Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I hate it when food goes bad

I'm pretty good at using up food so that I don't waste it. This weekend (Sat), I bought tortillas. Now generally, I buy flour tortillas and stick them straight in the freezer. This time, I tried a new TJ's product, whole wheat organic wraps. I ate one on Saturday in a sandwich.

Tonight: quesadillas. And I opened the package, with 9 tortillas left and - they were starting to mold! After only a few days in the fridge! $2.00 down the drain. Bummer.

And then I gotta send my spouse up the hill for tortillas, right before dinner. Luckily we live nearby.

This reminds me of a Christmas Eve dinner, our first in So. Cal. together, when I decided to make fajitas for dinner. Now, back then ('97), I didn't really cook. But I bought the ingredients, and made the fajitas, and opened up the tortillas (which I didn't buy, because my spouse already had them, he was the cook), and...they were moldy! And it was 8 pm on Christmas eve! So every place was closed.

So we ate fajita fillings. I was SO disappointed, and apparently, I haven't forgotten about it.

So, back to the freezer for my wraps/tortillas. Sadly, they lose freshness that way. But better than tossing them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ethiopian Lentil Stew, Fried Rice

Last night's dinner was Ethiopian Lentil Stew. I served it with sourdough bread. With the sourdough, it was quite good (but then, Ethiopian food is served with injera bread, which is sour). Without the sourdough, it was just "meh". I don't have a picture. I had it for lunch today and will have it again Thursday for lunch, so there's still time...

Tonight's dinner was fried rice, and I did quite a good job today.

Fried Rice:
1 cup uncooked brown rice: 0.60
1 3/4 cup water
1 T. canola oil: 0.04
4 green onions from the garden, sliced: 0
2 cloves garlic, minced: 0.10
1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger: 0.05
3 small carrots, diced: 0.20
1 medium summer squash, diced: 0.50
1 cup frozen peas: 0.50
10 cherry tomatoes: quartered: 0.30
3 eggs: 1.06 (these are free range eggs...)
2 T milk: 0.02
2 tsp dark sesame oil: 0.15
2 T. low sodium soy sauce: 0.17
juice of 1 small orange (from our tree)
salt and pepper to taste

Total: $3.69 for about 5-6 cups, or $0.67 per serving.

Cook the rice a day ahead. I use the rice cooker.

Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium high. Add zucchini and carrots and peas and saute until the zucchini starts to brown at the edges and is cooked. Add the ginger, garlic, and green onions. Saute 30 sec. Add the rice and stir-fry for about 5 mins to warm. Add S&P to taste.

Beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl. Add S&P to taste.

Move the rice to a bowl. Add a bit more oil if necessary, and add the eggs. Cook the eggs, breaking up, until set. Add to rice in the bowl.

Add the quartered tomatoes and saute until they give up most of their juice. Add the soy sauce. Add the eggs and rice mixture. Add the sesame oil and orange juice. Mix well and heat through.

We served this with steamed broccoli (tossed with olive oil, S&P).

Steamed broccoli:
almost a pound of fresh broccoli ($0.67), cut into florets. Peel the stalks and slice.

Steam in the microwave with a little water for 4 min.

Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil (0.10), and S&P.

This makes 4 servings, $0.19 each.

(There's some sourdough bread and hummus on the plate too.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Couple of Yummy Dinners

So, tonight's plan was Ethiopian Lentil Stew. Which I made. But you know, stew generally gets better with time. And well, I went to the grocery store today. While I didn't really need much, I noticed that potatoes were on sale ($0.68 for 5 lbs), and broccoli and cauliflower were on sale (0.77/lb), so I couldn't resist.

So I made aloo gobi. And I had Indian spiced chickpeas in the freezer. And I made kale chips. I am in utter heaven. This was SUCH a good, vegan dinner.

And last night I was craving crazy amounts of salad, so I made a salad with avocado, toasted walnuts, pomegranate seeds, cherry tomatoes...we had it with the old standby, Mediterranean Chickpeas and Rice.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Been Missing!

I know, I haven't posted many new recipes lately. Truthfully, I haven't made any, except for a delicious couscous and black bean salad (made with whatever veggies I had around...). I've also had a very busy work schedule, and had guests in town last weekend (family - Mother in law and her best friend). And my running schedule is getting longer. So I've been doing a lot of cooking of the "old favorites".

I promise to try at least one new recipe this weekend, maybe two if I'm up for it.

On the running front, I've discovered that running >6 miles really suppresses my appetite. And, what I do crave, is raw fruits and veggies. I am remembering now during those last two 3-day walks, that when my training walks got to >10 miles, the same thing happened. I wanted salad salad salad. So I've had a watermelon-strawberry-kale smoothie today (didn't much care for the kale, would have been better with banana, which I didn't have). And an apple. I am going to go to the farm and buy myself some lettuce and hopefully avocado.

The dinner plan for tonight is chickpeas and rice, which I love, but am not feeling (not raw). Instead of the zucchini with cherry tomatoes, I'm going to put the cherry tomatoes in the salad. Still have to find that avocado!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Potato Peanut Curry

Another great recipe from Cook For Good. This one is printed on-line. You can find the recipe here. We had this with green beans and leftover baked limas.

Potato Peanut Curry (I made 1.5x the recipe, used fresh tomatoes, and added chard)
1. 5 lbs organic potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 1/2 inch chunks: 0.90
20 oz fresh tomatoes, pureed: $0
3 T. tahini: 0.56
3 T. peanut butter: 0.19
3 T. canola oil: 0.12
1 cup water
1 bunch chard, steamed and pureed: 0
6 cloves garlic: 0.30
1 tsp cayenne: 0.10
3/4 tsp turmeric: 0.15
1/2 tsp salt
Total: $2.32 for 6 servings. $0.39 per serving (3/4 cup to 1 cup each), plus $0.40 for a piece of flatbread (per slice).

So, I basically followed the directions. I used fresh tomatoes, added the chard with the tomatoes (steamed and pureed first), and totally forgot about the parsley (should have picked it when I picked the chard).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

So, I struggle with spaghetti squash. Today, I made a casserole. It's not very pretty. But it tasted very good.

I also tossed the seeds with olive oil, s&p, cumin, and a teeny pinch of brown sugar and roasted. Yum! My toddler asked for more (truthfully, I only gave him the last few).

Spaghetti Squash Casserole.

1 spaghetti squash: $2
1 onion, diced: 0.30
1 T canola oil: 0.03
1 zucchini, diced: 0.60
1 red bell pepper, diced: 0.60
1 carrot, diced: 0.10
2 cloves garlic, minced: 0.10
a bunch of fresh tomatoes, chopped: 0 (that one darn tomato plant...) Probably about 3 cups.
salt, pepper, basil, oregano to taste
2 cup of cottage cheese: 1.75
1/4 cup parmesan cheese: 0.38
1 oz mozzarella cheese (basically one piece of string cheese): 0.25

Total: $6.11 for what looks like about 8 cups. I'm just guessing though. $0.76 per cup

1. Cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds (save seeds to roast). Put cut side down in a baking dish with 1-2 cups water. Bake at 350F for 1.5 hours. Let cool. Scoop out squash with a fork.

2. Saute onion in oil until soft and golden. Add squash, carrots, peppers and saute until soft. Add garlic, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and basil and oregano. Simmer a long time, until cooked down. Add a little red wine if you like.

3. Add spaghetti squash and stir.

4. In an oiled casserole dish, layer 1/2 of the veggie mixture. Top with cottage cheese. Add remaining veggie mixture. Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350F for about 30 min.

This was a little runny (as happens when you've got watery veggies - like zukes - in a casserole). But still, very very tasty. We had our neighbors over for dinner. Ate this with bread, fresh limas with blue cheese, and some great homemade carrot soup made by the neighbor.

8 Things Running 8 miles has taught me

1. Ow
2. 3 miles is now a piece of cake.
3. My resting heart rate was 59 bpm when I donated blood on Thursday. 59!! That's WAY low.
4. Ow
5. Chocolate outrage flavored Gu is YUMMY
6. Cytomax grape flavored drink mix is NOT
7. Ow
8. I must have a bathroom break option at the beginning of the course (first 10 minutes)

I ran 8.06 miles in 84 min today, so a 10:25 per mile pace. Woo woo!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So, this week is mostly leftovers...leftover pasta from the freezer, leftover chili. I did make a veggie frittata (saute onions, peppers, thawed and drained frozen chopped spinach. Mix with beaten eggs and milk. Add feta and olives. Bake at 350F until it looks done...) This was quite tasty...a little bit of leftovers still. Not a lot of "new" cooking, but making a lot of side dishes. I am pretty good at mastering the art of the to have JUST ENOUGH for lunches and dinners, but not let anything go to waste. It's harder now that my son is at school...I need leftovers that don't need to be heated for him.

I've been trying to figure out how much to pack for his lunch at school now (daycare provided lunch). Half of it gets sent home, regardless of how much I send. If he eats none of his fruits and veggies, it's what he eats for dinner. That's been pretty standard the last two weeks. He hasn't been eating much of his lunch, but they do provide breakfast (after he eats it at home), and snacks.

My son, apparently, is starting a growth spurt. Today, he ate most of his lunch - an apple, plus most of his broccoli, some olives, and a bit of the pasta.

We went to the farmer's market at his school when I picked him up. We bought apples, grapes, and strawberries. He proceeded to eat a few grapes, about 1/3 of the pint of strawberries on the drive up the hill and when we got home. Then he ate another 1/2 cup or so of grapes. THEN he begged for a whole banana (he got 1/2). Then some vegan chili. Then his tummy hurt. He seems to be better now.

Nothing's cuter than a 3 year old with a face full of strawberry juice.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My New Food Goal

So, when this year is over (with my alternating months budget...boy, I can't wait until it's over), I have a new goal. I will be loosening the purse strings back to about $5000 a year for food.

But now, turns out my spouse needs cholesterol help. (Jury's still out on mine.) His HDL is too low (overall cholesterol is fine). It's probably mostly genetic (our diet is pretty healthy). But plans to try and improve:

1. More salmon. Maybe fish 2x a week instead of 2x a month.
2. chia seeds? apparently a good source of omega-3's
3. wine. Feed him 1/2 a glass a few days a week.
4. exercise...he gets a good amount already (4x a week), maybe make him go for a long bike ride on the weekend.
5. Cut back on sugar, cheese, white flour (already, not a terrible amount in our diet).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Today's run - much better

First, I read more of the book - and I found a table, that takes your 5k pace, and tells you not only the expected finishing time for a 1/2 or full marathon, but also gives you the pace to run during tempo, pace, and long slow runs.

Well, duh, I'm supposed to do the long runs at 11:09 mile, not sub-10. Nice! I mean, I was running too fast, with hills, long runs, with no hydration.

So today, I ran about 10:45/ mile (for 7 miles). I bought a fuel belt. (Though I got mine at Amazon, free shipping with Amazon Prime!) I hydrated with two small bottles of mixed water/gatorade. (And a little gatorade from the station for the Team in Training folks, thanks Gena!) My sore foot seemed to be okay.

I stopped once to pee (I mean, why not if you have to go). I stopped at a couple of traffic lights. I stopped to stretch (my hips start to get sore at about 5 miles). I stopped to chat with my friend Gena, who is training for a 1/2 marathon with Team in Training, and just ran 9.5 miles today). And I just decided to not run up the killer hill this week. It's the end of my run, and I feel like puking. So I didn't do it. Felt much better.

I did feel a low-grade headache coming on. Drank a cup of tea, 20 oz of water (in addition to more gatorade/water after the run). I took a Tylenol and I'm having another cup of tea... headache is not worse. Not better. But not worse.

Gotta go work on lunch. Hubby and child are cranky from hunger.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bulgur Salad

You know, I might as well call this tabouli. It's a lot like tabouli. I decided to cook up some bulgur - it's fast, it's easy, and I was hot and tired this week ( week...ever).

I got a bunch of great stuff from the CSA this week. Then I went out to my garden to pick some parsley, found a ripe cucumber (where did that come from?) some tomatoes (which I will cook up this weekend)...

After we ate the salad, I added some more stuff that wasn't quite ready by dinner time, so it looks less like tabouli than when I started.

I guess the lesson here is...put in whatever you've got.
I'm estimating some numbers here...I have no idea what flageolet beans cost!
Bulgur salad
1 cup bulgur wheat: 0.50
1 cup boiling water: 0
1 small bell pepper, diced: 0.30
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced: 0 (garden)
1/2 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved: 1.50 (from CSA)
2 cloves garlic: 0.10
handful of fresh parsley: 0
1 ear corn, steamed 10 min, cut from cob: 0.79
1/2 lb flageolet (shelled) beans, cooked 20 min in water: 1.00
1 Tbsp olive oil: 0.11
juice of 1 lemon: 0.15
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar: 0.15
salt and pepper to taste

Total: $4.60 for about 8 cups of food, or $0.58 per cup

We had this with shrimp (free from the neighbor) - and, my hubby doesn't like shrimp! Or any shellfish! I had no idea...this, after 13 years of marriage. And fresh corn from the CSA. My son ate 1.5 ears...he basically stole 1/2 of my ear. I'd complain, but when your kid wants to eat organic corn on the know, it beats cookies.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pasta with Fresh Summer Veggie Sauce

Ah, the fruits of summer. Tomatoes, zucchini, onions, peppers. Today I made a sauce by saute-ing a bunch of veggies and pureeing into a sauce (so as to better get my 3 year old to eat them). Don't get me wrong...he will eat veggies, with encouragement. This makes it easier. And he loves sauce, green sauce, peanut sauce...oh dang it, I was going to put spinach in this sauce. Forgot. Oh well.

Pasta with Summer Sauce
1/2 lb pasta, cooked to al dente: 0.50
1 zucchini, diced: 0.40
1/2 onion, diced: 0.20
1 small bell pepper, diced: 0.40
1/2 carrot, diced: 0.10
a bunch of tomatoes (I used a few cups of large-ish cherry tomatoes from the one tomato plant): 0
1 T oil: 0.10
2 cloves garlic, minced: 0.10
basil and oregano to taste: 0.10
S&P to taste
feta and olives for topping: 0.30

Total: $2.20 for about 5 one-cup servings. $0.44 each. Makes enough for dinner and lunch the next day.

Saute veggies and garlic (except tomatoes) in oil until soft. Add tomatoes, diced, and herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced. Let cool and puree in blender. Toss with cooked pasta, top with feta and olives.

No pic. Camera battery is dead. My sauce was very orange, probably because of the yellow bell and orange carrots...