Monday, April 12, 2010

CRAZY 4 COOKING

Good morning everyone. How is my favorite group of people doing today? I’m here… let’s just say that. Got some problems, but otherwise, ok today. But I can those problems are really gonna hinder my production today. So anyway, I’m glad you stopped in. Sit down and stay awhile… let’s chat!



Ok, time to address some things here. To SUSAN- congratulations on the upcoming baby boy and way to go for doing what you have to do to survive. Believe me, it WILL get better. Also major kudos for sneaking in those veggies! LOL do what you have to do. Make sure you teach those babies what each veggie is and you never know, they may grow to like them as they get older! If you have problems with them eating veggies, have you ever tried purees? My autistic DS14 has a problem eating some veggies and so I puree them and put them in things he likes. Like I do butternut squash and other things in his Macaroni & Cheese, zucchini and such in his spaghetti sauce, etc. There is an excellent cookbook called “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld which shows you what you need to puree, how to puree, what you can make with them, etc. Definitely a useful tool!

As for your upcoming bundle… all those names are great! I have always been partial to the Latin names Benito and Javier personally LOL! And a HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY TO YOU! I did not know that little thing about Rosemary… that would have been very useful when my kids were little LOL! As for “knockoffs” or “Copycats” as they are respectfully called LOL, no clue. But I bet you could look up “homemade remedies with rosemary” on google and probably find something!



Now the wild onions, yes they are in the same group. They have a mild taste… similar to leeks (which are also in the onion/bulb group). As a matter of fact, they are officially called “wild leeks” LOL! They can be used in place wherever green onion or leeks are called for. They have a very strong odor, but will not make you cry like normal onions. I’ve used them in numerous dishes since I picked them and nobody has been able to tell the difference in this house LOL! Don’t you just LOVE farmer’s markets? Yes the ones you find there with the larger bulbs are another variation of the green onion. We get those at our markets here too, with the bulbs as big as golf balls! This picture shows the last ones we got at the market. They come up from the valley and they are oh-so-sweet!

And finally, as for the Garden Contest, I am sad that nobody was entering properly or even really interested, so we just decided to cancel it. I will be coming up with another idea soon though, so make sure to stay tuned for that.

Well, since I do call myself “The Frugal Mom”, I want to bring you some more frugality LOL! I actually found this article and wanted to share it with you!

Slash Your Grocery Bill and Still Eat Well
SELF.com
By Lucy Danziger


These days, calories probably aren't the only thing you're trying to cut back on. Thanks to the dicey economy and rising price of food, a lot of us are trying to limit what we spend, too. For instance, I used to buy the berries I eat for breakfast at the little local market, but found out I could save a small fortune if I went to the big superstore-and they are just as fresh. Fortunately, you can reduce the amount on your receipt without resorting to a diet of ramen noodles. In fact, by knowing just a few frugal secrets, you can stock your cart with nutritious foods for less. Try these tips to shrink your bill and still get your healthy fill.

Make it snappy
Shoppers who spend more than 30 minutes wandering the aisles are prone to spending more money at the store-and coming home with more items they don't need. Shop once a week, make a list and tick it off quick!

Use a basket
If you do need to make a pit stop at the store for a missing ingredient or two, grab a basket rather than use a cart to avoid impulse buys. Better yet, carry your goods in your hands!

Be picky about your protein
Rather than spend on pricey cuts of chicken and beef, buy a whole organic roasted chicken your family can enjoy for days. Eggs, too, are an inexpensive source of both protein and vitamins A and D. At about $2 a dozen, they won't crack your budget.

Think beyond the produce aisle
Canned and frozen veggies are packed at their nutritious peak and can last up to a year, so they're safe to stock up on during a great sale and cost less than fresh. Keep canned beans, peas and tomatoes in your pantry and bags of mixed veggies in your freezer. Build your meals around these foods to eat well while sticking to your budget.

Buy healthy foods in bulk
In my experience, whenever you have more of a food on hand-nutritious or not-you tend to eat more of it. While a jumbo-sized tub of chocolate-chip cookie dough won't do your health any favors, sales on healthy staple items like beans, soup, whole-grain cereals and frozen vegetables sure will, so pounce when you spot a price cut.

Eat organic selectively
If the price of organic food concerns you as much as the pesticides on regular produce does, relax-you don't need to go into debt to lower your intake of chemicals. "Allocate your organic dollars toward thin-skinned picks like peppers and apples, which are likelier to accumulate chemicals," says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., a toxicologist and environmental health scientist at the nonprofit Consumers Union in Yonkers, New York. Buy non organic thick-skinned produce, such as oranges and bananas, since you peel it anyway.

Check yourself out!
Women who rang up their own groceries spent 32 percent less on high-calorie impulse buys such as chocolate at the cash register, finds a study by the IHL Consulting Group in Franklin, Tennessee. If your store doesn't have self-service lines, keep busy with a mag to avoid grabs for candy. Healthy, thrifty shopper in aisle three!

So what do I think? Yea this article has some good advice, some common sense advice, and then there is the things that have been omitted! Like GROWING your own food! Even if it’s just tomatoes, if you figure how much you save, you would be shocked! Let’s take cherry tomatoes… a bag of about 20 tomatoes here costs $3.99… so $4 gets you 20 that you must use within “X” days or they go bad. NOW… take that same $4 or even maybe LESS and invest in 1 or 2 (should get 2 so they pollinate and flower better) cherry tomato PLANTS. If cared for properly, it will put off tomatoes all spring and summer long… giving you crops of 40 or more at LEAST! Want to go even MORE frugal? Start those plants from a seed packet that only costs 99 cents and you can have TONS of plants! You can’t beat that! So why isn’t logic like this mentioned?? Is society really that logically impaired? Oh well, we know better, right?

Now, let’s get crafty. This is a great project you can make for your kitchen to match fabrics and protect your appliances. Keep dust and any other unwanted stuff out of your toaster with this cute cover!



Craft Idea of the Day: Fabric Toaster Covers

Measure the size of the end of the toaster as shown by the red lines in the diagram. Be sure to include the length to the counter top. Add 1/4" seam allowances to the two sides and the top to allow for seam allowances.

Determine the width of the toaster. Be sure to include any knobs that may protrude. This will be the width of the continuous strip that is attached to the ends that were measured in the above step. Add a 1/2" for seam allowances.

To determine the length of the continuous strip, measure the height and width of the end section described above. Two of the height and one of the width gives you the length BUT it is advisable to add a few inches. Any extra can be trimmed off after it has been attached to the end sections but you can not add fabric once it has been cut.

Needed Materials:

-Most toasters will need approximately 2/3 of a yard of 45" wide fabric - I quilted a cotton calico, using natural cotton batting. For a stiffer cover, you may want to experiment with fusible interfacing.

-Piping - I used 1 pkg. of Wrights® Maxi Piping

-Double Fold Bias Tape - I used 1 pkg of Wrights® Bias Tape Extra Wide Double Fold.

-Matching Thread

Directions

Cut two end pieces and one continuous strip of fabric to the measurements you took in the above step. Apply piping to the end sections. Find the center top of the end sections. Match the center of the long section of fabric with the center of the long side of the continuous strip. Sew the sections together from the top to the bottom edges. Repeat for both ends of the cover. Trim off any uneven edges if necessary. Apply Bias tape to the bottom edge of the cover.

Well I have to tell you, I had a major plan change yesterday, so I stayed home and did some mass cooking (which you all know I like a whole lot!) so I could take some meals out to my mom and dad in the evening. I made more Ropa Vieja, Meatballs, Sausage and Crawfish Jambalaya, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Chili, and Squash Casserole. Gotta love those crockpots! Of course the stove was covered too, inside AND out LOL! I don’t mind… I love cooking! I made the meals and ran them out there, along with mom’s cake. I think she liked it LOL. The squash Casserole was something new for them and they really enjoyed it (at least they said they did LOL!) so I wanted to share it with you, even though casserole week is over. I think even the most finicky of people will enjoy this because its got veggies, but lots of cheese too!



Creamy Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash (about 2 ½ pounds), peels and cut in bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary or thyme
1 small bag of fresh baby spinach, chopped or 10oz. frozen spinach thawed and drained
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 jar Ragu Classic Alfredo sauce
½ cup chicken broth
2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
3 tablespoons Ritz crackers or fresh bread crumbs

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.



2. In a large bowl combine squash, spinach, olive oil and rosemary. Toss to coat well in oil. Place in glass baking dish (I used an aluminum pan LOL).



3. In the same bowl, combine Ragu Alfredo sauce and chicken broth. Whisk until well blended and creamy. Pour mix on top of squash mix in pan.



4. In a smaller, dry bowl, combine crumbs/crackers with the Parmesan cheese and blend well. Sprinkle on top of pan to make the “crust”.

5. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes or until squash is tender and sauce is bubbly. Allow casserole to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

OMG, DS18 who SWEARS he hates butternut squash devoured this casserole LOL! So give it a shot! Ok now, if you haven’t already guessed, I am a sucker for Chinese/Asian food. I would LOVE to be able to eat at my favorite little Chinese restaurant down the road at least once a week, but the reality is I cannot afford that. Nobody really can nowadays. Society is reverting back to home cooked meals, which I think is wonderful! I wouldn’t mind seeing some of those distasteful fast food grease spoons go by the wayside (I will NOT mention names as I don’t want to ruffle any corporate panties that may run across this blog!). Healthy eating and cooking at home is the way to go! However, there are those select FEW restaurants that you just hope and pray don’t ever leave you! Szechuan Garden in Dickinson, TX is one of those places! The staff is awesome and the food is excellent! If you’re ever down this way, you HAVE to check it out!

Alright, so anyway, seeing as I have a weakness for Asian foods, I am always trying new recipes to get that delicious feeling of oriental yumminess! So, here is another one I think you might enjoy! Its just the right crispiness and oh-so-melt-in-your-mouth-good!



Perfect Sesame Chicken

Ingredients

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 dash sesame oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon chile paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions

Sift flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder into a bowl. Pour in low-sodium soy sauce, sherry, 2 tablespoons water, vegetable oil, and a dash of sesame oil; stir until smooth. Stir in chicken until coated with the batter, then cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring chicken broth, sugar, vinegar, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, chile paste, and garlic to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Dissolve 1/4 cup cornstarch into 1/2 cup of water, and stir into boiling sauce.

Simmer until the sauce thickens and turns clear, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and keep sauce warm.

Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer or large saucepan to a temperature of 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Drop in the battered chicken pieces, a few at a time, and fry until they turn golden brown and float to the top of the oil, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. To serve, place fried chicken pieces onto a serving platter, and pour the hot sauce overtop. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds to garnish.

Ok gang, I am gonna get off of here, go take my morning meds, check my plants, and either sew or cook or I might just lay back down. I got maybe an hour sleep total last night, so I could really use a power nap! LOL! Ya’ll take care and I will see you back here tomorrow morning! HUGS!

1 comment:

  1. Debbie "MOM"April 12, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    Wow, I missed a lot of stuff, didn't I? Thanks to all who wondered were I was. It was nice to know that people can feel concern for someone they dont even know. I want all of the readers to know that Renee is the kind of daughter who will help her family in whatever problems arrive. From making me dinners to babysitting me because I cant walk right now, she's there! Thank you Renee. Its too bad doctors these days dont have the same kind of nuturing feelings toward their patients. Trust me, I could tell you some stories! So I will just get though this injury by myself with the help from my family. Hope everyone out there keeps happy and healthy. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete