Thursday, April 14, 2011

Really getting creative here...

So last fall, I picked up this box of instant hot apple cider mix packets.

Let's just say they didn't go over swimmingly in my house.

So they're still here.

I wanted to make sugar cookies for my sugary-sweet children. Then, I spied the apple cider packets in the pantry.

And I thought, "I wonder what that would be like."

So I made cookies. With apple cider mix in them.

I wonder if anyone will bravely try this "recipe" of mine...

Ahem...Apple Cider Cookies

What You Need:
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 individual packets of apple cider mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cinnamon and sugar for rolling the cookies
How it's Done:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat butter and sugar and cider mix. Add egg and vanilla. Then, add baking powder and flour.
  3.  Roll into balls slightly smaller than ping pong balls. Roll in sugar.
  4. Bake ten minutes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Use It or Lose It Day 5

No recipe to share today, but I wanted to update anyway to show what we used today.

Breakfast: cottage cheese, egg, and whole wheat toast with butter

Lunch: refried beans (from last night's pinto beans) with Flat Out wrap and Queso Fresco; cucumber slices

Dinner: turkey burger on whole wheat bread (no buns!); oven-baked potato wedges; brussels sprouts

Snack: fruit cocktail

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pinto Beans in Smoky Tomato Sauce (Use it/Lose it day 4)

Breakfast: Cheese Grits and milk

Lunch: Fried Rice (using the one portion of Steak Em I have left, along with the veggies in my house right now)

Dinner: Pinto Beans in Smoky Tomato Sauce (recipe follows) with rice and green beans

Snack: Applesauce with cinnamon sprinkled on top

Pinto Beans in Smoky Tomato Sauce
(Whole sauce recipe is 3 Points Plus value)

What You Need:
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp chipotle powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooked pinto beans (1 cup per person should do)
How it's Done:
  1. Sautee the onion in the olive oil until soft (about five minutes). Add the garlic, cooking and stirring another 30 seconds. Stir in the seasonings.
  2. Serve with pinto beans & rice. Queso fresco is excellent on top.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Onion Dip with Greek Yogurt (Use it/Lose it day 3)

So far, so good! We've got plenty of food and haven't had to get too creative. Here's what was on the menu for day three:

Breakfast: Blueberry Buttermilk Bread; vanilla yogurt with blueberries; milk

Lunch: Boiled Water; apple wedges with peanut butter

Dinner: Beef Stir Fry over Rice (used the flank steak from the freezer, the Meyer lemons (called them "oranges") in my produce bin, the Green Giant teriyaki vegetables from the freezer, some fresh broccoli, onions, soy sauce, ginger, and cornstarch to make this)

Snack: Onion Dip with cucumber slices and raw broccoli (recipe follows)

Onion Dip - 1 Points Plus value per serving
Serves 12

What You Need:
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 cups plain low-fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
How it's Done:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill overnight (or all day).
  2. Serve with veggie sticks, crackers, bread cubes...whatever!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blueberry Buttermilk Bread (Use it/Lose it day 2)

Breakfast: "fried" egg, cottage cheese patties, milk, and toast with butter

Lunch: Blueberry Buttermilk Bread (recipe follows), cheddar cheese cubes, and kiwi

Dinner: cheese ravioli in a light Parmesan white sauce, green beans

Snack: apple wedges

This bread is hearty, with a nice biting texture to it. It's not as soft as many blueberry breads, making it ideal for a nontraditional lunch feature...or perfect for brunch. The oats and oat flour add to the texture, and the buttermilk gives it a delicious flavor. Also, most quick bread recipe serving sizes are dismally small. Not this one. I calculated the Points Plus value based on eight servings...a wonderful slice size for this loaf.

Blueberry Buttermilk Bread - 4 Points Plus value
Serves 8

What You Need:
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (or fresh...I had frozen on hand) tossed with 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, plus 1/4 cup oat flour (process oats into a flour and then measure it)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (you can use 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar in a cup of milk, if you prefer)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
How it's Done:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8x4" loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, oat flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir only until combined.
  4. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  5. Pour into the loaf pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until pick inserted near center comes out mostly clean (a few crumbs or blueberry can be expected)
  6. Cool completely. If you can help yourself, don't eat the loaf until the next day. Quick breads are always better on day two, after they've had a chance to age.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Use it/Lose it Day One

Okay folks. Here we go. The "Use it or Lose it" personal challenge has begun. Here are the results from day one...

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with granola and bananas

Lunch: pita bread toasted in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, sliced cucumbers and bell peppers, with Greek yogurt-onion dip (recipe coming soon).

Dinner: Spanish Black Beans and Rice (recipe follows) with sour cream and cheddar cheese; steamed broccoli

Snack: apple wedges with natural peanut butter

Spanish Black Beans and Rice - 8 Points Plus value (does not include sour cream or cheese)
Serves 6

What You Need:
  • 1 cup dried black beans (sorted and rinsed and soaked overnight)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper (I chose red), diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
How it's Done:
  1. Cook the beans until almost tender. Puree half of them and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the onion and pepper in olive oil until tender (about five minutes). Add the garlic and cook and stir another minute or so.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Stir in the tomato, beans, and rice. Tranfer the mixture to a 2 quart baking dish and put it in the oven. Pour water over the mixture until it's completely covered with water.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for an hour to an hour and a half, until rice is cooked through. Add more water as needed.
  6. Let cool a few minutes before sprinkling with cilantro or chives or parsley, slicing into squares, and serving.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Use It or Lose It

Normally, I don't play the "pantry challenge" game, where a home cook works diligently to use up what's on hand instead of going shopping. I appreciate the sentiment, but what do you gain? You end up with an empty pantry and have to spend more all at once than usual to replenish it.

No, I prefer to shop regularly and keep a well-stocked pantry.


But I find myself in the position of needing to use up what's on hand, because we're moving to Germany in about ten weeks.

It's use it or lose it time. Well, no. That's not quite accurate. It's use it or donate it time.

I'm going to spend the next ten weeks making meals out of what's on hand (and buying fresh foods as needed, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, and bread). I'll update as frequently as I can and share my menu with you.

Whatever's left right before we leave Georgia will be donated to a local food bank.

Here's what I'm starting with:


Baking Goods:
  • 12 pounds flour (some all-purpose and some whole wheat)
  • 3 pounds granulated sugar
  • 1 pound confectioner's sugar
  • 1 pound light brown sugar
  • roughly 500 packets of Splenda
  • 20 packets of Truvia
  • 1 1/2 cups egg replacer
  • a small box of baking soda
  • brand-new can of baking powder
  • 3 pounds masa harina
  • 2 pounds corn meal
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 12 oz unsweetened shredded coconut
  • box of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 pounds all-vegetable shortening
  • can of cooking spray
  • about 1 1/2 liters extra virgin olive oil
beans & rice
  • 2 1/2 pounds dried black beans
  • 2 pounds dried great northern beans
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 1 pounds dried lentils
  • 5 4 pounds white sushi rice
  • 2 1/2 pounds organic harvest medley rice
Breakfast stuff:

  • most of a box of Fiber One Raisin Bran Clusters
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 pound of grits
  • 1 pound of old-fashioned oats
  • 6 oz cherry vanilla granola
  • 4 ox chocolate delight granola
  • enough Fiber One pancake mix to make about 8 pancakes
Beverage stuff:

  • 4 3 packets of Crystal Light
  • a box of iced tea bags
  • an unopened box of apple cider mix
  • enough mocha mix for four to six cups of mocha
Canned / Boxed goods:

  • 2 large cans diced tomatoes
  • a large can of fruit cocktail
  • small can cranberry sauce
  • 1 box Betty crocker instant potatoes
  • 2 boxes instant pudding mix
  • popping corn
  • popping corn oil

  • 4 servings easy mac (I know, I know)
  • 1/3 pounds mini rotelle wheels
  • 1 pound mini farfalle
  • 1 pound whole wheat rotini
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
Plus various spices and seasonings.


  • 12 oz frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 pound fordhook lima beans
  • 32 oz All Whites
  • frozen minced parsley and chives
  • coffee beans
  • box of Green Giant teriyaki vegetables
  • 1 serving of peas and corn in herb butter sauce
  • cheese ravioli
  • pork roast
  • box of turkey burgers
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 pound corn
  • large chicken
  • flank steak
  • family pack chicken drumsticks
  • 1 or 2 servings of Steak Ems
  • some marrow bones for the dogs
  • 5 lb black eyed peas
  • 5 4 pounds green beans
Because the stock is constantly changing, I won't list the contents of my fridge. It has lots of fresh fruits, veggies, butter, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, and condiments, and always will (well...the very last week we'll be lacking, I'm sure).

Another benefit of doing this? The potential government shutdown will impact my husband's Army pay. If we go into shut down mode, we get no pay. Fun times. (phew)

So here goes. I've got a recipe for Spanish black beans and rice to share with you tomorrow...and some blueberry bread this weekend!

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