Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The recall is still pretty vague, but they are recalling items from as far back as last fall. This will most likely include not just roasted pistachios, it will also include items like cake mixes, trail mixes, puddings and any other convenience foods that have pistachios as an ingredient.
I'm not saying start throwing your items away. I would however, pull them out of your pantry and set them aside until a more firm list has been provided by the FDA. As always, if you have eaten anything or your kids have just keep an eye out for any symptoms like diarrhea, fever and cramping. Also as a note, if you have any products labeled by Setton Farms, I would just toss those. The lost money isn't worth the sickness.
I'll continue to update this post with any additional information. Stay healthy!
This blog was hooked up also with Talk about it Tuesday, Tackle It Tuesday and Tightwad. Tuesday
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Yields: 2 Servings
2 medium firm bananas, peeled
1/2 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cut bananas in half lengthwise. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and lay the banana slices on top, cut side up. Cook undisturbed for 20 seconds, then orange juice and cinnamon. Cook for 10 seconds, then turn bananas carefully and cook for 45 to 60 seconds more, basting with the pan sauce. Divide the bananas between 2 dessert plates, drizzling the sauce on top. Serve immediately.
Note: The bananas cook very fast. Make sure you you are ready to start your batch because if they over cook they will turn mushy. Enjoy!
What are your favorite fruity desserts? What fruit are you most looking forward to in the summer?
Friday, March 27, 2009
So, after many requests here is this years current garden wish list. The list includes the vegetable, the amount and how I plan on preserving it.
- Potatoes - 15 plants - Can/Dehydrate/Root Cellar
- Onions - 75 each - Dehydrate/Root Cellar
- Butter Crunch Lettuce - 6 plants - Fresh
- Roma Tomatoes - 12 plants - Dehydrate/Can (Spaghetti sauce, salsa, juice)
- Heirloom Tomato - 1 plant - Fresh (Tomato Sandwiches)
- Kale - 6 plants - Dehydrate/Can
- Jalapenos - Fresh/Dehydrate
- Assorted Gourds - 9 plants - Dry/Ornamental
- Eggplant - 6 plants - Dehydrate
- Royal Burgundy Beans - 9 plants - Can
- Bell Pepper - 6 plants - Dehydrate
- No. 9 Peas - 9 plants - Freeze/Dehydrate (?)
- Okra - 3 plants - Fresh
- Fig Tree - 1 tree - Dehydrate/Can
- Beets - 9 plants - Ahh, I have no idea yet. Can/Dehydrate maybe?
In the ground right now, you (Midwest) should be planting potatoes, onions, cabbage, kale, lettuce and horseradish. Our nursery didn't get in their cold weather plants so we are going tomorrow to pick up our starters. No, I am not a die hard seed starter. I split my plants between seeds and starters and am slowly building up to start everything from seeds. If you aren't sure about what to be planting right now talk to your local nursery or call your closest gardening relative.
What's your favorite vegetable to grow in your garden? I'd also love to hear about what you plan on growing this year. Leave me a comment.
Check out other Green Projects at Heavenly Homemakers.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I do have a fabulous recipe to share with you today though. This one was inspired by my In-laws when they shared with me a few parsnips that they had just harvested. They grew through the winter and they just dug them out late last week. We are already beginning our list of veggies to grow over the winter. So if you have a running list make a note.
So, I was just dying to roast them for dinner the next night. That morning I couldn't wait, I wanted to eat them now. While Brian was still dreaming I started shredded and born was the parsnip pancake.
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoon basil, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced or powdered
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat griddle. In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Make a small patty and test to ensure 1. the patties stick together and 2. they taste good. Adjust any flavoring as needed. (Everyone is different) Cook the following parsnip pancakes until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Enjoy!
Variations - Switch the basil and Parmesan cheese to these:
Jalapeno and Cheddar
Sun Dried Tomato and Mozzarella
Green Onions and Colby
Pepper Jack and Diced tomatoes
Cumin, Black beans (mashed slightly) and cheddar cheese
We enjoyed these patties with homemade Kefir sour cream. If you make a large batch, cook half way and then lay them out on a baking sheets and freeze them. Transfer them to a ziplock container after frozen.
I'd love to hear about your favorite slightly odd breakfast meals.
For more freezer recipes check out Ultimate Recipe Swap.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
For my dry and bulk goods, most of them can be found in mason jars with the white plastic lids. After flying though many address labels and scrubbing them off the jars too many times, I started thinking, there must be a better way. Enter the Junk drawer. Every kitchen has one, just admit it. I started digging and came upon this beauty:
Dry erase markers work beautifully on the white lids for mason jars and wipe away clean ready for the next use. I have been using mine for the past month, testing it out and it has helped so much. My dry goods are marked and identified. No more, umm can you grab the small yellow grain for me on top of the fridge in the jar.....no the other one, no one more to the left, umm...your other left.
Test it out and let me know what you think. Please share your kitchen organizing ideas with me too! I am always looking for new tricks. Make sure you check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays and Talk About It Tuesday to see what other people are sharing.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The main ingredient in today's recipe is also a very popular ingredient in bird seed. So gather your fine feathered friends and enjoy today's side dish recipe.
This recipe from Eating Well Magazine (thank you for your votes) turned out fabulous and I think it would even have the pickiest of eaters grabbing seconds. Make sure you read my notes at the end because I have some fabulous variations that will make your family go crazy for this recipe and make your dinner time a little easier. I also loved this recipe because a cup of millet and a few other inexpensive ingredients made a generous yield for our dinner. Definitely a frugal side dish.
Millet provides B vitamins, some protein, and excellent fiber. If you want more info on millet check out this great website and if you just want to get cooking already, here is the recipe. Here's the original version too (link), for testing purposes I didn't alter it hugely.
Savory Millet Cakes
12 Patties (6 servings)
6 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup millet
1 garlic clove
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shredded zucchini
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Stir in millet and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 20 minutes. Stir in zucchini, carrot, Parmesan, thyme, lemon zest and pepper. Cook, uncovered, maintaining a simmer and stirring often to keep the millet from sticking, until the mixture is soft, very thick and the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes more.
Remove from the heat and let stand, stirring once or twice, until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.
With dampened hands, shape the millet mixture into 12 patties..
Heat 5 tablespoon oil in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add 4 millet cakes and cook until the bottoms are browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn the cakes with a wide spatula and cook until the other side is browned. Cook the remaining cakes in batches, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Enjoy!
- Substitute the water for chicken stock and the Parmesan cheese for cheddar and make a millet style mac and cheese patty for the kids.
- Add pureed veggies to the patties for more hidden vegetable servings.
- Make more for later. After shaping the patties lay out on a baking sheet and freeze. Then transfer them to a zip lock bag and keep them for another dinner. Just thaw and pan fry.
- Substitute carrots for sun dried tomatoes and thyme for fresh basil and have an Italian style patty.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Check back during the week to see how both of these recipes turn out! In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you might be experimenting with this week. Drop me a note.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
A little about my blog. Our family is striving to eat healthier one step at a time. My passion is creating healthy and flavorful meals within a short period of time. I run my own personal chef and catering business so not only do I feel the need to set a good example, I also have a hectic schedule.
I love gardening and growing our own food. In fact probably by the time this gets posted, I'll be outside with my husband digging in our front flower bed. My blog is all about making life simple and easy through tried and true gardening tips and techniques and with fabulous recipes.
I love being in my kitchen experimenting new recipes. I look forward to sharing new recipes with new readers and current readers. If you have tried any let me know!
Friday, March 20, 2009
- What we like to eat- I am a huge vegetable eater.My hubby, is so so. Knowing this I buy more of what we will both eat and a little less of what I only eat and enjoy those vegetables for lunch when he is at work. This goes for starting plants from seeds also.
- Grow according to preserving - I am a dehydrating and canning machine in the summertime. We don't have an extra freezer so I grow vegetables to how I can preserve them for the winter. For example, we love broccoli but other than freezing, I'm not sure how to preserve it, so we grow one or two plants to consume fresh. Tomatoes on the other hand get turned into juice, sauce, dehydrated and paste; so needless to say we grow a lot.
- What's in your inventory- How much pickled okra did you really go through last year? Still have jars upon jars of a certain vegetable? I suggest just growing enough of that vegetable this year to enjoy fresh. Leave that extra space for growing more of another vegetable you ate all gone or try a new vegetable
- How long is your season?- Have a short growing season? Try growing varieties with shorter maturing period. Don't pick a vegetable that takes 100 days to mature, try something with a quick turn around or start those seeds inside.
- How you eat- This is similar to no. 1, however, how you eat can vary from what you like to eat. Are you in a hurry come dinner time? Grow vegetables that are quick and easy to prepare like green beans, asparagus or greens. After picking and washing, all these vegetables only need a quick blanch or saute and they are on the table in minutes.
- Nutritional Content- Multivitamins supplements are good, however, growing a garden is the best multivitamin of all. Take the time to research which vegetables are high in which vitamins and then grow accordingly to what you are lacking in your diet or know will help your family grow strong. Get a mixture of "vitamins" to grow in your garden.
- Vacationing- We learned this the hard way. If you plan to be out of town for a week or two enjoying the sun at the beach and don't have some one to come over to check your garden everyday try and choose vegetable varieties that do well in dry conditions just in case there is no rain or your veggie babysitter forgets to stop by.
- Sunshine vs. Shade- Watch the location of your garden for a few days and map out how much sun the different spots get. You need to supply the right amount of light for your plants to grow properly. I plant my lettuce where they get the morning sun, but come afternoon they are being shaded by the apple tree's shadow.
- Rotation- Rotating crops is an important part of gardening as to not strip your soil from nutrients or creating harmful pathogens. Plan your garden according to where and what you planted last year.
After many requests, next Friday I will be posting up my garden growing list and the why's behind it. I'm still hoping to talk my husband into that fig tree I want, so hopefully in a week's time I'll be adding that to my list!
For more green topics and ideas check out The Little Green Project.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Molten Lava Cake with Raspberry Truffle
Yields: 4 individual cakes
2 ounces seedless raspberry jam (or blackberry)
5 egg yolks
3 ounces turbinado (or other sugar)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
8 ounces butter
2 ounces Mochiko rice flour
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease and flour (4) 6-8 ounce ramekins. In a double boiler, melt chocolate, butter and jam. Mix thoroughly. Allow to cool to room temperature. In the mean time whip the eggs, yolks and sugar together. Incorporate room temperature chocolate mixture to egg mixture and mix well. Gently stir in rice flour.
Pour cake batter into ramekins and bake on the middle rack of the oven for4-6 minutes. The center of the cake will be soft to the touch (this is the "lava"). Run a butter knife along the sides of the ramekin and turn it onto serving plate. Serve immediately.
Note: You can make this up to a day ahead of serving. Simply make the batter and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before baking. You can also dust with confectioners sugar before serving.
For more great recipes check out The Ultimate Recipe Swap.
Are you done laughing yet? I know, no fancy stainless steel and it's easily over 20 years old. And yes, this is an upgrade for me. What I love most about this one is it's faux wood panel at the controls. It might look dark brown to you but in person it's wood grain. It cracks me up. We recently went to goodwill and I found it for $3.99. It's double the size of my old one which we have out grown and totally works great. My husband on the other hand thought I was a little crazy due to how old it is, much louder it is and it isn't very modern. Here's my theory though. I love older kitchen appliances at goodwill because chances are some one donated them because they upgraded themselves to a "prettier" one. There's nothing wrong with this one and since it's so old, I am guessing it was built and made much better before things started getting cheap.
If you don't own one, I'm not suggesting you go out and buy one, however, if you have wanted one and not sure if you would really like it then check out your goodwill or local thrift store and pick one up for a few bucks and try it out before you make a serious commitment. (Anything over $20 is a serious commitment to me).
I especially love my food processor during canning time when I am trying to puree large batches of spaghetti sauce or tomatoes before cooking down. That's when my $4 investment is going to turn priceless.
Here are a few tips on how to choose a food processor - besides looking at the $3.99 price tag.
- Think about the size you will need. If you are cooking for two, consider a 3-4 cup model. If you have a large family, cook for the masses or do huge volumes of canning consider a 7 cup model.
- What shortcuts would you like it to help you with? Models can come with extra blades which can include shredding, slicing, chopping or a dough blade.
- Compare special features. This may include extra bowls or lids, warranties, speed controls, pulsing option, juicing or mini bowls.
- Make sure parts are dishwasher safe. This will save you time again buy not having to wash it by hand.
- Double check the warranty to see what it covers and make sure you can buy replacement parts later just in case an accident happens.
- I can't resist- check for a sale or coupon.
Find out what other people are saying about thrift stores and other frugal ideas.
Check out the rest of this week's blog entries to find more quick and easy recipes and gardening tips.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
And here is mine. I added a few more veggies and substituted a few things according to what I had in my fridge. This is yet again another keeper!
Hawaiian Ginger-Chicken Stew
Serves 2 (maybe 3)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 onion, chopped
7 garlic cloves, minced
8 button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup Marsala wine or dry sherry
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian Red Chili Sauce
2 cups canned kale or 1 cup dehydrated kale (from last year garden)
1 cup rice noodles
1/2 bunch cilantro, rough chop
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add ginger, onion and garlic to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add mushrooms and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add Marsala and cook until mostly evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, chili sauce, kale and rice noodles and cook until the greens and noodles are tender, about 3 minutes.
That simple. It was really quick and easy to make and I loved all the vegetables I loaded it up with.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
My new knight in shining armor goes by the name of Whole Wheat Pita Bread. It is perfect for sandwiches, to go with soup, mini pizzas and you can freeze it! This recipe is very easy and I thought it was so much fun to make. Which only makes me want to make it again. It didn't feel like a chore and my husband was proud of me:).
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Yields: 14 pitas
1 cup warm water (110° F)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 cups whole wheat flour (and a little extra for rolling dough out)
2 tablespoons gluten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons turbinado (or white sugar)
Preheat oven and pizza stone to 500° F. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water, allow to sit for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mix together flour, gluten and salt. Slowly add in yeast mixture and continue to mix until it forms a smooth ball. (This can be done by hand or in a mixer). Roll out into a rope and cut into 14 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and roll out with a rolling pin until it's a 5-7 inch circle.
To Bake: In cycles, roughly three at a time, place shaped pita on hot pizza stone. Allow to bake for about three minutes or until golden brown. Pull pitas out of the oven and immediately place in a Ziploc bag. Allow pitas to cool inside bag. Once cool, transfer pitas to a dry bag and allow "cooling bag" to dry out and save for another use.
To Freeze: After pitas have cooled completely separate each pita with wax paper and store in an airtight container in freezer. Simply pull them out when ready to use and thaw in microwave for 15 seconds.
Notes: Pitas might "poof" after being inside Ziploc bag for a minute gently smash down. These pitas will be perfect for stuffing or sandwiches. Putting the pitas in the plastic bag is important. It allows them to build up condensation and become soft and pliable.
So many ideas for what I want to use these pitas for! I'd love to hear how you would serve these! Please share any ideas in my comment section!
Check out Talk about it Tuesdays for more great topics.
Friday, March 13, 2009
with Garden fever! My sorrel, as you can see in the picture, made a fabulous entrance back into my flowerbed this week. I am so ready for the warmer weather and to be digging in the dirt. There is no other place I would rather be than in a garden in the summer time. As spring is slowly striding into our lives, it is important to start planning now what we want to be eating later. Just when I finally got myself in the habit of weekly meal planning, I need to start planning what I want to be eating in 3 months and over the next winter.
Over the next few weeks, I will be covering various topics on gardening and giving easy tips for gardening and fitting it into your life style.
As for me I've started my garden wish list and even have ordered a few seeds for us. I plan to do a much larger herb garden this year, especially after seeing how fast we went through our preserved herbs over the winter. I've also charted out what and where I want to plant each item, taking into account of what I had planted there last year. Having a plan and goals is important with any big project especially gardens to ensure success and a bountiful harvest.
Here are our garden goals for this year:
- Try growing (at least) three new vegetables this year.
- Implement proper crop rotation and start a crop cycle schedule for following years.
- Save money buy starting half of our planned crops from seeds.
- Plant more vegetables that can be stand alone side dishes for busy nights.
- Have better control over weeds. (not totally weedless, just better than last year)
- One out - one in. When one crop is done for the season, have a secondary crop for the rest of the harvesting season.
- Plant two items that can grow during the winter and harvested during the spring.
- Introduce more edible landscaping into my flower beds.
- Compost, compost, compost! Be more diligent at gathering those vegetable scraps and keep my compost going. I love it when it's all done, just sometimes getting my scrap pile out there is a little tough.
Want to see more "Green" ideas and topics, check out this site.
For more Finer Things in life check out Amy's site, here.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Yields roughly 10-12
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup warm flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups boiling water
4 tablespoons baking soda
Mix together warm water, sugar and yeast. Allow the yeast to proof. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour and salt. Slowly add in yeast mixture and continue to mix until it forms a smooth ball. (This can be done by hand or in a mixer)
Cut the dough into 10 to 12 pieces. Roll into a long rope and then shape into pretzel form. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
Boil 3 cups of water and baking soda. Drop each pretzel in the water and boil for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and drain it on a cooling rack. (I do this step, one or two pretzels at a time, be very gentle they are a little fragile)
At this point you have two options:
1. Brush your pretzels with egg wash or water and sprinkle salt on top and Bake them at 425° for 10 minutes or until golden brown, and chow down.
2. After boiling them, let them cool completely. Lay them out on a baking sheet and stick in freezer until frozen, then transfer them to a ziplock bag for storing. When ready to enjoy, follow option no. 1 and cook them for about 12-14 minutes, if frozen.
My husband requested I try making jalapeno-cheddar pretzels next go around. Have any other ideas? Do you have any creative & yummy dipping sauce recipes?
For more recipes head over to the Ultimate Recipe Swap.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Trying to fill in the blank? Feel free to fill it in with mushroom, celery, broccoli or even chicken. The recipe I am sharing today is an easy recipe and will eliminate buying the concoction of mystery ingredients that come in a can. I love recipes with condensed creamed soup, however, I shutter when I "plop" it out into my mixing bowl or stir it into my casseroles, yet I can't quite live without the convenience of it.
This recipe is for making a powdered form of cream soup to which you can add fresh or dehydrated mushrooms, celery, onions or whatever you imagination leads you too. Just simply mix it and store it in an air tight container in your pantry.
Instant Cream of (Blank) Soup Mix
Yields: 1 Quart of mix
2 cup instant/powdered milk
3/4 cup Cornstarch or Mochiko flour
1/4 cup Powdered Chicken Broth (Low sodium)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all the ingredients above thoroughly. Store in an airtight container until use.
To use: Bring 1 1/4 cup water to a boil. Whisk in 1/3 cup of dry soup mix. Turn down heat to medium-low and continue stirring until soup has thickened. Ready to use. Options: Add dehydrated flavoring when adding mixture to boiling water or add sauteed fresh vegetables just after you have mix in the soup mix.
Check out more quick & easy recipes here at Slow Cooking Thursdays
Monday, March 9, 2009
Here are a few helpful tips to keep your produce and families healthy:
1. Wash all produce before serving or storing by rinsing under warm water and vigorously rub with your hands. You want to wash before using because washing before storing can cause the produce to spoil quickly due to the moisture.
2. Always wash produce regardless of you peeling or not eating the outer layer. Melons are a fine example of this. If you have dirt or bacteria on the outside of the melon and then cut into it, your knife is spreading the dirt from the outside to the flesh you are about to consume. Same with peeling carrots or potatoes. Try using a vegetable brush.
3. Don't wash with detergents. The ingredients can cling to the produce and you have the chance to digest those too. Fruits and Vegetables are porous and can absorb anything they come into contact with.
4. Discard the outer leaves on leafy vegetables before washing. Also cut out any bruising during the washing process.
5. When in doubt, just wash it. Better safe than sorry. This goes for bagged salads too. Remember the spinach scare? Is it worth putting your beloved ones at chance?
6. If you still aren't feeling you are getting your veggies squeaky clean try soaking them in equal parts vinegar and water. After about a minute (or less) rinse them under tempid water.
7. Grapes and other small berries. Rinse well under luke warm water in a colander. Do this quickly as to not let any of the juices escape or so you don't damage them. Grapes might still have a natural white coating. This is normal and is called "Bloom". It helps the fruit stay fresh.
Please feel free to post any questions or tips in the comments section. I'd love to hear your ideas! For other kitchen tips check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, here.
Mushroom and Parmesan Salad
Makes 4 servings
1 pound button mushrooms, washed & thinly sliced
4 large celery stalks, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup Balsamic vinegar (opt. red wine or flavored vinegar)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place the mushrooms, celery and parsley in a medium bowl and toss with olive oil and vinegar. Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve salad in bowls or salad plates and sprinkle on (generously) Parmesan cheese.
Tonight, we opted to turn this side dish into our main meal. We served it over a bed of lettuce and added sliced chicken breast to it. I also bumped up the amounts of vinegar and oil as to also dress the lettuce too!
For more tasty treats checkout Tempt me Tuesdays here and Tasty Tuesday here.
Friday, March 6, 2009
As for any canning project start out with hot sterilized jars, lids and bands. Next, I fill my jar 3/4 of the way with my washed fresh herbs and then fill the rest of the way with boiling vinegar. I screw on my lid and band tightly and allow it to seal and coll completely. Allow the vinegar to steep for atleast 10 days before using it. The last step is to strain it before you begin to enjoy it. The flavored vinegar is great for marinades, salad dressings, and sauces.
Herbs and Edible flowers are always great additions to any vinegar. Get creative and see what you have growing that you can add. See how we used it for a marinade here.
Check out other frugal and nourishing recipes here!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Garlic-Oregano Pork Loin
1 cup garlic-oregano vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cumin
salt and pepper
2 pound pork loin
Mix vinegar, oil, cumin, salt and pepper in a ziplock bag. Place roast in the bag and allow to marinade for 12 hours, making sure to flip occasionally. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pork in a roasting pan (fat side up) and pour remaining marinade over it. Put the roast in the oven. Cook about 40-60 minutes or until the meat registers 150 degrees on a meat thermometer. Roasts vary in sizes and in thickness, consequently the cooking times will vary depending on the shape of your roast. The meat thermometer is the best way to judge the right amount of cooking time. Remove the roast from the oven and set on a cutting board. Let it rest for 5 minutes before slices. This is allow the juices to stay within the roast. Enjoy!
No, I'm not running a fever or losing my mind. I love stale bread! Just when you think oh gross, I'm thinking oh yeah, croutons! In the back of my fridge you will see a mason jar that I keep my homemade croutons in. Well, it's among the other mason jars, but it's there.
We don't go through a lot of bread in our house. In fact a loaf might last us three weeks....if it was to last that long. After about a week and a ziplock bag containing the heals of the bread, I treat us to a new loaf of bread and myself to croutons for my salad! Week to week my recipe for our bread changes sometimes I make honey wheat and sometimes I make a 8 grain bread that is a little more savory. The weeks when my bread doesn't turn out and is very heavy and dense we automatically call it crouton bread. So, it would be fair to say week to week my crouton recipe changes too. Last week I tried a new recipe for a multi-grain bread and the left overs made fabulous garlic-Parmesan croutons, here is the recipe:
3 cloves minced garlic or 2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups cubed “old” bread
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl toss together olive oil, bread and garlic. Sprinkle Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper over bread, cover, and toss to coat. Spread croutons evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until crisp and golden.
You can also make breadcrumbs and french toast casserole with old bread. If all you have left are heals and you don't want to fuss with making only a small batch or don't have the time this week, throw the bread is the freezer and start a stock pile until you have enough.
Check out other frugal ideas and ways to save money check out Frugal Friday, here.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I learned this little trick awhile ago in passing. I almost laughed and then finding myself with an excess of avocados after a football party, I figured well what do I have to lose? So into the freezer my beloved green friend went. The only trick is to freeze it whole. How easy?!?!
When I am craving my husband's guacamole, I simply put in out on the counter during the day and let it thaw at room temp. I think the best way to use the avocados are for a dip or spread after you have frozen them. Since, avocados can be a little bit of a splurge at times due to the increase of price for vegetables this is a great trick to be able to buy a few at sale price and enjoy them later. Just make sure the ones you buy are ripe. You don't want to buy something that is already on the way out the door.
How to pick a ripe avocado:
- Give it a little squeeze. It should give a little, like the pad of your thumb. If it feels like a rock then it's not ripe yet and you'll have to let it sit on your counter a few days to ripen. If it's overripe, when you squeeze it, it will be super soft and chances are it's already turning brown inside.
- Look for uniform appearance and texture.
- Avoid ones with bruises. To detect a bruise, again gently squeeze it, and if you feel a soft spot with the rest of an avocado feels different, chances are it's bruised.
- Avoid ones with scars.
- No rattling. If you shake it and you hear a rattle, that's the pit and it's past it's prime.
See you in the
Check out other great Frugal ideas here
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan and Bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 1/2 cup brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled (ham optional)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (mozzarella or blue cheese optional)
In a heavy skillet, heat up olive oil until hot. Over low heat cook onion until caramelized. While the onion is caramelizing, blanch brussels sprouts until just bright green. Drain, then add to caramelized onions. Stir in crumbled bacon and allow to heat up. Turn off heat and toss in parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and you are set to eat.
Notes: If you are using dehydrated brussels sprouts (as you see in the top picture), just reconstitute them and do not blanch them. If you are using frozen brussels sprouts, just half them and thaw them. They were previously blanched before being frozen.