Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pumpkin Spice

Today became the best day ever when Chris and I unknowingly walked into starbucks and what were they serving... Pumpkin Spice! Considering it's still 92 degrees outside and although I wanted the taste of fall and not the extra heat, I opted for mine iced. (I'll give you a prize if you comment with the names of our drinks based on the starbucks short hand!)

Pumpkin spice is the reminder that autumn is coming and the heat of florida will be ending soon! I also now think we should go buy boots, pumpkins, and other various fall decor.

Pasta Salad

Chris, if ever updated the blog, would tell you that he loves his food all mixed together. No main entree with sides, but one big bowl of food. Eggs, Sausage, and Potatoes for breakfast, cut up and mixed together. Rice, Chicken, and Broccoli for dinner, chopped and in a bowl. It's a little strange but I love him.

Pasta Salad is probably the one thing where I like to mix my vegetables, protein, and grain together. Pasta salad or potato salad normally means, "coated with mayonnaise" and I dislike mayonnaise so I prefer to make my own. This recipe is my take on pasta salad. I read this article online about how to make an amazing pasta salad and used some of her pointers.

Healthy Harvest Fusilli Pasta (whole wheat)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The juice and zest of 1/2 a Lemon
Smaller Asparagus stalks
Cherry Tomatoes
Green Onions
Boars Head Everroast Chicken
Parmesan Reggiano
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Powder

I cooked my pasta and then I spread it out on a baking tray to cool in the refrigerator.
Then I sauteed my asparagus with very little olive oil and some garlic powder.
Slice the tomatoes in half. Chop green onions. Zest lemon. Put these things in a bowl.
Lightly saute the mushrooms when the asparagus is done.
Chop chicken. (I used this chicken because I had some leftovers that needed to be used. If you skip the chicken the recipe is vegetarian. Skip the cheese too and it's vegan. Sorry raw foodies, I cook stuff)
Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice with salt and pepper to make the dressing.
Use a vegetable peeler to get nice slices of the cheese (yum!)
Lightly mix together and viola!

It has a light bright flavor to it. It's not as vinegar-y as other salads so you might add a little red wine vinegar to your dressing. I don't measure anything so the amounts are kind of whatever looks right. Here is the link to my calorie approximations.

Happy Eating!



a cooked dish of kernels of corn mixed with shell beans, esp. limabeans, and, often, with green and sweet red peppers.

Have you ever made succotash?
I hadn't but the name was just so fun to say that I wanted to try it.

2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1 plum tomato
1/2 bag of frozen edamame (substituted for lima beans)
1/4 yellow onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Roasted Red Pepper
bit of Sugar

I sauteed my onion in olive oil with salt and pepper.
Added the edamame and corn and let it sizzle a while.
Then I added the tomato.
more salt and pepper, plus the roasted red pepper.
Then I tasted it and it was quite tangy from the pepper so I added a little sugar.

I served the succotash with Chris' leftover Mackerel that I had frozen. The sturdy white fish paired really nicely with the strong flavors of the red pepper. It was a very quick dinner, so quick I forgot to take a picture. Sorry, it was pretty too with all the colors. This picture is from the internet but looks similar to mine.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wal Mart

Wal Mart is one of those places that I can't figure out. It's a cross between a flea market and a drugstore. There are lots of people and most of them must, sadly, not own a mirror for they left their house wearing their pajamas. But the goods are inexpensive and the variety is huge.

There are good things, since Wal Mart is such a large corporation they can do charitable things. They provide things to their consumers.
There are not so good things. They may, overall, hurt the local economy. They may have sexist policies.

So here is my problem... the prices are low.

8 pack Mach 3 Razors at Walgreens: $19.99
10 pack Mach 3 Razors at Walmart: 22.97 (plus my $2 off coupon)

Febreze Noticeables at CVS (from memory): $7.49
Febreze Noticeables at Walmart: $4.20 (plus my $1 off coupon)

Gillette Body Wash at Walgreens: $4.49
Gillette Body Wash at Walmart: $3.50 (plus my $2 off coupon)

I spent $77.62 today, which to me, is a heck of a lot of money! My coupons saved me $13.12. I only buy soaps, house cleansers, and razor refills occasionally and I find it is where I end up spending the most money. I try to avoid buying these items "on impulse" and only during a dedicated shopping trip with plenty of coupons, in fact I only bought one item today that I didn't have a coupon for. (It was frozen edamame for $1.96, at Publix I spent $3.19 on Aug. 2)

Happy Low Price Shopping!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I love making chili. I love the simplicity of it. You put your ingredients in a pot and then after a few hours... viola! Chili.

I was reading the backs of the canned beans I normally use and I was horrified to find... corn syrup and the like. Sad thing #1. So this time I took on a new adventure; dried beans! They added a considerable amount of time to the chili making process because I had to soak the beans before I could use them. I took a picture of the bean soaking. It took almost 2 hours.

I normally serve my chili with a modified recipe of Jiffy's Corn Muffins. You have probably seen it, in the blue box. I mix the box with a can of creamed corn, a little hot sauce, and one egg and bake it for 25 or so minutes and it makes moist delicious cornbread. Sad thing #2... Jiffy uses Lard in their mix! I made it anyway but found a really cool blog that you must read where she makes her own version so I will try that next time.

I made probably 16 servings of chili yesterday because we are planning on eating the heck out of some chili this week!
1. Chili with Cornbread
2. Chili Quesadilla
3. Chili on Nachos
4. Chili on Baked Potatoes

Do you know of any other ways I could use this giant pot of chili in other recipes?

Here are my ingredients and a link to my calorie approximations:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Publix vs Freshfield Farms... again.

More shopping today!
Bartlett Pears were on sale at Publix making them the only produce item I got today that was less expensive at Publix. Pretty exciting. I love saving money.

Other good deals at Publix; Tostitos Family Size are BOGO. Mt. Olive pickles are BOGO, plus there are $.55 off coupons. Hunts Canned Tomatoes are BOGO. Del Monte Canned veggies are also BOGO. Sargento Cheese is 2 for $4. Overall with only one coupon my total savings was 14.38 with my real total at $37.34.

I'm making Chili tonight for dinner and then I plan on using the leftovers in meals all week, I'll let you know how it goes!

Happy Eating!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Favorite Chef

Who is your favorite chef?

Mine is probably Ina Garten. Her show is Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. She lives in the Hamptons with her husband Jeffery. She is my favorite for a couple of reasons; she uses simple recipes and fresh ingredients but she also reminds me so much of my mother. You can see, they even look alike!
There is so much about food that is more than the nutritional value of the meal. I talk about the carbohydrates and proteins and sugars but there is another thing to consider, the satisfaction. Food needs to be satisfying. It has to fill other things besides your stomach. It has to fill your heart, your needs, your cravings. Ina is always cooking for her husband and she always seems to have that mystery ingredient. I think her food reminds me of my mother's food. Anything reminiscent of food you had as a child seems so fulfill your heart and not just your stomach.

To say that love is the mystery ingredient may be a little corny... but I'm not sure what else to call it. You can tell when someone enjoys cooking not for the technical skill but for the joy it brings to those who are eating the meal. Somehow it shows in the cooking.

Happy Heart Cooking!

Ezekiel 4:9

I bought another exciting nutritional food that I had been wanting to try. Ezekiel 4:9 bread. It's in the frozen section of the grocery store.

This bread is very delicious, although Chris thinks it is very dense. It has a slight nutty flavor, almost reminds me of a soy milk latte. But I could just be craving a latte this morning.

You can read all about the company and how they make their bread on their website. But I'll tell you what I like. Enriched flour is the normal ingredient for making bread. Enriched flour is mostly wheat that's beaten to a pulp. A lot of the nutrients are stripped from the wheat during this process, so to make it "better" for you they add in artifical nutrients at the end, thus making it enriched!

The low carb dieters of the world have decided that removing flour from your diet can help you loose weight but I think that trying to eliminate this type of flour from your diet is a better choice. Enriched flour hits your bloodstream like sugar because it is so refined. If too much sugar is consumed it can cause weight gain but carbohydrates aren't to blame. These complex carbohydrates provide lasting energy and won't spike your blood sugar! If you're looking for a new bread give this one a try. It's great as toast or for sandwiches.

Happy Nutrient Rich Eating!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Food I do like to eat...
oh man. there are so many foods I love to eat. large lists in fact. I don't want to just focus on things I try to avoid but things I like to embrace.
Today is tropical foods day at my house.

I am having a trio salad for lunch. (Crispers inspired me actually)
Trio 1: Black Bean Salad
Trio 2: Tropical Fruit Salad
Trio 3: Vegetable Salad

Black Beans Salad. i LOVE bean salads. I think Chris is sick of them. I love putting beans together with vegetables and fats and creating delicious bowls of nutrition. I have been doing some definite italian bean salads lately, with the splurge of Parmesan Reggiano that we have in our fridge! I wanted to switch it up. Today's bean salad is black beans simmered in red onion mixed with fresh corn off the cob, diced plum tomato, fresh avocado, salt, pepper, and a little dried roasted red pepper.

Tropical Fruit Salad. Mangos are in season at the moment and last week they were on sale at Publix for $1. I got mine for $1 from Freshfields Farm this week. It is so tender and juicy. The one last week was a little hard. Mango has a tangy flavor, not too sweet which I like. Pineapple is less dense than mangos and a little sweeter so I think they pair well together. I'm adding a little banana for some potassium and for another texture, the squishy texture kind of blends the whole salad together.

Vegetable Salad. This one is pretty normal as far as garden salads go. I'm using red and yellow peppers instead of tomatoes to keep the tropical vibe going. I don't normally like dressings on my salad because they can be overpowering. I might add a coconut dressing if I had one...

This combination is great for it's wide variety of nutrition. Black beans and corn provide some complex carbohydrates. Black beans also give some protein. Avocado provides some delicious healthy fat. Tomato, Peppers, and Spinach gimmie some vegetables. Mango, Pineapple, and Banana are great fruits. The only thing I am "missing" is a form of dairy that I am going to eat as an afternoon snack.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Center of the Supermarket...

It's no secret that I'm not a big Nabisco advocate. I tend to avoid anything from the center of the supermarket, especially if it comes in a brightly colored box.
I really want to share why.

Nabisco's Ritz Crackerfuls are an example of something I wouldn't buy.


  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils are trans fats. Quick bit about fat: Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, called oils. To get partially hydrogenated oil you take unsaturated fats and break down the molecular structure and add hydrogen, this will make the oil solid at room temperature. You may think, why not just use saturated fats since they are already solid at room temperature? Good question, it's because current information says saturated fats clog arteries. Current information is also saying that these artificial saturated fats (hydrogenated oils) are actually worse than the original. These is in part because they still clog arteries, and also because adding the hydrogen to the molecular structure has a side effect of trans fatty acids. Trans fat is unnatural and is not well absorbed into the body, if at all. It also may cause problems with the way healthy fats are absorbed into your body. (I can't really go into healthy fats at this time).
  • Maltodextrin is basically corn. That has been processed through large machines that use enzymes to pre-digest the corn for you and eat the calories out of it. The result is a white powder that is low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. This white powder will also last for a long time on a shelf without going bad or attracting bugs (since bugs don't really recognize this as food). Maltodextrin is a very popular food additive.
  • Corn Syrup is again, corn. That has, again, been pre-digested for you with the use of enzymes so that it is sweeter, lower in calories, and has a longer shelf life. It is also much less expensive to produce and use than cane sugar. There is current information that says lots of terrible things about corn syrups everything from it will make you more hungry than full to it causes cancer.
I feel badly for the folks in food production, I'm not kidding. Years ago people demanded lower calories and cheaper food. Food production did literally everything and anything they could to get the people the butter taste or the fluffy cake that they loved without the nutritional value it traditionally had, and for less money. Unfortunately they have created a line of food additives that are low in calories because the body cannot digest them. I am willing to pay more for food that my body can eat. We are eating things that taste like food, look like food, even smell like food, but don't feed our bodies like food.

I am choosing to try to eliminate these additives from the things I eat so that my body can be nourished.

Happy Eating real foods!

Cleaning the Garbage Disposal

$3.95 Plink

These three products are on the market for cleaning the garbage disposal. The last one claims that is is 95% more effective than home remedies. I wonder how they can know that it is 95% more effective. You're not actually cooking from your sink or near your garbage disposal so do you need the area to be completely disinfected? I feel as though you simply need the area to smell nicely, or even just not smell poorly.

There is a thrifty shopper inside of me that just has to beg you not to purchase these products! Clorox Bleach is $3.29 and lemons, I think, were 3/$4 at Publix. All of these products are lemon scented, how about real lemon scent? Slice your lemon in half, put it down your garbage disposal, and turn it on. Lemon scent!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


There are blogs that I like to read.
One of them gives away stuff to her readers... so FUN! plus it's awesome stuff like things off etsy.com or cool jewelry, check out her blog. People comment on her blog, they have too, to get the free stuff.

I'm so desperate for comments that I'm going to try giving away free stuff. I think she might have advertisements on her blog and thus, make money to cover the costs of the giveaways. I do not have advertisements. This will cost me money. See, I'm willing to buy your comments!

I have two items to giveaway, one for the fellas and one for the ladies. although, it really doesn't matter. If you comment on the blog with your e-mail address and you're my lucky winner I will e-mail you and request your address and then I will mail it to you! just like that, if you live in the United States. (Mom, you will not be my lucky winner!)

For the ladies: I have a lime green spatula. It matches my kitchen and it's safe to 450 degrees.
For the fellas: I have a Suede BBQ Mit. It's from dillards.

If you want either of these items... comment on my blog!

Happy cooking!


I think people read this blog.
maybe I'm delusional.
but I really think there are one or two readers out there!

I've tried to lure comments out of you readers with questions... that did not work you shy shy readers. I am trying another tactic!

I am looking for some fun new recipes.
Check out this one I got from my friend yesterday: Banana Soft Serve "ice cream"
I tried to make it yesterday and unfortunately my food processor broke last night leaving me with the first half of the recipe and no soft serve, I was pretty upset. So no recipes calling for a food processor until I can get a new one.

Chris and I will be starting our training for our first half marathon in September so we are going to be looking for nutritious filling foods that aren't high in fats, as Chris' gallbladder is broken and is not processing fats. This means not too many nuts or nut butters.

Please comment and leave me some fun new recipes!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Price Comparison

As Promised!
This week I finally did it! I wrote down the prices for the produce at Publix and compared it to my purchases at Freshfields Farms. No more guessing. As you can see, CRAZY price differences. I will say, I was surprised to see the grapes are actually cheaper at Publix! It's sort of funny that grapes would be the item that is more expensive because at my house the only reason we buy grapes is because Chris has an unhealthy obsession with frozen grapes. We put the whole bunch right into the freezer when we get home from the store.

I spent $11.84 on Produce today and I feel very confident about how I spent our money.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grocery Shopping

Chris and I were out of town this Sunday but my paper was waiting for me when we got home. This week it even had samples of cereal! How wonderful. Seriously, I ate them almost immediately.

I went to Freshfields Farm again with my friend and neighbor Kari. I spent $18.85 on organic baby spinach, 1lb of baby carrots, 1 orange pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, celery, 1 vidalia onion, 1 red onion, 2 granny smith apples, 1 gala apple, white grapes, 5 grape tomatoes, and 1 large cucumber. Seriously next week I want to go through publix and add up how much the same things would cost. It's the most amazing thing to get a week's worth of delicious fresh produce for less than $20.

I did need to go to Publix this week. My total was $29.97 and my total savings was $10.83. Kelloggs Poptarts are on sale buy one get one free this week and I happened to have a coupon for $1 off 2 boxes. I'm still amazed that bogo counts as buying two! That means I got 2 boxes of poptarts for $1.39. Cascadian Farms granola was also on sale buy one get one and I had another $1 off of two boxes coupon! My two boxes of cereal were only $2.99. I love matching the sales to the coupons!

Other than the exciting ones I used a coupon from this Sunday's paper for $.75 off of Mission Tortillas which I will be using to make tacos tonight for dinner. I used a coupon for $.60 off of Milano cookies because Chris went "oooh oooh ooh!" like a monkey when he saw the coupon in the paper.

I did end up purchasing items that were not on sale and did not have coupons. The hardest thing about shopping sales and coupons is that the random assortment of sale items may not actually form a weeks worth of meals. Stockpiling is a popular option but I dislike the idea of filling my house with food that I have no idea when we will eat.

Happy Healthy Eating!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy Birthday

Chris and I have our birthday's ten days apart from one another. Well... 9 years and 10 days. Both of our birthdays are in August and I've been thinking a lot about birthdays and how we celebrate them. Of course their are gifts... i like this stuff or maybe this stuff. but really we always celebrate with food.
Growing up I remember on your birthday you got to choose what we ate for dinner. Sometimes this meant you got to pick something and Mom would make it for you and other times it meant you got to pick a restaurant to go to. We would ask mom to make such gourmet items as tater tots and hamburger helper.

We always liked to go to Chi Chi's though. I found an actual picture of me for the blog! You know the drill, they plop a giant hat on your head, sing in spanish, and then you get ice cream with a candle. Man that was the best! I was so embarrassed but then would totally ask to do it again next year. Chi Chi's did close due to some hepatitis complications but the memories are disease free.

Now that I'm turning 24 I get to pick the restaurant! What else could it be besides Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. It's the modern day Japanese equivalent to Chi Chi's minus the whole disease thing although you can never trust that white sauce so maybe... Anyway. After proving it's your birthday by flashing your drivers license they even give you $15 off your meal! They will even give you a funny hat! It's genius. They also have great mixed drinks :)

The cool thing about Chris' birthday being right after mine is that we can both kind of have two birthday dinners. Chris picked Bern's Steakhouse for his. Same idea of a steakhouse but I assure you the two are about as different as they can be. No silly hats. No birthday discount. Try amazing, Try Rachel Ray's pick for best steak house. Their website says they have a "tradition of excellence with a gastronomic adventure that includes prime steaks cut to order, 21 choices of caviar, fresh seafood and organic vegetables grown on Bern's farm." That's right, they have a farm.

Happy Birthday Eating!

Italian in Miami

Chris and I took a weekend adventure to Miami with his co-worker and triathlete friend Alessandro.
Alessandro's mother is from Italy and his father is from Iran.
They are an amazingly non-american family and we were delighted to stay with them for the weekend. This is their home, for visual affect.
Vilma cooked for us all weekend. It was the most authentic italian cooking I've ever had. It was very delicious. The espresso, the wine... sigh.
Italian food has a poor reputation in the United States I think. Olive Garden, Carrabbas, Pizza Hut... there are so many poor imitations of italian cooking that we come to think of Italian as spaghetti with sauce from a jar. Plus, most of the United States is on a high protein low carbohydrate diet and people tend to assume pasta will make them fat. A giant lie I might interject.

The meal that I simply must tell you about was Saturday night. Vilma made Lasagna for us. She made the noodles. She made the sauce. This was no ten minute boil and bake deal. She started cooking when we left in the morning and dinner was still warming in the oven when we returned. The pasta was so thin and light, it was like baklava but with meat and tomato sauce instead of honey and nuts. It was so delicious. As we sat down to eat Vilma looked at the plate
and said with a laugh, "This is it? I cook all day and it looks so small." I wonder if that's why we avoid Italian cooking, it is so simple that it looks like less. The taste was nothing less than any big showy meal. Maybe us Americans should let food taste good and stop worrying about making it art on a plate or low carb.

and yes, just to make you all a little jealous that shiny aluminum pan is the lasagna that Vilma sent us home with. That is dinner tonight and Chris and I are more than a little excited.