's knife and she wielded that like a pro. The smaller knife she normally uses, I gave to neighbor boy.

They cut chocolate. They melted it in a Le Creuset tiny saucepan. We added fresh ground cinnamon. We dipped our strawberries and then seeing we had A LOT of chocolate left, we dipped AGAIN.

They are in the fridge now.

Waffle sandwich

The other day my mother-in-law brought us creamed chicken and waffles, a culinary experience of all its own. Chicken celery soup on a waffle.

Today for lunch I made an almond butter, fresh strawberries and triple berry preserve sandwich using the leftover waffles as bread. Yum!

Today after school, I plan to make our own nut butter. That's another entry for later...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fat Tuesday

I had no idea what to make for dinner so I swung through Target after a long shift...

I grabbed steaks, vegetables, strawberries and creme brûlée for my Fat Tuesday celebration.

My total bill came to $25.92.

- 4 small Angus steaks, $10, regularly $15.98
- fresh express iceberg garden salad, $1.47
- Green Giant fresh asparagus $2.49, regularly $3.49 (and was not in as good of condition as I thought when I bought it... Sad face)
- fresh strawberries, 1 quart, on sale for $2.49
- archer farm steam-in-bag broccoli, on sale for $1.89
- 2 boxes of Archer Farm creme brûlée (each with two servings), $5.99 each

Subtotal: $30.32
Team member discount: - 3.04
REDcard savings: - 1.36

What did I do with it?

When I got home, I touched off my enormous pépé mug with chai, and washed the asparagus. While my husband cooked the steaks with just a little garlic pepper and Italian seasoning, I cut some slits into the asparagus and spread some extra virgin olive oil and garlic pepper on them on the cookie sheet. I preheated the oven to 450 and really roasted that asparagus to a golden brown.

Then I split two raspberry Chobani "bites" with dark chocolate into three bowls and garnished with fresh strawberry slices.

That was the first course. The second course was a big old plate of salad. Third course was the asparagus.

Husband prepared the fourth course, the steam-in-bag broccoli drizzled with sesame oil and the steaks.

Dessert is the creme brûlée prepared by the child.

The wine is local apple wine from Stroudsburg.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sweet potato fry snack

Child has a 2-hour delay today and like mom's everywhere I'm screaming "My routine is off!" And it's Monday, which makes it even more difficult. Honestly, I'd rather keep her home for the day!

So at 10:20 a.m., they have a healthy snack from home.

For own snack I made sweet potato fries, sprinkled them with cinnamon and serving with a dipping sauce of 1 part blackstrap molasses to 3 parts pure maple syrup.

Best. Snack. Ever.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blizzard of 2013 "Nemo"

So, it's snowing but we haven't hit "blizzard" yet and Nemo is kicking my tush.

I'm PMSing, daughter had big projects due at school, I think I have a cold, and this storm is making my leg hurt so bad I can hardly stand.

So, I took a Zyrtec, a half dose of DayQuil, 2 Aleve, an echinacea capsule, and 500 mg of vitamin C while drinking 32 ounces of earl grey with local raw honey.

I'm making Campbell's 100% Natural Italian Wedding soup with leftover snow peas and a garden salad wrap for lunch.

Dinner will be pizza. I coped with the blizzard by ordering 3 large pizzas but 2 orders of dessert sticks from Pizza Hut last night.

Comfort food.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Crazy Food

I love food. This is a phenomenon that occurred during my transition to adult life. I was a picky eater as a child and grew up on junk food.

I'm known now as the nutrition Nazi mom
who packs weird snacks and lunches. I'm the one who loves to cook and loves to grocery shop.

I love vegan cooking. I love gluten free cooking. I love cooking with local ingredients. I love harvesting my gardening. I love canning.

And Oh My Goodness! I can't wait to open that last can of spiced apples I made from local apples.

But I also love Doritos, Girl Scout Cookies and brownies. I have a soft spot for froo-froo coffee drinks. And I love a good cheesesteak or a hot baguette with butter and jam.

My point is: food is personal. Food is individual. Every family has a different relationship with food. Every body has different responses to food.

So, whatever you eat: savor it.
Whatever you eat: eat it with loved ones.

And every once in a while have ice cream for dinner or a crazy concoction like this (delicious by the way):
- 2 eggs, fried in coconut oil
- one tortilla shell
- horseradish sauce
- lots of raspberry salsa
- 2 jalapeño poppers

And maybe someday, I'll feed the world.

Sandwich of Awesomeness

I'm a big fan of breakfast but I also don't like to eat until I'm hungry. Since I ate most of a box of Caramel DeLites before heading to bed last night, I didn't get hungry until 10 a.m. (I blame PMS for this binge. I am grateful it wasn't the whole box plus others. I am trying my best.)

I got busy applying for jobs and doing stuff for my in-laws. I thought I'd clean some scattered paper and before you know it, it was 11. My husband gets home at 12:15.

Do I eat something small? Do I make my lunch?

I made a delightful lunch that, yes, contained too many processed foods. But for processed foods, they are foods I am okay with.

I made a sandwich of MaraNatha extra crunchy almond butter and Smuckers Old Orchard Triple Berry Preseves (no high fructose corn syrup and has whole blueberries in it, as a preserve should!) on Archer Farm Blueberry Breakfast bread (an occasional treat as this is very processed). I gave myself a side of veggie Pirate's Booty. The lunch would have been vegan if not for the small amount of milk product in the bread.

All foods came from Target.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hello, Monday

After plenty of coffee and some baguette with various toppings (butter, almond butter, peanut butter or triple berry preserves), my morning got food productive.

I mixed child a serving of mango Noosa yogurt and mixed in some frozen blueberries for her school snack.

Then I read her the school menu and got, "Mommy, can I pack?"

Which is exactly what I was not prepared to hear.

But she didn't want to eat hot dog, turkey sandwich with cheese or PB&J and really I don't want her eating that. But it's cheap and easy. Which makes me ashamed that my family relies on it so much and I'm disturbed that our country doesn't put more effort into school lunch.

So I reheated last night's spaghetti and meat balls, dumped it into a thermal bowl and gave her a side of calamata olives that can go into the spaghetti or be eaten alone. Threw in a small tropical fruit cup too.

While the water was still hot (from heating the lid to the thermal bowl), I tossed an egg into it for the tortoise. Must have hit too hard because it cracked. But I salvaged enough quasi-cooked egg for our Blue. Egg (with shell for calcium), romaine lettuce and sliced pears.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Today was a special day. I took my daughter and my friend Gayle to see the dinosaurs in Alpha, N.J. I figured no visit to Alpha was complete without a trip to Charlie's Pool Room for hot dog's with Grandma Fencz's secret sauce (since 1925!)

Charlie's Pool Room offers hot dogs, served with or without special sauce, with or without pickles. There's a possibility of a side of Doritos, some candy or a can of soda, but don't expect much more choice than that.

The brothers who run the place remembered me-- despite seven years since my last visit!

There's one table and customer's eating in share it, taking turns when chairs fill.

We got some quarters and played pinball, Galaga and I kicked butt at Ms. Pac-Man.

7 dogs, 3 cans soda, 1 package candy and some video games = $20.