My Yummy Local Life











Fall *Spring?* Market…

 

Got some more lovely fall produce at the market today.  And some sugar snap peas… who knew these would grow in the fall?! Also I answered a trivia question right on the cheese guy (Brady)’s email newsletter and got a $5 piece of cheese for free!

 

Here’s what I got:

Broccoli, Sugar snap Peas, and colorful bell peppers: $10

Garlic, baby ginger and baby turmeric: $2

Queso fresco, Gouda with caraway, Ricotta with garlic and chives: $7! ($5 off!)

Shiitake Mushrooms: $5.20

Turmeric and ginger

 

FREE Queso Fresco!

Grand Total: $24.20

 

Also, the Lovely Sue Murdoch is canning my pumpkins for me with her pressure canner.  Here is the first batch of pumpkin:

Indian River Pumpkin!

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{October 7, 2012}   Another Yummy Menu this Week

Crock Pot Party was wildly successful- I have many tasty meals to try out. More on that Tuesday.

Here is my menu plan for the week:

Pad Thai- with the tatsoi I got at the market

Fritatta- to use up some duck eggs 🙂

Crock Pot meal- Chickadilla Soup (Using a rotisserie chicken so I don’t have to cook it)

Chicken Egg Salad (Use up the chicken and some more duck eggs- going to see how they do with hard boiling…)

Fried Rice (Because it was fast and amazing last week, and I still have more rice, and I can once again use a duck egg!)

Fried Rice

Crock Pot Meal- Mac and Cheese (Sauteing some veggies to mix in with it once its all cream-ified in the crock pot)

Catfish with KALE chips!

Also- I still have some bagels, so there will be bagels with spicy pimento goat cheese, avocado, and maybe the occasional fried egg…

 

Everything looks so yummy I’m not even sure what order this will happen in!

 



{September 16, 2012}   Menu this week

So here is what my menu board looks like right now: Simple and tasty this week. “F-bomb” is courtesy of my pastor Matt. No I’m not eating Carolyn, but I will be eating with Carolyn on Thursday (and getting Starbucks for dessert).  Hope you have a yummy week.

This weeks menu

 

 



{September 9, 2012}   Menu-ish…kinda winging it…

Gotta be honest, I just don’t really feel like planning out my meals this week.  I never got to the tostados last week, and I saw a recipe over at Two Peas and their pod for tofu tostados, so I might make those.  I got a couple of leeks, so I might make the leek pasta thing from jamie oliver– might really cheat and do it with Ramen noodle- seriously- that is the laziness I am feeling at the moment.  I have leftover stir fry and leftover wonton wrappers, so I might chop up the stir fry in the food processor and make up some “stir fry” wontons. I have calzones left from last week (2), and I might make another 3-4 more this week because they just freeze so veyr nicely and can be reheated in either the microwave at work or in the toaster oven at home (true story, I don’t own a microwave).

I made pumpkin pretzels, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin spice latte mix yesterday.  I was not kidding about Fall equalling pumpkin everything in my house.  I intended to make pumpkin spice ice cream, but I ran out of pumpkin at the moment- I do have some frozen though, so I might thaw it out to do that while it is still hot-ish outside.  It is raining as I type this, so it’s supposed to cool down.

Beautiful Rosette Pumpkin Muffins

 

Pile of Pumpkin Pretzels

 

Fried Pork wontons with cucumber to balance out the fried 🙂

Too bad my lovely veggies wont just make themselves into lovely meals.  Here’s to hoping that the hubby has some ideas when he gets back from work later today. What would you make with the veggies I got this week? Something with sweet potatoes… or butternut squash… or tomatoes (I am drowning in tomatoes)- Ah well… I’m sure inspiration will come to me soon 🙂



{August 30, 2012}   Yummy Basics: Perfect White Rice

Starting a new section called Basics. My plan is to put some of the simple recipes that are those things “everyone can do” because I figure that everyone maybe doesn’t know how to do these things. The first one is rice because I am always reading Stewardship‘s blog about her beautiful homemade food with not homemade rice. So I figured I’d put my step by step out there so hopefully some people will give it a try.

 

1) Measure out the amount of rice you want to cook, in this case I used a 3/4 measuring cup (the quantity will approximately double when cooked). Pour the rice into a medium sauce pan.

ONE unit of rice.

2) Using the same measuring cup, add 2 “units” of water (in this case 1 1/2 cups) but just make sure you use the same exact cup to measure. It can be a coffee mug or a small tupperware, as long as you are consistent.

TWO units of water.

3) Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon or two of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to the pot. Swirl the pot a little just to make sure the rice is all wet and everything is happy together in the pot.

Pinch of salt.
EVOO (I go around the pan twice)

4) Cover the pot and put it on HIGH heat to bring to a boil.

Cover.
Put on HIGH heat.

5) When it comes to a boil and starts to “foam up”, turn the heat to low/simmer.

Boiling/Foaming
Reduce heat to low

6) Simmer, covered on low for 20 minutes. It might look like all the water is gone before that, no worries, just let it go the whole 20 minutes.

20 Minutes!

7) After 20 minutes, turn off and remove from heat. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes (still covered).

Cooked Rice!

8) Remove the lid and use a fork to “fluff” the rice, sometimes a small amount will stick to the bottom of the pan, but mostly it will be fluffy, tasty rice!

Fluff rice with a fork.

 

Now that you can make beautiful rice, you are ready to serve it with stir fry, or curry, or meatballs or anything else that suits your taste buds, just make sure to keep it yummy!

 

This post is linked up on frugally sustainable’s blog hop.



{August 19, 2012}   Yummy menu for this week

This week I will be on my own for a few days again while the hubby works.  But since we knew ahead of time, planning the menu is better.  Last night I worked, so he had dinner with our lovely friend Amanda and her roommate (they just moved into our neighborhood).  They had lamb burgers with goat cheese and shishito peppers.  I’m a little jealous of that…

A yummy snack: toast with cheese (blue or cherve would be my suggestion), halved figs, walnuts (press one onto each fig); toast; drizzle with honey to finish. Enjoy the yumminess!

Tonight we’re going to make up the rest of the shishito peppers and a salad of some sort. (If you’ve never watched an episode of The Sam Livecast check out the link for the peppers…)

Other things on the menu are:

Ratatoullie– a hodge-podge of roasted veggies (italian type seasonings)

Stir Fry- mixed veggies and rice (asian sauce/seasoning)

Pizza- homemade dough with eggplant and cherry tomatoes

Yogurt Curry Okra (love this simple recipe from Indian in 6)

 

I’m also having dinner with my friend Stephanie on Wednesday night so YAY! one night I don’t have to cook!

 

Also I made some bagels (so that I have something to use the delicious honey fig cherve on).  The recipe asked for them to be “retarded” in the refrigerator overnight.  So I did half that way and half I boiled yesterday right after they rose.  They look a litte different (the retarded ones are smoother) but they both taste delicious.

Bagels boiled right away.

 

Bagels boiled after being retarded in the refrigerator over night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s going to be another yummy week!

PS: Found out that my ducks are 4 male and 4 female.  That means 4 layers, 3 meat ducks and 1 very luck male duck!

 



My co-worker and friend Bridget wanted to take a stab at canning.  So we decided to split a box of peaches ($20) from Better Be Ellerbe at the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market.  We made one small batch (ended up being 4 jars) of no-sugar peach jam and 36 half-pint jars of sliced peaches. There was also a small pile of about 10 peaches left over that we did not have enough jars/lids for so I sliced them and froze them (ended up being about a gallon-YAY for smoothies!)

1/2 bushel box of peaches (approx. 25 lbs)

There is no reason why you MUST use sugar when canning fruit, so unless you really like the way overly sugary taste of commercial jams and jellies, I suggest using as little as possible or (like we did) NONE at all.

For jam, use the “no sugar needed” version of pectin ($3) that you can buy in the canning aisle.  We followed the “splenda” recipe, but did not add ANY sweetener. I have sometimes added up to 1/4 cup of sugar if the fruit it very tart, but taste it first and only add it if you think it needs it. This produced 4 half pint jars of peach jam.

Filling jars of peach jam

So here is how we canned peach slices with NO sugar:

1. Sanitize jars in the dishwasher.

2. Set up a boiling station (just like for tomatoes) Cut an X in each peach and cut off any obvious bad spots.  Boil each peach for 2-3 minutes and then place into cold water.

Peaches “X-ed” and waiting to boil.

3. Peel the skin off of the peaches. Cut them in half and remove pits (do not eat the pits they contain cyanide!) If desired (what we did), slice the peaches.

4. Let the peaches hang out in some water with a splash of lemon juice (used about $0.50 worth) in it so that they don’t change color.

5. Also add a small amount of bottled lemon juice to each jar.  For half pints 1/4 tsp is MORE than enough, if you are using pints use 1/2 tsp and use a whole tsp for quarts.

6. Pack as many peaches as you can fit into the mason jars leaving about 1/4-1/2 inch of head space.  It helps to stand them up like little soldiers in the jar.

Packed jars of sliced peaches

7. Use the juices that the peaches have been sitting it to fill the jars to 1/2 in from the top of the jar.

Peaches topped off with their own juices/lemon water

8. Use a moist paper towel to wipe the rims and then add lids and rings.

Bridget in the steam of the canner getting lids onto the jars

9. Using a water canner, boil each jar for 20 minutes and then remove and let cool.  Make sure that each seal “pops”.  If any do not pop, refrigerate and use immediately.

10. Label each jar with what it is and the date.  Peaches will be good for 1 year (if they last that long!)

40 half pints jars of processed peaches (plus the ones that didn’t fit and I froze!)

Price per jar of sliced peaches= LESS than $0.50 per half pint jar

Price per jar of no sugar added jam= ~$1.25 per half pint jar

 



{August 12, 2012}   Birthday Week Menu

This is going to be a yummy week. Hubby started his new job last week- it’s 2+ hours away, but he’s working more or less in his field and he brought home 3 bottles of wine after his 2.5 day stint. I’m going to have to start cooking a lot more for myself, instead of just brainstorming and writing about it. I’ve been spoiled by him having dinner ready when I get home from work every day. Also school starts back this week, so I’m going to be back to “real job” hours instead of “summer” hours.

So here’s what we’re having:

(Yesterday) My birthday dinner was rack of lamb and cracked baby potatoes.

Birthday Dinner

For the rest of the week:

Antipasto- marinated tomatoes, mozzarella, and salami (in a roasted garlic dressing); also fig honey blue cheese walnut toasts

Grilled eggplant parmesan (quickly becoming a summer go-to recipe!)

Goat cheese and veggie pasta (also becoming one of our go-tos…I’m supposed to get a lesson on how to make this myself…)

Egg Stuffed mushrooms (might add quinoa and maybe some other veggies to this)

Catfish with cilantro lime slaw (once again trying not to hate cilantro- lime does indeed seem to help with it’s soapy flavor profile)

Chana Masala (love how this blog prices everything out & yay Indian food!)

Also I am going to be making a double batch of granola (gotta make sure the hubby has something healthy to eat while he’s out of town).

And I’ll be baking a batch of bread to go with the antipasto, and baking up this coconut zucchini bread (which sounds like the best idea ever)

It’s going to be a yummy week (even if I have to cook for myself a few times…)

Tomato herb pie from last week.

Einstein tasting the rack of lamb

 



{August 7, 2012}   Canning 2012- Crushed Tomatoes

My main goal with canning is to not have to purchase the things I would otherwise purchase. So salsa is one of the major things.  The next major thing is canned tomatoes.  When the tomatoes leave the farmer’s market at the end of the season, we pretty much don’t buy the again until the next season.  We do however buy crushed tomatoes by the droves for making winter sauces, stews and whatever else in the world needs a tomato base.

 

Last year I made 1 and 1/2 boxes of tomatoes into crushed tomatoes.  They lasted until about March.  Unfortunately tomatoes don’t really come back into season here until May or June.  So this year we made 2 full boxes.  I got plain ugly tomatoes from the big farmer’s market for $10 per box. (The farm I got the salsa tomatoes from did not have canners this week, but my schedule was to do these NOW or never). In order to can tomatoes safely you also need bottled lemon juice (or citric acid) and I use canning salt (the salt is optional but salt makes everything taste like a better version of itself.)

2 boxes of tomatoes- $10 each

 

Canning tomatoes is very similar to canning salsa, so if you want to see each step check it out here.

1. Set up your supplies, sterilize jars (I use full quart size for the most part for tomatoes). Lemon juice was $2 but probably only used $1 worth. Salt is the same salt I’ve had since I started canning- so FREE this year.

Supplies ready for tomatoes

2. Set up your tomato coring station. You need to take out the core, remove any bad spots and cut an X in the skins of each tomato.  I set up a box with a plastic trash bag in it for easy waste collection.

Tomatoes on the right, cutting board (with a wet paper towel underneath to prevent slipping), paring knife, stock pot half filled with boiling water and trash box.

3. Set up a tomato cooling, de-skinning and crushing station.  I do this by setting two large bowls side by side. One is where I put the skins, seeds and juices. The second is filled with cool water and ice (to stop the cooking and make tomatoes ready to handle for de-skinning). And then I crush them straight into the biggest pot ever (our 22 qt pot!).

*Note to self- buy ice BEFORE starting tomatoes*

You’re gonna need a LOT of ice!

4. Once all of the tomatoes are peeled, squeezed and crushed we used a ladle to remove some of the extra juice (that part is totally optional) and then bring the tomatoes to a boil.

Tomatoes ready to boil

5. Boil the tomatoes for 5-10 minutes uncovered.  5 is the minimum.  I let them go for 10 just so that more juice evaporates.

6. Prep the jars.  Each 1 quart jar will get 2 Tbsp of lemon juice  and 1 tsp of pickling salt.  If you use pint jars they get 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of salt.

7. Use a funnel to fill the jars. Seal immediately with a fresh lid and rings.  I had to get fresh lids this time around- they are about $2.50 for 12 lids.  I ended up filling 19 jars so that is right at $4 for lids.

8. Process the jars. Using a water canner this is 40 minutes per batch.

9. Remove jars and let them cool- after 12- 24 hrs they should have sealed.  If not refrigerate and use immediately.  All of mine sealed… except this one:

Jar busted in the canner! Happily it was during the last batch.

*Sometimes the lid will come off of a can and it will not seal. Sometimes the jar is just no good and the bottom of the jar will crack and separate from the rest of the jar, and  the above is the result.  Such is life!*

Note: I did my tomatoes over the course of 2 days, one box per day seems to be my limit until I get bored and my feet get tired.

10.  Label the jars with what they are and the date.  They will last on the shelf for up to one year (if they make it that long, which hopefully they will!)

I ended up with a total of 16 quart jars and 3 pint jars of crushed tomatoes.  That comes out to $1.43 per quart and $0.71 per pint.

16 quarts plus 3 pints of crushed tomatoes



{August 5, 2012}   Menu on the cheap!

Burrito Salad: Fresh lettuce & halved cherry tomatoes with the contents of my leftover qdoba burrito and some goat cheese crumbles. Waste not, want not.

This week is going to be another yummy one. Still trying to keep to our skinny summer budget so it’s going to be more beans and rice type of recipes.  Dave Ramsey would be proud of all the different ways we can change up the standard beans and rice.

So first thing will be standard black beans and rice.  A mess of beans cooked up with “taco” like seasonings.  We always end up adding sour cream and cheese and maybe even some salsa since we put salsa with EVERYthing.

Then gonna make these “vegan” black bean and quinoa enchiladas.  They would be vegan, except we eat real food in this house which means no fake-y processed soy based cheese.  I got the recipe from Vegnews, which to their credit did not say you HAD to use fake cheese -it’s just one of the serving options. Whatever- Cheese is good! Also I’m going to try my hand at making my own flour tortillas this time around.

Sticking with the beans theme we’re going to try these lentil and zucchini tacos. I’m approximating, but I’m thinking the lentils will cost less than $0.50 and we’ll have plenty to spare. While I’m at it I might make some corn tortillas too…why not?

Ok then comes the NOT beans parts of the menu, but they are still pretty cheap:

Tomato Pie that AgriGirl posted last week- I have been wanting this since I saw the post! Gonna use the herbed goat cheese along with some fresh herbs from the garden.

Vegan Potstickers that I found on pinterest, but this blog has a great title so I’ll be exploring it more. I might even leave this particular recipe vegan!

NEXT Saturday is my 27th birthday, so we’re going to break out our rack of lamb from our half a lamb we bought back at Easter time.  I don’t know how the hubby will make it but it’s sure to be delicious!



et cetera