Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red Bean and Wheatberry Salad

I used this post from Cheap Healthy Good as a jumping off point. And I must say, I did a pretty good job. The inspiration came from a vacation-reading of Mark Bittman's Food Matters, which has a lot of good recipes, and the common-sense idea of cooking a pot of grain and a pot of beans each week. I have a ton of beans (class project...don't ask). And I'd bought wheatberries on a whim after reading about others trying them (I'd had them before, but not recently). So this salad is made up entirely of foods that we had in the pantry and fridge already.

And the good thing about CSA veggies? That celery from 1.5 weeks ago? Still fresh.

Red Bean and Wheatberry Salad
2 c. cooked red beans (from dried): 0.30
1 c. uncooked wheatberries: 0.35
juice and zest of one lemon: 0.39
3 Tbsp olive oil: 0.33
3 large green olives, chopped: 0.30
2 pieces roasted red peppers, chopped: 0.40
1 1/2 stalks celery, chopped: 0.20
1 oz crumbled feta: 0.38
1 clove garlic, pressed: 0.10
1/3 cup salsa: 0.40
1 cube parsley pesto from freezer: 0.20
salt and pepper to taste

Total: $3.35 for about 5 cups, or $0.67 per cup. This will feed us for two dinners with some leftovers, because only the spouse eats a full cup. We ate this with roasted potatoes and beets with onions.

I cooked up one full pound of red beans, which made 6 cups. Four cups went to the freezer, destined for later dishes. The last two cups went into the salad.

Then I cooked the wheatberries on the stove in 2.5 cups of water for about an hour. There was a little water left, so I drained it. Which I probably should have done when it was still warm, but I just stuck it in the fridge and did it later. So the salad is a bit wet. I hear it's a good idea to add the olive oil when the grains are warm also, but I didn't do that.

Mix everything. Eat. Delicious.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vegetable Creole

Wow. This was good, and I mean GOOD. I've been getting Vegetarian Times for about a year and a half. With magazine recipes, I usually do a few things. First, fold down the pages with interesting recipes. Second, put the magazine on a shelf. Third, pull the magazine off the shelf, rip out those recipes, and put in a folder. Fourth, four years later go through the folder and throw out most of the recipes.

This time, I broke the mold. Why? Well, two reasons I guess: celery and soyrizo.

You see, the last time I was at Trader Joe's, I bought a package of soyrizo. It looked good. I've never had it. It was only $2. And last week's CSA we got a bunch of celery, which I have a hard time going through.

This recipe had both celery (4 stalks!!) and soyrizo. And it's from this month's mag. In fact, I made the recipe less than one week after getting the magazine in the mail. So, if you are interested, you must rush out and buy this issue. I can't post the recipe, but I will tell you what's in it and what it cost me. I made a tiny change to the recipe or two. This is my version.

It was delightfully spicy (on the hairy edge of too much so for my child). Probably the soyrizo, but I bet it would be good without. It is vegan (or it would be if I'd used vegan Worcestershire, but I used regular).

Wow. I am having the last little bit for lunch tomorrow. It's good over brown rice, or even with tortillas.

Vegetable Creole:
1 pkg soyrizo: 1.99
4 large carrots: 0.39
1 onion: 0.20
1 green pepper: 1.00
1 can diced tomatoes: 0.62
1/4 cup tomato paste: 0.20
3 bay leaves: 0.05
4 celery stalks: 0.24
7 small potatoes (1 lb): 0.60
1/4 c. canola oil: 0.16
1/4 c. flour: 0.03
4 cloves garlic: 0.20
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon: 0.20
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce: 0.10
1/8 tsp cayenne

Total: $5.98 for 8 generous servings, or $0.75 each. Adding 3/4 cup cooked brown rice adds $0.20.

And just in case you are wanting a gratuitous salad photo, here's one. With the strawberries from the farm (SOOOO good), a *perfect* avocado from my boss's tree.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This week's meals

To give you an idea of what we may eat on a given week (which really varies by season and my energy level), and the amount of leftover that we eat (designated by "L") here goes:

Breakfast: mom and dad: homemade bread with cheese and/ or jam, sunflower seed butter... Child: cereal
Lunch: mom: out, dad and child: PB&J, edamame, apple, chips
Dinner: salad and split pea soup

Breakfast: mom and dad: homemade bread (L) with fixins. Child: cereal bar.
Lunch: mom and child: PB&J, edamame, apples, tortilla with cheese. Dad: airport food
Dinner: mom and child: au gratin potatoes with collards, salad. Dad: pretty sure he skipped dinner.

Breakfast: Mom: homemade bread (L). Child: cereal. Dad: whatever the hotel had.
Lunch: child: PB&J, apple. Mom: au gratin potatoes (L), frozen mixed veggies. Dad: airport food.
Dinner: mom and child: split pea soup (L), kale chips. Dad: granola bar and apple.

Breakfast: Mom and dad: homemade bread (L). Child: froot loops that dad brought home from tip. Which mom isn't too happy about, but I guess it's only 3 times a year or so.
Lunch: child: PB sandwich, applesauce, tortilla. Mom and dad: au gratin potatoes (L), frozen mixed veggies.
Dinner: split pea soup (L), tortillas with cheese, roasted veggies (onions, potatoes, beets, carrots)

Breakfast: Mom and dad: homemade bread (L). Child: cereal.
Lunch: Mom and dad: au gratin potatoes, roasted veggies (L) (dad), frozen veggies (mom). Child: corn tortilla with cheese, applesauce, roasted veggies (L).
Dinner: vegan creole root veggies over rice.

Breakfast: Mom and dad: homemade bread (new). Child: breakfast bar
Lunch: Mom: au gratin potatoes (L), Dad: creole root veggies (L), Child: tortilla with cheese, egg, grapes
Dinner: Mom: salad and creole veggies (L), Dad: salad and pizza (leftover from mom's work), Child: pizza, salad, strawberries, avocado

Breakfast: Mom and dad: homemade bread (L). Child: grapes and breakfast bar.
Lunch: (all out) Mom: veggie wrap, Dad: burrito, Child: pizza (school lunch)
Dinner: chips and guacamole, creole veggies (L), sliced oranges, tortillas with cheese

This list does not include snacks: apples, bananas, granola bars, dates, oranges...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

CSA Week 8

1 bu cilantro (Saturday's pasta)
6 lemons (Saturday's pasta)
1 bu chard (Saturday's pasta)
1 head romaine (Thursday salad, a little leftover)
1 bu kale (kale chips)
1 bu beets (roasted with onion and potato)
1.5 lb oranges (2 large)
1 pt of the most awesomest strawberries I've eaten in months

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Au Gratin Potatoes with Collards

This recipe is the same one that I made here, except I added steamed, chopped collard greens. Because, why not?

It's also the perfect opportunity to use the food processor.

Au Gratin Potatoes with Collards

2 lb yukon gold potatoes, organic: 1.20
1 onion: 0.20
salt and pepper
2 c. milk: 0.32
5 oz cheddar cheese: 0.78
2 Tbsp butter: 0.13
2 Tbsp flour: 0.01
1 bu collard greens: 1.00

Total: $3.64 for about 6 generous servings (8 side dish servings): $0.46 to $0.64 per serving.

Wash the collards and remove stems. Steam for 10 mins.

Fire up the food processor, you'll need all the attachments except the one to make dough. Slice the potatoes, put in a bowl.

Slice the onions. Saute the onions in the butter until soft and browning.

Chop the steamed collard greens. Add to the potatoes in the bowl.

Shred the cheese.

When the onions are sauteed, add the flour to make a roux, and cook a couple of minutes. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly. Add the potatoes and collards and salt and pepper (and nutmeg, if you've got it). Stir. Bring to a boil, and then the sauce will start to thicken.

Add all but 1/4 cup cheese. Stir. Put in a greased dish. Bake 1 hour at 375F, uncovered. Then cover and cook 20 min. Remove cover, add remaining cheese and bake 5 mins. You can add some breadcrumbs to the topping if you like, and if you are me and have a ton of breadcrumbs.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Granola Bars

You must make these. The mixing took 10 mins. The cutting after the freezing took 5 mins. Apparently, the author updated the recipe to add coconut oil, which helps them hold together better (they are a bit crumbly). But delicious!!

The recipe comes from Averi, and can be found here (you'll have to scroll down). This is the version without the coconut oil. See her many variations...

Energy bars/granola bars
1.5 cups oats: 0.37
1/2 cup chocolate chips: 0.40
1/2 cup peanut butter: 0.50
1 banana, mashed: 0.19
1 tsp vanilla: 0.25
1/4 cup raisins: 0.25
1/4 cup dried cranberries: 0.30
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds: 0.10
2 Tbsp flax seeds: 0.10
2 Tbsp chia seeds: 0.35
1/4 cup maple syrup: 1.00
1/2 cup grated coconut: 0.25

Total: $4.06 for 15 small bars, or about $0.28 each. If you make them more "bar" sized, they are still only $0.34 each (if you make 12).

Mix all ingredients well. Press into a plastic-wrap lined pan and freeze. Cut into bars and wrap in plastic. Mine were crumbly, so I ended up with 14 - #15 I ate (the crumbs).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Split Pea Soup and Salad

Funny story. After googling to look for a split pea soup recipe from California Pizza Kitchen...I found it, posted it earlier, (you can see it here) it was yummy...decided to make it again today.

Turns out I already had the recipe, in a cookbook (Top Secret Recipes Lite), that I've had for at least a decade. Ah...maybe I should read my cookbooks more. So many recipes, so little time.

Tonight's dinner was very green. Green salad and green soup. And Nick had soup and avocado, and some lettuce that he stole from daddy's bowl.

The salad had feta, walnuts, roasted peppers, kalamatas, sun-dried tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil. And avocado.

This last week I was a good leftover week. In addition to the lentil artichoke stew, we had Spouse's Gramp's beef stroganoff and asparagus...which was on sale at Vons for $0.99/lb!! I ate at least a pound of asparagus over the space of 24 hours.

Last night we ate at the Red Pepper restaurant for a dinner with my hub's old professor, who is retiring. Yummy food, so I picked up a takeout menu (you never know), and of course, none of the food we ate was on the menu...all from the secret menu. My faves were the eggplant and the Chinese stir-fried greens with garlic.

Week 6 (or is it 7?) CSA

Here's what we got and what it is destined to become...

1 bunch kale - potato and kale gratin (I bought a 5lb bag of potatoes) (Sunday)
1 bunch collards - collard chips. Or maybe I'll swap the kale and collards... (Monday)
1 head lettuce - salad (tonight, with split pea soup)
1 bunch beets - roasted with potatoes, carrots, and onions (Tuesday)
green garlic - in the gratin
apples - just snackin'
celery - in the split pea soup. Um help! I never know how to eat up a lot of celery. I end up eating with peanut butter or dicing, blanching, and freezing for later. I need other ideas! Maybe I'll mix it with some rice and make something on Thursday.

There will be plenty of gratin and soup to take us through at least Weds...

Okay, it's week 7. Had to go back and count.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Artichoke and Lentil Stew

This recipe came from here, and I pretty much followed it. I sauteed the onion in oil instead of stock, and one of my cans of tomatoes was crushed. I added a little extra water. And I ran out of red lentils, so I subbed a little bit of brown lentils and split peas. LOL, if you can believe that, that's what I consider "I pretty much followed it". It was very easy and very tasty. Lots of leftovers.

I served it with Mark Bittman's easy flat bread, which was more cracker-like (no yeast).

Lentil Artichoke Stew:
1 Tbsp canola oil: 0.04
1 onion: 0.20
3 cloves garlic: 0.15
2 tsp cumin: 0.10
1 tsp coriander: 0.05
2 cups water
1 cup red lentils (or a mix of lentils): 0.75
1 28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes: 2.29
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes: 1.00
1 bay leaf: 0.05
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped: 1.99
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper: 0.02
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper: 0.02
lemon juice and/or zest: 0.10
total: $6.76 for about 12 cups, or $0.56 per cup.

Saute diced onion in oil until soft. Add cumin, coriander, garlic, and saute 1-2 more min. Add lentils and water and bring to boil. Add remaining ingredients through crushed red pepper. Cover and simmer until done (I simmered for 45 mins). Add salt, pepper, and lemon at the end.

Bittman's Flat Bread
1 cup whole wheat flour: 0.27
2 Tbsp olive oil: 0.20
2 Tbsp canola oil: 0.08
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups water
1/2 onion: 0.10
pinch dried rosemary: 0.10

total: $0.75 for about 12 slices, or $0.06 per slice.

Mix whole wheat flour and salt. Whisk in water so there aren't any lumps. Let sit for at least 30 min.

Heat oven to 450F. Put oils, sliced onion, and rosemary in the bottom of a pan (I used a metal pan about 6x9). Put in oven for 5 min. Remove from oven, stir, and pour in batter. It will look like pancake batter, but thinner.

Bake 35-40 min.

The best part about tonight's dinner is that both pieces had a lot of time where they worked on their own. Even though I was home 1/2 day (with a sick kid), a tasty meal with not a lot of work is key.

Monday, February 15, 2010


This weekend, the fam headed to the snow for some skiing (spouse) and sledding (me and my boy). Now, being that we booked last minute and went on a holiday weekend, the lodge room was a steep $259/night, sleeps six (though we were only three). It was pretty reasonable considering we were only one block from the town. Very convenient.

I am always trying to figure out how to save money while traveling. I like eating out as much as the next girl, but it can be expensive and not very healthy (note: we found a cute diner on the way home, and the fries and the wrap were underwhelming).

My goal was to eat breakfast and lunch in the room and dinner out. I figured we could get pizza out and have the leftovers the next night. All in all, w'ed save $120.

Well, I think we saved closer to $80, since we had lunch out on the way home. Our room had a microwave and a fridge, so we were able to keep fruit in the fridge, and use the micro for popcorn.

Here's a list of what we took to eat:
apples (7)
oranges (4)
bread, peanut butter, jelly
carrot sticks
hard boiled eggs
granola bars
muffins (bought from TJ's)

Here's what we got out:
pizza, bread, and salad. We were scared by the waiter who said it would be a 45 min wait for the pizza, so we ordered two appetizers and a salad instead of one appetizer. And it turned out to be only a 20 min wait. So we took one whole cheese bread and 3 large pizza slices home for the next night's dinner.

Being that I really am into veggies, I went out the next day and found a grocery store. I discovered the "steamers". You've seen them. For the extra $$, you get convenience. They are frozen veggies that can be micro'd in the bag for about 5 min. They were $2.29 for 12 ounces, which is expensive.

BUT, they were tasty and easy and really worked in the lodge room. I also bought a small side salad, and we all got our share of veggies with the pizza.

All in all, a successful and relatively healthy trip.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Parsley Cilantro Pesto

This recipe was based on Martha Stewart's Parsley Cilantro Pesto recipe.

I got one bunch of parsley and one bunch of cilantro this week from the CSA. So I googled "parsley cilantro recipes", and this one came up. Don't you love google?

Anyway, I adjusted it, because I can't help myself. It's a sickness really. It was very good, and I have to say the pasta is great with some diced avocado mixed it as you eat it. I have a lot of ripe avocados, thanks to my boss.

Parsley Cilantro Pesto
3/4 lb whole wheat spaghetti: 0.97
1 bunch parsley, rinsed: 0.79
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed: 0.79
2 cloves garlic
juice and zest of 1.5 lemons (because that's what I had): 0.45
1/2 cup cannellini beans (leftover from the pate): 0.25
3 Tbsp grated parmesan: 0.34
1/4 cup olive oil: 0.44
1/2 tsp salt
Total: $4.03 for 6 servings, or $0.67 per serving.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Chop garlic in food processor first. Add beans, parsley, cilantro, juice and zest, parmesan, and salt. Puree until smooth, scraping sides if necessary. With blade running, stream in olive oil.

Toss with cooked pasta. This is very "fresh" tasting, according to my spouse. My kid just loves green spaghetti.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I sent my spouse out to buy bread one day, and he came back with some Panini rolls. I don't remember why. But I decided to throw together a bunch of good stuff on the free George Foreman grill we inherited from a friend, so here goes:

Grilled Cheese and Vegetable Panini
1 panini roll: 0.50
1/2 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced: 0.08
1/2 oz. cheddar cheese, sliced: 0.09
1 small jarred roasted pepper, sliced: 0.25
a few slices of onion: 0.05
1 tsp oil: 0.01
1 sun-dried tomato half, sliced: 0.03
2 T. mayo: 0.20
sprinkle of dried basil
handful of spinach: 0.20
Total: $1.41 for one sandwich, which is pretty cheap compared to what you'd pay if you bought it out.

Saute the onion in oil until soft and browning (optional).

Spread mayo on each side of the roll. Add basil. Layer the ingredients: dried tomato and pepper, mozzarella, spinach, cheddar, onion (separating the cheese makes it all stick together without needing a ton of cheese).

Heat up the grill, place on pan, and grill 3-4 minutes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cornbread Stuffing

This falls into the category of: My goodness, I have three bags full of bread heels/stale bread in the freezer, what do I do with it? Turns out, my neighbor composts it. We just started composting, and I didn't realize you could do that. And there's only so many breadcrumbs you can use in a week/month.

I decided to make my spouse's grandpa's cornbread stuffing, even though it's not Thanksgiving. I've not made it before (but I've helped), it's the hubby's job.

It's a little labor intensive, because you need cornbread. So we made that first.

And mine wasn't quite as good as hubby's - I tried to make a half batch, but I think I halved everything except the bread. You see, being a true old-timer recipe, there's not measurements. Or very few.

Grandpa's Cornbread Stuffing:
1/2 of a 9x9 pan of cornbread
Bread (really, that's what the recipe says). I think I used about 8 slices, cubed
2 eggs
3 stalks celery, diced
1.5 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper
1 T sage
chicken stock to moisten

Saute the vegetables in the oil until soft. Add in bread and crumbled corn bread. Add stock to moisten. Add eggs and spices.

Bake at 350F for about 30-45 mins, until hot.

Mine definitely didn't have enough sage...still tasty though.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mushroom Walnut Pate

My original plan was to use THIS RECIPE. I'm not, however, married to the raw movement. I don't care for raw mushrooms, and I forgot to soak the walnuts.

I knew I could find a cooked pate recipe. I found one in American Wholefoods Cuisine by the Goldbecks, and this recipe, which apparently comes from Veganomicon, which I also own. So I combined the two and changed some things. Which drives my husband crazy, that I never follow a recipe straight-up the first time. (Not totally true, but 99% time true.)

But here's the thing. The idea of putting nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds, which are in the Goldbeck recipe, sounded good. So I subbed some of the walnuts in the Veganomicon recipe for sunflower seeds. And then, I didn't have enough mushrooms. Rather than go out and buy more, I added more cannellini beans. And I increased the vinegar and decreased the salt, mostly because my eyesight is getting bad and I misread the recipe.

So here it is:

Mushroom Walnut Pate
1 c. onion, chopped
1 T canola oil
10 oz mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cannellini beans, drained
1 T. nutritional yeast
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
small amount of cold water

Saute the onion in the canola oil until soft and translucent. Add the thyme, tarragon, salt, pepper, and garlic. Saute a minute. Add the mushrooms, and saute 10 mins, or until they give up their juices.

In the meantime, lightly toast the walnuts. After toasted, put them in the food processor with the nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds. Process until ground into a meal.

Add beans, olive oil, vinegar, and mushroom mix to the nuts in the blender. Process until smooth, adding water by the tablespoon to get a smooth consistency. Chill before using. Spread on bread or crackers.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A few meal photos

Never underestimate the power of free food (my boss has avo, lemon, orange trees).

Or the power of meal planning (here's my monthly plan for Jan...planned at least a week in advance)

Lastly, a couple of good meal pics. Veggie burger, roast veggies, avocado.
Salmon patties, toast with cheese, kim chee, roast cauliflower

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Truly Frugal Eating.

This post (link courtesy of Cheap Healthy Good) got me to thinking about truly frugal eating.

There are a lot of tricks and tips for frugal shopping, cooking, and eating. From keeping a stocked pantry (or the opposite, buying only what you need for the week so food isn't wasted), to loss-leaders and coupons. I've been cooking and eating this way for about 7 years now, so much of it is old hat.

But like anything (eating healthy, exercising), it can be easy to drift away from the good habits. And I've been drifting. The one big part of this article that really struck me was this:

It all came down to the menu plan. Since joining the frugal shopping ranks, I have been menu planning using what we had on-hand as a starting point. This month has shown me that, while that’s a good start, I was making one fatal mistake. I was using my pantry as a starting point AND purchasing several additional ingredients for each meal.

I have found myself doing that more and more lately. (That and buying snacks when I've got plenty of fruit and nuts on hand.) Part of it is that I like to try new recipes. And generally the recipes that I find include one or two things that I don't have.

Today, for example, I made stuffing. I had a freezer full of bread heels. But I needed to buy a green pepper for it. That's pretty mild as far as expeditures go. But to make new recipes this week, I also had to buy mushrooms, artichokes, diced tomatoes, and ... wait, that's it.

I need to find my creativity in the kitchen again to make do with whatever I've got. So my goal for the month, figure out what to do with:

4 cups of frozen pumpkin
dried figs
green lentils

without buying anything special for them

Friday, February 5, 2010

Week 5 CSA

Week 5 CSA
cauliflower - white and orange

Menu plan
salmon patties, kale chips, lentil rice soup (from a mix)
cornbread stuffing, roast cauliflower
Mediterranean chickpeas and rice, orange cauliflower, mushroom walnut pate (new recipe)
pasta with parsley and cilantro pesto (new recipe)
red lentil and artichoke soup (new recipe)

rest of the nights are leftovers