Category Archives: Eat

Interest in Pinterest?

 

Yes!  Dan and I discovered Pinterest a few months back (yeah, we’re late to the party) and since then we have found and tried soooo many recipes from it!  We already really enjoy cooking but this endless database of delicious recipes has been really inspiring.  Here’s some of the things we’ve tried (and pics) as well as a link to where we got the recipe.

We’ve tried many other Pinterest recipes that I don’t have pictures of, all were delicious (or I wouldn’t be sharing them!):

Peanut Butter Cup – Chocolate Chip Cookie – Brownies

Peanut Butter Bars

Slow Cooker BBQ Baked Potato Soup

Chicken Cigars – we substituted turkey sausage for chicken

Pizza Balls

Corn-Scallion Quinoa

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

S’more Cobbler – Dan made for my birthday!

Bountiful Baskets: Take 2

We haven’t participated in Bountiful Baskets in about a year, but in an effort to eat healthier, spend less money, and make fewer trips to the grocery store, we decided to try it again and it was a success!  Getting up at 7am on a Saturday morning is never fun, but we picked up our produce, put it away and slept a few more hours so it wasn’t absolutely terrible.  If you aren’t familiar with Bountiful Baskets, you can check out their website here as they are available all over the country.  Their Facebook page is here.  It’s a food co-op that pools all their money together and buys food in bulk from smaller farmers in Mexico and as much locally (or atleast in the US) as possible.  It’s only $16.50 and that lasts Dan and I 2 weeks.  We’ll be doing it again next week.  You can read about our first experience with BBFC back in May 2010 here and later here.

This time we got:

  • 1 container of butter lettuce (was sooo good!)
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 bag butter gold potatoes
  • 1 bunch of both red and white yellow carrots
  • 1 bag of pears
  • 6 corn on the cob
  • 1 large bag of red & green grapes
  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large grapefruit

So far, this is how we’ve used everything:

  • butter lettuce and avocados we served with bean tostadas
  • celery, potatoes, and carrots we used in Beer Cheese Soup
  • pears, celery, & onions we used in our Christmas Day turkey stuffing
  • I ate the entire watermelon myself in one sitting because I needed to increase my water intake but was sick of drinking water!

So, it was a success.  We’ve used almost everything.  The corn on the cob & the rest of the carrots we plan on eating tonight with barbecue chicken.  We also still have some celery and pears left that I am sure we can find something to do with this week.  The grapes & grapefruit – I dunno yet.  I’m not a fan of grapefruit, but Dan is so hopefully he will eat them soon, and as far as grapes, I only like green grapes… not reddish green ones.  And I’m not sure if they’re seedless yet.  What can I do with these 2 short of out right eating by themselves or tossing?

I like that this encourages us to use fruits/veggies in our meals everyday, looking forward to seeing what we get next week!

Dan corrected me, they were actually yellow carrots, not white.  But while I’m fixing that I thought I’d also point out that it’s pretty cool that we get different kinds of produce that we wouldn’t normally buy.  I had no idea there were so many carrot varieties and why.  This is what I found out about red & yellow carrots:

Yellow carrots
The yellow pigment of carrots often contains high levels of lutein, which protects our eyes from the damaging effects of bright sunlight.This substance is also a protective against cancer- and heart-related diseases.

Red carrots
An extra high concentration of beta-carotene is responsible for the red color of this carrot. The amount of vitamin A in a red carrot is twice as high as in regular carrots. The red carrot is recommended for making carrot juice.

So now, I feel even better about eating them!  They’re good for us!

UPDATE: I made french toast on New Year’s Day along with some spiced-sauteed pears on top, so all our pears are done!  And Dan ate both grapefruit.  All we have left are the grapes (which will probably not get eaten unfortunately), 2 ears of corn, and a few butter gold potatoes.  NOT BAD!

 

Meal Follow-Up: 11/13-11/19

Let’s see how we did:

Sunday – Steaks w/ salad & twice baked potatoes 

Monday – Terriyaki salmon w/ butternut squash risotto

Tuesday – Spicy fried chicken tenders & broccoli

Wednesday – Chicken nachos My work provided food this night so I ate my portion of the nachos for lunch on Friday.

Thursday – BWW & leftovers This was the night I ate the horrible Jack-in-the-Box with my mom.  Ugh!  Never again!

Friday – Homemade pizza

Saturday – Turkey tacos We went to eat with our friends so we will be having this for dinner tomorrow night.

We pretty much hit our goal every night.  We have so many leftovers from this week though, it’s not even funny.  We have leftover twice baked potatoes, fried chicken strips, nachos and pizza.  I’m trying to think of something creative to do with them today other than throwing them all out! We’ve decided to eat them for dinner tonight.

Here’s our goal for this week:

Sunday – Leftover Mania (Gotta ready our fridge for Turkey Day leftovers later this week!)

Monday – Turkey Tacos

Tuesday – Burritos/Tacos using leftover taco makings

Wednesday – Something with chicken breast (not sure what yet)

Thursday – TURKEY DAY!

Friday – Leftover Turkey Day!

Saturday – Eat out?

The Republic of Tea

 

I have to admit – one of the benefits of being on a budget and cooking our own meals is that we eat pretty darn good.  Nothing processed, frozen (other than meat), or packed with any additional preservatives, normally.  We use mostly fresh ingredients and keep it pretty simple.  I say this as I’m eating salsa and Velveeta cheese product.  It’s leftover from our beer cheese soup the other night and it’s not something I eat very often, so I’m okay with it.  Anyways, the moral of this post is that because we’ve been eating so healthy and really controlled what goes into our food for the most part (other than the obvious BS we CAN’T control), we have not had fast food in quite a while.  I say beginning of October was the last time I did.  Taco Bell.  And it was glorious.  Taco Bell is certainly my weakness when it comes to fast food.  Last night I was spending time with my mom and we were heading over to Eric & Mary’s house to see the baby and Annie before my mom and dad left on their short trip to California this morning.  I was really hungry and so we decided to stop at Jack in the Box on the way to bring them food as well as some for ourselves.  I got 2 tacos and a curly fry.  No drink, I stuck with water.  Yes – 2 of those glorious, translucent, grease filled pockets with soy, beef, and cheese product and a sprinkle of lettuce.  I have always loved their tacos, and after doing some research on the internetz today, it seems I am not the only one.  I ate them, it was all good, we left, and on the drive back to my parents’ I got horribly sick.  My stomach was in PAIN.  It was awful.  We got home and I just sprawled out on my parents’ couch and whimpered from the pain.  It seems fast food was not good to me after such a long departure from my palate.

Now, where does this Republic of Tea come in, you ask?  My mom had some in her pantry and she recommended me sipping some to help me feel better.  Okay I know tea has a lot of healing properties and all, so sure, I was all for it.  She made me a hot mug and I started sipping away.  Literally in minutes I was feeling better.  I know this isn’t magic tea or anything like that and that the temperature probably had more to do with it than anything – but it was so calming.  I asked for a second mug.  And I sipped that right down as well.  Before long I was feeling back to my normal self.  And I found my new favorite tea.  My mom sent me home with 4 tea bags to hold me over til I could get my own can of this soothing tea myself.  I am glad to have discovered it.  Now, I better go make myself a mug right now before this horribly unhealthy cheese/salsa blend gets the better of me.

Meals, Meals, Meals!

Dan and I are trying something new.  We’ve lost a significant part of our income, plus Dan didn’t get student aide this semester, so we’re what you say… on a budget?  We also are trying our hardest to eat healthy for ourselves, and of course the baby.  So, we’ve started making these meal plans each Sunday and are trying to stick to them as best we can throughout the week and THEN reuse our leftovers in a creative way to make a whole new meal.  2 weeks ago we did things like made chicken noodle soup which then became the base for a homemade potpie.  We also had spaghetti which we turned into a pasta casserole thing later.  Both were great.  I can’t remember what else.  Beer cheese soup, which we just ate for lunch for several days because it’s so wonderful.  So, here’s how last week looked (and how it turned out):

Sunday – Tortilla Soup.  CHECK!

Monday – Pot Roast a la Crock Pot w/ carrots, celery, red potatoes, and red wine.  CHECK!

Tuesday – Linguine pasta w/ shrimp, peppers, onions, and olive oil.  CHECK!

Wednesday – Steaks w/ twice baked potatoes. MOVED TO SUNDAY NIGHT DUE TO OUR NIECE BEING BORN AND US NOT BEING HOME!

Thursday – Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW as it is to be known from here out – Dan’s weekly Thursday meal) & leftovers.  CHECK!

Friday – Guinea Grinders (family pizza bed recipe from Kenosha) w/ turkey sausage, turkey pepperoni, & veggies.  CHECK!

Saturday – Terriyaki salmon w/ asparagus.  DAN’S GRANDMA INVITED US OVER WHERE WE COOKED SOME GARLIC & HERB PORKCHOPS, BUT STILL BROUGHT OUR ASPARAGUS.

So, we did pretty good!  And we ate our leftovers for lunches throughout the week.  On Friday we had salads & grilled sandwiches for lunch, Dan used some of the extra pot roast on his grilled cheese sandwich with a bit of bbq sauce and it looked scrumptious.  I had just the plain grilled cheese.  Oh and we used the leftover sourdough bread loaf that we bought to eat with our roast on Monday night for these sandwiches so the bread didn’t go to waste!  Then yesterday for lunch I made beef stew out of the rest of the pot roast plus some fresh new veggies and it was DELICIOUS!  Today for lunch we will be having the rest of our pizza breads from Friday night.  Now to think of a food plan for this week:

Sunday – Steaks w/ salad & twice baked potatoes

Monday – Terriyaki salmon w/ butternut squash risotto

Tuesday – Spicy fried chicken tenders & broccoli

Wednesday – Chicken nachos

Thursday – BWW & leftovers

Friday – Homemade pizza

Saturday – Turkey tacos

Done!  We’ll see how this week goes!  I know we may be going out with friends on either Friday or Saturday so depending on which day, one of those meals could be pushed to Sunday.

 

This stuff…

Is amazing.  Dan’s Grandma Jo bought us a loaf over the weekend from Costco.  We took her to get Toby groomed and then while waiting we stopped over at Costco to pick up a few items and then the grocery store.  We then had dinner which I laboriously prepared myself (microwaveable pot roast and mashed potatoes and a fresh salad) and then indulged ourselves in some delicious ice cream.  It was a good day.

But the point of this post is not to tell you about our day, it is to tell you how amazing Milton’s Blueberry bread is.  It is GLORIOUS.  I can’t stop eating these slices, toasted with a little bit o’ buddah.  Mmmmmm!  Definitely not good for a diet at 110 cals per slice, but so worth the cheat.  :)

Try some!

Superfoods

So, I am going on a diet. Yeah yeah, I’ve said that before, I know. Not some crazy crash/fad diet that I will only do for a short time, lose a bunch of weight, and then hope to just keep it off. I’m going on a lifetime diet. I decided enough with setting myself up for failure. So, I’m going on a diet that is good for my specific health conditions. It will be low simple carb (not no carb), especially low starch if any at all, low fat, but superfood rich! I’m not going to limit myself to any particular # of calories, although I don’t want to add any either, and I’m just going to do it slow. That seems to be what works for me. I need to lose weight, not just for the weight part but for my specific health conditions. I gotta be careful from here on out. Enough scares. Time for a change. Dan’s on a high iron diet because he’s anemic so our diet is a combination of things right now. Red meat (Gasp!!! We never eat red meat!), lots of dark greens, antioxidants, beans, all that good stuff. Yesterday was my first day on this diet and let me tell you, it wasn’t bad at all. We even went out to eat at Chipotle (I know, it’s not Qdoba, but it’s okay) where I had a special burrito bowl that I catered to my diet and then had grilled steak and corn on the cob for dinner. Today I didn’t eat breakfast as I was too busy preparing lunch but I had plenty of “samples” to get me along. I made the most delicious salad for lunch! Grilled chicken salad with blueberries, strawberries, and green grapes over a bed of green lettuce. I was a little leery about the fruit, I know it’s a big thing on the menus at fancy restaurants, but it’s typically not my thing. However, I know I have to change my ways and include as much antioxidants as I can to clean my liver, etc. So, I tried it. And it was absolutely amazing. My tastebuds were jumping all over the place. The sweet strawberries, crunchy grapes, and then the blueberries that were alternating between sweet and bitter. It hit the spot. Tonight I will be having some starch as we’re going out to eat with some friends, but that’s okay. I’m taking it slow and not going to deny myself things every now and then. Just be moderate about them!

Oh yeah, and I lost 1 lb. yesterday.  So, it’s a start.

Our Dog Eats Better Than We Do

We get a lot of questions from family and friends about the unique diet that we have our dog on, so I thought I’d post a little about it.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted and with not too many positive things to post, I thought this would be fitting.  We have Penny Lane on a raw meaty wholesome diet. It all started in 2007 with that whole dog food scare where multiple brands were being recalled and that whole ordeal.  We had just gotten this brand new puppy, we were new puppy parents, and didn’t know what to do!  Our dog’s food was poison?  What?!  That is absurd!  All these companies that we trust to make our animals’ food!  So, we searched online for recipes on how to make our own dog food.  Little did we know that we’d be embarking (pun intended) on such a new, different, and ever so rewarding way to feed our dog and change the way she ate forever!

My mom had mentioned that she heard a special on NPR about this “Raw Meaty Bone” diet that a veterinarian in Australia had “come up with” (I say that with quotes as I know dogs have been eating raw meat and bones since the beginning of their existence) for feeding dingoes.  This intrigued me.  Feeding my dog RAW meat?  Won’t she get sick?  What about salmonella?  What about the bones?  Is that safe?  Are you sure?  I had all these burning questions but was even more intrigued on finding out how this wholesome diet worked.  I’ve never known a dog to eat anything other than dog food so I had no idea it wasn’t actually GOOD for them.

So, I dove a little deeper, my dog wasn’t a dingo so I wasn’t sure this was the diet for her.  I scoured the internet looking for more information on feeding a domesticated animal this way.  I found many many websites from veterinarians, breeders, and animal lovers galore with information on this. I couldn’t get enough information, it was fascinating!  I read probably 10-15 of them and found my favorite one which has been my bible for Penny’s diet ever since.

Basically, dogs don’t get sick from raw meat like we do.  They have special enzymes in their stomachs to help aid with digestion (just as we do for various things) and keep them from getting sick.  No, they can’t get salmonella!  Pheww, what a relief.  In fact, dogs can find some old rotting, rancid carcus in the wild and have at it!  And raw bones?  Won’t they splinter and get stuck in their throats and intestines?  Nope.  Raw bones are soft.  Have you ever scraped a chicken bone with your finger nail?  You can scrape bone right off of it!  And not only can they eat and digest them, but they are good for them, too!  They help keep their teeth clean and strong and keep them from getting too “soft” in their old age which is what happens to a lot of dogs who eat too much wet food out of the can.

But why?  Why is this diet any better for them than dog food?  For one, dog food is cooked to temperatures up to 2000 degrees!  And with temperatures like that, there goes the nutritional value, too!  Sure, I know, dogs will go their whole lives on commercial dog food and get fat and the whole nine yards, they’re not starved, RIGHT?!  Wrong.  I learned that animals that eat a commercial pet food diet are starved for nutrition!  Their eating commercial pet food is like us living off of the worst fast food chain.  Sure, it will sustain us and keep our stomachs full, but it’s sure as hell not good for us!

Anyways, so there were way more pros than cons that we found so we decided to give it a try.  The cons were that it was expensive and time consuming.  We found that the price is about double the cost of dog food per month.  Just as eating healthy for us humans is about double, sometimes triple the cost!  But hey, we don’t have any kids and so we decided we wanted the best for Penny.  (Oh and the cats but we can’t get them to touch the stuff!) We raised her on the diet from the time she was about 3 months old, but then a year and a half later we stopped.  We were both going to school full time, I worked full time, money was tight, and just couldn’t keep up with it. She ate commerical dog food for another 2 years until just recently we started feeding her the diet once again.

Some of the benefits we found when we first started her on the diet was that it de-wormed her naturally!  We took her to a dog beach (never again!) in Del Mar, CA when she was about 2 1/2 months old and she came back with worms.  We had read that this was one of the benefits of the diet and so when we put her on it we were hopeful that it would work.  It did! Within a week she had no more worms.  She went through some detox, just as any animal would when changing their diet so drastically.  Her pee smelled wretched (like dead fish!) and her skin flaked up a STORM.  She was already a little flaky when we got her but she really flaked up once she started on this diet.  About a month later she was clear of any signs of detox!  No more flakes and in fact her coat was even more beautiful than before.  Shiny!  And the biggest benefit for US, other than seeing this happy, healthy beautiful dog was that her poop shrunk to about 1/2 the normal size.  And that’s because she wasn’t eliminating all the filler from the dog food anymore.  She was using up most of the nutrients in her food and then only eliminating some.  It’s awesome.  I would take a picture of before and after but that probably wouldnt’ be too appealing to anybody.  Just trust me on this one.  This last time we started it we only noticed a little bit of flaking behind her ears for about a month and then that was it.  I couldn’t tell you about the pee stench because she pees outside in the dirt now, not in the middle of the kitchen as she did when she was a puppy!

With her diet of ground hamburger meat (with the highest fat % we can find), processed veggies, cottage cheese, and honey, she gets some food supplements.  Just as we need vitamins, so do animals!  So we feed her a lot of supplements, though really the most important one is calcium.  So, if you ever consider a diet like this for your pet and the price of the supplements scares you away, don’t worry, buy only the calcium and your animal will still be okay.  We feed her calcium (from egg shell powder), an enzyme supplement that contains liver and pancreas to help aid in digestion and provides probiotics, a glandular supplement to help nourish her glands and organs, another glandular supplement which primarily focuses on helping the kidneys and heart function better (since most pets who have eaten commercial pet foods will probably have weak kidneys or at least be more susceptible to kidney problems so says my fav website), an organic green food supplement to similate our carnivore friends eating the digestive tracts of prey in the wild (which is where they get so many important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, chlorophyll, and valuable phytonutrients), and last but not least we add an ionic trace mineral supplement to her water (and the cats) which provides her with trace minerals, aka, the “spark plugs” of life that play a vital role in every cellular process.

There’s no real “recipe” when feeding her.  You basically just need to worry about ratios.  2:1 is what we use for Penny.  However much meat we feed her, we feed her half that amount in vegetables.  When we first started the diet we just had to make her a huge meal and let her eat and eat until she was full.  I know, sounds crazy.  But she was starved for nutrition so it was important to let her eat until she was full so that her body could start to detox from the commercial pet food.  Now I find that 1-1.5 pounds of ground beef, or a chicken thigh+drumstick and then her veggies and supplements is enough.  We usually just feed her once a day, but if we start to notice that she is hungry (yes we can tell when she’s hungry) we will feed her twice.  I try to be good on the weekend and spend a few hours one of the days chopping veggies and processing them and then dividing up all of her meat in plastic zip loc tupperware containers so that her food is all made for the week and we just have to add some hot water (to simultate a fresh kill) and wah lah!  Some weekends I am not so good so we are stuck making her a meal every night.  We usually only feed her chicken once a week to keep her teeth and gums healthy and clean because it’s kind of messy as she has to chew on it for quite some time in order to eat it. Luckily, we don’t have any babies or small children running around the house that we have to worry about them touching the floor after she is done and getting salmonella or anything.

So there you have it.  I know I didn’t include everything because I can’t think of everything off the top of my head.  But if you have any questions, I’d be glad to try to answer them.  I’m no expert.  I only have my one dog.  But I do this because I love her and I’ve seen first hand the benefits of it.  The time and money that it takes to do this diet is more than worth it at the end of the day.  Plus, it’s really kind of magical.  You lovingly put this lavish meal together for your dog while she sits patiently waiting and licking her lips, which she then devours and once she’s done she comes up to you, lays her head on your leg and just looks up at you with these eyes that say “THANK YOU”.  That’s why it’s all worth it and why we do it.

Bountiful Baskets = Success

So we are on our 3rd Bountiful Baskets order.  I’m loving it!  So far each week we have gotten something new to try.  The first week was a coconut, not new of course, but not something that we get too often!  The second week we got bok choy cabbage which we used in our own homemade chow mein which was mighty delicious.  And this week we got plantains (Well we got them last week, too and Dan found out the hard way that they weren’t bananas when he put one in his protein shake.  Oops!) and made a delicious Caribbean meal of sautéed pork chops and fried plantains!  They were so delicious, like a cross between fried zucchini and french fries.  Just got done eating them: