My Yummy Local Life

{March 26, 2013}   Yummy Basics: Veggie Stock


So a while back we figured out that it is oh so much easier to make stock in the slow cooker than on the stove. Main reason? You can leave the house without turning it off! Stock takes a long time to make, but its worth it to make your own. The ingredients in any stock are typically things you will be throwing away anyways, the cost of some salt and other herbs and a few cups of water and you have FREE stock! Sure beats $4 a box from the store!

We have been saving our veggie scraps in the freezer, then when we run out of stock or have a bag of frozen veggie scraps, we make some homemade vegetable stock.

Here’s how to make your own:

1. Roast the veggies on a baking tray for around 15 minutes (optional but it makes the overall process a bit quicker).


2. Dump the veggies into your slow cooker, add salt and pepper to taste. I usually throw in some garlic, onions and a bit of dried herbs for more flavor in the veggie stock. Cover the veggies with water.


3. Turn the slow cooker on low.* Let the stock go for 5-15 hours. If you roasted the veggies it will need less time. You can also let it go overnight. (If you add meat bones it may take even more time but that’s a future post).

4. After the stock is the color you like, turn the slow cooker off and let it cool down a little.**

5. Once the stock is cool enough to handle, strain it through a colander to get all the big bits out.


The strained stock will look like this:


6. Strain through a smaller sieve if you have one (to get out the herbs and pepper seeds) into the containers for storing the stock. If you think you’ll use it in less than a week store in the refrigerator. If you want to keep it more long term, you can freeze it for a pretty long time. I think we’ve had some up to 6 months in our freezer.


My 4 quart slow cooker usually makes about 10 cups of stock.

* Don’t try to rush this by putting your slow cooker on high. The stock will be more clear if you don’t give it the chance to boil!

** I have left my veggie stock out on the counter overnight to cool before, but don’t do this win meat stock. Get any meat stocks into the refrigerator as soon as they are cool enough.

Have a yummy local week!

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

I had a loaf of homemade challah bread on the counter and noticed this morning that is was just starting to mold on the cut side.

I did not throw the whole thing away. Instead I cut about and inch thick piece of bread off where the mold was, checked the rest over and found no other signs of mold, and turned the rest into croutons.

Cut the bread into even sized cubes, mine are about 1/2 inch.


In a cast iron in medium heat, add the oil of your choice- I used mostly EVOO this time around. Add about 2-3 cloves of smashed garlic to the oil.


When the garlic is browned and crispy, remove it from the pan. (Save this garlic to use later in sauce or salad dressing.) Add your cubes of old bread to the oil and toss to coat with a wooden spoon.


Toast on medium low for about 5-10 minutes until they are the brownness and crispiness that you prefer. Let cool completely and then store in an air right container. In the refrigerator these should keep for a couple weeks (if they last that long). For longer storage, you could freeze them for several months.


{November 24, 2012}   Getting creative.

The move is quickly approaching and since I don’t want to waste food, I am diligently trying to use everything in our freezer. That combined with the fact that the farmers market was closed for the thanksgiving weekend means that this week will be creative used of the frozen stuff. Here’s what I decided to use from the freezer (and some canned stuff)


Here’s the menu I came up with based on those items and a very short shopping list:

Fajitas with tempeh
Broccoli cheddar soup w croutons
Pumpkin chili (frozen crockpot meal)
Zucchini pasta-w rolls

Here’s an easy way to recycle: dryer lint, old candles and paper egg cartons. Make them into homemade fire starters.

1. Fill the egg cartons with lint from your dryer.

Egg carton with dryer lint

2. Using a wide mouth mason jar and boiling water, melt the wax from old candles.

Use a double boiler method to melt wax

3. Pour melted wax over the lint and let set.

Wax meet Lint

4. Tear off one or two cups and light the paper to start your fire.


Just in time for fall/winter. AKA Fireplace season ūüôā

Finished Fire Starters

{September 2, 2012}   Menu this week!

It’s going to be another long yet delicious week. Here’s the menu plan:


Mushroom stroganoff- This is exactly like beef stroganoff but sans beef and with extra mushrooms added
Stir Fry with Tofu- another staple in our house, its just so easy to toss stuff together in a wok!
Pad Thai- one of our many go-to meals
Calzones- Pepperoni and cheese and tomatoes, oh my!
Pulled pork wontons- I am making this one up on the fly, but basically its going to be pulled pork with some veggies cooked in a wonton wrapper. Maybe some bbq-ish sauce for dipping…
Black Bean Tostados- Now that I have figured out making my own corn tortillas, these are quickly becoming another staple
Sweet potato and camembert quesadillas- adapted from the recipe at AnimalVegetableMiracle.Com

What yummy things are you making this week?

{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.

Put on HIGH heat.

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

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 26, 2012}   Menu for the week of 8/26

Last night we went to a wedding! Congrats to Ben and Lauren! And yay for not having to cook dinner!


Delicious dinner with Amanda this week: tilapia, zucchini, curry okra, rice and homemade bread

So for the rest of the week here is the plan:

Bulgolgi (made with lamb meat) and with steamed edamame on the side with the sticky rice.

Eggplant¬†Parmesan¬†open faced sandwiches– still on the grill, but mixing it up a little from our standard…

Tofu and veggie stir fry- with whatever veggies look appealing that day, served over rice.

Ramen Shrimp Pouches– using Alton Browns recipe as a guideline, but definitely using the fresh mushrooms I got at the market.(Hubby hates shrimp so these are on my make it while he’s working out of town list)

Okra and Tomatoes (with some of the extra shrimp)- see above… making this without the hubby since he is not too fond of okra either…

Greek quinoa and avocado salad0– thanks once again pinterest…


For granola version 3.0 we’re going to try these granola bars…winemakers and cellar rats live off this stuff evidently…

{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!


{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 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