Monday, January 17, 2011


How do you feel about genetically modified foods?

I don't really know how I feel about them... Do you remember learning about Gregor Mendel? if you don't you should read about him! His pea experiment is very interesting. What about when you asked your mom if you planted your apple core and seeds, would an apple tree grow? My mom told me yes, that if I planted my fruit seeds plants would grow.

Basically, as I can understand it, some people decided they would alter the genetic structure of certain plants to create seeds that had desirable traits. Since they had altered the genetic structure of the seed (let's pretend it's my apple) then it isn't really an apple anymore, it's their own breed of fruit that looks like an apple and has advantageous apple qualities, and that person or group of people invented it, so they owned it. Since they invented the "apple look-a-like but not genetically an apple" piece of fruit they can take out a patent on it though the government. If I ate a piece of fruit grown from their seeds and planted the core and grew a fruit tree it would be their tree because they own that breed of fruit.

It makes sense as far as governmental policy is concerned I suppose. but what happens when all the real apples die and all that's left is the "genetically not an apple lookalike" that's owned by a person or group of people? A person can own all the fruit we call apples? That seems strange.

I found this cool website that helps you use your vote to purchase non-GMO foods and stick to the basic publicly owned ones.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Purple Potatoes

Wouldn't it be fun if all vegetables came in our favorite colors? Pink celery maybe? Purple potatoes are a girlie vegetable lover's dream come true!

Look how cute are they?!

I was nervous about buying them, I mean specialty items sometimes seem like the belong on the shelves of Whole Foods and not in my kitchen, but it's a month of facing fears.

Which is why I paired the purple potatoes with the frozen lamb shank. Double fear facing duty.

Hadn't used the slow cooker in a while. I'm not normally a fan of the crock pot... it tends to make all the food taste exactly the same. Maybe I'm just not that good at combining items.

I put some purple, gold, and red potatoes with carrots and celery in the crock pot with beef stock.

The lamb was a little fattier than most of the meat that I cook, but I suppose that goes along with the cut of meat.

The potatoes were so cute and perfect! The purple potatoes are a little sweeter than the regular ones, but not quite as sweet as sweet potatoes. Do they make sweet potatoes in this smaller size?

I'd love to roast sweet potatoes with the purple ones...

Anyway, this is a makeshift recipe but it's how things tend to go in my kitchen.
Happy Eating!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saving Money!

Publix Original Total: $85.19
Publix Price Savings: $11.82
Coupon Savings: $10.95
New Total: $62.42

It's been a few weeks since I've been talking about coupons because the advertisements have been rather bland. Nothing exciting to talk about.
I had a few good ones this time.

Prego Pasta Sauce was on sale BOGO plus I had a coupon!
Honest Tea was on sale for $1.25 a bottle (individual bottles) plus I had a $2 off coupon if you buy 5.
Coffee Mate Creamer was on sale for $1.50 plus a coupon!
Treasure Cave Crumbled Blue Cheese was on sale for $2.50 plus I printed a coupon!
Spice Island Vanilla Extract was $6.99 for 2oz while McCormick's was $7.49 for 2oz, McCormick's has corn syrup in it plus I had a coupon for $1 off Spice Island. Super Bonus!

Did you get any good deals this week?
Happy Shopping!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

a little bitter, a little sweet

Inspired by real simple, yet again, I made some lunch.

Butternut Squash, Kale, and Chicken Breast. I think this combination of foods is excellent; starch, vegetable, and protein.

Roasted butternut squash is tender and sweet and almost squishy in a delightful kind of way.
Kale is tangy bitter and crunchy even after you cook it, unlike collards that get very mushy, Kale withstands the heat very well. Put sweet tender squash with bitter crunchy kale and you have a party in your mouth!

Mouthfeel is money making business these days, with al the artifical foods we try and convince our mouths are real. It's also fascinating, read more about mouthfeel here, or here, or here. Why add gums, chemicals, or starches to something to replicate mouthfeel when the world of real foods already created it for you?

I made some chicken too. Chicken is less exciting for me than vegetables, but I did cook the chicken in a new way. I seared it in the hot cast iron skillet and when the sides were mostly brown I moved the skillet to the 400 degree oven and let the chicken finish cooking (thanks to my handy dandy smart electronic meat thermometer.) This worked splendidly! The chicken was moist and tender and not like eating a stringy rock, which has sometimes happened to my
chicken of the past. Overcooked chicken may be guaranteed salmonella free but it isn't that delicious.

Real Simple's recipe called for bone in pork instead of chicken, does anyone love bone in pork, should I have tried it?

Happy Eating!

Friday, January 7, 2011


This is a somewhat different post for me.
you know I'm all about saving money but I normally only talk about it in relation to food.

but tonight I checked our utilities bill online.
You don't know much about the size of our house or whatever but for some background last month our bill was about $130. The month before maybe $140. In the heat of summer when I can't take it and the air conditioning is going hard core it can be $220.

It said our current amount due was $330. more usage than we have ever had in this apartment.
We haven't changed our lifestyle, I didn't decorate with Christmas lights, I didn't crank the heat to create a sauna. Is it possible that this is a mistake? Has anyone had this before?

Can utility companies make mistakes?
Someone give me some pointers.

Happy not-having-a-panic-attack!

Kale Spinach Pear Smoothie

via Joy the Baker who is very inspiring and you should read her blog because she is an amazing baker. she normally talks about butter and sugar and of course I believe her when she says it is delicious. but a Kale Spinach Smoothie, are you sure Joy?

I love the idea of eating dark leafy green vegetables at breakfast time. I love the idea of eating them all the time really, but hiding them in a smoothie is genius. Cooking greens can reduce some of the nutritional content but I've never heard that pulverizing them does.

I used:
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
1/2 pear
1 small to medium banana (joy uses frozen but I'm super impatient so mine was 'cold')
1 1/2 cups of organic skim milk (joy uses almond milk which I didn't have)
1 tbsp Agave Nectar (joy uses honey but I dislike honey)

Here is my link to approximate basic nutritional content. The smoothie was really good, thick and even Chris liked it!

Happy Eating!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins Shaped Like Cookies

I attempted more baking. Facing those fears!

The experiment was Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. The original recipie did say they turned out fluffy and I meant to decrease the baking soda a little, but then I totally forgot to do that.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 stick of butter, room temp.
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temp.
15 oz can of pure pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
chocolate chips!

Step 1: Wisk dry ingredients.

Step 2: Beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.

Step 3: Add pumpkin, vanilla, and egg

Step 4: Stir in chocolate chips

Step 5: Form cookies and Bake

Step 6: Eat!

I even tasted one already and yes they are baked through and totally edible! They are really more like muffins and I might suggest making them in a mini muffin pan. I also sprinkled unsweetened cocoa powder on top of some of them and that was good! I only had about a half a bag of chocolate chips and I kind of wish I would have added more because the chocolate was good!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homemade Hamburger Helper

We all love hamburger helper.
Don't lie. You secretly love it.
I secretly love it. It reminds me of being young before I knew that food that comes mostly from a box is probably not the healthiest choice.

Forget the box! Make it yourself. It's easier than I thought it would be.

I used this amazing recipe.

Ingredients that I used:
1.4lb Very Lean (7%) Ground Beef
2 cups 2% Organic Milk
1 cup Organic Chicken Stock
2 cups Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta
1.5 cups Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
Various Spice Cabinet Goodies
Including, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Paprika, Salt, Pepper, Cumin, and a bit of Agave Nectar.

It's basically just like the process on the box.

1. Brown your ground beef.

2. Add a bunch of spices that I didn't measure in any way. I splashed in some stuff that looked right to me.

3. Add 1 cup hot chicken stock or water

4. Add 2 cups milk. I used 2% to make the sauce a little thicker than with my traditional skim milk. I really wanted to avoid using corn starch in the recipe.

5. Add the noodles.

6. Simmer with the lid on about 12-13 minutes stirring occasionally.

7. Add the cheese and stir it all together

8. Marvel at your homemade corn free hamburger helper that tastes even better than the real thing!

Happy Eating!


I am obviously not a perfect cook.
I am not creating dishes that make the eater's face melt and freeze in one spot as to pause digestion and enjoy the taste of my dish for a moment longer than the average chewing experience.

I know that... sort of but when you're in the kitchen splashing around and you're husband will pretty much eat whatever you serve him I do tend to forget that my food is simple, my ingredients cheap, and my courage low.

My ingredients will remain cheap and I actually like simple flavors but I am realizing that I am afraid of making bad food. I am afraid of putting $20 worth of ingredients together and it tasting like... shit. (that was truly the only appropriate word)

Fearful Cooks, say it with me! I will be more courageous! I will not worry about things like ruined burned or disgusting tasting foods. I will not be afraid to spend another $20 on a pizza when my dish is inedible. I will embrace my food and it will work out sometimes!

ah, I feel better already.

Next step...
I will try these recipes:
baking Pumpkin Cookies, and I'm adding chocolate chips!
Pretzels. I love them. I'm going to make them. Not sure what recipe.
split pea soup. with ham! I found a recipe in a magazine.
I'm using that lamb in my freezer!
Dying to do something with purple potatoes (they're not too cheap!)
I want to infuse olive oil with some herbs.

What are your scared recipes? Let's try them together!
Happy Eating, and Cooking!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


What did you eat for Christmas?
tell me every detail, post 4 comments if it won't fit in one.

First we went for a jog around the neighborhood. It was wonderfully quiet. Then we drank champagne with pomagranate juice. Holidays call for champagne.

Then I made breakfast potatoes with 1 regular potato, 1/2 sweet potato, onion, 1 green pepper, salt, pepper, olive oil and 2tbsp healthy choice cream of mushroom soup. We ate them with eggs (or egg whites).

Lunch time was after going to the movies to see Tangled, where we ate our traditional popcorn and cherry coke. I made a veggie tray. Can you say you "made" a veggie tray if all you did was transfer vegetables to a cute tray you got for your wedding? It took me longer to arrange this photo.

For our pre-dinner appetizer Chris made these quite delicious stuffed mushrooms from The Pioneer Woman. I would recommend everyone's husbands makes them for their wives who have now moved on from mimosas to Pomegranate Cranberry Martini's.

Salad: Spinach, Goat Cheese, Pear, Fresh Pepper, and a splash of Vinaigrette dressing.
The main course: Fresh no color added salmon that I splurged on from Whole Foods, Gigantic Scallops that were delicious (and maybe a part of a new tradition), Wild Rice, and Roasted Asparagus.
DrinkyDrink: Pomegranate Cranberry Martini (again)

Happy Holiday Eating!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Cookies

Chris made these cookies. I wasn't even home when he did it so I can't even pretend I helped a little. I am not an excellent baker. In fact do you remember that time I told you I made banana bread? I did make it just like I told you, but later when I tried to eat some, it was raw and disgusting in the middle but I never told you.

Chris made cherry cookies for Christmas. They even have a romantic story: Chris and I gave our wedding guests favors, as most couples do, and we decided to give everyone a Welcome to Las Vegas Bag of Fun. They got candies, playing cards, gambling chips, a Vegas magazine, a card with information about the wedding, and a box of these cherry cookies! Chris' mother made them for us, which was super nice and I bet the guests were glad she did. She even made them in heart shapes!! How cute. and delicious.

Chris' were in a circle. Next year I'll tell him to do trees to keep the blog interesting but for festivities sake, we will call them ornaments!

I don't have the recipe or anything informative to tell you about them.

I know that first you make sugar cookie dough, which I learned has to chill out in the fridge for a bit. Then you make this cherry sauce (YUM!).

Then you cut out a bottom cookie with a large circle and put cherry sauce on it. Then cut out the same shape with the large circle and cut out it's center with a small circle and place it on top of the first large circle. Then you bake it. Then you let your wife eat them or take them to work and bible study and brag about how stellar your husband is for making them!

Happy Eating!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pretty Foods and Ugly Foods

I think in the new year I'm going to blog a little more about my relationship with food, and not just the food itself.
I love food, I've told you that, but it wasn't always that way. Like most people living in middle class america I have struggled with food. This probably isn't surprising. What is surprising to me is that for most people, their struggle is ongoing. I'm going to write a little bit about that sometimes.

When I was young I was sent to a class where you could learn how to be a lady. A class designed by this lady, Linda Wilder Dyer. We bought this handbook, Pretty Me. I'm sure Mrs. Dyer is a lovely southern woman who wrote this book to help young girls. I'm sure she didn't mean to destroy their individuality and give them unreachable expectations. I'm sure my mother, and all the mothers who bought this book, were looking for a nice book to teach their daughters about table-settings (chapter 3), being popular (chapter 1) and how to be house guest (chapter 5). Here is where my blog comes in, chapter 4; Health and Fitness. You'll find this chart on page 130.
There are no such things as pretty foods or ugly foods. Except the Durian fruit maybe, which is very very stinky. I personally, do not find raisins attractive, they are wrinkly and squishy. I think a hot fudge sunday can be beautifully constructed with colors and layers. Sadly, Mrs. Dyer is not talking about the photogenic qualities of these foods. She is associating foods with their health benefit and their ability to make you overweight or not, which she is calling "pretty" or "ugly". This upsets me.
You probably know that being active and eating nourishing foods is very important to me. This has absolutely no bearing on whether I am pretty. I probably don't need to go into much more detail about this and I think you see my point without climbing on my internet soap box.

If your new year's resolution for 2011 is to loose weight please know, your weight or the food you eat has no bearing on your attractiveness. I know over and underweight people who are both attractive and unattractive. If your resolution is to be more attractive my suggestion would be to start with a positive attitude. Avoid saying negative or harsh things. It can make you a difficult person to be around. Be grateful for every experience in your life because it has brought you to today, and today is where you are.

Happy Eating all nourishing foods in moderation and Happy being positive!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

The holidays always bring parties and there is always the horrible idea of what to bring...
a bottle of wine is nice, if they drink wine. a six pack is a little "college days". an actual present can be fun but what to get? Bath and Body Sweet Pea soap?
Food is my favorite option! and you can even buy those aluminum pans at the grocery store so no worrying about your favorite platter.

This buffalo chicken dip could be perfect! My recipe is for two because I only made it for Chris and I but you could double or triple it if you needed.

10oz Canned Chicken
4oz Softened Cream Cheese, I used low fat.
Blue Cheese Crumbles
Wing Sauce
Chips and Celery for dipping

Combine the chicken and the cream cheese. We got the specialty canned chicken without additives, so it was two 5oz cans.
Add as much wing sauce as you like. We like it not too hot. The consistency will be much smoother after the sauce though. We used Ashanti Chicken Wing Sauce because it was the only one at our store without corn. You could always use your favorite.
Then I sprinkled in about 1/3 of the container of blue cheese crumbles.
Bake at 350 degrees for maybe 20 minutes until the cheese is a little melty and the dip is heated though.
It's delicious on chips but the celery would be good too, it really does taste like a chicken wing with blue cheese!

Happy Eating!