Two summers ago I purchased an ice cream maker off of Craigs List and I’ve been trying out different recipes ever since. I keep a running Pinterest board of all the delicious recipes I find, and I try to add a comment to the ones I’ve made so I’ll remember if I liked the recipe or not.
A little girl I babysit (above) and I made the Chocolate recipe below and she dubbed it “chocola-fantastic.”
These are a few of my favorites:
My coworker Kathryn told me about this Bountiful Basket program. You pay around $20 and get a basket of produce. From what I understand they buy the produce (or the majority of it at least) in bulk from (I’m guessing) the same place restaurants do. So mostly Bountiful Baskets is a way to get a great amount of produce for a really good price.
I was a bit hesitant to sign up because I shop for produce when it’s in season and on sale, so I usually get a good deal. Kathryn signed up and reported back that she thought it was a good deal and liked the program, so I figured I should give it a try.
You sign up and pay for your basket on Monday-Tuesday and pick it up Saturday. The cost is $15 plus a fee or two (there’s a first time participant fee and a handling fee). They also offer an organic basket option for a bit more.
You only sign up for weeks you want which is great because it took me about four weeks to use all my produce up, and was out of town for a week. Now I’m back and looking forward to getting another basket.
I got lettuce, bananas, green apples, strawberries, blackberries, leeks, zucchini, cucumber, oranges, grapefruit, broccoli and asparagus. I’d never purchased leeks before, so I had to find a couple of recipes for those.
They do this all over the country, so if it sounds interesting definitely check and see if there’s a pick-up location near you!
I didn’t get quite as many fantastic lunches packed as I’d hoped to with my goal, but I got in a few solid ones in January and made use of my animal food cutters I got for Christmas.
Orange/blueberries/cherries/cucumber/turkey and avocado sandwich/honey roasted peanuts/chocolate SomerSaults/Bugles
Cherries/string cheese/orange/cucumber/avacado/almonds/chocolate SomerSaults/Special K popcorn chips/Sweet Potato and Kale Frittata with Goat Cheese
Orange/cherries/grape tomatoes/cucumber/carrots/wafer cookies/strawberries/cucumber/carrots/Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
I returned from my family’s Christmas with leftover ham, so I made and froze these sandwiches to eat for quick lunches later.
Ham, Swiss & Mustard Sandwiches
8 hamburger buns
sliced Swiss cheese
1/4 cup softened butter
2T chopped onion
1t poppy seeds
1t dill seeds
- Mix butter, mustard, onion, poppy seeds, and dill seeds into a spread.
- Spread mustard mixture on both sides of 8 hamburger buns (use all the mustard).
- Add ham and 1/2 slice Swiss cheese to each bun.
- Wrap individually in foil and bake at 250 for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Sandwiches can then be consumed, or cooled and frozen in their foil in a plastic bag.
- To reheat a frozen sandwich bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or remove foil and cover and microwave until thawed and warm.
- I have also stored the mustard spread in the fridge and made fresh sandwiches for a few nights in a row.
I’ve been a pickle making machine lately. My grandma gave me several cucumbers from her garden so I turned them into several jars of bread and butter pickles (above). Then I visited my parents several weekends ago, and my dad had well over ten lbs of cucumbers. So we got to work and spent a good portion of the day Saturday pickling. We made a batch of sweet, bread and butter, and dill. I’ve tried some from each recipe and have found them all to be quite tasty!
I’ve canned a few different things and keep being surprised how easy it is. It takes some time and a bit of reading to make sure you know how to properly process your jars, but it is not rocket science. Honestly it doesn’t take all of the fancy tools either. I use my biggest soup pot with a steamer basket fanned out in the bottom for processing my jars. My mom did buy my dad the special jar tongs and they are really handy, but I don’t own a pair and my regular tongs do the job.
If you’re interested in some recipes check out Putting Food By. My grandma has a 1970s copy that I have a couple of recipes photocopied from. It also includes lots of great instructions and tips on canning, so it might be good to check out from the library if you’re going to give canning a try.
Sweet Pickle Chips – This is the updated recipe of the one I used. I generally don’t care for sweet pickles, but I didn’t mind these. The addition of the Allspice gives them a bit of a different flavor than a store-bought sweet pickle.
Bread and Butter – (pictured above) I couldn’t find a copy of this one online, so you’ll have to buy or borrow the book. It includes turmeric, celery seed, and mustard seed. The cucumbers in this recipe are put on ice before canning. I may be wrong but I think that it helps keep the pickles crunchier. Next time I make the dill recipe below I think I’ll add a similar step to the beginning of that recipe.
Dill – This recipe was recommended by my friend Shannon. They’re incredibly easy, and I wish we’d made more because I’m down to just a few pickles left! I like that the recipe is very basic, so it leaves room for tweaking the spices. I actually emptied a jar a few nights ago, and decided to make some refrigerator pickles with the left over juice.
What have you been packing for lunch lately? Most of these lunches are from a month ago. I’m going through a bit of a lunch packing lull and have been having lots of days where I throw a loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter in my bag rather than spending a little time packing up something. I guess it’s time to look back over everything I’ve packed and get some good ideas going again!
Turkey pita (I found these cute mini pitas that fit perfectly in my bento box!)/dried apricots/almonds/carrots/cucumber/cherry tomatoes/strawberries/pineapple
Breakfast burrito (corn, breakfast sausage, egg, cheese)/honey roasted peanuts/carrots/strawberries/mango/tomato
Toast/caprese salad (soon there will be fresh basil rather than dry!)/dried apricots/carrots/apple/strawberry/cucumber
Cadbury mini eggs/mango/tomato/cucumber/edamame/saltines/triscuits/cheese/garlic herb cheese/pepperoni/almonds
Pasta salad with tomato, cucumber, spinach, goat cheese, and olive oil balsamic dressing/cherries/peach/carrot/garlic herb cheese/triscuits
Ground Turkey Meatballs (mine were actually ground chicken)/dried apricots/almonds/carrots/apple/clementine/string cheese/chocolate macadamia nut cluster
Mexicali Salad with pita/graham cracker/almonds/clementine/pear/carrots/cucumber
Pasta with goat cheese, chicken, asparagus & mushrooms (added bell peppers)/apricots/almonds/kiwi/apple/cucumber
Chicken, corn, tomato, zucchini quesadilla/avocado/orange/Summer Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini
French Toast/ants on a log/string cheese/edamame/kiwi/almonds
Hamburger patty with lettuce, cheese, tomato, avocado/wafer cookies/strawberries/cucumber/carrots
Do you have a food or meal that’s a go-to when you don’t know what to cook or eat? One of mine is things in tortillas. I’ll often throw some chicken in a skillet with some salsa and whatever else I have on hand, and then wrap my skillet contents up in a tortilla.
Last night I threw together some black beans, mushrooms, and red bell pepper. Once that was all heated up and cooked a bit I spread some goat cheese on the tortilla and topped it off with some avocado. It’s not always the case when experimenting, but I thought this one turned out pretty tasty.
This other tortilla is an old camping dessert favorite from Girl Scouts. I believe the original recipe was called Smackos (probably because they’re lip smacking good!), but someone in my troop misunderstood and we giggled like junior high girls and called them Spankos. It’s basically a dessert quesadilla, and the possibilities are endless (marshmallows, butterscotch chips, bananas…..). Mine has peanut butter, Nutella, apples, coconut, and peanut butter chocolate swirl chips.
I blogged about the amazing Monbento lunch box a while back and Nate surprised me with one for Valentine’s Day! I am a big fan of it and use it almost every day. My co-workers will comment on how I always have good lunches, so I thought I’d just share a little of what I’m having. And a few recipes too!
If you Google or search Pinterest for bento you will find some pretty spectacular themed lunches (seriously click the links to Google and Pinterest). My lunches are nowhere near that fancy, but I’ve been having fun making some really tasty ones.
Some of what I’ve read about bento lunches emphasizes small amounts of a variety of foods, so I’ve been trying to include several fruits and veggies in smaller amounts rather than one or two in a larger amount.
Homemade Pad Thai with chicken (This was easy and tasty; I can’t wait to make it again.)/almonds/Cadbury Mini Eggs/clementine/pear/string cheese/carrots/cucumber
Spiced Black Bean, Grilled Avocado, and Goat Cheese Taco – turned burrito (I don’t think I’ve posted about this one before, but I’ve made it several times. It’s like a taco from a fancy restaurant.)/steamed carrots/pineapple/mango/edamame/string cheese/pistachios/Cadbury Mini Eggs
Broccoli Quinoa Casserole (This was ok, but I probably won’t make it again. I preferred Quinoa in this.)/pineapple/mango/carrots/edamame/string cheese/honey roasted peanuts/Cadbury Mini Eggs/graham cracker
Ham egg and cheese roll up/steamed broccoli/mango/pineapple/carrots/edamame/string cheese/pistachios/graham cracker/Cadbury Mini Eggs
Pineapple and Canadian Bacon pizza/carrots/clementine/pear/cucumber/almonds
Pasta with broccoli and cheese/clementine/strawberries/pineapple/mango/spinach salad with pecans, goat cheese, avocado, and olive oil balsamic dressing
Do you have any big weekend plans? I’ve got a few things going on and some other exciting tidbits.
Some people get very excited about Easter candy hitting the store shelves. I do enjoy picking up a bag of Starburst jelly beans which you can find this time of year, but this has been the first year I’ve hunted down a specific Easter candy. I discovered Cadbury’s Royal Dark Mini Eggs last year and have been checking shelves for them all month. My dad finally found some in Kansas, and when I went for a visit last weekend I stocked up on a few bags. A friend said she found some at Target in OKC, so I’ll have to check there the day after Easter and see if I find any on clearance. Do you have a favorite Easter candy?
I purchased my first DSLR camera today! My little point and shoot camera stopped working a while back and I’ve been getting by borrowing from friends when necessary. My Nikon will take a week or so to arrive, and I cannot wait!
One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, is coming to OKC this weekend and we’re going to see him. I think there are still tickets left, so if you need something to do Sunday night it should be a good show!
I am super close to finishing the t-shirt quilt I’m making for my friend Elyse. Eight more seams.
I’m making Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas for dinner tonight.
Some friends are getting married this weekend at IAO. I think an art gallery would be a cool venue to get married at, so I’m looking forward to seeing how everything looks, and the fun time celebrating with friends!
Source: IAOgallery.org via Flickr
My grandma was telling me about her garden and a book she got, Lasagna Gardening. So I’m going to pick up a copy from the library on the way home for some light weekend reading.
Have a good one!