Sunday, January 31, 2010

My January Challenge

So for the month of January, I challenged myself to only buy one hundred dollars worth of groceries. I went over because of sales tax. Before tax it was $99.28. After sales tax is $101.25.

Things I have learned:
1) To eat cheaply, you eat a lot less meat. Normally, once a week or so, we have what I like to call "roast slab of beast". But for this month, we cut it out entirely.
2) We ate a lot less fresh vegetables. When we eat roast slab of beast, I always cook fresh veggies on the side. Normally a roasted vegetable and some sort of legume. But this month, the only fresh vegetable we ate was romaine lettuce.
3) What did we eat in January? Soups and casseroles were our mainstays for dinner. Yohboh and I eat dinner leftovers the next day for lunch. For the toddler, she eats a version of this porridge with organic yogurt every morning. I made a lot of homemade breads.
4) It is essential not to waste food. I have been known to throw away leftovers not because they have spoiled, but quite frankly I am sick of eating them. But this month, I tried really hard not to throw anything out if it could be consumed.
5) I have a REALLY well stocked pantry and freezer. So much so, that my February challenge will be to spend only 200 dollars in groceries. That way, we can have occasional roast slabs of beast.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nacho Night


Nacho night is always popular. This is chips, cheese, beans, onions, shredded chicken, salsa, sour cream and jalapenos. And magic dust to make it healthy. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fried Rice

Fried rice is an excellent way to use up leftovers. Kids like it too.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Minjenah's Brownies

So for my friend KC's birthday, I make her brownies. I used to make a chocolate cake but brownies are just MORE chocolate per serving.


Minjenah's brownies


4 1 oz squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1.5 sticks butter (don't use margarine- if you are going to do that, use the Betty Crocker mix to make your brownies)

1.5 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 T vanilla
1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt

1 cup of flour


Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl in the microwave (I am going to expect you to know to use a microwave safe bowl- don't disappoint me) for about two to three minutes. The butter will be melted completely and the chocolate squares will resemble squares but squares a five year old would draw. If it is not like that, add another minute to the microwave.

Stir the chocolate mixture until well combined. Stir in the next four ingredients. It will look very glossy when properly combined at this point.

Add the one cup of flour. I actually like to use a sifter for this because
1) there are no floury lumps
2) the toddler really likes that part.

Stir until just barely combined.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for 20-30 minutes. (I start checking at 18 minutes). This also can be made in a 8 x 8 pan but it will take 30-35 minutes. It is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pear Bread

Pear Bread

My mother is a generous woman who gave us 5 kilograms of Korean pears, or seven pears. We tried to eat them all but two got mushy. So I shredded them up for pear bread.

Pear Bread (Makes two big loaves)

1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden rum

1.5 cups of flour
1 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
.5 Tablespoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

3 cups shredded pears, juice and all
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of vanilla

1 cup of walnut halves, toasted and chopped


The night before you make this, put the dried cranberries and rum in a bowl. Ignore it.

The following morning, preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the flour, spices, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.

In a larger bowl combine the pears, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla.

Dump the dry stuff on top of the wet stuff and stir until just combined. Add the cranberries, the reddish liquid the rum has become and the walnuts. Fold until just combined.

Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake for one hour.

It is really moist and a touch grainy from the pears.

January Challenge Update

I have challenged myself to buy 100 dollars worth of groceries for the month of January.

Here are the full details:

1) Meals out do not count.
2) That being said on average we eat one meal out a week.
3) I eat most of my meals at home, as does my child. Yohboh brings lunch with him most of the time. He also seems to get a free meal at his job every week or so.
4) I have spent $81.60 on food so far this month.
5) This does not include other items like garbage bags or light bulbs. Groceries are food stuffs in my definition.

If you do not agree with the details of my challenge, GET YOUR OWN BLOG.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Date Nut Bread

So what is interesting about the food we are eating since my January eat from my disaster stockpile decision is that I have not noticed a HUGE difference in the quality of food. We are eating fewer slabs of roast beast but is that really a bad thing?


Date Nute Bread with honey cream cheese.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pizza Night

This is a pizza my seven (almost eight! he would insist I remind you) godson made:

And this one yohboh made:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A marriage and a sandwich

Do you know what marriage is? It is when two is greater than one plus one. Take this for example:

Yohboh fried some chicken:

I made some bread:

And we made the best sandwich ever to come from a place that is not Chick Fil A:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Random Pasta Bake

So this is leftover ham (from Christmas!) mixed with tomato sauce and Italian spices baked with whole wheat penne and cheese.


I am trying to have NO leftovers. This is challenging but fun to see how many meals I can eke out for under one hundred dollars.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Truffled Popcorn

Oh My God is this good:

Remember that truffle salt I got for Christmas? I just sprinkled it on warm popcorn with butter.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More Bread

This is the third time I have made this bread in the new year.


Friday, January 8, 2010

January Challenge

This is the pot roast, green beans and mashed potatoes we had for dinner.


This January I am challenging myself to only eat out of my pantry. I do have to get veggies and dairy and eggs. So I am giving myself one hundred dollars to do that but let's see how many meals I can make out of the food in my house!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


So for those of you who do not know me in real life, I have been doing the coupon thing for about a year. Sometimes, I get free stuff from a grocery store.

I have a lot of chocolate chips and evaporated milk that I got for a very good price. I did donate a lot of canned goods for Christmas including most of the evaporated milk but I kept some. The chocolate chips I got because I like to bake and everything is better with chocolate chips.

So yohboh suggested I try to make fudge with the evaoprated milk and chocolate chips. I googled some recipes and made this:


That is the Carnation Famous Fudge Recipe.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Another Loaf

So someone (ahem her name rhymes with sminjenah) ate the last bit of the bread last night so another loaf of no knead bread had to be made.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

No Knead Bread

So my wonderful friend KC got me this book for Christmas.


Yeah, I am lucky to have wonderful friends who share my cookbook passion.

So I decided to dust off the No Knead Bread Recipe. This is my favorite version of this recipe. Jaden's four year old son does an amazing job of making the bread.

Here is the finished loaf.

Oh yeah, did I mention that we ate 7/8's of this bread before bed?

Jim Lahey's Sullivan Street Bakery No Knead Bread

Adapted by Minjenah

400 grams bread flour
1 gram yeast
8 grams salt (I use Kosher)
300 grams water (I used cool water from the tap)

Did you notice that I used weight measurements? I am trying to do that more with baking because you get more consistent results. Also, I finally have an accurate scale.

Mix the first three ingredients with a dough whisk (yes I own a dough whisk--I make pizza every other week, so it gets used more than my regular whisk)

Add the water and combine until it is a shaggy mess. Cover it with a tea towel (what is the difference in a tea towel and a kitchen towel?) and ignore it for at least 12 hours.

After it has doubled in size, flip it over onto the tea towel with a dough scraper from the bowl. Before you flip the dough in, dust the tea towel with flour. I hold the tea towel by the ends and form a loose ball with the dough.

Put it back into the bowl, in the tea towel and let it rise again. About two hours.

Preheat your oven to 475. Get your dutch oven in there while it preheats. Leave it there for thirty minutes.

You can overlap the last rising with the preheating of the dutch oven. I recommend it.

Dump the bread in the dutch oven with the lid on for 30 minutes.

Take the lid off and let bake for 20 minutes more (the recipe specifies 15-30 so decide how brown you like it)

Wait a PAINFUL twenty minutes to eat generous slices thick with butter.

Here are the slices:

I am challenging my sister to make this!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Twice baked potatoes as an appetizer

So I made twice baked potatoes as an appetzer for New Year's eve.

Seriously cute!