Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On the menu...

MON - Broiled Tilapia, Rice, Carrots, J.P.'s Big Daddy Biscuits

TUES - Hunziker Easter Dinner - Light Wheat Rolls

WED - Chicken Parmesan Bundles, Tomato Sauce and Whole Grain Linguine, Corn

THURS - Potato & Pepper Frittata w/ Sausage, Strawberry Muffins

FRI - Four-Cheese Pasta Florentine

Foodie Adventures

One of my sweet neighbor ladies was cleaning out her kitchen, and before she made a goodwill run called me over to see if I needed anything. I got the "now remember we don't need much more stuff" speech from my sweet hubby before departing, and picked out some really pretty bowls and nice kitchen gadgets I've missed since leaving mom's kitchen...that we needed. :-D
One thing that looked like fun was a curly fry maker - my neighbor never tried it, so I decided to give it a whirl:

Here's my colony of happy, skinned potatoes
(they were starting to turn green, otherwise I wouldn't have skinned them):

Place a potato on the spinny-thing:

Smash the white tumbler down on top of it and turn it on:

Watch in amazement as happy, curly potato strings fill the compartment:
Dump potato strings into your choice of coating (I used this one - sorta. I changed a few things.)

Thoroughly coat, then bake:

And eat!
It was a little extra work, but it was fun! :-)

-----------------------------------------------

There was a day last week I wanted to make Micah cinnamon rolls for the morning and to take to the guys at work, but didn't want to be up at 4am to make them...
So I found a couple overnight cinnamon roll recipes, combined a few aspects of each, popped them in the fridge overnight...


..and baked them the next morning! So yummy...there is nothing even remotely healthy about these, so now I'm wondering if it would work just as well with whole wheat flour and honey.


I used the dough recipe from here and the filling and icing recipes from here (I was short on butter for the first recipe's filling, and I LOVE cream cheese icing).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Couponing Trip!


KrogerEither some of the coupons were re-set, or Ronzoni put out more, but I was able to get 4 more coupons per computer using these links at Cindy's blog, Living Rich with Coupons...which equals more free pasta at Kroger through next Wednesday! I paid $6.35 for the picture above, but that's for the pork tenderloin I found on manager's special...I've never made anything with one and thought it would be fun to try. :-)


Wal-Mart
I was able to stock up on Yoplus yogurt for $0.68 each - they were on sale for $1.68 and I was able to print 6 coupons between our two computers (Nicole at Nicole's Nickels has links to the available coupons). Individual yogurts work well for Micah to take in his lunch, so these will be helpful over the next few weeks!
They had some Huggies P&N diapers on clearance, so combined with the incredible $3/1 coupons that have been everywhere recently it was a good deal.
I had a freebie coupon for the little individual cream cheese pack (can't remember if it was from VocalPoint or Pssst), and when my grumpy checkout lady got to that one and had to write down the amount, it almost set her on fire...hehe...sorry lady. She mostly seemed ticked off that I had 6 of the yogurt coupons and said she can only print 2 on her computer because "all those coupons sites are hooked together somehow!" I said something about it depending on their source, but don't really think the poor thing wanted to know...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blueberry Muffins


I really, really like blueberries...cobbler, bundt cake, coffee cake, muffins...anything!

I wanted to make blueberry muffins the other night since I only had time for some type of quick bread, so I scrounged around for a recipe and ended up with this one...and modified it a bit.
I was out of bananas, so added some canola oil instead to moisten the batter (not sure if that was a good substitute, but it worked I guess!). I used whole wheat and white flours, substituted honey for some of the brown sugar, and had no clue what a "punnet" of blueberries was, so just added them til it looked good. :-) The batter was SO thick that I wondered if they were going to come out like scones...and they kinda did. They were really heavy - but in a good way!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Healthy House

When I clean around the house I try to avoid using harmful chemicals, so my 'go-to' cleaner is usually plain old white vinegar. If I want to be vain and get the "clean bathroom smell" (usually because people are coming over), then I'll use some Melaleuca Tub & Tile, which doesn't have too many bad chemicals in it.

The problem I've had recently is the drain issue...our tub and kitchen sink tend to have some draining problems at times. I'll often ignore it until I really need to face the grungies (as in pull whatever soap-slime hairball I can reach out of the tub drain)...but didn't really think about the power of my trusty vinegar and its friend baking soda until I read this blog post on the icky drain issue.

So we'll see if this speeds up some drain action around here...

What Constitution?

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
-Unknown

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mr. Gardener

I went to upload some pictures from my camera and found a self-portrait of my handsome master gardener and his little green babies...

This is the first time we've done any gardening ourselves (other than that lovely chore of weeding the family garden before we were married) and Micah's been having fun with sprouting a bunch of plants inside as we wait for the nicer weather.

Right now we have tomato, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli sprouts lifting their cute little green heads above the potting soil.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Granola

It has probably been about 3 months since I decided I would no longer buy cereal unless it was in the natural/organic section after reading this blog post. Since then I've been making granola on a regular basis, and when I can coupon Kashi cereal or Mom's Best Naturals down to a reasonable price, I buy it (like the 14 boxes of Kashi I bought 2 weeks ago. We're like 2 little kids when it comes to having an over-abundance of the blueberry Kashi cereal, though...we really have to work to limit ourselves to a box a week so we don't devour all 14 boxes in a month!).

This past week, while perusing recipes and blogs, I stumbled across this granola recipe that looked REALLY good...so I made it on Wednesday, and it is the best we have ever tasted - the delicious clumps, just the right amount of crunch, and the peanut butter with a hint of cinnamon make it taste like the stuff you buy in bulk from a natural food store! It's amazing!
I did change a couple things - I used whole wheat flour instead of rice flour, only added nuts until it looked right for us, cut down on the coconut a bit since Micah doesn't like it, and added a bit less honey and half of the oil.

This is definitely going to become a staple in our cereal cupboard!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

To market, to market...

Kroger has some exciting deals this week...I love stock-up trips!




Annie's Mac & Cheese is 0.49 ea...wow...


With coupons from the manufacturer's website, these chips were $1 a bag!

I don't buy pasta made from enriched, white flour anymore - but these were free with coupons!

And the healthy harvest by Ronzoni was 0.25 a box/bag - can't beat that!


If we hadn't bought organic apples, sour cream (which was pretty cheap with a coupon, too...), mayo, soap for the garden (rabbits don't like soap I guess) and eggs, we would have walked away without paying much of anything!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eggs, eggs, eggs

I can't remember where I read this recently, but someone's secret ingredient to make their scrambled eggs taste amazing is to add cottage cheese! I tried it this morning...

I added the cottage cheese to the pan after melting a little butter (about 3 Tblsp. per egg), then when it was heated and softening, cracked the eggs right into the pan and scrambled until it was cooked! They taste so goooood. The pic looks a bit like egg salad...maybe I scrambled them too much. :-)


Mac & Cheese

I tried this recipe from Heavenly Homemakers (fast becoming my favorite source of recipes recently) to see if it would live up to all its claims - and it did! The finished product was SO creamy and good...until it sat in the pot waiting for the hotdogs in the broiler...but it was still good when we ate it.
I split the recipe in half since there are only two(three) of us...

I used whole grain shells...


...whole milk...

...combined them in the pot with the salt...


...and stood at the stove stirring for the next 10-15 mins.
I did end up adding about 1/2 cup more milk than it called for when the noodles weren't quite tender and the milk was almost gone.


Cheesy, yummy goodness...

Menu Plan for the Week...

MON - Turkey Meatballs & Linguine, Skillet Asparagus

TUES - Creamy Mac&Cheese, Hot Dogs, Cottage Cheese (healthy, I know...)

WED - Southern Pork BBQ Dinner (pork, bean, veggie skillet), Honey Whole Wheat Bread

THURS - Honey-Grilled Chicken Breasts, Brocolli

FRI - Tilapia, Biscuits, Assorted Veggies

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Party in the Pantry

Someone needs to use the onions a little faster around here...




...they've been crawling out to get my attention.

No, no, no...Yes!

I tried to talk myself out of making it...




...but it was so goooood...



Recipe: Peanut Butter Pizza
I used 2 eggs and just over a cup of choc. chips :-)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Exercise...

I need to get back into doing more exercise than just walking, so yesterday I decided to pump up my exercise ball...

Which was a lot of exercise in itself.


The little hand pump that whooshes a little tiny puff with every compression quickly became a total body workout...

...maybe today I'll let all the air out and invent a new exercise routine...

..."10 reps with your RH...goooood! Now do 10 reps with your left foot...engage those thunder thighs...wonderful!"


Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Plan

This week's menu plan - which is never set in stone for me...I reserve the right to change my mind :-D

MON - Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Spinach

TUES - Skillet Pork Chops, Seasoned Baked Potatoes, Frozen Basil Veggies

WED - Turkey-Stuffed Bell Peppers

THURS - Vegetable Casserole, Homemade Wheat Rolls

FRI - Italian Spinach & Chicken Skillet

SAT - Young Adult group from church - Tacos/Tostadas/Burritos

SUN Potluck - Chicken Cheese Soup or Calzones...we'll see what I feel like making on Saturday morning...

Foodie things to do:
-Make Refried Beans for Saturday
-Make Chocolate Chips

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Homemade Tortillas

Last night I made wheat tortillas for the first time - and they were SO yummy! I cringe at the price for good tortillas without the extra preservatives and junk in them, but now know how simple it is to make them at home. And they're so tasty! I used this recipe, and made 10 tortillas out of it so they would be close to the grocery-store size. We had chicken salad wraps for supper last night, and I finished them off with black bean quesadillas for lunch.

Authentic Chicken Enchiladas

Two weeks ago I was really craving chicken enchiladas from the little Mexican restaurant in town, but decided to try my hand at making them myself.

I made corn tortillas...
Aldi sells the corn flour with lime all ready to go, so you just add water, form them and cook them on the griddle.

Red chili pepper sauce...
The chili ancho peppers were hotter than I thought. I got them dried from Wal-Mart and boiled them with some tomatoes and spices, then had to remove the stems and seeds (I should have worn gloves - oops!), blended everything in a blender, then put it through a sieve to strain the skins out. It ended up being quite spicy-hot, but once it was in the dish with everything else it was just perfect.

Spicy Chicken...
I simmered cooked chicken with garlic, tomatoes, jalepeno peppers, cilantro, and some Newman's Italian Salad dressing for an hour or two until most of the liquid had dissipated.
(These pics were all taken after the enchiladas were baking...there was a lot more chicken than is pictured!)


Then I assembled them, topped them with homemade salsa and cheese, baked them 'til the cheese was melted, and...

...they were delicious! :-)

Donuts and Whole Wheat... ...not yummy

In my effort to make things a little healthier by using all, or at least half, whole wheat in various recipes, I attempted whole wheat donuts a few weeks ago...

They started off great...
I used a biscuit cutter and the lemon juice cap...

Gave them some time to rise...

Lookin' good...
But even after frying them...

...and (double-dip) glazing them, they tasted like whole wheat rolls...

...definitely not the taste I was going for.

So next time I want donuts, there won't be any "healthifying" them for me. :-)