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Cooking & Recipes

Black Bean Taquitos

August 7, 2011 • Paige

Rinse, soak and cook 1lb dry black beans,
cool and drain.

Preheat oven to 425
Lightly oil a deep sided pan
(I had to use 3 small pans)

Saute a little bit of minced onion and garlic
Throw in about 30 tater tots*, thawed and roughly chopped
Pour in some salsa (a cup or two)
Add chili powder, Tony Chachere’s, black pepper, and basil
Add the beans
Add about 2 to 3 cups of shredded cheese
Turn off heat when it’s all mixed up, it doesn’t need to be hot.

Put about 3 tablespoons of bean mixture in the center of a small flour tortilla and roll up.
Place seam side down in pan and brush the tops lightly with oil
Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes or until as crispy as you like.

Makes almost 40 taquitos

*I was lazy and used pre-made tater tots. Next time I’ll use real potato. You have to shred it, then squeeze out the liquid before frying or the potato is soggy and yucky.  I just didn’t want to work that hard.

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"Sunday Slop"

June 12, 2011 • Paige

This is almost -always- what we have for lunch on Sunday.  I really need a better name for it, though!!

1 box of whole wheat penne pasta
1 to 1 1/2 Cup “Chickpea soup base” (Recipe to follow soon)
real butter – from 1/2 to a whole stick
some shredded cheese
3 cups(ish) of cooked veggies of any type (I use 2 cans of whatever)
salt, pepper, basil, whatever you like

Very difficult instructions:
Boil the pasta. Put the veggies in the colander and drain the pasta over them (efficiency!).
Combine butter, cheese, and chickpea “stuff”, then throw the pasta and veggies in and stir to coat.
Spice up and eat.

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Chickpea "soup base"

May 10, 2011 • Paige
Cook and puree 1 lb of chickpeas/garbanzo beans.

Add to the blender:
olive oil
lots of basil, lemon basil is best!
lemon juice if you didn’t add lemon basil
a little tomato sauce, if you like.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.
salt, pepper

It should be the consistency of pudding.

Divide it up into 1 to 1 1/2 cup portions and freeze.  Makes an excellent soup base, or base for “macaroni and cheese”.  I freeze it in zip lock bags, laid flat so they are thin and will thaw quickly.

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Breakfast "Cake"

April 15, 2011 • Paige

We’re in super-frugal mode for a few months while we pay off my dental work, so I’ve been baking a breakfast cake twice a week.  This recipe is where I started:  – the only difference was that I used raisins instead of cranberries.

I ran out of half of those ingredients, so I created this recipe using only what is on hand and buying as little as possible.

“Breakfast Cake”.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup steens or molasses
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup raisins
extra water
sometimes I remember to throw in some sesame seeds

Bake in a greased 9 x 13 pan for about 30 minutes.  Cool, Eat.

Last night we were out of a whole lot more stuff, so I made it like this:

measurements approximate – I didn’t measure anything.

almost 3 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup peanut butter
pretty big handfull of sharp cheddar cheese
some steens (I didn’t quite have 1/3 cup)
1 cup flaked coconut
water with some blendered brown rice (ie: “milk”)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup raisins

I think that’s it….. I totally forgot the salt.
ah well, it’s really good!

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World’s Best Sweet Potatos

March 5, 2011 • Paige

4 lbs sweet potatoes, cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
1 1/2 sticks of real butter
1 cup Steen’s cane syrup
1 to 2 tsps cinnamon (I’m guessing. I don’t measure anything)
1 to 2 tsps vanilla extract
1/4  – 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Butter a crock pot, throw everything in and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for about 3 hours.
Mix in pecans about half way through.

Note: It cooks down to about half the amount you start with.

Categories: Cooking & Recipes
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Growing sprouts at home: update

July 28, 2010 • Paige

We have come a long way with sprouting since my last post about it!  Here are some pictures and the basics of how we’re sprouting at home.

You need:

  • a jar with a lid that allows air-flow
  • pantyhose and a rubber band works if you keep it pulled tight, or use a mason jar with some screen from the hardware store.
  • dry lentils (a quarter cup makes a jar full)

Rinse lentils well and soak in plenty of water for 12 hours.

Dump out the water, and rinse the lentils well.
Drain and set the jar on its side at an angle so water can drip out and does not “pool” in the jar.
– you can leave it on the counter. Don’t worry about dark or sunlight – it works no matter what!!

Every 6 – 12 hours, rinse in cool water and dump the water out.
Make sure plenty of air can flow through whatever lid you are using or the sprouts will go rancid, fast.
After your first or second rinse, lentils will look something like this:

This (below) is about a day and a half.  Let them grow for about two to three days before eating

This is about four days:

The same method works for Black Eyed Peas, however after the first day and a half (or so), you will need to dump them in a large bowl of water and pick out / pull off the hulls. It is labor intensive, and most people won’t bother. You also MUST to use a good brand of Black Eyed Peas – not the cheap store brand.

We use a dish rack because we make so much. The one in front is lentils, the other three are black eyed peas, all have been going for about four days when this picture was taken.

A tablespoon of black eyed peas will grow to fill a large mason jar after about four days – see?

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Grow your own sprouts: cheap fresh veggies

March 17, 2010 • Paige

I love bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts on salads and sandwiches, but I am not going to pay $3 – $5 per package for them.  Right now I’m sprouting things I already have on hand: wheat and lentils, which are almost ready to eat. I think sprouted lentils are my new favorite food.

Growing sprouts is easy. You can sprout dry beans and grains from the grocery store in two to five days in a bowl or jar on your kitchen counter.  Place two or three tablespoons of seeds in a jar.  Rubberband a piece of  netting, mesh, or pantyhose over the mouth as a breathable lid. Rinse the seeds thoroughly, then soak over night.  Drain and rinse, then place the jar on its side in a semi dark place. Rinse and drain every 12 hours to keep mold from forming.   

Sprouts will keep in the fridge for up to six weeks.  They must be rinsed every 7 days and kept dry. Some sprouted beans and grains need to be cooked before eating, but they cook up in half the time. 

Next I’m trying black eyed pea sprouts, black bean sprouts, and brown rice sprouts.  I found this great recipe I want to try, for sprouted beans and rice!  They cook in about half the normal time. Sprouted black beans cook in about 45 minutes.  Sprouted brown rice cooks in about 15 minutes, and requires less water.

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Skillet Granola: cheap, and delicious!

March 9, 2010 • Paige

Wow – I will never buy boxed cereal again!!  Skillet granola is incredibly easy and CHEAP.  I made this with just oats, honey, and butter and it is delicious!  Next time I’ll add some sesame seeds and some raisins, maybe some shredded coconut.

Skillet Granola

2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup of old fashioned oats

optional: 1/4 cup of sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, added just before the oats.
optional: 1/2 cup dried fruit added just as the granola begins turning golden brown.

In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Slowly stir in honey until combined.

Add sesame/sunflower seeds and cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the oats and cook about 4 minutes, continuing to stir.
Add dried fruit just as the oats start to brown. 
Granola is done when the oats are a golden brown.

Spread granola on a sheet  of tin foil to cool.  It will crisp up as it cools.

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Cheap and healthy snacks: Popcorn

February 3, 2010 • Paige

For the same price of a 6-count box of microwave popcorn, you can buy a big bag of popcorn kernels that will last you a month.  It is so easy to make popcorn the old fashioned way and it tastes so much better than microwaved popcorn. 

These instructions were written by my 15 year old son, who has been making healthy popcorn snacks for years.

To make healthy popcorn snacks on the stove-top;

1. Get a small pot and pour a layer of popcorn about one kernel thick on the bottom
2. Pour a small amount of corn/canola oil onto the popcorn, and stir. You need just enough to wet the kernels.
3. Put a lid on the pot and turn the heat on high.
4. Pops in about 2 minutes, shake occasionaly to keep from burning/sticking

~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~  ~*~

If your child is too young to use a stove, he/she can make healthy popcorn snacks in a microwave;

1. Pour about 1 tablespoon of popcorn kernels into a paper lunch sack
2. Fold the mouth of the sack down to the bottom, then put in the microwave
3. Set for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave
    Stop the microwave when the popping slows to once every second or two.

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How to Cook Brown Rice

January 14, 2010 • Paige

Brown rice goes well with practically anything, and it is cheap.  I like to make a double batch and keep some  in the fridge for making quick meals.  Learning to cook brown rice is easy.  You just need the patience to leave it alone and resist temptation to lift the lid and stir it.

Cooking Brown Rice

Pour 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan, heat to boiling.  
Pour in 1 cup of brown rice, stir and cover with a lid.
Turn heat down to low, and set a timer for 45 minutes.

Do not lift the lid, not even once until 45 Minutes are up!

To keep the rice warm without clumping: Cover with a towel, and then with a lid tilted to allow some airflow.

Food Storage Note:  Because of the oils in the bran, brown rice does not work well for long term storage.  Use it up within 6 months!

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