Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Daily Latte

Even before the strict $50 a week budget started, I've always wished for but couldn't justify a daily latte.  I do budget $25 a month for Starbucks and I try to save it for days I'm working all night or at 5 am, but that money doesn't equal very many cups of coffee, and even less much more expensive lattes.  

So in came my at home latte making equipment.  By definition, this is technically closer to a misto, or cafe au lait (half coffee, half milk) then a latte (shots of espresso and steamed milk) because I'm not pulling shots of espresso or steaming any milk, but it solves my desires for a latte so completely, I prefer it to Starbucks.  

I love my Bella kettle because it's beautiful and functional.  

I keep a coffee grinder because the fancy coffee shops in San Francisco will not sell you pre-ground coffee.  

I am obsessed, yes, obsessed with my capresso milk frother because it heats my milk up to a perfect temperature without me having to babysit it (stovetop) or cleanup it up when it boils over (microwave). 

Single serve French coffee press.  Because, who doesn't love a bodum coffee press?  

Mug with my initial.  A definite yes for anyone.  

Flip switch on kettle
Pour milk into frother/warmer
Grind coffee
Pour coffee into French press, use what you would use for a full cup of black coffee.  
Pour hot water over grinds, just enough to saturate grinds. 
Let grinds brew for about 3 minutes.  
Pour everything into a mug and drink contentedly.  

Time from start to finish? Less time then it takes to run to Starbucks.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

What does one eat for breakfast when there is no milk, eggs, potatoes, tortillas, bread, or cottage cheese? 

There are days of budgeting when I do open my fridge and wonder what on earth I can create out of a half limp carrot, and onion and a lime.  So far it has always worked out, we haven't starved or even eaten very poorly.  In the worst of times it's dinner of sides, but it's always usually tasty and generally nutritious.  

This morning I opened my fridge four times before remembering I had an apple, which made me think about oatmeal.  I prefer milk in my oatmeal (cream, really) and so I just doused it in brown sugar (more than what is pictured) and it was quite good. No starving, necessary.  

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal 
One small apple diced finely
1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1 pinch* of cinnamon
1 pinch* of McCormick valencia orange peel
1 pinch* of salt 
1 cup water

Add all ingredients to a small pot and cook over medium for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Top with brown sugar and cream (if you have some, yum!).  

*pinch- can vary in size.  Always less then 1/4 teaspoon which is my smallest measuring instrument.  Usually bigger then a dash.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Nuwave Portobello Mushroom Schnitzel

The recipe: 

I left for Copenhagen on Tuesday and wanted to use up the portobello mushrooms I had in my fridge, as I knew the Mister wasn't going to be cooking them for himself.  I also knew he wasn't going to enjoy anything I cooked with them, unless they were mostly hidden, but then remembered the best get someone to eat gross stuff trick: fry it.  

As we had just taken a German food cooking class the Saturday before, portobello schnitzel sounded perfect.  I realized that I had no eggs, but this brilliant recipe is VEGAN! 

And then I realized I had no frying oil, but I own a Nuwave, so I cooked them in that, on high, 10 minutes on each side, then drizzled a dab of olive oil on them and cooked for two more minutes.  They turned out crispy and fried tasting with a great earthy vibe from the sesame seeds called for in the batter.  I also used the husbands homemade sour cherry beer for the batter, which meant the leftover beer paired nicely with the dinner.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

Jerk Tofu and Coconut Rice

I'm not a tofu fan.  My husband hates it.  But about once a month I buy it and force myself to hide it in something like chili or as teensy little peices in stir fry.

However Jerk Tofu has changed the game.  I found a recipe online and thought I followed it pretty exact until the next day when I realized I butchered a important step in the directions.  So, the moral of the story... If you hate tofu, try the baked version of this recipe and then make these changes:  

2.  Don't blend your ingredients.  You can.  I've since done it, but I actually slightly prefer unblended.  Slice your jalapeƱo thinly and run your garlic and ginger through your microplane. Stir.  Toss in tofu.  

3.  Slice your tofu on the thin side.  About a quarter of an inch thin.  They may fall apart but those peices get a bit crispier and it's glorious.  

There's the recipe

Serve with Coconut Milk Garlic Rice. 
1 cup rice (half white/half brown is my favorite combo)
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1 clove of minced garlic 
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients, bring to a boil. 
Stir, place a lid on the rice and set the burner on the lowest setting. 
Cook for 20 minutes if white rice, 25 if brown, 
Fluff with a fork and make certain all the liquid has been dissolved.  
Eat with jerked tofu.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Egg and Spinach Sandwich

English muffins are a house staple, and they are most frequently turned into breakfast sandwiches.   This morning's breakfast began like the others, English muffin in toaster, handful of spinach in pan, a dab of butter for the egg... And... Hmmm... What if I cooked my egg in spicy butter?  Hmmm... That sounds good... Into the butter went some mystery Turkish seasoning procured in Istanbul, a small small dash of cumin, a large dash of cayenne, CRACK, an egg.  Salt, pepper on everything, garlic salt on spinach, a few slices of a fresh from the garden tomato and "voila!", a spectacular breakfast sandwich.  The tomato and butter (a little more then I would usually use, as I generally cook my spinach with nothing) made the sandwich extra juicy and the juiceness was extra spicy.  It was divine.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Groceries 10/4/2015

I planned to head to the farmers market this week, but I found a plethora of stellar deals in the Trader Joes produce section, so I'm skipping it this week.  I had also planned to buy a little less, because I'm still catching up from a Costco trip, but we've had visitors all week, and no food left in the fridge.  My grocery budget is $50 a week for two people and this week I spent $50.11.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's a Pasta Kind of Week

When I'm traveling for work, it's extremely hard to stay on a budget. Most of the budget just goes to taxis because I'm forever missing the free shuttle.  So when I can, I bring food from home.  I try to bring the things The Mister won't cook or eat himself.  (You would judge me if you heard my, currently, still ineffective lecture on eating the remaining lettuce in our fridge.)

This week I packed tomatoes, cabbage and peanut butter.   Pumpkin peanut butter.  Yes.  Pumpkin.  Then I went to the store in New York and bought basil, Parmesan and pasta with the money a crazy lady threw at me on my Cancun flight, and today I made pasta.  

This pasta tastes like the smell of a garden.   Its fresh and tomatoey.  It's glorious.  I wanted to make pesto but didn't have garlic or lemon, so this was the result.  

Tomato Basil Pasta
1 box thin spaghetti 
5 very ripe tomatoes 
1 bunch of basil
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (less for more juicy tomatoes)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Boil spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. 

Blend all ingredients except salt and pepper until thick soup consistency. Taste and salt. 

Toss sauce onto hot, drained noodles and mix. The Parmesan will help the sauce thicken and cling to the noodles.  

To serve top with black pepper (course is best!) and a bit of cheese if you have left overs.