Monday, September 1, 2014

Cooking for One: Tacos

The schoolyear has officially begun, and I found myself once again cooking for one as I made tacos for my school lunches this week. I have given myself a budget of $40 a month for my lunches and snacks. I had hoped to make it $20, but since I'm trying to eat more protien than carbs, (this week I'm splurging with the tacos) the price of meat and cheese made me re-think.

Since much of what I needed to make the tacos and the meat roll-ups (balogna slathered with cream cheese, rolled up and held together with a prezel stick) were staples that could be used again later in the month, I had a hard time keeping track of what I was spending for the week. I found a very helpful budget tracker app that enabled me to keep track of what I had spent for the month, and what I still had left.

When I was done making the tacos this morning, I realized that there was enough of everything to make another whole week's worth of food, so I put all the extra ingredients into a large plastic bag, which I labeled and froze.

Now, instead of eating tacos for two weeks straight, I can save money and time next month!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

High Protein Granola

When it comes to breakfasts, I'm notoriously lazy if I'm only cooking for me. Since school is out for the summer, I decided to see if I could make this typically carb-laden breakfast food more balanced. After looking up some recipies on Pinterest, I found out how much dry material I was aiming for, and the correct ratio of wet ingredients, and then I looked around the kitchen and started throwing things in my measuring cup. I figured out the protien/carb amounts as I went and was able to make the carbs and protein even.

Homemade Granola

3/4c. Pumpkin seeds (shelled)
1/2c. Sunflower seeds (shelled)
2/3c. Almonds
2/3c. Chopped Walnuts
1/3c Rolled Oats
1T. Honey
1/4c. Oil
1/2c. Peanut or Almond Butter

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix honey, peanut butter, and oil together and microwave for about 10 seconds or until warm. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake until brown (about 20 minutes).

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Immune-Boosting Chicken Soup

Sniffles and coughs have invaded our house thus weekend, so I decided to make chicken soup. I have heard that onion and garlic are immune-boosting foods, so I put in as much as I thought my family could stand. When I went to buy the chicken, there was only one chicken breast that was the right size, so I bought some chicken sausage, too, which turned out to be a really yummy addition! Then I added avocado at the end, and that made it even more yummy! This may have been the most delicious (and healthy) soup I have ever made!

Chicken Soup
1 medium chicken breast
1 lb. chicken sausage (or another chicken breast)
1 onion
4 (or more) cloves of garlic
4 ribs of celery
4c chicken stock, (or enough to cover the meat while it cooks)
1/2 Avocado per bowl (add just before devouring)

Dump all ingredients into a soup pot and boil until the meat is cooked and the vegtables are mushy. I added all the ingredients in whole or in large pieces, and when it was all cooked, I shredded the meats in our KitchenAid mixer and used our immersion blender (a very useful thrift store find!) to take care of the veggies. This made the soup very creamy, and it was pretty quick to make. If you do not have an immersion blender or a KitchenAid, the soup may not be as creamy, but it will still taste yummy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chicken Alfredo

Tonight I made a delicious low-carb version of my homemade pasta alfredo, which I have been missing lately. Basically, I substituted chicken for the pasta and served it over fresh spinach.

It turned out looking like this:
Mommy liked it, and so did I! The sauce gave the dish a "comfort food" feel, while the spinach added freshness and did not become slimy at all. It was also fairly fast to make. If one was in a hurry, It would be possible to use store-bought sauce, but homemade is always yummier.

Low-Carb Chicken Alfredo

Three chicken breasts, cut into small-ish pieces to cook quicker

4Tbsp. Butter
4Tbsp. Flour
2c. Milk

1tsp. dried Basil
1tsp. onion powder
1tsp. garlic powder
1c. Shredded Parmesan
1c. Shredded Mozzerella

Salt and pepper to taste. (I use lots of pepper)

1 bag fresh Spinach

Start cooking the chicken however you choose. (I fried it, and it took about as long as the sauce did to cook.)

Melt butter in a saucepan, then add flour and stir constantly until the mixture bubbles. Add milk extremely slowly, stirring well between each addition. Add seasonings and cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken. (Don't forget to check the chicken!)

When sauce reaches desired thickness, add cheese and stir well. By now, your chicken should be done cooking as well, so you're all set!

Serve over fresh Spinach and enjoy!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Low-Carb, High Protein Breakfast Bundles

Mommy and I have recently decided to challenge ourselves to a low-carb, high protein diet. Our focus isn't solely on losing weight, though. It is more on changing our eating habits so we ca be more healthy.

Breakfast has been quite the challenge, since both of us love our morning carbs, but we have been finding lots of good, delicious recipies on Pinterest. This morning, however, I was home alone, and was having trouble finding anything to eat that wasn't full of carbs. I looked in the refrigerator, and there I found a few simple ingredients that made a delicious and filling high-protein breakfast.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bundles:
(For 1 person)

4 slices of thin ham (or any other deli meat)
2 tsp. of Greek yogurt
1 cheese stick
2 tsp. crumbled bacon (we get the big bag from Costco).

Layer two slices of meat together for each bundle (so the filling won't leak out) and spread evenly with the yogurt.

Then add half a cheese stick to each bundle. Sprinkle liberally with bacon.

Then roll the bundles up like burritos and microwave for about a minute.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

This morning I tried a recipe from Pinterest that used banannas, peanut butter, applesauce, and quick oats to make a fairly balanced breakfast cookie. They turned out to be quite delicious, but had a strong bananna taste, which I did not particularly care for. One of the comments on the recipe mentioned using pumpkin instead of bananna, so I decided to try that. I added some spices, some chopped walnuts, and some crystallized ginger. In spite of not having any sugar except the ginger, these turned out quite well. If they are not quite sweet enough for your taste, you could add some honey to the batter, or just drizzle some on top of the baked cookies.

Pumpkin-Oat Cookies:

1 small can pumpkin
1/3 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups quick oats (uncooked)
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 medium-sized chunks of crystallized ginger, chopped
1/3 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix well, then let rest for 10 minutes. (This allows the oats to soften.) Then drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten into circles.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cookies have reached desired consistancy.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Filling the Empty Places

I happened upon this book by Beneth Peters Jones in a thrift store recently, and, being familiar with the author, picked it up. From the title, I expected this book to be written for single young ladies, but the audience for which this book is intended is much broader. Mrs. Jones addresses many different aspects of life common to all women.

Even though I didn't feel very "empty" when I began reading this book, I learned a lot and gained some very helpful insights into my own life, as well as greater understanding to help in ministering to other ladies.

I highly recommend this book --"it is a must-read" for every lady!