Recipes

Kale Lasagna

My son comes home from college most Sundays to spend the day with his dad and have Sunday dinner with us.  Last night I made Kale Lasagna.

Kale Lasagna

1 package lasagna noodles (I use the oven ready, no boiling needed)

5 oz kale

2 jars marinara sauce

8 oz ricotta cheese

4 1/2 cups mozerella

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine 4 cups mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan in bowl and stir.  Put one cup of sauce in bottom of 9 x 13 baking pan, place 3 lasagna noodles vertically in pan.  Spread 1 cup cheese mixture on noodles and then kale.  Repeat these steps 3 more times.  Top with remaining mozzarella and sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  I served with a salad.

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Recipes

Oven Baked Chicken

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My oven baked chicken is perfectly moist and juicy.  The coating is crispy and crunchy and turns out perfect every time.  Here is my recipe, it is very simple.

Crispy Crunchy Oven Baked Chicken

1 lb chicken thighs (or other pieces)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup bread crumbs or panko

1 cup parmesan cheese

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put mayonnaise in a dish and the bread crumbs and paremesan in another dish.  Coat chicken pieces with mayo and then cover with bread crumb and cheese combination.  Bake until chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Household

5 Frugal Things This Week

We didn’t start this week off frugally.  Saturday night we went out for dinner, a rare occurrence for us.  When we go out, we tend to not keep it cheap and instead enjoy the time out.  But, we did do other things to save pennies.

  1.  My husband and I both took our lunches to work.  This is such a huge money saver.  My husband makes himself a batch of chili every week for lunches at home and the office.
  2. It’s tax time.  My husband prepared our taxes at home.  Using the site is not free, but so much cheaper than using an accountant.
  3. I stocked up on naturally made soaps at a local farm.  Four times per year the owner has an open house and sells the soap for CHEAP!  She sends out a coupon to those who have signed up on her website, I also received an additional percentage off because I am a frequent buyer.  Her soaps are wrapped in paper and twine.  No plastic, no chemicals, no waste.  I bought enough to get us through to her summer open house.
  4. I made homemade sour cream.  Suprisingly simple to make and frugal.
  5. Meal planned for the week.  Used a list at the grocery store and stuck to it.

 

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Recipes

Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

Winter has returned, which means I had an excuse for one more casserole.  I made this one up with what I had in the pantry and it turned out delicious.

Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

8 oz egg noodles

8 oz button mushrooms

12 oz frozen broccoli

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp heavy cream

1 can cream soup (mushroom or chicken)

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1 garlic clove

1 tsp rosemary

1/4 cup panko

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease casserole dish and set aside.  Boil egg noodles.  While noodles are cooking, saute sliced mushrooms in olive oil and butter.  Once mushrooms are cooked, add cream and rosemary.  Set aside.  When noodles are about 3-4 minutes from being done, add the frozen broccoli to water.  Drain.  Stir together the noodles, brocolli, mushroom, soup, sour cream and cheese.  Pour in prepared dish, sprinkle panko on top.  Cook until bubbly.  Add additional cheese on top and put back in oven for 5 minutes.  So simple and so delicious.

 

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Household

Five Frugal Things

I love to turn frugality into a game.  We have to, our 2 oldest are in college and we committed to paying for their state tuition so that they don’t have to start their lives in debt.  We are proud of this gift we can give them, it does come with sacrifices on our part.  I look for ways to be frugal every day.  Here is a list of 5 things I did this week to save a few pennies here and there.

  1. We have 2 cars.  One car has a 10 gallon tank and gets amazing mileage.  That is the car we use for errands, travel and my husband’s commute downtown.  The other car gets adequate mileage, I use that for my commute 2.5 miles away from home.  We have timed gas fill ups for my car to once a month on the last day.  I use points from our grocery store to lower the cost of gas to 40 cents less per gallon.  This week was fill up day for the month of April.  Total saved $6.40
  2. As I do every week, I used the library.  It helps that I work there, but even if I didn’t I would be using it.  I checked out 4 recent movies, for free.  According to my daughter, the free viewing of Aquaman was worth $0.  She said it was terrible.  Total saved $30. This is a guesstimate of how much it would have cost had we gone to the movie theatre instead.
  3. Last summer my husband had an accident and had to have some dental work done.  What insurance did not cover (which in the United States isn’t much) I put on a Care Credit account.  We got 6 months to pay without interest.  The due date was April 5.  I paid that off on April 1.  Total saved $150.00.
  4. I have been shopping the pantry and freezer this week.  Our freezer is in desperate need of defrosting, but first it needs to be emptied, so I am getting creative.  Not sure how much I saved on groceries this week.
  5. My husband brewed a batch of beer last weekend.  He recycled the grains that he used in the beer for homemade bread.  Delicious bread.  Again, not sure on the savings.

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Recipes

Kale and Tomato Frittata

The chickens are laying A LOT of eggs.  So, it’s been a lot of dinners with eggs as the protein.  Last night was Fritatta.

Kale and Tomato Frittata

3 cups kale

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped tomatoes

8 eggs

3 tbsp half and half

1/4 cup Gruyère cheese

Preheat oven to broil.  Saute kale in olive oil for about 3 minutes or until wilted.  Whisk eggs with half and half, set aside.  Add tomatoes to kale once wilted.  Add eggs and cook for about 3 minutes.  Spread cheese on top and put under broiler for 3-4 minutes.

I served this with cauliflower tots I had in the freezer.  Delicious dinner and easy to make.IMG_0175

 

Household

Earth Day, Every Day

Last night I challenged by friends on Facebook to choose one thing that they can do every day in the month of April to reduce their consumption of plastic.  Then this morning, while scrolling through my news feed I came across a story of a pregnant whale that died with 44 pounds of plastic in her stomach.  I truly wish that story was a rarity and that it  was not a follow-up to the story I read last week about the whale that died of starvation and dehydration, a result of ingesting 88 pounds of plastic.  These stories are becoming a part of our daily lives and to say they are heartbreaking would actually minimize the true consequences of our addiction to plastic.  Specifically, single use plastic.

To say that this has become my cause would be an understatement.  I have always been aware of the problems with single use plastic.  But, I believed that since I put mine in the recycling bin after use, I was doing my part.  Then 2 years ago, my husband and I watched the movie Plastic Paradise.  This movie reformed me and my views on plastic.  I am not going to give a synopsis of the movie, but I highly suggest watching it.  It should be part of the curriculum in our public schools.  If we start young, maybe future generations will care more than we do. Since seeing the movie,  I have spent the last 2 years talking to anyone who will listen to me, trying to get them to reduce, reduce, reduce.  I believe I have changed more than a few minds.  But, it is truly not enough.

Yesterday my mom and I were driving through Milwaukee and the streets were covered with plastic bags, plastic bottles and balloons.  Those are all products that do not decompose.  In 1000 years, if not picked up and thrown into a landfill, they will still be there, probably looking the same way they do today.  It’s a crime.  As the only species on this planet with the ability to create such mess, it is our responsibility to all the other creatures to clean it up.  I think we have all seen the pictures of turtles with a six-pack ring around their shell.

All this being said, I truly believe that plastic serves an important purpose.  Hospitals could not run efficiently without it.  Those without clean water after natural disasters could not survive without bottled water.  It also nearly impossible to eliminate is completely, it is part of our lives now.  But like so many things in life, less is more.

Think about some of the things you can do to reduce.  Do you get coffee at your local coffee shop everyday?  If so, can you bring your own takeaway mug and eliminate 30 plastic covers from our landfills?  Do you use the plastic grocery bags at the store?  If so, can you bring your own?  Do you need a new toothbrush?  Can you replace it with a bamboo toothbrush?  My parents have swapped their daily vegetable juice from the plastic containers to the metal containers.  One couple will be responsible for 52 fewer bottles in the landfill each year.   The possibilities are endless and it can be fun if you make a game out of it.  I work on it every single day, often times fall short.  But, it’s worth the effort.

So, what are you going to do in April to reduce your plastic consumption?  Everyone together can make a difference.

gem-lauris-rk-409606-unsplash (1)Photo courtesy of gemmalouisek.com/unsplash

Recipes

Marble Cake

This cake was my first attempt at a marble cake, and it turned out really good! It doesn’t look the prettiest, but it makes up for that in how tasty it is.

I got this recipe from http://www.mycakeschool.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (242 g) milk
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract (If making a coconut cake, add an additional 1 teaspoon coconut extract)
  • 2 Tablespoons (18 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups (285 g) cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 g) baking powder
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 T) (169 g) unsalted butter, I cut the butter into 1/2 inch slices onto waxed paper for 5 to 6 minutes it will soften only slightly , it should still be quite cold.
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 T very hot water (for marbling)

 

NSTRUCTIONS

This recipe uses the reverse creaming method of mixing.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and Grease and Flour two 8 inch pans.

  1. In the bowl of your mixer, whisk the dry ingredients (except for the cocoa) for 30 seconds to combine. With your mixer on low to medium speed, slowly add the pieces of butter, a few pieces at a time. Mix until the dry ingredients are crumbly and look like coarse sand.
  2. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there is no dry flour.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla until blended.
  4. Method is important when using this Reverse Creaming method of mixing. With the mixer on LOW speed VERY SLOWLY add approximately 1/2 of the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, increasing the mixer to medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. The batter will become thick and fluffy. Scrape the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, scraping the bowl and beating for 20 seconds after each addition.

MARBLING INSTRUCTIONS..

  1. Mix 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder with 2 Tablespoons very hot water. Stir until smooth & set aside.
  2. Put 1 1/2 cups cake batter into a medium sized bowl and stir in the chocolate mixture to create chocolate batter. Now it’s time to marble our batter in two 8 inch pans.
  3. Using a large spoon, place 3 large spoonfuls of yellow cake batter into each pan, then 3 spoonfuls chocolate batter. Repeat adding more yellow cake batter. You will see areas of both yellow and chocolate batter. Using an offset spatula or knife (we prefer something appox. 1/2 inch wide), swirl the two colors together to get a marbled effect. Do not overmix.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pans 10 minutes then turn out. (Makes 6 1/2 cups batter

 

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Homesteading

Seedlings

Eric has started to plant the seeds we will be growing this summer.  He painstakingly spends hours with these little guys, knowing that 30 sprouted seeds might yield 3-4 plants.   I am already going through cookbooks, anticipating the bountiful produce that we will have in a few short months.  It’s been a long, hard winter.  Personally, I have started to buy frozen vegetable from the grocery store because the fresh that is offered, tastes off to me.

I have not forgotten about this little side project.  Sadly, I was without a desktop computer for a little while.  I could have continued on my phone, but my eyes are too weak and my fingers too fat to accomplish that task.  I have a computer again, an Apple!  So I should be up and running again.  I have been experimenting in the kitchen and have a wonderful Chicken and Wild Rice soup recipe that I am anxious to share.  Happy Tuesday friends.

 

Seedlings

Recipes

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

It is going to be really cold in my neck of the woods over the next week.  We are looking at highs that will be below 0 degrees, without wind chill.  I spent the day busy in the kitchen cooking and baking in attempt to keep the house warm without forcing the furnace to run constantly.

I made scones, brownies, banana bread, lentil soup, cranberry sauce, bread and quiche.  The quiche will be tonight’s dinner.  I am dreading this evening, I will need to brave the cold and go to a meeting tonight.

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

2 cups broccoli

6 eggs

3/4 cups whole milk

1 cup cheese (I used cheddar, but you could use any cheese you want)

salt and pepper to taste

pie crust (I use premade, I have yet to be successful making a pie crust)

Preheat oven to 350.  Put crust in pie pan.  If using fresh broccoli, boil for 4-5 minutes.  When broccoli is done, chop.  Whisk together eggs and milk.  Add cheese and broccoli.  Pour in pie pan and bake for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.

I will serve with a salad and crusty bread.  Bon appetit!

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