Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recent New Dinners

Before Adam left, we ate some pretty good new dinners that are definitely worth sharing. So here we go. 

 From: simplylovefood.blog.com

Ingredients:
  • Olive Oil ( I used Tahitian lime olive oil)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 heaping tbsp of homemade taco seasoning (or you can use the packaged type if you like)
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (any type you like – I like brown or even quinoa)
  • 3-4 organic bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
  • ½ cup of organic frozen corn
  • 1 (15 -16 ounce) jar of salsa
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Toppings:
  • fresh cilantro
  • sour cream
  • sliced avocado
Directions:
Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil and roast in a baking dish about 20-25 minutes, just until cooked thru. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them.

*****Note –It's easier to cook your turkey ahead of time that way you do not have to worry about it later. Sauteeing the onions with the meat is good too. Then add in the cooked rice, black beans and corn. (But that's just how I did it).

In a bowl add the taco seasoning, cooked ground turkey, chopped onions, black beans, corn and rice. Add in the jar of salsa and mix well.
Carefully spoon the turkey mixture into each half of the bell peppers and place back into the baking dish. Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are cooked all the way thru. Before removing from the oven sprinkle the tops of each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese. Place back into the oven just until the cheese has melted.
Remove from the oven and top with fresh cilantro, avocado slices and/or sour cream just before serving.

**Mine**

I already have a recipe for stuffed peppers in my recipe collection, but I had to try this one out. Why? Because it was all over Pinterest of course, so it had to be good. DUH! But really that is the truth, and it proved to be right. THEY ARE SO GOOD! I prefer to cook them with the sweeter peppers, such as the red and yellow ones, but that's just me :)

From: tastykitchen.com

Ingredients:
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 whole Pepper From A Can Of Chipotles In Adobo, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Sauce From A Can Of Chipotles In Adobo
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 4 dashes Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 can Pinto Beans, Drained And Rinsed, 15 Ounce Can
  • 1 can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed (15 Ounce Can)
  • ⅓ cups Water
  • 2 cups Brown Rice, Cooked According To Package Instructions
  • ¼ cups Fresh Salsa
  • FOR THE TACO ASSEMBLY:
  • 6 whole Tortillas, Burrito Sized, Warmed
  • 8 ounces, weight Shredded Cheese
  • 3 cups Shredded Lettuce, More As Desired
  • 4 whole Green Onions, Chopped
  • 8 ounces, fluid Fat Free Greek Yogurt (a great substitute for sour cream)
Directions:
Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili powder, chipotle, adobo sauce, cumin, and cayenne. Cook briefly until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add in drained and rinsed beans, and water. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to medium-low and cook for 8 minutes, mashing the bean mixture slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in rice and salsa.

Divide mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Top with cheese, lettuce, green onions, and Greek yogurt. Roll up, and serve! Serves 6 ( I half this recipe or cook this much and have it for the next week too).

This was another one of those, "I've seen it on pinterest and I need to try these. So glad I did. Adam and I like spicy, and these were a great fulfiller of that need for spice! Also, I love how quick and easy they were to make. After working a long day, it's nice to have a meal every once in awhile that isn't so time consuming. LOVE THIS MEAL! It's currently one of Adam's favorites!

From: sixsistersstuff.com

Ingredients:

4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts (mine were still frozen!)
1 Bottle Barbecue Sauce (Your favorite kind)
1 20 oz. can Pineapple Chunks, drained
Directions:
Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray for an easy cleanup!  Place frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with sauce.  Empty can of drained pineapple chunks on top.  Cook on High for 2-3 hours or Low for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken with two forks while still in the crock pot so the chicken will be well coated with sauce.  Serve over rice or quinoa.
**Mine**
This is a great easy meal. I used the homemade BBQ sauce I had made, and it tasted just fine with it, but this would taste really good with a tropical bbq sauce. Your call :)
From: the diva-dish.com
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 C. dry quinoa
  • 2 C. vegetable broth
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 2 C. spinach
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 C. onion
  • 2 small cloves garlic

For the dressing:
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • dash of salt and pepper
Directions:
  1. Make your quinoa first. Soak the quinoa in a pot in the veggie broth for about 15 minutes. After that, turn on the heat to medium high and let the quinoa come to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium/low and let quinoa simmer. Stir every so often, and cook quinoa for about 20-25 minutes just until the liquid absorbs. You don’t want it completely dried out, so when there is just a TINY amount of liquid left in the pot, remove it from heat and put a lid on it. Set it aside, and make the rest of the salad.
  2.  In a food processor, add your spinach and cilantro. Make sure to wash you greens.
  3.  Process the greens until they are finely diced. You can do this by hand as well if you don’t have a food processor.
  4.  Add the greens to a bowl, and set aside. Next take your onion and garlic and finely dice those , and add to the greens mixture. Next add your chickpeas and stir until everything is combined and coated. If the quinoa is cooled, you can add it to the chickpea mixture next.
  5.  Make your dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Pour over salad, and mix until combined. Add in tomatoes and avocado and mix. Set in fridge for about 10-15 minutes before serving so the flavors set.
**Mine**

This is SUCH a good salad. It really is. The flavors all go really well together, I just love it! Plus, it's really healthy, too! This will be making other appearances this summer for sure! It's the perfect Summer salad!

Hope you try out some of these, they definitely are worth the try!
(All of these are added to the recipe collection. I'm trying to do better updating. Can't you tell??)
 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Out to Sea Again

It hasn't really sunk in yet that he'll be gone for awhile. It's not a bad length of time, it's only a month, but any length of time is hard. Some people say, oh well it's only a month. I don't care if it's a day, a week, a month, or whatever. It's still hard. Then there are other people who say, "Well, we've been married for 15 years and by then you want them to leave." Umm. REALLY??!!?? I don't care if we've been married for 2 years, 5 years or 20. It's still hard. I know that this time it's only for a month, and it's really not that bad, but it's the fact that we won't get to be with each other on his birthday and our 2 year anniversary. Guess that's life for ya. {Side note: we were both saying to each other last night, that we both don't regret him surprising me on our 1st anniversary last year (and thus spending a lot of money) because if we were to miss both our 1st and 2nd anniversaries, that would have been too sad}. Fortunately, I'll get to see him during the half-way mark, which will make this time go by quicker.

**See, even his socks are sad he's going to be gone!**

Another thing that will make this time go by easier, is the Netflix que that I have set up for myself while Adam is away. I even took the time to arrange them to how I want to view them. You can tell that I have classic novel days, 70's and 80's themed week, suspence-thriller week. I am way too excited for this to start!! All of these movies will be new ones for me, except for 6 of them. Really excited about some of these views, others just seemed interesting. 

**Bring on the movies!!**

Anyways, we went on our last date yesterday. I was feeling like Sushi, so we found this good Sushi place in town and decided to try it out. We both decided to do the all you can eat sushi. Yeah, that won't be happening for me again. I never know why I always doubt myself. I know my body and my eating abilities, and why do I always think I'm hungrier than I am? Especially since I've been maintaining my healthy lifestyle, it always happens that I feel sick after I eat too much or something that I don't usually eat. Oh well, it was just one night (for awhile at least). We then went back home and then once we felt up to it, we went to Coldstones and indulged in a sweet treat. Yeah, that won't be happening for awhile, too. We both commented how our treats were way too sweet for us. What are we, and what have we become??!!?? 

ON a different note, I really liked my outfit that I wore yesterday. I've been feeling like wearing this dress, since it is supposed to be summer, yet it's been raining on and off all week, including yesterday. So I decided I would wear it despite the rain, but wear it with my cotton tights and boots. I was kind of doubting that it would all work, but I am very pleased with how it turned out. I even did something I don't do often and put my hair up in a bun! Go me!


I was also feeling good, because if you look at this picture of me wearing this same dress almost 3 years ago for our engagement photo shoot, you can tell that my healthy lifestyle has really made an impact, which I am super please about!!

**On our engagement photo shoot, 09-17-2009**

What really inspired this dressy outfit, was the book that I am reading through that I mentioned on my last post, The Power of a Praying Wife. In this excerpt, that I have photo-captured below, it basically talks about what we are doing as a wife to make ourselves attractive to our husband. Are we taking care of ourselves, by regularly keeping ourselves clean and groomed? Are we keeping a healthy diet or exercising to keep ourselves rejuvenated? Do we dress attractively or spend time with God every day? This all hit me. It didn't hit me hard, meaning this isn't something that I feel I really need to work on. However, I feel I don't need to let it get to the point that I really need to be asking myself these questions.


 Sometimes I fall into the habit of just wearing casual clothes when I'm around Adam. I mean we only see each other when I get off work, and when I come home I want to change and be comfortable. Isn't that every women's thought after work??!!?? But I've decided to wear nicer clothes, that are still comfortable, all day so he can see me nice, too. Also, some days I feel like I am rushing in the morning and thus don't have time to really make my hair look nice, so when Adam walks and picks me up my hair looks terrible (in my opinion). It's just the little things that I want to do, that I feel like will make a difference. And I don't want to do them just so that he can notice. No, that's not it at all. Stormie Omartian makes the point in the book to say that you can't put expectations on your husband, when you are praying for or changing some of your ways. Let me explain what this means, with my own personal example from yesterday.

When I had planned our menu for this last weeks dinners, I told him a week ago that I wanted Saturday to be a dinner out. So we had known that we were going to have a special dinner all week, since we wouldn't be able to have one for awhile. Adam was able to get off work early, and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me to dress up for him (and for our dinner date) before he got home. He immediately said I looked nice, which I appreciated. When he finally felt rejuvenated, we left for our dinner, ha at 4pm. When we were just about to leave I said, "You're wearing that?" He was wearing a shirt and shorts, his usual attire. I didn't really say anything and we headed out the door. When we got in the car I said, "I would have appreciated you dressing up a bit for our date." He told me he didn't think he needed to dress up, so he found a shirt and shorts that color-coordinated. I said, well we're going on a nice date, do I need to tell you when to dress up? And he said "yes, that would be nice." He was being serious. I prayed at that moment, telling God that I shouldn't have put expectations on him without communicating them to him, and still wanting him to follow through without him knowing how I felt. I didn't want this to ruin our time together, but I think we got it worked out by ending it at this point, because I could really understand his perspective, and my expectations. I felt that since I was dressed up nice, which was my choice, that he needed to be dressed up too. He didn't know that I felt this way, because I hadn't communicated this need (it was a silent expectation), so he just color-coordinated his outfit with mine, still being casual. If I am going to make the choice to look nice for a date, that's my choice. Period. If I am going to make the choice to look nice for him daily, that's my choice. Period. I don't do these things with the expectation of getting something in return, and that's Stormies main point when feeling the need to change for your husband. If it is something that I want my husband to change or start doing, that's where the prayer comes in, but you wait for him to start doing the "change" on his own. What a powerful lesson I learned, and what a good point she makes. 

Hope you can find something encouraging from our silly, real-life example.

Happy first full week of summer to you!!
 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Weekend Funtivities

As the time is quickly approaching for Adam to be gone on another under way, we've been soaking up every opportunity to spend time together, on the weekends especially. The past two weekends we've had very fun things planned for us to spend quality time with each other, as well as just having "fun" together, doing things we love doing together.

The second weekend in June, we went on a marriage retreat with the Kreta Pacific Northwest Region, in Gig Harbor. That may sound weird, but in other words, we went on a marriage retreat with other military families in our region. Now we're all on the same page. :D We weren't really sure what to expect at first. Like, if there would be any other couples there. Would we be the youngest people or shortest amount of time married. Would the information really be good? All of these things we were unsure about, but we decided to go and just get away with each other, for free of course-no better way to go!, and if anything, learn more about each other. 

We both are very happy that we went. It's not that we needed the advice because we're going through stuff, but it's always encouraging and refreshing to understand the perspective that your spouse is coming from. Actually, all of our doubts of the weekend were thrown out the window. We weren't the only couple who attended this weekend. In fact, 13 couples attended. We shared the youngest age of couples with some other people. And we weren't the youngest married couple (not that it mattered). We definitely will be doing another Kreta event next year, as you can do one per year!! Can't wait!

It was such a great weekend and we're glad that we got some good resources from the event. 

**This resource above, "The Power of a Praying Wife" really has inspired me to start praying for Adam. It's not that I don't pray for him already, but I don't necessarily pray for him every day, just because. {Hope that doesn't sound bad} What I mean is this: I find myself falling in the trap of praying for people and situations when they are in need, and not when things are going well. That is not what prayer is intended for. The book has been so powerful to me already.**

This was our first time exploring the city of Gig Harbor and I really wish I would have taken a picture of downtown. The view was absolutely gorgeous, but a picture wouldn't have been able to truly capture it anyways.

**Our formal dinner on the retreat**

This last weekend we spent a little differently. We both took a weekend day and got to plan whatever we wanted to do, all day. Adam took Saturday and I took Sunday. So here's what we did. 

On Sunday we went to an auction. ALL. DAY. I thought that it would be super boring for me, because the last auction we went to was indoors and 3 hours long and got boring at times just sitting still the whole time. However, this one was far from that! It wasn't only an indoor auction. There were 5 different places on the property where they held auctions, it was that big. There were usually 2 auctions going on at the same time, and they auctioned everything from collectable antiques, to furniture, to kitchen ware, to outdoor tools, to plants, to cars, to even RV's and boats! No way I could get bored during this event! We got some great finds at the auction, some that I can't wait to repurpose! Here is what we got:


**From Top left-right, clockwise: Stokes Auction; what we purchased: 2 weed-whackers ($1 for both), a hedger and chain saw ($15 each), a plant stand ($10), an antique cooler ($10), kitchen antiques ($40), a Whirlpool water dispenser ($10, not pictured), and a crate box (free); My wooden crate that Adam got me for free. The crate came with some old Mexican Blankets, and the lady who purchased them only want the blankets, not the crate. Adam carried the blankets for her to her car, and she gave him the crate for free!; Adam already testing out his new hedger! haha **

On Sunday we went to explore Point Defiance, WA.  We had heard about it from a couple we met at the marriage retreat, and they really intrigued us to want to go for ourselves. So we did. What a great choice! We first took Baxter to the 15 acre dog park. Yup, you read it correctly, 15 ACRES!! He was in doggy heaven! He kept looking at us like, "Am I really allowed to go this way?" We then hiked a bit and then took him back to the actual dog park to play with some other dogs. We puckered him out, that's for sure! We then went to play a round of mini-golf and go-karts, and then since we got a military discount, Adam got to do 2 rounds in the batting cages for free. We had a great time there, just being in nature with each other. What beautiful views this park has of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and the Sound!  Next time we will definitely go to the Zoo & Aquarium. 

**Adam on the Go-karts; the BIG Dog House!; Us after our long nature day; and a picture of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the background**

**When we got home from our time in nature, we watched the Lakers game while eating home-made Enchiladas, with home-made Enchilada Sauce (recipe for sauce to come)! We devoured the whole pan of 12 Enchiladas between the both of us (3 for me and 9 for him). YUMMY!**
 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Some Good eats in the Midst of Life

I know I am behind on updating my recipe collection, but life just got in the way. Now that Adam is TAD (temporay assigned duty) to Chiefs Mess, he doesn't have any more duty days!!! Which is nice, but then his work day is 12 hours every other day. There's always a negative to a plus! But to be quite honest, I don't even remember our menu from last week, because I already erased it off our white board and put up the next 2 weeks! Wow, that's pretty sad, right!?! 

So I thought that I would just post a blog of the highlight meals, the ones that were new and were good. So you're going to get a lot of randoms. Here we go:

From: stacymakescents.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • Squirt of lime juice
  • Tortillas
  • Fajita fixings
  •  
Directions:
  1. Combine sliced onion and peppers in the bottom of a greased crockpot. 
  2. Lay chicken on top of veggies. Pour chicken broth over top. 
  3. Sprinkle everything with cumin, salt, and chili powder. Give a nice squirt of lime juice over the top. 
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or on High for 4-6 hours). 
  5. When meat is done, shred with two forks and stir back into juices. Serve meat mixture with slotted spoon on tortillas with your choice of fixings.
 
**This was such a fix-it-and-forget-it meal, it just made me happy to throw it all in there and have my meal be done! Great for a long work day!**

From: eatingwell.com

Ingredients:
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Directions:
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.
 
**This was such an easy meal. I had leftover frozen shrimp from making Jumbalaya, and I was trying to find a recipe for shrimp. This was a GREAT choice! So good in flavor and a great compliment to a side of couscous.**

From: chef-in-training.com

Ingredients:
Directions:
  1. Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot.
  2. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top.
  3. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.
  4. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning. Serve over rice, baked potato, or as a Nacho topper!
This meal really did have great flavor. Such an easy meal!

From: tasteofhome.com

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough. 
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets. 
  3. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 1 dozen.
 Adam and I really enjoyed these home-made rolls! We had them with burgers, sloppy joes, and bbq chicken sandwiches. YUMMY!

From: curiouscountrycook.com

Ingredients: 
  •  1 cups zucchini, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cheese (cheddar or Parmesan work the best)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs - I used Italian style
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.
  2. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach; if you skip this part, the middle of the zucchini tots will be really soggy while the outside gets crispy and no one wants that.
  3. In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper.
  4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.
 
 I can't tell you how simply good these were. They were so easy to do, why not do them more? I don't have small cupcake tins, and used the regular size instead, so our were like small zucchini muffins. SO good!

From: acozykitchen.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs or cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil (or peanut oil)
Directions:
  1. Cut pickles in 1/2-1/4 inch slices.  
  2. Place flour, milk, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes.  
  3. Pour the canola oil in a cast iron skillet or pan, over medium-heat; the oil should be approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  4. When you oil is hot, dip pickle slices in milk, then flour, then eggs, then cornmeal. In the skillet, place batter covered pickles in the oil, careful that it may pop back, for 1-2 minutes on each side or until brown. After they’re done, remove and place on a paper towel to drain.
 
Adam and I enjoyed these two different times. We originally had these one time at Hooters. Yes, we've been there before, because at Angels games, if they win, then you get free wings at Hooters. So we've gone after games before. Anyways, these were simply good. You do have to have a good dipping sauce with them. Before I made them, I asked Adam what kind of sauce he'd like with them. He told me, "The sauce that is served with TGIF's Fried Green Beans." So upon googling that side dish, I found the dipping sauce, otherwise called "Wasabi Cucumber Ranch Dip." It was a great addition to the pickle chips. The recipe for the sauce is below, but I do have to give out a warning. WARNING: this sauce makes a lot with out doubling. I did not know this going into it, and we had a lot of sauce leftover and I had to find ways to use it up (I used some for lunch wraps). I would halve this recipe and it would still be perfect for preparing this twice. Ok warning done.

 From: savorysweetlife.com

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup bottled ranch dressing
  • 1 cucumber – peeled, seeded, minced
  • 2 tbs sour cream (I substituted sour cream for Greek Yogurt)
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
Directions:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulsate for 1 minute. Transfer the dip into a bowl and place in the refrigerator.
While I'm at it, I might as well post our menu for the next 2 weeks:

Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce, with Quinoa and Zucchini Bites
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken over rice with salad
The next week is Frozen Meal week (meals that I have stored the leftovers in the freezer)



I hope you find some good menu ideas to add to your rotations.
All of these Meals/Sides have been added to my recipe collection, by-the-way.
Happy eating!

 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Frugality

My mom randomly will send me emails. Sometimes they're filled with cute craft project ideas, devotionals, a bible verse she finds to be encouraging, or whatever else. Yesterday it was one that I really enjoyed reading. It was on being frugal, which is something that I've been particularly interested in lately; in learning and in gaining to my wisdom on it. Here is the email (it's from an email subscriber that she follows, but I'm unsure of which one to credit):


"Living frugally does not mean choosing a life of poverty. Frugality is simply the act of avoiding waste. It means finding the most economical way to accomplish a task or project. Frugality doesn't mean giving up, it means living better because when you have all that you need plus money in the bank, life becomes much easier.

Frugality is a state of mind, an attitude you choose for a way of life that is rewarding. Every day my mailbox fills with frugal tips from my loyal readers. Some make me laugh; others leave me wondering why I didn't think of that. Still others have become such a common way of life for me, I'm grateful to have been reminded of what a great frugal idea it is." 


With pinterest and the internet as a whole, it's so easy to get useful tips on how to be frugal or to be more frugal in your life. I loved the words of this writer.  I am taking this to heart, and I hope that this can be something that you can too.

Blessings,
 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Feeling Saucey!!

I'm a very saucey girl. When it comes to food that is! The more sauce, the better, and you can never have too much sauce in my opinion! Something that I have been really into is making home-made sauces. What is so great about making your own sauces, is 1) it's WAY cheaper. 2) You can personalize the flavor to your own liking (more or less spice, etc.) and 3) you get A LOT more bang for your buck than buying at the store.

Sauces that I have made so far are Red Spaghetti Sauce (which I use as a pasta sauce too), salad dressings, salsa, and now barbeque sauce! We have a family recipe for spaghetti sauce that I will never venture away from using, but it's been great adapting it to use as a pasta sauce in pastas. I also will never buy salad dressings again, when these 2 are so good (honey balsamic vinegarette and italian). But last week I cracked down and made my own barbecue sauce. Well, not my own recipe, but I made it homemade. I got it off of Pinterest of course! It turned out way good with amazing flavor! I decided that this recipe is too good not to share.

**From Foodnetwork.com**
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 slightly heaping tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch ground cloves (I did not use)
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I always use sodium-reduced)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons English-style dried mustard (I used regular dried mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (I did not use a bay leaf)
 Directions:

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, red pepper, allspice, and cloves and cook, stirring, until paste is dark brick red, about 3 minutes. Add the ketchup, water, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, black pepper, and bay leaf. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the flavors come together, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf before using. 

Let me say that this has a VERY good taste! I already had most of these items on hand, so it didn't really cost much. I did get quite a bit out of it (as you can see below) and I didn't even double it. AWESOME!

**My results, plus we used some for a dinner**

Adam makes fun of me that I say "I won't be buying much condiments now at the store, but I'll be making my own from now on." But whatever, I can take a tease from him! PLUS, I tell him look how much pasta sauce I can get from making it myself, all for under $4 to make! Now that's good!!

**My yielded results: one pickle jar, one tall mason jar and one regular size mason jar, PLUS I used 3/4 cups for dinner. UNBELIEVABLE!! :D

Next sauces I will venture to try:
Whole-made Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar (when I run out of the one from Trader Joes)