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!