admin / July 26, 2013

Friday Round-Up-A Week of Good Buys

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I didn’t get time to post a round up last Friday because it’s been a hectic two weeks with various projects.

However, it’s been a good time for a bargain or two. One of the consignment stores in the neighborhood had a huge sale offering 75% off already marked down merchandise. I couldn’t resist going along to take a look because I was in need of some summer pants and t-shirts. I ended up with buying four pairs of pants and three t-shirts, most of them designer brands, and one pair of pants still had the original label on them. The cashier said okay are you ready for your total for all these…$8.25. It always feels good to come away from a store with a bag load of clothing and all for under $10.

I also netted a 2 pound bag of cherries for free. I used my cash back bonus promotion at the supermarket where I do most of my shopping. Not a huge amount but I put them toward the cherries that were on sale anyway and ended up paying nothing for them. I’ve been thinking about freezing, them, drying them, or making something with them.

The vegetable garden is doing well and also the CSA box has been overflowing with herbs, especially basil. I now have five containers of homemade pesto and already have lots of ideas about how to use it in the fall and winter.

Despite my lack of time I did get some canning done. I’ve made a dozen jars of jam, strawberry, mango, and plum and ginger, and also four jars of salsa using the parsley and spicy peppers from the CSA box.

Next week when I have more time I’ll be posting some tips about preserving food and telling you about the cookbook I co-authored.

Here are some interesting articles I found this week-

This looks too good not to try…I’m thinking I can put the cherries to good use-

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/dont-mess-texas-style-blueberry-cobbler-192700063.html

Eat healthy but don’t drain your budget-
http://shopping.yahoo.com/video/playlist/fin-fit/summer-produce-shouldnt-drain-wallet-123000805.html

Bargain priced shampoos and conditioners-

http://shopping.yahoo.com/news/affordable-award-winning-shampoos-and-conditioners–175729048.html

Make your own ice cream-
http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/magic-delicious-no-churn-vanilla-ice-cream-just-155400107.html

Happy saving and have a good weekend.

admin / July 15, 2013

It’s Meatless Monday-Veggie Bites with Feta Cheese

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Last week the weather turned hot and humid and when that happens I crave more snack size meals than anything else. I got tired of salads, and after looking through the CSA box contents and other items I had on hand, I came up with this recipe.

My first idea was veggie pancakes and a dipping sauce but as I began making this it morphed into something a little different, including the addition of some feta cheese. I sautéed these in a skillet but if you’re not too worried about deep frying foods, I think that it’s probably the best way to cook these. Quick and easy, seals the edges of the bites, and melts the cheese to perfection.

Like all recipes, nothing’s set in stone. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand or what’s a good buy at the store and use a dipping sauce of your choice-

1 cup each broccoli and cauliflower
1 carrot
1 onion
1 potato
1 yellow zucchini
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup feta cheese, broken into small bite size pieces
oil for cooking

In a large bowl, grate all the vegetables (the onions I found are better finely chopped), and mix thoroughly. Add some salt and pepper and mix again.

In a skillet over medium high heat, heat about two tablespoons of oil and then add the shredded vegetables. Cook for about 10 minutes and then add the garlic and onion powders, and oregano. Stir into the mixture and keep cooking, stirring constantly until everything is lightly golden brown.

Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool.

Stir in the two tablespoons of flour to help bind the mixture. Using floured hands, take one piece of feta cheese and three tablespoons of the vegetable mixture and mold it into a ball around the cheese. Put it on a plate and when all the mixture is used, place the bites in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Roll each one in breadcrumbs.

Heat two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. (You can use the same skillet the vegetable were cooked in and you might need more oil as you cook these). Cook, turning a few times until all sides are crisp and golden brown.

Drain on a paper lined platter.

Serve warm with a sauce or dip of your choice.

Makes 18 bites.

admin / July 8, 2013

It’s Meatless Monday-Summer Minestrone Soup with Chickpea ‘Croutons’

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The temperature is heating up and while it might seem crazy to be making and eating soup, I always make a batch of minestrone this time of year. Seeing veggies that are sometimes harder to find in winter, or cost more, gives me the motivation to make a batch. Even if you don’t eat it now, it freezes well. For this one I tried two new ingredients, or should I say, for one, a new technique.

The first was instead of celery, this one used cutting celery that was in the CSA box two weeks ago. I’d never heard of it and if you haven’t either, it’s not even celery but a herb that tastes like it. It looks similar to flat leaf parsley and I thought this was the perfect dish to give it a try.

Second different thing, instead of adding chickpeas to the soup, I made ‘crouton’s out of them. Something that gives them a little crunch, a lot of taste, and they don’t turn soft when added to the soup. (They also make a great snack item too).

Soup
3 medium size carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped green beans
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup combination of cutting celery and parsley (use 1 stalk of celery if you can’t find cutting celery)
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
4 cups stock
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil

Chickpea Croutons
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and let them air dry for about 30 minutes
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (if you want to make this soup vegan, leave this out)

For the Soup

In a large pan and over medium high heat, cook the onions in the oil until slightly softened, add the carrots, zucchini, beans and garlic and lower the heat and continue to cook until everything is softened and slightly golden brown. Add the salt, pepper and oregano, chopped tomatoes and stock.
Bring the soup to a boil and then lower heat and cook until some of the liquid has been reduced and the soup is slightly thickened.

For the Croutons
In a skillet and over medium high heat, heat the oil and then add the chickpeas. Stir them so they get coated with the oil and then add a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add the Italian seasoning and cheese and cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently. They should be slightly browned and somewhat crispy. Patience is the key to getting them just right.

Serve the soup with a handful of the croutons.

Serves 6

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