Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mexican Chili Lime Swai

There is a famous saying that "Variety is the Spice of Life", this is me when I am sick of eating ground chicken, need to switch it up a bit and have fish or steak or veggies. I consider Swai to be a great replacement for the Overfished Tilapia, and low in Mercury Content compared to its United States Cousin the Catfish. Super Target has these for a great low everyday price in the freezer section and then runs coupons for frozen fish so then I stock up. Normally I like to cook fish in the broiler which is fast & healthy, but other times I will saute it or bake it for a change. I am always looking for new flavors & ways of eating the same food.

One 10 Inch Skillet
1 TBSP Canola Oil
12 Ounces of Frozen Swai Thawed
1-2 TBSP of The Spice Hunter Salt Free Mexican Seasoning
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
Juice of 1 Fresh Lime
1-2 TBSP Franks Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce

Heat Oil on Medium High
Add in Fish
Add in Mexican Seasoning, Garlic, & Lime Juice
Cook About 10-15 Minutes or Until Fish Flakes Easily
Top With Some Chili Sauce & Then Serve

Ready to Cook

Ready to Eat

Ground Chicken Chili Okra Tomato Soup

With Super Target continuing to sell Gold & Plump Chicken for 99 Cents or $1.50 after my coupons that I find for the Gold n Plumb brand on the commonkindness website I will keep making new recipes with Ground Chicken.

1 6 Quart Dutch Oven (Mine is Stainless Steel) Look for One Like This.

1 TBSP Canola Oil
1 LB Ground Chicken  90/10 or 95/5
1 Diced Onion
2 TBSP Minced Garlic
4 Cups of Very Low or Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth
These Two Brands I have Found To Have Less Sodium Then Many Other Brands & No MSG!
One 12 Ounce Package of Frozen Chopped Okra
1 14.5 Ounce Can of No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
One 10 Ounce Box of Frozen Chopped Spinach Steamed, Drained, & Patted Dry
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper
1/4 TSP Chopped or Freeze Dried Dill Weed

1-2 TBSP Frank's Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce

Heat Oil on Medium High in Dutch Oven
Add in Chicken, Onion, & Garlic & Saute Until Done
Drain Oil
Add in Chicken Broth & Everything Else
Simmer on Low With Cover for 30-40 Minutes

Ground Chicken Garlic Okra Kale Spinach Chili

Chili and soup are just so easy to make during the fall & winter that I tend to become lazy with creating new recipes. Perhaps the reason I create so many new recipes and constantly experiment is because I get bored eating something the same way and I am trying to cook close to the seasons and with what is available at a lower price? I try to buy as much as I can with coupons and I am always able to find coupons online for the brand Gold N Plump so I keep buying their Ground Chicken on Sale really cheap at Super Target and using my coupons to get a 1 Pound Package for 99 Cents to $1.50, I have 4 or 5 packages in my freezer right now.

1 Dutch Oven (Go With a Stainless Steal One)

1 TBSP Canola Oil
1 LB Ground Chicken 90% Lean & 10% Fat or 95% Lean & 5% Fat
1 Diced Onion
1 TBSP Minced Garlic

1 TBSP Ground Cumin
1-2 TBSP Ground Corriander
1 TBSP Onion Powder
1/4 TSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Smoked Paprika

1 14.5 Ounce Can of Diced Tomatoes With Cilantro & Lime Juice
If you can't find these Crush Your Own Tomatoes & Add in 1/4 TSP Dried Cilantro & 1 TBSP Lime Juice
10 Ounces of Frozen Chopped Spinach Steamed, Drained and Patted Dry
6 Ounces of Frozen Chopped Okra Steamed And Drained
6 Ounces of Kale Chopped, Steamed, & Drained

Heat Oil on Medium High
Add in Chicken & Start to Brown
Add In Onion, Garlic, & All Dried Spices & Continuing Browning Chicken
Add in Everything Else & Simmer on Low for 30-45 Minutes

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Salad With Double Leftovers

Living on a fixed income & very tight budget I do not throw out any foods or beverages unless I absolutely have to. I can always come up with another meal or two/three from a leftover or leftovers. The easiest for leftover is to throw in all in my Vitamix and make a soup, next a smoothie, then in a saute, or over a salad. This recipe combines by previous days Beans Rice and Chili meal, as well as my leftover Mango Cajun Swai .

1 Bowl For Salad
2-3 Spoons of Leftover Beans & Rice
2-3 Spoons of Leftover Mango Cajun Swai
1-2 Cups of Romaine or Leaf Lettuce in Bite Sized Pieces
One Diced Pear
One Diced Apple
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-4 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar

Empty Lettuce into Bowl
Warm up leftovers, then add to salad
Add in Fruit
Add in Oil & Vinegar & Mix Everything Together

Garlic Sesame Chili Beans And Rice

Despite the recent warnings on Arsenic & Brown Rice, I am not abandoning eating brown rice nor I am switching to white rice now or in the near future. I always find Brown Rice Coupons and Sales and they have have brown rice at the local Food Pantries when I need to go there.

This recipe use a 6 Quart Dutch Oven, the one I have is Stainless Steel made By Wearever, the primary reason being is, that I can't lift the Cast Iron or Porcelain Enamel Ones because of my Arthritis, Neuropathy, & hand weakness, nor can I afford them either. This is a link to just one brand of Stainless Steel Ones. Mine was under $30, no reason to spend hundreds of dollars when you get one that will last just as long or longer for much less money. You could also use one 12 Inch Skillet, 3 Separate Small Saucepan, & the Microwave to make this meal. I find it easier just to use one pot & the Microwave.

One 6 Quart Dutch Oven
All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless-Steel Dutch Oven with Lid, 5-1/2 quart - 5 (Google Affiliate Ad)
1 TBSP Sesame Oil
1-2 TBSP Minced Garlic
16 Ounces Brown Rice Steamed
One Can Each of No Salt Added Black Beans & Light Red Kidney Beans Triple Rinsed
2-4 TBSP or More of Franks Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce

Add Oil to Dutch Oven
Heat Oil on Medium
Add in Garlic, Brown Rice, Beans & Frank's Sauce
Cook for 10-15 Minutes

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Cornbread in Skillet

Pumpkin is not just for Halloween, Thanksgiving, & the Christmas Holidays, I use canned pumpkin all year round, I use it for Pumpkin Soup in my Vitamix, Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Pancakes, Pumpkin Overnight Oatmeal, my Pumpkin Cornbread, as well as using Pumpkin to act as a binder in baking to replace oil or butter and sometimes even to replace eggs in a recipe. I love all things Corn and just about anything with Pumpkin so this combines my love of both.

I do not have a Cast Iron Skillet because I have Arthritis, Neuropathy, Neuritis & Carpal Tunnel Issues with my hands, as well dropping items on a regular basis due to the decreasing strength in my hands. I make mine is non stick skillet that is oven safe to 400 Degrees. But if you have a Cast Iron Pan by all means use it.

Since I went Gluten Free again I mainly use Gluten Free Flours and Non Dairy Milks in my recipes. You can use regular Cow's Milk and flours with Gluten but you will need to alter the portions using less or more of the milks and any wheat containing flours as well as egg whites and main stream sweeteners like honey, sugar, or brown sugar because I do not use those.

One 12 Inch Cast Iron or Non-Stick Oven Safe Skillet
Lodge Logic Skillet - 12" - Lodge Logic (Google Affiliate Ad)
Non Stick Cooking Spray or A Seasoned Cast Iron Pan
1 Cup Cornmeal
1 Cup to 1 1/2 Cups Rice Flour or All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
1/4 -1/2 Cup Splenda
1 TBSP Ground Cinnamon
1 15 Ounce Can of Organic Pumpkin Puree and not Pumpkin Pie Filling
3 Egg Whites
1 TBSP Vanilla
1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk

Add All Dry Items to Mixing Bowl & Mix
Add All Wet Items to a Second Mixing Bowl & Mix
Pour Wet Items over Dry & Mix Together

Preheat Oven to 400
Bake 20-25 Minutes or Until A Wooden Pick Inserted in Center Come Out Dry

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Carrot Ginger Paprika Soup

When I don't feel like baking vegetables for a while in the oven, sauting them, or steaming in the Microwave I just make soup in my Vitamix with vegetables. This is one of easiest ways to get Whole Food Nutrients and quickest ways to make soup that is Healthy, Low In Fat, Sodium Sugar, etc, because you control the amounts you are using.

One Vitamix
One Ten Inch Skillet
2 Cups Small Baby Carrots or Large Ones Cut in Quarters
1/4 Small Onion
4 Garlic Gloves
2 TBSP Canola Oil for Soup, extra for Sauteing
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
1 TSP Smoked Paprika
1/8 TSP Ginger Peoples Organic Ginger Syrup
1 Cup Organic Non GMO Unsweetened Soy Milk ( U Can Substitute Tofu)
2 Cups Very Low Sodium Chicken Broth

You can either chop all items in Vitamix and then Saute in Separate Pan or Saute And then Add to Vitamix
Heat 1 TBSP Oil on Medium High
Add in Vegtables Diced or Cubed and Seasonings, Cook until Soft
Add All Items to Vitamix
Turn Machine on Variable and Speed One
Quickly Increase Speed to 10, then setting to High
Blend 3-4 Minutes

Just Blended

Almost Done

In Bowl Ready to Eat

Balsamic Carrots

Being on a fixed budget and relaying on support for groceries from relatives and food pantries makes it almost impossible for me to buy many organic foods or even buy anything anymore at a Farmer's Market. Earthbound Farms was running a promotion on Facebook to get a free reusable shopping bag and to print some of there coupons for their Organic Products. For some reason the links were not working to allow me to get either. I sent them an email message through Facebook and they mailed me one of their free reusable bags as well as $25 dollars in coupons for there products. I used two of the coupons they mailed me to get 2 one pound bags of their baby cut carrots for free and I used their other coupons to get more free produce for myself.

One Large Jelly Roll Pan ( They have an edge instead of flat as in a baking sheet)
One Pound of Baby Cuts Rinsed And Dried
Balsamic Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Freeze Dried Italian Seasoning Chilled Overnight In a Cruet
I used my Good Seasons Cruet Bottle And Measured to the Water Line With Baslamic Vinegar
then I poured my EVOO to about an inch below the Oil Marking on the Cruet, then added in 1 TBSP of my Freeze Dried Italian Herb Blend Seasoning, shook the mixture and then chilled overnight in my fridge.
I always use Lighthouse or Frontier Freeze Dried Seasonings.
one mixing bowl

Preheat Oven to 425
Take Dressing from Fridge shake it and then pour over carrots and coat evenly in a bowl
Place carrots on pan
Bake for about 25 minutes

Baked Ginger Cinnamon Acorn Squash

This month on October 1, 2012 when I went for my 1 time a month trip for me to the food pantry a local farmer had just delivered a pallet of farm fresh sweet potatoes and some boxes of acorn squash. This is a consumer's choice food pantry where you get a shopping cart and get to pick out what you want based on your family size, which for me is just 1. I am now going to have to start going to a few other pantries 1 time a month and get some other  items, then buy what I can with gift cards from transferring my $$$ Medicines from one Pharmacy to another. Then every few weeks I can get some fresh vegetables/fruits because that is what is in the budget when your reliant on someone else paying for your food costs. I had my SSDI hearing this past week and now I have to wait for the Judges decision, I sure hope that she agrees with my doctors after 5 years that I am disabled. I have never made acorn squash before because it is so expensive in Illinois, not sold very often in stores here, and I was always afraid I would not like the taste. After making this 1 time I can now say I really like the way I made this, although I do not know if I would like this in a restaurant?
I only took 2 of them even though there was no limit on how many I was allowed to take and I took 12 of the sweet potatoes. Now I wish I would have taken a lot more of them because they last for weeks just sitting in your storage bin,

I scrubbed/rinsed all the dirt from my two acorn squash and then I cleaned and rinsed them with my produce wash spray. I used the largest knife I had to slice each of them on a cutting board and it was not easy to cut them. Once they were finally cut I used a serrated spoon to clean all the seeds and membrane out of them. I am allergic to Dairy so I always use Vegan Butter but you can use regular and I do not use Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, or Honey due to allergies as well,  but you can use one of these if you prefer to instead of the Ginger Syrup.

One 3 Quart Oblong Casserole Dish or other 3 Quart Size
Corningware French White 3-Qt. Oblong Casserole Dish (Google Affiliate Ad)
1/4-1/2 Cup Water for Water Bath in Casserole Dish
Two Acorn Squash that have been Cleaned/Disinfected, Seeded, & Cut in Half
1/8 to 1/4 TSP Ginger People;s Organic Syrup Put Into Each Acorn Squash
1 TSP Vegan Butter Put Into Each Acorn Squash
Cinnamon For Sprinkling on Top

Preheat Oven to 400
Pour Water Into Casserole Dish
Place Acorn Squash Into Water in Casserole Dish
1/8 to 1/4 TSP Ginger People Organic Ginger Syrup Put Into Each Acorn Squash
1 TSP Vegan Butter Put Into Each Acorn Squash

Cinnamon For Sprinkling on Top of each Acorn Squash
Bake for 1 Hour to And Hour 15 Minutes
Scoop and Enjoy

Ready to Bake

Ready to Serve

Close Up Ready To Eat

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Broccoli Slaw Fajitas

 I do not like Mayonnaise so I do not use that at all, I do not use Miracle Whip because that it is made with Dairy and I am allergic to Dairy. Broccoli Slaw has many more uses then just making Cole slaw for people with allergies like me. I have used Broccoli Slaw in soup, stri-frys, egg white skillet meals, sauces, & other fajita recipe.

12 Inch Non-Stick Skillet
Cuisinart Chef'S Classic 12-In. Nonstick Hard-Anodized Skillet (Google Affiliate Ad)
1 TBSP Canola Oil
1 Package of Broccoli Cole Slaw
1 - 2 Red Bell Pepper Sliced (Depends on theire Size)
1 Diced Onion
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 TBSP Ground Cumin
1 TBSP Ground Corriander
1 TBSP Onion Powder
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Smoked Paprika
1 TBSP Lemon or Lime Peel
1/8 TSP Cayenne Powder

Heat Oil in Skillet on medium High Heat
Add in All Veggies & Seasonings
Cook Until Veggies Are Soft

Smoked Salmon Patties

Last month my local Walgreen's had Chicken of the Sea 14.75 Ounce Cans of All Natural Wild Caught Alaskan Pink Salmon on Sale for $2.49 when they normally sell for 2-3x this amount everywhere, I also had 5 coupons to save $1.00 off the 5 cans I bought and I had $25 Gift Card that I received after transferring an RX from Super Target, so my cost out of pocket was nothing to me. This is a lot of canned salmon for a single person like me to use. The easiest thing for me to make is salmon patties or to use salmon in a salad, in tacos, fajitas, etc.

12 Inch Nonstick Skillet
Cuisinart Chef'S Classic 12-In. Nonstick Stainless Steel Skillet (Google Affiliate Ad)
Large Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl
Bobby Flay Extra Large Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl (Google Affiliate Ad)
Small Bowl for Removing Salmon Bones
Slant Votive Small Bowl (Google Affiliate Ad)
One 14.75 Ounce Can All Natural Wild Caught Alaskan Pink Salmon
1 Cup Cornmeal
1 TBSP Onion Powder
1/2 TSP Garlic Powder
2 TBSP Lemon Peel
1 TBSP Freeze Dried Chives (Freezed Dried Taste Just Like Fresh)
Frontier Herb 28418 Freeze-Dried Chives (Google Affiliate Ad)
1 TBSP Freeze Dried Parsley
1 TBSP Smoked Paprika
1 TBSP Freeze Dried Dill
1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
1 TSP Minced Garlic
1 Diced Onion
3 Egg Whites
1 TBSP Canola Oil for Patty Mixture
Non Stick Cooking Spray for Skillet
1 Flat Spatula
OXO Silicone Flexible Turners (Google Affiliate Ad)

Empty your canned Salmon into a small bowl and remove as many bones from the Salmon as you can, as well removing the skin from the Salmon.
Now add the salmon into your large stainless steel mixing bowl
Add in everything and mix together with a fork or your hands

Heat Oil in Skillet on Medium High Heat
Form Salmon Patties the Size of A Small Lemon
Place 4 Patties in Heated Skillet
Cook on each side until browned 3-5 minutes
Flip using wide angled solid spatula

Top With Salsa, Guacamole or Tartar Sauce or any topping you like
Serve on Corn Tortilla, Bread, & A Bun, etc.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beans Broccoli Brown Rice

Instead of Meatless Mondays I try to make any day of the week meatless to save money and to help my health and weight loss quest. Beans dried or canned are pretty cheap, healthy, loads of fiber, and other important nutrients. Usually I use dried beans and make a lot and then make numerous meals, this time I caught a sale of Goya Low Sodium Canned Beans and printed coupons from Goya.Com For Beans.

Large Bowl
1 14.5 Ounce Can of Low Sodium Black Beans Tripple Rinsed
Add to Bowl
16 Ounces Brown Rice Steamed
Add to Bowl
12 Ounces Frozen Chopped Broccoli Steamed And Drained
Add to Bowl
Mix Beans, Broccoli, & Brown Rice
Pour All Items Above Over Balsamic Beefstewmeat Meal Using the Recipe Below

Black Beans, Broccoli, Brown Rice
Added to Large Bowl And Mixed

Pour All Items Above Over
Balsamic Recipe

Balsamic Garlic Onion Beef Stewmeat Saute

Being on a tight budget requires me to be always creative in my cooking and use less expensive cuts of meat to make meals more & more. Many people just go for one type/cut of meat and make the same dish over & over, I enjoy variety and I like experimenting with flavors. A less expensive cut of meat may require a marinade to tenderize/infuse flavors into the meat for a few hours or overnight or longing cooking time in the form of braising, a slow cooker, or some other way. I don't find that many major differences in some cuts of meat and enjoy it just as much.

Super Target had a sale on Certified Angus Organic Beefstew Meat and a Target Coupon online and the item was on clearance because it had to be sold that day. I picked up a 1 pound package of Cubed Beefstew Meat for $1.00 and then froze it. Normally with Beefstew Meat I would braise it in my 5 Quart Stainless Steel Dutch Oven, but this time I decided to cook my Beefstew Meat quicker.

12 Inch Non Stick Skillet or Cast Iron
Cuisinart Chef's Classic 12-In. Stainless Steel Skillet (Google Affiliate Ad)
Lodge Logic Skillet - 12" - Lodge Logic (Google Affiliate Ad)
1 TBSP Canola Oil
1 Diced Onion
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1/4 Cup Gluten Free Soy Sauce ( This link is just an example for GF Brands)
Bulk Savings 362316 Kari Out Low Sodium Soy Sauce Gluten Free- Case of 400 (Google Affiliate Ad)
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper
1/8 - 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Meat Oil on Medium High Heat
Add in Everything and Cook Until Beef Stewmeat is Done to Your Liking
You Can Then Top Your Stewmeat Meal Over Rice or Noodles or Eat As Is.
I served this over a Rice, Bean & Broccoli Dish. I will link this to that recipe.

Almost Done

Green Onion Garlic Steak

In August when I still had my SNAP Benefits I found a $1.00 coupon for Laura's Lean Beef online and for the first time in 5 years I found Super Target having a sale on Laura's Lean Beef Steaks and Target had mailed me a coupon to save $4.00 off any fresh beef purchase.

A few summers ago Corningware came out with lighter weight casserole dishes in their classic French white design in various sizes, I found these on sale at my local Bed Bath & Beyond and bought some with my coupons & store credit. Dealing with Arthritis, Neuropathy and Fibromyalgia makes these much easier to use when I need to cook something.

Corningware French White 3 Quart Oval Casserole Dish (Mine is the Lightweight One)
1 TBSP Canola Oil
1/4 Cup Water 
2 Sirloin Steaks Room Temparature
5 Green Onions Cut Into Cubes
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
1 TPSP Minced Garlic
The Spice Hunter Salt Free Steak & Chop Grill & Broil Blend
1 TBSP Sesame Seeds

Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees
Add Water to Casserole Dish
Add 1/2 of Oil Amount to Dish
Spead Green Onions Over Bottom of Dish
Rub the 1/2 of the Oil Over Both Steaks
Mix Salt & Steak Blend Together & Rob Mixture Over Steaks
Spinkle Sesame Seeds & Garlic Over Both Steaks
Bake until Steak Reaches the way you like it done. (Rare, Medium, Medium Well, Well Done)

Ready to Bake

Ready to Eat

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Salmon Cabbage Fajitas

With my finances being very tight and my sometimes having to use a SNAP Card to get food or go to a Food Pantry, or Church to get food, it forces me to be really creative in order to still be able to eat & cook healthy food. The other thing that makes getting food from a Food Pantry or Church a Real Challenge is that they are stocked with Boxes, Packages, & Cans of Super Unhealthy Foods where 98% of the items contain Dairy, Gluten, MSG, Sodium Benzoate, Nitrates, Nitrites  all of which I am allergic to, along with ingredients I have no idea what it is. In September I went to one Food Pantry in my City for the 1st time which was better then most of the others I had been to back in 2011, this one is called a Consumers Choice Food Pantry in that you get a shopping cart with a box and get to pick out what you want, instead of getting stuck with some bags of stuff that you can't eat and then have to give away to someone else.

In September when I went to this one for my 1st time, I was very happy & surprised that I was able to get packages of Broccoli Cole Slaw, Packages of Alaskan Wild Caught Smoked Salmon, California Canned Diced Tomatoes, Capers, Shitake Mushrooms, Grass Fed Beef, Gluten Free Crackers, Organic Gluten Free Oats, Frozen Wild Caught Salmon, 9 Cans of Organic Pumpkin. I was able to make some super healthy meals for the last few weeks with the items from this Food Pantry Visit and the Items I had Stockpiled during June & August with my SNAP Card, gift cards, & massive coupons. The reason I am not on SNAP anymore is that Governor Quinn has changed the regulations for the State of Illinois. The State now requires a single person to participate in a program called Earnfaire which means you have to work for free the requisite amount of hours at minimum wage to pay back the State for giving you your SNAP Benefits, this practice is not required for Single Mothers, or any Families. So the bottom line is that a single person would have to work for 24.75 hours for free in order to receive any SNAP food benefits while those not single do not have to work at all, I find this practice discriminatory to a single person. If I was able to work I would not be applying for SNAP Benefits at all, or fighting for the last 5 years to receive Social Security Disability Benefits. My final hearing is next week October 10, 2012, I am praying that the 4th time is the charm!

One 12 Inch Skillet
One TBSP Canola Oil
One Package of Shredded Broccoli Cole Slaw ( Used this instead of Peppers)
One TSP Minced Garlic
4 Ounces Alaskan Wild Caught Smoked Salmon Sliced Into Cubes
One 14.5 Ounce Can of Diced Tomatoes
One-Two TSP Capers
One TBSP Cumin
One TBSP Ground Corriander
1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper
One TSP Onion Powder

Heat Oil on Medium High Heat
Add in Everything & Saute Till Vegetables Are Soft

Salmon Sardine Tuna Tofu Saute

Despite my losing over 40lbs, taking a Statin since 2003, taking Salmon Oil Supplements, increasing my Vitamin D with Supplements, increasing my Omega 3 with Flaxseed and eating more fish,  my lipid & triglyceride levels have not been were they should be. My Chiropractic Neurologist recommended last year for me to start taking Plant Sterol Supplements 1-2x a day. I started 1x a day and my numbers did not improve enough so I upped my dose to 2x a day. He previously recommended for me to take Chromium Picolinate which I did from Sept. 2009-Jan. 2011, I did not notice it was doing much for me, so I stopped taking it, although I do not recall what I was taking the chromium for back then? Recently he recommended that I start taking it again and I did, my Sept 22 blood tests for my Lipids & Triglycerides were very good so I need to continue with all these supplements and eating even more fish high in Omega 3's. I did not associate my increase in triglyceride levels to my being off Chromium for a year and a half. A very quick way to get Omega 3's is with Wild caught canned tuna, salmon, & sardines. It is very easy to just open a can or a pouch and eat any of these fish plain as is, in a salad, saute, soup, egg meal, in a wrap, etc. The best part is that these go on sale very often and there are great coupons which allows me to have quality fish that is within my limited budget.

I have often heard that Spring Onions, Green Onions,& Scallions were the same thing. In attending a presentation by a World Famous Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter, I quickly learned they are not. Here are the differences!

So what do you call young onions? Spring onions, green onions, or scallions? Here we go!
Depending upon the maturity of the onion and where you live, you will pick up a bunch of young onions and say, “I’ll take these….”
Are they spring onions, green onions, or scallions?
Here are the differences:
Scallions. Scallions are the youngest or least mature of onions with very thin white bases no wider than their long, straight green stalks. Scallions offer no hint at the development of a bulb-like base. Pulled from the ground a scallion resembles a large chive. Scallions are very mild flavored. Both the white base and the green stalk of the scallion are easily eaten raw. You can slice or chop scallions and add them raw to green salads. You can also serve them on the raw vegetable tray or sprinkle them raw as a topping for sauces.
Scallions can be cooked whole or chopped, but they will require no more than a couple of minutes of cooking. (Sauté or pan steam them on low heat in butter or water.) Scallions can be used as a substitute for chives in many recipes. Scallions are sometimes called green onions or bunching onions, but for onion lovers and growers there is a difference. A green onion or bunching onion has gained the hint of a bulb with maturity; a scallion has not.
Green onions. Green onions have long, green, delicate stalks and small, very, very slender, white bulbs. The bulb of a green onion is slightly defined. Green onions come out of the ground early in their lives, usually in spring. They are mild tasting having not been alive long enough to gain much pungency. Green onions can be used sliced or chopped raw in greensalads or creamy salads like potato salad, pasta salads, or atop baked potatoes.
Green onions are sometimes called bunching onions. When onion seeds are planted densely they grow so close or bunched together that the bulbs have little chance of fully maturing and rounding out. Green onions are green onions in the United States; in England and Australia the green onion is also called a spring onion. Green onions are sometimes also called scallions. (But, now, you know there is a difference even if ever so slight.)
Spring onions. Spring onions have slightly rounded bulbs that are more defined and just a bit larger than the more slender green onions. Spring onions are the most pungent tasting of young onions with a bit more bite than green onions. Remember, most onions gain their sharp taste as they mature. Spring onions can be used raw or cooked. Because raw spring onions are pungent, taste to make sure their flavor does not overpower more delicate flavors. You can slice raw spring onions thinly onto green salads.
Cooked spring onions—usually sautéed—will be more delicately flavored as a result of the cooking process and are a good combination with other spring and summer vegetables. The spring onion is distinctly different than a green onion to many growers and onion lovers in the United States. In England and Australia, a spring onion and a green onion are most often considered the same bird.

One 12 Inch Skillet
1 TBSP Canola Oil
1 Diced Red Bell Pepper
4 Green Onions Diced (These are not the same as a Scallion or a Spring Onion)
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 Can of Wild Caught Boneless & Skinless Sardines in Water
2.5 Ounces Wild Caught Salmon from a Pouch or Can
2.5 Ounces Wild Caught Canned Light Tuna in Water
1 Box Frozen Chopped Spinach Steamed, Drained, & Patted Dry
One Container Nasoya Organic Cube super Firm Tofu Rinsed, Drained, or Other Brand
1-2 TBSP Capers
1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
A Few Splashes of Tabasco Chitpotle Sauce (Optional)
Juice of 1/2 of One Fresh Lemon When All Done

Heat Oil on Medium High in Skillet
Add in Peppers, Garlic, Green Onions
Cook Until Soft
Add in Everything Else and Cook for 3-5 Minutes to Blend Flavors
Squeeze Fresh Lemon Over Everything When Your Ready to Serve

Mussel Soup

With all the recalls lately due to people getting food poisoning, dying, and suffering kidney failure from eating Red Meat, Chicken, Cantelopes, Mangoes  Lettuce, etc, it makes one almost afraid to eat anything. The food today has become downright scary to eat, I do not recall 30 years ago so many outbreaks of people getting sick and dying from eating food. Now Consumer Reports has said that Brown Rice has to much Arsenic in it. Has Modern Consumerism contributed to this issue? Is it the loss of so many small family farms, or the take over by large commercial companies and there innovations with modern manufacturing and the additional chemicals, pesticides, etc.? Each side seems to have there own answers for the breakdowns. It appears, that we need to try to eat more local products, be vigilant with how we prepare and cook our food,  pay attention to where our products come from and eat foods with 5 ingredients or less.

1 Dutch Oven
1 TBSP Canola Oil
1 Diced Onion
1 Diced Red Pepper
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 Box (4 Cups) Very Low Sodium Chicken
1 Container of Nasoya Organic Firm Cubed Tofu Rinsed & Drained or other Brand
1 Box of Frozen Chopped Spinach Steamed, Drained & Patted Dry
8 Ounces of Steamed Brown Rice
1 2LB Package of Flash Frozen Mussels Steamed in Microwave And Then Removed From Shells

Heat Oil on Medium High
Add in Onion, Garlic, & Peppers
Cook Until Soft
Add in Everything Else and Cook For 5-10 Minutes To Blend Flavors

Friday, September 28, 2012

Greens And More

With the change in seasons I am making sure to use greens in my meals while they are still available at the grocery store. Perhaps it because I live in Illinois but during the fall & winter I have a very difficult time finding any kale, mustard & collard greens, swiss chard, and purslane at the grocery store. I find this surprising because the growing season for most of these greens is from July-December.

One 12 inch Skillet
I TBSP Canola Oil
Equal Parts Cleaned/Diced Kale, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard, & Purslane (Optional)
1/2 Cup Diced Red Bell Pepper
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
1 Package Nasoya Organic Cubed Firm Tofu Rinsed/Drained (or Other brand)
1 TBSP Tabasco Chipotle Sauce ( I have not found any substitutes for this unless you make your own)

Heat Oil On Medium High Heat
Add in Everything And Saute Till Greens Are Slightly Wilted and Peppers are Soft

Ready to Cook

Jewish Cajun Whole Chicken in Slow Cooker/Crockpot

Cool Fall weather always make me crave chili's, soups, stews, braised meats, and slow cooker/crockpot meals. While most people tend to only use their slow cooker/crockpot in the Fall and Winter, I actually use mine all year long, I really depend on it when it is super hot, I do not use my oven much in the summer at all. The reason I call this Jewish-Cajun is because so many Jewish & Cajun meals have carrots and onion as the base for there meals, I did not have any celery or I might have used some, but I am not sure how celery would have held up so many hours in a slow cooker/crockpot.

1 6 Quart Programmable Oval Slow Cooker/Crockpot
1 Large Onion Quartered
12 Ounces Frozen Sliced Carrots
Fat Free Cooking Spray
3.5 - 5LB Whole Chicken, Rinsed, Patted Dry and Insides Removed
1 TSP Canola Oil
Small Bowl for Mixing Spices
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
4-6 Whole Garlic Cloves or Minced Garlic Equivalent
2 TBSP Morton & Basset Cajun Spice Blend (Love these as they are Salt-Free, No MSG, No Irradiation)
If you can't find this brand then use equal amounts paprika, celery seed, garlic, basil, cayenne, white pepper, thyme & parsley to make your own rub for this chicken.
3 TBSP Lighthouse Freeze Dried Poultry Herb Blend (Love these Herbs as they are Salt-Free)
This is Usually Cheaper in Store then there website, and you can usually print coupons from the site as well
If you can't find this brand then use equal parts dehydrated onions, thyme, sage, marjoram, spring onions, garlic, & rosemary to make your own herb blend

Spray Slow Cooker/Crockpot Bottom and Sides With Cooking Spray
Place Quartered Onion on Bottom of Slow Cooker/Crockpot
Spread Frozen Carrot Slices on Top Of Onion
Rub Canola Oil All Over Dry Chicken
Cut a Slit in Each Section of Chicken And Stuff It With the Whole Garlic Cloves or With Minced Onion
Mix your spices in Small Bowl
Rub Spice Mixture All Over Chicken
Place Chicken Upside Down in Slow Cooker/Crockpot on top of Carrots &a Onion
Cook on Low for 7-9 Hours Depending on Whether You Use a 3.5 or 5 LB Chicken

The carrots & onions actually make a little broth with the juices of the chicken after cooking.
If you like you can save the bones and use them to make a stock or spaghetti sauce for the future.

Banana Protein Smoothie Popsicles

There are plenty of already made smoothies one can buy in the grocery store in the refrigerated & frozen sections and mainstream brands, (Dole, Silk, Odwalla, Naked) keep coming out with more, unfortunately they are loaded with Sugar, Sodium, Preservatives and Ingredients I have no clue what it is, I have made it a personal mission of mine to try and eat the least processed food as possible.

Having a Vitamix allows me to make smoothies all the time, to be honest I make smoothies every day, sometimes I make extra and put my leftover in a Tuperware drink container in my refrigerator to have later in the day, other times I pour my extra into a Popsicle mold and freeze it so I can have my smoothie as a Popsicle later. I was at Bed Bath & Beyond over the summer and I found a Popsicle mold to make 4 Popsicles on clearance and then I used my 20% of Coupon to get it really cheap. This recipe is for making one shake to drink and using the extra for your Popsicles.

Equipment Needed
One Popsicle Mold for 4 Popsicles
One Vitamix or Equivalent
One Cup of Non GMO Organic Unsweetened Soymilk or Other Type
1-2 TBSP Ground Flaxseed
2-3 Small Ripe Bananas
Two Scoops Organic Non GMO Brown Rice Protein or 99% Lactose Free Whey Protein
2-3 One Inch Squares of Left-over Pumpkin Cornbread or a Granola Bar
8-10 Ice Cubes

Add Everything in order listed above to the Vitamix
Follow Vitamix Instructions for Blending
Pour Into Your Drink Container and Drink Some Now and Then Pour The Rest Into Your Popsicle Mold
Freeze and then enjoy when you want within 2 months

Monday, September 24, 2012

High Protein Saute

Having Arthritis, Small Fiber Neuropathy, Fibromylagia and other Health Issues make cooking and meal preparation a continual struggle and challenge. Despite this I still strive to make my meals as healthy for me as possible. Many people with my issues just give up and go out to eat on a daily basis, order take out weekly, or buy prepared foods from a delivery service (Schwans, Nutri-System, etc). For me I can't take the chance of getting sick with all my food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies, not to mention the exorbitant cost of these types of programs. It very easy to put everything in my Vitamix, press a button and make a meals or meals, or throw everything in a Slow Cooker, press a button and let it cook for me. The same can be said for putting everything in a casserole dish for the oven or everything in one skillet.

One 12 Inch Skillet
One TBSP Canola Oil
One Bunch of Kale Rinsed, Drained, Cubed
One Red Pepper Diced
One Onion Diced
Eight Ounces Mushrooms Diced
One TBSP Garlic Minced
2.5 Ounces Wild Salmon From the Pouch
2.5 Ounces Wild Mercury Free Tuna in Water
One Package Organic Cubed Firm Tofu Rinsed & Drained
One TBSP Franks Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce
Dash of Sea Salt
Dash of Ground Black Pepper
One - TwoTBSP Tabasco Chitpotle Sauce

Heat Oil on Medium
Add in Everything And Saute Till Done

Ready to Cook

Ready to Eat

Spinach Mushroom Skillet Meal

Continuing with my trend for not making any omelettes or frittatas, here is another skillet meal where you cook all you ingredients and then add in your egg whites. Most of the items I make are 95-99% homemade but because of my arthritis there are certain kitchen tasks that are just to difficult for me to due anymore. I buy garlic already minced up in the jar, I buy sun-dried tomatoes either in a package dried or in a jar with oil, I buy roasted red peppers in a jar as well. I buy lots of frozen cut-up vegetables because it is cheaper and easier for me to work with.

12 Inch Skillet
1 TBSP Canola Oil
8 Ounces Sliced Portebella Mushrooms
One Diced Onion
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Roasted Red Pepper Strips
8 Ounces Chopped Steamed Spinach
1 TBSP Freeze Dried Chives
Dash Sea Salt
Dash Ground Black Pepper
1 Ripe Avocado Cubed
1/4 Cup Steamed Peas
1-2 TBSP Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
Enough Egg whites to cover pan underneath vegetables

Heat oil on Medium
Add in Mushrooms, Onion, Garlic, Pepper, Spinach, Peas, Salt, Peppers, Chives And Cook
Pour in Egg white to cover bottom of pan underneath vegetable, let set
Add in Avocado & Sauce and cook until done

Cornbread Guacamole Skillet Meal

I have said this before, but it bears repeating, centuries ago there must have been some Italian lineage in my Family DNA despite my being current knowledge of my relative being of Russian/Polish and Jewish, I do not waste food. I always use everything I can when cooking  food and then I find another use to make with my Original meal. This recipe uses fresh ingredients, one of my many leftover homemade cornbread recipes  and some already made food to create a new recipe. I gave up trying to make the perfect omelette and any omelette period, too much work, now I just make any egg dish by cooking all my ingredients, then adding in my Egg whites as I never use any egg yolks. So every things becomes a semi-frittata, because mine are not as thick and I do not use milk or egg yolks.

One Twelve Inch Skillet
1 TBSP Canola Oil
8 Ounces Sliced Shitake Mushrooms
1/2 Cup Diced Roasted Red Pepper (I use Mezzeta from the Bottle because I could print coupons)
1 Diced Onion
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
5 Manzilla Diced Olives ( I Used Goya because I could print coupons)
Dash of Ground Black Pepper
Dash of Sea Salt
4 Ounces Steamed Chopped Spinach
1 100 Calorie Package of Wholly Guacamole
Left Over Cubed Cornbread
Enough Egg whites to Cover Skillet ( I cooked everything & then add in Eggwhites to Skillet)
I used Crystal Farms Allwhites Egg whites poured straight from the carton. I never buy shell eggs.

Heat oil in skillet on Medium
Add in Onion, Garlic, Mushrooms, Olives
Add in Sea Salt & Pepper
Cook Until Soft
Add in Egg Whites to cover pan, cook until bottom is set
Add in Peppers, Spinach, Cornbread, & Guacamole, cook a few minutes

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hemp Cornbread

Being Gluten Free and refusing to spend big money on already prepared Gluten Free items and regain massive weight with those prouducts, has forced me to continually experiment and create Gluten & Dairy Free recipes that are edible, tasty, and not super pricey to make as well being something that others will eat besides me.

I have found the easiest baking recipes for me to be ones where I use a base of cornmeal and then a gluten free flour along with a Dairy Free Milk Alternative. All the cookbooks and Blogs I have read in the last 10-15 years never use cornmeal at all for baking or for breading items, the ones I have read all seem to rely on using 5-6 individual Gluten Free Flours to make an All Purpose Gluten Free Mix, ie: (Sorghum, Potato, Tapoica. Amaranth, Brown Rice, & Almond Meal). I simply do not have the budget to pay $3-4 per 12-16OZ Package for each one of these and then mix them to bake one item. It is much more economical for me to just get a 1 or 2 LB container of Cornmeal and then use Rice Flour to bake something. Almond Meal on its own can run $15-20 for a 10 Ounce Container.

1 Loaf Pan
Cooking Spray or Parchment Paper
1 Mixing Bowl
1 1/2 Cups Yellow Corn Meal
1 1/2 Cups Rice Flour
3/4 Cup Splenda
1 1/2 TBSP Aluminum Free Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Sea Salt
1/4 TSP Apple Pie Spice
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 Egg Whites
1 Cup Vanilla or Plain Hemp Milk

Add All Dry Items to Bowl
Add All Wet & Mix
Pour Into Grease or Parchment Line Loaf Pan

Soup With Greens And Grains

Whenever there is a brisk fall chill in the air making soup, chili or some type of stew are my go to meals. It just seems like one's body craves heartier food when it is colder outside then when it is warm. As many of you already know, I am all about one pot meals, whether it be in my Crockpot, Dutch Oven, Skillet or a Casserole Dish. I try to use whatever I have in refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets to make a comprehensive meal that will last a few days or even more which then allows me to freeze my leftovers.

One 5-6 Quart Dutch Oven
1 TBSP Canol Oil
One Pound Isernio's Italian Chicken Sausage Roll
4 Cups Very Low Sodium Chicken Stock
One Bunch Broccolini Cleaned & Cubed
One Diced Onion
1-2 TBSP Minced Garlic
1-2 Cups Steamed Brown Rice
1 Sweet Potato Steamed And Shredded
1-2 TBSP Franks Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce
1/4 TSP Sea Salt
1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper

Heat Oil on Medium in Dutch Oven
Add in Onion & Sausage And Cook
Add in Stock, then Add in Everything Else
Cover and Simmer on Low for 20 Minutes

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Broccolini Scallop Saute

Many people as well as myself have always been confused if Broccolini, Broccoli Rabe and Rapini are all the same. From what I have found many Chef Sites or Blogs have said that Broccoli Rabe and Rapini are the same but Broccolini is completely different. Broccoli Rabe is nutty & quite bitter so it is always best to cook it and not eat it raw. Broccolini is a cross between Broccoli and Chines Kale, but is somewhat similar in appearance to asparagus and is often bundled the same. It is sweet with the flavors of Broccoli & Asparagus. Broccolini can be sauted, steamed, stir-fried, or boiled. Less is more when cooking Broccolini as it is a tender & delicate vegetable.

One 12 Inch Skillet
1-2 TBSP Canola Oil
8-12 Ounces of Frozen Small Bay Scallops Thawed (Whatever Size You Find)
One Package of Brocollini
1 TBSP Sesame Seeds
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 Diced Onion
1-2 TBSP Kikoman Takumi Collection Garlic & Green Onion Sauce

If you prefer toast your seseame seeds in the skillet before heating the Oil
Heat Oil on Medium in Skillet
Add In Everything And Cook Until Scallops Are Opague And Can Be Cut Easily, Onions Should Be Soft And Broccolini Should Be Tender But Not Mushy
Anywhere from 5-10 Minutes

Gluten & Dairy Free Raspberry Muffins

Baking items Gluten Free is much easier if you use milk and eggs and have unlimited money to purchase Gluten Free Flours, and Orgran No Egg Egg Replacer or Ener-G Egg Replacer, but when you can't use the traditional items and live on a very tight budget it is not so easy. In the last 10 years I have read numerous books, blogs & websites devoted to Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free and much more. I have experimented over the years with using Brown Rice Flour, Sweet Rice Flour, All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, Almond Meal as well as Coconut Flour. I have used Soy Milk, Coconut Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk, Oat Milk, Smart Balance Extra Protein Fat Free Skim Milk and some efforts have been good, others not so much, some are better then good, but that is always subjective to the person eating the final products. I have found that Coconut Flour is not the easiest to work with because you can only use this for 1/4 of regular flour and then need to make lots of tweaks for a moist baked good with other Gluten Free Flours, and more liquid. For this recipes I needed to keep adding more liquids in the form of Soy Milk and Egg Whites and I wound making 24 Mini Muffins and then 9-10 Regular sized muffins. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to continually check your muffins because Coconut Flours bake much differently. The top and middle takes longer to bake with Coconut Flour and your bottoms may get a little more done at times. I only have Silicon Liners for my 12 Count regular muffin pan so I sprayed my 24 Count mini muffin pan. Coconut Flour Has Higher Fiber so it is very dense and you might want to use a mixer unless you have lots of hand-strength which I found out the hard way I no longer do.

Mixing Bowl
1 24 Count Mini-Muffin Pan
1 12 Count Regular Size Muffin Pan
Silicon Muffin Liners
Cooking Spray

1 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Rice Flour
2 TSP ground Cinnamon
1 TSP Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Sea Salt
1/2 TSP Xanthan Gum
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract or Pure Vanilla
9 Egg Whites
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 Cup Frozen Raspberries
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Add Milk As Needed To Thin Batter. I used Unsweetened Soy Milk

Line 12 Count Muffin Pan
Spray Mini Muffin Pan
Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees

Add All Dry Items to Bowl
Add All Wet & Mix
I use a Small Gravy Spoon to Add Batter to my Muffin Pans
Bake Mini Muffins till Done 15-25 Minutes
Bake Regular Muffins Till Done 20-40 Minutes

Regular Size

Mini Ones

Friday, August 31, 2012

Baked Mango Cajun Swai

Being on a seriously tight budget for the last 5 years requires me to hunt for the best deals I can find at the supermarket in order for be to still be able to buy any type of fish and not revert back to being a Vegan as I was for 14 years before developing cancer in 1995. Five years ago when I was still working full-time, I would have bought mostly fresh fish from the fish department in my local grocery store or gone to a Fishmonger. Now that is no longer an option due to the high cost of fish. These days I can't afford to be a Food Purist and only buy Wild Caught Fresh Salmon.

When I was growing up I recall only seeing tuna and sometimes Salmon  in cans and not much else. Today with the ever expanding Global Markets local stores now sell tuna, salmon, sardines, oysters, clams, eel & and even scallops in a can as well as Wild Caught Salmon and Dolphin Safe Tuna in pouches. When it is on sale or on clearance I am now buying Wild Caught Salmon in Pouches & Dolphin Safe Tuna so I can still get the great Omega 3 benefits. In addition I am now buying frozen fish which is something I never did before. This has allowed me to expand the types of fish I am now consuming while trying to avoid fish that are high in Mercury. There has been a lot of controversy regarding Swai in the Market Place. All the reports I have read show American Fish Producers don't want this Fish to be sold here in the U.S. because they are losing money to Foreign Countries and feel that Americans should only buy fish produced in America, this to me is discriminatory and is a restraint of trade to the other Country Exports.  My local Super Target has been selling Frozen Swai for $3.99 for a 12 Ounce package, $$5.99 for Tilapia, and Wild Caught Salmon for $9.99. This is a HUGE difference in prices for Fish. Swai has a taste that is almost identical to Tilapia which has been over-fished, it is a mild tasting white fish which for many non-fish lovers is preferable so they don't taste something FISHY.

1 Deep High Heat Non Aluminium Oven Safe Baking Dish
Non Stick Cooking Spray
Canola Oil
1 12 Ounce Package of Thawed Swai
1 TBSP of Capers
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 TBSP Morton & Bassett Cajun Spice Blend or other Salt Free Cajun Blend
2-3 Mangos Blended To Cover Bottom of Pan or Canned Mango Nectar

Pre-Heat Oven to 400 Degrees
Spray Pan Bottom & Sides With Cooking Spray
Arrange Thawed Filets In One Layer
Brush With Oil
Sprinkle Cajun Seasoning On Fish
Sprinkle Garlic On Fish
Add In Mango Juice, Capers & Frank's Sauce

Bake 12-14 Minutes Or Until Fish Flakes Easily

Peach Nectarine Green Bean Salad

Summers to me growing up was always the joy of Farm Fresh Ripe & Juicy Fruit. Granted with today's Global Markets in the United States of America you can pretty much get any fruit you want all year round. As I get older with the on-going Local-vore, and Farm to Table Movements why do people still want to eat Fruit that has traveled thousands of miles, been picked prematurely, and covered with tons of heavy industrial pesticides? Why are Farmers Markets still considered a novelty and why does buying directly from the Farmer cost so much? Why is the cost for Organic Produce so expensive?  If I could afford it, I would buy a lot more Organic Produce then I currently am, the optimist in me wants to think that many others feel the same way?

 Perhaps the closer I get to my 50th Birthday which will be during the month of January 2013 I am feeling nostalgic for a simpler time, way of life, the joys of local farm fresh food. I can still remember my Maternal Grandparents taking me with them to the local Farms to buy Fresh Produce directly, the smell of fresh apples, pears, plums and other fruits. May folks are purists and only eat fruits whole & plain exactly as they are, I believe that fruits are meant to be eaten at any of of day or night in an way you want. I transform fruits in my smoothies, shakes, soups, sauces, glazes, baking, stir-frys, wraps, sandwiches, as a salsa, etc.

1 Large Bowl
1-2 Cups Cut Up Romaine Lettuce
1 Peach Cleaned & Cubed With Skin On
1 Nectarine Cleaned & Cubed With Skin On
1/2 Cup Cucumber Skinned & Cubed
1/2 Cup French Style Green Beans Steamed & Cubed
1 TSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar

Add All Produce To Bowl
Add Oil & Vinegar & Toss

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spinach Kale Okra Bean Soup

Recently I read an article about the five pans every home cook should have and the Dutch Oven was right up there. Hard to believe that I have only owned my Dutch Oven for the last two years. Now, I would be lost if I did not own mine, it has become my go to pot for making soups, chili's, stew's, braising meats, etc.

It is an amusing story of how my gift of birthday slippers became my beloved Dutch Oven. In January 2010 my sister gave me a pair of house slippers which had been the most popular slippers for the 2009 holiday season for an early birthday gift, unfortunately the slippers did not fit. My sister had bought my slippers at a store called Farm & Fleet in Montgomery, IL not far from her house, but quite far from mine, and a store I had never been to. I found the stores website and looked for closer locations to my house so I could exchange my slippers for a pair that fit or another brand. I went to the Dekalb, IL location almost an hour from my house on a quest for my new slippers, none of the other sizes in this slipper fit me, nor did any of the other brands that I spent over an hour trying on fit. At this point I had a store credit and decide to browse through this huge store to see what else they sold that I might be interested in, I was determined not to leave this store till I had used my credit. It was just simply to far for me to come back to this store again. After trying on clothes that did not fit I found they had a huge selection of Kitchen Ware Items.

To be honest I had never heard of Dutch Ovens, much less knew what it was, till I came across them at a store in Dekalb, IL called Farm & Fleet which is not exactly close to my house. Then I was lost in a sea of Dutch Ovens of varying sizes, materials, lids, with handles and without, they had Cast Iron Dutch Ovens, Porcelain Enamel, Stainless Steel, and more. I tried lifting the Cast Iron and I was not able to and the same thing with many of the other materials, so I settled on the Stainless Steel one.

1 Dutch Oven
1 Ten Inch Skillet (Optional)
1 TSP Canola Oil
10 Ounces Frozen Chopped Spinach
16 Ounces Cleaned & Chopped Kale
16 Ounces Frozen Chopped Okra
1 Dice Onion
1-2 TBSP Minced Garlic
14.5 Ounce Can of No Salt Added Pinto Beans Tripple Rinsed or Soak & Cook Your Own
4 Cups Very Low Sodium Chicken Broth/Stock
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper

Saute onion in either the skillet or Dutch Oven on medium, drain oil
If using skillet then transfer onion to Dutch Oven
Add in Broth and All Items
Cover And Cook on Low Until Frozen Veggies are cooked and Kale is Soft
Between 25-40 Minutes

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Elgin Fresh Market

For those of you visiting, reading or following my blog the last few years, you already know that I live on a tight budget and for me I strive to get the best quality food at a lower cost. When I was working full-time and making lots of money I still used coupons and shopped sales but I was not as aware of the bigger difference in prices from so many different grocery stores as I am now. Having not worked for the last 5 years, I have had lots of time to learn the true ins and outs of grocery shopping cycles, sales, temporary markdowns, clearance, etc.  I have learned along the way that the larger chain grocery stores do not always give you the best price or the best quality on many items. Many times the best deals on produce, meats and other items are right at your local Market. Elgin Fresh Market has two locations that allow customers to get quality food at quality prices. I live on the Far West side of Elgin, IL so I find the McClean Boulevard West Side location very convenient for me. Come on over to Elgin, IL and check out the latest deals at the Elgin Fresh Market.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chicken Okra Potato Puff Chili

My best recipes combine my favorite foods, sweet potatoes, turkey, & okra. I am definitely not a purist who only eats vegetables, fruits or meats on there own. I like to combine these in meals to get all my essential nutrients in one meal. Having to follow a 1,560 Calorie diet for years makes it much easier to stick to cooking this way. I have only lost a few pounds this year which is a bit disappointing. I still need to lose another 40-50 lbs despite having lost 40-45 lbs over the last few years. It makes it difficult when I do not have a Thyroid and have to rely on taking Thyroid Replacement Hormone for life since my Total Thyroidectmy Surgery January of 1996 for Papillary/Follicular Thyroid Cancer.

1 Dutch Oven
1-2 TBSP Canola Oil
1 Package Isernios Italian Chicken Sausage
1 16 Ounce Package of Frozen Chopped Okra
1 Diced Onion
1-2 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 TBSP Ground Cumin
1 TSP Ground Corriander
1 8-10 Package of Frozen Corn not on the Cob
1/2 Package of Sweet Potato Puffs Cooked
I used Alexia, not sure if any other brand makes these yet?

Heat Oil in Dutch Oven on Medium
Add in Onion, Garlic,Sausage & Seasonings
Cook Through
Add in Everything Else
Cover & Cook on Low Until Okra & Corn Are Cooked

Smashed Sweet Potato Chili

Whenever cool weather hits I automatically think of chili, I am such a fan of Sweet Potatoes that I still buy them off-season despite the cost.

One 12 Inch Skillet
1-2 TBSP Canola Oil
1 TSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 TSP Onion Powder
1 TBSP Ground Cumin
1 TBSP Ground Corriander
1 TBSP Freeze Dried Cilantro
8-10 Ounce Package of No Salt Added or Low Sodium Frozen Corn off the Cob
One Diced Onion
One - Two Frozen Cubed Okra
4-5 Diced Roasted Red Pepper Fresh or From a Jar
Three Sweet Potatoes Cooked And Smashed

Heat Oil on medium in Skillet
Add In Onion, Corn, Garlic,Okra & Seasonings
Cook till Soft
Add in Potato & Peppers
Cook for a Few Minutes to Blend in Flavors

Polenta Soup

Hard to believe that the Dog Days of Summer are long-gone, my 2 nieces and many other kids/teens in the area have already gone back to school. Those 100+ High Heat & Humidity Days seem like a distant Memory, for the last week we have been experiencing record cold temps for this time of year during the Day & Night. I do not mean we are getting Winter Cold temps during the month of August, but Daytime Highs of 66 and 72 are not the norm at all for August, last week it went down to 49 at night and other suburbs into the low 50's at night. That is weather we might typically get in late September or October. The cool weather was my motivation for soups and other one pot meals in my favorite Dutch Oven.

1 Five Quart Dutch Oven
1 TBSP Canola Oil or a Combo or Canola With Olive Oil
1 Diced Onion
1 Package of Isernios Italian Chicken Sausage or other Brand that is Ground and not in a Casing
One 18 Ounce Package Pre-Cooked Ready Made Polenta Cut Into Cubes
This one is from the Cost Plus World Market Store, It is not Available Online Though
You could also use Jaxson Cornmeal Mush Which is the Same thing as Ready Made Polenta from Cost Plus
I used this in some recipes of mine from 2011, here is the link to one of them with the PIC as Well
Also you could contact the Dik Jaxon Products Company

Dik Jaxon Products Company

  • (937) 890-7350
6195 Webster St, Dayton, OH 45414

4 Cups Very Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 16 Oz Package of Frozen Chopped Okra
1 -2 TBSP Minced Garlic
If you prefer you can saute the garlic, onion, & sausage in a skillet with oil or you do that in the Dutch Oven.
I prefer to just one pan for recipes.

Add Oil to Dutch Oven, Heat on Medium
Add in Oil, Sausage, & Garlic & Cook
Drain Oil, Leave in Food
Add in Broth, Polenta, Okra
Cover and Cook for 30-45 Minutes