Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Special Dinner Surprise!

Yesterday I decided we needed a little pick me up, something different and special for dinner and I had a taste for shrimp.  When I went food shopping on Friday I had picked up a 2 lb bag of shrimp at Doschers for $11.99.  Now, those of you who know Charleston and The Low Country know that there is a strong shrimping industry here and like in other parts of the country and the world there is an emphasis on eatting local.  I would love to do that with shrimp but frankly, I just can't afford it so it's imported farmed shrimp for me.  I suspect the local ones taste better, goodness knows they are fresher but...until we get our shrimping license (which you can do here) and figure out how to cast the net, it will be imported for me.

So back to our dinner!  If you have never made crepes, they are amazingly simple and can be very impressive!  This recipe is from  I of course had to make a few changes to it cause thats the way I roll.  Since we are on lower fat diet we used skim milk in place of heavy cream and just to off set that, I added about 1/4 cup freshly grated parmasean cheese in place of the dill.  There was enough sauce to put some over the crepes before baking.  The recipe makes 6 crepes but the filling was only enough for 4. This was really a winner!

Shrimp Filled Crepes

3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 lb. shrimp
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. heavy cream (whipping cream)
1 Tbsp. dill, chopped fine
3/4 c. grated cheese
Whisk flour, water, and milk into a batter. Beat in eggs, salt, and melted butter. Let stand 30 minutes.

Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and heat it over medium-high heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter into skillet to make a thin, delicate pancake. It will cook quickly. Watch it - the moisture will cook out towards the middle. When the crepe top is dry, remove it from the pan.

Now do it again, until the batter is all cooked into crepes. Set aside.

Now for the filling.
Clean and peel the shrimp.
In a saucepan, heat butter and flour. Stir in water and cream with a whisk. Cook gently a few minutes. Add shrimps. Heat without boiling. Stir in dill.

Lay a crepe in a baking dish. Put a portion of the shrimp mixture in the crepe, roll it up. Repeat with the other crepes.

Sprinkle the crepes with grated cheese.

Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown.
Submitted by Gretchen Grant
Contributed on: Friday March 31st, 2006

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Label Reading Experience

Normally, when we go to the beach I pack the cooler full of goodies from home.  There are usually wraps, some salad, fruit, water and a cold bottle of white wine.  This past weekend none of those items inhabited the refrigerator here.  I guess if I had planned ahead I could have stopped at the store on my way home from work Friday but, I just didn't want to deal with people anymore.  So there we were, a full day planned at the beach and no provisions!  We decided to stop at one of the grocery stores along the way to the beach.  Now I have to say, this is one of my favorite chains to shop at.  The stores are clean, they have good deals and the staff at the store close to my home know me.  They know the kids and usually ask how they doing.

I figured we could pick up a couple of sandwiches, some fruit, a bottle of cheap Pinot Grigio and some kind of spread to go with the crackers we had packed.  Now, you need to know I love snack food especially dips and spreads!  The husband was tired of the spinach dip this store sells so I decided to get their seafood cheese spread instead.  It is delicious and one of my favorites.  We enjoyed it with our wine and our sandwiches at the beach.

Fast forward to last night.  We had a meeting to go to and planned to have supper when we got home.  I had taken some Talapia out of the freezer but was not really sure what to do with it...hmmm.  Into the fridge I went in search of a condiment and there it sat, the rest of the seafood spread waiting to be put on the Talapia and baked.  Now I have been buying this spread for probably about 10 years never had I looked at the ingredient list.  HOLY COW!!!!!!  The list is 3 and 1/2 inches wide by 2 inches long.  Doesn't really sound that bad until you know that the print is this big.   That is a lot of stuff, most of it not real!

I had read a blog last week about this group of folks who do not buy any processed food that contains over 5 ingredients.  You would be amazed what fell into the do not buy column.  There were things as basic as ketchup and mayonnaise.  The funny thing about this was here I had been thinking we didn't really use anything processed anymore...why did I not think of condiments as processed.

So where are you on the processed food debate?  Do you use it to simplify your life? We have made a conscious effort to not eat foods like that anymore which is why I started making pasta and our own bread.  I even read labels at the store (if I remember to bring my reading glasses).  I don't think I will ever give up the condiments though.

ps  The fish tasted awfully good!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ice Cream Excitement!

This is my grocery shopping week.  On the refridgerator there is a note pad that we jot down things I need to pick up on the next round.   They are either things about to run out or things that are completely gone.  Right now on the list are pancake syrup and Ivory Soap.  The syrup is gone, the soap is dangerously close.  This certainly makes the list writing easier but best of all it helps avoid a conspiracy.  You see when the girls were much younger we ran out of ketchup.  Now for a lot of people that would not be a problem but, the ketchup did not make the list and we didn't buy any that grocery shopping round.  Dinner came along and we were having something that ketchup would go with, alas there was no ketchup.  Drama insued, E was not happy and asked in a very serious voice "Is this a ketchup consipiracy?".  I don't think I will ever forget her asking that question and even today when we run out of something it pops in my mind.  I have tried to explain it to my husband (he was not even a blip on my radar at that time in my life) but I think it is one of those you have to be there moments!

So back to grocery shopping preperation!  Tomorrow morning I will take the ads that come in the paper and start strategizing.  I shop at usually 3 grocery stores and a wonderful small place called The Vegetable Bin.  We are blessed to live in a place that gives you many "fooding"options.  I know not all are as fortunate as we are and many have to drive a long distance to even get a gallon of milk. 

To be honest, I pretty much buy the same things week in and week out so that part of the list is easy.  Chicken, eggs and milk are always on the list and whom ever has the best deal on them gets my hard earned dollar.  Sometimes I will not buy something if it is more than I planned on paying for it,  unless it is a necessity. Where the list gets exciting is the deals the stores have. Many stores have the buy one get one free deals.  I refuse to shop at a store that makes me buy two of something, I just can't do it if it is something I don't need two of.  We have very limited storage space and do I really need two boxes of Ritz Crackers?   The planning gets exciting with the Harris Teeter ad, they offer buy two get three free deals.  At first I thought "what's the catch?", now I know there is none.  My first get 3 free special was bacon.  I think I paid $8 for 5 pounds of a snazzy brand name bacon.  Imagine the husbands surprise when he opened the freezer and found all that bacon.  He no longer asks why we have so much of something...he knows it was on some smoking deal!

I recently hired a wonderful young lady as a part time cashier who is a Customer Service Supervisor at my local Harris Teeter.  She is one of those people you interview and you think to yourself, what is she doing here and how quickly can I hire her?  So she now works for us a few days a week and is a joy to work with.  I saw her yesterday and she told me my all time favorite deal starts tomorrow, it is the buy 2 get 3 free HT Premium Ice Cream deal.  I know I said I have limited storage space but I can somehow make room in my overcrowded freezer for 5 containers of ice cream. We get enough of an assortment of flavors that the two of us are happy! You need to be careful here when you open the freezer door though as something could fall out and break your toe.  When Michael and I were first dating that almost happened to him when a frozen duck came careening out of the freezer and onto the floor next to his foot.  For some reason he has been very cautious since then.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thank You

I know it's late here and I posted already earlier today but, it is so exciting as someone just starting out to see folks actually reading this and the best part is they are not just here in the US.  I know the person in Guatemala is my eldest daughter whom I love dearly, I don't know who you are in Canada, German and joining  today The UK but Thank You!  How cool is it to write and have someone on the other side of this planet (or really north of you) read what you are writing about?

The Last In Focus Picture Taken By My Beloved Camera

I suspect after you see this picture you can imagine why I have so few pictures on this blog.  Shortly after I shot this Bear had a moment of excitement and knocked the camera out of my hands, it landed softly in the sand but apparently not soft enough.  There is nothing like the joy of a dog at the beach.  He stands here right now wagging his tail with those loving eyes asking me to play tug of war or pet him.  His tails goes a mile a minute.  Well that was short lived, he just had a major case of the zooms and he is now patrolling the back yard but I suspect he will be back in a few minutes.

Anyway, thanks for reading this blog.  Thanks to my 4 followers, one of which I suspect is the husband of a friend from many years and many miles ago.  I hope to keep you all entertained and eating well
Much fondness!
ps  Bear is still making sure our yard is safe from the racoons, rabbits, red foxes and goodness knows what else lives in the marsh behind our house.

A Pleasant Chicken Surprise

My husband and I rarely have a weekend day off together so when we discovered earlier this past week  that we had yesterday free we planned to go to the beach.  Michael had introduced me to this wonderful spot on Sullivan's Island down near Fort Moultrie.  There is plenty of parking and rarely is it crowded.  You get the best of the beach, some of the ocean waves but a wonderful view of the harbor and downtown Charleston.

We had a wonderful day!  The breeze off the ocean kept us comfortable and we frolicked in the water.  Dolphins frequent the area and I hope one day to swim with them or at least get close enough to touch one.
We met some great folks, had some laughs and just relaxed.

Home we came later in the afternoon with not a clue as to what was going to be for supper.  Into the freezer I went and what came out but.....more chicken.  Now, you know we eat a lot of chicken and frankly it is starting to tire us out.  We have been cooking it pretty much the same way for the last few weeks and as much as I love taking spices and putting them on the chicken, it's getting dull.  Our initial thought was perhaps some Chicken Cacciatore but I was going to have to make pasta to go along with it and I just didn't feel like it.  So while the husband took a nap onto the Internet I went.  What an amazing tool!  You can type in a few ingredients and viola you have recipes.  So there I was...some sweet potatoes and the dreaded chicken.  This recipe comes from and is definitely a winner! In place of chicken breasts, I used thigh meat that i cut off the bone,the magic spice cabinet did not contain any coriander and, neither of us really cares for chick peas so we left them out.  Don't be put off by the length of the ingredient list.  One note is that really need to plan your time for this one though, I think my total cooking time was about 2 and a half hours but much of that is just simmering.  We had it over brown rice and you really can't tell it is chicken since there are so many wonderful spices in it.

Sweet Potato Chicken Curry
  • YIELD: 7 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)
  • COURSE: Main Dishes


  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Combine curry powder, coriander, turmeric, salt, black pepper, red pepper, and bay leaf in a small bowl

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium-high; return chicken to pan. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add curry powder mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Stir in potato and chickpeas. Cook, uncovered, 30 minutes. Add peas; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice. Discard bay leaf.

We have plenty of curry left over for supper this evening and I suspect this would freeze well.  Also, this would be wonderful on a chilly winter evening over some egg noodles!


Friday, July 22, 2011

The Spice Of Life

I love spices and herbs, with them I can take something bland and turn it into something extraordinary!  My daughter calls me a spice ho, I have quite a collection and continue to add to it.  I buy most of my spices at World Market (I get a lucrative employee discount) where the pricing is fantastic!  I need to keep myself in check though, if you don't use a lot of something it doesn't make sense to buy the largest package possible no matter how good a deal it is.  I am the proud owner of a large bag of curry powder because of this weakness.

 We are fortunate to live where it is warm enough year round to keep some herbs in the garden.  What started as a very small rosemary plant 5 years ago is now definitely of bush stature and keeping it company out there is garlic chive (also a year round resident) and a pretty sad looking basil plant.  To me there is nothing better than strolling out to the garden and picking veggies and herbs to cook with.  Gardening is not my forte though so I must depend on my favorite vegetable store (The Vegetable Bin)  downtown Charleston for my fresh veggies or hit up my friends who are avid gardeners.

I write this this afternoon as I look at the chicken legs and thighs that came out of the freezer for dinner tonight hoping for Divine inspiration to assist in turning them into something stunning for this evening!  It's time to hit the spice cabinet and see what hides in the corners and motivates me to whip up something spectacular!

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's Pasta Night!

Pasta Drying

First I would like to thank my eldest daughter for moving out of the country.  When she left on her backpacking adventure through South America she left me some exciting kitchen gadgets.  They are her pasta maker and her emersion blender.  Dinner tonight would not have been quite as tasty with out the assistance of those two items.  Second, I would like to thank my wonderful husband who sat and separated each strand of pasta assuring that we did not wind up with glob o pasta (been there, done that).

So we needed an escape from chicken, I think we might both be starting to grow feathers we have been eating so much of it.  I had toyed with pasta a few times earlier this year and had used a tasty white flour recipe.  We are trying to watch our carbs as the husband is working on his weight so I went on the search for a whole wheat pasta recipe.  I stumbled upon a good one on  I did need to make a few adjustments due to the weather and lack of humidity.  If you have never made pasta from scratch I can tell you it is amazingly simple and doesn't take much time.  If you do not have a pasta machine like I do just use your rolling pin to flatten the dough and a pizza cutter to cut it.  I actually did that the first few times and tonight was the first time I used the cutter attachment.

Whole Wheat Pasta
serves 4

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2  tsp sea salt (I used kosher salt)
4 eggs
2 tsp olive oil

Stir the flours and salt in a medium bowl.  Make a hollow in the center and pour in the olive oil.  Break the eggs in one at a time while mixing quickly with a fork until the dough is wet enough to come together ( this didn't work, I mixed for a bit with the fork and then just jumped in with my hands, mushing the dough until it came into a ball.  I also added a tablespoon or so of warm water. If you need to add the water to get a dough consistency, do it a very small amount at a time).  Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is stiff and elastic (no longer crumbly, probably about 5 minutes or so).  Cover and let stand for about 30 minutes

Roll out the dough by hand with a rolling pin or use a pasta machine to achieve the desired thickness.  Cut into desired width.  Allow the pasta to air dry for at least 15 minutes to avoid having it clump together.

Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil, add pasta and allow to cook approx 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Drain and serve with the sauce of your choice

So with this I made my first ever Alfredo Sauce.  It was not as difficult as I thought and really had a minimal number of ingredients.  It was this recipe that caused me to say thanks for the immersion blender as the cheese turned into one giant glob in the middle of the sauce. 

Alfredo Sauce with Sauteed Mushrooms and Green Peppers
serves 4

4 Tbs Butter
1 Cup Skim Milk
1 tsp Corn Starch
1-1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 large pepper chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 Tbs olive oil

Put olive in saute pan over medium heat.  When warm add green peppers, stirring occasionally, when starting to brown slightly add mushrooms.  Reduce heat to medium low and allow to continue to cook still stirring occasionally.  Place butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat, add milk and corn starch.  Stir until butter is melted.  Slowly whisk in cheese (this is where the blender came in handy) Once the cheese is melted add garlic and sauteed veggies.  Serve over hot pasta.

If you have never experienced home made pasta, you will be amazed at the difference between it and the store bought dried pasta.  It is lighter and you don't leave the table feeling all weighed down. 

Cooking With Love

It's Monday and if you have a normal job you are just starting your work week.  I however, work retail where the normal weekend does not exist.  My Friday this week is everyone elses Wednesday.  I did not realize when I was thinking about writing this blog how difficult it would be to post around my work schedule and general exhaustion when I came home in the evening (what ever time that may be).

Yesterday, I worked 9 -5 which is the typical work day (there is even a song about it).  I was driving home thinking about what supper I would conjure up for the two of us and frankly I was pretty un-motivated.  All that disappeared when I walked in the door to find my husband with a kitchen towel over his shoulder, the table set and pots and pans bubbling away on the stove. 

Now, my husband enjoys cooking and does a dern good job at it too!  I fear I have taken control of the kitchen forcing him to take the clean up roll (the rule here is if you cook the other does the dishes).  When we moved in together, he more than doubled my cookbook collection and had his own binders full of recipes he had garnered from magazines and online.  There are some amazing things in there, most of which we have not attempted yet and he continues to add to the assortment.

So this is a salute to my husband and all other spouses, significant others and roommates who do that special thing for their loved one and have supper cooking away when they arrive home.  It was a treat to not have to think and cook but most important, this delicious meal was cooked with love and nothing tastes better than love!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight!

Chicken is my go to, inexpensive, healthy main protein.  Right now I have chicken thighs cooking in the oven.  We eat a lot of chicken because its cheap and good for us. Sounds kinda boring but it really isn't.  I know the white meat is lower in fat which will help my husband continue to lower his cholesterol but, the leg thigh combo can be picked up here for around 49 cents a pound.  While I was perusing the store ads this morning I saw that Harris Teeter has them for only 47 cents a pound.  When I do my shopping later this week I will pick up a few packs, repackage them with two legs and thighs in each pack and throw them in the freezer.  Sometimes when I feel overly ambitious, I separate the legs and thighs and freeze them separately.  We will see how I feel later this week!

So, back to tonight's dinner (which is already in the oven as I am the closing manager tonight).

Chicken Thighs with Roasted Vegetables 

4 Chicken Thighs washed and dried
6 Carrots peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
1 lg Onion sliced
1 Garlic clove minced
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 tsp kosher salt divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Herbs de Provence

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Place the carrots, onions and garlic in an oven safe baking dish, add olive oil and 1 tsp salt, mix well and move to the sides of the baking dish.  Place chicken in the middle sprinkle with the pepper, Herbs de Provence and remaining salt.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes - 1 hour or until the carrots are cooked through.

That's all there is to it.  I can do what I need to do while dinner for the two of us cooks away in the oven.  We will have left over mashed potatoes and a frozen vegetable with it (I leave the choice of veggie up to my husband when I am working since he will be dining solo).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Need To Knead

               Look into my are feeling sleepy...the dog needs a snack..give the dog some bread

For those of you visiting here from J's blog, you know this face!  For those of you who are not from, this is Bear our 4 year old rescued Golden.  Bear is obsessed with bread which is why his picture is on the blog today!  It doesn't matter if its in the very early stages of being made, raising or just sitting on the counter, I must be making it just for him.  We first noticed his interest in bread the second day he was with us when he jumped up and casually borrowed a slice of bread out of the toaster.  At first we thought it was just a dare to see if he could counter surf and get away with it.  Later, we discovered it was much more than that when he sneakily stole an entire loaf of freshly baked oatmeal bread off the back corner of the counter and proceeded to attempt to covertly consume the entire thing before even we had a slice from it.  He has a broad range of taste in bread and enjoys everything from grocery store white to oatmeal molasses raisin.  Just last week I found him in the kitchen sitting, staring at the top of the refrigerator where the  kaiser rolls had been carefully placed for safekeeping.

I sit here this morning attempting to resist the urge to bake bread but the kitchen and the siren calls of kneading and then later the wonderful aroma that fills the house keep tempting me.  I first tried baking my own bread last year.  Trust me it wasn't for health reasons, it was a challenge for me.  I was afraid to do it and I needed to get over it.  I started with a white bread recipe I had found on, it was an interesting try and turned out well.  For me the fear was having the bread dough stuck to the counter.  This was what had happened on my pie crust attempt (something I have yet to retry).  I had pie crust firmly attached to the counter and the rolling pin. It was a mess and scarred me.  I was terrified of making anything gooey that I had to either roll or knead.    I moved on from there to a wheat bread, then an oatmeal bread, a oatmeal molasses raisin bread and finally last weeks kaiser rolls.  I am still and always will be an amateur bread maker but, I am willing to try just about any recipe.

What about you?  Do you have a fear of bread or do you knead away happily?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Simple Joy Of Quinoa

 Quinoa Salad Italiano

A friend introduced me to quinoa last year.  She happens to be a fantastic cook and every meal we share with her is a healthy adventure.  It was from this dear friend that I discovered that just because it is good for you doesn't mean it has to be boring or tasteless.  Anyway, we were over for supper one night and she was making this quinoa salad.  I thought that it was couscous...kinda resembled it, certainly didn't taste like it, I was sold.  Off I went on the search for quinoa at the grocery stores.  I was shocked by the price, it certainly didn't fit into my idea of inexpensive and no matter how good it tastes I couldn't bring myself to spend 5.99 for a small box.  I found it in bulk at Earth Fare but it was out of stock and I needed immediate gratification.  Then I remembered her mentioning that she had bought it at Costco so off I went where it was $10 for a 4 lbs.  Emotionally that is a lot money for me to spend, I have trouble parting with cash.  I am glad I did, 4lbs of quinoa is quite a bit and it lasts a long time.  Just like rice, its 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa producing 2 cups of cooked quinoa.  If I don't use the entire amount, I put it in a zip lock bag and stick it in the freezer.  It is about 5 minutes in the microwave to defrost and heat up.  I do the same thing with brown rice which is really a time saver for me.
Last night I was trying to come up with something different to have with chicken.  I often like to make the side dishes the more exciting part of the meal.  We had this salad with summer squash and chicken breasts which we grilled. 
Quinoa Salad Italiano
2 cups cooked quinoa cooled
1 tomato chopped
2 green onions chopped (included green)
1/4 large red onion chopped
1/4 fresh basil chopped

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic minced

Place all salad ingredients in mixing blow and toss. In a separate bowl place the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk until it looks like salad dressing!  Pour the  half the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients, mix well, taste and add additional vinaigrette to your liking.  Salt and pepper to taste.  This can either be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled.
A brief cooking note about types of quinoa
Some quinoa must be soaked prior to use (such as the bulk quinoa available at health food stores).  If you do not follow this step, your quinoa will taste soapy.  Please read the quinoa package prior to purchase to see if this is a necessary step.  The quinoa I purchase doesn't require soaking and to the best of my knowledge the nutrional value is the same.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's Hot Out And I'm Making Soup?

I love soup, I can't help it.  Given a choice of soup or sandwich, it's soup every time.  When I was pregnant with my eldest daughter I had wonton soup and an eggroll for lunch just about every day (with lots of that wonderful hot mustard).  That's one of the reasons I found myself making a pot of Navy Bean Soup the other day even though it is in the 90's here.  There is something special about this particular soup, I think it is the creaminess after you have simmered it for many hours.  Or perhaps its the little pieces of ham floating around in it.  I know its one of my husbands favorites (he says its slammin) and it makes a filling lunch.  If you have never made a bean soup from scratch before don't worry, it is far easier than it sounds.  I never plan far enough ahead to do the overnight bean soak so instead I opt to do the quick soak.  All that entails is rinsing the beans, checking to make sure there is nothing that doesn't belong (like pebbles) placing in a large pot with 6 - 8 cups of water, place on high heat until it comes to a wild boil, shutting off the stove, cover and then let it sit for about 1 and a half hours.  Viola!  Beans are soaked!  Pour off this liquid before starting the recipe.

Navy Bean Soup
1lb Navy Beans (or any other white bean)
6 cups water
1/ 2 large onion roughly chopped
1 large carrot roughly chopped
2 stalks celery roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 ham bone or numerous smaller ham bone pieces (I find mine at the IGA grocery store)
1 cup chicken stock

Put it all in a large pot, bring to a boil (I like to start with a high heat) reduce to medium and let simmer uncovered for about half an hour then to medium low for a couple of hours.  Stir occasionally and continue to cook until liguid appears creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Don't forget to remove the bay leaf, it does not taste good.

I bet you are wondering what I did with all that soup.  Well, the choices are eat it until it comes out our ears or freeze it.  You never know what will show up in the freezer here and right now along with our food staples there are small bags of soup ready to be picked up and put in the lunch bag when the feeling moves us.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Part 2 Of Today's Post

In case you cannot tell, I am new to this.  Thank goodness for J who gives me great advice over the phone! 
Now, back to hard rolls!  The link to the recipe I found is

I made these on Tuesday after my internet went down.  They take a bit of time but are so worth it.  We shared one at supper that same night while they were warm and fresh from the oven, butter melting into the bread.  It was heaven.  Yesterday morning my hubby made me the lusted after bacon and egg on a hard roll.  Now I know bacon is neither healthy nor necessarily inexpensive.  I am fortunate enough to live near an IGA which is an independently owned grocery store.  The one I shop at is Doschers and we normally pick up butchers cut bacon that runs about 2.49 a pound.  It is so much less expensive than the regular grocery store and has less stuff in it than the major brands. 

So now I have alot of rolls for the two of us to eat (they are actually heading towards the freezer) and 3 pounds of shortening to use somehow.  We don't fry so this should be interesting...
I am a New Yorker born and bred who now lives in Charleston.  I truly love living down here.  The pace is not  hectic, we live near the water and best of all we don't have real winter.  I do however often long for the food of my home.  Real pizza, hot dogs with onions from the carts, knishes and NY deli style potato salad.  None of these are healthy but I still long for them.  This past weekend my husband and I were thinking about those great bacon and egg on hard roll sandwiches you can get at home.  We can do the bacon and eggs.  It's the rolls that are missing.  No where I have lived other than in the north east can you get those soft on the inside crispy on the outside kaiser rolls.  I went on a search and found the perfect recipe for an amateur baker like myself.  If you don't bake, don't be afraid!  I was in the same boat last year and decided to just get over it.  I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to and so can you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Humble Beginnings

My frugal food adventure started from necessity.  I enjoy cooking, my husband enjoys eating and there is not a great deal of extra cash.  I was attempting to feed both of us healthier inexpensive meals without the boredom of eatting the same foods day in and day out.  How much chicken can you eat?  I needed a way to use less expensive healthy foods and have them taste different.  To exite our taste buds and to experience new and different cuisines without breaking the bank.  And so the journey started.

I must admit I was inspired by my daughter who blogged last year at .  Granted, she is mostly a vegan and we do like our meat and fish but, if she could live such a simple food life what could I learn from her?

So here I am wanted to share my adventure with you and asking you to share with me.