Monday, October 19, 2009


I am making the napa cabbage from the previous recipe right now, and while it's ok, it's not all that. We'll see what happens after it simmers a little longer & I season it more. I used turkey bacon instead of the Canadian bacon, since it's what I had.

We shall see.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Repositorium: Braised Napa Cabbage & Mustardy Pork Chops

I will undoubtedly change this up significantly when I try it, but I think it will be for dinner tomorrow night.

Braised Napa Cabbage and Mustardy Pork Chops
Adapted from Rachael Ray, "30-Minute Get Real Meals"

4 servings

2 T olive oil (divided)
4 slices canadian bacon, turkey bacon, or lean ham
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 T fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 head Napa cabbage, cored and chopped
1/4 cup + 1 T cider vinegar (divided)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 lb. thin-cut pork loin chops
2 T Smart Balance or other buttery, non-trans fat spread
1 T grainy mustard
1 T fresh parsley, chopped, or 1 1/2 tsp parsley flakes
salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Add thyme, garlic, and onion and cook for 1 minute; then stir in cabbage. Add 1/4 cup cider vinegar and broth; lower heat to medium and let cook 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, season pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the remaining olive oil to another nonstick skillet. Cook the chops until done, about 4 minutes on each side.

Blend Smart balance, mustard, and parsley together with a fork. Serve chops over the cabbage with a dollop of "butter" over each chop.

PerServing: 337 cal, 18 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 5 g carb, 1g fiber, 40g protein ((not sure how precise this is...someone else may want to run it through a program. Plus the fat is so high because of the oil--would be easy to reduce it))

Black Bean Brownies: The Verdict

Last night I posted about the Black Bean Brownies I was baking, so here's my review:

So the brownies took much longer to bake thoroughly than the directions I had said, just an FYI.

They are a total WIN! Yay! Everyone in the house loves them. They are very rick dark chocolate.

I would also add that in the future, I would definitely blend it all in the Vita-Mix again, to ensure the batter is that smooth. I don't think they'd have been as enjoyable to the kids especially had it not been as smooth.

For my between boy, he wants a brownie ice cream cake for his birthday in December, and he wants to use this recipe. I think it's going to be phenomenal. I would like to make my own ice cream for it, too.

I need to break out the ice cream maker. I scored a new in the box nice one from Freecycle a long time ago, and still haven't used it.
I would like to experiment with coconut milk ice cream & frozen yogurt, too. Oh yes, right as fall is hitting, right?

Calabacita & Lima Bean Bake

Another one from my recent archives I wanted to share.
When I made this even my super picky best friend enjoyed it!

I added cooked frozen shrimp when I put this together, but to be honest they didn't add much. I don't usually add those to cooked dishes, except fried rice on occasion, as the flavor seems to be lost. I like them cold by themselves, or in shrimp & egg salad. If I were using fresh shrimp I cooked? Hells yeah.

Easily vegetarian, easily adaptable.

Calabacita & Lima Bean Bake

3 med calabacita squash, (you could use zucchini or summer squash)
1/2 lb frozen small green lima beans, steamed in microwave 7 min (I adore those Ziploc steamer bags)
1 tb real bacon crumbles (Superfluous? Possibly, but it did add just a bit of smokiness)
1 tb smart balance
1 tb olive oil
1/2 lb 71/90 ct pre-cooked frozen peeled shrimp, thawed (fresh sauteed would be awesome)
1/4 c lf shredded mozzarella
1/4 c shredded parm
2tb lf feta crumbles (just finished off what I had left)

Saute the squash in olive oil & smart balance for a little bit, till softened. Layer in a casserole dish. Add lima beans, shrimp, bacon crumbles, then cheese.
Bake about 20 minutes at 350. Put under broiler for few minutes & brown the cheese. Mmmmm.

I served this with a simple ceasar style salad, just romaine & dressing.

Oh hey! Green Sauce

I had completely forgotten I'd made this, I'm glad I typed this in my email as a draft. I use drafts as a place to stash things like that, rather than a word processor. I have ADD and I tend to save a million things in a million places, then lose them.

Creamy Salsa Verde, for enchiladas, green gazpacho, dressing.

1/4 lb fro yellow squash slices
2 lg handfuls of kale
2tb green salsa
3 lg handfuls cilantro
3 gr onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lime's juice

mixed together in Vita-Mix
added 2 c ff yogurt
Mixed again.

Served so far as a dressing tossed w/ blackbeans and additional chopped green onions on romaine.

Have sauce left over, would be good as an enchilada type sauce (thinking enchilada casserole, without tortillas, instead using mashed black beans or faux cornbread), maybe spinach or shrimp, with a little queso blanco crumbled over the top.
Also think it would be a great base for a green gazpacho.

To be honest, I think this would be better cooked in some way.I will tweak it more next time I make it.

I also think I will add some cumin next time, too.

Ode to the Sweet Potato

I am excited about Thanksgiving coming up, because I will be able to get a ton of sweet potatoes for $.19/lb again.

Growing up I'd only ever had candied yam atrocities, with the marshmallow, you know the one. It is one of my least favorite foods ever. Ick. So I never knew the joy of the simple sweet potato. take away all of that gunk, and you have something wonderful, & chock full of good for you.

Some Favorites Ways of enjoying them:
Baked any of the following ways: plain, butter & cinammon, seasoned salt, tamari & sesame seeds



Baked Fries


Burritos with chickpeas

I also love the way they smell when they are baking. Mmmmm, sweet.

Repositorium: Green Soup w/ Ginger

This sounds really good, and I would like to try it soon.
From 101 Cookbooks: Green Soup with Ginger

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Black Bean Brownies on the way...

I have finally done it. I'm making the black bean brownie recipe from Baking With Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano. 101 Cookbooks did a blog post with the recipe a while back, and I have wanted to.

I had to change up a few things:
I didn't have unsalted butter. I instead used 1/2 c Smart Balance, and 1/4 c cold coffee.
I only had 1/2 c walnuts, and my eldest (who made these with me) doesn't actually like pieces of nuts in his brownies, so I just added the half cup in with the black beans into the Vita-Mix.

I was having trouble getting the bean/walnut mixture to mix, I imagine it may work better in an actual food processor. But what I did when it was time to mix the chocolate, bean mix, & eggs, was to put it all into the Vita-Mix & blend it some more.
The resulting batter was smooooooth.

My eldest had a fantastic time making swirls into the batter. >_>


I plan to also put various recipes here that I would like to try.

There are so many fantastic blogs out there with so many amazing recipes, and my bookmarks are ridiculous. There should be a Firefox plug-in for a recipe box, kind of like the one on, but that you could just tag and put into a recipe box type deal that link to the page.

But anyway, until someone writes an awesome plug-in like I imagine, but utterly fail at articulating, I also plan to link recipes I find intriguing.

Raw Almonds

I'd read before that eating a small handful of raw almonds can help with heartburn. I'd never tried it because nothing short of Zantac has ever helped my GERD issues. I am currently out of ranitidine (generic Zantac, which is WAY less expensive to buy at Wal-Mart than CVS)and currently suffering.

The raw almonds do actually help a little. More effective than Tums, anyway.

I feel like chicken tonight

Tonight's dinner:

Boneless, skinless breast tenders, in an Italian style dressing, made with canola oil, white wine vinegar, herbs de provence, & garlic.
I then coated them in bread crumbs I made from 12 grain bread.
Baked 350, 15 minutes.

Oven Fries:
4 medium potatoes
2 medium sweet potatoes
Cut them into thick fries, tossed them with canola oil, garlic, Tony Cachere's, and salt. Spread on parchment paper on cookie sheets. Baked at 425 for about 20-39 minutes. The sweet potato fries were done before the white potatoes, but I just took that sheet out.

Steamed frozen green beans

Later I made smoothies for the family. At Food Town the pounds of strawberries were $1.29, so I picked up a couple of pounds.

I put about 3/4lb hulled strawberries, a cup of ice, some milk, a splash of half & half, agave nectar, vanilla, & a banana into the Vita-Mix. The whole family really loved it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oatmeal Muffins

I just made some oatmeal muffins & they are really good.
I based this on the wholesome oat muffin recipe from the orange South Beach cookbook, by way of the internet.

I made some changes from the original recipe, cause I do that, and also I do not usually use artificial sweeteners, which this called for originally.
Here's my spin on the muffin recipe, and it's given me a good base to work from.
I plan to try these with pumpkin & dried fruit (apples? cranberries?) next.

Basic Oat Muffins

3/4 cup
1 cup 1% milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup, scant, agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.

In a small bowl, combine 3⁄4 cup of the oats and milk. Let soak for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt.

In a large bowl, stir together the oil, egg, agave nectar, until well blended. Stir in the oat mixture. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

Remove to the rack to cool completely.

Food Costs Money

No kidding, right?

And money lately has been something that we just don't have much of.

I try to shop sales for meat and dairy, cheap staples, and produce. Coupons are useful to a certain extent, for things like cold cereal, dairy, and other items when they are needed. I am no longer coupon shopping with idea of stockpiling. I need to focus on getting us through each pay period with a meal plan.

Right now I shop at various stores, depending on sales or what I need. I live in Chinatown, so I have a very large assortment of Asian groceries, as well as Wal-Mart, HEB, Food Town, Fiesta. I also try (key word, here) to go out to the community garden to pick veggies when I can. Unfortunately it's a bit of a drive for me, so not always easy to get out there. I plan to go this evening, though, so I will report back on that.

Today I have shopped at Food Town, the loss leader bringing me in was mainly boneless skinless breast tenders for $1.77. We eat a lot of boneless skinless breast around here.

One thing I would really love would be a small chest freezer that I could put in my bedroom closet. A sale on chicken like that is worth buying extra for the future, I think.

I also bought dried beans, in more varieties than usual. I am a fan of canned beans for convenience, but I am going to try using dried for chickpeas & black beans, as we go through a lot of those, and it is much less expensive to use dry. If I'm doing a meal plan ahead of time, then it should be easy to plan for cooking time on the dried beans.

I am hoping my blog writing gets into an easier flow, and that over time my blog will become more fun to read! :)

New Blog


This blog will be a rockin' adventure into the land of healthy, whole, cheap!, easy food.

I've recently given up processed food, corn syrup, processed sugar, non-whole grains. I have started only using whole foods, lots & lots of veggies, more beans, legumes, lean meat, more fish, fruit, lots of grains.

This is a household change. I want to feed my children well, I want to avoid diabetes, I want to have more energy, I want to do it all on the cheap.

I enjoy cooking & baking, I enjoy reading about food & nutrition, I enjoy seeing what comes out of my kitchen adventures.

I created this blog as a place to keep track of what I make, how much I spend for groceries for a family of 5, including two very hungry growing boys.