Life keeps flying by doesn’t it? It’s been 6 years since I started this blog. I find lately, my posts come in ebbs and flows. I guess this is an ebb time. I’d like to share a few things I have been doing. I have found a great pin for a weeks worth of dinners for under $100 from Fitness Magazine. Of course, it’s a bit more to do it organic, but it’s a great menu and allows you to use every bit of the groceries. A few of my favorite recipes from this menu are:
Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Beef Soba Salad
As you can see, it was a fantastic menu. The Chimichurri is AMAZING. I even used the leftovers on my salad the next day. I will be making that again soon. I was also very pleased with the carrot and ginger dressing for the soba salad. All good things. You must try it!
Griff and I made cookies on Sunday. I altered an apple sauce recipe that we made last year. The alterations made them better, in my opinion anyway. Once they were out of the oven and cooled off, Griff enjoyed one. Well, at least he looked as though he enjoyed it. I asked if he wanted another. He politely responded, “No thank you,” he was ready to get down and play. It was odd, but didn’t think much of it. Later that evening, my dear husband took a few bites of a cookie. He asked if it was another one of my “healthy creations?” I responded, yes, aren’t they good! To which he said, “I don’t really care for them” and left the remainder of the cookie on the counter. The following day at lunchtime, Griff devoured his lunch. I was so proud and said, “Wow, that was fast! Do you want a cookie for dessert?” He turned away and said “No thank you, I am full.” What? He didn’t want a cookie? So I quickly asked “Griff, do you not like the cookies?” he just looked at me, like a deer in headlights (I know this look well from his Father). “It’s okay Griffin, you can tell me.” He shyly muttered “Mommy, I don’t really like the cookies.” I broke out laughing. He just looked at me in shock, I think worried that he might offend me by his admission. “It’s okay,” I said “Daddy didn’t like them either.” His face lighted up. “Oh good!” He cheered, “Does this mean we can make real cookies now?”
Sure kid. Sure. I do have the recipe if anyone IS interested. Although, I don’t believe this story is the best way to market my healthy baked goods! Let me know if you want it, and I can post it!
:: a wonderful weekend to be sure.
:: Friday lunch with Grammie Fuji for a bento box.
:: a slow Saturday morning with Ms. Elna.
:: one step closer to assembling the top of my quilt.
: crustless quiche for breakfast in a beautiful red Christmas present
: a successful test for my green belt (I am intermediate now, yay!)
:: a warmer than average Sunday leading to a foggy, yet refreshing walk in the woods.
:: fresh 100% whole wheat bread rolls for the week.
:: paperwhites blooming beautifully (although, not a fan of the smell).
:: a bit of nervous knitting during the Pats game (GO PATRIOTS!)
:: a nice hotty toddy to relax those nerves and settle into Downton Abbey.
A quiet and wonderful family weekend. Did you do anything fun?
All the hustle and bustle was worth every minute. What a beautiful Christmas.
Christmas Eve dinner was an amazing crockpot ham recipe that I am attaching here for you to add to your recipe boxes. This is the second time I have made this recipe and I highly recommend it. It feeds up to 18 people an amazing gourmet ham that allows you to enjoy all the holiday festivities without being tethered to the kitchen. The results are a beautiful moist sweet melt in your mouth ham!
The best part of the day was the little guy. He was so excited and so polite. He did not complain when we took our time savoring each gift from under the tree.
I was so excited (and honestly, had been hoping) to get a new pair of crocheted slippers from my favorite Sister In Law! You may remember the beautiful gray ones from last year, well I wore a hole right through the bottom of them. I have retired them until I am able to sew soles on them. I was so excited to get another pair! It was an added bonus that they couldn’t match my Christmas Pj’s any better if they tried!
Christmas concluded with an amazing Prime Rib dinner. I used an old recipe from my husband’s family. I should post that recipe for you too, eh? Okay, I will add it to the blogging inspiration list, I promise! Our tradition is Prime Rib and Yorkshire pudding (popovers). We added an old family recipe for Cesar Salad, some yummy butternut squash and an incredible dessert of Mimi’s own homemade Tiramisu.
The perfect Christmas with amazing family, wonderful memories and many, many leftovers!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with friends, family and many happy memories. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the love and hope for a wonderful 2013. Happy New Year!
Now that we are past the Halloween and Sandy rush, my mind has shifted to comfort food. I have had my crockpot out almost every night. A few months ago, I tried the oven version of Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Roasted Chicken. All I can say about this recipe is that it is perfect. You MUST try it if you haven’t already.
This week I tried the same recipe in my crockpot to see if it would work.
The roasted veggies weren’t as good as the oven, but still good. The chicken was just as FABULOUS! Of course, I used a free range chicken, which can get expensive. So I used the bones and skin to make my chicken broth, making a second meal of chicken soup. This used up the rest of the organic celery, carrots and onions too. I only added two grilled free range chicken breasts because my family prefers white meat in soup.
This gave us dinner for 3 nights total (for a family of 3), making the $8.00 free range chicken well worth the cost. Thank you, Jamie Oliver for inspiring me and families everywhere with your amazing dishes!
What’s in your crockpot as the weather grows cooler?
My favorite blueberry muffin recipe in the whole world is from my great bloggy friend Tracy over at Clover. This recipe has become a family favorite for Sunday morning muffins. These bite size clouds of yumminess always comes out perfect. Last week, I had no more blueberries in my freezer, but did come across some semi-sweet chocolate chips in my pantry.
Following Tracey’s recipe, I combined all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Then I creamed the sugar and butter.
I added a splash more milk until I got the right “muffin” consistency in the mix. Then I simply added the chocolate chips.
This muffin recipe is simply fantastic!
I now want to try cranberries and walnut muffins…apple muffins…or maybe apricots…Her base recipe can’t be beat! (Thanks Tracey!)
**Note: I also omitted the lemon juice – I just wanted to be sure that was on here too!**
Since last year, our eating habits have changed. This has made me revisit some of our favorite recipes. This comfort food crockpot dish wasn’t changed too much, but I was able to add a few alterations that make it even better than before!
Apple Glazed Pork Roast
4lbs pork loin roast
6-8 large apples
1/4 cup Angry Orchard Hard Cider (crisp apple)
3 tbl brown sugar
1-2 tsp fresh ground ginger (depending on taste)
Trim excess fat from loin, set aside. Core and quarter apples. Place apple quarters in bottom of crockpot. Place roast on top of apples. Combine cider, brown sugar, and ginger. Spoon over top surface of loin, moistening well. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees (medium well) in the middle.
Serve with apples on top.
The most challenging part in changing our eating habits has been the increase in our grocery bill. I have found that buying organic veggies, grass fed beef, and cage-free chicken adds about 30% to my weekly list. I’ve slowly been adjusting by substituting, buying in-season, being organized and creative. One simple change that has helped me get the most out our menu at the beginning of the week is to follow the blog world in Meatless Mondays.
We were able to easily make this transition in the summer by grilling everything. I have found now that the air has turned cooler, the menu is changing and the new challenge has been meatless comfort food. This week, Acorn Squash was on special at the market and I stumbled upon this great soup that not only includes the squash, but also takes advantage of many in-season ingredients.
This recipe is Roasted Acorn Squash Soup from A Sweet Pea Chef. It’s a simple recipe with a blend of ingredients that pack a big flavor punch. The blend of the sweet squash with the tartness of granny smith apples is accompanied by a kick of ginger making this soup a tasty in-season addition to any budget conscious menu.
What do you do to keep your menu in check?
A friend I had almost 15 years ago gave me this recipe. She prepared it for me one night, in the kitchen of her brand new house built for her by her husband. It was a girls night, just the two of us. I remember what a good time it was. It’s been years since we’ve been in touch. We grew apart by geography and life circumstances, just like a lot of friendships. Life has a way of changing friendships, but it also has a way of helping us remember the good times we share. This recipe is in her hand writing on a recipe card in my recipe box. It always makes me smile when I shuffle through the old school box and pull it out. I think of the two of us at very different points in our lives, sipping down a bottle of wine, laughing and enjoying. I hope by sharing it, you will enjoy it too. Maybe it’s the perfect dinner to make for a long needed girls night with your friends?
1/2 lb mushrooms
1/4 cup onions (chopped)
1/4 cup dry marsala wine
8 Tbs olive oil (divided)
3 chicken breasts (boneless)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1. Squeeze the lemon over chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Coat with flour.
2. In a skillet heat 3 Tbs of oil and saute mushroom and onions. Cook until tender. Remove from skillet.
3. Add oil to skillet and cook chicken over moderate heat, browning lightly on both sides, about 10-15 mins.
4. Return mushrooms and onions to skillet, cover and simmer until chicken is tender.
5. Add the marsala wine and heat for 8-10 mins.
(great on top of garlic mashed potatoes, or garlic mashed cauliflower!)
This was, by far, the best soup I have ever made. I think partly because I started with my own homemade broth.
Sidetracked: I just did a search on my blog to link to the recipe for my broth and realized that after 5 years of blogging, I have never told you how I make it. Well, that ends now! After making Rosemary Crockpot Chicken (I now add lemon and use fresh garlic), I put all the bones and unused meat (including skin) back in the crock. The more meat left, the better tasting your broth will be. I add enough water to almost fill the crock, a few more sprigs of rosemary, a bay leaf, any left over lemon juice, 3 gloves of crushed garlic, salt (about 2 tsps) and pepper (about 1/2 tsp) to the bones, skin and meat. Then I let it simmer on high until I go to bed, then I turn it down to low and let it cook overnight (some people don’t like doing this, but I’ve done it for years). By morning, remove the crock from the crockpot and let it cool a bit. Then separate the bones from the broth. Freeze or use fresh…it’s perfect, and the perfect starter to this awesome Barley Soup!
8 Cups of Broth (I usually get about 7 from my crockpot and added one cup of regular water)
1 cup pearled barley
1 cup carrots (chopped)
1 cup celery (chopped)
1 cup onion (chopped)
1 cup parsnips (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh dill (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh chives (chopped)
1. Bring stock to a boil, add barley, carrots, onion and parsnips.
2. Turn heat down to simmer and cover partially.
3. Simmer until barley is soft, add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stir in dill and chives.
Please let me know if you try this recipe. Do you have another way you prepare broth?