Lazy Budget Chef: 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Ate My Way Around Frankenmuth, Michigan

Husband and I ran away last week. We needed a break from our horrible summer and a recharge for the holidays.

We went to Germany by way of Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth is like a little Bavarian town plopped itself down in the middle of Michigan. Think of it as Brigadoon with lederhosen.

We laughed. We made up silly words to Christmas carols as we ate, shopped, ate, and saw the sights. 

And most of the sights to see were food!

Different sides of the Zehnder family run the two famous chicken dinner restaurants in Frankenmuth, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth  and The Bavarian Inn.

We arrived in Frankenmuth late afternoon. After a quick peek at some of the shops, we ate dinner at The Bavarian Inn. I later learned that a Zehnder 88 year old grandmother still cooks in the kitchen 6 days a week!

The dinner portions were bigger than we were hungry for so Husband and I ordered off the lunch menu.

I went for a Germantastic almost all Paleo (no grains) Frankenmuth Combination Plate of Famous Frankenmuth Chicken, Pork Schnitzel, and Sauerbraten (marinated roast beef.)

 I nibbled at the cheese and potato pancakes too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Glogg Spiced Wine

One of the many things I love about Christmas time is the chance to get my Danish on. There are special food, drinks, and decorations that only see the light of day during Christmas in Denmark.

One of those special things is Christmas Gløgg (pronounced glue-oo-g), a mulled wine punch you light on fire and serve to your guests. Hey, we're Vikings. We like to light things on fire. It's festive!

Keep reading for the recipe!

Celebrating with fiery drinks is less illegal than jumping in a longboat, stealing some sheep, and lighting the village on fire as a parting gift. I think this is how the Nordic countries celebrated in ye olden days. Then Santa Claus moved to Finland and put a stop to that because no one wants to be on Santa's naughty list - not even Viking marauders.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dairy Free Green Bean Casserole Recipe

I did not ooo and ah over the turkey set on the table during Thanksgiving and holiday dinners as a kid. My eyes were on what I called "those fancy green beans " I didn't learn until years later those
"fancy green beans" are called green bean casserole.

I thought it was a complicated recipe since we only had it once a year. I almost fell over when I found out how simple it is to make.

For some reason, both sides of the family don't make my fancy green bean casserole for holiday dinners. I'm not sure why, clearly they want to torture me. Yeah, that's got to be it.

Husband and I got a craving and we had to bring a side dinner to dinner. We decided on green bean casserole. Husband demanded the "little crunchies"  on top. My family didn't make it with french fried onion, they mixed in sliced almonds.

Pin this recipe for later!

Husband insisted and I insisted. By the power of Grayskull may our childhood memories combine to create the Voltron of green bean casserole recipes and save the world from Gargamel!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lactose Free Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

Last Thanksgiving Husband and I caved to a craving for green bean casserole. This is about the time when I realized I had to give up milk because of my lactose intolerance.

 Homemade lactose free cream of mushroom soup

As the casserole baked in the oven, I read the first ingredient on the can of the cream of mushroom soup:


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hickory Farms Giveaway

As a foodie, I love a good Christmas food gift.

Crazy, I know.

Usually that food gift comes in the form of a gift basket.  Fruit gift baskets, cheese gift baskets, wine gift baskets  – it doesn’t matter. If it contains food, I like getting them and I like giving them as holiday gifts.

Those little meat and cheese gift baskets have a special place in my heart because we always got at least one Hickory Farms gift basket from out of state family for the holidays when I was a kid. It just didn't seem like Christmas until we broke open a roll of summer sausage.

I carried on the Hickory Farms gift basket tradition as an adult because it is such a simple gift to find, give, and ship to out of state family. Hickory Farms is an Ohio company (shopping local. Oh yeah!) but are easy to find with over 700 holiday stores and kiosks across North America

Truthfully, I take the lazy way out and place my orders through that way I don’t have to deal paying extra to ship the gift after I get it. Hickory Farms does that for me. Especially when it comes to family in military because the Home for the Holidays Gift Box has free shipping to APO/FPO military addresses.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gaspatcho and Carrot Curry Soups

The day Blitzkrieg passed away, his favorite uncles and the only people we trusted to watch Blitzkrieg when we were out of town because they followed his rules (our parents often broke them because they thought Husband and I were too strict not realizing those rule are what turned Blitzkrieg from the abused fear biter to the confident goofball cuddle bug he came to be) immediately came over with wine and food.

Yes they brought food. We are Midwesterners and that's what you do when there is a death in the family. You bring food.

Tim made kitchen magic with his a little of this and that gazpacho.

Andrew went straight for the heart and proudly presented Husband and I with carrot soup.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Recipe

My husband and I had to bring a dish to share at his family reunion. Its apple season and I have been dying to sink my teeth into ooey gooey apple crisp. This potluck is the perfect excuse to make apple crisp.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Recipe
 Pin this recipe to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

I added a personal challenge to make a gluten free apple crisp that wouldn't taste like cardboard plunked on apples.

I succeeded. No one at the party realized my apple crisp was gluten free until I told them. Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner! Uh, I mean gluten free apple crisp.

The in law's bought the farm - literally. They downsized their house to one on a small farm. Here I am doing my best car model impression on Father in Law's new to him retirement sports car.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Recipe

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gluten Free Challenge Finished!

Husband and I dove into the 14 day Gluten Free Challenge the day after we received our box of gluten free goodies from Udi’s Gluten Free. Thanks to Udi’s bread, muffin, pizza crust, and granola samples, I did not have to do extra shopping for gluten free food until our regular monthly or so grocery shopping trip.

I was happily surprised too. Cooking from scratch with unprocessed ingredients (except things such as pasta) helped immensely. Although finding out gluten is in, unmarked, or added to our staple items such as plain oatmeal, lunch meats and hot dogs (fortunately, I already buy brands that are gluten, lactose, and nitrate free when the urge strikes), some spices, and health and beauty items like toothpaste. The thing that killed me because I use it for everything is discovering gluten is in distilled vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is gluten free but not an ingredient in any of our mustard collection. Bummer.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prepping for Sandy: the Turducken of Hurricanes

This post is influenced by The Healthy Home Economist's post Provisions I Stock in My Hurricane Cabinet because there were some things I haven't thought about beyond making sure we had enough propane for our grill and camp stove, and keeping the camping lantern, weather radio (with crank), and phones charged up and ready.

I also bought Sterno to heat hot water for our French Press to make morning coffee inside because I'd rather not stand outside in snow to do it on the camp stove.

I forget until we lose power that I don't have a manual can opener and fixed that. Fortunately we already have a manual corkscrew so if things get really rough we can open a bottle of red wine = doesn't require chilling.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Preserving Fresh Vegetables the Lazy Way

After our first year of gardening , Husband and I learned why our friends, co-workers, and relatives pawn off their garden vegetables to us at the end of summer. There is a point where you are tired of eating your garden day after day but the veggies keep rolling in.

I don’t want to waste the food we worked hard to grow (or be haunted by dead relatives ticked off because we wasted food.) I had to learn how to preserve garden vegetables with minimal effort because I always have 10 balls in the air at once. I don't have time for marathon canning sessions. Fortunately our garden is small so neither of these methods took much time at all.

Lazy Food Preservation #1 How to Freeze Fresh Vegetables

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to Bake & Puree Fresh Pumpkin

I save money by trying to bring things into my home that can do double duty. That includes our Halloween pumpkins!

Most people think of live pumpkins as Halloween decorations. I look at them as a decorative food source. Depending upon our mood, I might use the pumpkin unaltered in my Halloween décor. 

 Photo courtesy of my DIY blog Condo Blues

Generally, the small pumpkins taste a little sweeter and are often sold as Pie Pumpkins. Most people use the small pumpkins to make cookies, pie, bread, pie, cake, pie or if they are wild and crazy pie. Mmmmm pumpkin pie…

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Coffee and Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

It’s officially fall and you know that means it’s Pumpkin Season!

*cue nonstop happy dancing and laughter*

Pumpkin flavored everything is available and if you want food made with actual pumpkin, this is the time of year to horde it, I mean, enjoy it.

Keep reading! I'll teach you how to make this for the fraction of the cost of a coffee shop latte

The thing is, most of the time that pumpkin flavored coffee or latte or whatever doesn’t have any actual pumpkin fruit* in it. The pumpkin flavor is actually pumpkin spices.

Once I clued in to this little cooking tidbit Husband and I now enjoy DIY pumpkin latte and pumpkin coffee all year long.

Pumpkin Coffee Recipe

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Get a Free 90 Day Trial Membership to BJ’s Wholesale Club

 Hands up. Who likes saving money by buying in bulk?

Who wants to try saving money by buying in bulk before buying a membership to a wholesale club?

If you live in Ohio, you can do just that. BJ's Wholesale Club recently kicked off their Free Trial Membership Program in Ohio. This year they’ve upped the ante and will be offering the Cleveland community a 90-day trial membership instead of the 60-day trial membership they have in years past to shop the clubs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Help Me Go Gluten Free

When I had to go lactose free, I did it kicking and screaming because some of my favorite foods have lactose and do not have a tasty lactose free equivalent. Hi cheese I am talking to you.

I immediately thought of my friend Krissy. She can’t eat gluten. I bet she went through a similar thing when she had to go gluten free.

This is only photo I have of Krissy and I. Please excuse these two happy but extremely sweaty women glistening in the 90 degree sun. We were waiting to step off in a parade last summer.

My lactose intolerance and her gluten intolerance makes it interesting when we’re trying to find a restaurant that serves food both of us can eat. The only thing that makes it easier for me is I can take an enzyme to help me digest lactose so I won’t feel too sluggish. Gluten free folks don’t have that option.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Make Peppermint Extrac)

I grow mint in pots on my patio. Earlier this summer I spiffed up the planters from our old apartment with green outdoor paint I had leftover from my front porch remodel and garden landscaping project.

I also took the opportunity to thin the root bound mint plants and transplant the peppermint and chocolate mint into their own little happy pot homes.

Between transplanting and this summer’s drought the mint leaves are tough and do not taste as good as the mint I dried last year. I should wait and dry next summer’s mint for winter tea if I want to continue drinking mint tea that doesn’t make me gag.

I’m not letting this summer’s mint go to waste. I’m going to make peppermint essential oil with my garden peppermint to use in my homemade shower cleaners.

OK, technically, what I am making is not a pure peppermint essential oil. It is a peppermint tincture. To make an essential oil, you have to boil the herb in water, capture the steam, and cool the steam into a liquid to extract the oil. That’s why essential oils made with natural ingredients are often expensive (but so much better in quality than the cheap synthetics. Not to mention, synthetic essential oils usually contain pthalates which are bad for you.) I'm calling it an essential oil in this post because that is what most people type into the almighty Google machine when they want to know how to make an herbal tincture.

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Dry Fresh Herbs Without a Dehydrator

When Husband and I started cooking from scratch, it didn’t take long for us to learn that herbs and spices are a magic money saver. You can change the taste of the same basic protein, vegetable, and starch combination to a new dish every night of the week with herbs and spices.  If only they weren’t so expensive!

One way I save money on herbs and spices is to buy them at a store that sells them in bulk. I can buy the amount I need, often in larger amount for the price of the same thing in a small jar. I wash and refill the old spice bottles with the bulk spices. Who knew the jar added to much expense to the price of the stuff inside it?

Another way I save money is to grow herb plants. I have mint in pots on my patio, and Chinese and Genovese Basil, Cilantro tucked in my front garden.  

Genovese Basil
Genovese Basil from my garden

Unfortunately, when the winter snows come, there go the garden fresh organic herbs. This year, I decided to take my cue from the small furry squirrels that are currently gathering nuts for their winter siesta and try my hand at preserving fresh herbs from my herb garden for winter.

Drying Herbs

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mixed Bean Salad Recipe

Hi, my name is Cyn and I'm guest blogging here today. I blog about food, family, creativity and more over at Creative Cynchronicity. I'd love for you to pop on over and join me there. I'll have the sweet tea ready for you!

 Mixed Bean Salad

I just love this recipe for a number of reasons. It's easy to make, versatile, can utilize leftovers, and economical even for a crowd! AND since most of the ingredients aren't perishables, you can keep them on hand and make this dish anytime!

One of the ways you can reduce the cost in this recipe is by using dried beans. Now before you run away, let me tell you - it's really not complicated! Most beans need about 4 hours of soaking (some require 8 or even 12 - check the package for full details) but here's the thing: soaking them longer than they need won't hurt them. It doesn't detract from the taste, texture, or nutrients. So, I simply put the beans in to soak overnight! Easy peasy! The key is to place the beans in a non-reactive bowl or pot (no metal as it can impart a metallic taste into the beans) and add enough water to cover them by 4 inches because they will expand by about double or more as they soak. Remember that different types of beans may have different cooking times - you'll want to soak those separately! Check the packages or this chart and combine them only if they have the same cooking times. 

 If you're only soaking them for 4 hours, they can remain at room temperature but anything longer than that needs refrigeration so it doesn't ferment or start growing sprouts! After they've soaked, put them in a colander and give them a good rinse. Beans can have some remaining dirt on them so you want to be sure to wash all of that away! Cook according to the chart or package and place them in the refrigerator until ready to use. I often cook up some extra beans and serve some in hot dishes, reserving the rest for this bean salad so I get double or triple duty out of one soaking and cooking batch! Of course if you need to make this in a hurry, maybe for a last minute potluck, picnic, or cookout, you CAN use canned beans but wait until you see the difference in cost! 

The Basic Recipe (Variations Follow)

 Note: The prices I'm using here are from my local Loblaws' store here in London, Ontario Canada. It's a mid range store and prices may vary in your area and by shopping at discount grocery or bulk stores. 

 Ingredients to make enough for 8-10 servings: 

 4-5 cups of cooked beans - you need about 1/2 cup of dried beans to make 1 cup of cooked (use as many varieties as you'd like such as chickpeas, red and white kidney beans, Great Northern beans, black beans, navy beans, black eyed peas and more) - depending on the kinds of beans you use the cost will average around 90 cents to $1
 1/2 medium to large red or Vidalia onion (amount depends on your preference and you can certainly use ordinary yellow onions to bring the cost down even more - these are just my favourites) - around 60 cents

Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup (or more if preferred) 
plain white vinegar 1/2 to 1 T. 
thyme leaves 1/2 to 1 T. 
rosemary 1/2 to 1 T. 
basil salt and pepper to your taste
plain yellow mustard cost for the dressing is around 70 cents 

Total cost for the salad: $2.20 to $2.30 
Cost per serving (for 8 servings): 28-29 cents each 
Total cost for the salad if you use canned beans (assuming the use of 4 - 14 oz. cans of beans): $6.86 
Cost per serving (for 8 servings): 86 cents each I'll just let that cost difference speak for itself! 

Now for some fun variations - remember, this can be a great way to use up some leftovers by adding them to the basic salad above! 

Add in 1 medium green pepper, chopped (85 cents)

Add in 2 stalks of celery, chopped (40 cents) 

Add in 1 medium tomato, chopped (80 cents) (You could also use grape or cherry tomatoes for an additional cost) 

Total cost if you add all three to the basic recipe: $4.25 Cost per serving (for 8 servings): 53 cents each

Want to round it out into a fuller side dish or even a main dish? Add in any of the following: 

1 to 1 1/2 cups each of any or all of these: cooked corn, green beans, lima beans, or yellow wax beans 
1 1/2 cups cooked white or brown rice or 3 medium potatoes, cooked and cubed or 2 large sweet potatoes, cooked and cubed 
Throw in some leftover cooked chicken, turkey, ham, or sausage 

Variations on the dressing: 
For your spices, use some dried peppers, chili powder, and cumin. 
Add in some lime juice. I find this especially good with black beans, kidney beans, corn, and sweet potatoes. Throw in some sausage for a complete meal. 
Add in lemon or orange juice. 
Use a flavoured oil (avocado anyone?) in place of the olive oil 
Use a flavoured vinegar (I think balsamic is really delicious in this but there are so many other variations to try too) 
Use lemon or bourbon pepper instead of black pepper 
Use a flavoured or grainy mustard instead of the basic yellow 

What other variations can you come up with? Feel free to share your ideas or ask me any questions you have! Thanks so much to Lisa for letting me hang out with you today! I hope you enjoyed this delicious summer recipe!

Thank you for the yummy recipe and variations Cyn! Hey gang make sure you give Cyn's post some social media love and visit her blog Creative Cynchronicity for more recipes and creative ideas!

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Raspberry Moscato Jam Recipe

Raspberry Moscato Jam RecipeLast summer I faced my fear of canning. I canned spiced blueberry jam for the first time. The jam was tasty and no one died of botulism. I call that a win.

Between the blueberry and strawberry peach jam in my pantry and crock pot pumpkin butter in my freezer, I lucked out and had Christmas gifts for gift exchanges, teachers, the mail carrier, etc. - the gifts that sneak up on me. Make a recycled magazine gift bow; slap it on the top of the jar, and boom! A quick, easy, and inexpensive gift that won’t clutter up the person’s house.
magazine gift bow
Learn how to make gift bows from magazines here

I want to make more jam to eat and use for holiday gifts. Since some of my jam may be gifts, I’m on the hunt for something a bit different from the traditional jam recipe. The Columbus Dispatch’s Raspberry Pinot Noir jam recipe was a good candidate, especially as gifts for foodie friends.

Then I bought the wrong wine. That will teach me to double check the ingredients before I make my grocery shopping list, not after.

No big deal. I tweaked the recipe and made Raspberry Moscato Jam. I think the sweeter wine works well if not better with the raspberries than the Pino Noir.

Monday, August 27, 2012

How to Buy A Kitchen Knife

Denise from Do you have that in my size shares a honest story about learning how to cook and how the quality of some of the tools involved matter and make the job easier, faster, or more bionic. I relate because I was in a similar boat myself once upon a time. 

I don't cook. I know a lot of people say that they don't cook when what they really mean is that they don't cook often or don't cook well but I, very literally, do not cook. My family and I either eat out every meal or we throw something pre-prepared on the barbecue or in the microwave. I confessed to this terrible secret on my blog not too long ago and then resolved to make changes, so I signed up for a 5-week Basic Cooking from Scratch class which started last Wednesday. 

As I was chopping a carrot for my first assignment, my teacher came by and stopped to give me a correction in how I was doing it. When she picked up my knife to demonstrate proper technique, she quickly wrinkled her nose and pronounced, "This is a bad knife." 

Great, so not only am I a complete failure as a mother, wife, and woman because I can't/don't cook, but now my knife is sub-par, too. 

Over the weekend, after discussing my in-class experience with my husband, we tootled off to a local cooking store - where I also registered for an upcoming hands-on cooking class - to choose a new chef's knife. I thought this would be a simple and straightforward task but I learned there are several things to consider before making a purchase.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Illegal Tomato Plants?

Last summer Husband and I accidentally planted a front yard vegetable garden. It wasn’t our plan. We built a new raised garden bed and needed something to fill in the gaps between the transplanted chives and lavender . We threw down some free seeds we got in the front yard instead of doing a container garden on the back patio – where I prefer my food plants to live.

The plants grew. Yay! It was covert. Our neighbors didn’t realize our landscape was edible. Double yay!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

4 Back to School Sandwich Recipes

Back to School. Already? On the one hand, I’m not such a fan of Back to School season because it is a reminder that my favorite season is ending. On the other hand, I like Back to School season because it is lunch and sandwich recipe season. I can use all of the new and tasty lactose free lunch ideas I can get.

And if those healthy lactose free lunch ideas don’t cost an arm and leg to make, that’s OK too.

I got the opportunity to check out BJ’s Wholesale Club for healthy food shopping options for less at their Back to School Blogger event. It’s been forever since I’ve stepped foot into a wholesale club store. After Husband and I stopped performing at the renaissance festival, we cancelled our membership because we didn’t need to buy the restaurant size vats of condiments and such to feed our friends and fellow actors anymore. Learning to cook from scratch and the lack of ingredient type food for sale sealed the deal.

Many of you tell me you find fresh food and organic options for less at wholesale club stores. I figure this is the easiest way to check out if and how the offerings have changed since I last had a membership.

The prices are impressive.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Wish I Ate My Way Around Blogher 12

I spent last week in  Foodopolis  – New York City – for the BlogHer conference.  I did not want a repeat of the stomach woes I had at Blissdom. As much as it killed me to say no to even a taste of lactose filled food (because, yeah, Foodopolis is not as fun if you’re lactose intolerant.) I figured I’d b better off if and when I unknowingly eat something containing lactose.

Top left: Me and Ree The Pioneer Woman. The Lorax is so infatuated with me he followed me from Blissdom to Blogher. I'm flattered Lorax but I'm happily married. Sorry. Food carving at the Dole booth. Me, a giant banana, Anne from Green Talk,and Laurie from Groovy Green Living. Eggsland Best. Tasty organic spicy sesame ginger Thai noodle lunch - if you follow me on Foodspotting you might have seen this already.)

I thought I was doing fairly well, especially by taking advantage of vegan options when able – thank you BlogHer for having plenty of food options for those of us on special diets.  

Unfortunately, sneaky lactose food the day before, nerves, and grief gave me more than a lactose tummy ache Saturday morning. I got sick in the middle of the expo hall after talking to the lovely folks at Bioron. I. Was. Mortified! I was convinced everyone thought I drank too much the night before instead of me getting sick because I ate food I shouldn't. This is not the way I wanted to make an impression.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Coconut Caramel Popcorn

My friend Tamara of the Lead Safe America Foundation proves that healthy and organic food doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself or your kids of low cost yummy snacks! Especially when it is a sweet twist on one of my favorite snacks...popcorn! 

So we're broke and we eat all organic food. The reason for both is the same, our children got lead poisoning (which was very expensive to deal with) and, as a result, we can't bear the thought of burdening them with additional chemicals from conventional (non-organic) foods. We also keep a mostly-vegan household, which can make things even more challenging in slim times!

how to make coconut caramel flavored popcorn at home
Pin this recipe for later!

Sometimes the cupboards seem bare but there are actually really yummy things in there - it's just a matter of mixing them together in just the right way. 

My mother is a honey farmer (honey is one our few breaks from "pure" vegan tradition), so no matter how little we have in the cupboards, we almost always have honey.  

Our substitute (generally) for butter is coconut oil - extra virgin, cold pressed, organic coconut oil! Yum!

.... and a regular treat for a family with four children - especially  when things are tight - is POPCORN!  Always exciting and always interesting because it is both an activity (watching it pop) AND a food!

So - one day - when the cupboard seemed bare - I invented the following delight....

Coconut "Caramel" Popcorn Recipe

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What is Healthy Food?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly is considered healthy food lately and it’s all my brother in law’s fault.

During our last family visit, S mentioned he and his new bride wanted to eat healthier while still trying to save money because they are in the We Just Got Married and Starting Our Careers So We’re Broke phase of their lives.

I can relate because that’s where Husband and I were oh so many years ago. The thing Husband and I find funny is in our search for a lower food bill not only did we learn how to cook from scratch, but we started to eat healthier and became accidental foodies. I never saw that coming!

Throughout the visit however, our young couple got a lot of conflicting advice as to what it means exactly to “eat healthy.”

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stove Top Frittata

I wrote about how Blitzkrieg is losing the lymphona fight on Condo Blues. Almost immediately all of my bloggy friends offered guest posts, or blog casseroles so Husband and I can spend as much time with Blitzkrieg and tend to him given the little time he has left.

Leave it to caring foodies who have it ingrained in their DNA that when a friend is having a difficult family time, you bring them food so that's one less thing they have to worry about. Thank you friends.

My good friend Karen Hanrahan from Best of Mother Earth offers a stove top frittata recipe that is perfect for feeding your family without heating up the kitchen on these insanely hot days. Take it away Karen!

Really? You can make a frittata on the stove?  Who knew?  If you've known me awhile you know how much I love frittata's - to me, they are the solution to using up all the bits of veggies I have, particularly ones that don't keep as long like certain greens.  Plus frittata's have cheese in them. YUM!

Image credit: Karen Hanrahan 
PS from Lisa: Karen is a gifted photographer who has had several shows.Please check out her work!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Do Grocery Cashiers Make Fun of Your Food?

Husband and I recently went grocery shopping after extending our Eat From the Pantry Month from one month to almost two and a half months. After the first month of our challenge, we realized we had enough ingredient type food to keep going and decided to try it for as long as we could.

Seeing the back of the freezer is a welcome change. It won’t last long once I start freezing food from our summer vegetable garden – one of the reasons we challenged ourselves to eat from our pantry and freezer. We still had vegetables and fruit from last summer’s garden in our freezer!

I use empty bottle carriers to organize frozen homemade stock. They are also helpful if you want to keep rolls of ground turkey from rolling out of the freezer on onto your toes!

I checked the grocery store sale circular, the printable coupon database, and did a quick skim of We Use Coupons for possible sale plus coupon match ups on the ingredient type food we buy, and made my shopping list. With my reusable shopping bags securely in the trunk of my car, Husband and I took off for the two grocery store shop hop.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Eat Healthy From a Couponing Stockpile

One of my grocery saving strategies is to shop with coupons hopefully paired with a sale for extra savings.  Another piece of my money saving puzzle is to buy the items we use on sale (preferably with a coupon for additional savings) before we need them. They call this stockpiling.  

Unlike what TV shows want you to believe, stockpiling is NOT cramming your basement with as much cheap food as you can get your hands on. Stockpiling is not about hoarding food. It's about planning and buying food when it is on sale (hopefully pared with coupon for extra savings) to use when you run out and the item is not on sale/coupon.

However, no matter how expensively you bought it or expensive an amount, a stockpile of food does not save you any money until you actually use it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vodka Cranberry Popsicle Recipe

Once I declared 2011 The Year of the Popsiclemy Popsicle making experiments are going well. I am getting kiddos that hate anything remotely healthy to eat my variations of juice and fruit pops, which makes me happy.

Now it is time for something more a bit more grown up Vodka Popsicles!

vodka cranberry popsicle recipe
    Pin this homemade Popsicle recipe for later!

Oh yes, my friends, I'm ready to teach you how to make booze infused Popsicles because I can't invite you over for a BBQ and a taste of my delicious experiment. I would if I could but my yard is too small to host of all you.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Whole Wheat Breadmaker Pizza Dough

Homemade pantry pizza is one of my lazy weekend meal staples. Husband or I Iron Chef a pizza sauce with tomato sauce oregano, basil, garlic, and a pinch of salt for taste then we root through the refrigerator and freezer for interesting pizza toppings, plunk it all on the breadmaker whole wheat pizza crust I make ahead of time and freeze for such an occasion.

We usually end up with something that looks like it came from frou frou pizza place than your garden variety pepperoni pizza place. Both husband and I worked in pizza restaurants as teens. After dealing with so many orders of pepperoni pizzas during that  time, we tend to put anything but pepperoni on  a pizza.

whole wheat pizza dough recipe
Spinach, onion, shrimp, 2 cheese pizza on a homemade whole wheat pizza crust

Husband and I declared June Eat From the Pantry and Freezer Month. I got requests for my whole wheat pizza dough recipe after mentioning it on Condo Blues. Well, I’m not going to be whipping up a new batch since my breadmaker is pushing up daises, so you might as well do it for me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Day the Breadmaker Died

I think I am one of the few people who actually use their bread maker to bake bread. Most people I know that have bread makers use them more to decorate their kitchen counters than to bake bread.

As soon as I got my bread maker I put it to use. Husband and I performed at the Ohio Renaissance Festival on summer weekends. I brought bread each day for the court to eat during The Queen’s Feast.

 I made our costumes from the hats on down and skin out with the exception 
of my shawl. Mother in Law made it for me as a gift.

One of my favorite winter meals is a homemade stew or 15 bean soup paired with homemade dark bread. So filling and so satisfying I want to roll on the ground and make happy tummy sounds after dinner.

One of my whoops! I need to bring something to a family dinner/potluck and didn't put it on the grocery list items is braided cardamom bread. I set the bread maker on the dough setting, divide the dough into three parts, braid it, and pop it in the oven. Big bang, big taste, little work involved on my part.