Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Empty Refrigerator

I told you that my mom made all the fixin's for thanksgiving. That means, I pretty much didn't cook for a week and a half. As you can see I have cookies and juice in my refrigerator.
It was a sad thing. There was nothing going on in the kitchen besides coffee.

I did go to the store this week though!

Stay tuned, I promise there is cooking a coming!


How was your thanksgiving?

I love taking a day and remembering all I am truly thankful for in my life. The first people to come to America had much to complain about; 42 of the original 102 pilgrims died before they could celebrate the first thanksgiving. In conditions like that, I would struggle to be thankful.

What did you eat on the big day? I bought a smoked turkey from a local restaurant. It was really good, brining and smoking the turkey kept it super moist and gave it all sorts of flavors. I topped it with some cranberry chutney. I've heard all kinds of turkey cooking methods, what did you try? and did it work? My mom made all the fixin's.

Hope you had a joyful and filling thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Being Thankful

I'm thankful for...

Jesus - This is the biggest one for me. I truly am grateful every day to have been given a second chance to be in community with my creator. If you ever want to know what that means to me, I'd love to tell you how God gave me my second chance.
love notes
being able to work
my goldendoodle Eliza
my yorkie-poo Uber
Sage - it's my favorite spice
The World Market, best store ever
a roof over my head
clothes on my back, and sometimes cute ones!
a healthy family

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli cheddar soup is so easy to make. I wouldn't lie. Maybe even easier than my vegetable soup.

Ingredients: Flour, Olive Oil, Vegetable Stock, Carrots, Broccoli, Milk, Cheese, Salt, and Pepper.

1. I made another attempt at a roux. Flour and olive oil in a pot. It turned pink-ish this time!
2. Organic Vegetable Stock, What kind of stock do you buy? I am so frustrated with stocks that are full of modified corn.
3. Chop up some carrots and throw them in to get nice and soft.
4. Chop up your broccoli and please, be messy! Different sizes and don't forget the stalk part.
5. Simmer. Add some milk.
6. Add the cheese!
7. Try not to taste away half your pot or else Chris will make fun of you, or that might just be me.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Black Bean Burgers

I was a little nervous to make home-made vegetarian burgers because I've always bought them frozen.

1. I put some cooked black beans in a bowl and mashed them up with my hands, my food processor broke a while back.
2. I added some finely shredded carrot.
3. I added about a cup of cooked brown rice. (plus some salt, pepper)

Then I let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. I made the mix in the morning and didn't do anything else too it until dinner time.

4. At dinner time I added sauteed onions.
5. I formed the mixture into patties
6. I lightly sauteed them in the cast iron skillet with no oil or butter
7. I put them on their toasted buns with lettuce and tomato

It wasn't as hard as I thought it might but but I won't say they were the most amazing black bean burgers either. They were good! but not oh my goodness amazing. I had heard the tricky part was getting the patties to stick together and I didn't have much trouble with that. I think next time I'll add things like worcestershire sauce or mustard.

Happy Eating and trying new things!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Publix total: $29.97
Freshfields Farm total: $14.79
Grand total: $44.76

I'm under budget, maybe for the first time ever. I had huge smiles as I walked out of the stores today. Let me show you what I bought from Publix:
Emerald nuts were BOGO and I had a coupon, making them $2.40 each instead of $5.79
Alexia potatoes were 2/$5 and I had a coupon; original price $3.49, my price $1.95
Zucchini was on sale at Publix for $.99/lb so I bought some, and I was glad to see the price at Freshfields was $1.19/lb. The sale at publix was a bit of a fluke, but I'm glad I hit it.
Starbucks coffee was originally $8.81 but with coupon and sale matching my cost was $5.49
I bought three containers of stock since it was a low week, they were $2.99 each and I had a $1 off coupon, so my total on three was $7.97

From Freshfields farm I bought:
Red Potatoes, Carrots for $1.67 (publix price $1.78) Gala Apples for$1.49/lb (publix price $1.99/lb), Tomato, and Grapes for $2.19/lb (publix price $2.99/lb), Romaine Lettuce, and Sweet Potatoes for $.69/lb (publix price $.99/lb)
I also got free gords from Freshfields Farm! FREE! They had some boxes of small pumpkins and gords, the kind you use for decoration, out in boxes for free. I made a little centerpiece for our tiny table.

Happy Savings!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meal Planning!

Every part of me wanted to do a soup theme this week. Seriously. Black beans soup, broccoli and cheese soup, tomato soup, pumpkin soup. I can't do it to Chris though. I mean, he will be eating soup! but not every night :)

Black Bean Burgers with roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas

Lamb Shank Stew with Carrots, Potatoes, and Zucchini (using this recipe)

Eggs and Breakfast Potatoes, using both white and sweet potatoes.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This post is a little different. What's going on in our lives at the moment is that our dear friend has passed away. You can read his wife's eloquent and honest blog about the disgusting disease that took his life: http://johnandcatgoddard.blogspot.com/

We are sad. We feel restless because there is nothing to make it better. We are content with just being sad, for however long we need to be sad.
The posts may be light this week but I will let you know if anything delicious comes out of my kitchen.

in mourning.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

First Anniversary!

Chris and I went back and forth about what to do for our anniversary. Is it better to do something super fancy and special or something nice and normal for you as a couple? We went the normal route. We figured we have years to go on cruises, buy expensive presents, or eat $200 dinners.

Since we just purchased our Disney passes, we went to Animal Kingdom. We watched a few really amazing shows, you can see us here in our bug glasses! Plus we both got that super amazing button to wear that says it's our first anniversary and everyone congratulates you and we even got two free frozen chocolate covered bananas! Free food! Best anniversary yet.

We ended up choosing our favorite restaurant for dinner, Seito Sushi in Winter Park. We love it there. We went there to celebrate our engagement. It's a little nicer than an average place but still not crazy. Seito was also randomly featured on O Deals Daily. We bought $80 worth of gift cards for $40! How stinking fabulous. I love deals.

Then, for dessert, our amazing friend and neighbor bought us our first wedding cake! We didn't have cake at our reception, we had a chocolate tart thing (that was delicious!) We were not able to freeze any of it for our 1st anniversary though. How seriously adorable is that mini wedding cake!? I love it.

Happy Anniversary to the couples out there! How long have you been committed to your love?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Black Bean Enchiladas

Enchiladas are super fun. Sometimes burritos, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, and tostadas can all run together. What's the difference?
Enchiladas are tortillas wrapped around a filling and baked with a chili pepper sauce on top, and normally cheese on top. The fillings are normally more dense, less lettuce and tomato.

I looked at buying the enchilada sauce from a can and I was disappointed with what I found. So, I made my own! I was talking to a chef at work who said, "The key to sauce is a great roux." Mine wasn't great, but it was a roux nonetheless. I melted butter with flour and cooked it for a while. Then I added chili powder, roasted red pepper, water, salt, pepper, and probably some spices I can't remember. I whisked it all together and bam, sauce!

I bought "raw" beans again for this recipe and I messed them up. I soaked them overnight but the cooking process took hours longer than I anticipated. I sent Chris to publix for canned beans mid-way through cooking dinner. I am sad to admit this but, I will say in my defense that by the time we went to bed the beans were cooked deliciously and I'll use them next week.

I used green peppers and poblano peppers cut into a sort of julienne. plus yellow onion to accompany the beans inside the enchiladas.

In the end, they were quite delicious!
Happy Eating!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Holy Guacamole.
I always wanted to say that.

I love love love love avocado and also, guacamole.
When I was growing up avocado wasn't a popular food item since it is high in fats. Check out this super amazing website about what is in an avocado. Basically, yes, it's high in mono-unsaturated fat and omega 6. Check out this cool post I wrote about fat a while back. Fats are good for you and you need them so don't go thinking cellulite on me, think how great it will be when you body uses those fats to absorb your fat soluble vitamins like A, E, D and K. Here is a link to a great chart about fat soluble vitamins. I love nutrition. Chris compared the texture of guacamole to cold peanut butter which is funny because the nutritional content is similar.

The Point of all that was to tell you that I made guacamole, minus the cilantro that Chris hates. It was the most delicious snack you ever ate! So delicious that I forgot to take a picture until the bowl was pretty much empty. Sorry. I used some red onion, some tomato, some salt, some pepper, some mashed avocado and my fingers to scrape the bowl clean.
I love Tex-Mex Week!
Happy Eating!

Shrimp Tacos

When I put Shrimp Tacos on the meal plan for this week I looked through the other blogs and realized, I hadn't dedicated an entire post to them yet. This is strange because Shrimp Tacos are probably the one thing we make once a month. It's a Real Simple recipe that I haven't altered very much but just because I'm using a recipe doesn't mean you should get crazy on me and ask me to measure.
It's a healthy easy recipe that is full of flavor. All those things combine to make it a family favorite.

1. Saute the shrimp until pink with salt and pepper.

2. In a bowl mix about 1/3 a bag of cole slaw mix, a dollop of fat free sour cream, the juice of one orange and one lime, 1 jalapeno diced up fine, and a bit of corn. I've used canned and fresh corn in the recipe and I like fresh corn best because it's crunchier but canned corn is fine, be sure to rinse it off and try to pat it dry. You probably don't need a whole can either.

3. You're done! Best Recipe ever right?!

I serve the shrimp and citrus slaw with warmed tortilla shells but we assemble at the table. It's so good. It's a little summer-y for november but Shrimp were on sale this week for $5.99 a pound so it can't be too strange.
Here is the nutrition as provided by Real Simple. I don't think they used fat free sour cream so here is a link to mine.

Nutritional Information

  • Per Serving
  • Calories 392
  • Fat 9g
  • Sat Fat 3g
  • Cholesterol 177mg
  • Sodium 1095mg
  • Protein 31g
  • Carbohydrate 47g
  • Fiber 4g

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Romaine Salad

My mom is strange about salad. She loves them, but only at restaurants. She can't eat salads that she has made. I'm telling you this because for the longest time I don't think I realized you could make delicious salads at home. I loved to order them out but salads are expensive at restaurants! It has been fun to play with making salad at home for maybe the first time in my life.

This Tex-Mex flavored salad takes advantage of a few items from
the restaurant where I work. 1. The Turkey and 2. the Corn.

First I put some lime juice on the turkey. Our turkey is smoked. The smoke flavor is strong and I'm a little overwhelmed by it sometimes. The lime juice cut the smoke a little bit. The turkey is pretty tender and delicious so it didn't need much else. I could have used flank steak with a spicy rub on it for the salad too... but I got this turkey for free so it was the winner. Sorry spicy flank steak but I don't get too many other perks in the restaurant besides the occasional free meat product.

Then I diced up the delicious toppings. How fun is dicing avocado? I was proud of it. One thing I need help with is taking pictures while I cook without covering my camera with food particles. I got avocado mush all over my phone after I took this one here. I bet if I stopped nibbling while I cooked that would help, but I couldn't do that. I think I ate 1/3 of that avocado half before I could even put it in the bowls.

Layering salad goodness... Romaine then tomato then corn salsa then avocado, then turkey. I chopped up the romaine. I figure, when I get to make my salad myself, I'll just do all the chopping before hand that way I don't need to use a knife. Cutting up my salad with a knife kind of annoys me.

Salt and Pepper top it off and let's hurry to the table!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Meal Planning

This week's theme is Tex-Mex foods. I love the flavors, although my sweet husband hates cilantro so I'll be missing that one. Themes are kind of a fun way to buy foods that might not otherwise be cost effective. Avocado for instance, I can't eat a whole one in one meal for two, normally it's just half. This way I can work it into two or three meals and I can still enjoy it every once in a while.

Salads on romaine with avocado, tomato, corn salsa, and smoked turkey with lime juice.

Shrimp Tacos with citrus slaw. I've made this one before, probably a bunch of times, but it's seriously one of my ultimate favorite dishes.

Black Bean Enchiladas. I need to find a good recipe for enchilada sauce because I was seriously disappointed with the options at the grocery store today. Anyone know of a good one? and I am not making one with crazy ingredients...

Chicken Tortilla Soup. I love soup, as you might remember. Chris begged me not to make soup a theme for next week, bummer!

I also found this recipe for Green Bean Salad that I want to try since I never used the green beans I bought last week. I couldn't find the cotija cheese it called for at either store though. I do have some parmesan I might substitute.

is our One Year Anniversary; if you look at my countdown on the right you'd already know that. I can barely believe it! This year has flown by so quickly. We don't know exactly what we want to do that day. We both took the day off from work so we get to spend the whole day together though. You can be sure it will include some fabulous eating and I'll let you hear all about it!

Freshfields Farm vs Publix

I haven't done a price comparison in a while. Can you believe that price difference! If I would have bought the same exact produce and chicken at Publix today I would have spend $32.24, meaning that shopping at Freshfield farms today instead of Publix saved me $12.99! Did you save 12.99 on produce and meat this week with coupons?
I know shopping at two different stores may seem like more work but the payoff is really worth it!
Happy Saving Money!

Monday, November 8, 2010

i love groceries

Publix: Quaker Rice Snacks, Food Should Taste Good MultiGrain Chips, Skinny Vanilla Coffee Creamer, 2 Greek Yogurts, Wolfgang Puck Canned Soup, Swanson Stock, McCormick Spices, Boars Head Everroast Chicken, Medium Shrimp, Mission Flour Tortillas, 2 Luna Bars, Coleslaw Mix, Cottonelle Tissue, Viva Paper Towels, Purex Laundry Sheets, Skim Milk, Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, and Black Beans. Total: $54.45 Total Savings: $26.59

Freshfields Farm: Jalapeno Peppers, Romaine Lettuce, Broccoli, Limes, Green Peppers, Grapes, Yellow Onions, Bananas, Tomatoes, Avocados, and Chicken Breasts. Total: $19.25

I'm a little over our $60 budget per week but I stocked up on paper products and laundry detergent so I'll try and spend $15 less over the next two weeks, which makes the new budget $52.50 per week. I did get the detergent and paper product on a brilliant sale so I'm super excited (I kind of wish I was kidding, but I'm seriously excited! What an adventurous life I lead huh?) I haven't posted our meal plans yet, can you guess this week's theme based on our groceries?

Happy Shopping! Spend that money wisely!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chipotle Skirt Steak Salad

I liked the idea of putting sweet potato in a salad to mix in some thanksgiving flair. I also like steak and potatoes on a salad because I think it's funny. This was going to be dinner this week but it got converted to a lunch when some plans were changed and we ended up at 5 Guys for dinner instead. Hum... not sure how that happened.

My Ingredients:
Skirt steak, Sweet Potato, Poblano Pepper, Yellow Onion, and Spring Mix Lettuce.

I had never really cooked skirt steak. I broiled it until my meat thermometer said it was done. It turned out pretty good! I just used salt and pepper.
I used sweet potatoes, hello thanksgiving, and I roasted them.
First I coated them with some roasted red pepper, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. They were a smidge spicy and they went well with the steak.
I sliced and diced the poblano pepper and some yellow onion. I sauteed those with a bit of olive oil.
Then I piled it all on top of some spring mix.
Here is the link to my calorie approximations.
Happy Eating!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chicken and Potatoes

Dinner was Mushroom Chicken, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Mashed Potatoes. I also made this sort of mushroom gravy.
I like roasted brussel sprouts for thanksgiving. I also like mushrooms and gravy is popular. I roast a lot of things so I didn't need a lot of practice doing that. Gravy is something totally out of my comfort zone though. I actually don't think I've ever made gravy. Sauces are delicious but I don't make a lot of them because they seem scary and hard to make. Do you make sauce? Can you give me any pointers?

Dinner's Ingredients:
Butter - I used butter, For the sake of thanksgiving only!
Olive Oil - Only to roast the brussel sprouts.
Chicken Breasts - I removed the skin and bones before cooking, a little bit of butcher skill is quite useful.
Mushrooms - For the chicken and the gravy.
Brussel Sprouts - Gotta get those vegetables.
Red Potatoes - I like these little ones for mashed potatoes, I leave the skin on.
Red Onion - Chopped fine, sauteed in butter, and put into the potatoes.

Gravy Talk:
I pan seared the chicken in a stainless steel pan, not non-stick, with some mushrooms. It was getting that brown delicious stuff all over the bottom of the pan and I thought, well I simply cannot waste all that goodness, having used some butter instead of olive oil! I had about a cup of vegetable stock in the fridge leftover from Pumpkin Risotto. I poured it in to de-glaze the pan and let it reduce for a bit. I added a bunch of mushrooms too. Plus a splash of milk. Turns out gravy isn't as hard as I had thought, it just takes a little time. The mushrooms gave it that savory taste, umami, which I LOVE!
I had to put the sauce on the table in a tupperware so I'm pretty sure I'm going to need one of these before the big day, good thing I had a trial run!

Happy Pre-Thanksgiving Eating!
What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Food Shopping

Grocery shopping is so fun. I can say that because I shop alone with pretty much no time limit. I imagine shopping with children is less fun.
I got back in the groove today with my weekly budget of $60. That's only for two people, but ideally it will give us breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week.

From Freshfields Farm I bought green beans, brussel sprouts, a sweet potato, spring mix, cranberries, large grapes, broccoli, carrots, one pear, two apples, and one lemon. Produce Total, $19.11

I also bought roast beef, mock skirt steak, and 3 whole chicken breasts. Meat total, $9.89

At Publix I bought paper towels, milk, 1/2 gallon of peach tea, 1/2 gallon of unsweet tea, 2 jugs of V8 juice, storage bags, sandwich thins, popcorn, mushrooms, eggs, and a lamb shank. Normally I would buy my produce and meat from freshfields farm but they didn't have lamb and their mushrooms came in bulk sizes and I couldn't have eaten that many mushrooms. Grocery total, $27.54

That brings my grand total to $56.54! I met my budget. I'm confident the groceries will be enough if I stick to my meal plans.

How did your shopping go as we start the new week?
Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Impromptu Dinner

Last minute dinners are the worst aren't they? Even with all my planning I end up with a few impromptu dinner creations. This week I took some recipe tips from Real Simple. I love that magazine! It's their Rigatoni with Roasted Sausage and Broccoli.

Rigatoni: 1 box is $1.39 and I used a little less than half which comes to $.7o
Red Onion: $1.22 for the onion and I used about half, totaling $.61
Broccoli: $1.5o and I used the whole bunch. We love broccoli.
Italian Sausage: $3.49 for 3 links and I only used 1 link. Total is $1.17
Olive Oil: I have this all the time so for 1.5 tbsp I'll guess $1
Salt & Pepper: I'm guessing nothing because I really always have these.

Total cost per serving: $2.49 That's pretty great! It tastes amazing, I love how roasting vegetables brings out flavors and lets them be sort of crunchy. Leave the hamburger helper and taco kit in a box at the store! How does that price compare to your spur of the moment dinners? I think I beat even a happy meal. Here is the link to my calorie approximations.

1. Chop broccoli and slice onion.
2. Coat in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Spread on baking sheet and nestle the bits of sausage, removed from it's casing, into the vegetables.
4. Roast for 18-20 min at 400 degrees.
5. Boil pasta.
6. Combine pasta and roasted goodies.
7. Enjoy!

Happy Inexpensive Eating!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Meal Plans

I liked having a theme last week so we have a theme this week! It's pre-thanksgiving week. I know it's not thanksgiving yet but hopefully I'll be able to work with most of the traditional thanksgiving ingredients to get used to them before the big day! Plus, I love thanksgiving.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes, and Mushroom Chicken.

Chipotle Skirt Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Poblano Pepper.

(Lunch) Turkey Sandwiches with Cranberry Dressing and Chilled Green Bean Salad

Shepherds Pie with Lamb, Carrots, and Brussel Sprouts.


also... I think I'm going to buy the $9 ceramic turkey from ZGallerie for a centerpiece. It's small, but so is my table.

Either that or I love love love this "floral" arrangement. It's made out of Purple Cauliflower, Artichokes, Asparagus, and Sage. How super fun?

Thanksgiving is amazing.
Happy Eating!