Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Food Shopping Ban is Over!

Wow... not food shopping for an entire month was SO much harder than I thought it would be. In addition to the fact that we have almost no food left in the fridge or freezer, I had to tweak a lot of my recipes to make do with what I had.

In the last few weeks, we have made our own mayonnaise, chopped up pickles to replace relish, substituted white sugar for brown, used plain cinnamon in place of pumpkin pie spice, ground up grits for cornbread because we had no corn meal or muffin mix, and skipped vanilla in a variety of baked goods. We also halved recipe requirements to stretch what we had (one pound of meat in the chili instead of two, 1/4 c. chocolate chips instead of 1/2 c., etc.). I spent a lot of time online looking up different substitutions because it seemed like every recipe I wanted to make needed one ingredient I didn't have or had recently run out of.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


As I have mentioned before, finding time to eat during the day is a hard task around here. And making sure to eat something relatively healthy when hunger strikes is even harder. By the time I have two seconds to grab something, I'm so hungry the potato chips are looking like a much easier choice than some chicken breast and veggies. These super chewy and moist muffins are the answer! The whole wheat flour makes them healthier than other grab-and-go snacks, the oats make them surprisingly filling, and the chocolate adds just enough sweetness to make them seem like a treat. Throw in a glass of milk or a hard-boiled egg and I'm good to go.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

24 Hour Apple Butter

Andrew absolutely adores apple butter. (My 5th grade English teacher would be so proud of my use of alliteration there!) I buy him a jar for Christmas every year. We try out different brands, but they all pretty much taste the same. Since we recently went to a pick-your-own farm and came home with 40, yes 40, apples, the first thing I wanted to do was try to make this on my own. It turned out really well. I don't even like apple butter, but now I'm eating the stuff for breakfast every day on wheat bread. Which reminds me, I need to make some biscuits...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tangerine Chicken and Veggies over Jasmine Rice

We are big on meal planning around here. My worst nightmare is eating the same 5 or 6 dishes over and over again, week in and week out. Since today is Try Something New Tuesday in our house, I had to get creative. I knew I wanted chicken, and I happened to have a dozen or so tangerines that were taking up space on the counter. A quick search online gave me this recipe from Rachael Ray (love her!). But since I don't like hot sauce or curry, I didn't have green onions or cinnamon sticks, and I have this love/hate relationship with couscous, I changed the recipe to my liking.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Unrolled Chicken Rolls (or Cheesy Skillet Chicken)

So I found this recipe the other day where you roll a chunk of cheese up in some flattened chicken breast, tie the rolled-up chicken, brown it in a pan, then finish them off in the oven. It sounded amazing. I immediately took some thin-sliced chicken out of the freezer and started debating on cheddar versus mozzarella while I waited.

When the chicken finally thawed, I pulled out my favorite kitchen string and heated up the oven. I pounded out the chicken to the required thinness (thickness?) and started tucking beautiful cuts of mozzarella inside. With my son's help, I tied up the prettiest little chicken parcels you've ever seen. The rolls took their turn in the pan and then I parked them in the oven. In 15 to 20 minutes, we should have been in cheesy chicken heaven. Note my use of the phrase "should have".

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Super-Stuffed Peppers

After reading the recipe, you will probably notice that the
peas and carrots are missing from this pepper.
Yup, I totally forgot to put them in.

The last time I went to the little vegetable stand across the street from the grocery store, they had the nicest looking green bell peppers I had seen in a while. I bought like ten of them. I made fajitas with some, froze some, and saved the best ones for stuffed peppers. So simple, so easy, and you can skip the meat if that's your thing. I personally can live without it, but Andrew is still very pro-meat, so I throw a little in there to keep everybody happy. (When I made the Cheesy Chunky Veggie Soup the other day, his only comment was, "This is good - you should definitely add some meat to it, though.")

A Day in the Life

I remember a time when I ate without caring about calories, fat content, cost, or where my food came from. I used to eat, no lie, 2 bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits and 3 hash browns with a soda and not think anything of it (and that was just breakfast!). Then I had kids, started breastfeeding, watched a few very enlightening movies (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and Food, Inc.), and suddenly food became a much bigger deal to me. Yes, we still have processed food in the house, thanks to some very strategic couponing. But those items come out very rarely, unlike before where they were the norm.

I remember when I first started switching over to real food and thinking "I'm going to starve. What the heck are we going to eat? We're going to starve to death. With hundreds of dollars of processed food in the pantry, we're all going to die of hunger. It will be the saddest thing ever."

Sneaky Oatmeal Muffins

  If there's one thing I love more than mini muffins, it's easy cleanup. This recipe does not require mixing bowls or wooden spoons or hand mixers. The ingredients are all tossed into a blender or food processor. It doesn't get much easier than that! You officially have no excuse to not make these muffins. Go, go! Then tell me what you think in the comments below. Oh, and feel free to mix it up and swap in your favorite baby food (pears, sweet potatoes, whatever you want / have on hand).

Surprise Banana Muffins

Picky eaters in your house? These are perfect! I love that they have fruits and veggies in them. I am also dabbling in a gluten-reduction thing this week, so I used brown rice flour, but feel free to use whole wheat or all-purpose. You can freeze them (if they last that long) and use them for quick breakfasts or pack them with lunches. Your kids will think they are getting a special treat, and you'll know they are getting fruit and veggie goodness with every bite.

Kitchen Gadgets and Baby Food

I am in love with kitchenware. I have a Keurig, a blender, a toaster oven, a NutriBullet, a Baby Bullet, a juicer, a 2-tiered steamer, a baby food steamer, an ancient (and very heavy!) food processor, a mini 3-cup processer, a rice cooker, three crockpots, a pancake-puff maker, a slider burger maker, a hand blender... the list goes on and on. I am one of those people that has to have cool kitchen stuff.

I always have big plans for every new addition. Sometimes the new item is so beloved it finds an exclusive place on my countertop for easy access (like the blender). Sometimes, the novelty of buying the item is all I can stand and it sits in the back of my pots and pans cabinet, never to be used (the pancake-puff maker).  I also have baking pans of every shape and size (springform, bundt, muffin tops, minis and regulars, insulated and not, with sides and without, etc.). Some people may say I'm a hoarder. I prefer the term "well-prepared".

Monday, October 8, 2012

Roast Your Own Pumpkin Seeds

Since it's October, it's practically a pumpkin-fest everywhere you turn. So naturally, I've been craving pumpkin seeds. I have always bought packaged ones. I have always thrown away the pulpy stuff from inside my pumpkins. I'll bet you can figure out where I'm going here. Yup, I finally decided to roast my own since I had some pumpkins laying around. I don't know how much of a decision it was, considering this is no-grocery-shopping month, and it was this or nothing, so I decided to go for it.

Better-Than-Instant Oatmeal

I always bought those packets of flavored instant oatmeal, but after the Real Food Challenge, stuff like that just tastes too sweet to me. Besides, I can make my own from scratch for a lot cheaper. This is my favorite oatmeal these days.Yes, it takes a little longer than the packets, but it's so worth it.

Frozen PB&J Banana Bites

We used grape jelly, which turned the PB&J part a very deep color.

I bought a big bunch of bananas last week for my daily Banana-Berry Smoothies and Peaches and Cream Smoothies. Unfortunately, I ended up in the hospital for a few days and when I came home, a sad set of bananas were waiting for me on the counter. I had to do something pronto. Since my son loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I thought I'd give this a try. They are awesome! The bananas are so creamy because they are frozen and the peanut butter gives a nice little hit of protein. You could also skip the jelly and just do PB bites, or skip that too and use Nutella. Mmmm, Nutella...

Cheesy Chunky Veggie Soup

I love broccoli. I love cheese. I love broccoli and cheese. Unfortunately, one cannot live on broccoli and cheese alone, so I figured a few extra veggies could help balance things out in this super-yummy soup. Perfect for chilly nights!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Peaches and Cream Smoothie

I have been loving my Banana Berry Smoothies, but today I wanted something different. A quick search in the freezer turned up a bag of peaches hiding behind the berry blend, so I whipped this up.

Monday, October 1, 2012

One Month of No Food Shopping

As I have mentioned in the past, I am addicted to all things food, including the grocery store. You can find me perusing the aisles of my local mega-mart WAY too often. Like three times a week. Okay, four. Five last week, but that was a fluke. Really.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...