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I do love to have a traditional meal on holidays with a meatless twist. This St. Patty’s Day, I will be trying Potato and Leek Soup adapted from RecipeZaar and Pinch My Salt.

Ingredients:

3 leeks, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

6 medium potatoes, thinly sliced

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

3 1/2-4 cups vegetable stock

1 cup heavy cream

S & P

1 tablespoon parsley

3 scallions, finely chopped

Hot, crusy bread or bread bowl

Directions:

1. Soak chopped leeks in cold water for 5 minutes. Scrub out loose dirt.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, cook vegetables until soft.

3. Add the sliced potatoes and cover with the broth. When the potatoes are soft, turn down the heat and begin to mash with a potato masher.

4.  Stir in heavy cream. Cook an additional 15 minutes.

5. Serve in bowls alongside crusty bread. Top with parsley and scallions.

Irish you luck!

:)Alissa

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I always had the same Sunday morning routine: Check the cupboard for what food is left from last week, look up recipes for this week, and write a grocery list including these ingredients plus the items I buy on a regular basis.

This process took up most of my valuable Sunday time, so I went looking for a way to revamp it. I tried online grocery lists, handwritten grocery lists, and even grocery list apps for my cell phone. None of these worked for me, they still took up (at the very least) a half an hour of my morning.

A few weeks ago, a friend shared her brilliant idea with me. The idea is so simple, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it myself.

Take some time to type up a list of what you usually buy weekly or keep on hand. Organize it by the section it is in at your local grocery store. Stick the typed list to the refrigerator or the inside of your cupboard. As you run out of something, highlight or circle it on your list. Then, on Sunday morning, all you have to do is add the ingredients from any new recipes you’re going to use that week. After you grocery shop, print out a fresh copy of the list and put it on your fridge. Or, I guess, if you’re really crafty–you could laminate it and use wet erase markers to write on it.

So, I went to work making my weekly grocery list. I left space to add additional items in each section. Enjoy!

Grocery List (You can print this one, but cannot make changes. The plus-side is that the font and spacing will be perfect.)

Grocery List (You can edit this one, but the font and spacing may need to be fixed.)

<3Alissa

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I hate to waste food. It sabotages the food budget that I try so hard to stick to each week, there are tons of hungry people in the world, and… well,  it’s just plain wasteful.  Since we eat a lot of cereal in my house (bought on sale, mainly in generic form, and sometimes with coupons), I have an easy way to use all the bottom-of-the-bag leftovers that no one wants to eat. 

Use all these leftovers, supplement with crispy rice cereal, and whip up a batch of Peanut Butter Mystery Marshmallow Treats!  You can’t go wrong with this crowd pleaser.  Just about any cereal works, and the standard recipe (or your own) is perfect.  You could keep a plastic container to collect all the cereal in until you have enough to make a batch of treats.

You know the drill…here are the ingredients:

A package of marshmallows, half stick of butter or margarine, and a generous scoop of peanut butter for flavor and protein.  I also add ground flaxseed for a nutrition bonus, and no one will ever know it’s there.

Melt butter in a large pot, then add peanut butter to your taste; I generally use about 1/2 cup.  Add marshmallows and stir.

Turn off the heat and stir in about 6-7 cups of cereal.  Corn flakes, Special K, Chex, Corn Pops, Cheerios; just about anything works well in this.  This is also the point where you stir in the ground flaxseed, if using.

At this point you’ll dump the mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan.

Now, onto flattening this sticky mess….simply run your hands under cold tap water, shake, and press the cereal mixture down.  Don’t oil your hands (yuck!), this water trick works like a charm.  Using cold water also buffers your hands against the hot mixture. 

Let it cool, flip pan over onto a cutting board, and cut into squares.

No two batches will ever be exactly alike, but they will all be yummy! Perfect snack; one the kids will love it in their lunchbox.  Easy, inexpensive, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ haven’t let any cereal go to waste!

-Kerry

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Thought I’d blog about my dinner. Yum. I might mention that my boyfriend is a meat-eater and I am not. So, for me, they’ll be spicy veggie & bean tacos–with minimal extra effort. Just how I like it. Cheap. Healthy. Simple.

I like this because you can truly use whatever you have on hand, and you can pick out or add on depending on your likes and dislikes.

Ingredients I keep on hand:

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

dash hot sauce

salsa

s and p

olive oil

Ingredients I added to my grocery list:

precooked diced chicken (easier for me to throw in an otherwise vegetarian meal, could buy already cut or chop up some rotisserie chicken &  freeze bag fulls as add ins)

thinly sliced green pepper

thinly sliced onion

refried beans (or smashed black beans, whatever)

whole wheat tortillas (or tortilla chips, again…whatever)

shredded cheddar cheese

Oven on @ 375. Slice veggies and spread out on baking sheet. Drizzle oil & add salt/pepper to taste. Roast in oven for 20 minutes. I added a leek to my veggie roast because I had one on hand that I needed to use up.

Meanwhile, heat up chicken and/or beans in a tiny bit of olive oil in a skillet. When it’s sizzling, add the cumin, pepper flakes and hot sauce to your liking. You can add this to the beans, too, of course. Let everything heat up for 2 minutes or so.

You stay on your side, I'll stay on mine.

I like to put the toppings out on an assembly line in little dishes, build-your-own-taco style. Layer beans or meat, roasted veggies, cheese, and salsa on tortillas. Or, throw it all in a bowl and eat with tortilla chips.

Welcome to Moe’s!

-Alissa

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I love warm homemade bread and I’ve tried all kinds of recipes and methods, all of which have been not fun to make and not good.  Then I found this recipe and loved it!!  I make a loaf of this delicious bread just about every day.  I have been impressing my friends and family like crazy.  They think I am a regular domestic diva, but they have no idea how simple it is to make!  It makes the house smell divine.  You must try this bread recipe.  You absolutely must. 
 
Here is the recipe:
3 cups of flour
3 teaspoons of salt (or less, or omit)
1/4 teaspoon of dry yeast
1-1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons of water (don’t have to be precise, just so the texture is slightly more of a batter than a dough).
 
Mix this up in a bowl, cover loosely (I put a large plate over my bowl to cover it), and let it sit overnight.  Note: You don’t have to keep it overnight or you can keep it over two nights.  The time it sits is not too critical. I’ve mixed it up in the morning and baked it in the afternoon with success.
When you’re ready to bake, heat your baking dish in the oven at 450 degrees. You want a ceramic-type casserole dish, about 2 quarts in size give or take, with a cover. I believe you can use an enamel-covered dutch oven also. I am not one to preheat, but I believe this step to be critical for this recipe. I didn’t preheat once and didn’t preheat enough once and both times the bread stuck to the pan.  No fun.  When I do preheat it pops right out of the pan perfectly. 
 
While you are preheating your pan, dust a space on your counter or a large cutting board very liberally with flour. You want a lot of flour.  Just put enough on so that you cannot see one bit of your counter or board under the flour.  Then, scrape out your dough onto the flour.  Dust your dough very liberally with flour just like you did the counter.  Lots.  Remember the dough you made had a lot of water in it, so it needs a lot of flour added to make a proper bread dough. 
 
Now here is the no-kneading part.  You just pat the dough out flat like you’re making a pizza.  Pat it out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.  If it gets sticky in places, add a little flour.  Now fold your dough into thirds.  Turn your dough 90 degrees, pat it out again, and fold it into thirds again. 
Let it sit until your oven and pan are preheated, maybe 5 to 7 more minutes or so.  Take your casserole dish out of the oven.  Be careful, it’s hot!  Pick up your dough and put it in your casserole dish.  If it is a little flour-y, that’s okay.  Just throw it in the dish, put the cover on, put it in the 450-degree oven, and set the timer for 40 minutes.
After the timer goes off, take it out of the oven.  Take the cover off.  Mmmm.  Doesn’t your house smell wonderful? 
 
If you want your bread a little crusty, just leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes, take it out of the dish, and start slicing and eating.  Can you wait that long to taste it?  It’s not easy, believe me.  If you want a soft crust, for the kiddos maybe, take butter and rub it over the top of the crust.  If you want a hard crust, put your pan back in the oven for a few more minutes, uncovered.  Just keep a strict eye on it so it doesn’t burn.  Whatever you do, try to wait that 15 minutes before you dig in.  It continues to cook on the inside for that time and it is difficult to cut before that. If you wait at least that time, it will pop out of the pan and you can cut it easily. 
 
You can double the recipe in at least a 2-1/2 quart dish very nicely with no changes in cooking time.  I bet you can add things to it to change the flavor or for dietary issues.  Garlic powder?  Italian spices?  Cheese?  Something spicy?  Sun-dried tomatoes?  Cinnamon?  A sweetener?  Some wet/soft ingredient such as perhaps applesauce, mashed banana, pumpkin, or even cooked and mashed carrots or other veggies exchanged for some or all of the water?  Whole wheat for some or all of the flour?  Flour such as amaranth or another for those on a GF and/or CF diet?  As I mentioned above, you don’t need to add salt if you don’t want to.  Hmm.  Possibilities. 
 
If you want to see exactly how I do it, here’s my video:

 
I can’t remember where I got this recipe.  It was from a youtube video.  I think the originator wrote a book about it.  Thank you to whomever invented this.  We have enjoyed this recipe many times over.
Christine

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