Monday, April 30, 2012

Meatless Monday - Huevos Rancheros

Sorry for the interruption in programming folks, my little family and I just got through a move! For the last two weeks, we've been looking for a place, packing, moving and unpacking. We're finally in our new (much bigger!!) house, and are settling in nicely. We're all unpacked, except a few boxes in our daughter's room, and we even got a few things up on the walls last night. I've got a lot of new things I'm excited to share with you thanks to the move and this new house! I learned a couple of new cleaning tips, and I'll be sharing some DIY and crafty things too as we continue to get settled and make our home more cozy. In the meantime, I wanted to take this week, and share some Cinco de Mayo inspired recipes. Starting today!

This recipe has quickly become one of my favorite meals. You can literally eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and I quite honestly LOVE those types of recipes. I came across this recipe about six months ago. Seth and I were hungry on the way home from church on a Wednesday night, and I'd already been looking at recipes for Huevos Rancheros that day. It just so happened that I had made a batch of Crock Pot Re-fried Beans that day, and I had everything on hand to make these delicious morsels.

If you've never had Huevos Rancheros, my version is: a crispy corn tortilla slathered in refried beans, then topped with melted cheese, a fried egg and salsa. I wasn't too sure what I'd think about re-fried beans and an egg, but I tell you it's nothing short of spectacular. For those of you who like runny yolks (I do not), I would imagine that this would be great with an over easy/medium egg.

I've made this dozens of times since that Wednesday night, and I've simplified the process since then. These are not expensive to make, and are protein packed with an egg, some cheese and re-fried beans. We usually eat two a piece, although I could probably eat three... They're just so good!! 

Huevos Rancheros
Serves 4

Ingredients:
8 corn tortillas
8 eggs
1-2 cups shredded cheese, I like extra sharp cheddar or white cheddar, pepper jack would be good too
Salsa, I love Emerald Valley Organic Salsa
Spray oil or olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spray or brush oil onto both sides of the tortillas and lay them out on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes until crispy enough for your liking. I like mine still somewhat pliable. While tortillas are baking, heat up your beans.

Cook your eggs to desired done-ness. I like mine fried and not runny, but you might like yours runny. So that's up to you!

When tortillas are cooked and eggs are done, you'll slather about 1/4 cup of re-fried beans on top, sprinkle with cheese, top with salsa and finish with an egg. Now, go and enjoy!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Meal Plan 04/11-04/17, Featuring Organic/Natural Deals



Welcome back to the Weekly Meal Plan! I hope you've been enjoying these each week, and that they've been helpful for you. Have you tried any of the recipes? I'd love to hear about it. This week, a few stores were lacking in their sale items, but QFC definitely made up for that! If you want to plan ahead a little, the Pork Chop and Pineapple Packets are freezable, so you could make those ahead of time and pop them in the freezer for a later date.

If you're new to the Meal Plan, this is how it works:
Each week I'll give you seven days of meals that will feed 4-6 people (depending on the recipe), and which stores have the main ingredients on sale. I'll suggest a side dish as well. Some of the recipes I've tried, and some I have not. Some weeks I'll be trying recipes with you and we can talk about what we think of the recipes on the blog's facebook page! Whoo! I hope you're as excited as I am! If you have any questions about the meal plans or any requests, please leave a comment and let me know.


Not sure what stores you have in your area? Here are some links to find the stores that are near you:

QFC locations

TOP Foods locations
Albertsons locations
Safeway locations

And now for this week's meal plan:


1. Paula Deen's Pork Chop and Pineapple Packets & Frozen Veggies
Safeway = O Organics Frozen Vegetables, 16oz SV, BOGO Free
QFC = Farmland All Natural Pork Loin Chops, Rib Chops, Bone-in or Boneless Sirloin Chops, BOGO Free

2. Gwenyth Paltrow's Quick Roast Lemon Chicken and Potatoes & Frozen Veggies
QFC = Ranger Free Range Whole Chickens, $1.59lb
Safeway = Foster Farms Fresh Whole Fryer, BOGO Free
Safeway = O Organics Frozen Vegetables, 16oz SV, BOGO Free

3. Pioneer Woman's Shrimp Pasta in a Foil Packet & Salad
QFC = Wild American Shrimp, Raw, $8.99lb
QFC = Organic Salad Blends, SV, 2/$5
QFC = Organic Red, Green or Romaine Leaf Lettuce, 2/$3


4. Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mustard, Rosemary and Apple Marinade  & Asparagus
QFC = Farmland Boneless Pork Tenderloin, $4.99lb
QFC = Organic Asparagus, $3.99lb

5. Sole with Lemon Cream Sauce and Baby Red Pan fried potatoes & Salad
QFC = Dover Sole Fillets, $5.99lb
QFC = Organic Salad Blends, SV, 2/$5
QFC = Organic Red, Green or Romaine Leaf Lettuce, 2/$3

6. Clinton Kelly's General Tso's Chicken  & Rice
QFC = Draper Valley Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, BOGO Free
Albertsons =  Draper Valley Farms Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, $4.99lb


7. Buffalo Drumsticks & Smokey Baked Beans
TOP = Draper Valley Farms Fresh Fryer Drumsticks, $.88lb

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Weekly Deals 04/11 to 04/17


Welcome back to Weekly Deals. My goal here is to share natural/organic deals around the Seattle area, as well as any deals online. As always, not everything on the Weekly Deals list will be organic, but if it's not organic, it'll will: have little to no preservatives, be on the Clean 15 list (or close to it), if it's dairy it will not be treated with rbST growth hormones, if it's meat it will not be treated with antibiotics or hormones and vegetarian fed. If it's fish, it will be wild caught. If something is organic, it will be labeled as such. If I come up with anything else, I'll let you know :)

Be on the lookout tomorrow for a Meal Plan that will utilize the fantastic deals!! You can check out last week's meal plan here.

So here's this week's Weekly Deals!

****Fish/Seafood will no longer be labled as "Wild Caught", so just know that if I've listed it, it IS wild caught. I'm just getting tired of typing it :)
****SV = select varieties


TOP Food & Drug - Prices good 04/11-04/17

Draper Valley Farms Fresh Fryer Drumsticks, $.88lb
Texas Sweet Onions, $.45 lb
Mangoes $.59 each
**There's a coupon in the ad for $5 off your $25 purchase as well!


QFC -  Prices good 04/11-04/17

Draper Valley Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, BOGO Free
Farmland All Natural Pork Loin Chops, Rib Chops, Bone-in or Boneless Sirloin Chops, BOGO Free
Farmland Country Style Ribs, $1.99lb
Farmland Boneless Pork Tenderloin, $4.99lb
Ranger Free Range Whole Chickens, $1.59lb
Wild American Shrimp, Raw, $8.99lb
Dover Sole Fillets, $5.99lb
Alaska Whole Sockeye Salmon, $3.99lb
Tillamook Cheese, SV, 2/$4
Organic Salad Blends, SV, 2/$5
Organic Kiwi, 3/$1
Organic Strawberries, 1lb, $2.99 each
Organic Asparagus, $3.99lb
Organic Mini Peeled Carrots, 10/$10
Organic Navel Oranges, 10/$10
Organic Large Haas Avocados, 2/$3
Organic Red, Green or Romaine Leaf Lettuce, 2/$3
Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar, 7oz, $2.99 each
Organic Valley Milk, 32oz SV, $2.99
Vita Coco Coconut Water, SV 17oz, 2/$5
Mom's Best Naturals Cereal, SV, 2/$4
Seventh Generation Detergent, Soap or Paper Products, SV, 30% off
Santa Cruz Organic Juice, 32oz SV, BOGO Free
Simple Truth Organic Soymilk, half gallon SV, 2/$5


Albertson's -  Prices good 04/11-04/17

Jumbo Snow Crab Clusters, $9.99lb
Alaska Cod Fillets, $4.99lb
Fresh Halibut Portions, 5oz, $9.99 each
Draper Valley Farms Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, $4.99lb
Fresh Cantaloupe, $.99lb
Fresh Yellow Onions, 3lb bag, $1.49
Ripe Haas Avocados, $.99 each
Star Vinegar, 12oz SV, 2/$4
Fresh Mangoes, 10/$10


Safeway -  Prices good 04/11-04/17     

Foster Farms Fresh Whole Fryer, BOGO Free
Wild Alaskan Cod Fillets, $5.99 lb
Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, $9.99lb
O Organics Frozen Vegetables, 16oz SV, BOGO Free
Tropical Mangoes, 10/$10
Red Grapefruit, 10/$10
Odwalla Snack Bars, 10/$10
Lucerne Cream Cheese, 8oz SV, 2/$3
Vogue Organix Hair Care, SV, BOGO Free

Safeway is also having a $5 Friday Sale on 04/13

Lucerne Shredded or Chunk Cheese, 32oz SV, $5 each
Case Mangoes, 12 ct, $5 each


Hope you enjoy these deals, and are able to utilize them! ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Homemade Yogurt, No Fancy Equipment Needed

**UPDATE 08/01/12: The first time I tried this, it worked perfectly. I've tried it again 2 or 3 times since then with epic failures. My yogurt was still runny :( I don't know what went wrong, but I'm on the search for a new yogurt recipe. I'll keep you posted as to when I find it.

**UPDATE 09/10/12: I've found a better yogurt method, you can find it here.

I've been wanting to make yogurt for months now. With my recent experimentation with ricotta and mascarpone, I was feeling confident in giving yogurt a try! One of my favorite blogs, Passionate Homemaking, has a recipe for yogurt that was simple, and foolproof! One of the contributing writers, Trina Holden, shared her top four secrets to thick, creamy yogurt every time. I definitely prefer thick yogurt over runny yogurt so I was all about this recipe!

Your only ingredients are whole milk (preferably not ultra-pasteurized),1/2 cup plain yogurt for your starter (I used a whole milk vanilla yogurt from Trader Joe's and it turned out just fine!) vanilla extract and maple syrup, honey or sucanat. Keep in mind, if you choose not to use plain yogurt for your starter that your entire batch will taste like whatever flavor you're using.

I know I say this often, because I prefer easy recipes, but this was SO easy! For real. You heat the milk over the stove with your sweetener of choice, then add vanilla, then let your milk cool a little, then add yogurt, then spoon into your jars. Cap the jars and pour warm water over top, then put the lid on the pot and let your yogurt do it's thing on the counter for 10-18 hours. The only thing I did differently was wrap my pot in a towel to keep it warmer for longer. You don't have to do that, but I read about doing that with other recipes and wanted to, just in case. I also changed out the water halfway through the process, draining the old water and adding new hot water.

The recipe says to use quart jars, but I used little jars instead so it was single servings like the ones you buy at the store.

One thing I wanted to mention... I know Greek Yogurt is the craze right now, and frankly I LOVE it! Now, if you want to make this into Greek yogurt, you'll just have one extra step after your yogurt has incubated, and that is to strain your yogurt. You'll put some cheesecloth, a coffee filter, a paper towel or even a clean/sterilized tea towel over a colander with a bowl underneath (make sure the colander is suspended and not touching the bottom of the bowl. You'll want a couple of inches between the colander and the bowl), then dump in your yogurt and put the whole thing in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. All of the whey will drain out of your yogurt, and you'll be left with deliciously thick and creamy yogurt for a fraction of what you'd pay at the store.

So, go now and make your own yogurt. My whole family loved it, and yours will too! Go here to get the recipe and instructions.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lavender Lemon Meringue Pie


One thing you should know about me, is that I can't just leave things well enough alone. I like to take my favorite recipes and kick them up a notch or two (or three!). When I came across this recipe on Pinterest a few months ago, I was instantly excited! Lemon Meringue is one of my favorite desserts, and I love lavender in food. With the first bite of this heavenly pie, I was smitten. It's perfectly sweet and tart and slightly floral-y from the lavender. I am counting down the days until I can make this again... Yummmm... Ok, anyway!

This is the perfect dessert for your Easter feast. It's not a rich or heavy dessert, making it the perfect ending to a large meal!

The only thing I wanted to note, notice the part where you add the yolk mixture back into the saucepan to cook for four minutes. I will (embarassingly) admit that I went against my better judgement and pulled the mixture off of the heat after four minutes, knowing full well that it had not thickend up enough to be filling. But I'm the kind of person who likes to follow the rules to a "T", and I went against my intuition and didn't continue cooking the filling until it was thick. Do you know what that resulted in? A pie that ended up in the trash. Luckily, I noticed my pitfall long before I was to serve it to anyone and I actually had enough time (and ingredients) to whip up another pie. I tell you this so that when you're cooking, you learn to trust your instincts! And also, so that when you make this pie yourself, you'll know you might need a few extra minutes on that step of the recipe ;-)


Lavender Lemon Meringue Pie from Adventures in Cooking

1 Ready-Made Frozen Pie Crust
1 Cup Sugar, plus 6 additional tablespoons
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Lavender
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
4 Eggs Whites
4 Egg Yolks, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the filling, mix together the flour, salt, cornstarch and one cup of the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Then whisk in the water and the milk and begin to cook the mixture over medium high heat, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and take one cup of the mixture out of the pan. 

Gradually whisk the cup of the mixture into the beaten egg yolks until they are thoroughly combined. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and continue to simmer the filling, stirring constantly, for another four minutes. Then remove the filling from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract. Cover and set aside.

To make the meringue, take 3 tablespoons of sugar and the 1/4 teaspoon of lavender and place them in a coffee grinder. Pulse several times until the lavender has been cut into small pieces and is mixed in the with sugar. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until they become foamy. Beat in the 3 tablespoons of regular sugar and the 3 tablespoons of lavender sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat the egg whites until they become shiny and stiff and hold peaks. Do not under beat them, as this may take several minutes to achieve. Beat in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and set the meringue aside.

Cover the edges of the pie crust with tin foil and pour the filling into the crust. Then spread the meringue on top of the filling using a spatula and taking care not to intermix the layer of lemon filling with the layer of meringue. Place the pie in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the tin foil crust coverings, and allow the pie to cool for 30 minutes. Place the pie in the refrigerator for at least two hours prior to serving. Serve chilled.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Weekly Deals 04/04-04/10


Welcome back to Weekly Deals. My goal here is to share natural/organic deals around the Seattle area, as well as any deals online. As always, not everything on the Weekly Deals list will be organic, but if it's not organic, it'll will: have little to no preservatives, be on the Clean 15 list (or close to it), if it's dairy it will not be treated with rbST growth hormones, if it's meat it will not be treated with antibiotics or hormones and vegetarian fed. If it's fish, it will be wild caught. If something is organic, it will be labeled as such. If I come up with anything else, I'll let you know :)

Be on the lookout tomorrow for a Meal Plan that will utilize the fantastic deals!! You can check out last week's meal plan here.

So here's this week's Weekly Deals!


****Fish/Seafood will no longer be labled as "Wild Caught", so just know that if I've listed it, it IS wild caught. I'm just getting tired of typing it :)
****SV = select varieties


TOP Food & Drug - Prices good 04/04-04/10

Alaskan Cod Fillets, $3.99lb
Haas Avocados, 2/$1
Dole Golden Pineapple, $2 each
Full Circle Organic Spices, SV, $3.99
Full Circle Organic Canned Vegetables, SV, $1.29
Odwalla Orange or Carrot Juice, Half Gallon, $3.99
Annie's Dressing, 8oz, select varieties, 2/$5
Full Circle Organic Broth, 32oz, 2/$5
Sprout Organic Stage 2 Baby Food, $.99 each
Asparagus, $1.98lb
Whole or Sliced White or Crimini Mushrooms, $2 each
Organic Wheat Grass, $1.79 each
Organic Red or Green Leaf Lettuce, $1.49 each
Organic Girl Salads, $3 each


QFC -  Prices good 04/04-04/10

Asparagus, $1.38lb
Pineapple, Whole or Cored, $1.99 each
Sweet Potatoes, $.99lb
Organic Navel Oranges, $1.49lb
Organic Herbs, 2/$4
Cantaloupe, $.88lb
Organic Strawberries, 1lb, 2/$7
Organic Grape Tomatoes, 2/$6
Organic Mandarins, 2lb, $3.99
Organic Mangoes, 2/$3
Organic Private Selection Salad Blends, 2/$7
Wild Caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon Fillets, $8.99lb
Farmland Boneless Pork Loin Roast, $2.99lb
King Crab Leg, $12.99lb
Pacific Foods Natural or Organic Broth or Soup, 32oz SV, 2/$5
WholeSoy Organic Yogurt, 6oz, 10/$10
Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar, 7oz, $2.99
Kashi Organic Cereal, SV, $3.29


Albertson's -  Prices good 04/04-04/10

Fresh Red Grapefruit, 2/$1 4/5 to 4/8 only
Fresh Mini Watermelon, $3.99 each
Fresh Sweet Onions, $.99
North Atlantic Coldwater Lobster Tails, 4-5oz, $5.99
Fresh Dover Sole or Rockfish Fillets, $7.49lb
Annie's Organic Mac & Cheese, 2/$3


Safeway -  Prices good  04/04-04/10    

Royal Red Crab Clusters, $8.99 lb
King Crab Legs and Claws, $16.99lb
Foster Farms Lean Ground Turkey, 20oz, $3.99
Tender Green Asparagus, $2.99lb
Whole or Sliced White Mushrooms, 8oz, 2/$4
Haas Avocados, 4 for $5
Gage Greek Yogurt, 35.3oz, $5.99
Tillamook Chunk or Shredded Cheese, 16oz SV, $4.99

Safeway is also having a 5 Day sale on 04/04-04/08

Lobster Tails, 4oz, $5 each FRIDAY ONLY
Tillamook Sour Cream, $1.99


Hope you enjoy these deals, and are able to utilize them! ;)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Some Ideas for Easter Dinner Side Dishes

I don't know about you, but when it comes to big holiday meals (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc), the side dishes are just as much of the star as the main dish to me. From gooey cheesy potatoes, to buttery rolls, to fresh green beans or asparagus. My mouth is watering, and I still have five days until Easter dinner :( Don't worry, I will make it through.

I'm sharing some of the side dishes that will be gracing our Easter Dinner table this Sunday. We're having dinner with friends since our family is far away. I'm contributing potatoes and a dessert to the meal.

~I said I would bring scalloped potatoes, and trust me when I say that I compared at least ten different scalloped potato recipes before finally finding "the One" from Simply Recipes

Scalloped Potatoes from Simply Recipes
It's got butter, onions, chives, bacon, Swiss or Gruyere, Parmesan and half and half. Hello! What more could you want?!

~Next up: Vegetables! I wanted to do something different (surprise, surprise) and I've had this recipe sitting in waiting for the perfect meal. Asparagus, Pecorino and Red Onion Salad from one of my Food Network favorites, Anne Burrell. What I like most about making this for Easter dinner is that it can potentially be made in advance, just adding the dressing an hour before serving.

Asparagus, Pecorino and Red Onion Salad from Anne Burrell
Simple salad tossed in a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. This salad should be fairly heavily dressed. The vinegar will sort of "cook" or tenderize the asparagus. It is best to do this about an hour or so in advance to let the flavors "marry".

~Lastly, buttery delicious rolls. I made these over Thanksgiving and they are fabulous! There's three really great things about this recipe: 1. You can freeze the dough. 2. You can use the same dough to make cinnamon rolls. 3. You can make it right in your bread machine! That's three great reasons to make this. It's seriously really easy!

Shannon's Famous Cinnamon Rolls (and Basic Rolls) from Lucy Jane's Best
Lite, buttery and fluffy crescent shaped rolls. You'll impress your friends and family for sure!

If you haven't given much thought to your Easter dinner sides, I hope you'll give these a try! :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mustard, Rosemary & Apple Marinade

Four years ago, my husband was deployed in Iraq for a 15 month tour. I had a year's worth of holidays spent without my husband, but thankfully I had my brother and sister in law literally across the street from me the whole time he was gone. They, and my sweetie pie niece kept me company and I never spent a holiday alone because of them! Easter of 2008, I was feeling in a hostess type mood, so I made plans to have my sister and brother in law over as well our friends Josh and Jessie. Now, me being the foodie that I am, I couldn't just do a typical ham dinner. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with ham! I can get down on some ham, but I wanted something fresh and different. So I looked around and came across this recipe, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mustard, Rosemary & Apple Marinade. Doesn't that just sound fresh, and like Spring, and like something wonderful that you'd want to eat for Easter dinner? Well, it did to me and that's what I made!

photo credit
This recipe is so perfect for so many reasons... The combination of flavors you get from the Dijon mustard, apple juice concentrate, and fresh rosemary is so intricate and amazing. It will knock your socks off, Josh still talks about how much he loved it.

The first time I made this, I did make the tea/vinegar/shallot sauce to go over the meat when it's finished cooking... But to be perfectly honest, I hated it and didn't use it. So I can't vouch for how this recipe tastes with that sauce. I will tell you however, that this marinade is also fantastic with chicken if you aren't a pork connoisseur.

I will also tell you that if you want a different option for this Easter Dinner, this recipe will NOT disappoint!


Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mustard, Rosemary & Apple Marinade
From EatingWell:  March 1998, July/August 1996, The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook (2005)

6 servings

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
2 12-ounce pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
1 tablespoon minced shallot
3 tablespoons port, or brewed black tea
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Whisk apple juice concentrate, 2 tablespoons mustard, 1 tablespoon oil, rosemary (or thyme), garlic and peppercorns in a small bowl. Reserve 3 tablespoons marinade for basting. Place tenderloins in a shallow glass dish and pour the remaining marinade over them, turning to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or for up to 2 hours, turning several times.

Heat a grill or broiler.

Combine shallot, port (or tea), vinegar, salt, pepper and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard and 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid; whisk or shake until blended. Set aside.
Grill or broil the tenderloins, turning several times and basting the browned sides with the reserved marinade, until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 155°F. The temperature will increase to 160° during resting.)

Transfer the tenderloins to a clean cutting board, tent with foil and let them rest for about 5 minutes before carving them into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the pork slices on plates and drizzle with the shallot dressing. Serve immediately.