Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

We were invited to a football coaches party - always a little awkward because I feel I should hang with the guys, but Josh doesn't hang with the ladies. After three years, we all have our moments I think.

Anyway, Coach W hosted the event and I decided to bring this beauty to celebrate Memorial Day weekend:

Apparently it looked too good because no one wanted the first slice. The good news? I texted Coach W to see if he'd finished it up over the weekend and this was his response:

"Devoured it. It was outstanding!"

Thinking it was probably a bit much even for him to eat on his own, I probed for more details... especially since no one sampled (even me). So, I asked who he shared the treat with and was not expecting this response....

"I took it to a pool party Sunday. Said I made it."

I loved it. And that, my friends, is genius.

I cheated on the recipe: boxed white cake (major time saver but more expensive) + vanilla pudding mix made according to directions with three eggs and water. On top, cheesecake pudding (mixed with maybe 3/4 cup of milk set to firm and then folded in with most of a large container of Cool Whip) frosting + strawberries & blueberries.

Total decorate time ~30 minutes including washing / soaking the fruit.

Welcome to summer ... be safe when re-fooding!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

10-minute summer pasta dinner

People think eating healthy is expensive. I can agree to some extent, but not tonight.

On my way home, I considered picking up Chinese veggie stir-fry, easily a $15 commitment and ~4,000 mg of sodium for two people. Tonight's dinner really did take 10 minutes and wasn't a recipe.

Dinner was this combination of kitchen supplies:

- Four diced tomatoes (seeded, which just means that when chopping, you keep the firm parts of the tomatoes and throw away - or save for later - the seeds / juice)
- One pound rigatoni
- One large bag frozen broccoli
- One can (thoroughly rinsed to save sodium) mushrooms
- 1.5 oz crumbled (or chopped) feta cheese

You wouldn't even need to scam for Publix coupons for this price: $6.07

We saved $8.93.

My supplies were a can opener, cutting board and one knife plus:
- Feta ($3 for the whole 4 oz) $1.50
- Broccoli $1.10
- Mushrooms - off-brand $.80 for the large can
- Pasta $.67 on a buy-on-get-one-free deal
- Tomatoes (usually the expensive part but these four were my last from a 20-pound box for $12, and you could always get canned diced for lots more sodium) $2

Spices excluded from the price since they are staples: fresh ground pepper and red pepper flakes. The fresh tomatoes, cheese and sodium from the mushrooms gave it enough flavor. No salt needed.

I cooked the pasta and added the broccoli at the end - when the noodles were still a little firm. I strained all the water out, added the tomatoes, mushrooms and feta, and served. This no-recipe made easily enough to serve 5-6 very hungry people and will be a summer combination we try again.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Messy clean ups but tasty rosemary sesame bread

So I told you what my favorite part of cooking is, the worst is obvious: 

The ideal goal is to have someone (hint, hint) help with prep so you can wash at the same time. Over the Memorial Day weekend, I'll rustle up a few more good kitchen recipes.

Along with Mango Salsa last night, I made this Rosemary Sesame Seed Bread.

It's only four ingredients: yeast, olive oil, flour, water. Made fresh with no preservatives, the bread should be sliced and frozen or refrigerated for 1-2 days within baking. I bet you'll find it hard not to eat it with double tomato sandwiches or french toast!

After my farmer's market trip tomorrow, I'll do some other variations with wheat, soy and almond flours and discuss the process. I'm definitely going to make a raisin-cinnamon swirl (thanks Stacy for the idea).

Making bread is no where near as difficult as imagined - more on that after the weekend. I used to think my grandmother's rolls were so tasty in part because of the giant green tupperware bowl she used to let the dough rise. It even has a lid. I know my dad gets frustrated because I'm not too fond of collecting "stuff" or saving things from our family. 

I do, however, lay claim to the green bowl (and at least a copy of all Grandma E's recipes). I think the real mystery is how four (or so) ingredients can create such a treat.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Salsa and Introduction

My name is Roseanna. 

I grew up eating fresh vegetables out of our Iowa gardens and though my green thumb hasn't come in yet, I do love to make magic in the kitchen. My favorite recipes run the gamut from my great grandmother's sugar cookies to fresh tomato sauce. 

There's something pretty amazing about making your own food: not just to know what's in it, but to experience the joy in doing it yourself. I don't get this feeling from home improvement projects, but that's not quite as fun a tale and one for another day.

There are a thousand websites, blogs and message boards devoted to recipes and cooking. I started this blog today, on a whim, because my fiancee and I are experimenting vegetarians. Almost three weeks ago, we started a month-long challenge to avoid meat. We're not quite vegan like Josh's friend Joe, or as healthy as HeandSheEatClean like my friends Scott & Whitney, but we're on the right track. 

Josh is usually a guy who eats an entire rotisserie chicken in one, maybe two meals. He's also that guy who needs meat with every meal, and at breakfast, six chicken eggs. 

This blog gets its name from Doug, Josh's boss. After about a week of the vegetarian diet during which double tomato-and-cheese sandwiches had become a staple, a guy came into his office selling BBQ raffle fundraiser tickets. When he asked if Josh wanted one, Doug said ... "The big guy eats plants." He's also not a fan of pork, but that's another story. 

We originally started the Plant Challenge to save some cash. I think we'll make it more of a lifestyle - with some fish and chicken sprinkled in along the way after the month is up. But, the great part so far about eating mainly vegetables and fruits is that eating is, by design, more creative. 

I didn't want to be that person who posted her food photos on Facebook, so I started this blog, which is equally lame. I can live with that.

I figured somewhere along the way, someone would probably want some of the recipes, and if nothing else, I can share more easily. 

Plus, even someone like me who doesn't much measure, freely substitutes ingredients and generally strays off the beaten path (sometimes a little too much) likes to see photos with recipes. It's just easier to imagine. 

Tonight we had Mary Ann's Mango Salsa (a recent recipe from my coworker): 

- 7 oz can whole corn, drained and rinsed (next time, I'll cut corn off the cob and boil to save sodium)
- 1 mango - peeled and cubed (I used part of a mango and fresh pineapple, both leftovers, which I would highly recommend)
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion (I used half a medium red onion)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (eyeball it)
- Juice of half a lime
- 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed well (you could easily cook the beans to also save sodium) 
Pepper to taste 

Other items listed in the recipe that I didn't use (1 t garlic salt, 1/4 t cumin, 1/3 c fresh red pepper). More often than not, I change things on the fly, so I'll try to include the original recipe. 

The blog's web address comes from my grandmother Emogene, who makes the best cloverleaf and cinnamon rolls without frosting in the free world, and mother Merry, who provided a made-from-scratch-with-no-recipe meal every night growing up. They both smartly advised this benefit about cooking: you still get to eat your mistakes.

I think that's mostly true, except for the one time I tried to make eggplant. We threw that away.