Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cooking/Saving Challenge Day 1

Hmmm, this project could sure use a snappier name...I'll work on that.

I noticed some minimal saving at the grocery store yesterday. Nothing to write home about - maybe $30 or so. It did seem I had less items then usual...it is yet to be decided if this is a good thing. get yourself one of these:

Not only is this list incredibly darling-it has become a neccesary tool in my shopping procedures. I buy them by the box.

As planned I made some easy grilled sausage, super sautted onions and banana peppers and a new rosemary potato recipe I found on Cook, Eat, Share (which is sort of my new obsession)Everything turned out swell, but I was leftover with a new roadbump in my little experiment.

Leftovers. See how I did that? I already had a leftover casserole from saturday and some meatloaf my dad had brought over. Now, I have a caboodle's worth of sauteed veggies, and am anticipating a hefty run over of stuffed shells tonight. I mean, spencer is an impressive machine when it comes to eating. His plates are stacked tall, REAL TALL. My dad has always said he loves to watch my husband eat in utter disbelief and amazement. But he won't bring anything he needs to reheat to work with him the next day. Is that crazy or what? He says he doesn't like to use the work microwave. ??? no given reason, he just doesn't. So his loss is my (weight) gain.

Don't get me wrong, I would much prefer to make my co-workers jealous over a nuked do-over meal then a marie calanders steamer any day. i just don't know if I can keep up! I'm hoping this doesn't effect my bottom line - whatever it may be.

I better start inviting people over for dinner. what are your feelings on leftovers? Delicious Redux or Tired tastebuds?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cut a littlle off the top

Oh boy, I wish I was a savvy coupon shopper! I save them, even cut them out sometimes but ultimetly ALWAYS forget to bring them along with me...

I just read a blog post where this woman spends on average $40 a week on groceries for her and her husband. GAH! I do my best, but that puts me to absolute shame! Is she serving canned soup and grilled cheese sammies (which actually sounds positively delish right now)?!

Spencer and I were invited over for dinner last week and I noticed a "dinner list" on Anika's fridge. She had every meal planned out. Can I do that? I am so ruled by my minute-to-minute emotions, I'm unsure if I can stick to a plan, but by golly I'm gonna give it a shot. And even if no one reads this bloggie blog, posting decrees such as this out in public often solidify my determination to complete the assignment. So here goes:

Monday: grilled sausage & corn. creamy red bliss potatoes
Tuesday: Turkey & artichoke stuff'd shells & salads
Wednesday: Slow cooker chicken cordon bleu & zucchini pie (yes, again)
Thursday: salmon burgers & garden cous cous
Friday: asian lettuce wraps & corn chowda

Will I save money? If we are invited over somewhere, we'll bump a meal to the weekend, I suppose.

On a succesful note - I did manage to pick up about 80% of my produce from the truck guy I just found. Farmers markets are swell - if you can take off a thursday afternoon just to go shopping...

wish me luck! any grocery saving tips out there?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

cook, eat, repeat

I'm eventually posting a recipe today. Spencer mocked my dreams of a zucchini pie - and then literally ate his words as he gobbled bite after bite. I'll preface this by stating: I am NOT a cook. but i love cooking. and praise.

I didn't grow up "surrounded by great cooks". My cooks were good, but lacked that passion and joy for cooking that warrants "greatness". So I grew up making mac n' cheese, microwaved butter balls and pb & j sammies. When I first moved into my own apartment i was poor and busy spending what money I did have on drinking and dancing. So my go-to-recipes included jim beam and ginger ales and cheese steak subs to-go (oh metabolism, i miss you so much!)

The time came when Spencer and I moved in together and the domestic bug started biting. We also lived with his sister, who was a very good cook. Rachael Ray was my first real teacher. Her recipes weren't complicated and didn't require foreign techniques or ingredients. And she "eyeballed" it, which is the 2nd reason I don't measure things while cooking. (the first being - why dirty up something else to clean?) As i grew as a home cook, my appreciation for delicious food developed as well. Now, I'll eat anything and I find a simple joy in whipping up something awesome for my friends and family.

This recipe is a combination of 3 recipes I found here, there and everywhere.

savory summer squash pie

1 frozen pie crust (or make your own if you are insane and haven't ever seen an episode of "semi homemade")
2-3 good sized zucchini
1 cup(ish) ricotta cheese
1 cup(ish) shredded cheese (I used mozz, but i imagine a combo of cheeses would be cool - parm, Gruyere - get crazy - just keep it at a cup)
Half of a sweet onion all chopped up (or maybe a shallot? oh! or some scallion?!)
1 egg
some Olive oil
some garlic

Get your oven ready at 400 F. toss some garlic into that olive oil and let it sit and get all gorgeous. Slice that zucchini, toss some salt on it and let it soak up all that sodiYum while you mix the cheese.

mix the ricotta, egg, onion, most of the cheese and some parsley together. Take the remainder of the shredded cheese and press it into the bottom of the pie crust. YUM.

toss the garlic oil with the zucchini slices.

then layer! ricotta mix first, then zucchini slices, then ricotta, then zucchini. i sprinkled some salt & pepper over each zucchini layer and topped the whole kitten kaboodle with some more cheese. Cover that bad boy with some foil and get to cookin'

30 minutes later take the foil off until it browns.

Now wait for it. Let her sit for a few minutes to set or you'll have a delicious, but messy pie slice on your hands!

i wish i had made 2 so i could have some leftovers for lunch today!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


My face here pretty much reflects how i felt on my wedding day. wow. like, W-O-W style wow. like, wow-a-palooza.

It wasn't as though i was surprised to see my friends and family there - heck I invited 'em, hand addressed every single envelope in fact during a routine tuesday marathon of Law & Order SVU. When I turned the corner it felt like I had been hit in the face with pure love and joy. a feeling of being in the exactly right place at the exactly right time- which has got to be one of the rarest feelings on the planet. prior to this day, my happy place was imagining a pug puppy in a bow tie and top hat. now its this. this sur/real moment in my life.

So on tough days; at work, in my marriage, with my family, when the dog yanks me down the stairs in the morning - i'm fortunate to have this little memory to escape to. all my nerve endings get tingly just thinking about it.

where is your happy place?

Friday, August 6, 2010

STOP what you are doing

And read this post from a practical wedding.

choosing metaphor of total correctness

Oh boy. Call your momma

why hello,

I'm aliiiive!

and frankly kind of surprised Im still allowed to post things on my page. apparently it is permissible to disappear into the real and then return.

and im still reading blogs even though im not posting my own. That is a very surprising gift I received at the tail end of this wedding planning awesome/nonsense. I had never really read any blogs. they were for nerds.

but i knew i was a nerd, so am i really surprised? blog reading has become a part of my routine now. and i am so thankful I get to laugh and cry with complete strangers. people i oddly care about without ever having met or spoken or written to.

John & Sherry (and Clara) might be the coolest people. I am running a few years behind them in regards to marriage, house - gulp- kids. Their blog gives me inspiration to keep going with a smile on my face and tackle on the crazy projects I dream up without fear or dread. everything will turn out fabulous

Nakiya is a funny, upbeat, unpretentious foodie ( yes. possible.). I go to her to day dream about food before (or after) my lunch break and anytime I need to get the DL on a local restaurant. Or when I want to try and win free stuff.

Katie thinks up the most fantastic party ideas and generally lives her life with a bubbly sarcasm i could just gulp down. She loves her family so much and it is so obvious and delightful.

Sarah is so young and excited about the mundane things life has to offer. Her blog is a refreshing reminder that finding the fun is easy, and worth it. and keep dreaming.

and Meg. oh meg - her blog has become my inspirational quote of the day calender. And her musings and reflections and wtf?!'s mean more now after my wedding and in my marriage than they did before. she just gets it...why can't everybody get it?!

And more than that, these lovely ladies have introduced me to a slew of hysterical and meaningful blogs I dabble in from time to time or am just discovering. Oh if there were more hours in a day...

married with kittens

pioneer woman

catalog living