Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lookee, Lookee!! (my Christmas present from J)

Sometime shortly after we moved into this house, we found this lying by the side of the road (I really wish a had a straight-on pic of it with the drawers in...):

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We threw it in the back of the truck and brought it home to use as a changing table/dresser for the boys. After a while running that gig for a year or so, the dresser graduated to the dining room and functioned as a "bar". I needed some extra drawer and counter space and this served the purpose.

(remember, he "Kimed dat"?)
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I was dreaming of this beautiful thing, though (go ahead, go look, I want you to compare)... So, for Christmas this year, J made THIS for me!! (and it's now finally finished and in use) 


Here are some of my favorite details:

Wine rack

Slide out for my pretty mixing bowls and ramekins

We broke out the center of the door and J hack-sawed off (and spray-painted) a portion of a garden edger fence-thingy from Lowes to make a decorative door. Don't know yet what we'll keep in here.

Now all we need are the bar stools!!!

I really want to post more on how we made it all, but I don't have time today! Suffice to say for now, the whole thing cost under $100!! I'm in love with it and it's inspiring me to re-organize my entire kitchen!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What's in my fridge

A recent picture of my week's produce posted to Facebook has prompted this post. Here's the pic:

And here's how I plan to use each item, moving left to right.

Lettuces: salad, obviously. We eat of lot of salad. We also eat a lot of taco salad-- even though one of our children despises it.

Pears, bananas, carrots: These are all go-to snack foods in our family. Sometimes we dip the carrots in hummus. We usually have a lot of celery on hand for snacking, too, but last week it was $0.69/bunch so I stocked up.

Zucchini: I have two favorite ways to do my zucchini; 1) cut into spears and marinate it in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic, and then broil it, or grill it (if we're grilling our meat that day), 2) slice and saute with sliced onions in butter, salt and pepper.

I should probably stop here and warn you that a lot of these ideas are going to involve the phrase "with butter". Possibly also "with lots of butter" and occasionally, "with copious amounts of butter". Also insert the word "bacon" into any of those phrases. We eat a lot of butter and bacon with our veggies. I have discovered that natural fats are a lot healthier than some of the alternatives that often end up in our food. More on that another time.

Chard: I slice it and fry with bacon, or make a wilted greens salad like this one (only, scratch the sugar), or add it to smoothies or scrambled eggs.

Cilantro (hidden between the bunches of chard): This goes in everything. I add it to salads, dressings, salsas, guacamole, chicken salad, you name it.

Tomatoes: salsa (mostly) and a side dish/salad I make with chopped cukes and tomatoes, fresh basil, cilantro, balsamic dressing and feta cheese. Delish!

Mangoes: smoothies, breakfasts and snacking.

Limes: I add limes to my drinking water. I also use it to flavor meat, salsa, dressings and etc. They are 7/$1 right now, so we're eating a LOT of limes :) Good vit C!

Cassava (roots): These are a new find for our family and I am HOOKED. There are so delicious! I found a recipe that I love and then promptly lost it, but a friend is going to show me how to make authentic Cuban roasted cassava, so I'll post that when I learn. The recipe I used (more or less): par-boiled chunks, add lime/garlic/butter sauce, pan-fry.

Cukes: We eat a lot of cukes. They are a frequent snack food (plain, salted, dipped in hummus), often added to our lettuce salads, with tomatoes in the salad I mentioned above, in sushi, topped with a tuna salad (with black olives) and avocados.

Sweet peppers: salsa, mostly. Also fahitas, stir-fry and various other dishes as seasoning. I don't like them raw, though. Bleh.

Yellow squash: Besides sauteing with butter and onions, my current favorite thing to do with yellow squash is a sweet and sour chicken recipe that adds julienned yellow squash and carrots. It's a perfect one-dish meal I can get onto the table in less than 30 mins. We've been eating a lot of this lately!

Avocado: Oh man. We also eat a lot of avocado. Guacamole is on our table at least two or three times a week. Judah and Jamie just eat it plain-- right out of the shell, with salt. I add it to salads and soups, too.

Oranges and grapefruit: These are so. cheap. right now. We eat them every morning for breakfast, snacks and lunches.

Green beans: fried, with bacon :) Also in soup.

Snap peas: raw, for snacks; or stir-fried in butter, with garlic and lime.

Spaghetti squash: (it's back there, but you can barely see it) I bake one of these babies every week and keep a tupperware of it in the fridge at all times. It's a perfect quick side dish, or rice/pasta substitute. To re-heat, I fry it in butter with salt and pepper. I have a couple of recipes that dress it up more than that which I use occasionally, but they're a little time-consuming. For breakfast, I sometimes make a spag-squash fritter. I'll throw a little into a dish, grate in a little apple and a little carrot, break in an egg and add some coconut flour to thicken. Fry it like a pancake (copious amounts of butter). You can add maple syrup, or just eat it plain. A good way to get some veggies into your breakfasts.

Butternut squash: This is one of my favs! Another one a try to bake every week and just keep on hand in the fridge. Some of the puree I freeze in an ice cube tray for smoothies (use this recipe; but sub the frozen squash, use plain yogurt, coconut or almond milk and sweeten with agave or honey). I also make "pumpkin" muffins (with coconut flour), pancakes (with almond flour), or reheat in a saucepan with butter and salt. Sometimes I get original and chop it raw and then roast it with butter (!!), and seasonings.

Potatoes: I'm trying to cut back a little on the white potatoes, because of the starch, but we sure do love them! Baked, fried, roasted, mashed-- you name it!

Onions: I figure these are pretty self-explanatory, right? I mean, everyone eats onions...

Spinach: I cheat and pay extra to buy this pre-washed and bagged because it's so nice to have to add to random dishes-- soup, salad, smoothies, scrambled eggs. I was even adding it to Jamie's oatmeal a while back when I was having trouble getting him to eat veggies any other way.

There you have it! Do you have any great veggies ideas to share??

You may have guessed by now that we have moved to a wheat-free (and mostly grain-free) diet recently. I want to blog more about this at some point, but that will have to wait for another nap time :)