Sunday, January 31, 2010

Apple Waldorf Salad

I found this recipe here while perusing the blogs one day. I love apples. And it's still the season where you can get them at the farmer's market without them being mealy. On top of buying my 3 lbs at the farmer's market, we've been getting 1.5 lbs from the CSA. So, we are full of apples right now.

I grew up on Waldorf Salad. What I liked about my mom's was the dates. That made it special. I've never been much of a fan of the grapes or the celery. Maybe the watery-ness? So, because I didn't have them, I left them out.

This is tasty, and it's really interesting how chia seeds really make a gel when they soak. I'm pretty new to the whole chia phenomenon.

Apple Waldorf Salad (adapted from Foods for Long Life).
3 small apples, diced (unpeeled): 1.33 (I only eat organic apples)
5 dates, diced: 0.15
1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries: 0.50
1/4 cup walnuts: 0.31

2 tsp chia seeds: 0.13
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon: 0.15
1 Tbsp apple juice or cider: 0.05
1 Tbsp honey: 0.19

Total: $2.81 for 4 generous servings, or 6 smaller ones. $0.70 or less per serving.

Now, I didn't read the recipe properly before starting, so I'd already chopped the apples when I realized that I was supposed to soak the chia seeds for a few hours first.

So I tossed the apples and fruit with apple juice and lemon juice and put it in the fridge, so the apples wouldn't brown, and then made the chia gel. I added the honey to the gel and then stirred it in with the apples later. It worked just fine.

You can read all about the benefits of chia seeds here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

CSA week 4

Ah, tired.

I have a headache. I gave blood last night. I'm on day 5 of a 7-day work week (don't ask). I have a naked boy running laps around the house before his bath (okay, that's pretty cute).

Tonight's dinner was boxed mac and cheese - TJ's. And sauteed broccoli with olive oil, butter, lemon, garlic, and parmesan (um...YUMMY). And guacamole with chips. When the avo's ripe, ya gotta use it. Only thing left to do tonight is to make bread for tomorrow's breakfast (bread machine).

I think tomorrow I'm going to see a movie with the girls. I need a night out. Dinner will be leftover split pea soup from the freezer.

Week 4 CSA: What I got and what my plans are
1.5 lb pink lady apples (I now have a ton of them...some from last week and I just bought 3 lbs at the farmer's market). So I have probably 5+ lbs.
1 bunch cauliflower (roasted)
1 small head red butter lettuce (salad)
1 bunch kale (kale chips)
1 bunch carrots (roasted)
1 bunch beets (roasted, with the carrots, and onions and potatoes)
1 bunch baby bok choy (have a good recipe from Perfect Vegetables by the ATC folks)
1/4 lb spinach (salad)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cheap Entertainment

There have not been very many relaxing "hang out" weekend days in the household lately (except for the train ride to New Mexico on vacation). This is partly because Sat mornings I run, and Sunday mornings we have the tennis (spouse) and yoga (me) combo. Add to that weekend work and a kid who still naps...

This weekend we managed to sneak away in the morning for a little hike to Nojoqui falls. Most times of the year, it's a trickle. But with a straight 5 days of rain, it was flowing nicely. A 10 min muddy walk takes you to the base of the falls. Our son really enjoyed it once he realized that we weren't going to carry him.

After the hike we had a picnic lunch. Really, I should plan more of these. Generally when we head up to the valley, we eat out. But it only took about 15 mins to throw this together...edamame, apples, oranges, cheese and crackers, leftover pasta salad, water, and some nuts. It was very nice to relax in the sun at a picnic table and chat. After that my son played in the playground and spent some time picking up sticks.

Sunday I had to work, so the spouse took our son to the zoo. We have a membership, so total zoo day cost is the price of a train ride (we can't go to the zoo and not take the little train). You can pack a lunch there too (in this case, PB&J and a banana).

Monday, January 25, 2010

A couple of dinners

As much as I do get a bit tired of leftovers, it's about what I can handle right now. Oh, how I miss my 30-hour work weeks. Two big meals on the weekends, a couple of smaller meals during the week, filled in with CSA veggies.

You'll see here Saturday's dinner, which was homemade vegetarian chili from Cook For Good Basics (yum), with cornbread from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (thanks to the spouse), guacamole (thanks to my boss's avo tree), roasted butternut squash, and some good beer. Is there anything better?

I would have to say that the best part of the meal was the squash. It's a lot of work to peel and dice a squash (and this was a small one, took about 20 min), but simply tossed with canola oil, salt, pepper, and a few cloves of whole garlic, roasted at 400F for as long as you like...heaven.

Sunday was a 1/2 work day, so dinner was an old standby of Sesame Cashew Noodles. Served with collard chips and salad.

The only other thing that I have to say (from tonight's dinner) is: mustard greens. Yuck. Tried them for the 2nd time tonight (last time was last year). We don't care for them. Chili was good though.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Week 3 CSA

Here's this week's haul, and my initial thoughts on what to do with it all...

1.5 lb pink lady em, you know, the farmer's market was canceled Weds due to the rain, so I didn't get to buy my apples
1 lb broccoli - steamed, tossed with olive oil and pepper
1 head romaine. Salad
1 bunch collard greens. Probably collard chips.
1 bunch mustard greens. Maybe sauteed with lemon and walnuts.
1 bunch carrots. Salad.
1 bunch turnips. Roasted.
1 small butternut squash. Roasted
1 bunch cilantro. Sesame cashew noodles.

Two big weekend meals will be veg chili (Saturday) and sesame cashew noodles (Sunday, gotta work, this is quick and easy).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pasta with Lemon

So, one of my favorite sites to read is Path to Freedom journal. I especially like reading their weekly roundups of meals. While it does seem repetitive to some, it is in season and local. As they are only a couple of hours south, the in season foods are similar.

One meal they seem to have frequently is pasta with Meyer lemon and broccoli. I've been wanting to try a pasta with lemon for awhile. I don't have a lemon tree, and I don't see the point in paying $1 for a lemon in a town where there's a tree on every 10th house. So...I waited till we got lemons from the CSA.
Thursday is a "use it up" night. Wednesday FELT like the "use up all of last week's CSA vegetables" night - I made fried rice with carrot, celery, onion, garlic, edamame, and cabbage. But Thursday used up a lemon, the arugula, the last of the onion, and more celery.

Wow, this was so delicious and lemony...definitely will be making this again.

Pasta with Lemon Arugula Pesto
1 lb. pasta (I used Barilla Plus high protein, bought on sale with a coupon): $1
1 bunch arugula: 1.00
1 lemon: 0.30
2 oz grated parmesan, plus extra to top: 0.69
2 T olive oil: 0.22
3 cloves garlic: 0.15
3 stalks celery, sliced: 0.30
1 small onion, diced: 0.20
1 roasted red pepper from a jar: 0.30
2 T canola oil: 0.07
1/2 bag frozen french green beans: 1.15
1 can cannellini beans: 0.95
salt and pepper

Total: $6.33 for 8 generous servings, or $0.79 per serving.

To make the pesto: in a food processor, combine arugula, zest of one lemon, juice of one lemon, 2 oz parmesan (grated), salt, and olive oil. Puree until smooth, set aside.

Boil pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, microwave the green beans to defrost.

In a skillet, saute the onion and celery in canola oil until soft and starting to brown. Add chopped red pepper, garlic, green beans, and saute until the edges of some of the beans start to brown.

Add cooked pasta, salt and pepper, cannellini beans, and ALLL the pesto, and stir to combine.

This pasta was heavy on the veggies for the first four servings, because my pan wasn't big enough to add the whole pound of pasta. I decided a few months ago to cook the whole pound when I cook pasta (saves time and energy). We generally eat half and the rest goes in the freezer. The second half of the pasta and beans got mixed in with the leftovers, which is a lunch and another dinner.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Roast vegetables

See the roast chicken post for the deets - these are amazing!

Roast Chicken

A little of the main reasons I started this blog was because of roast chicken. And pizza. See, I was trying to "master" these two items. And I would have some successes, some failures. I decided that a blog to record my successes would be the best idea...and improvements could be logged also.

Oh, how times have changed. For one thing, we are 90% vegetarian. What happened in the meantime? You name it. Fast Food Nation, The Omnivore's Dilemma, What to Eat, Food Inc., The Way We Eat, The China Study...among others. I don't actually have a philosophical problem with the fact that an animal died to feed me. I grew up in the country, with an uncle who had cows and chickens, and cousins and brothers and brothers' in law who hunted and fished.

What has happened over the last few years is my acknowledgment of the suffering that animals go through in CAFOs and factory farming. The bucolic splendor of cows grazing and chickens pecking is not the reality of your grocery store steak or chicken. When I started this blog, it was all about the almighty buck. It wasn't just cooking a roast chicken from the store, but one that was purchased on sale at $0.59 a pound.

While I don't really need to be all that frugal about food anymore, I really cannot bring myself to spend $100 or more a week on meat, which is what it would cost to buy it all locally/organic at the farmer's market (which I can do). A 5-lb chicken on sale at the store is about $3. An organic 3-lb chicken from Trader Joe's is more like $9. And a free range local chicken is $12 (and the taste is MUCH better than the store chicken). Beef can run $6-12 a pound.

One way that I've adjusted to my new understanding of factory farming is to just simply eat less meat. I am likely to cook it about once a month. One chicken, maybe some sausage, maybe some fish. I am also likely to use one 14-oz can of salmon for dinner a month. We also will eat what we are served in other folks' homes. We've eaten about five chickens in the last year. Limiting our meat to this amount means that I can afford to spend $12 on a chicken. We also only eat about one dozen eggs a month, which makes the $4.25/dozen at the farmer's market do-able.

Since I don't cook meat very often, and really hate to ruin it, I am usually on the lookout for something that I can't ruin. There is lamb at the farmer's market. I've never cooked lamb, and I'd hate to (pardon the pun) butcher it. But I've pretty well mastered roasting a whole chicken or parts, and baking a tri-tip.

My favorite whole roasted chicken recipe comes from Ina Garten, and is found here. I always adjust it a bit. I can't bring myself to use a whole head of garlic. I tend to buy a 3-lb chicken instead of a 5-6 lb chicken. I noticed that 425F is a little high for my vegetables, so I reduce the temperature to 400F. But the taste of the vegetables when they've been basted with the rendered chicken fat (the chicken roasts on a bed of veggies) is divine. I always save the carcass for stock (especially at $9 a chicken).

The frugality of this dish will depend on the ingredients. For vegetables, this time I used potatoes (the last of a bag at $0.50 for 5 lb), carrots, onions, and beets. The vegetable choices are numerous. And the chicken - if your budget runs along the lines of the $3 chicken, then this recipe can be made for the following:

Chicken and Vegetables
1 whole chicken: $3 to $12
1 medium onion, sliced thick (don't separate slices): 0.30
1 lb potatoes, diced into 1 inch chunks: 0.10
3 medium carrots, sliced into 2 inch chunks: 0.36
1 Tbsp canola oil: 0.04
salt, pepper, and thyme: 0.05
1 lemon to stuff in the chicken: 0.30
5 cloves garlic for the chicken: 0.25
1 Tbsp butter: 0.10
Total: $4.50

This provides enough vegetables for one meal for the 3 of us. The chicken, even for the 3-lb chicken, leaves enough leftovers for a couple of more meals, and even more to put in the freezer for later. The carcass will make a good stock. This meal can be stretched.

I am less likely to use the chicken in a pasta dish or enchiladas or a casserole, based on the cost. I find that it's very tasty on salads or sandwiches - a way that you can really TASTE the chicken. Especially considering the cost of my chicken.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup

A couple of times in the last two weeks, I've eaten lunch at California Pizza Kitchen with my friend MDB. It's our favorite place, even though it seems to be populated with teenagers. I like the multitude of salads and pizzas. I like the calorie counts. I occasionally like ordering new things. (My friend can probably tattoo "broccoli sun-dried tomato fusilli" on her forehead. And my spouse could tattoo "roasted pepper goat cheese pizza" on his.)

The last couple of times I was in a soup mood. I tried the split pea with barley soup.


I never knew split pea soup could be so good. So, I googled it. (Love google.) And I found THIS.

And today, I made it. Well, I adjusted it as follows:

I added 1/4 tsp of basil. Because I put it in there, and realized that I had the basil and not the parsley. Oops.

I used 10 cups of water instead of 6 cups water and 4 cups chicken stock. And I added a vegetable bouillon cube.

I left out the salt at the beginning. And then realized the cube wasn't salty enough. Added a bit in the end.

I did follow the instructions for cooking the split peas and onions, then puree'ing, then adding the celery, carrot and cooked barley later.

Split Pea Soup from CPK.

2 cups split peas: 1.80 (I used organic from Whole Foods, where I happened to be at the time. But I know they can be found on sale for only $0.79 for 2 cups).
1/2 small onion, diced: 0.30
1 cube veg bouillon: 0.30
10 cups water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice: 0.15 (I used 1/2 lemon)
2 medium carrots, diced: 0.26
2 stalks celery, diced: 0.10
salt, white pepper, thyme, and basil: 0.20
1/2 cup barley (and 6 cups water to cook it in): 0.37

Total: $3.48, for at least 12 cups, maybe a little bit more. $0.44 per 1.5 cup serving.

I'm not sure it was possible, but it was even BETTER the next day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yoga, and Home Workout Tapes

Let's just say it: I'm a gym rat.

There's something about exercising in a group that works for me. Starting with 6 am PT in Navy ROTC in college, and continuing to this day.

When I lived in DC, I belonged to a gym. I would do step classes at lunch, sometimes lift after work. I would play volleyball there and at another Sportsplex nearby (often 3-4 days a week, in around my work/school schedule).

When I moved to California, I continued with the gym. First Gold's then Spectrum, now 24-hour Fitness.

At my various gyms, I've shied away from yoga, pilates, and spinning. Mostly because at many of the gyms they were "extra" on top of your regular membership - either an extra monthly fee or per class. I eventually got into spinning (I still miss my old gym - Libby was my fave spin instructor and Gina my fave step instructor) - when it became part of the membership.

As for yoga - it's always been hard to incorporate it into my daily life. My company did a little yoga "retreat" for an afternoon, and I was hooked. I bought a series of classes for $10 each (a bargain for yoga). Due to schedules, I am only able to make it 2x a month. I'd like to be able to go 2x a week (or at least 1x a week). But it just isn't going to work out.

I've always liked the IDEA of home workouts, of course. They're frugal. No monthly fee. Living in So Cal, I've ridden by bike to work (used to walk to work in DC). I enjoy running and walking. Truthfully, you can get all the exercise you need without a gym membership. Round it out with a few home videos, some weights, and you are SET. But I like that group thing - I won't be canceling my gym membership. Plus, my workout time is at 5:30 am. It's too dark out to run or walk.

What I've found recently is that getting into a regular home workout groove can give you flexibility and POWER. You see, life gets in the way of exercise. When your boss makes you come in to work 1/2 hour earlier a day. When it gets to be winter and too dark to safely bike to work. Or when you are forecast for a straight week's worth of rain which will completely interfere with any thought of walking or running on your lunch break. Or when your spouse travels for a week.

Enter the home video. Weight equipment. Circuit training "Hot Bod in a Box". I've recently started using a yoga DVD that I received for Christmas. It is kicking my butt. AND it's giving me power. No more do I have to settle for only 4 workout days a week. At 5:30 am 2x a week, my spouse is at the gym, my kid is still sleeping. And I'm becoming one with Bob and some of the Biggest Losers.

So, what say you about home DVDs? Maybe I'll dig out those freecycle-received Tae Bo workouts soon too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I've been reading a lot about fermentation on the blogosphere of late, starting with the Path to Freedom folks. As I got a head of green cabbage from the CSA this week (after the head of red cabbage last week), I decided to try my hand at it. In part because I got a 4 day break from cabbbage.

I made this up yesterday using this recipe, and it will be ready to try on Tuesday. I cut the red pepper flakes in half - spouse and child not really into too much spice. I'll let you know how it tastes!

Red cabbage and apples

Last week, I made a big old pot of red cabbage and apples. It was pretty good. I think. You know, the head of red cabbage was about 4 lbs. And I probably ate about 2.5 lbs of it. I ate red cabbage for lunch and dinner for about 5 straight days. So by Friday lunch, when I had the last cup of this stuff, I was kind of sick of it.
Red Cabbage and apples
1/2 large head red cabbage: $1.50
1 T. canola oil: 0.04
1 small onion, diced: 0.30
2 small apples, diced: 0.70
1 Tbsp sugar: 0.05
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar: 0.30
salt and pepper and caraway seed to taste.
Total: $2.89, for a big pot. Many many cups.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This week at the CSA

I thought it would be useful to post what I get from the CSA, and what I actually USE it for. One of the biggest ways to be "frugal" with food is to actually eat what you get - tossed food is money down the drain.

I've been thinking a lot lately about eating frugal. Less is Enough is starting a new challenge, and I'm looking forward to reading her progress. My own frugal goal from last year kind of petered out in September due to work constraints. And truth be told, rather than get hard-core like that this year, I'd rather focus on eating locally.

Don't worry, the menus are still going to be frugal as they will be made from frugal ingredients. (Including free food - can I tell you that folks from work have been bringing in cherimoya, grapefruit, oranges, persimmons, apples, satsuma mandarins, and avocados? Yum!) But I'm not likely to have the time or inclination this year to carefully track every penny and show you how one person can eat on $100 a month. Although I could probably hit that value, considering how many pounds of cherry tomatoes I got from one seed I planted. My hub just picked another one yesterday (tomato, not pound. It's cute.)

Last week's haul was:
One bunch long onions: spaghetti sauce, red cabbage slaw
One 4lb head of red cabbage: 1/2 went to the slaw, half to sweet and sour red cabbage and apples (which I'm finishing for lunch today. I think I've eaten 2.5 lbs of cabbage in 5 days).
One large head romaine: two nights of really big salads
One bunch carrots: salad and cole slaw and sticks. Still have some left for this week.
Cilantro: Sesame Cashew Noodles
Kale: Kale chips
Turnips: Sauteed turnips with butter and apple juice
Lemons: haven't used these yet, will probably put in salad dressing

This week:
green cabbage: will try fermented kimchi with onions and last week's carrots
1.5 lb apples: just eat 'em, maybe make a dessert since I bought a 3 lb bag also
LARGE head romaine: salad. And lots of it.
1/4 lb spinach: sandwiches or salad or smoothie
1 bunch arugula: probably pesto
1 bunch beets: steam and put on the salad
broccolli: mmm...steamed broccoli
bunch long onions: soup, kimchi

Monday, January 11, 2010


For the first time, we got LARGE (softball sized) turnips from the farm. Ages ago, when we got turnips and I was stumped, my spouse found a recipe for turnips with butter and apple juice.

I couldn't find the recipe (truthfully, I didn't look). I did add salt and pepper.

Turnips with butter and apple cider
3 large turnips, peeled, quartered, and diced
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup apple cider

Saute turnips in butter, salt and pepper, until golden.

Add apple juice and cook until thickened and glazed.

Very simple, pretty good recipe. I'm not a huge turnip fan either. They are a little on the sweet side for me.

Served with leftover fejoida from the freezer with diced avo and sour cream and bread.


I'm not going to post this recipe. It's a bread machine recipe, and bread machines are finicky (it's best to use the recipes that come with the machine, for liquid/dry goods ratios). If you have the time and inclination, you can experiment.

I like experimenting. And on perusing my bread machine book, I noticed that
1. the amount of flour is constant regardless of whether it's whole grain or not
2. the amount of "add ins" (cracked wheat, nuts, seeds) is constant
3. the amount of liquid is constant

So I mixed up a loaf with multi-grain cereal, sunflower seeds, the rest of the whole wheat and bread flour, topped off with rye flour...and it was quite delicious. Experimenting is good.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cabbage Slaw

I may have mentioned it before, but I had this red cabbage slaw recipe from the CSA years ago that was to DIE for. And I lost it. And I've been trying, and failing, to recreate it.

Today is no exception. This recipe is okay, but needs something...maybe a little bit of onion and cilantro. Some oomph.

Red Cabbage Slaw
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
two carrots, shredded
1 apple, diced
1/4 c. blue cheese, crumbled
toasted walnuts (serve on top so they don't get mushy)

olive oil
lemon juice
cider vinegar
pinch sugar
salt and pepper
UPDATE: onions and raisins...yum!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


So, the CSA started up this week. I have to admit, in years past, I was happy for my two-to-four month hiatus. Those weeks when I could just go to the farmstand or market, pick the same stuff every week (potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, onions) and cook the same things at home for dinner. No thought required (steamed broccoli, aloo gobi, fried potatoes and onions).

This past year, however, I did just fine. I think because the amounts we get at the CSA have gone down a bit, and there are now three of us eating the veggies. It makes it much easier to finish our share every week. Plus, I know how to cook most things by now. This is our 10th year.

Still, it was a short break (8 weeks?) This week's share was lettuce, red cabbage, large turnips, carrots, kale, cilantro, lemons, long onions...I think that's it. It's quite a large volume of food. To start (well, after the kale chips), we have salad.

I love salad. Fresh, raw and tasty. This salad has romaine from the farm. Carrots, mandarins and avocados, both from my new boss's tree (who needs a bonus when you get avos and mandarins...). Olives, walnuts, blue cheese, sun-dried tomatoes. I used a balsamic dressing (homemade), but next time I might use some of the lemon juice. I swear I never get lemons when I want them, and now I have four.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Can you tell I'm on vacation. Add to the fact that hubby is sick, and it's a darned near miracle that I tackled them all (as well as taking our son out and about for 3 hours to give my hubby some rest).

So, I bought this book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I'd tried the no-knead bread recipes out there from the same folks, and even a version from Cook's Illustrated. Pretty good stuff. But now I have a pizza stone and peel, and I do love my bread. On my recent vacation, I picked up a copy of Mother Earth News, and there they were again...a few of the recipes from the new book. And I decided to try the Anadama Bread because my spouse used to have a bread machine recipe for it that we LOVED. (Alas, the bread machine died after about 12 years, and it turns don't translate between manufacturers.)

So the bread recipe is here, and we still have three loaves' worth of dough in the refrigerator. This stuff is good!

Anadama corn bread
1 1/2 cups corn meal: 0.38
1/4 cup wheat germ: 0.80
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour: 0.69
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour: 0.62
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten: 0.55
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water: $0
1/2 cup molasses: 1.00
Total: $4.04 for enough dough for four 1-lb loaves, or $1.01 per loaf.

So, I also signed up for a series of emails for the vegan 21-day kickstart challenge. No, I'm not vegan, and I'm not likely to become one. But I do like looking at and trying the recipes. Today's recipe is here, and is a deliciously sweet soup. I slightly adapted it.

Vegan Carrot and Roasted Pepper Soup
1 Tbsp canola oil: 0.03
1 onion: 0.28
6-7 carrots, peeled and diced (about 1/2 lb): 0.35
1/3 jar of roasted red peppers, diced: 1.16
2 cups water
1 cube vegan vegetable bouillon: 0.37
2 cups unflavored soy milk: 1.25
juice of 1/2 lemon: 0.18
2 tsp balsamic vinegar: 0.15
pepper to taste
Total: $3.77 for four servings (1.5 cups each), or $0.94 per serving.

Saute onion in oil in a pot until soft. Add carrots and saute a bit more. Add water and bouillon cube. Cook 20 mins or until carrot is soft. Add peppers and heat through.

Add soy milk. Puree using immersion blender (or a real blender if you don't have an immersion blender). Add lemon juice, vinegar, and pepper.

I found this last recipe in Martha Stewart Living. You know, grabbing a couple of magazines before getting on the train, and it beats Glamour. I have, of course, adjusted it a bit.

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Chard
1 cup quinoa: 0.94
2 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil: 0.11
Handful of chard from the garden: $0
10 oz bag sliced cremini mushrooms: 2.29
2 cloves garlic, pressed: $0.10
1 Tbsp fresh minced parsley: 0
pinch dried thyme: 0.05
salt and pepper to taste
Total: $3.49 for about 5 cups, or $0.70 per cup.

Place quinoa in a strainer and set in a bowl. Cover with water and let sit a few minutes. Lift out strainer and pour water (it will look cloudy). Repeat. This gets the bitterness out of the quinoa.

Bring water to boil in a pot. Add quinoa, return to boiling. Add quinoa, reduce heat, cover, and cook about 15 minutes, or until rings around quinoa start coming away from grains. At this point, there might be extra water, so I cook uncovered until it dries out.

Saute diced chard in 1 tsp oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove to bowl.

Add 2 more tsp oil to nonstick skillet. Add sliced mushrooms and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 min. Add salt and pepper to taste and pressed garlic. Continue to cook and stir about one minute. Add dried thyme and fresh parsley.

Add cooked quinoa and stir. Serve with chard on top.

I also put some parmesan on top. It needs a bit of something. For the leftovers, I'll likely add some olives or sun-dried tomatoes. Maybe some cooked chickpeas.

Goals for 2010

And I'm not going to call them "resolutions".

I have many goals for 2010. My major goal for 2009 was food-cost related, and you can see on the side that I petered out in September. Probably nearing the end of January I'll know the end result.

For 2010, here we are:

1. Running: Run 3 major races:
Chardonnay 10 miler in April
Wine Country Half Marathon in May
News Press Half Marathon in November
And the goal is to beat a 10 minute mile in any one of those races.

2. Yoga
Get better at it and add a 2nd day each week. I got a DVD for Xmas, so that should help.

3. Gardening
Start composting
Rip out the old dead plants
Plant some winter/spring veggies (carrots, kale)
Build one new square foot planter to add to the two we have.

4. Cooking
kinda like the gardening: try sprouting grains and beans
Bake more
Try more delicious vegan meals from my cookbooks
Try new whole grains, and keep on with the fresh fruits and veggies.

5. Environment
Reduce my plastic bag usage (reuse bags for the bulk bins, etc.)
Reduce my paper towel usage
Keep hanging out my laundry

6. Quilting
Finish the 3 quilts for the triplets
Send off the turtle quilt that took 3 years to make
Do one quilt for the Blockheads quilt exchange
One more baby quilt due in June...

7. Family (last but not least)
Spend lots of fun times with the hubby and the kiddo.