Sunday, July 10, 2016

July peaches

Summer is a great time of year to stock up on healthful fruits and vegetables. Some people are fortunate to have gardens, but where I live in Georgia, the animals are destructive and don't leave much behind for humans to consume.  Therefore,  I shop for produce when it is on sale, preferably when prices are $.99 per pound or less.  In order to enjoy our treasures year-round, I prefer the freezing method, using plastic ziptop bags that can be stored flat.

Georgia peaches begin arriving in the grocery stores in June.  I don't buy them then, because at that time of year, they are the cling variety.  I wait until July, when the freestone peaches are available.  They are much easier to peel and remove the stone from before slicing and freezing.  My family's favorite way to enjoy peaches is in my homemade pie.  I will also freeze one cup small chunk portions for pancakes.

It takes about six peaches to provide one pound of peeled, pitted, and sliced peaches for freezing.  


I write the prepared date on each sandwich ziptop bag, then store them together in a gallon ziptop bag.  My freezer is now stocked for a year, with enough ingredients to make six pies when adding one pound of frozen strawberries to each pound of peaches.  


Sometimes I prepare and freeze fresh strawberries, but only when they are on sale.  The lowest price I have seen this year is 3 pounds for $5.  Last week, I discovered a six pound bag of frozen strawberries for $9.98 at Sam's Club, which is the price all year-round, and the same as when fresh strawberries were on sale in early July.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Matzo flour


Passover 2014 began at sundown on Monday, April 14, heralding 7 days of abstaining from consuming chametz- grains that can leaven.  

The grocery stores in my area are pretty limited on Kosher for Passover items. I am glad I jumped at the opportunity to buy 6 boxes of Kosher for Passover matzos when they were on sale. Not only are they a great substitute for bread, but they can also (frugally) be ground up into matzo flour!  No more paying high dollars for small cans of matzo meal....even when you are fortunate to find them.  

Here is what you will need:

1 box of Kosher for Passover matzos
mini food processor
funnel with a wide exit
lidded glass jar for storage, clearly marked as Kosher for Passover


The process:

1) Break one sheet of matzo into small pieces, and place in the mini food processor.  Whirl until the texture is grainy.  If you want a cake flour consistently, then continue pulsing until dusty.

2) Place the funnel in the top of your jar.

3) Pour the ground matzo into the top of the funnel, and tap the funnel to completely release the flour into the jar.  

4) Repeat the process until you have the desired amount of matzo flour.

5) Place the lid on the jar, and store in the refrigerator.  

I successfully used the matzo flour this morning in pancakes! I measured the same amount as I would when using whole wheat flour.  

The matzo flour can also be put to use tonight when preparing dinner, for coating oven-baked cod. The recipe calls for 1 slice of toasted bread ground with 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.  I will use 3/4 cup of my freshly ground matzo flour instead.

I look forward to finding other ways of successfully substituting chametz with my home-ground matzo flour! 




  




Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Candy Cane Bark

It's that time of year again, for all things peppermint, due to the overload of candy canes available.  If you are like me, you probably still have a bag from last year, filled with canes that decorated your Christmas tree.  So far, I have found two edible uses for my minty stash...cookies, and peppermint bark.  Last year, I posted a recipe which called for peppermint discs.  This year, I decided to utilize what I already have on hand...candy canes that are made on dedicated peanut and tree nut free machinery, which are safe for those with allergies. 

The recipe is the same as the one I posted last year, except this time, I weighed 4 ounces of broken candy cane pieces, instead of peppermint discs.

 

I discovered a better method for crushing the candy:  fold a large piece of wax paper several times, and place it inside a plastic zip top bag.  Put the broken candy cane pieces between the layers of wax paper, and lightly tap them with a hammer.  This will help to prevent candy shards from cutting the bag and dumping sweet and pepperminty dust onto your work surface.
 
I created a double boiler by using a glass bowl over a small glass saucepan filled with  hot water.  Melt 8 ounces of your favorite chocolate, while frequently stirring with a silicone spatula. 
 
 
Once the chocolate has melted and is smooth, add the crushed candy canes, along with a drop or two of peppermint extract. 
 
 
 
Stir the mixture until it is well-combined.  

 
Spread contents of bowl onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  Place it in the freezer until solid.
 
 
 
Break apart the candy cane bark into bite-size pieces.  Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator.  This size batch is typically consumed within a week by all three members of my household!
 
 
 


Monday, October 28, 2013

New Publication!

More of my recipes have been published! They are included in the October 2013 release of "The Killer Wore Cranberry: Room for Thirds" edited by J. Alan Hartman.  The e-book is an anthology comprised of several Thanksgiving-themed humorous mysteries written by talented Untreed Reads authors.  My contributions are:  Pumpkin Cranberry Pancakes, Cranberry Chutney, and Apple Cranberry Pie. 


It can be purchased directly from my e-publisher, Untreed Reads, and is available in several downloadable formats.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Frugal Tomato Juice

I recently came up with a quick curried chickpea recipe, which includes 1/2 cup of tomato juice.  I had in my freezer a few 1/2 cup portions of tomato juice drained from canned, "no salt added" diced tomatoes.  These were saved from a bean recipe calling for drained diced tomatoes, and set aside for later use in my split pea soup recipe.  When I used the last serving of tomato juice, and wasn't planning to drain canned tomatoes in the near future, I knew I needed to find a solution.

Later that week, I went to the grocery store, and read the ingredients on bottled tomato juice.  I wasn't happy with the sodium levels, added preservatives, and the price per ounce.  I walked over to the aisle that houses canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.  The canned tomatoes have likeable ingredients, but I rarely drain them.  The tomato sauce is not the right consistency, along with many herbs and spices, which can add the wrong tomato flavor to dals and soups.  When I looked at the can of tomato paste, I remembered my split pea soup recipe that calls for 1/2 cup tomato juice, or "1 Tablespoon tomato paste + 1/2 cup water".   DING!!!

So, here is what I did:  I purchased one 12 ounce can of tomato paste for $1.15.


I got out my 1 Tablespoon measure and began portioning out the tomato paste onto pieces of plastic wrap.


 I was able to wrap 16 Tablespoons-worth of tomato paste!  Add to that the 1 Tablespoon I used in a recipe, for a total of 17 Tablespoons from one 12 ounce can.


I placed all the wrapped Tablespoons of tomato paste into a ziptop bag that was pre-labeled with use instructions.


Now the bag is ready to go into the freezer! This week, when I make a small batch of chickpea dal, I can simply grab and unwrap a Tablespoon portion of tomato paste, add 1/2 cup of water, and move on!

Not only does this method avoid added salt and preservatives, but the price per Tablespoon is roughly $.07.  Healthy and frugal!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

1/2 price e-Books at Kobo!

Are you in need of a healthy meal idea, or just wanting a fun and yummy dessert recipe? You can purchase my e-book, "From Lisa With Love" (as well as other titles for your reading pleasure) at half price from Kobo! Use code: Sept50

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Frugal happiness find: olive oil dispenser

Last Saturday, my husband had to work, and I wanted to do something fun in the kitchen with my son.  We decided to bake a batch of cookies, which require a combination of light olive oil and applesauce to replace butter in the recipe.  I remembered that I had recently used up the last of a smaller bottle of light olive oil, and it was now time to open the HUGE jug from my recent Sam's haul.  This would not be as easy to pour from as a smaller, handheld bottle.   I had been wanting an olive oil dispenser for some time, and now I had the perfect excuse for this to be the day to find one!

I looked at kitchen stores online, and was a bit dismayed by the prices, so I switched to Googling DIY projects.  Some were interesting, even pretty, but assumed I already had in my possession an empty wine bottle, or something similar.  The necessary dispenser piece to fit on top was about $7.99 at a "big box" store, which cost less than olive oil dispensers sold at the kitchen stores.  Hmmmmm......

Suddenly, I remembered a recent email, stating that I had $4 in Rewards to spend at Kmart.  I immediately searched the Kmart website, and discovered that an olive oil dispenser for $4.99 was available in the store near my house! I excitedly ordered my son to put on his shoes, and off we went to Kmart.  To my delight, there were several olive oil dispensers on the shelf! I grabbed one, went to the register, and paid $1.06, including tax, thanks to the $4 credit on my Rewards card. 

As soon as I arrived home, I took a picture of my frugal find, along with the reason for its purchase.

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Not only is the bottle filled with olive oil aesthetically pleasing, but it also does a superb job of dispensing without making a mess!  Perhaps the greatest reason for my love affair with my newly acquired kitchen gadget is due to the price.  There is a such a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that something works correctly and it didn't cost an arm and a leg.  Ahhhhh, the bliss of a frugal happiness moment!  Thankfully, I have been able to enjoy the euphoria throughout this past week, as I see the bottle out of the corner of my eye on the kitchen counter, and neatly pour its contents for other recipes.