Monthly Archives: February 2011

Recipe: Lettuce Wraps with Mango Salsa

Today was fun. After church, we decided to postpone our lettuce wrap experiment until the evening (primarily because we were hungry and the chicken still needed to cook in the rotisserie for an hour). So, we ate a quick meal and then we each got a small chicken to season.

Bryan did his with garlic, butter, salt and pepper. I used my Sweet & Spicy rub and stuffed it with a poked lime and a chopped shallot. It turned out pretty well, but I think I still like Bryan’s version the best. Bryan’s chicken will go in our Valentine’s Stirfry tomorrow night. And mine will be used with tonight’s recipe: Lettuce Wraps with Mango Salsa.

Here are the ingredients:

Organic Lettuce (leaves washed, separated and dried), Organic sliced tomatoes, Organic Rotisserie Chicken (season to taste), Organic Mango Salsa (recipe below), and Kame's All-Natural Sweet Chili Sauce.

Place about 1 oz. chicken, 1 Tbsp. salsa, and a few tomatoes in the center of the lettuce. Top with a touch of sweet chili sauce.

Fold like a burrito and enjoy! Fresh, crisp, and delicious!

Mango Salsa Recipe:

Dice the following ingredients:

  • 1 organic mango, peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 organic red pepper, seeds removed
  • 1/4 small organic red onion
  • 2 cloves organic garlic

Add:

  • 1 Tbsp. dried cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. raw sugar
  • (optional: avocado, black bean, corn, pineapple)

Enjoy on tortilla chips, in your lettuce wrap, or on a taco. Bon Appetit!

Recipe: Creamy Parsnip, Potato, and Carrot Soup

I followed this recipe for Creamy Parsnip with Ginger Soup from my meal plan, using my parsnips from this week’s basket. However, I made a few slight changes, of course. The carrots and red onion gave it a beautiful color and it’s so smooth and creamy! Yum!

Here’s my version:

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in 6 qt. stockpot over medium heat. Peel and chop 7-8 small parsnips, 2 large carrots, 1/2 red onion, and 4 large garlic cloves and add to pot. Sautee for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown.

Add 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. each ground cardamom and allspice (I used pumpkin spice because I didn’t have any allspice), 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper and a pinch or organic raw sugar. Stir into vegetables and cook for 1 more minute.

Add 3 c. chicken broth (or 3 c. water and 3 bouillon cubes), and 4 small, peeled and chopped organic white potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes (or until root vegetables are tender).

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Ladle half of the soup mixture into a blender and liquefy. Add 3/4 c. organic reduced fat milk to this half. Repeat, adding 3/4 c. milk to this second batch as well. Pour into serving dish and top with freshly cracked black pepper and the green portion of one scallion.

Bon Appetit!

Weekly Meal Plan for Two

This week, I decided to try to make a menu plan with what we got today and what we had left from last week’s basket, along with a few of my own random items.

This week’s basket: parsnips, a head of lettuce, 2 tomatoes, potatoes, bok choy, mushrooms, strawberries, pears, oranges, 3 apples, red pepper, ginger root.

 

ON HAND:

PRODUCE: a few organic shallots, 2 organic carrots, 2 organic yams, 2 organic oranges, 1/2 head of organic cauliflower, 1 organic mango, and half a bunch of organic scallions from last week’s basket, some organic celery (already washed and chopped into snack sizes), 1 green pepper,  2 organic apples, 2 lemons, 2 limes, garlic, 2 red onions, 1 pomegranate.

FRIDGE: all-natural eggs, organic milk, all-natural almond milk and soy milk, Trader Joe’s Blueberry Pomegranate all-natural juice (with hidden veggies!), organic whole chicken (on sale at Publix for $1.99/lb. right now), organic carrot juice.

PANTRY: organic steel cut oats, organic quinoa,  all-natural peanut butter, organic brown rice, organic canned black beans (and other varieties, dried), whole-wheat all-natural pasta, all-natural tomato paste, all-natural marinara sauce, organic low-fat coconut milk, raw honey, Multi-grain Cheerios.

FREEZER: Organic Edamame, all-natural frozen mixed berries, chopped all-natural walnuts and pecans, homemade chicken broth.

Grocery list: mozzarella (for pizza), dijon mustard and 4 oz. sharp white cheddar (for cauliflower sandwiches), graham crackers and 1 pint heavy cream (if I decide to make the key lime pie and lemon tart).

Menu Plan:

RECIPES: (click on titles for recipes)

Quinoa with Berries and Nuts

Baked Yams: rub with oil, sprinkle with sea salt, bake at 450F for 40 minutes. serve with 1 tsp. butter, 1/2 Tbsp. cane sugar, 1/2 c. chopped walnuts.

Creamy Parsnip with Ginger Soup

Bok Choy Salad (if I choose not to do the traditional salad with the soup)

Lettuce Wraps

Mango Salsa: chop and combine red bell pepper, red onion, mango, cilantro, lime peel, dried crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional: avocado, black bean, corn, pineapple)

Cheesy Cauliflower Sandwiches

Key Lime Pie

Stirfry

Strawberry Shortcake (avoid whipping cream and serve with milk)

Ginger Honey Tea: Peel and finely chop 1″ of fresh ginger root. Put in tea ball and steep in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp. honey. Enjoy! (or try Sunny’s Ginger Pear Tea)

Steel Cut Oats

Vegan Chili (use fresh tomatoes and tomato paste instead of diced tomatoes)

Lemon Tart (using Lemon Curd recipe) or Lemon Cake with Lime Curd and Pomegranate

Tomato Caper Pasta (turkey feta meatballs, optional)

Brown Rice Bar

Lemon-Lime Sugar Cookies

Other Options for this week’s basket:

Mashed Potato ‘n’ Parsnip

Crab Rangoon (uses bok choy)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Seared Ahi Tuna with Blood Orange Sauce

Fruit Leather (uses apples, pears, and lemon juice)

Strawberry Yogurt Soup

Ina’s Ultimate Ginger Cookies (add fresh ginger instead of crystallized if you like)

Milk and Honey Organics: I’m in Love!

Week 2 from Milk & Honey Organics was every bit as good as Week 1! You probably think it’s crazy, but I was so excited waiting for my basket today! Am I the only one that gets giddy over fresh, organic produce!?!

This week’s sweetness basket came with a pile of parsnips (look like white carrots), a head of lettuce, 2 tomatoes (from local Hurricane Creek farm), a pile of potatoes, baby bok choy (cabbage), mushrooms, strawberries, 3 pears, 3 oranges, 3 apples, a red pepper and a ginger root. And she even put the little Valentine stickers on them (see Valentine’s post here for the free download). The strawberries said “I love you…BERRY, BERRY much.” The pears said, “We make the perfect PEAR.” And the apples said, “You’re the APPLE of my eye.” All for just $35 (minus $5 for the survey discount). I’m in love!

This week, I decided to make a menu plan with what we got today (see list above) and what we had left from last week’s basket, along with a few of my own random items. Check out the next post for a Menu Plan for Two!

DIY Valentines – for the Frugal at Heart

These adorable Valentine Stickers are a free printable download from Twig & Thistle. What a great way to tell your spouse or kids you love them by sticking these in their lunch boxes!

Naturally Sweet Valentines from Twig & Thistle

This next DIY Valentine is every bit as sweet as the last, but probably not as good for you. Homemade Lollipops from Crafting a Green World blog.

Click image for recipe

Here’s a simple one from Martha Stewart: Valentine Sun Catchers made from recycled crayons.

Click the picture for instructions from Martha!

Or how about these ideas made from felt from Crafting a Green World:

Click for instructions.

Now here's some conversation hearts that last and won't rot your teeth!

These hand stitched felt envelopes are adorable!

Or from Going Home to Roost:

Valentine's iPod Case!

Valentine's Banner - Create your own message!

How about these adorable gifts:

Or how about these matchbox valentines filled with your favorite candy! What a great idea for kids to share with their classmates!

Here’s another favorite: Heart Garland from Going Home to Roost:

So cute! You could make this simple or elaborate and hang in the kitchen or on a mirror.

If nothing else, there’s always the handmade card or homemade coupon booklet (coupons for free dinner out, free babysitting, free back massage, or whatever your Valentine loves). Happy Valentine’s Day!

Change of Plans

Today was a slow day at work. I did, however, get much done, including a new layout for our quarterly newsletter (which the team seemed to really like)! I was really looking forward to tonight, though. Bryan and I had tickets to see the Philharmonic of Poland at BJU. I’ve been looking forward to this for over a week now. First, my family heritage is Polish. Second, I visited Poland in 2003 and was looking forward to some Polish culture again. Third, we were actually going to get dressed up for this concert (something we don’t do super often)!

Needless to say, we were unable to go. Bryan is getting over a nasty head cold and was afraid he’d cough through the whole thing. Fortunately, we are going to be able to use the tickets towards a future performance (hopefully Pride and Prejudice).

So, since my evening was suddenly free, we decided to watch last night’s episode of Castle while eating dinner: whole wheat pasta with marinara, sausage and pepperoni (no cheese). While dinner was cooking, I went ahead and cooked up some Warm & Nutty Quinoa with Mixed Berries, for the next 5 days of work! So fast, and it’ll help me get out the door a little earlier, with any luck.

Then we sipped on hot tea (Celestial Seasonings’ Peppermint for Bryan and Tension Tamer for me, both with honey). I’m not sure what Bryan was working on, but I took a few hours to reorganize my hard drive, delete a bunch of extraneous files, and run my software updates. It was a night well spent. After a little Bible reading, laundry folding, and dish washing, it’s time for bed. Good night, world!

Winning Veggie Combination and Lemon Kale Chips

This week in my produce basket from Milk & Honey Organics, I received kale, cauliflower, carrots, and scallions, along with several other things. I read through several of the recipes that the owner of the delivery service provides to her clients, and then came up with this. I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely do this again. The picture didn’t quite capture how beautiful this was. So many great colors and textures here!

First bring water to boil in a stockpot. Prepare 2 c. whole wheat rotini (or your favorite noodle or rice) according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the following in a large skillet (or wok) over medium to medium low heat:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. butter

Prepare your vegetables:

  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic (or up to 4 small garlic cloves), minced
  • 1/2 small head of cauliflower (about 2 cups), roughly chopped
  • 1 scallion (green onion), chopped
  • 6-8 leaves of kale, chopped into 1″ squares (discard stems)

Add the carrots and cauliflower to the hot skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes before adding garlic, onion, and kale. Allow kale to wilt (about 3-5 more minutes) before adding the following ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Rooster sauce (hot chili sauce)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Stir together and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, making sure to coat all of the ingredients and allowing time for the walnuts to release their nutty aroma.

Drain pasta and place in 2 bowl-plates. Divide vegetables and serve over pasta. I loved the combination of sweet carrots and toasted walnuts. Definitely a winning combination!

Serves 2.

I still had some extra kale left, so I went ahead and removed the stems and chopped it up. Then I followed this recipe for Lemon Kale Chips by Elana’s Pantry blog. I liked it much better than the last kale chip recipe I tried. It was the right amount of salt and they toasted up better than before. It may be partly due to the type of kale I used. Last time I used a curly, broad-leafed kale; this time I used the Lacinato (or Dino) Kale from my produce basket, which is narrower and flatter. Still not as good as potato chips, but way better for me and a great way to get in my greens.

Recipe: Cheesy Cauliflower

This is my favorite way to eat cauliflower! And if you have someone in your family that thinks they don’t like cauliflower, try this recipe on them and see if they still don’t like cauliflower. You can eat this as a side dish, on a piece of toast (cauliflower sandwiches), or as a sausage dog topper (Bryan’s idea, and he seemed to really like it). Here it is:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 shallots, finely sliced (optional)
  • 3 baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped (discard stem)
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2-1 c. shredded cheese (sharp cheddar is our favorite for this recipe)

Heat butter and oil in large saute pan over medium low heat. Saute garlic (and shallots and mushrooms, if desired) for 1-2 minutes. Add roughly chopped cauliflower florets. Cook until softened (about 5-7 minutes). Stir in dijon mustard (feel free to add salt and pepper or Lawry’s seasoned salt, if desired). Sprinkle with cheese and continue cooking till cheese is melted. Serve hot.

My Dinner: I added a salad for additional color

Bryan's Dinner: Cheesy Cauliflower Sausage Dogs

It’s Finally Here! Organic Produce Delivered to My Kitchen!


I was researching online a few weeks ago and came across this Organic Delivery Service in my area! I admit I was skeptical at first, but I did a little research and decided to take the plunge. I ordered my first basket and it arrived today! (Delivery service for the Greenville area is on Thursdays.)

Definitely fill out the survey on the side bar before you order. Once you fill out the survey, you get a coupon code for $5 off your first order! One of the surveys lets them know what fruits and vegetables you LOVE!!!, are okay with, or think are YUCK!! It’s so cool!

So, they have three packages: $35, $50 or $70. I ordered the $35 package because it said it should be good for 2 people for about a week, plus I used my code, so here’s what I got for $30:

A giant head of lettuce, a bunch of kale, cauliflower, broccoli, 4 large carrots, a bunch of green onions, 4 large shallots, 3 yams, 1 mango, 4 oranges, 3 apples, and 7-8 bananas. 100% Organic and Delivered!! I could get used to this!

The guy who dropped it off is the husband of the business owner. He actually brought it all into my kitchen and put it on my counter for me (so he could reuse his cooler). He also said his wife tries to email recipes that contain the more unusual produce items to the customers each week, in case you don’t know what to do with your groceries. This means my grocery trip will consist of buying my fruit-veggie juice blend (from trader Joe’s that we take our vitamins with each a.m.), organic milk (almond/soy milk for me), eggs, rice (or other grains), beans, and the occasional meat. I’ll be in and out in 15 minutes!

So, if you’re in the Greenville-Spartanburg area, check out Milk & Honey Organics! Place your order by Tuesday at noon if you want a delivery on Thursday.

Resource: Free Downloads and Much More at ChristianAudio.com

Check out ChristianAudio.com for all kinds of audio book downloads, podcasts, and other great resources. There’s actually quite a few FREE downloads. I just downloaded three audio books that I can’t wait to listen to on the way to and from work! Click on the logo above to be directed to their site. Set up a free account and pick some free resources! What’s stopping you?!

Here’s what I chose for now: