Tag Archives: stir fry

Weekly Eating – 3/12/18

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Oh man, this week was ups and downs all over. First off, Sunday was my tea party! I had such a blast getting all dolled up, when I have a theme I go ALL IN. The group of women was a great mix of personalities and it led to some really great conversation. Maybe after a while I can convince them to talk finances? 😉

tea party dress and hat

The downside of having the party hosting bug is that I go ALL IN. This means occasionally I over-do it, and I definitely over-did-it. I spent way too much on groceries, and it turned out we didn’t even use a good chunk of the food! I even tried to keep telling myself that it’s tea, not a full meal, but… I just can’t help myself!

tea party finger sandwiches

I’m gonna blame this one on my mom, who is the world’s most awesome party planner, ask anyone who knows her (she planned my amazing destination wedding for <$10,000!). I grew up with lavish parties on a shoestring budget, and a big weakness for making sure when there are 10 guests, I have enough food to feed at least 25.

tea party tea and sugar

 

Monday:

Breakfast – Waffles with fresh berries. I made a batch of waffles on Saturday and stuck them in a ziplock for breakfasts this week. And I’m so glad it’s spring, and berries are on sale again! It is not quite blueberry or strawberry season, so I know they’re greenhouse grown or imported, but I’ve missed fresh berries!

waffles with fresh berries

Lunch – Leftover 5 Bean Chili with leftover koftes mixed in. The boy didn’t love these re-heated and honestly neither did I (most things are best fresh) so I just mixed them into the chili. I figured, hey, lentils and onion go great in chili! And it tasted just fine.

chili and a salad

Dinner – Changed our minds from stuffed baked potatoes to mac n cheese! Two reasons: 1) we got a “wintry mix” of rain/sleet/snow which made for a yucky cold night and demanded comfort food and 2) I had soooo much cheese leftover from the tea party!

pesto mac n cheese

Made a big pot of “lazy black beans“, and then accidentally got caught up blogging and burnt the bottom. 🙁 I still put them in the fridge, we will see if they’re salvageable.

lazy black beans on the stove with onion and orange

Tuesday:

Breakfast – Leftover biscuits from the tea party warmed up with some strawberry jam.

tea party biscuits with jam

Lunch – I made this black rice and radish salad, with a few differences. I added lemon juice and zest to the dressing, laid it all over a bed of torn kale, and added thin sliced cucumbers.

herby black rice and radish salad

Snack – Then after lunch I had a triple chocolate brownie (from last weekend’s 3/3 party) and it was heaven. If this isn’t your definition of heaven I don’t want to know how you define it, and probably don’t want to go there.

triple chocolate brownie

Dinner – I made some crispy baked tofu for myself and ground turkey for the boy, and we had Taco Tuesday! My tacos were a little smoky but I figured it was from the fire…

tofu Taco Tuesday

We lit up a fire in the backyard and ate outside. It was still super chilly, but really nice. I can’t wait for it to warm up so we can do this more often.

fire pit in backyard

Wednesday:

Breakfast – Waffles with strawberry/OJ sauce. I just microwaved a cup of cut up berries in about 1/4 cup juice and poured it on.

waffles with strawberries

Lunch – Leftover chili and mac n cheese mixed together

leftover chili and mac n cheese

Snack – Finished the beet hummus and some veggies

beet hummus and veggies

Dinner – Sooooooooo I made a big batch of black beans… and today I tried to eat them with stir fried veggies and rice.

I choked down part of a bowl because I’d already dished it out, but the burnt flavor was just too much. I had to throw out a whole pound of cooked black beans, and my heart broke a little  🙁

burnt black beans

I had a follow-up bowl with the rest of the tofu and more rice.

black bean rice bowl
And yum-yum sauce, because, YUM

Thursday:

Breakfast –Roasted sweet potato with white beans. I loved this combo last week, but for whatever reason I took 2 bites and just could not…

roasted sweet potato with white beans

Snack 1 – good thing I had a granola bar in my lunch bag

peanut butter granola bar

Lunch –The last bit of leftover chili mac, and leftover Black Rice & Radish Salad. I’m glad I had double the lunch since I had such a lackluster breakfast appetite.

leftover chili and mac n cheeseleftover black rice and radish salad

Snack 2 – I did also make a bunch of kale chips yesterday, so I packed up the half I didn’t immediately inhale for an afternoon snack

kale chips

Dinner – I had no idea what to make, so I made refrigerator soup! It’s basically when you just pull everything out of the refrigerator and toss it together with some water to make soup. I added the sweet potato and white beans I couldn’t finish, plus some rice, some of the tofu, and other veggies.

refrigerator soup

It’s different every time, and a great way to use up bits of leftovers so you don’t have to throw them away. The boy said that with extra chilies and hot sauce it wasn’t even that bad!

Friday:

Breakfast – Great Grains cereal with Almond milk. Yet again, a cereal the boy requested, and I’m the one eating it. 😀

great grains cereal

Lunch – In cleaning out the fridge, I found out that I’d hidden a few pieces of the spinach artichoke pizza! So I dug those out to finish it off. I also had 2 lonely beet veggie burgers hanging out, so I nommed those too.

leftover spinach artichoke pizza

Things came up at work, so by the time I got back to my desk it was after 3pm. I was ravenous, and never more happy I had double the lunch than this moment.

beet veggie burgers

And now I can almost see the back wall of the refrigerator! Time to cook something…

Dinner – Stir Friday! I made my oven baked tofu and topped a stir fry of frozen veggies and extra odds and ends for a tasty, frugal meal.

crispy tofu stir fry

 

The Weekend

My sister and her friends were in Florida this week for their spring break. Since I’m halfway-ish on the drive back to Ohio, they asked to stay at our place to save on a hotel. Of course I said sure! So we will have 5 20-somethings in our house on St. Patty’s Day! Hahaha we will see how us old folk fare, if we can still hang. 😉

green beer
Please forgive me for drinking food coloring! Its only once a year I promise.

We got all the fixings for Shamrock Shakes! Not as healthy as the one I made a few years ago, but definitely tastier!

shamrock shake

Plans beyond Saturday morning? Sleep. Sit. Read. That’s pretty much it. 🙂 Well, maybe start some sweet potato slips.

 

Food Total: $122.81

Ugggggggghhhh… this was a death by a thousand cuts. No one thing was super expensive or put me over budget, I just went a little party planning crazy.

When I was looking up tea party recipes, I kept finding more and more sandwiches and sweets that I wanted to make! I ended up with five different kinds of finger sandwiches! FIVE!

But… you know… they were all delicious, and everyone seemed to really like trying one of each kind to see which was their favorite. So I can’t be too mad. At least I had plenty of tea so I didn’t have to buy any of that.

Harris Teeter

Dairy $15.43 Staples $20.92 Fruit/Veg $18.56
Sliced cheese 5 5.98 Almond milk 2 3.94 Lemons 1lb x2 4
cream cheese 0 Pancake mix 1.99 Pears 2 1.46
Goat cheese 3.99 Cereal 2 5 Pineapples 2 1.94
Quart half and half 1.47 Blue agave 9.99 Baby carrots 2 1.68
Fage Greek yogurt 0 Strawberries 2 quarts 4.98
plain Greek yogurt 3.99 Mini cukes 6 1.99
Kale 0.99
Bananas 6 1.52

Harris Teeter has email coupons just for eVIC card holders. I always check because there is usually at least one free or very marked down item that we use. This week the Fage Greek yogurt and cream cheese were totally free. Which is great, because the finger sandwiches needed cream cheese.  🙂

I admit, the blue agave syrup was a total splurge. We have started using agave as our main sweetener for tea, oatmeal, etc, rather than sugar. This was a HUGE bottle, marked down $3. So I went for it.

Kroger

Staples $23.48 Fruit/Veg $15.97
Tofu 2 3 blueberries pint 1.78
clif bar (should be free) 1.5 avocado 6 4.14
tortillas chips wtf also should be free 1.29 markdowns red bell peppers 2 0.99
buffalo sauce 0.89 markdowns yellow squash 3 0.99
hot pepper sauce 1.09 organic dill 1.99
green and red curry sauce 4.98 radishes 1.29
Hot pepper sauces 6 6.58 markdowns Serrano peppers 0.99
burger buns 0.89 markdowns apples 4 0.99
bread loaf x2, rolls 2.27 Mushrooms quart 1.99
French bread loaf 0.99 Roma tomato 4 0.82

At Kroger, they do Freebie Friday deals, and I usually wait a few weeks to get several at once. The tortilla chips and Clif bar were included, and I would not have bought them if not free, but they didn’t ring up.

I noticed once I got home and was filling in my spreadsheets… but is not quite $3 worth going back to the store to fight over? Probably not. Just very annoying.

 

Lessons Learned

More ugggggh… I hate food waste! Hate it. And having to toss a huge batch of my favorite frugal food (black beans) kills me. Plus it throws off my plan of eating black bean breakfast tacos, and beans and rice for lunch. So this week was a bit of a scramble. I plan to do better next week.

I’m considering doing intermittent fasting for a bit, due to my weird dislike of breakfast lately. I used to be a devoted fan of breakfast for many years, now it seems like nothing sounds good, and even when it does, I take a few bites and then am over it. I don’t want to waste food, that’s for sure. So maybe my body’s just changing in my 30s, and trying out not eating until a little later in the day will help.

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 1/22/18

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

This weekend I was on my A-game with meal prepping.

Sunday meal prepping

Bell peppers were on sale for 0.99/each, which usually only happens in the height of summer. So naturally I planned on making a batch of stuffed peppers. I’d also been hankering for hummus, so I whipped up a half batch in the blender, and at the last minute decided “why not throw in some turmeric too?” It came out a lovely vibrant yellow! I even used real tahini rather than my usual cheap-o peanut butter.

stocked refrigerator after meal prepping

With the other half can of chickpeas I made a Greek tabbouli type salad with cucumber, tomato, couscous, and red onion. (CRAP! I should’ve added kalamata olives too… ah, next time.) Bags of pre-cut cauliflower were cheaper per pound than buying a whole head, so I roasted a bag of that and added buffalo sauce for funzies. And a big ol pan of enchiladas, mostly pork for the boy with two black bean and mushroom vegetarian ones for myself.

black bean mushroom enchilada

Blueberries were also on sale this week, so I portioned out a few small containers. Whew! Now, on to the week!

Monday:

Breakfast – a piece of fruitcake from the holiday Food Swap! I had never had fruitcake, since it has such a sterling reputation, but y’all. This lady’s recipe was amaaaaaazing! It was dense and moist cake, and was just bursting with huge chunks of mango, apricot, papaya, and whole nuts. It was seriously addictive. I’m so bummed it is a super secret family recipe, she legit won’t share it!

holiday fruitcake and tea

Lunch – Lentil & couscous stuffed pepper. This is so simple, just cook 1 cup couscous, rice, or quinoa. Mix with 1 cup cooked lentils, black beans, or pinto beans. Add 1 can diced tomatoes, and stuff into 3-4 bell peppers. Bake for 350 about 25-30 minutes until soft.

lentil and couscous stuffed bell pepper

Dinner – Stir Fry! I used some veggies from the fridge and some from the freezer, plus the tofu from the sale a few weeks ago, to whip up tonight’s batch of stir fry.

stir fry veggies in pan

Note to self: when oven-baking tofu, don’t use the pre-chunked kind! The pieces are just too small and stick to the pan something awful. It was still super tasty though.

tofu stir fry

Snack – blueberries

blueberries

Tuesday:

Breakfast – I made some oatmeal with dates, but forgot to take a photo, oops! It was tasty and warm, and very filling.

Lunch – Tabbouli. I like this type of meal because it’s totally fine at room temperature and very portable. I didn’t even need a lunch bag I just threw it in my work bag and went.

tabbouli with chickpeas, cucumber, and red onion

Snack – I had got some protein bars on super sale (like 90 cents) and tried one today. It was horrid. It was hard but chewy, and tasted like basically a caramel with protein powder. And also had chunks of raw coconut. Gag. I swallowed the one small bite and tossed the rest. I hate wasting money 🙁

Dinner – White Bean & Barley Soup – this was a crossover between my Ham & Barley Soup and my White Bean Soup. I didn’t have a lot of ham, just a tiny bag of a few frozen cubes left over from who knows when that we found in the freezer. So I figured, add a can of white beans to bulk it up, and dang, it was a great combo! This might be my new go-to.

ham, white bean, and barley soup

Wednesday:

Breakfast – loaded baked sweet potato. I zapped it in the microwave covered in a wet paper towel for 10 minutes, then piled on some black beans, salsa, purple sauerkraut & avocado. Mind blowingly good, and I nommed the whole thing!

loaded baked sweet potato

Lunch – Black bean & mushroom enchilada, buffalo cauliflower, and blueberries

black bean enchilada with buffalo cauliflower

Dinner – Black bean veggie burger with Green Goddess, sauerkaurt, freezer mac n cheese, and veggies on the side. Yes, I know I had black beans at every meal today, and yes I’m quite proud of that fact.

veggie burger with green goddess and mac n cheese

Making our way further into the freezer, I pulled out a box of Aldi black bean patties and an old pre-made mac n cheese, plus some frozen edamame and corn on the side for a colorful, healthy, and super filling dinner.

ALDI black bean veggie burgers

Snack – tea and a Stroopwafel. GUYS. Have you had a Stroopwafel?? It is as much fun to eat as it is to say! It’s a thin, crispy waffel, well, two of them, with a layer of sweet salty caramel in between. It is absolute heaven with a cup of hot green tea.

tea and stroopwafel

Thursday:

Breakfast – Homemade yogurt with blueberries and tropical granola

homemade yogurt parfait with blueberries and granola

Lunch – Stuffed Pepper & a banana

stuffed bell pepper and a banana

Dinner – The famous One-pan Buffalo Potato Bake, with previously cooked & frozen pulled pork. Have I mentioned my love of freezer meals enough yet?

buffalo pork potato bake

Snack – blueberries and a Sesame bite from Puerto Rico!

berries and sesame bite

Friday:

Breakfast – PBJ sandwich thin

peanut butter and jelly sandwich thin

Lunch – lentil & couscous stuffed pepper & blueberries

lentil and couscous stuffed pepper with blueberries

Dinner – Masoor Dal, or red lentils, over black ‘forbidden rice’

ingredients for masoor dal

I want to cook more ethnic dishes this year, so I’m easing into it with a super simple dish. Lentils are insanely good for you, and insanely cheap too. Plus all the spices in typical curry are also highly rated on the health-o-meter.

red lentils and black rice

Snack – Turmeric hummus and veggies. How could you not love the neon yellow color?!? I know I did.

bright yellow turmeric hummus

The Weekend

This is another chill weekend, as the boy is still not feeling 100%. I’m planning to head over to Spice Bazaar and pick up some more delish Indian foods and spices, and while I’m on that side of town I’ll hit the ALDI as well. We are running a little low on produce.

Food Total: $41.23
Meats $2.89 Dairy $4.40 Staples $7.49 Fruit/Veg $26.45
1lb turkey 2.89 Yogurts 11 4.4 Flatout Wraps 2 6pk 5 Bananas 12 3.07
seltzer 12 pack 2.49 Avocado 2 2.5
chopped cauliflower 4.99
bell peppers 4 3.96
1 cucumber 0.99
pint mushrooms 1.99
blueberry pints 2 3.76
Dry prunes 18oz 5.19

Eating healthfully does not have to be expensive!

I mean, look at the enchiladas. $1.99 for 10 tortillas, $1.25 for a can of sauce, $1.99 for pint of mushrooms (I used half), $0.25 for a can of black beans = $5.48 total and you can make 8 enchiladas, so 0.68 per serving! With 2 tortillas left over for a PB, banana, & honey snack or turkey pinwheels.

What about the stuffed peppers? $3.96 for 4 peppers, maybe 0.50 worth of lentils and another 0.50 of couscous (or rice), 1 can of diced tomatoes at 0.25 = $5.21 total so $1.30 per serving. And if you don’t have a big appetite one huge pepper can be 2 different meals. They also freeze pretty well for later.

Lessons Learned

Meal prepping is such a great time saver! I enjoy cooking too much to make enough for lunches and dinners, I would get bored quickly. But for lunches, it is really nice to already have meal options cooked and packed and ready to go, you just grab the container you want that day. Same thing for healthy snacks.

 

How about you guys, did you have a great week or a learning week?

Cashew Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

 

You know my biggest topics I love to talk about are: 1) Healthy food, 2) Delicious & New foods, and 3) Affordable food, right?  Well, if you didn’t you do now.

Not much lights me up more than finding or creating a recipe that is good for you, quick and easy to make, and also draws rave reviews from a somewhat finicky eater.  Stir fry is almost always one of those meals.  Stir fry is always in my top ten for one simple reason: you can put just about anything in it.

Seriously.  Chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, scrambled eggs, fish, tofu, tempeh.  Broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, water chestnuts.  Ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, onions, garlic, nuts.

All of the above.

Sure, there are sometimes occasional fails (for the love of god, do not put oregano into your stir fry, just trust me. Also this is proof I’ve loved stir fry at least since 2011, and how far both my cooking and writing have come since then!).  But the majority of the time, the recipe of Protein + Veggie + Rice + Sauce = Magic.

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For this particular recipe, I had just made a batch of My Homemade Pickled Ginger and it had aged in the refrigerator a week or two, so I was eager to try it out.  I also had some black sesame seeds which had been a Christmas gift and I still hadn’t yet used.  Combine that with a cheap $1 store bagged mix of broccoli slaw, free green onions that grow wild in my yard, a cup of brown rice, and some other ingredients I always have on hand, and I had a super quick, super cheap, and super satisfying dinner.

A few notes on substitutions:  If you do not like cashews or don’t buy them because of cost, you can easily substitute peanuts or almonds.  Or if you’re allergic, definitely omit them!  (You could add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a boost of vitamins if you like).  If you don’t like onions, use chives, or parsley, or just don’t add it in.  I used brown rice because I like the texture and I like the nutrition as compared to white, but you can totally use white rice, or a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture!  You can use shredded or powdered ginger instead of fresh.  And if you don’t like bagged store mixes, feel free to shred your own broccoli, cabbage, and/or carrots.

Cashew Ginger Chicken Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked diced or shredded chicken
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw mix
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (or veggie stock or water)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp sliced pickled ginger
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp crushed cashew pieces
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion/chives
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

IMG_3643

Step 1: Put the bagged slaw mix and mushrooms in a large pan with the olive oil and stock or water and cover.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Once the veggies are softened, remove the lid and add the soy sauce and ginger.  Add in the chicken, mix well to coat, and let the liquid evaporate until most is gone.

IMG_3647

Step 2: Put about 1/2 cup cooked rice and 1/2 the cooked mixture on a place in whatever way visually pleases you.

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Step 3: Sprinkle the crushed cashews and green onions on top.  Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and enjoy!

Walmart Grocery To Go – Part 2

 

This is part two of my experience with the Walmart Grocery To Go service.

This second order was in anticipation of a birthday party. My boyfriend got lucky, our birthdays are exactly one day apart. No excuse for forgetting my birthday, ever.

So we were both at home in our respective states for the holidays, meaning we did not get to celebrate our birthdays together. We decided when we got back we would throw a joint party for all our friends to come hang out and tell stories of their holidays too. This would be the first time we all saw each other in about a month.

I had placed the order a few days ahead of time, and set the delivery for between 6-8PM on Thursday. We had dinner, watched a movie. It was 6:30… 7:30… 8… 8:30… 9. I called the customer service line to figure out what was going on. The representative was refreshingly helpful and kind, he really was awesome. If only all customer service was like this.

However, what he found out was that the location I had ordered from was running four hours behind, and no one could contact the driver of the delivery truck, though my order was apparently already loaded onto the truck.

My order might not be delivered until after 1am… do I still want it? Ummm… no! I’m not staying up way past midnight when I have to wake up the next day at 5:30AM for work.

So I thought he cancelled it, yet I still got a call from someone around 11, who left me a voicemail telling me the same thing, my order will be delivered around 1am, do I still want it?

No.

However, there were no delivery times available the next day, which was the planned day of the party. I could go pick up the order at the store after noon, did I want to do that?

No, thank you.

The whole point of delivery, is that it is delivered. I don’t have to drive a half hour and go into the store to pick it up then load it into my car, drive home, and unload it all.

Needless to say, I was frustrated.

However, three of the people we invited had other things happening that weekend anyways, so we moved the party date to the following weekend. Good news for Walmart I guess.

So I rescheduled the delivery. And as a bonus for having messed up, they increased my budget a little and gave me free delivery again. Something is better than nothing I suppose. Now the delivery was set for the following Thursday night, same time, 6-8PM.

Thankfully, this one showed up on time, right around 6:45.

IMG_7746

I had decided to go with an Asian theme for dinner. I stocked up on some stir-fry noodles, teriyaki sauce, fresh veggies and chicken, sweet & sour sauce, and egg rolls. I already have some chop sticks I bought forever ago, so I busted those out too.

There was one item out of stock (the bok choi for stir fry) and a substitution of Lays brand dip for the Walmart Great Value brand. That wasn’t a problem, because the substituted brand was actually more expensive, but they do not charge you the difference.

IMG_7750

Then for the “party” portion after dinner, I got several types of chips and French onion dip. A few cans of chickpeas and a can of tahini so that I can make my own hummus. Several party size bags of white cheddar popcorn (pretty sure the “white” part is crack. Cause for real, I can eat an entire bag in a day), and jelly beans.

IMG_7749

In terms of the rest of the party experience, I also decided to get some “Island Fresh” Febreze so my house smells pretty, as well as Suave clinical strength deodorant, so I smell pretty too! And bonus for those readers over 21, beer is an option on Walmart Grocery. Count me in for a 24-pack of the 16 oz cans of Budweiser. For after the party, I got a gigantic bottle of lemon scented Cascade, to make dish clean-up easy breezy.

On to the cooking!

Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry

IMG_7773

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes Thai stir fry noodles
  • 2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned bell peppers
  • 2 cups broccoli/cauliflower
  • 1 cup shredded spinach
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 small bottle teriyaki sauce (or make your own)
  • 3-4 pounds chicken breast strips
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch or flour to thicken sauce
  • Sriracha or hot sauce, to taste
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

IMG_7760

Step 1: Bring a pot of water to a boil, and boil your noodles 7-9 minutes. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the coconut oil. Add the peppers, broccoli, and/or cauliflower and cook 5-6 minutes, covered. Then add the spinach, cabbage, and any spices/hot sauce. Cook another few minutes, until all veggies are soft.

IMG_7762

Step 2: Either in a separate pan, or remove the veggies and keep warm, cook the chicken strips 8-10 minutes both sides, until no longer pink in the center. Pour on the terikayi sauce, heat to simmering. Add the cornstarch and whisk to combine. Cook until sauce thickens. Combine with veggies.

Step 3: Strain the noodles, and add to the pan. Mix everything well, and heat through.

IMG_7765

We had a lovely dinner together, sharing stories and catching up. The stir fry was a hit! The teriyaki sauce is delicious but thinner than I thought. I added some cornstarch to thicken it up and it worked like a charm.

Homemade Hummus

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Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, depending on taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons warm water
  • Dash of ground paprika for serving

Optional: black or red pepper, roasted red peppers, dill, cilantro, parsley, cooked edamame, roasted beets

IMG_7756

Step 1: Add the tahini and lemon juice to a food processor or blender, and blend on high for at least 1 minute, up to 10. According to this recipe from Inspired Taste, this makes all the difference in a smooth, store-bought-like consistency.

Step 2: Open the can of garbanzos, and put in a colander. Run cold water over them for several minutes to remove any toxins & excess sodium. If you wish, add to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes to soften them. Then add to the tahini paste and blend another 4-5 minutes.

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Step 3: Add the garlic cloves, olive oil, and sea salt to taste, along with any other desired ingredients. If you don’t have tahini, try peanut butter or almond butter. You can use whatever spices sound good to you. Roast some beets and add them for a shocking pink hummus or a cup of cooked edamame for a delicate green boost of protein and fiber. Get crazy!

Step 4: Blend everything well until the desired consistency, adding a few tbsp water if needed. Use a spatula to pour into a bowl, and garnish with some olive oil, a dash of paprika, and/or some fresh herbs. Enjoy alone, on sandwiches, or with fresh crudités.

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Several games were gifted to us during the holidays, one of which is always a huge hit at parties: Cards Against Humanity. With game-play much like Apples to Apples but with a much more… “mature” card content, our group of friends loved it.

If your friends (and you) like intricate games with a lot of thought and strategy, you might want to look into Betrayal at House on the Hill.  In this game, you are a band of brave explorers who find a haunted house. You go through the house discovering new rooms. Based on the rooms you find, different events can happen.

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At some point during the game, “the Haunting” is triggered. The game decides who becomes the Traitor, who must now try to accomplish their goal to the detriment of their former friends, whilst the Heroes now try to defeat them first.

With 50 different unique stories, and endless unpredictable variations, this game will keep us entertained for a long time to come!

One whole bag of the white cheddar popcorn disappeared within the first two hours, and the homemade hummus was way better than even the freshest deli purchased tub. No one commented on the Island scent, but no one said it smelled bad either, so that’s a win. And the lemon Cascade works great for clean dishes with no streaks, and just a hint of lemon scent.

All in all, this delivery was far more trouble and frustration, though it worked out in the end. If I had this planned for an event that actually happened the day it was planned and my delivery just didn’t show up until after midnight, I would be extremely displeased. They did try to make it right after the fact, but we are at 50% (one of two deliveries were positive experiences).

One more delivery remains, so stay tuned!

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Easiest steak stir-fry

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Anyone who doesn’t have a personal chef is a fan of meals that are fast and easy to make. Bonus if it happens to NOT be grease-laden, deep-fried, double-wrapped hatred of yourself. Aka some semblance of nutritional value. At least to me that’s a priority.
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This is one of my standby all-time favorite recipes, used from the lowly days of undergrad’s first apartment until the present, it has never failed me yet. Once the individual ingredients are made, they are very versatile, and remain so even after mixing.
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Ingredients:
1 cup rice (I used easy brown)
1-2 cups frozen veggie, any you like
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed
*You can stop here for a filling vegan/vegetarian snack or meal, or continue to carnivorize it
2 tbsp sriracha, if you like it hot
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 cube frozen veggie stock or ice cube
1 small steak (or pork or chicken…)
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Step 1: Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup rice, microwave on high 10 minutes. Let sit for 5, then fluff with a fork.

Step 2: Put frozen veggies and beans in a bowl, microwave 5-10 minutes while waiting for rice to absorb the water.

Step 3: Mix rice, beans and veggies. Sprinkle on some garlic salt and enjoy from here, or….

Step 4: Pour on the sriracha and soy sauce

Step 5: Put the steak in a frying pan on medium heat, add extra soy sauce if you like, and the cube of liquid. Cover and cook on medium for about 5 minutes, until nice and brown. Flip and cook on the other side 5 minutes.

Step 6: Remove steak and cut into bite-size pieces. Return to the pan along with the rice, veggies and beans and mix well. Heat through, and enjoy!

This is quite customizable based on what type of vegetables and meat you like, you can use white or brown rice, and mix up the type of beans too. Try Italian seasoning, or garlic salt, or Worchestershire. The sky’s the limit!

Hawaiian shrimp & broccoli

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I am once again moving, so I make due with whatever is left in the house for dinner.
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I had in my freezer:
1/2 bag frozen broccoli
1/2 bag frozen shrimp
In the fridge:
1/4 fresh pineapple
Soy sauce, Worchestershire, BBQ, ketchup
In the pantry:
1 bag simple rice, brown rice

Step 1: Microwave the rice 90 seconds and fluff.

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Step 2: In a bowl, mix 2 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, 2 tbsp BBQ sauce, 1 tbsp sugar. Add shrimp, coat well. Microwave on high 4 minutes.

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Step 3: Add broccoli, microwave another minute.

.Step 4: Dice pineapple very small. Add and mix well. Put 1/2 cup rice on plate, add 1 cup shrimp mix and some sauce. Dinner in under ten minutes! Enjoy!

Sweet and tangy, protein plus fruit & veggies!

The versatility of stir-fry

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Especially during the summer, when fresh produce is cheap and plentiful, a veggie stir fry is always an awesome option. Cheap, easy, very filling and excellent for you. It is also very versatile, as my many meals from the stir-fry will show!
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Ingredients:
1/2 red, orange, and yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 zucchini, diced
1 large radish, diced
2 turnips, diced
1 med carrot, diced
1 can black beans
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup cous cous
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Extras:
Torn romaine lettuce, tomato chunks, sour cream, salsa, diced avocado

Step 1: Saute all the veggies in order of hardness, until all are tender. Add the black beans and heat until warmed through. Season if you want with garlic and other spices.

Meal 1: Add the stir fry and all extras into a flour or corn tortilla, eat as a burrito.

Meal 2: Put the hot stir-fry over some freshly cooked cous cous. You can top with hummus, salsa or a dressing if too dry.

Meal 3: Cover a large plate with torn romaine, add cooked cous cous, and veggies and extras on top, eat as a salad.

These meals were all eaten on different days, because the stir fry makes a ton and keeps well in the fridge. This is easy, cheap and very versatile. Add whatever veggies you like and have on hand. These 3 meal types will work well with any kind of stir fry, so go crazy!

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Kale chips really are good!

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I am working on a CSA farm this summer, and we have begun harvesting and distribution. This week the take-home was:
  • 1 bag mixed lettuces.
  • 1 bag kale.
  • 1 carton snow peas.
  • 1 bunch radishes.
  • 1 bunch turnips.
  • 1 bunch pak choi.
  • Handful broccoli .
  • Herbs – spearmint, pineapple mint, oregano, thyme, farrow
I have been hearing so many people and blogs talk about how kale is bitter and hard to cook, but kale chips seem to be wildly popular. And they are amazingly easy to make! Then when searching recipes for turnips, I kept “turning up” (haha) mashed potatoes and turnips recipes. The pak choi lends itself well to stir-frying, add in some extra veggies and you’ve got yourself a meal! So my good (brave) friend and I embarked upon a cooking adventure to use up most of the farm food.
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Mashed Potatoes & Turnips:
2 large potatoes, diced
3-4 turnips, diced
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter/margerine
1/4 cup cream cheese or sour cream
Garlic powder
Step 1: Thoroughly wash veggies. Dice potatoes and turnips into small pieces. The smaller the pieces the faster they cook.
Step 2: Put the potatoes and turnips into a pot and cover with water. Get to a rolling boil, then boil for 20 minutes or until soft.
Step 3: When soft, drain and place in a large bowl. Break big chunks with a fork.
Step 4: Add wet ingredients, and blend well. Add as much garlic as you like!
The turnips have a soft taste to compliment the starchy potatoes, and of course you can experiment with other milk products and butter and spices or salt. But honestly, after you get used to the first few bites, mashed vegetables au natural tastes like nothing else! And it is delicious. We both had seconds.
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Pak Choi Stir Fry:
1 bunch pak choi
1 large carrot
~2 cups snow peas
1/2 cup broccoli
2 tbsp olive oil
Step 1: Thoroughly wash all veggies. Dice the carrots and broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Put the oil into the pan and put on medium heat.
Step 2: Add veggies in order of firmness, carrots and broccoli first, then snow peas, then pak choi for the last 5 minutes. Stir and keep covered throughout.
About 10 calories per serving, mostly from the oil! You can also steam the veggies.
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Kale Chips:
1 head kale
2 tbsp olive oil
~2 tbsp sea salt
Optional seasonings – we did one batch with chili powder to spice it up
Step 1: Tear the kale leaves from the main stem, and tear into bite size pieces.
Step 2: Place in a bowl and drizzle olive oil, in small amounts. Toss until just coated.

Step 3: Lay in single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for ~20 minutes, tossing once. When chips are just beginning to turn brown and are crispy to the touch, they’re ready.

Crispy, healthy Kale chips!

These chips are light and airy, but totally delicious. It’s a strange sensation your first bite, but I guarantee it won’t be your last!

Dinner fresh from the farm!

Vegetarian Stir Fry

This is one of my favorite go-to meals because: 
a) it is quick
b) it is easy 
c) it is cheap
d) it is different and delicious every time! 
Stir fry is great because it is so versatile. Basically it’s rice and whatever else you want to put in it! I’m sure I will be stir frying a LOT this summer, because I’m working on an organic CSA farm (http://www.facebook.com/schoonerfarms) and will have a ton of fresh veggies once the growing season gets into full swing. Also, I’m trying to eat at least 2 full days a week vegetarian, for health purposes. So anyways, here is the stir fry du jour.
Ingredients
1/2 cup white rice ($2 for 24 oz)
2 large baby bella mushrooms ($1 for the pack)
Handfull snow peas (Free from the farm)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped ($1 for pepper)
1/2 large carrot, shredded ($1 for 1 lb bag)
1/2 cup small broccoli pieces ($1 for a head)
1 stick celery (~1 for 2 lbs)
2 tbsp each soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce
Garlic salt
Total cost: ~$2
 
Step 1: assemble ingredients, put oil in a frying pan on low. Boil water for the rice.

Step 2: Dice up all the veggies while the rice cooks.

Step 3: Begin cooking veggies, toughest one first. I put in the broccoli for about 2 minutes alone, then the celery and peppers, then the carrots and peas, and finally the mushrooms. It helps to add a few tbsp water and cover tightly to steam them for a few minutes.

Step 4: Add the cooked rice and sauces, fry everything together for a minute or 2, and enjoy! There are endless variations of this, you can add as much sauce and different kinds or none at all, you can scramble an egg or add meats if you like. This is also very frugal and budget-friendly because you can use up all the odds and ends of vegetables in your fridge before they go bad!

Tilapia & stir fry

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So I am still in a spending hiatus where I do not spend anything. Therefore for dinner I had to take stock of my pantry, fridge and freezer, and come up with something healthy, easy and quick. In my apartment I had:
Tilapia: 5.99 for 6 fillets = $1/fillet
Wild rice: 1.29 for 1 microwave serving
Frozen stir fry veggies: $1 for 16 oz bag
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Other miscellaneous ingredients:
Red Thai curry spice = $3.50 for a bag full
Lemon juice: $1 for 12 oz. bottle
Vegetable oil: $9 for a gallon
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Step 1: In a medium frying pan, put 2 tilapia fillets straight from the freezer, with 2 tbsp. olive oil and about 4 tbsp lemon juice. Simmer on lowest heat covered for about ten minutes or until fish turns white and bottom browns.
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Step 2: Flip once, sprinkle a pinch of spice onto the bottom. Add more oil or lemon juice if needed. Simmer another 5 minutes or so to brown the top. Always keep covered and don’t burn it. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
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Step 3: Steam the rice in the microwave for 2 minutes. In the same pan, add 1 more tbsp oil and a cup of frozen veggies. Cover and steam for about 5 minutes or until veggies thaw and soften. Add in the rice, mix well. Serve 1 fillet over half the stir fried rice.
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Total: $2 (2 fish fillets) + 1.29 (rice) + 0.20 (1 cup of veggies) + ~0.10 (spices and liquids) = $3.59 for 2 servings. Not bad!