Friday, July 31, 2009

What to Buy NOW

If any of you are like me, you've had to reevaluate your budget, cut back on spending and eat out less. The good news is that we can still eat nutritious, tasty meals...we just need to think a little bit more when menu planning. For example, you can save lots of money when you buy things in season and create meals based around those foods. I've created a list of fruits and vegetables that are in season now:

  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Kiwi
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Some other useful tips include cutting back on meat in recipes. Use half the amount and replace with more veggies or beans. Pasta is pretty cheap but also lacks a lot in the nutrition department; buy whole wheat or quinoa pasta in bulk. If you love berries, now is the time to stock up and freeze the rest.

I will think of some fun recipes using these ingredients and post you have any of your own you'd like to share? Please submit them to or leave in the comments section!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What to Eat in the Summer Heat

It's hot right now in Seattle....the kind of hot where sweat is beading around your forehead and dripping from your thighs when you're just sitting there. Cooking is not an option. I'm hungry but want something light and cold and I linger in front of the fridge longer than I should to feel the coolness waft over me. I pull out green leaf lettuce (from my roommate's garden), goat cheese, a green apple, a lemon, balsamic vinegar and a bottle of sauvignon blanc. I've never put these ingredients together before...but this is what happened. I tore up the lettuce, forked some chunks of goat cheese on top, chopped up about 1/4 of the green apple, squeezed half the lemon over the mix and splashed some balsamic on top. I wanted to mix the balsamic with some olive oil, but apparently I'm out of oil. I poured myself a glass of wine and dove in. To my delight, this was a brilliant concoction that I will definitely make again. This would be a unique salad to bring to a party or summer BBQ; some tasty additions might be dried cranberries or dried cherries and some slivered almonds. It's supposed to be record breaking heat all week...what else will I be inspired to make?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Brown Bagging It

I try to bring my lunch to work most days to save some cash...otherwise the money I spend to fill my growling tummy at noon adds up quickly to a monthly car payment. Packing a sandwich every day gets kinda this is a super cheap, healthy, quick and filling alternative. This is an "eyeball" recipe. No need to be exact and you can add as much or as little as you want. I call this Black Bean Surprise. This makes about 4 servings.
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1-2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 12 oz jar of salsa
  • tortilla chips
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese (optional)
  • avocado (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • jalapeno slices (optional)
  1. Add chicken breast to boiling water, boil about 15 minutes (or until juices run clear)
  2. In a large greased pan add can of black beans and corn over low to medium heat. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste
  3. Let chicken cook and shred with a fork--add shredded chicken to corn and black beans
  4. Pour salsa over mixture and mix well.
  5. Add optional ingredients and scoop with tortilla chips


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Like Honey On My Lips

There is something spectacular about combining an ensemble of random ingredients, mixing them over just the right temperature, displaying it on the perfect dish and then savoring each bite...better yet, watching others enjoy your creation. I love to cook--I wish I didn't have to work so I could stand behind the stove concocting an assortment of dishes to try. I have no formal training, nor an extensive amount of skill in the kitchen, but I really enjoy mixing a bunch of ingredients together and seeing what happens. As much as I would like to say that I shop only at Whole Foods and only eat natural, fresh and organic foods--well, number one, I can't afford it and number two, who the heck has the time! So this is for those of us who love good food, wish we had wallets to match our sophisticated palates, enjoy cooking, eating out and occasionally use the microwave (I know...oh, the horror!) Bon Appetite!
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