admin / July 30, 2014

Peach and Ginger Jam

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When fruit is plentiful I love to make batches of homemade jam. In fact, I haven’t purchased any store bought brands for four years. Like all things cooking, I often look for ways I can cut down on time. Although you still need to use canning skills to preserve this jam, it’s prepared in the microwave which speeds up the process and also lessens the heat in the kitchen.

Most of the time I’ve used peaches in this recipe, but I think nectarines would work just as well. My next tweak for this one is using mangoes so feel free to give them a try too.

4 large peaches, peeled, and cut into1/2 inch pieces

2 cups white sugar

Juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons of finely chopped ginger (or if you can find some or have some on hand about ¼ cup of crystallized ginger)

In a large(at least 8 cups) microwavable bowl add the peaches,sugar and the lemon juice and stir everything together so the sugar starts to dissolve.

Place the bowl in the microwave on full power for about 5 minutes and give at least one stir of the mixture during this time. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in the ginger, making sure it’s evenly spread throughout the mixture.

Return the bowl to the microwave and cook on full power for 15 minutes. Make sure you stir it about every three minutes. DO NOT walk away and leave it at any time because the hotter it gets the more it bubbles up and you don’t want it spilling out over the top of the bowl and into the microwave.

After 15 minutes the mixture should look gel-like which means it’s ready.

Put the mixture in your prepared canning jars and process for ten minutes.

This makes about three ½ pint jars. It’s great on toast, scones, stirred into oatmeal on a winter’s day, and served as an accompaniment to a cheese platter during the holidays.

 

admin / July 28, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Vegetable Paella

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When I was growing up in England our summer vacation was usually a trip to the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca. It’s been many years since I’ve been there but some of the new to me foods I got to try for the first time have always stayed in my mind. One such dish is paella. I’ve had a couple of attempts to make it myself but could never quite match the taste. To my surprise while I was searching on the Vitacost site I came across paella rice that’s premade with all the great spices needed for this dish. It was on sale so I thought I’d give it a try and make a vegetable paella for a Meatless Monday dish. I was pleased with the result and this rice which really compliments the vegetables and brings out their taste. If you’re not using this product I’d try brown rice and add some paprika and turmeric to give the rice the golden look and taste. I’m including a link to the product just in case you want to give it a try and it looks like it’s still on sale-

 

http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-whole-food-paella-rice-non-gmo-12-oz-340-g-2

 

 

 

1 cup Vitacost Paella rice (make as per package instructions)

 

Oil for sauteeing

 

2 cobs of corn, cooked and broken into thirds

 

1 can stewed tomatoes

 

1 onion, peeled and chopped

 

2 zucchini, chopped

 

1 cup chopped green beans

 

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

 

Salt and pepper

 

While the paella rice is cooking, in a large saucepan and over medium high heat, heat the oil and add the onion, cook until it’s slightly softened and then add the red pepper and zucchini.

 

Add some pepper and salt to taste and continue cooking until the mixture is slightly browned and the vegetables tender.

 

Add the stewed tomatoes and mix everything together. Add the corn and then pour on top of the rice and mix everything together.

 

Serve immediately.

 

Serves 4

 

 

 

 

admin / July 21, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Salsa Inspired Mac Salad

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes recipes are created when I’m cleaning out the fridge ready for the following day’s shopping expedition.  This one came about just that way. Red peppers, a jar of jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and in the pantry, half a box of elbow macaroni.  Throw them all together, add some dressing, load the final result into some lettuce leaves or use a side salad and you have a cheap and easy summer lunch or supper.

4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (I use whole wheat because I think the flavor and texture is better)

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 medium sized tomatoes, cored and chopped

1 small red pepper, deseed and chopped

1 tablespoon of chopped jarred jalapeno peppers plus about a teaspoon of juice from the jar

Pinch of salt

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup mayonnaise

In a large bowl add macaroni and then fold in the tomatoes, pepper, jalapeno pepper and juice, cilantro and salt. Mix well and then add the sour cream and mayonnaise and make sure everything is well coated. Test taste and add salt if necessary.

Chill for about 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

 

admin / July 18, 2014

Friday Round-Up-The Little Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree

I’ve always wanted a lemon tree and finally have one. I found a miniature version for $5 at the Home Depot. They did have larger ones too which were tempting but I want to see how the miniature one fares indoors during the winter before I get ahead of myself. I’ve not had much luck brining in plants from outdoors so fingers crossed the little lemon tree survives and even yields some lemons for cooking.

Growing Your Own Food

Speaking of growing your own food, I planted some tomatoes, lettuce and microgreens in my Aerogarden. During the summer lots of these ingredients vanish in a couple of days after buying them so I thought this was an inexpensive way to supplement store brought salad items. And it’s not too late to plant fall vegetables, and don’t forget that things like garlic need planting in fall.

 PricePlunge

Another item I’m now happy to own is a Westbend Pressure Cooker that I purchased from Priceplunge.com It’s the third item I’ve brought from them and if you sign up you get an e-mail featuring the item of the day without having to check daily. I hope to put this pressure cooker to good use because it also slow cooks, browns the food (great feature), and it also steams too.

 Price Book

Food prices seem to be climbing every time I head into the supermarket and I think now more than ever it pays to keep a price book so you can see (and remember) where the best prices are at.

 

I found some interesting articles on the Web, this first one has ideas for low cost dinners-

 

https://shine.yahoo.com/at-home/7-cheap-healthful-dinners-every-day-week-122600430.html

 

No pun intended here but snack foods can take the biggest bite out of your food budget so I’m always looking for recipes and ideas to make my own and stumbled across this one-

http://www.fitsugar.com/Vegan-Protein-Balls-35238685

 

If like me you prefer to make your own natural products, check out these ideas-

http://www.stonyfield.com/blog/4-diy-natural-products

 

Also from Stonyfield, Mason jars seem to be the hot in things and these salads look like something to definitely make on a hot summer day-

http://www.stonyfield.com/blog/mason-jar-salads/

 

Happy savings and have a good weekend.

admin / July 14, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Cool as a Cucumber Soup

The garden’s producing more cucumbers than you know what to do with or they’re 2 for $1 at the store. Both good reasons to try something besides slice them and put them on a salad. This was my first attempt at a cold cucumber soup. Two things you need to consider are, one, cucumbers don’t impart much taste. Two, they’re largely water so adding more isn’t a good idea. You can get rid of a lot of the water content by chopping the cucumbers and putting them into a sieve that you place over the sink or a bowl and sprinkle them with some Kosher salt. Next dilemma is solved by adding stock by not water. I used a stock cube and add just a couple of tablespoons of hot water to it. This is a perfect quick lunch or appetizer for a Meatless Monday supper on a hot summer day.

2 medium sized cucumbers, peeled, deseeded and let to drain with salt as described above. An easy way to get rid of the seeds is to slice them in half and scoop out the middle with a spoon

Kosher salt

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (two tablespoon dried will work too)

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon coriander

1 veggie stock cube dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water

Place four soup bowls in the freezer to chill while you prepare the soup.

Once the cucumbers have drained for about 30 minutes add them to a food processor and pulse a few times.

Add the dill, sour cream, coriander and stock cube and pulse about five or six times until every is pureed.

Taste test and add salt and pepper and even more dill if you like. If the soup is too thick you can add milk or coconut milk.

Place the mixture in the fridge for about 15 minutes and serve in the iced bowls with a generous sprinkling of dill.

Serves 4.

 

admin / July 7, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Baked Onions with Lentils and Red Peppers

 

Last week I purchased a 10 lb. box of Vidalia onions for $6.99 thinking I’d freeze or dry them for future use but then had a change of plan for some of them. I used six of them for this week’s Meatless Monday meal. I had some cooked lentils sitting in the fridge and also red peppers had been on sale. Combine these two with some mushrooms and you’ve got the perfect filling for an onion.

These Vidalia onions were on the large size and took a long time to cook so next time around, and something you might want to do, is boil them for about five minutes just to soften them. I’d also recommend doing that if you’re using a non-sweet variety.

These pair great with brown rice or couscous or even pita bread.

 

6 Vidalia onions

1 ½ cups cooked brown lentils

1 large red pepper, diced

1 8 ounce package mushrooms, cleaned and diced

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons oil for sautéing

1 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce

Olive oil for drizzling

Sprigs of fresh thyme (dried’s fine too)

Balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese-optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drizzle some oil onto a large baking pan.

Peel and wash the onions and then carve out the middle section. I used an apple corer which was perfect. Make sure you have enough space to get a generous amount of the lentil filling inside.

Place the onions in the baking pan and turn them over so they are coated with some of the oil.

In a large skillet and over medium high heat, heat the oil and then add the peppers and mushrooms. Add some salt and pepper and stir in the thyme, Worcestershire and soy sauces and cook until the vegetables are slightly softened and beginning to brown. Stir in the lentils and make sure everything is mixed well. Let the mixture cool for five minutes.

Put about ¼ cup of the filling into each onion. Don’t worry if some filling falls into the pan.

Drizzle lots of olive oil over each onion and the place a spring of fresh thyme (or sprinkle on dried thyme).

Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake for two hours, checking about every 15 minutes and adding more oil if necessary.

Remove the foil and cook for another thirty minutes.

Turn off the heat and drizzle each onion with Balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

 

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