July 31, 2011

Already August

SUNDAY: Sweet potato & chick pea curry with broccoli
MONDAY: Spinach Quesas
TUESDAY: Pasta Pesto & Peas
WEDNESDAY: Warm Quinoa Bean Salad with Feta, Asparagus
THURSDAY: Spinach Salad with MSF grillers
FRIDAY: Black Bean Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Total grocery cost (including cereal, soy milk, and yogurt): $55.32
Not bad for 15-18 meals each (< $2/pp per meal)

Weird things...

...from the aisles of Ocean State Job Lot. I love this place for a good bargain! Once a year I get to hit it up for some tasty, super discounted goodies. Last year, I scored tons of Bob's Red Mill for $2. This year, in order to spend the week here (no photoshopping of that true blue sky involved, straightup iPhone!):

we had to fly the friendly (but annoyingly delayed...did you see my tweets?) skies to get there. [insert my rant about US Airways first checked bag fee and delays] So there, was sadly no room to return home with $2 whole grains and $3 agave. I wouldn't want you to miss out on the fun that was had though, with these finds from the shelves.

Do you even know what sprats are? I don't and that picture on the box isn't helping.

Oh, creepy eyeball looking onions. In a jar?

And who is Maria and how did they get her in a box? At least she is original and natural.

Again with the jarred...roasted eggplant, really? I can't imagine how you would ever use this.

Everyone's favorite flavor: Meat. Not actual meat, meat flavor. Nom.

And while we're on imitation things...vegetables flakes? Wonder how many you'd have to eat to get a servings worth? Guarantee some idjit thinks this counts as healthy.

And finally, another thing I had to look up: Quince. There you have it.
Until next year, OSJL, I remain yours truly. 


Sidestory just for fun. One day last year at work, the Museum staff was doing a touchy-feely exercise with the art (not actually touching it, that's illegal), but looking at different paintings and then we were asked to write on a slip of paper a 2-3 word response. For this painting:

I wrote "Ocean State!" Boy did that confuse people. Do you have any idea why? Here this might help.

William M. Harnett (1848-1892), Job Lot Cheap, 1878, oil on canvas, 18 x 36", original purchase fund from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation,
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, ARCA Foundation, and Anne Cannon Forsyth, 1966.2.10

July 23, 2011

Sometimes it's fun to

play with your food! The other eater got creative with his plate arrangement...

I totally see it. Fitting.

July 20, 2011

Risotto Row

Such a simple combination of ingredients.

In case you can't tell, that's onion & garlic

grated summer squash and zuch-i-nini (like her-mi-ninny in HP4 that I am listing to currently!)



and bonus basil (other flavor/topping options include parmesan and tomato)

I like onions. Saute them in EVOO for a few minutes.

Add in the rice and get it nice an toasty, about 3 minutes.

Gradually add 1/2 c broth, continue stirring until absorbed, and add another 1/2 c. Repeat until 3 c. added and rice has expanded.

Add grated veggies and simmer on medium for 10 minutes. You can increase heat to high to burn off extra moisture but to do this, you will need to stir constantly.

Add in other flavorings/toppings as desired! Perfect amount of summer meal.

July 19, 2011

Green Clean

Just as I scrutinize the unnatural items of food that I put in my mouth, YJDKIY is starting in on the unnatural cleaning items I put in my house. I haven't actually stopped to count how many "products" I use each day, but I figure it's well over 12 (shampoo, makeup, toothpaste, soap, lotion, etc. plus all the household ones toilet cleaner, windex, dishwashing detergent, furniture polish, etc), but if each of those have 10 ingredients (of which I can't pronounce any!), that adds up fast.

The first change I made to simpler, fewer ingredients was a while ago: toothpaste. Natural, no additives, less chemicals.

I almost always use a baking soda variety, either Arm & Hammer or this one from Tom's of Maine.

Next up, tackling those pesky weeds. If you've been reading a while, you know my dislike of Monsanto, makers of Round-Up. I just couldn't bring myself to spray those chemicals on places we walk barefoot, the Canine Component lounges, and where rain runs off into storm water drains.

So the ingenious other resident at YJDKIY (not the furry one!) discovered a weed-killer that works. And that he can squirt me with! All safe ingredients - you could even do without the detergent and it would work I think. And work it does! I had serious doubts, but after spraying directly on the leaves, 3 hours of bright sun left even the crab grass shriveled, brown, and dry, ready to be easily removed.

And because of those who DO use roundup, I've added a PUR filter to our tap. No excuse to ever buy bottled water, but more importantly, getting rid of those chemical additives (both intentional and unintentional) in our water. I can tell a definite difference in the smell and the taste. 

Moving to the bathroom. I haven't been able to give up wipes, but I did junk the Clorox, at least, with these disinfecting wipes from Seventh Generation.

They were expensive, smell a little funky, and I'm not doing anyone any favors with the non-biodegradable materials, but I feel better about the ingredients, my hands and nose aren't burning when I'm done, and things still get clean pretty quickly. I'll be weaning off these soon, but will look to other Seventh Generation products to green up my clean.

This isn't really cleaning, but it's green: reusable bags. This one is from Whole Foods. We've all been toting them to the grocery store for a while now, but I'm really trying to take it on other shopping adventures, the farmers market, and just about anywhere I might need to tote something. Plus it's cute to boot so I like showing it off!

Back in the bathroom, shampoo. I've used brands without sulfates & parabens before, but they were either extremely expensive, or not so hot with the hair.

Enter Simply U. I'm still trying to research this company, because I bought at GASP Walmart, but it was under $6, smells good, and works well so far.

And last up, the laundry room. This one still has some room for reform, but less ingredients is better with this Arm & Hammer variety.  Perfume & Dye free.

These are baby steps by far, but at least it is a conscious choice. Next up to fix: makeup and dish washer detergent! What products do you like?

July 17, 2011

Muffins, My Favorite Kitchen Gadget, Seasame Street and Photography Lessons all on a Sunday morn

One of only things that drives me to bake is expiring produce.

YJDKIY had some bananas approaching seniority, so I decided to whip up some muffins. Who doesn't love a carby fruit & nutterbutter filled mid-morning snack?

One of the things I really hate about baking, is all the small little dishes required. It's like the baking recipes set out to nickel & dime you into a carby coma. So...I always find little ways around these inconveniences.

Like adding oil. Don't get me wrong, the recipe (below) called for it, but listed it as the last item to add to the wet ingredient mix. Reverso that, adding oil first, and you can use the same measuring cup for the egg, PB, and sugar and it will slide right out, allowing you to use only one measuring cup. By using only the 1 c. one, you can visually estimate 1/2, 1/4, 2/3, whatever is necessary. As long as you know your fractions and pie wedges. 

I also don't measure anything requiring spoons. 1/4 t salt = a small pinch, 2T cinnamon = coating the top of the mix with a decent pour. And yet another trick. This one might seem really odd...but I never bring out the electric mixer. A potato masher works perfect for almost anything, including bananas and PB.

You might be thinking, ok that's fine for mashing, but to mix in the flour, she's going to have to switch tools.

Nope! It's a perfect paddle-stirrer. And it's contour scraped the edge of the bowl cleaner than any spatula. Try it.

Voiahaha! Von, too, vree! Only vree dirty dishes (plus the muffin pan)!  That is my attempt at counting like the Seasame Street Count. After a little time in the easy bake oven, out popped the most delicious smelling muffins ever.

Only they didn't look like it. They looked washed out blueish grocery store fare or something. Thanks to the "food" scene setting on my DSLR. Normally food photos around here happen at night. But with lots of natural morning light, there was no need for that enhancement.

So I switched to "A" mode, opened up the aperture as wide as I could, set the white balance to sunlight and the ISO to 400.

POOF! Just like that, they were as golden delicious on "film" as IRL. No photoshopping required.

I couldn't stop with the photos because they were smelling and looking so good I could just eat them up.

So I did. I don't know if it was the Hoffner Organic Farm's Whole Wheat Flour, or the lack of measuring, or just my lucky day, but these were so light and fluffy and at the same time moist and gooey. Perfection.

PB&B Muffins
3 ripe bananas
1/4 c vegetable oil 
2 eggs (or equivalent substitute)
1/3 c packed brown sugar
~2T soy milk (optional)
~1t vanilla
~2T cinnamon

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
~1t baking soda
tiny pinch of coarse salt

Preheat oven to 400, spray 12-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Mix together first 6 ingredients until well-blended in a large bowl. Add remaining 3 ingredients to a sifter and gradually mix into wet ingredients. Spoon into muffin pan and baked ~20 minutes.

July 16, 2011

Artful Week

YJDKIY is totally in love with theydrawandcook.com and this week's menu planning clearly illustrates that fact. get it?! Click the links to see the full size image and artist.

MONDAY: Pesto Baked Salmon

TUESDAY: Zucchini & Summer Squash Risotto 

WEDNESDAY: Tofu McMuffin & Greens

THURSDAY: Ratatouille (Pasta Bazoola)

FRIDAY: Chick Pea & Sweet Potato Curry


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