Monday, April 25, 2011

Back on track: Meal Plan

We are getting back on track after a look of cooking and baking this weekend. I seem to go a bit overboard for holidays when people are coming over. Yesterday was no exception.
Thankfully we got plenty fruits and veggies to help us.

Bountiful Basket load this week:
3 Bananas
2 Grapefruits
3 pounds of Apples
Strawberries (used for Easter)
8 Yams
2 bunches of Asparagus (used for Easter)
3 Yellow squash
2 Daikon radishes
2 Cucumbers

Plus this week I got the Italian pack
2 Yellow onions
Purple onion
Garlic head
Bunch Curly parsley
Herbs, rosemary, oregano, basil

So the Monday Meal Plan for the week is a lot of grilling and some other easy meals:
Meatless Monday: Pasta with bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Rosemary lemon roasted chicken with roasted potatoes, onion, and garlic
Thursday: Chicken Souvaki Pitas topped with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers. Side of hummus
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Steaks from Winder Farms, oven baked potato wedges, grilled squash
Sunday: Homemade pizza and movie night

Friday, April 22, 2011

Strawberry Sugar Cookies

Today is Earth day and Good Friday. But I am posting some easy cookies. I bought a lot of strawberries because they looked so red, fresh, and juicy. Isn't it great the way our Earth provides. There were way to many to eat before they would go bad, so I made some Strawberry sugar cookies.
After the lime sugar cookies I wanted to make more sugar cookies with fruit. I chopped the strawberries pretty small. These cookies are ones that you are able to roll out and cut into shapes. I wanted to eat these, not chill, roll, cut and then bake. So I just rolled them into balls and flattened them out a bit.

Strawberry Sugar Cookies
Slight change from Professional Recipes
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 ¾ cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream or tartar
1 (or more, or less) cup of chopped strawberries

- In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together, until fluffy. When fluffy, mix in strawberries.
- Add egg and beat well, then mix vanilla extract.
- In a seprate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, until thoroughly combined.
- If wanting to cut into shapes: Divide dough into two equal portions, then flatten each into a disk. Cover each disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or until the dough is firm enough to work with. If it becomes too firm, soften in a room for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured board roll out dough, until it is about 1/3 inch thick. Cut out cookies with cookie cutter. Using a spatula, carefully move the cookies onto a cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them.
- If wanting to get to the cookies quicker: Roll into ball (about 1"), Press down until about 1/3 inch thick. Place unto cookie sheet, leaving space between them.  
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Bake for about 8 to 11 minutes, or until gold along the edges.
- Remove cookie sheet from oven, and let them cool for 4 minutes.
In honor of Earth day, I will take an extra long walk and eat 2 of these cookies!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meal Plan: Easter week

This is a jammed packed week with Easter and Earth Day. Distance in days to Easter is only 6. Which surprises me since Easter seemed so far away ago.

Even though it was a rainy weekend, the sun came up and allowed us to go see some bison at Antelope Island. It was a beautiful day there. I have been there 3 times and truly enjoy this beautiful place. It is a great place to see the Great Salt Lake which you would think you could find easier. There is also camping there, lots of hikes, a ranch with old houses to explore.
This week we are trying to get back on track after a weekend of having family in town. I cooked some, but we also ate out more than I had planned. So this week we have 3 repeat meals.

Here is the Monday Meal Plan for this week:

Meatless Monday: Pad See Ew
Tuesday: Stuffed Chayote squash
Wednesday: Monterey Chicken, rice, veggie side
Thursday: Chicken fajitas
Good (Earth Day) Friday: BBQ at friend's house
Saturday: Out to eat
Easter Sunday: Brunch: Waffles, sausage, and fruit
Easter dinner: Apps: Cucumber dill toasties, deviled eggs, Main Meal: Spinach and strawberry salads with poppy seed dressing, ham, twice baked potatoes, asparagus, rolls Desserts: Carrot cake, banana pudding trifle

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Modern Day Milk Man Delivery-Winder Farms

Winder Farms is a grocery deliver service that promises "100% Quality Guaranteed". They also call themselves "Your Farmer's Market on Wheels".
I have heard of them often during my months in Utah. They have advertisements in coupon mailings, a booth at the farmer's market, and also sales on the side of the road. Winder Farms milks are also available in some grocery stores. It was not until a LivingSocial deal of $55 of groceries for $20, did I commit. When I went to place my order frustration began. All I saw where fees: New Customer Setup Fee, Delivery Fee, Start-up Fee, Cooler Fee. But it wasn't until I had gone through a lot of products, that I discovered the Terms and Conditions. Where yet another fee awaited me. If you cancel before 24 deliveries there is a fee, if I remember it was about $35. That was when I just closed the browser window and went about my day.

I had pretty much forgotten about, figured I lost my $20 bucks. Then a few days later I received a phone call from Winder Farms customer service. The nicest lady wanted to help me complete my order. I explained my concern, and she assured me that I had purchased the deal that was a trial offer, in which many of the fees were included and I would not be charged if I only did the one trial deliver. I call her back a few days later to set up my account (I still received a $15 New Customer Setup Fee plus some amount for the cooler). She was just a helpful as before and gave me many ideas of what to try.

My deliver day came and everything is guaranteed to be delivered before 8am. I found the cooler on my door step, Hayden was curious what was out there (look in the window). Inside was each item that I selected from the website.

I ordered many dairy products, because Winder Farms was originally Winder Dairy. The milk is fresh and tastes a bit richer than regular store bought. I also got chocolate milk, strawberry milk, butter, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese. I was a bit disappointed that the meat and pasta were frozen. The bread is from Paradise Bakery. My favorite thing I ordered was the strawberry lemonade. I also ordered some orange juice and eggs.

Overall the products are fresh and good. I didn't get produce simply because I didn't need any at the time I placed my order. I think that Winder Farms would be a good solution from something that can't make it to the grocery store. Perhaps if you are having a baby or a surgery that would keep you home, with limited help. Just be aware of the fees, some that you might not even notice at first. If you want to give the service a try, keep a look out for coupons, as they seems to pop up all around. Winder Farms truly was a modern day milk man.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What's for Dinner?

April showers better bring May flowers. I am ready for some local fresh fruit and veggies. This weekend when I picked up my Bountiful Basket, it was snowing. However the fruit and veggies were safe indoors.
Here is what my basket held:
1 head Romaine lettuce
1 head cabbage
1 celery stalk
3 chayote squashes
4 green bell peppers
cluster tomatos
6 apples
6 oranges
bunch of bananas 

With which I built this Monday Meal Plan (of course a repeat from last week because of changing plans):
Meatless Monday: Spaghetti with marinara sauce plus salad
Tuesday: Stuffed Chayote squash
Wednesday: Sloppy Joe with a veggie side
Thursday: Homemade pizza topped with bell peppers and olives plus a side salad
Family in town this weekend
Friday: Out to eat
Saturday: Breakfast: Pancakes, eggs plus cantaloupe
Lunch: Sausage tortellini soup (bell pepper, celery) plus salads and bread.
Dinner: Monterey Chicken, rice, veggie side
Sunday: Brunch: Baked French toast and berries Pancakes eggs plus fruit
Early Easter Dinner: Garlic pork, mash potatoes, asparagus, deviled eggs

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Think Spring: Fruit Pizza

With all the beautiful berries that are springing up, I wanted to top a fruit pizza with them. Fruit pizza is my favorite summer time dish, with the plus that it only takes about 10 minutes in the oven. A total bonus in Phoenix, when I didn't want to run the oven and heat up the entire house. Even though it isn't summer just yet and spring has been snowy lately, the berries were begging to top a cookie.
I had a lot of fruit in the house, so I didn't buy any certain topping fruits. You can adjust the fruit toppings based on personal preferences. My favorites are berries of all kinds, oranges, kiwi, and bananas. This time I threw on some grapes. Just load on the fruit. I have seen where blueberries and strawberries create an American flag for a more organized approach. For this batch a made individual size cookies as well as a large one.

Fruit Pizza
Cookie (Makes 2 large cookies)
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup sugar
2 egg
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 container (12 oz) whipped topping, thawed
Fruit (berries, kiwis, bananas, oranges)
    - Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    - In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in egg. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt until just blended.
    - Press dough into an ungreased pizza pan.
    - Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned, cool completely.
      - In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Fold in whipped topping. - Spread onto cooled crust. Top with fruit.

        Tuesday, April 5, 2011

        Sesame Ginger Chicken

        This first time I had this dish was at a Tupperware party hosted by my mom's good friend. I was home from college and dragged there. Leaving this party with the recipe for Sesame Ginger chicken made the hours of small town gossip worth it. This dish is super easy and makes great leftovers.
        Something about quick and simple crock pot meals makes me happy. I stick everything in, plug in, turn on, walk away. I can do that, even on a busy day. 
        Then look at it cooking through the glass, covered in saucy goodness! If I have fresh ginger on hand, I will finely grate some into this. Also I usually double the sauce just because I like it. I really HATE when my food touches. I seriously hate it. This is one dish that I will accept when my chicken is over my rice. I also like it with broccoli on the side, not mixed in.

         Sesame Ginger Chicken 
        Family friend recipe, original source unknown
        2 Tablespoons soy sauce
        ¼ cup vegetable oil
        4 teaspoons sesame seeds
        ½ cup brown sugar
        1 teaspoon ginger
        2-3 pounds chicken, breasts or tenders; fresh or frozen

        - Mix ingredients together and pour over chicken in crock pot.
        - Cook on low for around 6 hours (frozen) or 4 hours (fresh), or until chicken is white all the way through
        - Shred chicken and serve with rice.

        Monday, April 4, 2011

        Meal Plan: April 4-10

        Spring is here! The bright spots of my Friday were daffodil blooms and reading my book in the backyard sunlight. J and I enjoyed a picnic on Saturday for lunch. It was a bit chilly but we toughed it out. It was probably preparing us for the snow that flurried all day Sunday. I love seeing the seasons change. The trees are getting leaves, the grass is almost green, and the crazy weather.

        I am also ready for this change of season because I am really for having more fruits and veggies that are in season. I feel lately that I am using whatever veggies sound the best, which isn't something I am all that proud of. Having the season change might help my Monday Meal Plans to take a much needed change of pace.

        Meals for this first week in April:
        Meatless Monday: Black Bean quesadillas with homemade salsa
        Tuesday: Indian Butter Chicken over rice
        Wednesday: Sloppy Joe's and a side of cauliflower
        Thursday: Breakfast for dinner, maybe waffles or baked French toast
        Friday: Beef stir-fry (all the veggies we didn't use last in the stir-fry last week)
        Saturday: Baked Ziti with sausage and zucchini
        Sunday: Out to eat