Saturday, May 15, 2010

Suburban Farming

Happy Saturday. Sarah and I are actually together this morning with our families. We just came back from some mega-garage sale shopping and are pleased to have found some $1 bag sales. Yea baby!

I am going to share a few pictures of my garden.  Here~ I am going to throw this out to you. I want to be a farmer. Not the kind of farmer that has huge farm equipment and acres upon acres of Midwestern soy and corn.  A little dream of mine~ some land, a small tractor, and several acres of garden. (Toss some goats, chicken, and cows into the mix too!)

Some day I want to go outside to pick all of our food. I want you to be able to come to my house and when you ask "whats for dinner?" I will open the back door and set you free.

For now, though, the back door will take you into a pretty typical suburban back yard with lots of shade, swing set, picnic table and unfortunately some dog poo.   For three years now I have struggled with how best to garden in my current yard. This year I finally did what I should have done from the start.

I tore out landscaping to make room for a garden. And, frankly it is beautiful. Instead of some bushes in the front yard we now have a lovely little crop of lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower.  I did not plant annual flowers in my pots this year either. I planted cilantro, basil, dill, and starter tomatoes. In the back yard I ripped up bushes and planted several rows of peas, Lima beans, green beans, and peppers, cantaloupe, pumpkin and several varieties of squash. My lavender is doing great too. In addition, I started a little garden in some open space at my mother-in-law's home. 

In addition we joined a community supported agriculture program this year, but that is a another story which I am going to share more about very soon.

Here are a couple of pictures. My lettuce and cilantro are ready to start eating.
Call me Katie ~ suburban farmer. You don't have to own a lot of land to have a nice garden! Make do with what you have a be creative!

Any other suburban farmers out there?

Time is Running Out!

Time is running out for you to enter or Whoops Bunny meal planner and shopping list giveaway!

If you have not entered yet, please do so here.

The giveaway will close tonight at 6 p.m. and the winner will be announced!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

One more cheap and yummy snack idea...

Did you see that we have the link on our left sidebar? There is a coupon on there for $1 off of fruit chillers. I printed a couple and took them to my Target to get one box for $1 each. Makes for an easy snack to grab when your kids are "starving" and dinner won't be for another hour or so. Just a thought. Just a warning: These things are quite yummy too, so you may just end up eating them with your kids on your front porch one afternoon. :) Enjoy that time.

Dining Out Deals

TODAY ONLY (MAY 13, 2010)

All of our readers in Arizona can head on over to your local Krispy Kreme Doughnuts shop today, May 13th…in honor of the 2 year anniversary of Krispy Kreme’s return to Arizona, and you’ll be able to snag a dozen donuts for only $2 (limit 2 per person while supplies last)! And, if you are reading this tonight (the 12th) everyone in line by 5:30 a.m. when doors open will receive one 365-card good for a FREE 12 oz. coffee and FREE doughnut every day for a year…I would say that is worth getting up early for! :) Note: This offer is only good for Arizona Krispy Kreme locations!

Click here for more information or call 480-325-6789.

(Thanks Hip2Save!)

Just a reminder:

Last day to get a half-off Frappuccino at Starbucks is May 16th. Between now and then, you can enjoy a half-price Frappuccino blended beverage at participating Starbucks during happy hours– 3 to 5 p.m., to be exact. You can choose from one of their favorites such as the Soy Strawberries & Crème, the Extra Coffee Caramel, or the Mocha Light or you can completely create your own…ummm… yummy! My personal fave is the white chocolate mocha. You gotta try it. Click here for more information.

(Thanks, Clippin With Carie!)

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I just got really excited!!! Check this deal out: $2 meals from Taco Bell!!! For $2, you get your choice of 1 beefy 5 layer burrito, 1 gordita supreme, 1 grilled chicken burrito, or one double decker taco and 1 bag of doritos and 1 medium drink!!!!!! Guess I know what's for lunch tomorrow. :0) Did I mention that Taco Bell is one of my faves?

(Thanks Taco Bell!) gift certificates can be purchased at 80% off again! The $25 gift certificates are normally $10 or $15 (depending on restaurant), but are $2 or $3 with the code. They also sell $10 certificates for select restaurants for $4, making them 80 cents each with the code. Code to use: ENJOY.

Do you have a Penn Station nearby?
Play the Penn Station Matching Game Every Day. []
Match the faces within the guess and time limit to receive an instant reward.
Play every day through May 18, 2010.
When you win the game, you get a coupon that says:
"Buy any size Sub and get a Sub of equal or lesser value free."
The coupon expires on 5/25/10.
(Thanks Slickdeals!)

Free Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich 5/31-6/4 with signup (beginning 5/21)'. Mark your calendars! I just received an email from my local CFA:
NEW this Month!!! Starting 5/21, sign up to reserve your invitation to receive the NEW Spicy Chicken Sandwich Free during our Premiere Week 5/31 - 6/4!! visit to become a SPICY V.I.P. guest!
Also, for those in South Jersey, the Eastgate location (Moorestown Mall) is offering free breakfast each morning 5/10-5/14.
(Thanks again Slickdeals!)

Free Chipotle with $25 GC purchase - Nationwide
Buy a gift card for $25 or more, between May 1st and June 12th, then bring your receipt in on your next visit for a Free Burrito, Bowl, Salad or Order or Tacos.
Last day to redeem receipt is June 30th, 2010.

(Thank you one more time Slickdeals!)

Head on over to Flame Grilled Goodness at El Pollo Loco and get a Free small drink and Free chips with this coupon and the purchase of an irresistable Grilled Guacamole or Jalapeno Chicken Sandwich.
Coupon valid thru 5/25/10.
Find a location

(Thank you Restaurantcouponsanddeals!)

Enjoy a Buy 1 Get 1 FREE waffle at Waffle House with this coupon.
What's better than a hot waffle and a cup of coffee?
Coupon valid thru 5/15/10.
Find a location

(Thanks again Restaurantcouponsanddeals!)

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies

Saying Oatmeal Carrot Cookies does not cut it. Read this cast of characters here~

                           Pure Maple Syrup 
                                                          Cream Cheese

Peeked your interest yet?

The great thing about cookies is this. Cookies, even super terrific amazing ones such as these are no fuss.  Just mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then, mix the wet ingredients in a bowl. Combine, stir, scoop and bake.  These babies will take you ten minutes to put together and about three seconds to devour.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup (give or take) chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded carrots
2/3 cup cranberries
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cream cheese 
1 teaspoon  ginger (fresh would be great, but I used powdered and it was fine!)
Sea Salt (just a pinch!) 

Here we go. Boy oh boy, if you have had a rough day go ahead and get the coffee perculating. You are going to need to sit down with a cup of java and one (or all) of these.

1. Wash your carrots, but do not peel them. Trust me.
Put your carrots into a food processor or grate them by hand.  Set aside after sneaking a handful of    raw carrots, mmmm.

2. In a big bowl mix all of your DRY ingredients.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup (give or take) chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon  ginger (fresh would be great, but I used powdered and it was fine!)
Sea Salt (just a pinch!)  
1 cup carrots
2/3 cup crushed walnuts 
2/3 cup cranberries

2.  Add in your wet ingredients:
1/2 cup Butter (softened)
1/4 cup cream cheese (softened) 
1/2 cup real maple syrup (make sure its room temperature!)

And mix it all together. This dough does not have raw eggs, so go ahead and sneak a bit of that dough!

3. Scoop cookie-sized balls onto your baking sheet. I really like using baking stones. (Thanks, Alisha!)

4. Bake these darlings at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I do not preheat, but you can if you want too.

Now~ eat and enjoy the unique flavor! They are not sweet like chocolate chip cookies, but the flavor is dynamic with the ginger. Coconut might be fantastic in these too! Oh, the possibilities!

Friday: Grilled Carribbean Pork

I am going to make up for this, really. What? What is she making up for?, you ask.

I posted that I was going to make this meal, Grilled Caribbean Pork, today for you. This was my plan. See the other two darling Meal Planning Mommies have their meal plans done and posted ahead of time. They are brilliant. Me? Well, when it is my week to post my meal plan I am scrambling each night to get it posted for you. Its just how I roll, baby.

The events of today here at my house made making this meal a bit much. So, I am going to do three things for you.

1).  I am going to give you the link to the recipe. So that those of you who were interested can still make this meal, because it sure does look delicious.

2). I am going to give you an easy lunch/appetizer/snack/salad idea that we made today.

3). I am going to share with you the recipe for a batch of cookies that will change your life.

So, here we go.

As promised.

#1.....The recipe for Grilled Caribbean Pork can be found on the Whole Foods website.  I have attached the link to this meal here. 

#2.  Now, for the salad. Geesh, I feel like grovelling. Yesterdays meal was a flop and today I am like a college kid begging mercy from a professor for an overdue assignment! Have mercy on me readers and enjoy this salad! 

Tomato, Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

What you need: tomato, cucumber, red onion, and some vinaigrette. 
What to do: Clean, chop, pour, stir and serve. Boom! It does not get easier and this is so fresh and tasty.

And, now for #3~ this will get me out of trouble for sure. I actually served these cookies tonight as dinner along side a bed of baby spinach with strawberries and vinaigrette. Seriously, I did. These cookies made my day. 

Thursday: Pad Thai Pizza


I wish that is all I could say, but I should probably tell you the entire story.

Let us begin. This meal was a flop. Flop! Flop! Flop! Flop!

In defense of the recipe this meal was a flop because of my error and I am pretty sure it would have been good had it been made correctly.

Let me give you the recipe and then you can try it yourself!

Ingredients (as provided by Taste of Home magazine):
1 tube of refridgerated pizza crust
2 tbs creamy peanut butter
2 tbs teriyaki sauce
1 tbs sweet chili sauce
1 tsp honey
2 cups shredded chicken
1 cup mozz. cheese
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro
2 green onions, sliced

Now~ I modified this recipe a couple of ways.  I made my own pizza dough, which may have contributed to this not turning out right. I also made my own teriyaki sauce (out of soy sauce, pine-apple juice, and ginger). This I was pleased with though~ the sauce was terrific.

My Pad Thai Pizza was dry and

Here is why: I made my dough from scratch. But, while it was browning in the oven I got side-tracked from one of my kiddos and I overcooked it.  Later I assembled with sauce and put the pizza together. The sauce (sweet chili, peanut butter, honey, and tereyaki) is really delicious. I got all excited about this unique take on pizza despite my overcooked dough. I popped the assembled pizza into the oven to melt the cheese and my littlest one woke up ready to eat. I got caught up in nursing him and totally overcooked the pizza.  The once creamy white mozzerella cheese was dark brown and hard as a rock.

So, flop. Flop. Flop. Flop.

But, in case you want to try. Here is what to do:

1. Make your dough. Taste of Home suggested a refriderated crust. I bet you can make your own, but roll it out thin. Regardless, stick it into the oven for 5-6 minutes until SLIGHTLY brown!

2. Assemble your sauce. I would suggest making a bit more than suggested by Taste of Home. I use all natural peanut butter than is pretty dry compared to regular store bought peanut butter. This may have also contributed to the dryness.

3. Next, put half of the sauce onto your dough.

4. Now, mix the rest of the sauce with the shredded chicken.

5. Put the chicken mixture onto the pizza crust. Place the cheese on top too. Plop it into the oven, but don't overcook!

Note: The recipe called for shredded cheese, but I had my arms full of a baby and could not shred the cheese. Dur...

6. Once your pizza has finished baking (10-15 minutes) put shredded carrots, onion, cilantro, crushed peanuts and sprouts on top. Serve..but hopefully it will taste better than mine!

If anyone makes this and it turns out please let me know! I still like the idea of this meal and would love to hear if a better (and less distracted)  cook than I made it work!

My baby...

Okay, I just had to post this picture of my baby in our new chair I found at a garage sale. A toddler sized recliner! Isn't that adorable. Okay, back to business as usual. :) Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday: Pork and Pineapple Taco's

Shoot. This was easy. 

Because we had already prepared the pork I actually threw this dinner together in less then ten minutes. It was a one pan dish too, which really rocked because there were a zillion things I had to do other than the dishes.

What I used: 
Pork (Cut up into small bite sized pieces, rather thin).
Canned Pineapple (Fresh would have been great, next time!)
Red Onion
Lemon Juice
Whole-Wheat Tortillas

What to do:

1. Start by taking out one of your already prepared pork containers. Cut up the pork and place it with a tad bit of olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice into a pan.

2.  Next dice up your red onions. If serving this to kids you may want to make them pretty small. We enjoyed the onions cut up rather good sized. It gave these tacos such a nice texture.

3. Now, add the onions to your pork.

4. Now, cut up some cilantro and add it. You don't want to do this until you are about ready to eat. The cilantro needs to be nice and warm...but not overcooked.

5. Add some pineapple, as much or little as you like.

6. Take your filling and place it into a tortilla. I did heat my tortilla or anything, but that would have been good. Next time I will. We ate this with fresh mango (OHHHHHH, be still my heart) and avocado.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday: Black Bean and Corn Salsa Quessadillas

Today, we are taking a break from pork. It is not that its not tasty, just that there is only so much that a gal can take. This Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas is delicious and full of wonderful whole foods. I think one of the best things about this meal is how easily you can modify it depending on what you happen to have in your kitchen.

The basic idea~ tortilla pan grilled with black beans and a whole-lotta crisp veggies! And, some cheese for good measure.

What I used: 
Whole-Wheat Tortillas
Black Beans (cooked and seasoned with cumin and sea salt)
Homemade corn salsa: Frozen corn, red onion, tomato, cilantro, cumin, black beans (see above),  garlic, and lemon juice.  Other great additions would be~ lime, chickpeas, mango, etc....

 Here We Go:
1. If you are using uncooked beans then go ahead and prepare them. When they ready let them cool. You are going to add them to the salsa once they are prepared. If you are using canned black beans then open those puppies up.
2.  Start out by making your salsa. This way you can snack on it while you cook dinner! Just cut up your tomato, cilantro, and red onion. Add frozen corn, cumin, garlic, and lemon juice (just a tad). Mix in a bowl and start snaking. My son loves salsa and came running when he heard was I was making! He snacked along with me and I had to smile at the thought of all the wonderful raw foods he was putting into his body with no complaint.

3. Take a tiny bit of olive oil and put it into a pan. Place a tortilla on top. You want the heat to be high enough to brown the tortilla without burning it.
4.  Now, go ahead and sprinkle some cheese on top followed by a nice amount of the black bean and corn salsa.  The cheese on bottom should begin to melt.

5. Add just a tad more cheese on top to help the upper tortilla stick to the bottom tortilla. After you have done this add a tortilla to the top and flip. Brown on both sides. It only takes a few moments. Basically, you are keeping it on the grill long enough to melt your cheese!

6.  Cut with a pizza slicer. You can use sour cream or just mush up some avocado instead. It is much healthier and tastes so rich and creamy. Avocado is my best friend, aside from the other two Meal Planning Mommies. I get to see Avocado more often.  We are really close and have lunch together at least twice a week.  Don't tell Sarah and Alisha, they will get jealous.

Babies (6 month and older): Mush up some avocado and serve it. 
Toddlers: Cut up the quesadillas into bite sized pieces and serve. 

Now, you should have some leftover salsa. Just serve it as a snack or tomorrow with some chips. son caught me sneaking a bite. Yum!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pork Stir-Fry Lettuce Wraps

Wow. I can not believe I made something that tasted as good as this. Seriously. We sat at the table and devoured this meal all the while proclaiming how amazing it was that it had come from my kitchen. This meal made us feel like we were sitting....well...someplace else!

Here is the kicker too. This meal is not only a part of the "One Pork Loin, Four Meals" AND ridiculously delicious, but it is very wholesome as well.

Add this meal to your meal plan soon. 

Here is what I used:
1 Red Pepper                           Butter
1 Cup of Sprouts                     Cilantro
2 Large Carrots                       Romaine Lettuce
2 Small Stalks of Celery          Brown Rice
1 Small Red Onion                  Garlic
Soy Sauce (to taste)                 Pork Loin
Sweet Red Chili Sauce (to taste) 


What to do: 

Step one: Take your already cooked pork loin and put it into a food processor until it is cut up into small pieces.  Place the chopped up pork into a wok/pan that has a little bit of garlic and some butter waiting for it...

Step Two:  While the pork loin is getting full of that wonderful garlic/butter flavor go ahead and shred your veggies. Using a food processor makes this a breeze! Your carrots, onion, celery, and pepper can all be tossed in together.

Step Three: Add soy sauce and sweet red chili sauce to your pork. I just shook some on it and added more for taste. Go with what you think will be good! Now, add those delicious vegetables and sprouts to the pork. Just think, your kids are going to devour a plate full of veggies and love them!

Step Five:  Now, here is where it gets fun. You are going to take this flavorful filling and place it into romaine lettuce wraps. They are so pretty!

Serve with a side of wholesome brown rice. You eat this like taco's and they have an amazing crunch thanks to fresh Romaine lettuce. 

**Omit the Sweet Red Chili Sauce on some of the pork/veggies (unless your tots like spicy food like mine) and this is a great toddler meal. Messy, but fun!

Bonus:  Save all the leftover brown rice. Mix with milk, cinnamon, and a bit of unrefined cane sugar, warm up just a bit and TA-DA there you have a great breakfast cereal for your toddlers and the entire family!