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Win!

May 29, 2013 1 comment

Years ago (ahem 9? 8?) I recall having a conversation at a kid class (ECFE for the Minnesota readers) about dinner food. Several friends (sharon, missy, that’s you!) were amazed that my family would eat sandwiches for dinner and be satisfied. I don’t claim to be any kind of patenting expert, but it isall in the presentation. Tonight’s dinner?

Wraps. Inside: plain baked chicken +/-
Bacon
Tomatoes
Celery
Lettuce
Dressing
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On the side: two tiny pickles and half an avocado.

I present you with the cheering I received. It was all about the stupid toothpick flags I made – one with an L and one with an E. I hope you can make out the hair flying as the kids are jumping up and down.

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My dinner? A lovely chopped salad, with baked chicken and bacon bits.

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Categories: What we are eating

Beet Soup.

February 15, 2013 Leave a comment

I know, yuck!  Insert memories of some god-awful purple stuff with stringy beef. My own Polish grandma didn’t even serve it to us.

I recently asked for help — I had come to the end of the month, but we hadn’t eaten our month’s worth of winter vegetables. And it was time to pick up 25 lbs of new veggies. (side note, what the heck DID we eat if we had so many carrots, beets, parsnips and squash left over??). A friend pointed me to this soup, a gingery roasted beet and sweet potato soup on NPR’s webpage. I had all the ingredients (except cilantro) and I have a rockstar blender. Ok I’ll try it.

Here’s the recipe:

gingery roasted beet and sweet potato soup

Makes 4 servings

3 red beets (about 1 to 1 1/4 pound)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (about 1 pound)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon, divided

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 medium yellow onion
2 stalks celery, diced

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger

1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (15-ounce) can light coconut milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and peel the beets and sweet potato, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Roast beets in skin, peel them when done. Mucho easier. (You may want to wear gloves, as the beets may stain your hands. But then again, purple is the new black.) Peel and chop sweet potato and onion. No dicing necessary on either — it’s going in the blender later. Place beets, chopped onion and sweet potato on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and black pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and celery and saute 5 to 7 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Transfer the cooked beets and potato to the pot. Add the broth, lime juice, ginger, cilantro and cayenne pepper and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before pureeing. Working in batches, add soup and coconut milk to a blender and puree until smooth. For a velvety smooth consistency, you can strain the soup through a sieve. I like a few tiny bumps, so I leave it as is. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Categories: What we are eating Tags: ,

Cabbage

October 22, 2012 3 comments

I love cabbage.  I’ve pretty much never had a cabbage dish that I didn’t like. I promised my friend I would share ideas other than coleslaw.

Here’s a warm cabbage recipe. Warning: it includes yellow raisins. Good way to keep my family from eating it.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup. I use the recipe from The Tassajara Recipe Book.

Cabbage Pie

Cabbage sauteed with basalmic vinegar on top.

Cabbage with any form of sausage. Admittedly this doesn’t help my vegetarian friend. But…

Eggs and cabbage

Cabbage + lentils + Indian spices. + garlic + onions.

Cabbage lentil soup.

Crunchy Peanut slaw:
(2 cups cabbage, 1/2 c carrots) mix with dressing (1/4 c oil, 1/4 c vinegar, 3 TBS soy sauce, 3 TBS brown sugar, 2 TBS peanut butter*). Can add cilantro, green onions, leftover chicken or tofu, sunflower seeds. *palm oil optional

Raw cabbage is pretty yummy. If you like cabbage.

And of course all the different kinds of coleslaw.

I’m sure I have more ideas, but I’m at work and not in front of my cookbooks.

Categories: What we are eating

Pumpkin Apple Soup, you do not disappoint

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m working from home today. My desk coffee table is covered with the papers I’m working on. My nose is running with the fall sinus thing that my friends have all been passing around. Apparently its bad enough that Dr.Dad was in bed last night at 8:30. That’s rough.

The kids seem ok (err, well that’s a whole other blog post), I packed salad for them today in their lunches. The bread we have is uninspired, I ate salad for breakfast (when I was packing their lunches). At lunch time for me I was foraging around in the fridge and found the soup I made last week.

 

 

 

I found the recipe at Once a Month Mom, but I modified it slightly — different veggies, added wine, etc. Here’s the recipe I made

 

Curried Pumpkin Apple Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth (or a good veggie broth would be great here too)
  • 2.5 cups canned pumpkin (or cooked squash would work)
  • 0.25 teaspoons salt
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 0.33 cup heavy cream – I did not add these two, but I’m keeping them here if you like.
  • 3 Tablespoons honey

Directions:

Melt butter in medium soup pot over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery and apples. Saute until onions are clear. Stir in curry powder and saute for about a minute. Add wine and cook for one more minute.  Stir in half of chicken broth. Pour contents of the pan into blender or food processor. Add the canned pumpkin and blend until smooth. Add mixture back to pot, stir in remaining chicken broth, salt and bay leaf. Turn heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

<let sit in your fridge for a few days>

I didn’t do this, but it might be even yummier: After 5 minutes, stir in heavy cream and honey. Simmer for 2 minutes more.

Serve with cranberries and pumpkin seeds in your favorite bowl you brought back from New Zealand. Remember fantastic trip you took in August 2001. Make plans to go back.

Categories: What we are eating

feast or famine

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Sometimes life is just like that.

For several years we had barely enough work. Mostly enough to get us by, but it was tight a lot of the time. Now, for the past 2-3 seasons, too much work.

Monday was my first day back to the office. Tuesday we picked this up:

That’s 50 lbs of fresh tomatoes. We ordered them back in March (?) when the woodburning stove was still running. Around that time it seemed like a good idea to order two boxes. So we did. One box was ready Tuesday and the other? Friday.

Add into the mix that we are splitting a third box with friends, oy, that’s a lot of tomatoes. But you know, we eat a lot of tomatoes and we can greatly reduce the BPA we consume if we can our own. (Dr Dad, well, he doesn’t usually consider things like BPA, but he does eat a hell of a lot of salsa he makes from the canned tomatoes). Yeah, so if you’re keeping track, that’s 150 lbs of tomatoes in one four day period. And a handful of fresh ones in the garden yet.

So what do you do with all those tomatoes?  Well, you get your counter cleared off, put on your tank top and tie your hair back and get down to business. Top to bottom in the picture:

canner, pot of boiling water (for peeling the tomatoes), blue bowl of cold water (for peeling tomatoes), bowl of fresh, uncored tomatoes. To the left add in a few bowls to hold the peeled tomatoes and not pictured is the sink to hold the peels.

It’s a process, for sure. Heat the jars and meanwhile peel the tomatoes (if you core a tomato then put it into boiling water for a minute, plunge it into cold water, then it the skin will peel right off). I like to use these pretty bowls, because they’re pretty handy and clean.

So core, boil, cold water, peel, repeat.

Peeled tomatoes, ready to quarter and stuff into jars.

Load jars, add lemon juice, add hot water. Lids. Boil.

Repeat again until all the jars are full.

Bounty. That’s what this year is all about.

There’s something in me. It feels a little like a woman who lived through rationing during the war or through the Depression. I’m squirreling away produce because we have them and they are available. (Coincidentally….last summer wasn’t a good year for local tomatoes. We only canned one box of them and ran out sometime around February).

My husband is taking on additional work because it’s there for his taking. He’s afraid to say no for fear of them not calling him back.* Feast or famine. At least we’ll be feasting this winter on homemade soup, sauce and salsa. In between all the craziness that is two working parents and two children.

*I did turn down a gift of a tomato at work this week.

Late summers promise.

August 23, 2012 3 comments

I’m looking forward to dinner. Apple something and carrot tomato soup. Mmm. Maybe lunch.

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Categories: What we are eating

Comparison Shopping

August 18, 2012 5 comments

There are three basic options in my town for grocery shopping: large regional chain, smaller regional chain, and upscale single store. The large regional chain in a pain in the rear to get to from my house. It also takes me forever to shop there. The smaller regional chain often has dairy products that are at the very end of their “sell by” dates (and I have accidentally bought yogurt beyond its sell-by date). The smaller regional chain store is within (long) walking distance of my home, and we can ride our bikes there easily. And the upscale shop is, well upscale. Lots of nice groceries, an enjoyable shopping experience. EXCEPT — I have long claimed that by shopping that that store for my weekly trip I will instantly spend at least ten dollars more.

My husband prefers the upscale store for shopping. I decided to do a little comparison shopping. Here’s what I price compared:

Healthy Choice 7 Grain Bread

Minute Maid 1/2 Gallon OJ

Kemps (or Land o Lakes) Butter, 1 lb

Kemps (or Land o Lakes) Gallon of milk

Klausen Pickles

5 lbs Crystal Sugar

5 lbs Gold Medal All Purpose Flour

Here’s what I expected to find:

Upscale most expensive, Small regional chain middle, Large regional chain most expensive.

Here’s what I actually found:

Upscale ($25.45)

Small Regional Chain ($20.34)

Large Regional Chain ($23.33)

So I was surprised that the large regional chain (which is at least 10 miles away, depending on the route) was not the cheapest. That shop is not really on my way to anything (except Target or the mall), and just driving there costs me $4.

Surprise #2: the small regional chain is not only the cheapest, its 20% cheaper than the upscale shop. And the significant differences came in the form of staples (flour $3.25 vs. $2.49  and sugar $3.30 vs. $2.89).

Why didn’t I compare other products?  Well, honestly I was busy. I needed items in the dairy aisle, the baking aisle and I was buying bread. (This brand I knew would be consistent across all the stores). Why no produce?  Two reasons: in the summer we get our produce through two CSA farms (one for fruit one for veggies). Also I think produce is highly variable. In fairness, the upscale shop always has nice produce.

So in short, I told you so: that the upscale shop was more expensive. But I was honestly surprised that the giant store wasn’t the cheapest. And a little relieved because frankly, it takes forever to do my shopping there.

Categories: What we are eating