Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Garden Help...

Who wants to help me out?  I've got some garden questions.  Actually just one question...

What is that?

That tall thing in the middle.

See?  What is it?

There's a closer shot of it.  

Any ideas?  It started growing before I got to weeding and so I let it continue thinking it may be a lettuce or something but it's gotten very tall.  Does lettuce get tall?  Or is it just a weed?  Any ideas???

Our friend Chris tasted a piece of it and said it "Definitely tastes like lettuce".  Not that I don't take his input to heart but I'd prefer someone with a stronger gardening/veggie background let me know. lol!

And if you're asking who just has random veggies pop up in their garden, I'll answer with this...

That would be a random tomato plant that grew. :)

And a few years ago I had butternut squash come up out of no where!

But this year I have some zucchini that I planted...

And a LOT more tomato plants. I love having lots of tomatoes for salads, soups & drying. :)

 There are also some bell pepper in there.

Oh and there are a handful of flowers too!

So any ideas on the big green guy?  PLEASE help a girl out. :D

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Frozen Yogurt Drops

The Hubs has been working crazy hours again and so sit down meals have almost disappeared.  Kai and I tend to snack, or picnic on the floor, or do what ever it is we do where we fill our bellies but I miss taking pictures. :)

So once again I'm sharing with you a snack.  But this is a perfect snack for those hot summer days.  Hot summer days spent sitting out listening to cars drive in an oval.  

Yep, it's the Indy 500.  We don't go to the race but live close enough to hear the cars.  So every Memorial weekend we crank up the radio and listen to the race as we, well, listen to the race. :)

Frozen Yogurt Drops
2-3 T Honey (I used Apple Cinnamon flavored)
1 baggie
Cookie Sheets lined with parchment paper

I used my homemade yogurt and some flavored Spun Honey we got when we went to the Honey Farm. :)

Put the yogurt & honey in a ziplock bag and mix it together until it's well blended. (Make sure you lock the baggie so you don't make a mess!)

Once it's blended cut the tip off one bottom corner of the bag so you can use it like a pastry bag.

Grab your cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper (so once they're frozen they're easy to remove).

Then just drop away.  I wound up having to pull out a second sheet it made so many drops!

Then just pop it into your freezer for an hour or so.  Once they're frozen put in a freezer bag and then enjoy on those hot summer days.  Kai LOVES them...she thinks they're yogurt "chocolate chips".  :D

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Easy Bake

Wednesday is Aunt Abee's birthday.  And she let Kai know on Friday.  That's a total of 6 days of birthday talk!!  We already have her gift bag full of stuff including (Aunt Abee, if you're reading this then act surprised) Homemade Cards, some of our junk mail, change found under the couch, a "bird house", and I'm pretty sure more that I haven't even seen yet!  Yep, Kai likes to give as much as she likes to receive.

In addition to prepping the present, we HAVE to have cake.  All I've heard about for the last 24 hours is "when are we going to have the cake?".  So today we pulled out the Easy Bake to make some cupcakes.  They became cookies due to the size of the Easy Bake...And then Kai and I ate them all so there are none for the actual birthday girl.  I'm starting to think that Kai didn't really want cake for Abee so much as for herself! :)

The thing about the Easy Bake is that it's SMALL.  REALLY SMALL.  So here's a recipe for an Easy Bake.  Or if you don't have one, pour it in a cup and nuke it for a couple minutes for personal cake. :)

Lemon Blueberry Easy Bake Cookie Cake
Makes 12, or 6 plus enough cake batter to share while the 6 are cooking. :)

3 T Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/8 t Baking Powder (just a pinch)
1/2 t Vanilla
1 T Coconut Oil (I like unrefined since it has more coconuty flavor)
1 T Almond Milk
1t Lemon Juice
1 pkt Truvia
6-12 Blueberries

Mix everything but the Blueberries together in a bowl.

Put a spoonful of batter onto your cookie sheet.  (I started trying to use the "cupcake" pan but everything was too tall to fit in the oven so we switched to the cookie sheet so they could be smooshed down a bit.)  Tap 1 Blueberry into the center of each one.

Bake for 10 minutes until they seem well baked.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Green Bean Delievery

Once again, I failed on the food picture front.  I made an omelette for breakfast, snacked on fruit & veggies at Kai's class picnic and then made a late dinner of nachos using chips, chickpeas, spinach, salsa, cucumber nutritional yeast and greek yogurt.  Plus I snacked on watermelon ALL day.  But there are no pictures. :(

Since I don't have any foodie pics and I got our 2nd Green Bean Delivery today I thought I'd share that with you instead. :)  Basically they "offer the convenience of bringing the freshest local & organic produce and natural groceries right to your doorstep."  It costs us $35 every two weeks (the minimum you can order) and we get a Small Produce Bin.

The $35 every other week fit our budge perfectly (assuming we don't run out of food mid-week) so my plan is to use the Green Bean Delivery instead of doing the produce shopping at the grocery store on the week it's delivered, and then on the next week I'll buy the stuff I need more of...Spinach, apples, etc. :)

By using the Green Bean Delivery we're buying more local and organic foods and I get stuff that I normally wouldn't pick up so we get a much better variety. :)

OK - so here's what we got....

It arrives in an insulated bin:

See - it's insulated...

 Inside is our produce along with an ice pack. Once I unload the produce I store the bin & ice pack in our garage until the next delivery.  Then I put it out on our porch and it's replaced with a new full bin...just like magic. :)

Here's this weeks loot pulled out....

5 ears of Bi-color corn
1 bunch of broccoli
3 vidalia onions (it said 2 but I got 3 - score!)
3 Limes
1 Ruby Grapefruit*
1 Red Bartlett Pear*
1 Kiwi*
4 Yellow Peaches
2 Avocado (they need to ripen more but that's not a big deal)
2 Green Bell Peppers
6oz Blueberries
1 Romaine Lettuce
1 bunch of fresh Cilantro (and it truly was cilantro...not Italian Parsley)

* the original bin had Radishes in it which I've never cared for so I replaced them with a Grapefruit, a Pear & a Kiwi. :)

So there you have it.  This is only our second bin but the first was a big hit with me. :)  It's just a matter of how it effects our budget.  Since the Hub's plans his meals and then I just work mine into the mix I don't have a pre-determined idea of what I'm going to eat.  Generally I just take what ever veggies I have, roast them on the grill and eat them with a protein (Beans, Chickpeas, Quinoa, Hummus, etc...).

If you want to give them a try let me know!  Right now they have a promotion going on that your first order is $15 off and your referral (me, if you'd be so kind) also gets $15 off.

How do you do your produce shopping?  Grocery store on a weekly basis?  Farmer's Market? Delivery Service?  We'll be using the Green Bean Delivery every other week, then grocery store on the off weeks, and then I go to the Farmer's Market Express near our house during the week for fresh fruits/snacks.  For that I use my own money so it really doesn't come out of the grocery budget at all.

Oh and speaking of the Old Farmer's Market Express...Yogulatte is now open near our house (and next to FME)  It actually opened yesterday and I'd go today if it wasn't Carb Day at the 500 but there's no way I'm going anywhere near that crowd!  The 500 is no joke and it's crazy hot out.  I'm pretty sure it's going to be a mad house over there. lol!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Choppin' Watermelon


It's easily one of my favorite foods.  I can eat an entire melon in one sitting and still not be sick of it.  In all my watermelon consumption I've perfected my style of cutting it so I thought I'd share.

Plus my meals yesterday consisted of oatmeal for breakfast, rice & beans for lunch and then rice & beans with tortilla chips for dinner.  So if you saw my pics from Tuesday's dinner you've basically also seen Wednesday's eats.

So, here's how I cut my watermelon for easy-peezy snacking....

Step 1.  Get your melon.  (this is the hardest part since they've been around $6!!  Fortunately they've been on sale for only $3 this week)

Step 2.  Cut the melon in half (save the second half for the next day when you'll probably need more because you've, once again, shown a total lack of control and eaten everything), then cut a sliver off the end so that you can see where the red starts.

Step 3.  Carve the rind off in slivers...

...until you have a naked melon.
This one was a little pinker than I like but what can you do?
Step 4. CAREFULLY slice the watermelon horizontally.  I don't make much of an effort to keep them perfectly straight.  It's fun to look for the "big" pieces when you're eating. :)

Step 5. Cut vertically in one direction.

 ...then cut vertically in the other direction.

Step 6.  You're done cutting - just put it into a bowl and eat to your heart's content.

So I'm curious...How do you cut your watermelon?  Do you follow the same general process as me or do you take a completely different approach??

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last Day

Ugh!  What a morning it has been!!  Today is Kai's last day of school for the year, which means today is my last day of structure. lol!  After today I'll no longer have 3 whole hours to myself to get stuff done that's hard to do with a "helper".

And how did we start this day?  By running incredibly late.  Kai got out of bed late, I made her breakfast with Almond Milk since we're out of cow's milk.  She proceeded to go on and on about how she's told me she doesn't like COCONUT milk.  I told her it was almond milk and she responded with, "I guess I don't like it either"...then she drank it.  (Kids!!).

I did laundry last night so Kai could wear ANY outfit she wanted to school.  It seemed like a nice offer until I remembered that too many options equals trouble.  Eventually we settled on her sparkly dress.  There were issues finding her shoes and the right barrette.  Finally we made it to school, without our contribution to the class picnic tomorrow.  No biggy, her teacher said I can just bring it tomorrow.

Oh, and the Pacers lost last night. :(

I didn't see it.  I struggled to stay awake through the first half and after a TERRIBLE call by the refs when a Heat player actually hit a Pacer (both teams were playing crazy aggressive but they cannot be allowed to just hit eachother), and then seeing Granger twist his ankle (I really do feel like I curse players when I buy their jersey) at the end of the half, I decided I was going to bed.   I didn't read, I didn't play with my phone, I just laid my head on my pillow and drifted off to dream land. :)

Yesterday started with an oatmeal breakfast.  Topped with bananas, mulberries and whipped coconut milk. :)

For lunch we were going to have personal pizzas but I didn't make the crust and then the eggplant slices I had planned to grill and use as the base were old & sketchy so I just composted them instead.  With a lack of "crust" we turned our pizza idea into a pizza quesadilla.

On the griddle went some Multigrain Tortillas with Mozzarella cheese, spinach, basil, tomato, sweet pepper, garlic and tomato sauce. :)

The key to getting Kai to eat it all is to let her make her own.  I get all the ingredients ready and then she piles them on.  She likes adding them so much she even adds a lot of "salad", aka Spinach. :) 

Once the cheese is nice and melty I fold it in half...

 ... and then cut and serve.

For dinner I made a MASSIVE amount of brown rice!  Yeah, I even called my sister after dinner and told her if she needs any rice for her meals tomorrow she's welcome to take one of the 3 (!!) leftover contains I have of it.  :)

I also sauteed some onion and then added drained & rinsed Kidney Beans, a can of tomato with chili, frozen corn kernels, and frozen okra.  Plus I went through the spice cabinet and added a few shakes of anything that smelled good.  The lid went on and it simmered for about 30 minutes.  It ended up nice and spicy. :)

I ate the rice and bean dish with a bed of Spring Mix and nutritional yeast.

The Hubs had his rice and spring mix with some grilled chicken.

As did Kai (She ate MAYBE half her chicken, so the Hubs helped her out)

When I was digging for the Kidney beans in our spinning cabinet where I keep the can goods, I can across a can of Libby's Pumpkin.  PUMPKIN!!

So for dessert Kai and I had pumpkin mixed with almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and some raisins. 

Now to enjoy the last of my time off before I pick Kai up from school for the last time this year. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When life gives you lemons...

On our last trip to the grocery store I had Cilantro on the grocery list.  As we shopped the Hubs grabbed a bunch and we continued on our merry way.  Eventually we got home and I set about to use the cilantro in a black bean & corn salsa.  I ungrouped it, rinsed it clean and set about to chop it up but noticed it didn't smell anything like cilantro.  Really it was just the absence of any smell.  Usually with cilantro I can smell it before I even get it out of the bag.  As I investigated further I picked up the wrap-tie thingy and lo and behold we had bought Italian Parsley!!  An honest mistake but I had no clue what to do with it. :)

Well, when in herb-doubt make a pesto!  So that's just what I did.  And now I'm in love.  Even the HUBS liked it!!  Just try and tell me that's not a sign!

Italian Parsley Pesto
I bunch of Italian Parsley - rinsed clean & de-stemmed
1/4-1/2 Cup Pine nuts - toasted in a hot pan (no oil)
2 t chopped garlic (equal to 1 clove)
Juice of 1 lemon
drizzle of Olive Oil (approx 1 T?)

Start by toasting the pine nuts.  I just put them in a hot pan, with nothing else, and swirled them around until they got toasted - Don't let them burn.

In a small processor (like the Ninja) pack all your ingredients and blend until smooth.

That's it!  Quick and simple and oh, so good! :)

Toast your nuts (ha-ha)

Add everything to the food processor

Blend until smooth.

I started out eating it for lunch with some Orzo pasta and nutritional yeast. :)

Of course before lunch was breakfast.  My go-to Oatmeal with the addition of banana, raisins, black strap molasses and coconut whip.

And after lunch was dinner...

We grilled again ('tis the season).

Into my baskets went: Red Onion, Broccoletti, Chopped Parsnips (I nuked them for 2-3 minutes first to soften them) & some small red potatoes, all sprayed with olive oil.
before grilling

after grilling
 For the Hubs I grilled a steak and nuked a potato.  Then Added some spinach to his plate because, well, he should eat more spinach! :)

Kai had a little of the Hub's steak (she didn't like it), a small potato, some salad and some yogurt with a drizzle of honey.

And I had a bed of spinach with the grilled veggies on top and the last of the pesto.

So there you have it,
If life gives you Italian Parsley, Make Pesto!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Roasted Veggie Stew

Ok, Yesterday I told you I'd share this recipe with you.  I got inspired by my favorite dish at Yats, the B&B, and by what I happened to have in my fridge/pantry. :)

Roasted Veggie Stew
Serves 2, 1+ hours cooking time

1 Onion - sliced
1/2 T Olive Oil
1/2 C frozen corn kernels 
1/2 C Okra 
1 Can Diced Tomatoes - quickly drained
1/2 Can drain & rinsed black beans 
* all quantities can easily be adjusted to personal preference. :)

Saute the onion in olive oil until it's transparent....

 Turn the heat down and add a lid.  Let the onions sweat for a while stirring periodically, until they're nice and browned. :)

Meanwhile.... Spread the corn kernels on a pan and roast at 450 until they've browned a bit.

At the same time roast some okra the same way....

Once the corn & okra are done roasting add them along with the black beans & tomatoes to the onions.  Stir, cover and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.   Salt & Pepper to taste.

I REALLY enjoyed this dish.  It tasted nothing like the B&B but it was definitely good on its own.  If you like a kick to your foods add some hot pepper at the end too.  I generally like mine a little spicy but I was trying to keep this a bit more kid friendly. :)

Enjoy on top of brown rice with a dollop of Greek Yogurt on top!