Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ella's Coconut Carrot Muffins

My niece made these while we were there and they are awesome! Also, she made the recipe up. These are so good, I can't wait to make them again.
Ps. She's 13!

2 1/4 cup flour
1 TB baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 sticks butter, melted
1/2 cup shortening or coconut oil
2 1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 cups shredded coconut
2 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a second bowl, mix sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and melted butter. Add dry mixture to the wet, along with shortening, carrot, coconut, and vanilla.

Fill 18 muffin cups and bake at 350' for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Thanks Ella!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hashbrown waffles

Make your hashbrowns in the waffle iron! They were fantastic. Thank you serious eats.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas treats

Sugar cookies, oatmeal fudge bars, and lime meltaways.

Huge time saver this year ~ I shaped the sugar cookies into rolls of circles, triangles, and squares. Then I just sliced them to bake and decorated as ornaments, Christmas trees, and presents, respectively. No rolling out the dough!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fried rice

This is what I make when my fridge is empty.

Fry bacon. Scramble eggs. Saute random veggies from fridge or freezer. Saute leftover rice in bacon grease and soy sauce. When hot, add all the other ingredients. Finish with some sesame oil.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Freezer meals

One day batch cooking - I finally did it! And I have to say, it was awesome. I had something significant to show for my effort. And I am not going to have to worry about cooking for a while. Unintended bonus: I've already done the dinner dishes for 16 meals!

I made:

Salmon Patties (canned salmon, sauteed onion and green peppers, breadcrumbs, mustard, curry powder, salt, eggs. Mix and cook in pan like hamburger patties.)

Quinoa Cakes (cooked quinoa, eggs, parmesan, salt, breadcrumbs, garlic, minced onion, green onion. Mix and cook in pan for 5 minutes per side.)

Quinoa Cake Mix (same ingredients as above minus the eggs. when ready, thaw, add eggs, fry.)

Quinoa, Kale, Garlic Saute (cooked kale, frozen kale, garlic. to serve, saute frozen pkg 10-15 min.)

Rice Pilaf (saute onions and garlic, add jasmine and wild rice, add water and chicken stock. cook.)

Chicken Divan (using half of the rice pilaf)

Chicken Enchiladas (saute onions and peppers, then chicken, roll with cheese in corn tortillas, top with green salsa, top with cheese)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (slice in half, add olive oil, salt and pepper. mix well. roast 400' for 40 minutes.)

Homefries (peel and cube potatoes. add olive oil, salt and pepper. mix well, roast 400' for 40 minutes, or until browned.)

Roasted Garbanzo beans with fennel (same as recipe, only use fresh fennel in place of the fennel seeds and omit broccolini)

This should be 16 meals for our family of 5. I'm also going to make some granola and I make fresh sourdough bread and yogurt weekly. I also have organic mac n cheese with hotdogs, udon, and egg scrambles, or pancakes to throw in last minute, as needed. 


Monday, November 3, 2014

Yogurt cups

I did some of my yogurt batch in little mason jars. The kids love them!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


1 quart milk
1tb plain yogurt

Heat milk to 180°, stirring often. Cool to 115°. Pour into mason jar, stir in yogurt. Cover. Incubate in Excalibur dehydrator for 5 hours at 115°.

Or you can incubate in a cooler or a crockpot, etc.

Yay! I finally have delicious yogurt that I can make at home. Thank you excalibur!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fish tacos

Marinate fish in paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and lime juice for 20 minutes. Then saute until cooked thru.

Make coleslaw dressing with sour cream, mayo, chili powder, salt, and fresh lime juice.

Warm corn tortillas and top with fish, coleslaw, avocado and peach salsa. Yum! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chicken Divan

A little soupy tonight, but really good!

Cooked brown rice, frozen ahead
Frozen broccoli
Leftover rotisserie chicken
White sauce
Sharp cheddar cheese

Oven to 375°. Heat frozen rice and broccoli in oven. Shred chicken. Make white sauce with 2c. milk, 1/3 c. flour, 1tsp salt. Stir with whisk until thick. Remove from heat. Add half of shredded cheese. Stir in chicken. Pour over hot broccoli and rice and stir. Top with cheese. Return to oven until hot. Then broil 2~3 minutes until cheese is browned.

Note: my rice was a wild rice/brown rice blend and I really liked it in this.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Excaliber dehydrator

I finally got one! Yay! Tried making apple rings and apple fruit leather out of my homemade applesauce, pureed.

They both dried really well but the flavor was off. Like, acidic. I blame the apples and the length of time the apples were on the counter before I dealt with them... But definitely a successful proof of concept.

Mine took 12 hours to dry instead of the recommended 6~8. Probably because of how thick they were.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

menu plan accountability

So, I'm not that great at sticking to my menu plan. Some months I do pretty well. Then once in a while (like last weekend), we eat out three days in a row cause I'm getting some project done.

I've been really thinking thru how menus can work better for me. There has got to be a system that I can stick with and not feel like I'm continually changing it. I've decided that repetition and regular leftovers will work well for me. So I've come up with a weekly format. Here it is:

Breakfasts: fresh juice with oatmeal, granola, pancakes, muffins or bagels

Lunches: yogurt or green smoothies with pbh, grilled cheese, beans and salsa, ham or hotdogs and produce of some sort. with the occasional mac n cheese to appease the children.

Sunday - Sushi
Monday - Frozen meal
Tuesday - leftovers
Wednesday - Cook something
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Wok or Grill

That may not look earth shattering, but I'm excited about it. V actually does the weekend cooking, and I do the pizza dough ahead of time, so that puts me down to one day a week of actual cooking, plus a big monthly prep day. And that's awesome.

I'll do a monthly meal plan using that weekly format (because monthly plans save my budget), and then I'll need a monthly cooking day where I'll make and potentially freeze:

4 meals worth two nights each
muffins or bagels
granola bars or pretzels
any beans needed for the month

If I don't get those freezer meals made all in a day, I can always make a double portion on my Wednesday cooking day and freeze half for later. I'd be a few weeks behind doing it that way but it would work.

And then weekly, I'll be making bread and yogurt. I'll mix the bread dough Monday nights with dinner, bake Tuesday morning and again Friday evening with the pizza.


Friday, August 29, 2014


So they were all ugly but these two were the ugliest. And they were the only ones left by the time I got around to taking the picture...

I actually just used my regular sourdough bread dough recipe. It had been sitting in the fridge for 4 days. I had even taken it out yesterday and left it out on the counter to raise but then didn't get around to baking it so put it back in the fridge again. Anyway, pretty well abused dough.

Divide a loaf portion into 11 pieces. Add any internal flavorings, like raisins and cinnamon. Knead them in. Roll into snakes, squash ends together to make bagels. Rise an hour~ish (my dough is sourdough).

Preheat 500'. Boil 4"of water in pot. When boiling add 2 tsp baking soda. Boil bagels 2 at a time, for 30 seconds. They should float. Flip. Cook 30 seconds. Remove. Repeat with all the bagels.

Top with any desired toppings, put in oven. Reduce heat to 425'. 15 minutes. Rotate pan 180 degrees. Bake 12~15 more minutes, or until done.

They turned out really well. Especially the cinnamon raisin ones. Next time I'll be sure to have some labneh cream cheese on hand to go with them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


V's first attempt at rolling sushi. I'd say it's a win!

If he can perfect this technique, we are going to save a ton of money on going out to eat sushi :-)

Monday, August 25, 2014


This was my stroke of genius for lunch today.

Toasted the rest of my sourdough bread under the broiler. Rubbed with a clove of garlic. Topped with fresh mozzarella. Melted another minute under the broiler.

Then I had two leftover veggie sautes that I put together and poured over the top of the cheese toasts. Top with pine nuts. Done.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fried egg on asparagus hash

I fried up some potatoes with onions in a frying pan until crispy.

I did the asparagus with olive oil in the oven on 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Then I fried them together on the stove for a minute. I added some raw smoked gouda and topped with a fried egg.

Now I have lunch for the rest of the week :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rice balls!

So the picture is enormous but these are my new favorite thing! The terrible looking black stuff is the black sesame paste from the previous recipe. I also put leftover mahi and some red beet and cabbage kraut in the middle.

Basically, you just cook sticki rice and shape it into balls with wet hands. We use Calrose rice at our house for sushi needs. I cooked 3 cups rice with 3.5 cups water. Bring to a boil, then turn to low for 20 minutes. Then I spread some of the rice out on a plate and sprinkled sushi rice vinegar on it. 

Make a cup out of your hand and put some rice in it. Bunch up the toppings in the center with whatever other sauce you want to use. Then add another scoop of rice on the top and pat it into a ball of rice with the toppings hiding in the middle. Squish it pretty hard and use plenty of water on your hands. 

They're good day-old too so you can make a bunch ahead of time. And they are fabulous lunch-box food. Make smaller balls for kids.

Udon with black sesame paste

This is from Heidi Swanson's cookbook. It was so delicious! I definitely swapped out a few things - like I used udon noodles. And we don't eat tofu so I subbed scrambled egg strips. The black sesame sauce is fantastic though. I have some extra I've been using in rice balls too. Go here for the recipe!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Burrito bowl

I was planning on black beans for dinner but they're just not getting soft after hours of cooking... Which means my good storage collection of black beans is probably heat damaged. Sad.

But I still had those ripe avocados so I went ahead with burrito bowls tonight using the leftover lentils from lunch.

Rice, lentils, carmelized onion, cilantro, marinated cucumbers, and raw cheddar.

To drink is sparkling mineral water with rootbeer stevia and a splash of bourbon vanilla.

Red lentils with kale

This was our lovely lunch today.

Saute onion in olive oil until brown. Add a bunch of chopped kale. Add salt to taste. Saute until soft. Add two garlic cloves and saute just until garlic gets fragrant. Remove from heat and sprinkle fresh lemon juice. Stir.

Boil red lentils in water about 7 minutes or until soft but not mush. Drain and rinse well.

Dish up lentils, top with kale saute.

And we had some watermelon for dessert. Delicious!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Breakfast of champions

Fry the bacon. Add eggs to the bacon grease. Spoon the grease over the eggs until the whites are cooked but the yolk is still runny. Eat hot. Then sop up the yolk on the plate with the toast. Yummmm...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sweet potato fries

Peel and chop sweet potatoes. Rub then with coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast @ 425' for 20~30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lunch today

Ham rollup with cheddar
Avocado toast
Trader Joe's dip :-)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Miso Udon

So I was less than satisfied with my broth last time... so I found miso paste at Trader Joes and put that in after the noodles had boiled with some bok choy. I topped it with the egg slices again too.

It was good. I love miso. This was a yellow miso though and too mild for my preference. I also found an unpasteurized miso paste made from Barley instead of soybeans at whole foods. I'm exited to try that one once I've used up this first container.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Boil dry udon in chicken broth for 12 minutes. Add a splash of soy sauce to the broth. Garnish with green onions and sliced egg omelet.


The post it note has the recipe I used for the batter. I sliced organic hot dogs in half and dipped them in the batter. Then I fried them in coconut oil in our deep fryer. They were so good.

I tested out freezing them and reheating in the microwave from frozen and it totally worked. Not as good as fresh, but still good.

Next time, I need to remember to butterfly the hot dogs so they're not choking hazards before frying them. I did that after and it hurt the effect. Definitely making these again though!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

spring roll wraps

Lunch today was fantastic. Why haven't we thought of this sooner?

Spring roll rice wrappers
Rice mixed with sushi vinegar
Bean sprouts sauteed with soy sauce
Fresh veggies: carrot, green onion, alfalfa sprouts
Sauce: sesame oil, plum sauce, siracha

Submerge the wrappers in water for 30~60 seconds. Remove and sick on a plate. Layer the  toppings on it like a burrito. Add your sauce. Wrap it up. Eat it.

I'm super exited about these for a lunchbox meal. They're portable, good at room temperature, can be made ahead of time. They're basically my replacement for sandwiches. And so much healthier for me!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Menu plan this week

This is my list of meals that I've shopped for. I'm imagining it will last about two weeks.

I'm pretty exited about the dry erase crayons I just got so I wrote the menu plan on my fridge with them.

Also, we shopped for about half of the stuff at the Asian grocery store here. Everything there seems super cheap but their produce looks great so I'm hoping to do more of that in the future ~ especially since V got the wok for his birthday. Its really easy to do batch cooking on the weekend with his wok.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

apple pie for breakfast

V made the perfect apple pie from serious eats for our Fourth of July party yesterday. He upped the cinnamon to 1TB. It was good but not very sweet. Which makes for a delicious breakfast of leftovers - with a poached egg for protein. Ummmm.

Harvard Beets

I have no idea how Harvard got attached to these beets but my Grandma used to make them for Sunday dinner and I love them.

Unfortunately I'm the only one in my family who loves beets, so I don't make them that often.

1lb beets, boiled and skinned and cubed
1TB sugar
1TB cornstarch
1/4 cup vinegar
Pinch salt and pepper

Mix all in a Saucepan and heat until sauce is thick.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Vanilla Cake

Happy Birthday to the Monkey! I used this recipe for vanilla cake and then did a simple cream cheese frosting for the top. She wanted it all vanilla - with a bluebird on it being caught by a falcon... so I did my best. :)

Note: I would add 1/2 tsp salt next time. Personally, I missed the salt. It held together really, really well though coming out of the pans. Also, I baked my 9" rounds for 40 minutes, which is longer than the recipe suggests for that size.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Banana Nut Waffles

Go here for the recipe. I prefer a pretty fine grind on the pecans. And I ended up doubling the recipe and adding probably a 1/2 cup more milk to thin it out. We ran out of syrup so I made a simple syrup to go with it.

Simple Syrup

1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pureed fruit

Whisk water and sugar in a saucepan. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and fruit (frozen peaches are my favorite but berries are great too). Mix and serve.

Note: Use maple flavoring instead of vanilla and omit the fruit. Use 1/3 cup jam or jelly if you don't have any fruit.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cottage Cheese Smoothies

Somehow this has never occurred to me before, but you can use cottage cheese instead of yogurt in smoothies! Huge boost in protein without reverting to protein powder.

1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup milk (raw)
spoonful of coconut oil (flaxseed oil works too)
big handful of spinach
1/2 banana (optional)

Blend it. And that's it. It's my new favorite lunch. And yes, the pictured smoothie was from today's lunch and it totally had a big handful of spinach in it. You just can't tell cause the purple blueberries really cover up any trace of green.

Food Principles for Health and Frugality

Guest Post!  So, my sister is being awesome and letting me pirate her blog... I recently did a food presentation and wanted to post info here for all those lovely ladies and gents who attended.  Disclaimer: Some of this information is repeated elsewhere in this blog! 

Essential Food Principles for Health and Frugality

Number One: Food is Spiritually Significant

Many religions have food laws; Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Bahai, Jainism, Rastafarianism, Sikhism, and of course Mormonism.  There's something directly connective between our spiritual receptiveness and the way we care for our bodies.  Our bodies are a gift and we have the responsibility  to care for them as such.  The good news is that with stewardship comes divine assistance to overcome weaknesses and triumph over addiction.  (see Ether 12:27).  

Number Two: Eat Like a Peasant

Since when have poor and fat become synonymous conditions?  Only in America!  Poor nutritional food is readily available and has become extremely cost effective.  In order to live healthily and frugally, we MUST adopt the food traditions of lower classes in other cultures and look to our own past for the pre-industrialized fare of the poor.  

Peasant food:
  • Home Made
  • Whole Grains
  • Legumes
  • Soups 
  • Stews
  • Produce
  • Little Meat
  • Few Sweets
  • No Waste

 Food Sourcing Ideas (Long Island):

Number Three: The Candle Principle

Three years ago I gave up sugar for Lent and I haven't looked back since.  That is amazing, considering I have been a sugar addict my entire life, and never was able to be completed abstinent from the stuff for more than a month.

About a year in, I had an illuminating conversation with a friend who was struggling with her own sugar addiction.  She had been sugar free for two months, but it seemed her craving were getting more intense all the time.  We tossed some ideas back and forth, but I realized I no longer really had any experience with sugar cravings.  When she asked me to explain myself I said, "I see off-limit food like I see candles.  Aesthetically pleasing, aromatic, but inedible.  Not something it would be rational to eat." 

I hope to never experience the ill-effects of sugar again, and so I don't plan to re-introduce sugar into my life again.  That is not to say that everyone needs to live to this extreme (although I think we should all honestly assess our intake), but there may be foods in your life that it would be okay for you never to eat again.  Treat those foods like candles, and you won't be afraid of them anymore.

The Skinny on Sugar...

  • Barley malt
  • dextrin, dextrose 
  • fructo-oligosaccharides
  •  glucose
  •  sucrose 
  • polydextrose 
  • diastase, diastatic malt 
  • ethyl maltol 
  • maltodextrin, maltose
  • mannitol 
  • xanthan gum (fermented glucose or sucrose) 
  • high fructose corn syrup. 
Sound familiar? Read: Sugar.

Why Switching to Diet Doesn't Work...

“putting something on the sweet receptors of the tongue tells the brain that something sweet is coming and to get ready by producing hormones such as insulin…(but) they do not act as sugar does and do not balance your insulin. As a result, you end up with excess insulin in your body, so you end up eating more food...This whole pattern disrupts your appetite control system in serious ways (UM pg 99).” – Dr. Hyman


  Benefits and Uses of Natural Sweeteners

Pure Maple Syrup
-sweeter than honey
-does not seize at cold temperatures
Raw Local Honey
-Seasonal Allergy Relief
Medjool Dates
-soak overnight and blend in food processor

Over Ripe Bananas
-Smoothies, Banana Froyo

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Happy Birthday Cupcakes

My sister sent me a birthday party in a bag (candles, streamers, cards...) so I had to actually make some cake and have a party :)

These vanilla cupcakes were perfect - just as advertised. I whipped some cream until stiff and added powdered sugar until (more) stiff. Topped them with raspberries. Done.

The cupcakes were nice and dense like a Sprinkles-style cupcake - but not overly sweet. They had a nice tang from the vinegar and baking soda, but were sweet enough to not be confused with breakfast muffins. The light, fluffy whipped cream frosting balanced it out really well.

I love whipping cream frosting with raspberries and white cake because my Grandmother used to make that for dessert on Sundays when the berries from their backyard were in season. I'm not generally a huge fan of cake but I could never get enough of my Grandma's dessert.

And now that these have all been eaten, I'm on my way to the kitchen to make some banana muffins... (recipe here)