Tag Archives: Food

Italian Lentil Salad

I spent the day at my girlfriend’s house last week and she mentioned that she only had lunch stuff for kiddos. So, I stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way with Finn (where he charmed me at the checkout and got chocolate and a banana), grabbed a few items and was able to quickly throw together this favorite grown-up salad for us. It’s fresh, delicious, perfect for summer, and super easy to make! I’m not kidding, it was literally ready and on the table in less than 10 minutes.

lentil_salad_1 lentil_salad_2 lentil_salad_3 lentil_salad_4

Italian Lentil Salad

1 cucumber
1 bell pepper
tub bruschetta
package cooked lentils
1/2 tub crumbled feta

Mix ingredients in a bowl and enjoy as a salad or a dip!

I usually like to add green onions for an extra crunch but didn’t have any this time around, and I used the whole tub of feta because, why not?

Chorizo Pizza


Recipe : Pinterest as usual.
Crust : Our usual store bought thin crust.
Sauce :  Enchilada sauce from Trader Joe’s.
Cheese : Medium Cheddar.
Toppings : Grilled onion, chorizo, sliced jalapenos, fresh garlic & TJ’s fresh salsa.
Thoughts : Super spicy but packed with flavor. I could only eat 2 pieces as chorizo is typically just a wee bit too spicy for me, but Dan loved it.

PS… I recently got a tablet and am trying it out. Like my Kindergarten scratch on the first photo? I don’t. It’s harder to use than I thought.

Summer Food

This summer has been the summer of delicious food for Dan and I. We’ve been trying all kinds of delicious recipes on Pinterest and also making up our own. Here’s a few so far:


BBQ Ranch Pork Sliders a la crockpot.


Dan’s Father’s Day Meal: bratwurst, veggie “fries”, and corn on the cob (something I was able to cross off my summer list!)

pb cups

Dan, my dad, and grandpa’s Father’s Day dessert: peanut butter cup cookie cups!

carne asada

And Dan’s second Father’s Day dinner (well actually third since we also went to Prescott and had a Father’s Day BBQ in between there): carne asada tacos a la Trader Joe’s

chix sweet potato

We were really taking advantage of our fresh propane tank by now… grilled chicken and I love nothing better than a baked sweet potato.

pollo asada

Last night’s meal while we endured record breaking heat of 119 degrees: Trader Joe’s pollo asada tacos and pineapple beer. Yum!

pasta salad

And today I made a refreshing pasta salad with sauteed zucchini, red peppers, heirloom tomatoes, some leftover bacon from breakfast, some basil from my pot outside, and green onions tossed with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon.

What are you cooking?  Happy Sunday!

Toddler Meals


The other day I was reminded as I made Finn his cut up dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets (yes those are dinosaur parts because he couldn’t have our ranch and cream of chicken pork chops), margarine covered brussel sprouts and chopped seedless grapes that making healthy toddler meals is something I do everyday. I have to get pretty creative because I don’t want him to eat the same thing everyday, for every meal, and I still want him to eat healthy. We try to make sure what we eat is Finn-edible, but we failed this night. I didn’t even think about the ranch mix having powdered milk in it and the cream of chicken soup. =/ So we had to resort to the never fail frozen chicken nuggets which he loves so much. I think he picked up a lot of healthy eating habits from the Baby Led Weaning that we did and so he eats a lot of really good foods, but admittedly for his proteins we do have to resort a lot to Costco’s frozen selection but that’s mostly due to the fact that you can’t make a hungry toddler wait very long for food, so the trusty ol’ microwave or toaster oven are our friends!

Having a kid with almost every allergy in the book is hard, but it’s not that hard. It’s only hard because we can’t share with him all the amazing foods that we’d love to share with him like pizza (CHEESE), ice cream, ants on a log (raisins and peanut butter on celery), things that I pictured making for him when I was pregnant. I pictured sharing an ice cream cone with him when we were out at the fair. Now I guess it will have to be cotton candy instead. And he may not be able to be a Cheese Head like he dad and enjoy the delicious cheese curds that we found at Costco last weekend, but that’s okay. Maybe he’ll still like the Packers which is in his blood, afterall, and be a Cheese Head in another way.

Breakfasts are easy with Finn. He loves avocadoes, as I’ve mentioned many times before. He eats one every day. He’ll have either a whole one for breakfast or eat half and have the other half for lunch. It’s one of the more expensive foods, but it’s worth it for his little brain and heart. We’ll also make frozen waffles or have muffins for his carb on the weekdays. If it’s a weekend I will make fresh pancakes. If he’s at Grandma’s she’ll make hashbrowns and disguise scrambled eggs in them since Finn hates eggs. Doesn’t matter what way they are cooked. He will not eat them in a box, he will not eat them with a fox, he does not like eggs, no siree, unless we can disguise them. ;) He’ll eat breakfast sausage or deli meat, too, but no bacon, please, he’s not a fan. He also will eat a banana, and he used to eat blueberries by the cupful but lately he’s been throwing them to the dog much to our di$may!

For lunch or dinner Finn loves fish sticks (with ketchup), corn dogs or hot dogs (both with mustard), chicken nuggets (with ketchup), kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, avocadoes, corn, rice, plain chicken taquitos (no cheese), leftovers like pork, fried rice (again another great meal to disguise eggs in!), special quesadillas with soy cheese on occasion but we mostly stay away from soy products, deconstructed tacos, mixed vegetables (we keeps tons of bags of frozen veggies on hand and he eats them with every meal since they are quick and easy and we make sure he has veggies with every meal), bananas, grapes, strawberries, spaghetti, and many other things that are escaping me. He will eat most of our meals and anything he won’t eat we’ll heat something else up of his that he will eat.

For snacks he eats the fruits above mentioned, Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal, cheerios, raisins, pretzels, Belvita breakfast bisbuits, and for his “treats” we have frozen watermelon (yum!), Oreos, and he loves Italian Ice. We make him smoothies with strawberries, bananas, hemp milk, and ice and he LOVES them.

He drinks hemp milk watered down 2/3rd-1/3rd (it’s very high in calories and if we give it to him straight he won’t eat hardly any food and we need him to get his cholesterol, and other vitamins and minerals from his FOOD). We keep lots and lots of bananas on hand since the only thing hemp milk is lacking is potassium. He gets apple juice and white grape juice watered down 50% once or twice a day but we try to give him mostly water since he’s an Arizona baby and he plays hard and needs lots and lots of water!

So that’s our feeding routine. Not that you asked, but now you know. :)

Dirty Dozen + Clean Fifteen?

I’ll be honest. I don’t buy anything organic. I should. And I’ll probably start based on this list below:


This is from the Environmental Working Group and every year they release the The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ which can help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and thus are the most important to buy organic and which can most safely be skipped. Ta da! The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen! I will remember this for the things we buy the most for Finn like strawberries and grapes, and then rest easy with our avocadoes and sweet potatoes. :)

Christmas 2011

I know it’s already 2 days late, but before this year gets away from us I wanted to make sure we wished the interwebz a very Merry Christmas.  We spent Christmas Eve, as we always do, at Dan’s mom’s house.  We all (Dan, myself, Jayne, Tom, & Grandma Jo) went and visited Grandma Yvonne in her memory care home (Thanksgiving didn’t work out so well with bringing her home) and watched her open presents.  It was sad to have to leave her there especially as she kept asking when she was going to get home, but it really was for the best.  Taking her out of her environment (with the worst dementia and alzheimer’s that you can get) was just too hard on her, as well as us.  We had a nice visit and then spent the rest of the day at home where Tom’s girlfriend, Jenny and her son, Victor showed up.  Dan put the lasagna together using the homemade sauce Jayne had been cooking in the crock pot all day.  It turned out delicious AS USUAL.  Then we opened presents.

On Christmas Day we had turkey dinner at my parents.  The suspects were Dan, myself, mom, dad, Jayne, Tom, Grandma Jo, Jack, Eric, Mary, Annie, Katie, and Grandpa Lassen.  Oh and my other little brother, Jack’s best friend since they were 4, Scottie made an appearance.  Full house but it was truly wonderful.  Dan made the turkey.  I made the green beans and mashed potatoes.  Jayne made the gravy and the Cool-Whip salad.  Mom and Dad worked their dang asses off on making the house beautiful and decorating it as such!  Of course mom and dad also helped with advising me on the green beans and tators, and dad helped Dan get the turkey out of the oven and transferred to a pan for carving.  Good times.  After dinner we all opened presents (first time we ever did it at night on Christmas Day, but everybody didn’t get there until after 4pm).  Last Christmas was a really hard one for my parents with my dad on the verge of losing his job, so it was super tight.  They made up for it this year and spoiled the hell out of their 2 granddaughters!  And they enjoyed it so much.  I could just see the joy on their faces as they watched Annie open all her gifts.  Of course they spoiled all their kids as well.  Love my parents!

I’ll post the highlights of the weekend (again as a gallery because I’m lazy, but make sure to check them all out!):

Best quote from my Christmas was my 95 y/o Grandpa telling us that his next car is either going to be a Mustang or a Camaro. A.) Because he’s talking about his “next car” which means he plans on being around for a while, and B.) Because that’s what every 95 y/o should drive.

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!


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!


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.