Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chicken stew and cheddar dumplings

So, I grew up eating sauerkraut with pork and dumplings.  My mom always made them with bisquick.  I haven't made dumplings in years and years.  Probably the last time I made them was with sauerkraut - and my husband was not a fan.

Last year, he got me a "One Pot of the Day" cookbook from Williams Sonoma for Christmas, I think.  Today I used it for the first time, in my attempt to try recipes from all of my cookbooks.  (See the Cookbook tab for my tally!)

The stew was quite delish, and it came with homemade dumplings!  Hubby decided that they were pretty good, probably the addition of the cheddar.  My opinion of the stew:
1.  It didn't make enough.  Only dinner for four and a tiny bit leftover for lunch.  This is despite chopping a million vegetables (carrots, celery, onion).
2.  It was heavy on the chicken - 1.5 lbs for the dish.  My own personal preference would have been about half that much, and more vegetables.  Something to tweak next time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Green chili egg puff recipe

This was delish!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It's NOvember!

You know what that means folks!  Okay, maybe you don't.

Two years ago (2014) I was in the throes of losing the baby weight (yeah, the baby was 2, but who is counting).  I'd lost the same 15 pounds 3 times.  I was steady at losing 2 lbs a month.  For NOvember, I decided to do the following:

1.  Maintain my calories and macros.  For you 21-day fixers, that means the lowest 21-day fix category, aka 2 "yellows" (carbs a day).

2.  Substitute the carbs...NO CHEATS.  It's important to know that I wasn't cheating much (and for the record, you are allowed 3 cheats a week).  I eliminated: wheat, alcohol (wine), sugar, and fried foods.  So no swapping a yellow for wine, chocolate, or tortilla chips.

It's important to note that I wasn't eating MUCH of these already - no more than 4-5 servings a WEEK.  And wheat, while allowed, I got rid of that too.

3.  I didn't sweat the small stuff.  If flour or sugar was an ingredient (to make a roux, or in a dressing or sauce), I didn't sweat it.  I just avoided major sources of it all.  So, no dessert, no pasta, no bread, no flour tortillas, no tortilla chips.

Instead I stuck to potatoes, oats, corn, beans, corn tortillas, sweet potatoes, popcorn, rice, quinoa.

4.  I did allow Stevia in my coffee.

2014 November: down 7 pounds!!
2015 November: down 12 pounds!! (well, actually more like 5, then we all got the stomach flu.  I looked like a deflated balloon).

Fast forward a year later, and I'm about 2 pounds down from 2015 November 1.  So, it looks like while my goal weight might be a few pounds lower than I am right now (2, to be exact), it's MUCH easier to maintain with those extra 2 pounds.

These days, I'm quite happy with my weight, size, and health.  But I'm still doing NOvember because honestly - it makes me feel great.  It gets me out of my eating rut (yes, I do miss pizza!)  It makes me a cheap date for December holiday parties.  And it prevents holiday weight gain.  Let's face it, from mid-October to early-Jan, it's one big eat fest with Halloween candy, fudge,  holiday parties, Thanksgiving, etc.

Some of my friends suggest that maybe I should give myself a "day off" (like Thanksgiving).  Meh, sure I guess, but honestly - I can live without stuffing and rolls if I have mashed potatoes.  It works better for me to just not cheat.  It's ONLY 30 days.  (Truth be told, in 2015 the last month I lived on saltines and applesauce and plain pasta. So technically I didn't make it 30 days.)

ONE MORE THING! I'm giving up some electronics too!  No more games on my tablet, and I'm actively avoiding facebook after I get home.  This whole election is driving me BAT SHIT CRAZY.  I don't want to hear about it.  I don't want to talk about.  No conversation is going to change my mind (I already voted!), and I'm not going to change anyone else's.  I want to go to sleep on November 8 and wake up when it's ALL OVER.

A girl's gotta do what it takes to maintain her sanity.

Today's menu for NOvember 1: (so I can find ideas later!!)
Breakfast: a leftover sausage on a corn tortilla.  A smoothie.
Lunch: salad (lettuce, cucumber, peppers, radishes, feta, olives, sunflower seeds, sun dried tomatoes, dressing), and a sausage.
Snack: veggies and hummus
Dinner: Meatballs, roast cherry tomatoes with white beans, roasted Indian cauliflower

Peace out.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Soup and Bread!

Soup and Bread: a very frugal meal.  Not so easy to pull off in 100 degree weather.

Well, this week a few things happened.

It cooled down a bit, all the way to the 80s.
My little guy and my husband got a tummy bug (new rule, NO MORE PIZZA NIGHTS for FUNDRAISERS - from now on I'm donating $10 and eating at home.  This is not the first time.)

So soup and bread are easy on the tummy.

Getting sick is hard and easy on the budget at the same time.  Hard because some of the food you have goes to waste.  I tossed a pound of turkey that went uneaten, and 32 oz of yogurt that expired before we even opened it.  Also hard because I end up buying special foods, like gatorade and applesauce.

On the other hand, plain pasta, homemade bread, and saltines are cheap.

So, can I take credit for using a recipe in a book if I just sort of used it?  I started with the recipe for minestrone from American Wholefoods Cuisine by Nikki and David Goldbeck.  Great book.

But I used it as a general jumping off point.  My soup had some spinach (because we had it in the box), tomato sauce, water, a bouillon cube, carrots, onions, and pasta.  I left out the beans because of the tummies.  I added dried basil, extra garlic, and fresh parsley (because we had it in the box).

It was so good!  I made rosemary olive oil bread to go with it.

I have no pics!  But it is soup.

So this week, assuming the other two members of the family -ahem- dodge the tummy bug bullet - we have a lot of veggies to eat.  I have two pounds of roma tomatoes.  I have a roasted tomato and white bean soup in one of my cookbooks...that might have to be where we put those.  The last few times I've made the Prudent Homemaker's tomato basil soup, it's been too acidic.  I must have changed the type of canned tomato.

Also have lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, carrots, corn...probably some other stuff that isn't coming to me right now.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

This week's new recipes

See the "Goal" tab.  Last week I made a new carrot salad (a lot like some prior salads that I've made), and I also made a brown rice and broccoli casserole with a cashew/ parmesan topping.

The carrot salad was from Still  Life with Menu by Mollie Katzen

The casserole was from The Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies by  Meri Raffetto, RD.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Goal: use my cookbooks

I have a ton of cookbooks.  I like to sit and read them for fun.  So, inspired by 100 Dollars a Month and her crazy year long goals, here is one of my goals:

Make at least one recipe from every cookbook that I own.

No time limit.

I'll be tallying on the "Goal" page above.

Wish me luck.

(I reserve the right to alter the recipes based on what I have on hand, natch.)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Instant Pot Baked Beans

So...I got an Instant Pot.  I need another kitchen gadget like I need a hole in the head. But it's a rice cooker!  A slow cooker! A pressure cooker!  A yogurt maker! (Um, yeah I already have all of those two, including TWO pressure cookers).  But it was the Amazon Prime deal and I *had* been thinking about it before it was on sale half price.

So now it lives on my counter.  So far, it's been great. First weekend, I made:
Spanish rice (which I've done on the stove and in the rice cooker also).  It's much faster in the instant pot.  Word of warning, most recipes call for 1-to-1 liquid to rice.  I generally do closer to 2-to-1.  So in this case, I think I did 1.25 to 1.5 to 1.  And it was soupy.  Listen to the manual!!

Salsa chicken.  Frozen solid large chicken breast.  Water.  Salsa.  Done in 30 minutes.  (Well, 30 minutes at pressure, took a little longer total).  If I can get my shit together, it might be a mid-week game changer.

At some point in the last two weeks I was perusing one of my cookbooks from a vegetarian author, and saw a recipe for barbecued baked pinto beans.  What??  All baked beans recipes I see call for northern white beans.  But you see, the 10 lb bags of pinto are only $6.  So how do I use up the pintos, aside from refried beans and bean burgers!!  I've been searching for other recipes.

Sunday morning after my run I put on the beans to soak for 4 hours.  I still hadn't quite decided what to do with them.  I looked through the cookbook that I was SURE had the recipe.  No luck.  Then went through the next two candidates.  Nope.  By #4 I realized that I'm getting old, and maybe it was on the web?

So I googled.  I got nothing.  By then I gave up and decided to wing it.  I googled some more. Here's what I wanted:
1. Information about cooking pintos in the Instant Pot (how long)
2. How to make baked beans (what flavors to add)
3. Information about which spices you can add to the pot (will you get sticking, etc with the sugar?)

So I found this pressure cooker recipe for baked beans and this pressure cooker recipe for pinto beans and this recipe for sweet and spicy pintos on the stovetop.  And I combo'd.

Instant Pot Baked Beans
3 cups dried pinto beans (I only used 3 cups because I felt like it.  Most recipes call for 2)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 c ketchup (It was the last of the bottle and I didn't feel like opening another)
2 Tbsp molasses
1/4 c unpacked brown sugar
3.5 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soy sauce
cider vinegar (I didn't measure!  Maybe 1/4 cup)

Soak the beans in enough water to cover by an inch, for about 4 hours.
Drain and rinse the beans

In the instant pot, turn to saute.  Add the oil.  Saute the onions until soft and beginning to brown.  Add the garlic and stir.  Cook until fragrant.  (This will only take about 30 seconds to a minute).

Add the 3.5 cups of water and stir.  Add in everything else (chili powder, mustard, molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, salt, soy sauce).  Add in the beans and stir.

Turn instant pot to off.  Put on the lid and lock.  Turn on cooker to "beans".  Set at 30 minutes.

Let it run.  After 30 minutes let it do natural pressure release.  I have no idea how long this takes.  The beauty of this thing is that you can walk away from it.  It was surely done by 45 minutes.

Check the beans.  Mine were cooked but were a little soupy.  So I turned it on to saute for about 10 minutes, stirring, because that stuff will boil like crazy.  Then I let it sit to thicken.  It was delicious and very easy.  We took the beans to our potluck in the park.

I was tempted to add some pork fat...because of course.  Pork fat and beans!  I have pork fat in the freezer.  But there's a lone vegetarian teenager at our pot luck and his mom doesn't really do pork.  So I left it out.