Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My version of Cold-Eeze

So, I used to take Cold-Eeze when I got sick or felt a cold coming on.  The other day, I just decided to make one of these:

Nope, I haven't turned into a vampire.  It's beet juice!  I was feeling a little under the weather a couple of days ago and thought I would juice a bunch of produce I had in my fridge in hopes that it would recharge my body.  Success!  I have been feeling pretty good since I drank this beet juice and took a couple of zinc.  I am going to try this combo every time I get sick.  :)

Here is some nutritional information on my beet juice:

Beets are high in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and C.  They are also a good source of choline, folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, fiber and carbohydrates. Beets have been shown to help fight acidosis, gastric ulcers, cancer, toxicity in the liver, among many other things (source).  Who wouldn't want to eat (or juice) them?

Carrots are high in thiamin, niacin, vitamins A, B6, C, K, potassium, folate, and manganese (source).  They also contain falcarinol, which may help to prevent cancer (source).  Carrots have been shown to be effective in ridding the ears, nose and throat of mucous (source), which is especially helpful when feeling a cold coming on.  Carrots can also help to boost the immune system and decrease inflammation.  Excellent!

I also threw in a couple large handfuls of mustard greens and arugula.  Greens help to decrease inflammation, speed up healing, and relieve respiratory issues.  They have large amounts of live enzymes, as well as iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous.

If you're interested in this lovely, tasty, immunity-boosting, drink, here's the recipe:

Beet Juice
3 small and 1 medium beet
2 large carrots
2 large handfuls of greens
approximately 1/4 cup fresh apple juice (my husband had just juiced apples that morning)

Juice all your produce and enjoy!  This yields about 12 ounces of juice.  You could split it or keep it all for yourself.  :)  Happy juicing!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Another Monday has arrived.  Is it just me or do they come around way too quickly these days?  I have LOTS of Christmas crafting left to do, so I think the time is seeming to go by especially quickly.  This week's meals will have to be fairly simple because I don't have a lot of time to be cooking meals. 

Monday - Shepherd's Pie with Turkey (carryover from last week)
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Potluck at church...I think I will bring chili or soup/stew
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Homemade pizza with sauce
Saturday - My husband's great aunt's 90th birthday party...someone else is cooking.  :)
Sunday - Visiting family, which means another night of not cooking.

Breakfasts will be smoothies, cereal, toast with almond butter, muffins, and yogurt with banana and wheat germ...the usual.  :)
Lunches will be leftovers, more smoothies, raw cookie dough (uncooked oatmeal, heaping spoonful of almond butter, dash of vanilla, sprinkle of cinnamon, and drizzle of maple syrup), PB&J and salads.
So this week isn't too bad...the chili takes more simmering than prep and our shepherd's pie will be the most labor intensive.  Hopefully I've made it easy on myself.  :)  I have Christmas baking to do too.  Oy!  Anyone else feel a little behind this year?  :)
To check out more menu ideas, visit Orgjunkie and Fit Meals Monday.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mexican Inspired Lentil Scramble

The last couple of days, I have been indulging in a plate of this:

It probably doesn't look like much, but I assure you, it's delicious.  It probably took me ten minutes to prepare (including chopping the veggies) and it is FULL of stuff that's good for you.  :)  Here is the recipe:

Mexican Inspired Lentil Scramble
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 clove garlic
3 egg whites 
4 medium fresh kale leaves, stalk removed and leaves chopped
1/4 cup cooked lentils
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 tsp cumin
Couple dashes of cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium low heat.  
2. Add onions and garlic.  Saute until onions become soft and translucent.
3. Pour egg whites into the skillet and cook thoroughly.
4. When the eggs are fully cooked (approximately 3-4 minutes), add the rest of the ingredients.
5. Incorporate all the ingredients into the egg. Cook until lentils are warmed through and kale has wilted (approximately another three minutes).
6. Devour!  :)

You could surely make this recipe using a combination of egg whites and yolks.  I didn't use any yolks because, frankly, I don't like them.  :)  This recipe is fast, easy and delicious!  Let me know if you decide to try it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday again!  :)  How was everyone's weekend?  Ours was pretty relaxing and uneventful.  My husband is trying to finish painting our living room so we can actually put our tree up.  What a hassle!  Hopefully it will be the last time something needs to be sanded for a long time in my house.  :) 

Anyway, I am not sure what we ate last week, but I don't think I made anything that I had planned.  I whipped up a turkey stew with some leftover turkey and then another night I made an Indian inspired dish with some turkey in my freezer.  Basically, even though I planned my meals, I still couldn't seem to stick to them.  I think there will be a lot of repeat meals this week that I never actually made last week. 

Monday - Lentil sloppy joes on whole wheat rolls
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Falafel on whole wheat pitas with tahini sauce
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Shepherd's pie with turkey
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Pumpkin, potato and carrot soup...inspired by a blog I follow, but sure to be much different.

Breakfasts will be plain yogurt with banana and wheat germ, smoothies, cereal, or muffins.
Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, raw cookie dough cereal (uncooked oats, a heaping spoonful of almond butter, sprinkle of cinnamon, dash of vanilla and drizzle of maple syrup) and more smoothies.

Didn't get any fresh ideas by checking in with me?  Check out Orgjunkie or Fit Meals Monday.  Happy meal planning!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

I have been wanting to play with chocolate a bit since finding a recipe for chocolate on a blog that I follow. I saw a recipe for peanut butter cups and thought it would be just as easy to use almond butter. Then, it looked like Megan at Healthy Hoggin' (a blog that I love, FYI) had the same thought process and she looked like she had a pretty easy time. I would wait no longer to try my hand at making chocolate.

Chocolate???? What? Isn't this website supposed to feature stuff that is good for you? Well, my friends, chocolate can be beneficial...if you eat the right stuff (if you are interested, you can read a couple of articles here and here). I don't recommend you consume mass quantities of chocolate, in spite of the health benefits. Moderation is key.

Many of you have asked me for the recipe for the almond butter cups that I made last week. They were super easy and delicious. I made my own chocolate, but I am sure that you could use chocolate chips or baking squares (organic and at least 70% cacao) and that would make this even easier. So, first the chocolate recipe. Here is what you will need:

Raw Vegan Chocolate

1 Tbsp coconut oil (for those of you who think that coconut oil is a no-no, see here and here)
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder

1. Put the coconut oil and agave into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds to soften.
2. Thoroughly combine coconut oil and agave until mixture is purely liquid.
3. Add vanilla and cacao powder (you could also use cocoa powder, but it's not as good for you).
4. Whisk until completely incorporated.

Your chocolate should look something like this:

That's it! You will need two batches of this recipe for your almond butter cups. This recipe came from Averie over at Love Veggies and Yoga. Have I mentioned that I love her blog? :)

So, now onto the almond butter cup assembly. First, you will need a mold...or you might be able to make it work by just using the paper cups. I found the white paper candy cups at the craft store for around $2. The mold wasn't expensive either and makes my life a little easier. Also, you may be able to use just the mold, but I have read a couple experiences where the chocolate gets stuck in the mold and then falls apart. I didn't want that problem, so I used both.

Start by placing a paper cup in each cup mold. Then, spread a thin layer of your homemade chocolate into each cup, like so:

Once you have successfully (yet very messily...I need to work on being neater with this process) filled the bottom of each cup, you should put the mold in the refrigerator for a few minutes. This time I only had to leave them in the fridge for 10 minutes before they were firm and lost their sheen:

Now, for the almond butter (or peanut butter, if you feel like). You want to put a generous amount of almond butter in each cup. Maybe a heaping 1/4 tsp-ish? Try not to let the almond butter migrate all the way to the edges...this is the tough part. If you do, it's not the end of the world, but you will end up with dark chocolate almond butter sandwiches, as opposed to cups.

Once each cup has a sufficient layer of almond butter, then pour a thin layer of (another batch) of dark chocolate on top. When you have each cup with its successful three layers, now the cups are ready for the freezer! I pop the cups into the freezer for a couple of hours (you can take them out earlier, the almond butter will just still be a little oozy). This is what the final product looks like:

I am still trying to figure out how much chocolate to put in the bottom and top layers to make a nice sized almond butter cup. When I made these the first time, I made six cups. The chocolate layers were awfully thick making only six. This time I tried twelve...some of them I thought the chocolate layer was too thin. So, next time, I think I will make nine. :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Hello all! It's Monday again! Where did the week go? I don't know about you, but last week felt like a whirlwind with the holiday and all. I want to encourage you to not throw your good eating habits out the window with the holidays coming up. I know it can be tempting, but I know when I stray from eating organic, wholesome food that my body is NOT happy with me. I end up lethargic, feeling yucky, and get headaches...almost like I have a hangover because of the food I ate. I also end up with more problems with my asthma. I have been pretty successful keeping it at bay with diet and exercise, but when I eat more dairy the symptoms coming creeping back in.

Anyway, I will get off my soapbox now and share my menu plan. That's why you're all here, right? :)

Monday - Leftover turkey, mac & "cheese"
Tuesday - Turkey fajitas on whole wheat tortillas
Wednesday - Lentil sloppy joes on whole wheat rolls
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Falafel in whole wheat pitas with tahini sauce
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Calzones with homemade sauce

**All dinners served with a heaping portion of green salad**

Breakfasts will be yogurt with banana and wheat germ, smoothies, muffins, toast with almond butter, and cereal.
Lunches will be leftovers, more smoothies, salads, raw "cookie dough" (a mix of oatmeal, almond butter, sprinkle of cinnamon, dash of vanilla and a drizzle of maple syrup...yum!), and PB&J.

Check out more menu plans at Orgjunkie and Fit Meals Monday.

Just some food for thought (no pun intended): Chemical fertilizer is often (if not always) made from ammonium nitrate, which happens to be the key ingredient in making explosives. Pesticides are based on poisonous gases which were developed for WW II (information taken from Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma). Do you truly know what you're eating???

I know for some people it seems financially impossible to buy all organic. Try to convert to organic for the most heavily sprayed foods known as the dirty dozen: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, and imported grapes (leafy greens, carrots, pears and tomatoes are also some foods to consider based on how many pesticides are used. They have been on previous "dirty dozen" lists, but were dropped this year). Source There are other reasons to convert to organic food, but that's another post for another time.

Happy Monday everyone! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Menu plan Monday

Hi friends! I usually try to post my menu plan earlier in the day, but little Miss J and I have had a busy day so far. It's Thanksgiving this Thursday, so we will be dining elsewhere. The rest of the week will be busy as ever. Here is what we are eating this week:

Monday - We are actually taking our friend out who was kind enough to watch J until super late on Saturday night. She rocks!
Tuesday - Turkey and potato leek soup (I still haven't made this...oy)
Wednesday - Not sure what we're having this night yet
Thursday - Thanksgiving!!!!!!!! I love turkey! :)
Friday - BBQ chicken paninis
Saturday - Calzones with homemade sauce
Sunday - Lentil stew (we're going to need a break from this meat-heavy week!)

Breakfasts will be plain yogurt with banana and wheat germ, smoothies, banana bread, and cereal.
Lunches will be leftovers (there will be plenty this week!), more smoothies, salads and PB&J.

What's on your menu? To get some fresh ideas, head to Orgjunkie. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Power to the Hippies!

In the last year or so, I have been referred to as a "hippie" many times. If you saw me, I wouldn't look like what you might picture a hippie to look like. I don't have dreadlocks or clothes made of hemp. I am a pretty unassuming person. However, many things that happen within my home have been considered hippie-ish. I cloth diaper, we eat a fair amount of vegetarian meals, I add things to our diets like chia seeds, cacao, and kombucha. We don't eat anything processed (unless you consider pasta processed...I have tried to make my own to no avail.), I only have whole wheat flour in my house, and no refined sugar. We try to conserve energy, shop consignment, shop directly from the farm, and make any products we can (like soap, shampoo, etc.). Am I a little crunchy? Sure! And I'm okay with it. So what's my point?

My point is in the last two and a half months, I have added more raw food to our diets, introduced many of those "hippie" products (such as chia seeds, cacao, and kefir), and eliminated even more things that may be considered processed. In those two and a half months, my daughter has grown two inches, gained two pounds and has added about 30 words to her vocabulary. We have adjusted her diet to accommodate for what we think is wrong with her tummy (fructose malabsorption) and added different products to give her more nutrition.

J gets chia seeds in her smoothies in the morning, which provide five times the calcium of milk and are high in omega-3's. You should see the looks I get when I tell people that we eat chia seeds. You would think I had three heads. J also gets kefir in her smoothies, which is a dairy product, but is 99% lactose free. It's high in calcium, but doesn't cause her the stomach upset that dairy does. We've also introduced kale chips. J LOVES them! I am pretty sure she would eat a whole batch if I let her. They are so good for her too!

We have been down a long road with J's tummy. It's been a heck of a battle to try and figure out what's wrong with her and to make her more comfortable. Now she's a little bit higher on the weight portion of the growth chart and she's really doing great. Do I think that her speech necessarily has to do with her diet? Directly, I can't be sure. Indirectly, definitely. She is going without her pacifier more often, which is encouraging her to talk. She goes without her pacifier because she's more comfortable...she has less belly pain. Would she have grown this much and gained that amount of weight without the "hippie" products? Possibly, but since we've added them, she's jumped more on the growth charts than she had before.

So, all that to say that you can't argue with what I'm doing. If being a hippie gives me a healthy, happy baby girl, then power to the hippies!

You also can't argue with this face:

I would rather see a face like that than the sad, painful face I've seen on my baby girl so many times before. I happen to be a fan of hippies. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I used last week to stock up on some deals that I found like Muir Glen products - purchase $15 of products and get $5 off instantly. I stocked up on crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste for soups, sloppy joes and sauce. We also got two medium chickens from our local farm, which will feed us for awhile. My grocery budget will be toward the higher end of what I like to see, but we'll have to buy less next month. Here's what we are eating this week:

Monday - Black bean burgers on whole wheat rolls with homemade sweet potato fries
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Oven roasted chicken and potato leek soup (the soup is a carryover from last week)
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Calzones with homemade sauce
Saturday - Lentil stew
Sunday - Leftovers

Breakfasts will be yogurt with banana and wheat germ, smoothies, juice, cereal and eggs.
Lunches will be leftovers, sandwiches, raw oatmeal "cookie dough" cereal, and smoothies.

Stuck in a rut? Check out some other meal plans for ideas at Orgjunkie and Fit Meals Monday.

Make sure to stop by my blog later to read about my latest attempt at homemade dark chocolate almond butter cups. Yum! Happy Monday!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu plan Monday

This week should be pretty low key, not too busy. I am hoping to get some bulk cooking done to put stuff in the freezer for a later date. I have been hitting my freezer a fair amount lately and nothing has been done to restock. This is what our menu plan looks like for this week:

Monday - Lentil sloppy joes on whole wheat rolls (I made a ton of lentils last week, so we are just having this meal again this week. ;))
Tuesday - Black bean and corn burritos with whole wheat tortillas
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Chili and cornbread
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Calzones with marinara sauce
Sunday - Potato and leek soup

All meals will be served with a big green salad of some sort. We are salad lovers in this house! :)

Breakfasts will be muffins, granola bars, waffles, smoothies, eggs, and yogurt with fruit.
Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, salads, and more smoothies.

Need more ideas? Check out Orgjunkie or Fit Meals Monday. Happy meal planning!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Raw Brownies

Many of you expressed interest in the raw cake and the raw brownies that I made for J's birthday. I have zero pics of the failed raw cake because, as I said, it was the last thing on my mind to take pics since I was so infuriated that it failed. Why did I decide on a raw cake? Well, it's better for us to consume something made from dates and walnuts than something with lots of refined sugar and flour. Also, J has lots of stomach sensitivities and one of the things she has trouble with is table sugar. Last year I made two separate cakes...this year I was determined to make only one. Unfortunately my first attempt was a huge failure!

I had made the raw brownies in the past and they were a good go-to recipe to recover from the failed cake. Everyone liked them, especially J, so that's all that mattered. I got this recipe from Averie:

Raw Brownies

1 c. Medjool dates
1/2 cup soaked walnuts
1/2 heaping cup of cacao powder
1/2 cup agave nectar (adjust to the sweetness that you prefer)
2-3 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until mixture is smooth. Put the mixture into an 8x8 glass dish and place in the freezer for a few hours. It's not necessary to put the brownies in the freezer, but it does help them set a little better.

I enjoy this recipe because it's fast, easy and satisfies my occasional desire for brownies. I must tell you that this does not resemble the texture of brownies, it's more like fudge. Still yummy though. I know there is a lot of controversy on agave nectar and how it's processed. I have been reading a lot about it and am on the fence. My usual preference for sweeteners are honey or maple syrup. This was a birthday celebration, so I wasn't going to split hairs about using agave. :)

Here is the final product (complete with manufactured and artificially colored frosting...we cut around it for J):

And here is a VERY happy baby J, diving into her treats (raw brownies and raw ice cream):
The messier the food is, the more fun we have!
Her celebration was a great time and I was just glad I was able to recover with this recipe! :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu plan Monday

Looks like another veggie filled week for us. J's second birthday was on Wednesday and I had a great big huge raw birthday cake FAIL! I didn't take pics because, honestly, that was the last thing on my mind when it didn't turn out. Let's just suffice it to say that I blended it too long and the oil started to separate from the walnuts. I ended up with an oily mess. :( I recovered by making raw brownies, but I wasted probably $15 worth of ingredients with my failure. Then I had to buy more ingredients for the raw brownies. Anyway, all that to say that we won't be having meat until the weekend. Here's our plan:

Monday - Calzones with homemade sauce
Tuesday - Ratatouille on homemade rolls
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Lentil sloppy joes (carry over from last week)
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Chicken chili
Sunday - Leftovers

Breakfasts will be the normal muffins, waffles, granola bars, and smoothies.
Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, salads, and raw oatmeal "cookie dough" cereal.

To see others' plans for the week, check out Orgjunkie and Fit Meals Monday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Late post from me today, but we have had a crazy day! I didn't post my menu last week because I was in Texas visiting my best friend. She is my oldest and dearest friend...I don't know how I would have gotten this far in my life without her. She's awesome. Anyway, not only did I have to develop my menu plan, but I'm working on one for her. :) Here is what we are eating this week:

Monday - Veggie paninis
Tuesday - Veggie curry
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Ratatouille on rolls
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Calzones with homemade sauce
Sunday - Lentil sloppy joes

Breakfast will be fruit, cereal, oatmeal, and granola.
Lunch will be leftovers, PB&J, smoothies, and raw oatmeal "cookie dough (sort of resembles cookie dough in taste, but does not have the fat and is rich in nutrients)".

We are pretty lean on meat this week. It's the end of the month, which means that we are at the end of the grocery budget. Vegetarian meals tend to be cheaper, so there will be lots of veggies, beans and lentils until the beginning of November. :)

For more menus, check out Orgjunkie.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Gluten-free Fruit Muffins

First things first...we are not gluten free in our house, but I love a yummy, healthier muffin option. About a month ago or so, I stumbled on this post at Love Veggies and Yoga (have you checked out Averie's blog? If you haven't, you must!). I loved that the recipe was super simple, took hardly any time, and yielded a product that would serve as a somewhat healthy snack for J throughout the day. This child takes after her momma. She is a hardcore grazer. Makes organized meal times pretty much non-existent, but I digress....

The problem I had with this recipe is that it called for brown and white sugar, neither of which I have in my house. I had to modify the recipe to adjust for what ingredients I had on hand. The last time I made these muffins, I quadrupled the recipe and added a 1/4 cup more buckwheat flour than I had in the past. I thought the texture of the muffins were better than the previous times I had made them. So, I will share the way I made them the last time.

Gluten-free Fruit Muffins
4 cups oats
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups maple syrup (this amount can be cut down if you want a less sweet muffin)
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil spread
2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix all of the above ingredients and let sit for about 10 minutes. The batter will thicken some as it sits. You want the consistency of pancake batter.

After 10 minutes, add 1/2 cup fruit. The first time I made these, I used blueberries because they were in season. Now we've switched to peaches. I bet you could use whatever kind of fruit you'd like and they would be delicious!

Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen muffins. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Look at all that whole grain deliciousness! :)

And a closer look...yummy!!!!

I am working on omitting the olive oil spread to make them healthier, but we didn't have any applesauce on hand when I made these last. I bet you could sub at least half, if not all of the spread with applesauce and the texture would still turn out the same.

Hope you enjoy these! I know J does! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bread Machine Whole Wheat Bread

So, most of you already make bread, I bet. I wanted to share my recipe that I have tweaked and re-tweaked since we purchased our bread maker. I found it very hard to find a recipe that is 100% Whole Wheat. Most of them call for some amount of bread flour. I started getting annoyed with having to make sure I had two different types of flour and then we ended up cutting out all refined flours. So, Beth's Whole Wheat Bread was created. :)

3 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1-1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil spread
1 rounded Tbsp honey
1/2 cup almond milk (cow's, soy or rice milk would work too)
9 oz. warm water
1 1/4 tsp yeast

1. Put all ingredients in your bread pan as specified by your user's manual (my current one says dry ingredients first, my old one said liquids first).
2. Set on either a Whole Wheat Bread cycle or a 1 1/2 pound loaf with medium color crust.
3. Enjoy!

I put 1-1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil spread because the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 Tbsp, but I'm pretty sure I use closer to 1 Tbsp (I don't measure it). Either amount will work.

This recipe was revised from one that I found in my bread machine user's manual. When my daughter was born, it was important to make Whole Wheat Bread with no dairy products. I had a hard time figuring out the appropriate dry/wet ingredient mix to yield the light, fluffy bread I wanted. Finally, I got the mix just right and this is what the inside of the final product looks like:

Apparently I can't cut in a straight line, but it's delicious nonetheless. :) I hope that you enjoy the results! Please let me know if you try it.

Oh! P.S. If you have an abbreviated bread cycle on your machine (mine shortens the time from 5 hours to 3 hours), then use another tsp of yeast. I typically use that cycle, so I'm always putting in 2 1/4 tsp of yeast.

Happy bread making!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

So, last week I had all intentions of posting a recipe for these gluten free muffins that my daughter loves. I went to take the picture and there was no battery left. Hmph. I do have a bread recipe to share though. I will either post it later today or tomorrow.

Here's what we are eating this week:

Monday - Yellow squash and tomatoes over whole wheat pasta
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Beef stew
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Not sure parents are coming in town and I have a feeling they will probably take us out for dinner.
Saturday - Calzones for my hubby, but I will be in TX!!!!!!
Sunday - Leftovers for hubby (still in TX :))

What's on your menu? Go to Orgjunkie to see many other menu plans.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Hi all! Once again, another couple of weeks has passed and I don't seem to know where it went. I apologize for my sporadic posts. I really am trying to make this a daily thing. I have many recipes to share with you! But, for now, here is my menu plan for the week:

Monday - Beef and bean burritos with homemade tortillas
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Chicken stir fry with greens and brown rice
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Calzones with homemade sauce
Saturday - Squash with tomatoes over whole wheat pasta
Sunday - Cajun lentils and rice

Breakfasts will be muffins, homemade granola, cereal and millet squares.
Lunches will be leftovers, smoothies, fruit with nut butter, and PB&J.

Head over to Orgjunkie and check out more meal plans.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu plan Monday and Bison Briyani

So, first things first, I will share our menu plan for this week.

Monday - Leftover bison biryani (recipe to follow)
Tuesday - Stir fry with chicken and greens
Wednesday - Spaghetti squash stuffed with sausage
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Calzones with homemade sauce
Saturday - Sausage grinders with peppers and onions on homemade whole wheat rolls
Sunday - Lentil sloppy joes on homemade rolls (same as Saturday, just in hamburger bun shape)

Breakfast will be the standard: toast, cereal, eggs, smoothies and muffins.
Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, smoothies, and fruit with nut butter.
Snacks continue to be granola bars, muffins, protein bars and veggies with hummus.

Need more ideas? Visit Orgjunkie for lots of options.

On the workout front, I was able to walk/run twice last week. That means this week I will finally reach my 3x/week goal that I set for myself two weeks ago! :) I actually came to the realization this week that I am able to train for a 5-K, as long as I take it slow (I haven't really shared on here about my medical history, but I was in a severe car accident 12 years ago that resulted in some residual joint issues. I really didn't think I would ever be able to run any extensive distance.). So, that's what I'm working towards. 5-K by Thanksgiving...hopefully!

So, onto the recipe. I have been meaning to share this recipe for awhile. It's simple, fairly inexpensive and yummy. The best part is that it's easily adaptable for my tummy-troubled toddler and she's thrilled that she's eating the same thing we are. I need to find more recipes like this! :)

Without further ado (recipe from Clean Eating magazine):

Bison Biryani

1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup dry quick-cooking barley (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup, but that just didn't seem like enough)
1 medium onion, sliced into rounds
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup fresh mango, cubed, or 1 cup frozen cubed mango
1/2 cup frozen peas
16 oz ground bison (the original recipe called for bison sirloin tip, which is $$$. Ground bison is cheaper. :))
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Biryani Spice Blend
1 tsp cumin, ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp coriander, ground (I omitted this)
1 tsp turmeric, ground
2 tsp ginger, ground

1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, add Biryani Spice Blend and salt to a small bowl, mix and set aside. When water comes to a boil, add barley, sir, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
2. While barley is cooking, in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat, saute onion in oil for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent garlic from burning.
3. Stir in spice-salt mixture, mango, peas, and bison. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir again to make sure all ingredients are nestled in cooking liquid. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Combine barley with bison mixture before plating, then top each portion with tomatoes and serve.

Cost: approx $1.33-1.60 per serving. The recipe says it serves four, but I easily got three portions from it last night (albeit one small portion for my toddler) and will get another 2-3 servings out of it tonight.
Consensus: Delicious! Pretty quick to put together and my darling daughter loved it (had to adjust the spices a bit for her).
Sorry no picture of the final product. I promise to upload it later. I hope you'll give it a try! :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu plan Monday

Hey all! I hope that everyone is having a fantastic Labor Day! I know we are enjoying a low-key, relaxing morning. We are off to our local cider mill in a bit, but I wanted to share my menu plan for the week before we go. This is what this week looks like:

Monday - Grilled paninis with tomato, mozzarella and basil
Tuesday - Falafel on tortillas with tahini sauce (I think I've posted this on my last three menu plans, but still have yet to make it ;))
Wednesday - Stir fry with chicken and greens
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Cajun lentils and rice
Saturday - Stuffed spaghetti squash
Sunday - Leftovers

Breakfasts will consist of smoothies, cereal, and granola.
Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, more smoothies, and salad.
Snacks consist of protein bars, granola bars, and fresh veggies.

Tired of the same old meals? Go to Orgjunkie or Mindful Menus for some ideas!

BTW, on the workout front, I got up early one day last week. I was discouraged because J woke up earlier than normal and I had to wait for her nap in order to get in the shower. That's always stressful on days that I work as her naps can be a tad unpredictable. So, I didn't get up early at all the rest of the week, but I am still going to try for three times this week. Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beth's Healthified Zucchini Bread

It's getting toward the end of zucchini season, but I couldn't let it go by without sharing my yummy zucchini bread recipe. I took Betty Crocker's version and revamped it to be healthier and J-friendly (with her tummy sensitivities, most recipes need revamping :)). So, here it is:

3 cups shredded zucchini
1/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup olive oil (cold pressed and organic)
3/4 - 1 cup honey (or maple syrup, agave...or a combo of all)
2 tsp vanilla
4 large farm fresh eggs
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 - 3/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottoms of 2 loaf pans with olive oil.
2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, spices, salt and baking powder.
3. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and thoroughly combine.
4. Divide mixture evenly between two loaf pans.
5. Cook for 45 minutes to one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack before taking loaves out of the pans.

You can also add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts and/or 1/2 cup raisins, if you are so inclined. The loaves will be much darker than your traditional zucchini bread because of the buckwheat flour. But, I promise it's equally as yummy. If you're looking for a super sweet zucchini bread, this is not for you. However, if you're looking for a healthier zucchini bread with the benefits of different grains and less sugar, then you need to try this recipe. :) Happy baking!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Yep, I've been a blogging slacker AGAIN! I am still trying to stay offline as much as possible these days. There is a LOT going on with my tummy-troubled toddler from more doctors appointments to new diets (which equals more cooking). So, once again, my blog has been neglected. I will try to be better....really!

So, menu plan. Here it is:

Monday - I think we are headed out on a friend's boat tonight. They are ordering pizza. Pizza is a no-no for J and eating any pizza besides my own gives me a tummy ache these days. So, J and I will be bring our own calzone pockets. Hers with raw cheese and chicken; mine with greens and mozz. Yum!
Tuesday - Yellow squash with tomatoes over pasta. I have SO much yellow squash that I will be making a huge batch today and freezing what we won't be eating for dinner.
Wednesday - Falafel with tortillas and homemade tahini sauce
Thursday - Chicken and greens stir fry
Friday - Calzones. I will have to make them again because my hubby loves them and will feel left out for not having any on Monday.
Saturday - Wedding. Grandparents are sitting for J and we are headed to Sam's cousin's wedding. Should be fun.
Sunday - Appetizers...probably along the lines of quesadillas, potato skins, cheese and crackers. All that can be homemade, will be. We are having friends over for a fire, so many finger foods are in order. :)

Struggling with what to make this week? Head over to Orgjunkie or Mindful Menus for some ideas.

This week begins my endeavor to wake up before J to work out. I will be starting with three times per week this week and gradually working up to five days per week. Working out during her naps just isn't happening anymore. I have to cook while she's napping since she's getting more and more mischievous. She's almost two, what do you expect, right? ;) So, I am mentioning this for a way to keep myself more accountable. I've done it before and I know I can do it again. Three weeks to establish a habit? So, this is week one! :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Calling all raw foodies!!!

Hey friends!

I only have time for a quick blog post, but I found this GREAT blog recently and she is giving away a two pound bag of chia seeds. Don't know about chia seeds? In brief: "Extremely high in the essential fatty acid, omega-3, chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants (more than blueberries), vitamins, minerals (including more calcium than milk), fiber (more than most bran products) and protein. Eaten raw, chia seeds contain a rich concentration of essential fatty acids, with 30% of their fat coming from omega-3 and 10% from omega-6, considered the perfect balance for healthy human tissue (excerpt taken from "Change Your Life with Chia" by Christina Pirello)." Chia seeds are nutritionally dense and used by many raw foodies to enrich their cooking. Head over to Love Veggies and Yoga to enter!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu plan Monday

Hi all! Sorry for my absence for the last couple of weeks. I have no excuse except that life is super busy. Here is my menu plan for the week:

Monday - Black beans and cornbread
Tuesday - Falafel in homemade tortillas...I think I may try a Tahini sauce this time instead of the Tzatsiki sauce.
Wednesday - Spaghetti squash with sausage
Thursday - Leftovers from Tuesday
Friday - Calzones with homemade sauce
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Bison briyani (I need to post this recipe is inexpensive, healthy and oh so yummy!)

Check out Orgjunkie and Mindful Menus for more menu plans!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chicken & Goat Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

I have been such a slacker with blogging lately. I am working on being "unplugged" for most of the day and my blogging time has been much limited. I posted a picture of Chicken and Goat Cheese Stuffed Potatoes on my FB page and some people wanted the recipe. So, I thought what better way to get back to my blog than post a fairly inexpensive and clean dinner recipe! Here is the original recipe(from Clean Eating magazine):

Chicken Blue-Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

- 6 russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), peel left on and scrubbed well
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3 oz baby spinach (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 1/2 small yellow or red onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup reduced fat blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbsp low fat plan cream cheese
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a fork, poke holes in potatoes. Wrap potatoes separately in foil and bake in a large baking dish misted with cooking spray for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender. Let cook at least 15 minutes.

2. Season chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add spinach and onion to the same skillet and saute over medium heat until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat, set aside.

3. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out centers, leaving 1/4 inch thick shells. In a large mixing bowl, mash potato meat, set aside.

4. Stir chicken and spinach mixture into potato meat. Add blue cheese, cream cheese, lemon juice and remaining 1/4 tsp salt, stirring well. Spoon mixture into potato shells, dividing evenly and place potatoes, cut-side-up, on a baking sheet misted with cooking spray.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and thoroughly heated.

As we all know, I cannot follow a recipe to save my life. I subbed goat cheese for the blue cheese and plain Greek yogurt for the cream cheese. I omitted the lemon juice and cooked the chicken breasts the night before. I had pounded the chicken to about 1/4 inch thickness and cooked them in a large skillet. I cut them into pieces the next day to put into the potatoes. I also added some Italian seasoning and paprika. I thought they needed a little bit more flavor (besides salt...I think everything needs salt). But, if you played with the flavors a bit, this would be a delicious dish!!!!

Cost per serving (estimate): $1.50

This dish is very economical as it uses only a half pound of chicken and not a lot of expensive ingredients. I thought it was filling and a good base recipe. Next time I will add some more seasonings...I just threw some extra things in there but didn't have a lot of time to get it just right. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu plan Monday

Well, once again a week has gone by way too fast. I honestly don't know what we ate last week because a few of our dinners are carryovers. But, we only ate out once...hmmm. Here's our menu plan:

Monday - Either summer squash with tomatoes over pasta or chicken with goat cheese and baked potatoes...haven't decided which.
Tuesday - Leftovers from today, whatever it is
Wednesday - Chicken and squash casserole
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - Cajun lentils and rice
Sunday - Out

Breakfasts will be homemade zucchini bread (do we see a trend here with the squash?? ;)), waffles, smoothies, cereal, and coconut cakes.
Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, tuna with hummus (it's good, I promise), or more smoothies.

For more ideas, go to Orgjunkie or Mindful Menus.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

So, we're back from a week of vacation and I am feeling rejuvenated! However, after a week of eating what someone else has prepared (the place we stayed had meals included), I am ready to get back to cooking. I sat down yesterday and put together my menu plan for the month. I am hoping to get some things made in big batches to put in the freezer since the weather is getting SO hot!!!! This weather is not conducive to turning on the oven. ;) This is what this week looks like:

Monday - Squash and chicken casserole (new recipe which will use much of the three enormous yellow squash from our CSA this week)
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Black bean and chard burritos (again, an adaptation from this recipe)
Thursday - Cajun lentils and rice
Friday - Homemade calzones (I will make a double batch for freezing)
Saturday - Bison briyani (another new recipe...leftovers get thrown in the freezer)
Sunday - Chicken stir fry

Breakfasts will be waffles, dehydrated buckwheat groats, smoothies, and cereal.
Lunches will be leftovers, PB & J, yogurt and granola.

To get more ideas for meals, visit Orgjunkie and Mindful Menus.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The perfect summer meal

A couple of weeks ago, we had a cookout with some friends of ours. I made this chicken that I had made in the past, but I also found a recipe for a black bean salad to accompany it. I thought the result was a great summer meal that was super tasty and fairly budget friendly. I made this meal for around $2/serving. If you bought factory farmed chicken (I used organic) and used the chicken as a garnish on top of a green salad, then you could significantly reduce the price per serving. Here are the recipes I used:

Cajun Chicken Sandwiches
  • 6 (4 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 kaiser rolls, split and toasted
  • 12 slices tomato
  • 6 lettuce leaves


  1. Flatten chicken to 1/2-in. thickness. Brush both sides with oil. Combine the seasonings; rub over both sides of chicken. Arrange in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until chicken juices run clear. Serve on rolls with tomato and lettuce.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8.75 ounce) can sweet corn, drained


  1. In a small bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, black pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together black beans and corn. Toss with vinegar and oil dressing, and garnish with cilantro. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

This dinner would take a little planning because the chicken has to be marinated and the salad should sit overnight for its fullest flavor. It's worth it if you can plan the day before to have this delicious, summery meal. Surprisingly enough, I didn't alter the recipes hardly at all. I used Sucanat in place of the sugar in the black bean salad, but I would venture to say you don't even need that. I used olive oil in place of the vegetable oil and I omitted the cilantro since I didn't have any. It was yummy just the same! Happy cooking! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I have to apologize for my absence the last couple of weeks. We are still trying to get my daughter's tummy under control and blogging has been at the bottom of my list. It looks like we may be making some progress in her healing, so hopefully my posts will become more regular from now on. I have greens coming out my ears from our CSA share, so there are lots of greens on our menu plan this week. :) Here it is:

Monday - Lentil sloppy joes on homemade rolls
Tuesday - Sweet pepper and kale over pasta
Wednesday - Black bean and chard burritos (adapted from this recipe)
Thursday - Chicken stir fry with greens
Friday - Calzones (with greens) and homemade sauce
Saturday - Out
Sunday - Out

For more menu ideas, head to Orgjunkie and Mindful Menus.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu plan Monday

Things have been so incredibly crazy around here, but we have been able to stick with our menu plan for the most part. I am pretty proud of that. It seems when life gets super hectic, that's when we eat out more because we're tired, stressed, and just plain fed up. Anyway, here's the plan for the week:

Monday - Potluck with good friends. They are bringing Mexican-type food and we have Cajun chicken with homemade rolls to offer, as well as black bean salad. Good times with good friends...yay!
Tuesday - Leftovers from Monday.
Wednesday - Black beans with cornbread. I have been meaning to make this for awhile and just haven't gotten to it. My cornbread will be slightly different.
Thursday - Cajun lentils and rice. This is a carryover from last week.
Friday - Homemade pizza.
Saturday - Sweet pepper with kale over whole wheat pasta. More kale to use from the CSA = more sweet pepper and kale with pasta. Yum!
Sunday - Taco potatoes. This is a new recipe for me to try. It looks delicious...I'll let you know how it comes out.

Breakfasts will be dehydrated buckwheat groats, cereal, bagels, and muffins.
Lunches: Leftovers, smoothies, PB&J, and raw pizza.

To look at what others are planning to eat, check out Orgjunkie and Mindful Menus.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Food Waste Friday

Food Waste Friday has escaped me the past couple of weeks. We have been doing pretty well and have wasted little more that Miss J's table scraps. This week we weren't so lucky. I have three-quarters of a package of cream cheese from I don't know when. I don't even remember why I bought it, but needless to say, I didn't use it.

I also have a half container of ricotta cheese. That stuff is my nemesis. I can't seem to buy a container and use it all before it goes bad. I need to start buying local ricotta anyway. The price of that will motivate me to use it up quickly. ;) That's all though...not too bad considering we have had a TON of stuff going on the last few weeks (sick family and a toddler whose tummy issues have gotten worse).

To see how others did, visit Frugal Girl's website.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Raw Pizza

Yep, you read that right...raw pizza. What the heck is that? I had no idea either until my friend let me borrow a few cookbooks that were geared toward making raw food. What is raw food? Simply put, raw food is food that has not been heated above a certain temperature - usually 105 degrees. Why cook this way? All food have enzymes. Enzymes help make the digestion process easier, but when we heat the food above 105 degrees or so, the enzymes start to be killed. The cooking process can kill up to 100% of the enzymes in our food.

I am not going to adopt this lifestyle fully, but raw food presents a nice alternative, especially in the warmer weather. Not to mention that I am able to dehydrate fruits and veggies for a quick snack that my daughter seems to love.

So, the raw pizza crust is made from onion "bread". This recipe comes from the book RAWvolution by Matt Amsden.

3 large yellow onions
3/4 cup flax seed, ground in a high speed blender
3/4 cup sunflower seeds, ground in a food processor
1/2 cup Nama Shoyu or Bragg's Amino Acids1/3 cup olive oil
1. Peel and halve the onions. In a food processor, cut the onions with the slicing disc. Transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.2. Spread 2 cups of the mixture evenly on a dehydrator tray lined with a Teflex sheet. Repeat until all of the mixture is used.
3. Dehydrate at 100 degrees for 24 hours. Flip the tray over onto a work surface, and gently peel the Teflex sheet off the bread. Return to the dehydrator for another 12 hours. Once dehydrated, cut into 9 equal pieces.

This is what the bread looked like when it was done (not horribly attractive, but yummy I assure you):

Since I am new to making raw food, I did not deviate from this recipe at all. I did thinly slice the onions by hand instead of using a food processor as the recipe suggests. We used a sauce made with sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, olives and scallions for toppings. The scallions in addition to the onion bread was a little much. Both my friend and I opted to take them off of our pizza. This was the finished product:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu plan Monday

I should apologize for my absence the last week and a half. There has been a lot going on and blogging, well, it just wasn't one of my top priorities. We have managed to stick with our menu plans for the most part, in spite of the craziness. Here's our plan for this week:

Monday - Beef roast in the crockpot, baked potato wedges, roasted asparagus
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Chicken stir fry with greens over brown basmati rice
Thursday - Sweet pepper and kale over whole wheat pasta
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - Cookout! We will be heading to a friend's house this evening and will be grilling with another friend in the afternoon. Let's hope it's a good day for it!
Sunday - Cajun lentils and rice

Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, smoothies, and raw pizza. This is my first attempt at making raw pizza. I have onion bread in the dehydrator as we speak. This lunch is planned for Wednesday. I hope it comes out yummy!
Breakfasts will be bagels, waffles, muffins, eggs and cereal.

To see more menu plans, visit Orgjunkie and Mindful Menus.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lentil sloppy joes

Okay, I've been promising this recipe for over a week now. Yikes! I know I've said this before, but I really don't know where the time goes. Anyway, these were extremely successful. My meat-loving husband thought they were a great substitute for ground beef sloppy joes and they were SO much cheaper. I don't have a picture of the final product, but here is the recipe I started with (taken from vegweb):

1 cup lentils
2 cup water
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon green pepper flakes*
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon dry minced garlic (the kind in the spice section)
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 1/4 cups water


1) Rinse and pick through lentils. Add two cups water to pan with lentils and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 55 minutes until tender, but not mushy.

2) For the sauce, combine the minced onion, salt, sugar, dry mustard, chili powder, green pepper flakes, cornstarch, minced garlic, celery seeds. Combine well and set aside.

3) When lentils are done, add the tomato paste and water. Stir in the sauce seasoning. Combine well and heat through.

Serve on whole wheat buns or over brown rice.

My lentils did not take 55 minutes, but more like a half hour. If you check them periodically, just cook them to the desired tenderness. I dumped the extra water from boiling the lentils and the lentils in the pan with my onion and garlic. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to use the dried minced onion, but I ended up dicing half of a fresh onion. I sauteed it with some fresh garlic in a little bit of olive oil (which also means I didn't use the dried garlic called for). I subbed Sucanat in place of the sugar and probably used half the amount. I used about 3/4 tsp chili powder, chopped up half of a green pepper for the green pepper flakes, and maybe a 1/2 tsp of celery salt for the celery seeds. I didn't add any cornstarch. I only used enough water to create the thickness of sauce that I desired.

I found that I needed to play with the flavors a bit because it was too tomato paste-y flavored for me. I added some Italian seasoning, some cayenne pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. I still wasn't 100% happy with the finished product, but once we put the mixture on the buns and sprinkled a little reduced fat cheese on the top they were very tasty. They were also better the next day!

I like to let you know approximately how much these recipes will cost per serving. I have to approximate the cost of spices and such, which gets a little sticky, but I figure that a safe estimate would be that this recipe (the entire thing, including homemade rolls) cost around $6. We got between 6 and 8 servings out of it, so that is $1/serving or less! I love yummy, cheap, and healthy recipes. Try this one out and see what you think! If you find any super tasty additions to the recipe, let me know that too! ;) Happy cooking!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Let me start off by saying I have NO idea where last week went. I promised to put up the lentil sloppy joe recipe and the week got away from me. Sorry about that! I will get it up this week at some point. Hopefully tomorrow. I was fortunate enough to do some batch cooking and get some things in the freezer so I will have to do minimal cooking this week. We did have another CSA pick-up, so I have to stir fry a bunch of greens and get them in the freezer as well. Those will make good additions to a few things I have in there already. Anyway, I is this week's menu plan:

Monday - Leftover veggie curry over rice
Tuesday - Chicken quesadillas (I really should post this recipe too. It's a great freezer meal and cheap!)
Wednesday - Sweet Pepper Pasta Toss with Kale (I had this on my menu last week. I made it, but it was tossed in the freezer for a later date.)
Thursday - Black bean and chard burritos (an adaptation from this recipe)
Friday - Homemade pizza with homemade sauce
Saturday - Chicken and greens stir fry
Sunday - Beef roast in the crockpot with baked potato wedges

Breakfasts will be granola bars, pancakes, waffles, muffins, bagels, eggs, and cereal. Lunches will consist of leftovers, sandwiches, and smoothies.

I plan to make another batch of granola this week, along with some granola bars, bagels, tortillas, and coconut milk yogurt. To get more menu ideas, visit or Mindful Menus. Have a great week!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Kind of a late posting for me today. This week we will have a number of vegetarian meals since we received a lot of greens from our CSA pick-up on Friday. I'm really excited to try some new recipes and I'll have to post them (and my likely variations) if they come out well. Here's the plan:

Monday - Leftover lentil sloppy joes (I am going to post this recipe along with my additions either later today or tomorrow. They were so good, easy and very inexpensive to make. Stay tuned!)
Tuesday - Hamburgers on the grill with homemade rolls
Wednesday - Sweet Pepper Pasta Toss with Kale or Kale Puttanesca
Thursday - Black beans over cornbread
Friday - Some cooking on the grill...not sure what we'll get for meat from the farm. We're going to play this night by ear....
Saturday - Swiss Chard with Pinto Beans and Goat Cheese over brown Basmati rice
Sunday - Chicken chili

Breakfasts will be homemade granola, waffles, bagels, or pumpkin muffins
Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, wraps with hummus and veggies, or smoothies

To get more menu ideas, check out the hundreds of meal plans over at Orgjunkie.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why I love getting things second hand

The last couple of weeks have been filled with buying things that we have put off buying for the house, but we bought nothing brand new. We received a fair amount back from our taxes and were trying to figure out which item was more needed -- furniture for the den, which was basically empty except for J's toys OR a kitchen table. The kitchen table is a very nice antique, drop leaf table that my husband got from his grandfather. However, if J pulled hard enough, those leaves would crash in a second...along with whatever was on top of them onto poor little J's head. Problem was that a brand new table with 6 chairs would have easily cost us $1000. Our tax return money would have covered it, but I have a REALLY hard time parting with that kind of money.

I decided to check Craigslist. I had never bought anything on Craigslist before, but I figured we might luck out. And we did! Within two weeks, I found an almost brand new sectional, chair and ottoman as well as a lightly used kitchen table with 6 chairs AND a matching hutch. We didn't need the hutch and I asked the woman selling it if we could separate the table set and hutch. She said no. But, we re-purposed the hutch into a TV stand (which we were looking at getting on Craiglist separately), since the bottom and top of the hutch came as two separate pieces. All of these items were purchased within our tax return budget and actually were less combined than one brand new piece of furniture would have been. Not only did we save money and come in under budget, but we bought used items which supports my goal to reduce, reuse and recycle (or upcycle) as much as possible. I have sort of adopted the Compact, which you can read about here. I have modified it a bit to suit our family, but I am trying to follow the concepts for the most part.

This is what our purchases resulted in (excuse the mess and absence of a real floor):
We also needed to get J a new wardrobe for summer. As J has gotten older, she's fallen in love with dirt. If she gets outside during the day, it is guaranteed that she will need a new outfit and possibly a bath afterward. J received a gift last year of onesies and a summer outfit from an old patient of mine and luckily that patient bought the items too large. They are perfect for this year! We went to our local consignment shop to see if we could find a few more items. We found four summer dresses, a shorts outfit, a tennis skirt outfit, a sweater to serve as J's new jacket, a pair of pants, a skirt, a shirt and a remote control Thomas the Train for around $30! Score! The only things J still needs are some long sleeved onesies (for cold nights and when we go up to the Adirondacks on vaca), a bathing suit and a new pair of sneakers. I'm going back and forth about the bathing suit because I feel like she can still get away with just a diaper, but we'll see.

I am a BIG proponent of buying second hand. Not only do you normally spend less, but you reduce our impact at the same time. Now do you think we can find some hardwood floors used somewhere (refer to the above pics and notice we have only a subfloor in the living space where we placed the sectional)? ;)

Menu Plan Monday

My husband was able to get to the Farmer's Market yesterday, so we are stocked up on some grass fed meats again. What we have currently should last us through at least 3 weeks or so. Here's the menu for the week:

Monday - Homemade pizza with homemade sauce (I only use the sauce recipe...I have a different dough recipe that I like better than the one at this link)
Tuesday - Chicken quesadillas (a carry-over from last week)
Wednesday - Lentil sloppy joes...I am SUPER excited to try these out
Thursday - Black bean soup
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Hamburgers on the grill with homemade buns
Sunday - We get our first CSA delivery this week, so what's in that will determine what we have for dinner!

For more menu plans, visit orgunkie or Mindful Menus.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Super frugal dinner

As I mentioned, we didn't get to the Farmer's Market last week, which meant our meat supply was almost non-existent. This made for a very light-on-the-meat kind of week for dinners. Surprisingly, I didn't hear one complaint about it from my hubby, who is a huge meat lover and used to feel that dinner was not complete without meat. I decided to attempt falafel for dinner, which I had done once before a couple of years ago and neither one of us liked it. This time, I made the pitas, falafel and tzatziki sauce from scratch. It came out delicious...even my hubby liked it (but told me not to tell him what the ingredients were so he would actually eat it). The links above lead to the recipes that I used.

Now, don't let me fool you into thinking that this dinner took me a half an hour to prepare. It probably was more like 1 1/2 hours, but much of that time was waiting for pita bread to mix, rise or bake or for the falafel to cook in the pan. It cost me very little money (I estimated it to be around $6 for all three components) and while it was slightly time intensive, it gave us enough food for three dinners.

I used all whole wheat flour for the pita bread, along with 1 tsp gluten added for each cup of flour. The pitas came out great! Just made sure you don't roll the dough too thin, otherwise the pockets won't form and you'll end up with a dud like this one.
I had a couple of those, but most looked like these.
I had a happy customer, who liked hers with almond butter.
I actually used the falafel recipe above, but cooked it more like this recipe. I dumped the first seven ingredients, up to the baking powder, in my food processor and blended them until the chickpeas were well chopped. Then I dumped the mixture into a bowl and added the breadcrumbs (whole wheat) along with the rest of the ingredients. I ended up adding an egg white and a little bit of water so the mixture would stick together into patties. Then I placed the patties in a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil (probably 1 tbsp or so) and cooked them until they were brown on each side and warmed through, about 8-10 minutes total.

For the tzatziki sauce, I just dumped all the ingredients in the food processor and blended until smooth. I used Greek yogurt (low fat), so I didn't have to strain the yogurt through cheesecloth. I failed to squeeze the excess liquid out of the cucumber, so I ended up with a little bit thinner sauce than I would have liked. For the next night, I strained the sauce through a strainer lined with coffee filters. This resulted in more of a spread. Probably somewhere in the middle of the two would have been best, but it was still tasty.

So, there you go! Frugal, healthy, and easy (but not necessarily fast). About $1/serving...much cheaper than you can get falafel for if you were to go to The Pita Spot. Hope you'll try it!

Food Waste Friday

This week I wasted about a 1/2 cup of hummus (notice I didn't say "we" hubby hates hummus!). I had made a ton with some leftover chickpeas and I ate most of it, but I forgot about it for a couple of days. When I went to make a sandwich with it on Tuesday, it had an unpleasant stench. I made some more hummus yesterday, but it was a much smaller quantity. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to eat it before IT goes bad. :)

I'll be posting later today about my super frugal (and easy) falafel dinner that I made at the beginning of the week. Stay tuned!

To see more about food waste (and some techniques on how to prevent it), head to Frugal Girl.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

The start of another week. J was really sick over the weekend, so we weren't able to get to the farmer's market. Since we buy most of our meat at the farmer's market after switching to only sustainable meat, we didn't get any meat this week. Therefore this week's menu is light on the meat, but that's really okay. We can make yummy food without it. I have been able to, fairly successfully, make dinners that are hearty enough that my hubby doesn't miss the meat too much. Eating non-meat protein sources has enabled us to cut down our grocery bill and that's been lovely! :) Anyway, here's my meal plan for the week:

Monday - Falafel (this got pushed from last week)
Tuesday - Chicken quesadillas (from the freezer)
Wednesday - Egg sandwiches on homemade bagels
Thursday - A healthy, revamped pasta carbonara
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Lentil soup
Sunday - Leftovers

To get some more ideas for menu plans, visit or Mindful Menus.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I am so embarrassed about this week's food waste. This week really got away from me. At the beginning of the week, I had 13 credit hours to complete for my continuing education requirement to keep my physical therapy be done by today. I recommend that if you have to do continuing education for a license you have, do NOT wait until the week before it needs to be done. This is the first year I've really had to worry about it because last year I had just completed my Doctorate and the two years before I went to a course that surpassed the number of hours I needed. Anyway, I digress...I could make excuses until the cows come home. My continuing ed IS completed, by the way.

So, on the left is my failed experiment at making yogurt. It just didn't set. I don't know what I did wrong. I'm going to give it another go, but I was really bummed. I had one more jar in addition to what you see here, but I tried to strain it to make it thicker. It tasted like yogurt...creamy with a little tang, but it was the consistency of cream, not yogurt. On the right is a container of black beans. I'm still getting used to figuring out how much dried beans expand when you cook them. I made a TON the last time I prepped beans. I thought I'd figure out ways to use them up before they went bad, but I just didn't have the time with everything else going on. What you don't see here is the equivalent of about 4 apples I had to get rid of because they went soft before I could make them into applesauce. Did I mention I had a bad week?

If you're curious about others' food waste, check out Frugal Girl. I estimate I wasted about $8.50...most of that coming from my failed yogurt. Sigh.