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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Deviled eggs. Protein in the form of evil.

There are three good things in this world that the devil did:
1) make cake
2) go down to Georgia
3) put his spin on eggs

I'm a deviled egg snob, and am very particular about the ones that I eat.  I will only dine on the ones that are in my mouth.  Who am I kidding?  I've never met a deviled egg that I didn't like!  But I'm a bit stuck up, and like to think that mine are pretty darn good, and they're healthier than the traditional recipe to boot.

Sarah's Satan Eggs
12 eggs (eggs that aren't fresh tend to peel a little more easily)
2 tblsp of homemade mayo (I promise the recipe this week...)
1/4 scant tsp of sea salt.  I really like Real Salt
1/2 tsp of dried tarragon
1/2 tsp of dried and minced chives
1/2 tsp of dried dill
Smoked paprika (oh come on, you knew it would make an appearance in this recipe)

1) Place 12 eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water.

2) Bring water to a rolling boil and allow to boil for 1 full minute.
3) Cover and remove from heat.  Allow to sit covered for 15 minutes.
4) Remove eggs from the pot and place in a bowl of cold water.  Place in the fridge until thoroughly chilled.
5) Crack the eggs.  I like to rinse them under running water to remove little bits of shell.
6) Carefully slice the eggs in half length-wise, and scoop the yolk out.  A baby spoon seems to work the best for this.  Set the white aside.
Using a clean rag, wipe the knife off after each slice.  It seems to make for a smoother cut.
7) In a food processor, combine the yolks, mayo, and spices.  Pulse until very smooth.
8) Scoop a little bit in to each egg white and sprinkle with paprika.

I've shared this with the peeps over at Real Food Wednesdays.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A butthole clenching moment if there ever was one

Also file under "titles that would make my grandmother cringe".

Jack and I were driving home tonight and a little girl darted out on the sidewalk near my car.  I slammed on my brakes, rolled my window down and asked the crying child if she was ok.  She told me she was lost and needed to find her daddy.  Jack and I pulled over and got out of the car.

She told me her name was Gwen and she couldn't find her mommy and daddy.  I asked her is she knew where she lived and could she show me her house.  I took her hand and as we rounded the corner, I hear a woman yelling "oh my god Gwen".  Both mother and daughter burst in to tears, and were soon joined in a few minutes by a crying dad.

It was NOT a very nice part of town, and had I been an unsavory character, she could have been gone in an instant.

This incident had a small upside
1) It ended happily.  Everyone was safe and where they should be at the end of the day.
2) Hopefully the girl learned a lesson and stays put.
3) Jack is now TERRIFIED of what happens if you don't listen to your mommy and daddy.  In fact, he was obsessed with what happened and we relived it over and over and over and over and over...again in the car.  "Mommy, you be the little girl, and I be her mommy.  Was she SO sad?  Did she cwy"? Ahem.

Because this post needs something cute and a reminder that our children are precious, here is Jack reenacting the event.  Because this is what we did ALL night.  The little girl is played expertly by Batman.

We were driving down the road.
 Suddenly, we saw a little girl amongst all the traffic.
We were so surprised to see a little girl there!
She was lost and so sad.
Then we found her mommy and daddy and everyone was happy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Meal plan for August 29th - September 4th

Freaking construction projects are projected to add 30 minutes to my evening commute this week, so we're going simple and fast with meals.

Monday - nachos and fruit

Tuesday - Buffalo chicken sandwiches*, coleslaw, and fruit

Wednesday - Quesadillas and fruit

Thursday - homemade pizza and fruit (I'm sensing a pattern here...)

Friday - Burgers, slaw, and grilled veggies

Saturday - I'll wing it

Sunday - family dinner at my parent's

What are you guys dining on this week?

*to make the sandwiches healthier, try the ranch mix from my homemade ranch.  Just use the dry ingredients.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Anyone up for a challenge?

About two and a half weeks ago, my elliptical bit the dust.  When you buy a product off of Craiglist five years ago for $100, you expect a certain kind of quality.  :sniff:

To properly mourn my loss, I've been sitting on my ass and eating ice cream.  My ass and I are very very sad right now.  My aunt and uncle gave me an exercise bike that they had laying around, but Troy hasn't had a chance to put it back together yet.  Who know when I'll be back to exercising, so until then, I need something to jump start my lack of energy.  What to do, what to do?  Introducing the Sugar Fast 2011 FBC (Frugal by Choice) Challenge!  Intrigued?  Want to participate?  Read on.

The rules:
1) Leave a comment on this post saying you're in.
2) Cut out processed sugar from your diet between Monday, August 29th and Sunday, September 4th.

Processed sugar includes Splenda, Equal, Sweet and Low, white sugar, etc.  I use organic evaporated cane juice for my baking which is a less processed form of sugar, but I'm still cutting it out.  Honey and maple syrup are great alternatives!

That's it! For those of you still in the game by September 4th, I'll be holding a drawing for 1 lucky winner to win my favorite new kitchen tool, this citrus squeezer thing-a-ma-jing.

Now, I'm not able to give out huge cool items, because I pay for these things myself using earnings from Swagbucks.  But hey, a little prize is still better than no prize at all, right?

Some times Blogger has issues with people commenting.  They know about this issue, but seem incapable of fixing it.  Lame.  If you're trying to comment, but it's not letting you, when Blogger asks you to sign in, unselect "remember me" and then sign in.  Then it should work.

I've shared this at Monday Mania.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My crockpot spaghetti sauce

I have a friend who lives in Philly and for the longest time I thought she was super weird for serving gravy on her spaghetti.  It took me a while to realize that to some people "gravy" is spaghetti sauce.  So, you can call it gravy, or spaghetti, or red sauce, but whatever you call it, it's super easy to make and cheap to boot!

So, get ready to take notes, bust out your crockpot, and head to Costco (or BJ's or Sam's, or whatever you have).  Let's get started.

Crockpot spaghetti sauce (a Sarah original)
1 big ass can of crushed tomatoes (the big big big can!)
4 cans of organic diced tomatoes
4 cans of organic tomato paste
1 organic onion, diced
a big grip of diced parsley and basil (I got this from my garden, but you can use dried)
2 tblsp of dried oregano
1/4 cup of honey
salt and pepper to taste
garlic, garlic, and more garlic

Pour everything in the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Allow to cool completely, and divide in to freezer-proof containers.  I use freezer proof quart sized Ziplocs and get enough for 6 meals (dinner for 3 + 2 lunches for the next day).  You could freeze in pint canning jars as long as they're wide mouth.

Bon appetit!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

Amazing that something so tasty can come from a vegetable that resembles Grimace from McDonalds.

Sarah's Eggplant Parm (a Sarah original)
1 large eggplant
1.5 cups of panko breadcrumbs
1 tblsp of dried parsely
1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1/4 cup of milk
Butter.  Lots of butter!

1) Slice your eggplant in to veggie "coins".

2) Put a thick towel on a cutting board, and salt the beejesus out of the eggplant.


3) Place another towel over the eggplant, and put something heavy on top for at least 30 minutes.  Might I suggest my dirty bread box?

4) In a deep frying pan, melt at least a few tablespoons of butter over medium high heat.

5) Mix panko, parmesan, and parsley in a dish.  Mix egg and milk in another dish.  Dip eggplant in the egg/milk mixture and then dip in the panko mixture.

6) Pause for a few minutes because someone is saying "stop taking pictures of food mommy.  Look what I can do"!!


6) Fry the eggplant in the butter for a few minutes on each side until browned and crispy.

7) Place eggplant over whole wheat spaghetti noodles and your sauce of choice (mine is homemade crockpot sauce for $5 for 15 servings.  Recipe coming soon!).  Top with a luscious slice of fresh mozzarella.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Meal plan for August 22nd - 28th

Wishing you all a happy week of cooking!  Here is what my family is chowing on this week.  Tis' the week of Mexican in our house.

Monday - Quesadillas, black beans, and Spanish rice.

Tuesday - Chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot, and fruit.

Wednesday - Nachos, grilled veggies on the side, and fruit.

Thursday - Homemade chicken nuggets, homemade coleslaw, and fruit.

Friday - Sizzling rice soup and pork fried rice.  Trying a new recipe for both.  If it doesn't suck, I'll share the details!

Saturday - There is a little neighborhood party thingy and they're serving hot dogs, chips, and soda for free.  So, we'll be dining on lips and assholes, GMO corn, and high fructose corn syrup.  Oh well, once every blue moon won't kill us.

Sunday - Family dinner at my parent's.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

So you know how things can start out as a great idea...

...take human frogger at the in-laws.  Hilarious and so fun!
video

Doesn't always turn out so well...

Relax though, he is fine.  Cried for about 4 minutes, and then bawled his eyes out when we told him that he couldn't do it again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jirapa's Thai Chicken and rice

Please don't tell Jirapa, but I made this with ground pork.  Shhhhhhhh!

I was in a meeting/potluck and had a bite of this concoction and yelled "dude, who made this?  It's awesome".  Jirapa, from Thailand copped to it, and was kind enough to share the recipe.  I changed it a little bit to accommodate our tastes.


Jirapa's Thai Chicken and Rice
Cooked Jasmine rice (we usually do brown rice, but I'll admit that the Jasmine rice felt like a naughty treat)
1 package of chicken sausage (I used ground pork from our local butcher)
10 leaves of sweet basil, sliced in half
3 carrots, sliced in to matchsticks
1/2 of a small root of ginger, diced
I added 1/2 cup of organic chicken broth (Better than Bouillon from Costco) and about 3 tblsp of organic olive oil (Costco's brand).  I also added some sugar snap pea pods from the garden.

In heavy saucepan, heat the sausage until cooked thoroughly.  My tip for cooking ground sausage super quickly is to let it cook for a bit and separate it with a wooden spoon.  Once it's a little bit browned, break out a pastry cutter and mash it all up.  It will cut in to very small pieces and cook through in no time!

Remove the sausage from the pan, and cook the veggies and ginger in the grease until tender.  Turn the stove off, and add basil.  Cover and let it sit for a few minutes.  Serve over the rice.

Now, I made this on a week day, and didn't have time to cook the meat and make the dinner that night.  I cooked the sausage the night before and kept it in the fridge.  The day of, I heated up a little bit of olive oil and cooked the veggies for a bit.  I added about 1/3-1/2 cup of chicken broth to the veggies, and then added the cooked sausage in to heat up.  We prefer our rice mixtures with a little extra "sauce", so the chicken broth was just the right touch for us.

Ordinarily, I do NOT like ginger in my food, but for some reason it didn't bother me in the least in this, and actually made the whole dish.

When we lived in LA, Troy mainly did lighting on reality shows; they were our "bread and butter".  One reality cooking competition was getting rid of all their dishes after a season, and we snagged about 50 chopsticks for free.  They came in so handy for this photo, and then were promptly discarded as we ate this with forks.

We also grilled veggies that night, and after about 2 minutes of eating the grilled eggplant, onions, and zucchini separately, we just ended up dumping them in to the bowl.  That was a perfect addition to this!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

No hippy jokes please. A recipe for granola

I know my friend Mary is giggling right now reading this post because she loves to call me crunchy granola.  Whatevs Mary!

Part of our family's switch from processed to whole/real foods was phasing out boxed cereal.  After a few months of not having it around, the villagers got angry and threatened to tar and feather me.  To keep the torches and pitchforks to a minimum, I started making granola.  I make a huge batch at once and store it in a big plastic cereal box thingy I found on clearance at Macys.  Because the granola is so hearty, Troy we don't need to eat a punch bowl full at a time, 1 "box" lasts us about 3-4 weeks.

The base recipe is pretty versatile and I've had fun being creative with flavors.  I've made a chocolate peanut butter batch, but Cranberry, Orange, and Walnut has been my favorite, hands down.


Dirty Crunchy Hippy Cranberry Orange, Walnut granola
8 cups of thick rolled old-fashioned oats (NOT quick oats)
1 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of homemade brown sugar
1/2 cup of real maple syrup (not the HFCS pancake crap)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of walnuts, chopped
2 cups of coconut oil, melted
1 organic orange
1 1/2 cups of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of flaked, unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt your coconut oil in the microwave.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, add oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, brown sugar, and walnuts.  Zest the skin of 1 orange over the bowl.  I love my microplane for this.  After zesting it, juice the orange and pour over the oat mixture.  Add maple syrup and coconut oil.  Stir well.

I use my lasagna pan when making granola because it has high sides and allows you to stir through the baking process without spilling oats all over your oven.  Cause that is fun to clean.

Bake for 15 minutes, then stir.  Bake for another 15 minutes, and stir.  Bake for 10 minutes, then add the cranberries - stir to incorporate.  Bake for another 10 minutes.

Add coconut flakes and bake for no more than 5 minutes.  Allow the granola to cool completely, and store in an air-tight container.
As with anything I make, this of course is best accompanied by homemade or locally made bacon.
I've shared this at Pennywise Platter Thursdays.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's done. I've done it. We have it now.

The "it" I speak of is the elixir of happiness and joy.  Mojito soda.  Yep, I said it.  I went there.  It's that awesome.  One drink of this, and you'll want to throw confetti.

See this pretty lady right here?

The one in the green dress and purple shawl?  Yeah, that's my cousin Kori who got married 2 weeks ago.  That gorgeous green dress she's rocking was handmade by my aunt and Kori, and they finished it the day BEFORE the wedding.  Side note: my cousin has balls; that would have had me in a panic attack.  My boob sweat would have had boob sweat at that point.

At her wedding they served mojitos with mint from her garden.  My mom asked me to fetch her one, and on my way back from the drink station, I took a sip.  Now, I don't drink.  Like at all.  As in I drink so little that I would probably get drunk off of a basket of beer battered shrimp.  But this mojito was so smooth and tasted delicious.  I assumed that they used some amazing booze to make this taste so awesome.  After stealing sips for about 30 minutes, I was let in on the secret that it was non-alcoholic.  Ah, that explains it.

Kori shared with me that it was simply limeade and mint with sparkling water.  After finding out how easy it was, it took me all of 1.5 seconds to realize that I needed to turn this in to a kefir soda.

Kori's Wedding Mojito with a Kefir Soda Twist
1 batch of water kefir
5-10 mint leaves, diced or crushed
1.5 cups of limeade (if you're in the PNW, Fred Meyer has Santa Cruz organic limeade 4/$5).  You could also just use about 3/4 cup of freshly-squeezed lime juice

Stuff the mint in a flip-top style bottle, and pour in limeade.  Add the water kefir liquid, and seal the lid.  Store at room temperature for about 3 days, and then put in the fridge for a few hours.  Generally if it is cold before you open it, there is less of a chance for a mini-explosion.

Cheers!
Why on earth did 2 people who don't drink register for 12 wine glasses for their wedding 7 years ago?  Somehow, I knew that years in the future, I would want something fancy to drink this out of. 
And then take photos of it.
I shared this over at Real Food Wednesdays, Healthy 2day Wednesdays,Simple Lives Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, and Fight Back Fridays.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I found the cure for PMS

Men of the world - you're welcome.

I saw this recipe from Food Farm Health last week on a blog hop.  I was intrigued.  For one thing, I have absolutely no idea what a Saskatoon is, but the words berry and fudge sold me.  This recipe was super easy, and has Jack and Troy's stamp of approval.  Jack ate an entire plate of lunch in approximately 3 seconds because I promised him a piece of this if he cleaned his plate.


Saskatoon (whatever the hell that is) Berry Fudge
1/2 cup of coconut oil (I buy mine in bulk from Tropical Traditions)
1/2 cup of raw honey
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 tsp homemade vanilla extract
1 cup crazy made-up berries.  I used raspberries

In a small saucepan on low heat, gently cook the berries with a splash of water until they are soft and tender.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a food processor, blend coconut oil and honey until creamed together.  It took me about 1 minute to achieve a super creamy consistency.  Add vanilla, cocoa, and berries, processing until smooth.  I needed to scrape the food processor a few times to make sure everything was incorporated.

Pour the fudge onto plastic wrap place on top of a cookie sheet (it would work better in a loaf pan).  Gently wrap it up so that it forms a loose rectangle approximately 1/2 - 3/4" thick.  Place it in the freezer for four hours or longer.

Store in the fridge.

I think I'll try this with a little bit of peanut butter instead of berries next time!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Check it out

This month, website CookingmyCSA is featuring a few of my original recipes and recipes that I've stolen from others and take photos of.  They're doing a back to school snack challenge and are posting about it over the next few weeks.

CookingmyCSA was started by two sister-in-laws (hey, I thought I was the only person who could get along with their in-laws!) to show that CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) can work for all kinds of people.

One of the sister-in-law's daughter is even doing a project to make money to donate towards the relief efforts for the famine in East Africa.  Check out her project here.

Please note, I was not compensated for posting about her project.  I just thought it was pretty awesome and think it's great to support a hard-working kiddo in a very noble cause.

xoxo,
Sarah

Refrigerated dilly beans

Thanksgiving break in 2008, Troy and I were with his parent's and his mom busted out a jar of homemade dilly beans that someone had given her.  I had been puking my guts out for months at this point (I'm convinced the more you puke, the cuter the kid!), and had pretty much only eaten 2 Jamba Juices and some tator tots since July.

I took 1 bite of the dilly bean and realized that "hey, this is staying down"!  I greedily ate pretty much the entire jar, not even giving my in-laws or Troy much of a chance.  Later that night, I realized that had been a poor decision, but even with that as the end result, I still like myself a big ole' mess of dilly beans.  I just eat a few less at a time now...

The Seattle weather has not cooperated with providing me with a bounty of green beans all at once.  So rather than being able to can a huge batch and calling it good, I needed a recipe that would allow me to make small quantities and still get that same great dilly bean taste.  I found that recipe at IntheGarden.

Super-easy and Fast Fridge Dilly Beans
~2 cups of green beans
1 cup vinegar
1 cup of water
2.5 tblsp of organic evaporated cane juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 tsp of kosher salt
1/2 of an onion, sliced
2 sprigs of fresh dill
1/2 tsp of black peppercorns
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes

1) Make your brine: In a saucepan, bring water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic to a boil.  Once it has boiled, set aside and allow it to come to room temperature.

2) Wash and trim the beans.  Make sure they all fit length-wise in the jar that you're using.

3) Blanche the beans:
If I threw a party and invited everyone you knew.  You would see the biggest gift would be my dilly beans, and the card attached would say "hey I made them for you".
Errr, I mean blanch your beans.  Boil them for 1 minute, and then put in a bowl of ice water.  We never have ice in our freezer, so I just use the coldest water I can.  Drain the beans and set aside.

4) In your clean jars, place onions, peppercorns, dill, and red pepper flakes in the bottom.

5) Add your beans to the jars.

6) Pour the brine over the beans, and put them in the fridge.  Allow them to sit in the fridge for 2 days before eating them (yeah, we broke that rule and started eating them the next morning).
As my green beans ripen in the garden, I blanch them and add them to the brine in the jars.

This has been shared over at Monday Mania.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meal plan for August 15th - 21st

Hopefully you can gleam some ideas if you're stuck on what to make this week.

Monday - Thai chicken & rice with grilled veggies.  Got the recipe from an acquaintance who is from Thailand.  If I don't screw it up, I'm happy to share the recipe.

Tuesday - Pot roast with potatoes and carrots, and coleslaw on the side.

Wednesday - Chicken tortilla soup from the crockpot.

Thursday - Breakfast for dinner.

Friday - Eggplant parmesan, and grilled veggies on the side.  Can't decide if the parm would be best over noodles or as a sandwich.

Saturday - No idea.  Probably pizza and grilled veggies.

Sunday - Family dinner at my parent's house.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So that's why I'm not eating a ton of tomatoes yet...and a weekend to-do list

This whole time I thought my tomatoes weren't ripe because the Pacific Northwest has been had a total of 300 minutes of temps above 80 degrees.  How wrong I was!

No, my tomatoes aren't ripe yet, because they're all busy recovering from botched c-sections...

First tomato of the season!

Enjoyed as the world's tiniest caprese salad (accompanied by my dad's awesome grass-fed burger.  I'm convinced he puts crack in his burgers because they're SO GOOD).  I savored all 3 bites.

This summer, I'm fortunate enough to get my work week done in 4 days.  It gives me Fridays off, which saves money in gas, and gives me more time at home with Jack.  It also gives the hyper type-A portion of my brain an extra day for more projects.  Cause I need more projects like Jack needs more energy.

To do's for this weekend

Friday
  • Take Jack to the dentist
  • Hit up the grocery store
  • Hit up the fruit stand.  Get new fruit and pay my fruit debt from last week.  HA!
  • Hit up Goodwill.  Momma needs some more jars and pie pans for freezer food!
  • Make granola.  The recipe will be forthcoming
  • Make more pesto
  • Make mayo.  If this doesn't taste like monkey butt, I'll share a recipe
  • Make dilly beans.  There will be a recipe.  Oh yes, there will be a recipe
Saturday
  • Jack and I are going to hit up the Farmer's market for some fall starts.  F'ing crows pulled out a ton of my seedlings.  Fuckers.
  • Hit up a park to ride the trains
  • Make bread
  • Make pizza dough for the freezer
  • Make pretzel rolls
  • Make fudge.  Stole a recipe from a blog hop this week, and I can't wait to try it out
 Sunday (a day of rest for more projects)
  • Family dinner
  • Finish up any projects that didn't get done on Friday or Saturday
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Vacuum
  • Mop
What about you guys?  What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Baked oatmeal

The calendar SAYS summer, but you're in the Pacific Northwest, you realize that we're rocking weather closer to late spring.  Or maybe, you're in the heat dome these days.  Regardless if you're sweating your ass off, or suffering from vitamin D deficiency with me, a delicious bowl of oatmeal is something that can be enjoyed year-round.

People's complaints about oatmeal range from - "it's boring", "I'm hungry right after I eat it", "it takes too long to make it in the morning".  Hogwash I say!  Even if you hate oatmeal and have tried many different recipes in the past, I urge you to give this one a try!  The following recipe is from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson (I got it from the library), but edited by me to reflect my preferences.

Baked Oatmeal
3 tblsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating baking dish
2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats (I prefer thick cut.  Use gluten-free if you're don't tolerate gluten)
1/2 cups of walnuts or almonds, toasted and chopped (I skip the toasting, and just do the chopping)
1/3 cup of fine-grain natural cane sugar (I use homemade brown sugar)
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (we looooove cinnamon in this house, so I view a recipe's amount of cinnamon as a recommendation per serving.  I think I easily put 2 tblsp of cinnamon in this)
1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt (I use Real Salt)
2 cups of milk (I use So Delicious Coconut Milk)
1 large egg (I do 2)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (I probably rock about a tblsp in this)
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2" slices
1 1/2 cup berries (I use blueberries)
Maple syrup, for drizzling

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
2) Combine the oats, half of the nuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, whisk the milk, egg, half the butter, and vanilla.
3) Arrange bananas in a single layer on the bottom of the coated baking dish.  Sprinkle with two-thirds of the berries (I like to mix some of the blueberries with a little bit of homemade strawberry jam), then cover with the oat mixture.
Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats.  Gently tap dish on a work surface to distribute liquid.  Scatter remaining berries and nuts across the top.

See how the directions say to slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats?  That is in there for a reason...
4) Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set.  Let cool slightly.  Drizzle with remaining melted butter and maple syrup.
Even though the author of the cookbook is vegetarian, I find that this is best served with local bacon!
This has been shared over at Simple Lives Thursdays and Pennywise Platter Thursdays.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pesto chango!

Thanks to a summer that can only be summed up as "Junary",  the basil is just now starting to thrive in my garden.  I'm still a few days away from a ripe tomato, so I realized I should make use of some of this "summer" bounty.  So, what's a girl to do?  Make some pesto of course!

I don't really measure for the most part while I cook, but kind of just "dump" things in and see what works.  With that in mind, here is my "recipe":

Toast about 1/2 cup of whole almonds in a frying pan until they are lightly browned and fragrant.  Put in a food processor.  Top with 2 big handfuls of fresh, washed basil.  Sprinkle a little salt, a bunch of chopped garlic, and a big handful of grated parmesan.
Turn on the food processor and slowly add a bit of olive oil until the mixture in the processor resembles pesto.  Fairly straight-forward!

Pesto is a sauce that is best served in small quantities.  There is a reason that grocery stores sell it in teeny tiny jars - a little goes a long way.  And yikes, those jars are pricey!  I like to put my pesto in a covered ice cube tray until frozen solid, and then transfer them to a freezer Ziploc.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meal plan for August 8th-14th

A few things didn't work out last week because of schedules, so you may see a few repeats this week!

Monday - I'm working late, so my aunt is feeding Jack dinner.  I'll probably rock some eggs.

Tuesday - Burgers, corn, and sweet potato fries.

Wednesday - Pizza and grilled zucchini and eggplant.

Thursday - Working late again.  My in-laws will be feeding Jack dinner.

Friday - Homemade biscuits and gravy, and fruit.

Saturday - Chicken pot pie, veggies from the garden.

Sunday - family dinner at my parent's.

Anyone reading this blog, may notice I'm somewhat cagey about posting things that are specific about where I live, etc.  The reason is that although I blog from home, since I also work full-time, I don't want my blog life to meet my work life.

I really really wish in this instance that I didn't care and could give a shout out to a local fruit stand that helped me out this weekend.  I go there a lot and as routine, went on Friday when they get their fresh delivery of produce from Eastern Washington.  I found myself with a big bag of fresh "local" produce, and no cash.  And I had just used my last check.  And they don't take plastic.  DOH!

The cashier said "oh don't worry about it; you can just make up the difference next week".  Now that is something you don't see every day in this world.  So thank you to xxxxxx Fruit stand for extending me a helping hand.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Delicious pasta with hidden veggies...suck it Jack!

My little guy does NOT do veggies.  We have the "no thank you bite" rule, but it doesn't work well when it comes to veggies.  We try, but he just doesn't like them.  And he is one of those weird kids who doesn't like dipping sauces, so don't even try to tell me just "give him some ranch and ketchup and he'll eat anything".  Cause he won't.  I promise.  This kid doesn't like hot dogs, and just now started liking mac and cheese.  He's not a typical kid.

I can't be too upset because I HATED veggies as a kid.  It wasn't until I was about 23ish that I started being more adventurous with them.  The problem is that vegetables are so good for you.  I don't want to wait 21 more years for Jack to start getting the benefits from eating them.  So what is a momma to do?  Get sneaky of course!

I was thrilled to find this recipe because it both looked delicious AND was full of veggies that a certain toddler may not be able to detect.

Tomato-Cream Sauce
Originally from The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti
Stolen from Pinch My Saltmakes about 6 cups (1.4 liters)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
two 28-0z (800 gram) cans whole or diced tomatoes, with their juice
kosher or fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy/double cream

Warm the olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot placed over medium heat.  When the butter is melted and begins to sizzle, add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute.

Stir often, for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.  If necessary, reduce the heat to medium-low to prevent the vegetables from browning.

While the vegetables are cooking, pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with the disk with the smallest holes.  Discard the solids.  (Sarah's note: yeah, I didn't do that.  I just dumped the tomatoes in with the veggies.  Sue me).

Add the milled tomatoes to the vegetables and stir in 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper.  Cover partially and cook at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely tender.  Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for 10 minutes.

Puree the sauce using an immersion blender or a stand blender.  (If using a stand blender, you will need to puree the sauce in two batches and then return the pureed sauce to the pan).
"No Jack, there are no veggies in there...see how smooth it is..."
Add the cream, place over medium heat, and bring the sauce just to a simmer.  Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if you like.

I served the sauce over whole wheat rotini.

The moment of truth - Jack took a bite (no photo of that.  Whoops).  ::chewing, chewing, chewing::  "This is a good dinnwr mommy".

Gotcha suckah.

I've shared this over at Fight Back Fridays and Monday Mania.
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good morning, good morning

to you and you and you!


A good morning and hello to all the new readers who were linked to this blog by Once a Month Mom.  Tuesday morning, my blog and Facebook page kind of blew up with traffic.  It's exciting for me, a little overwhelming, and I hope you like what you see and end up sticking around!

If you're a new reader, here are a few posts that might help you get acclimated to what I'm all about, my journey, and the posts that seem to keep drawing people to my blog.  Grab a glass of healthy sweet tea, and happy reading!

Our journey/why I started this blog
A day in my life of working full time and trying to be a real foodie
The post I thought would get a ton more comments, but didn't
A little intro to my sweet boy
My #1 most popular post
My #2 most popular post
My #10 most popular post (even things at the "bottom" of the list deserve some love)

So again, welcome and I hope you enjoy what you're reading.
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