Risotto with Tomatoes and Baby Limas

Risotto with tomatoes and baby limas

steam baby lima beans (frozen) for five minutes
Set aside.

In a saucepan bring 7 cups of broth to simmer, keep at bare simmer

in heavy 4 quart casserole, heat oil and butter over meduium heat, add 2 minced shallots and 2 minced garlic cloves, saute for 2 or 3 minutes, add 2 cups arborio rice and cook about 2 minutes, stirring, when grains are translucent, add 1 cup white wine, 4 chopped tomatoes, 3 T. combined minced thyme and oregano leaves, 2 T. parsley, salt and pper to taste, stir until liquid is abosrbed.

Add 1 cup hot water, or broth, stir freuqently until absorbed.  Continue adding a little of 1/2 cup hot water at a time, stir unitl each is almost all absorbed, adjust heat so risotto is always at gentle simmer, after ten minutes, stir in limas, keep adding broth, after another 6 to 8 minutes rice should be pleasantly al dente and creamy, stir in final 1/4 cup broth, turn off heat, add 1/2 cup shredded basil leaves, 3 T. butter, 1/2 cup parmesan, stir will, serve immediately.

The One-Dish Vegetarian: 100 Recipes for Quick and Easy Vegetarian Meals

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Grain free, Maple, Almond, Coconut Pancakes

The pumpkin flavor is very mild, almost not even present, so you may want to double the pumpkin.


7 eggs (ours are from a friend’s backyard coop, so they are not a standard size. If yours are storebought, you might want 8-10 eggs)
3/4 cup of oil or melted butter
3/4 cup of milk (ours is raw whole milk)
1 cup almonds
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt (possibly a bit more)
Sweetener- 4 T. molasses, maple syrup, or honey

Combine all in blender and blend until smooth. Let sit for a few minutes so it can thicken and flavors blend.

Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of batter on heated, oiled griddle. Make as for regular pancakes. This batter is slightly more substantial, so you want to spread it a bit.

How this recipe came to be: My little grandson the Dread Pirate Grasshopper was visiting with his Mummy and his sister, and he started being a bit of a crab. When the DPG is being a bit of a crab, it looks like what other children have when they are in meltdown mode. He’s a passionate child, is our DPG.

His mommy was going to take him home, and I wanted him to stay, so (with her permission) I attempted a distraction and asked him to help me make pancakes. It worked.=)

there were four important reasons why this is the recipe I worked out for our pancakes:
1. He does not seem to handle wheat well
2. I am trying to reduce my grains, sugars, and general carb levels
3. We have a generous supply of organic, unsweetened coconut, and almonds, purchased in bulk on sale from the co-op and stored in our freezer.
4. the night before I made these pancakes I was making room in our freezer for an important donation of breastmilk for our other grandson, The Striderling. In the process, I set out a bag of frozen pumpkin and then forgot about it- I remembered it in the morning and needed to use the pumpkin (I used the other half for a microwave pumpkin cheesecake)- so I made the above recipe based on this one.

It’s very, very important to smell the spices when you put them in.

No more fiddling measurements in this one, and it makes a bigger batch of pancakes, too.

The DPG was delighted. He told me, however, that his daddy makes big pancakes, and I make tiny pancakes. I started to tell him he was a smart boy, and then I stopped at, “Sweetheart, you are a….”
I stopped because I remembered this article on telling your children they are smart. After a moment’s thought, I was going to finish it with ‘good helper,’ but He filled in the gap for me:
“… silly boy!”

Linked at:
 the Healthy Home Economist 
What’s Cooking Wednesday
Real Food Wednesday

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Salmon Patties

This recipe comes from the back of an inexpensive package of Chicken of the Sea salmon which I purchased from Amazon (using their subscribe and save option), but what makes it really good was what Jenny used for the ‘seasoned bread crumbs’ called for in the recipe (for low-carb variation scroll down):

One 14.75 ounce can of salmon
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (Jenny used leftover basil biscuits, ground to crumbs)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon mayo or salad dressing
2 beaten eggs
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T. fresh chopped parsley (Jenny skipped this)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1- 2 tablespoons fat for frying

Drain the can, but don’t discard bones or skin- both are edible.  Combine all ingredients except the fat and mix well.  Mixture will be moist.
Shape into eight patties, and brown in fat over medium heat until both sides are golden brown and the patties are heated through.

You can make a sandwich of them. We just had them with ketchup.

Low-Carb variation: add 1 teaspoon or more onion powder
substitute crushed pork rinds for bread crumbs

Posted in fish, frugal, lunch | Leave a comment

Basil Biscuits

Basil Biscuits

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, chopped (we use generous amounts of dried basil)
1 stick of butter
two cups of flour
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup of yogurt (it has to be yogurt), unflavored.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the butter and put it into a large bowl with the dry ingredients. Use your pastry blender OR rub this mixture gently with your clean fingers and between your hands until the butter and flour are well mixed and coarse crumbs start to form.

Stir in the chopped basil and the yogurt. Knead this about ten times (I knead it in the bowl).

Now there are two good, fast, and waste-free ways to shape your biscuits. If you want round biscuits, then form your dough into a log. Slice the biscuits as you would a roll of refrigerator cookie dough- this recipe makes about seven large biscuits (we usually quadruple it).

You can also roll your dough out in the usual way, but don’t use a biscuit cutter or a glass to make round biscuits, and then gather the scraps and reroll. Take your pastry wheel or pizza cutter (or even kitchen shears) and cut the biscuits into squares- first make several strips about two inches wide, then cut other rows at right angles to the first set, making square and diamond shaped biscuits. This is so much faster that ever since I first figured it out we have never have had round scratch biscuits again.

Put the biscuits into a greased pan (the recipe calls for a cake pan, we’ve used a cookie sheet and just made sure the biscuits all were touching each other). Brush tops with a bit of olive oil or more melted butter. Sprinkle with a bit of extra parmesan. Bake 32 minutes.

These biscuits are divine. They made a nice addition to a tea table or luncheon as well as being quite delicious for breakfast. They are rich, flaky, and elegant.

The original recipe comes from the children’s cookbook Come to my Tea Party by Nancy Cogan Akmon. It was a gift from Granny Tea to one of our girls- I forget if it was Pip or the FYG. It’s a very nice cookbook for teaching children to cook. It includes information on kitchen safety, measurements, the types of tools that the recipes will call for, and baking tips.

There are suggested menus for serving breakfast, lunch, supper, picnics, hosting tea parties, and making boxed lunches. There are easy recipes a child can work through on her own if she can read, and there are more involved recipes that make a very nice mother-child project to work on together.

It comes with a wooden spoon attached to the front cover, and ours even came with a pocket full of extra, blank recipe cards inside the front cover so the young cook can begin collecting (or sharing) her own recipes. Granny Tea gave us this cookbook, and she included a wooden spoon and an apron with it.

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Five Dollar Challenge, organic and/or local

If you’re here from My Meatless Mondays, welcome, and abject apologies.  I posted B.C. this morning (before coffee), and accidentally posted the wrong recipe and can’t delete it.  The following recipe *can* be vegetarian, but that’s not how I made it.  This is the squash recipe I meant to post.

(Adapted and reposted from The Common Room)

Remember the five dollar challenge from Slow Foods USA?  Or maybe you never saw it the first time.  Take a look.

A few weeks ago on our way home, the neighbor two houses over (that’s a mile or two around the corner for you city folk) ran out to flag us down. I thought he was going to tell us the cows were out again, or that I’d just hit his dog, there was so much urgency.  No, he wanted to give me an ice chest full of summer squash that he had just that minute picked from his garden. The squash had exploded.  It was very pretty, pale yellow fading into green.

 It reminds me of an Easter Egg, only prettier.  God is an incredible artisan.  He’s also quite awesome with flavors.=)

Well, that was a few weeks ago.  This week he came to the door with a five gallon bucket full of them.  As I told a family friend, we live in Lake Woebegone, where the only time you lock your car is the summer, and that’s just to keep the friendly neighbors from donating their bumper crop of zucchini behind your back.;-)

The first time we cooked with this,  the HG had one of her milk donors who keeps my grandson healthy with generous donations of human milk, and has become a good friend over to our house with her three children so they could all go swimming.The Equuschick and her two little ones came over, too.  Shasta even looked in briefly. It was a fun morning. The friend/milk donor/Angel to the Striderling is doing the paleo diet and I am eating low carb, so this is what we had for lunch:

A casserole largely based on this recipe., our version posted below
A salad composed only of tomatoes from the garden

Garlic stuffed olives
Bread with butter for those who wanted it

Raw milk from grass fed cows.  I get from a local farm family for 2.00 a half gallon jar.

We grated 16 cups of summer squash and didn’t even use half. We froze about four cups of the squash and made enough of the casserole to feed a dozen people (a couple of whom were small and ate only little bits)- we still have a casserole leftover for another meal.  But here’s the smaller version:

4 Tbsp coconut oil or other fat (I get organic butter from Costco, or you could use fat skimmed off other cooking)
1/2 a yellow onion, diced, picked from a local organic farmer
12 eggs, beaten (our eggs are also locally grown, free range, and yummy- 2.00 a dozen)
about 4 cups of grated summer squash (yellow or green) grated in the food processor
1/2 cup of garlic chives from my mother’s garden
3 or 4 cups of leftover cooked chicken (because that’s what we had.  I generally buy what I can get on sale, but when I can get it, I like Miller’s chicken, and no, I don’t get any kick-back for that.  Bacon would also be good- we get uncured, nitrate free, grass fed beef bacon for just a little more than pork bacon with nitrates at the store)
Salt and pepper to taste

Grease the pan
saute the onion in oil.
Beat the eggs until lemon colored.
Combine all the ingredients, pour into greased pan, and bake at 350 until set in the center and golden at edges (about 45 minutes)

When it’s done, take it out of the oven.  Don’t turn off the oven and leave it in because the kitchen is full of people and you think you’ll remember to get it out of the oven when the dozen people are in your dining room instead of the kitchen or it might get a little over brown around the edges.

summer squash crustless quiche

 Just sayin’.

Doesn’t this recipe seem to you as though it just cries out for cheese?  I thought I would regret the lack of cheese, but actually, it was very rich and filling without the cheese.  Perhaps that’s the benefit of farm-fresh eggs and freshly grown summer squash, I don’t know, but it tasted really good without the cheese, and I love cheese.

On a side note, not too long ago I went with a group of women on a jaunt out to the store where we get our grass fed beef, my .89 a pound beef hearts, our affordable uncured beef bacon- and all manner of specialty, locally made cheeses.  They had cheeses out for tasting.  One of the less culinarily adventurous of my companions followed me around, wide-eyed, watching me boldly (or brashly) sample every single one.  She would ask me after each one, “Is that any good?  What does it taste like?  Is it good?”  After watching her shudder after my enthusiastic “mmmmmm, delicious,” I had to keep telling her, “It’s cheese.  It’s locally made from milk from local cows. Of course it’s delicious.  But I love cheese, so you should ask somebody else.”

Truly, the only cheese I have ever had that I hated is American and Limburger, and I’ll even eat American in a grilled cheese sandwich (but I’d rather have Havarti).

So take it from me, it doesn’t need the cheese.  Although, if you wanted to, you could stir in a nice bowl of fresh cottage cheese.
So… on the side we had diced tomatoes with sea salt- free, except for the salt. The tomatoes were grown in five gallon buckets on part of my driveway and tire retaining wall.  I did not take a picture, because after all, tomatoes are tomatoes.  On the other hand, home-grown tomatoes are rubies of goodness bursting with the taste of summer, just looking at them makes my taste buds stand up and take a bow.  The children didn’t all love them, and this could have been filled out with wild greens- lambsquarters,day lilies, garlic  mustard, purslane, dandelion greens, or I could have grown turnip greens and quickly sauteed them for a free side dish.

Then the bread.  You could do storebought, you could go with some simple biscuits, with the Hillbilly Housewife’s garlic bread, or you could get fancy (full disclosure- I went with storebought because I had small cocktail sized loaves of whole grain rye bread I bought on sale, but these are actually deceptively easy):


The bread is neither paleo nor low-carb, but all the ingredients in our home-made breads are organic, purchased from the co-op, ground at home in the bosch grain mill.

As near as I can figure, a meal of the summer squash casserole, bread, organic butter (try Costco or a Trader Joe’s), tomatoes, with raw milk or water to drink cost us about 6 or 7 dollars and fed roughly a dozen.  Obviously, there won’t always be a bounty of tomatoes, and they don’t freeze as nicely as the grated squash (I could make the casserole again in the middle of winter since we grated so much of the squash and froze it), but in the winter, I would choose a different side-dish, perhaps a soup, or a winter salad made with grains or of home-grown sprouts, and maybe muffins instead of bread for a change of pace.

These are my best tips for eating organic (officially organic, or from a local producer who isn’t seeking legal certification, which I prefer because I loathe the government’s involvement in my food supply at any level, and especially at certification over organics),or local:

Carpool- go in with others to find good sources and travel together, or take turns picking up group orders.
Join a food co-op
Network- make friends, be a friend, and be willing to accept things like a giant ice chest full of summer squash.
Be adventurous- we get beef hearts from a reputable family butcher/farmer for .89 a pound because nobody around here eats them.  Tongue is also inexpensive for me.
Know your local wild edibles- not the scary ones, just the easy stuff.
Learn how to make use of the veggie parts that people don’t eat any more.
Combine errands- we pick up raw milk only when my daughter is working in town- even if we are out of milk- or when we are at the thrift shop which is near the farm.
Ask your local natural foods’ store if they offer discounts- I’d been shopping at mine for five years before I learned they gave discounts for retired military families (other people, too, but that’s the one that counts for us).
Farmer’s markets, of course, local CSA’s, and comb the internet looking for local sources.
Keep your eyes open when driving out in the country- lots of people in our area have signs out for eggs, fruit, or honey.
Drive out in the country where a lot of people garden and leave your doors unlocked.=)

You may also enjoy this post on a birthday meal which came in well under five dollars a person yet was special and celebratory.

Posted in frugal, main dish | 1 Response

Freezer Crockpot Meal- Asian Style Stew

Asian Style Stew for 36 servings 
That’s three meals for 12, or four meals for 8, or 6 meals for 6, 8 meals for a family of four, or 18 meals for a couple.=)

Broil (just long enough to brown on both sides) 8 pounds of cut up boneless meat- I think we had a combination of beef chuck and pork loins.

Remove from broiler and allow to cool (you could fry them, but the broiler was quicker for us, just make sure they are still totally raw in the middle).

Label 3 gallon sized freezer bags with the title of the recipe and the cooking instructions (see below)

Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 cups of black bean garlic sauce (we bought a prepared mixture)
4 teaspoons of beef broth powder
4 cups of frozen pepper strips (I use frozen pepper strips because it’s simpler- they are already frozen so make a great addition to a freezer meal)
2 onions sliced in strips (we ended up using only one onion because our pepper strips were a mix of peppers and onions)

Reserve some frozen green beans-

Stir well, working quickly so nothing frozen defrosts. Divide the broiled meat into three freezer bags (one gallon sized), then divided the sauce/vegetable mixture among the three bags.

divide 2 pounds of frozen green beans into three different quart sized bags and attach to the larger bags when you freeze them.  Add them on cooking day about half way through the cooking (I found they turn too black if you don’t do this).
Optional, but delicious: be prepared to have bean sprouts and lentil sprouts on cooking day

Seal. Freeze. I like to lay these bags flat in a box or a baking dish- that way if they leak, it doesn’t get all over the freezer, and if I need to move them, since they are flat, they fit more compactly in the freezer.

Cooking instructions (write this on bag)
Asian Style Stew
Defrost, put in crockpot. Cook on high for about 5 hours, or on low for about 10-12, adding frozen green beans.

It doesn’t need to be completely defrosted, just extend the cooking time if it is still frozen in the center.

We had ours mixed with soba noodles.You can serve it over rice

The recipe calls for the sauce to be thickened with cornstarch just before serving. You remove the meat and veggies with a slotted spoon, and then stir in a mixture of 5 tablespoons of cold water and 5 tablespoons of cornstarch, whisk it in well, cover and turn to high, cook until thickened (just about 15 or 20 minutes). We did not do this and I thought it tasted fine.

We will make this again. It was tasty and it would be a great company dinner.

This recipe would also have been delicious, IMO, with vegetables like turnips and bean sprouts to add more crunch and stretch the meat.

adapted from:Better Homes and Garden Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes 

Posted in Asian, crockpot, meat, OAMC | Leave a comment

Ginger Sesame Slaw

Ginger-Sesame Slaw for Twelve
8 cups thinly sliced bok choy (I think Pip put it through the grater of our food processor)
4 cups carrot ribbons (she used the vegetable peeler)
1 or 2 shredded turnips (jicama would also be good. Daikon radish would be authentic, but alas, not one of our three grocer’s carries this).
2 tablespoons diced pickled ginger OR 4 teastpoons grated fresh ginger

Oriental Sesame salad dressing (we used a prepared Asian Vinaigrette, but all you really need is sesame oil and raw apple cider vinegar)

This was perfect for a hot summer night, tangy, delicious ginger zing, and the hint of sesame. I might have liked it even better topped with almond slivers and sesame seeds gently browned in sesame oil.
Pip and I thought this was perfect, everybody else would have toned down the ginger.

Posted in Asian, salad | Leave a comment

Rainbow Salad

This beautiful and healthy salad can be frugal, too, if you make it in season and watch for sales (that’s true of many recipes, isn’t it?)

Set out a cup of frozen peas to thaw.

Then mix this dressing:
1/3 cup of oil
2 Tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown mustard
dill weed to taste (a teaspoon or so)
a drop or two of honey.  Seriously- a drop or two, that’s all.
same of salt, paprika, and even less pepper

Toss these ingredients into a bowl and then gently mix in the dressing:
3 leeks, cut into thin ribbons (use your scissors)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup thawed peas
2 peeled oranges, sliced thin. You could also just drain a couple cans of mandarin oranges, which are inexpensive at the discount grocer’s and the dollar store, but peeled oranges are better.
1 red onion- the recipe calls for sliced into rings, but we don’t like that much raw onion in one bite, even though it is prettier. So we dice the red onion, or dice a sweet yellow onion if they are in season, although the red onion is certainly prettier.
Mint leaves (we think it’s better without mint)

The leeks are a little strong, and I think it’s good with celery added to balance out that sting.  You could also lightly steam the leeks, or saute them in a bit of oil to reduce the sting.

You can serve this immediately, or you can let the flavors blend for a few hours before serving. Make it in a clear glass baking dish or a crystal salad bowl, because it is so colorful and pretty you’ll want to be able to see it.
This is also good combined with a dab of home-made mayonnaise and diced cooked  poultry for a delicious luncheon salad.

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Spaghetti and Zucchini Fritters

Picture by the FYB

From Real Simple Family, 2011

Cook 1/2 a pound of spaghetti and drain (for low carb variation, substitute cooked spaghetti squash, although it might not get as delightfully crispy about the edges)

While spaghetti is cooking, saute a chopped onion and grated zucchini in olive or coconut oil in a large skillet just until soft.

Toss with cooked spaghetti, 2 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (we used grated raw cheddar), season as desired.  Fry 1/2 cup portions of the mixture in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until golden and crisp (3 or 4 minutes per side).

Serve with spaghetti or marinara sauce, or eat plain.

To make this, we used conventional spaghetti that I managed to find for .50 a pound
Our grated zucchini came from our own garden
The coconut oil is organic and we buy it from Amazon using their subscribe and save option
Our eggs come from local backyard chicken coops, from free range chickens
The raw cheese was expensive, but I did get it on sale for only slightly more than 5.00 a pound (something like 5.23 or some odd number like that)

Serving suggestions:
Broiled tomato slices from our garden or the organic farm near the HG (I can get 25 pounds of organic canning tomatoes right now for .50 a pound) and homemade garlic bread sticks (the Hillybilly Housewife’s recipe, only we use real butter and freshly ground organic whole wheat flour)

this rainbow salad made with leeks, oranges, and just a couple other things, perhaps with a couple artichoke hearts on the plate for extra green color

A green salad and garlic bread

Ginger Sesame Slaw and buttered green beans

Whatever fruit is on sale and a green salad

Turnip Slaw and green beans

A simple salad of diced tomatoes and basil

This Fennel Salad from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food

Home-made whole grain Focaccia bread and fruit or salad

The point is not to be pretentious about the provenance of our food.  But this meal costs about 5.00 or less, total, to feed at least six people, so it more than falls within the ‘Five Dollar Challenge’ offered by the Slow Food Movement for September 17th, even if you use organic pasta, or home-made pasta, and probably especially if you use a spaghetti squash.

Posted in frugal, low-carb, pasta | 1 Response

Green Beans Manchu

Green Beans Manchu

1/4 pound fresh pork (any cut, may also use beef)
1 Tablespoon peanut oil (use any other oil)
1/2 teaspoon ginger root
2 cups cut green beans (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons soy sauce (we use Bragg’s Amino Acids).
1/4 cup Slivered almonds (optional)

Cook almonds (if using) in a dry skillet until fragrant, remove and set aside. Cut the pork into thin strips about 1 1/2 inches long. Heat the oil in skillet, and saute the pork and ginger root until lightly browned. Add the green beans, water, and soy sauce. Cover and cook 7-8 minutes or until beans are just beginning to be bright green. Season further with salt and pepper as desired. Top with almonds, serve with fried rice (or wild rice for lower carbs) and green salad.

Serves 4, taken from The Cook It and Freeze It Book by Margaret Deeds Murphy

Posted in Asian, frugal, low-carb, meat | Leave a comment