Shred, Burn or . . . SOAK

This is off my normal topics, but I wanted to share my brilliant idea!

Ok, brilliant is an overstatement. However, this has helped my manic obsessiveness over the destruction of sensitive documents.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m rather manic about my security, of bank statements, account numbers, what have you. We get so much junk mail, and even my address, name number on junk mail or envelopes bugs me. I drive my poor husband crazy, if anything has our address on it or sensitive numbers I can’t stand it just going to the dumpster, I want it appropriately destroyed for all time.  I had a paper shredder a few years ago that received too much action and ceased to work efficiently. It was bulky and the noise it made was downright annoying. Besides the fact, every time I went to empty it I inevitably got little paper confetti EVERYWHERE.

We don’t have a fireplace, if we did that would be our preference is to just burn our sensitive documents.

When I suggested to Matt that we just rip the papers to shreds and then bury them, he said that, although that would be the method of choice for his old dog Skookum, unless we adopt a dog and assign him to the task of disposing of our documents we should come up with a more logical option.

I agreed.

I also couldn’t bring myself to shell out $40 for another paper shredder or just hoard all the papers away until I visit my parents wood burning stove in the fall.

I started taking each paper and ripping out all names, numbers, addresses, codes, etc that I considered to be off-limits, it ended up being less than 10% of each page.

It took some time to look at every piece of paper, every credit card offer, bill statement, but I tossed the bulk of it. And the ripped up scraps that had our info on it. I just tossed in a bowl with hot water.

AH HA! I let it marinate in it’s little bath for a bit, ripped it up a little more with my fingers, squeezed it into a little ball, getting rid of the water and tossed it in the trash!

Voila! All my obsessive manic-ness in one little ball, BWAHAHAHAHA.

*Ahem* Anyway, um, yes. So, that is how I tame the wild obsessive beast that screams within me that every human in the world is dying to steal my identity, while saving some money at the same time.

How do you destroy your sensitive documents?

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Ham and Potato Quiche

I started reading I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (author of 101 Dalmatians) last week, it is nothing short of BEAUTIFUL. I won’t share any of the surprises here, but if you are a fan of anything Jane Austen, you will enjoy this book. At one point the characters in the book are bestowed a ham. The author describes the ham so wonderfully, it made me hunger for ham.

Ham can be expensive, at least for our budget. I ended up finding a sale bone-in ham for $12 at Rosauer’s. We enjoyed a few days of delicious ham sandwiches, I froze some leftovers and used some leftovers for this quiche.

I used leftover tortilla dough for the crust, I was hoping it was going to solve all my crust isues, but unfortunately it ended up being just weird. . . I highly recommend using your own pie crust recipe or pre-made crust.

We had a lot of potatoes, so I used those as well. Matt and I don’t enjoy excessive amounts of cheese, so feel free to add more cheese to the recipe.

Ham and Potato Quiche

8 small potatoes, cut into chunks

2 onions, chopped and sautéed till soft

2 cups of chopped ham

4 eggs

1 cup egg substitute

1 cup milk

2 tsp pepper

1 TB salt

1 tsp paprika

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Pie Crust (your choice)

Whisk eggs, egg substitute, milk, pepper, salt and paprika together until smooth. Press your choice of pie crust into 9 x 13 casserole baking dish, spread potatoes, ham and onions evenly into pan, pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake in 350 degree for 45-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.


Aprium Muffins

What is an aprium you might ask? An aprium is a hybrid fruit that is a mix of an apricot and a plum, but more of a APRICOT. comparable to a pluot, yet a pluot is much more PLUM than apricot.

They might be the FIRST official fruit off of my dad’s orchard. They are beautiful and actually quite tasty!

I love a good muffin. I made two batches of these, one I shared with friends, sadly it was lacking in some certain goodness. I made a second batch and it was MUCH better. That is the recipe I will share with you all.

Muffins are not cupcakes, so don’t expect these to be overly sweet. I used my blueberry muffin recipe and added cinnamon.

Aprium Muffins

1 3/4 cups white flour

1 TB white flour (reserved)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp lemon peel

1 cup chopped apriums

1/2 cup applesauce

1 egg

1 egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)

2 TB canola oil

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

Mix apriums with 1 tablespoon of flour. In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, mix till incorporated. In another bowl mix remaining ingredients, mix ingredients together until barely mixed. Muffins are sensitive to overmixing, be careful. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes on 375 degrees.


Vegan Mac and Cheese

Mmmmm, I don’t know why I was drawn to this recipe initially, other than I FREAKIN LOVE MACARONIC AND CHEESE.

I love the 800 calorie a serving Stoffers frozen mac and cheese. I love the fluorescent orange Kraft mac and cheese (however I prefer the “shapes” version the most, dinosaurs, spongebob, etc). A treat is Annie’s brand Whole Wheat Shells and White Cheddar boxed macaroni, mmmm. Absolutely loved that stuff.

But, as stated, mac and cheese is usually chock full of fat and cholesterol.

This recipe is low on saturated fat, “meh” on protein, and has ZERO cholesterol.

Okay, mild rant on cholesterol . . . it’s not as bad as everyone says it is, so take a chill pill. Breast milk for goodness sake has copious amounts of cholesterol in it. . . actually on second thought I’ll tackle cholesterol another day.

Back to the recipe.

First of all, this is far from original for me. I’ve tried other vegan mac and cheese recipes with nutritional yeast, cashews etc, but my favorite HANDS down is Hannah Kaminsky’s from her blog BitterSweet. I won’t use her pictures (which are GORGEOUS by the way) and I won’t post her recipe either. But you can access it from here.

My changes: Double the tumeric, use 1 cup instant mashed potatoes rather than the 1 cup yukons. I also omit the oil, it’s a texture/consistency thing, add it in if you want the consistency, but I don’t miss it or the caloires.

You really do need a food processor for this recipe. Yum. Seriously my favorite comfort food ever.

And nutritional yeast? It’s a dream. Love that stuff, anytime I’m making something and I want it “cheesy” I just add a few TB of it, does the trick everytime. Kind of challenging to find. I purchase it in the bulk sections of health food stores, Co-Ops, Whole Foods, Main Market . . . how I wish Trader Joe’s would carry it, but it is a little obscure, even for TJs.

When I buy it, I buy a lot, so I don’t have to hunt it down another day. 

At the end of the day is this REALLY all that better for you? Well, I did the calculations following the recipe WITH my changes (omit the oil etc) and this is what I found. Here is one “unit” of Kraft Easy Mac

And here is one LARGE serving of the Vegan Mac and cheese (this is calculated on my own using FDA data for nutrition facts)

Pretty much better all the way around. Of course, bear in mind this is macaroni and cheese, it has tons of sodium and carbs in it. So, still probably not an every day food. But pretty darn reasonable. And not bad on the tummy either. Oh, I forgot to mention it has tons of vitamins in it, since you actually use the water you cook the carrots and onions in, and nutritional yeast has lots of vitamins in it. Here is the rest of the nutrition data.

Dang! Look at that! Pretty great I think.


Black Bean Burgers

My mom went through this fantastic health food phase in the early 90’s, and that is when I was introduced to manufactured “Garden Burgers”, they have greatly improved over the years, my mom and dad still get garden burgers on occasion.

I think it was the Morningstar Farms brand that came out with a spicy black bean burger that was delicious. That was my inspiration for this recipe. I absolutely love black beans. If you took all the bean varieties and rated them by their percent of nutritional awesomeness black beans are right up there with the top 3 in my opinion.

They’ve got loads of protein, iron, calcium, B-vitamins and lets not forget FIBER. Very important for many reasons.

Oh, and yes, this meal does constitute as a COMPLETE PROTEIN, there is egg in the patty. The only fat in addition to the beans is in the egg, so this is an incredibly low-fat, high protein meal. Mmmm yum.

We ate these burgers with spinach, tomato, Dijon mustard and ketchup.

Black Bean Burgers

3 cups black beans

4 slices bread toasted*

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin

2 TB hot sauce

Toast 4 slices of bread (I used stale oatnut bread) tear up and pulse in food processor until desirable size (see above photo, anything works really). Pour bread crumbs into large bowl. Pulse black beans in food processor with eggs, pepper, salt and cumin until smooth (if it all doesn’t fit in processor then blend beans in smaller portions and mix all together in bowl). Mix black bean mixture with bread crumbs (add hot sauce if that’s your thing), roll into 10 balls. Spray small pan with non-stick coating, press a ball into a patty with hands and place on heated pan (medium heat) cook on each side until browned, about 3 minutes on each side.

This recipe made 9 burgers, but could have EASILY made 10, I just wasn’t paying too much attention.

*I suppose you could use bread crumbs, commercially packaged bread crumbs, however, without sounding like a nutritional snoot, I would encourage you to read the ingredients and nutrition facts on a container of . . . let’s say Progresso Bread Crumbs, it’s kind of yucky. Many more ingredients that just a slice of bread and often additional trans fat. One of the few food products STILL on the market with significant amounts of trans-fat. You’ve been warned.

More Bean facts (I LOVE WSU)


Cherry Caribbean Mockarita

I made tamales today, again.  But I made some changes to my recipe which I’ll change in the recipe itself.

It’s almost getting too hot outside to make tamales, it got to a whopping 68 degrees here today. Oh Spokane. . . seriously now, you had your winter, 8 months of it in fact, since you are determined to only recognize 2 seasons, that obviously means it is now summer. Please act accordingly. Sincerely, Laura

Despite the “warm” weather, cool drinks are always great w/ Mexican food, and my sweet mom gave me her old ice chipper. It’s loud and it doesn’t work very well. Often it stops working all together and I have to un-assemble it and melt the blade with warm water, then reassemble for it to work again. Matt questioned whether the Snoopy ice grinder, beloved by our generation would work better. I think it would.

But as long as Margaritaville ice shavers are $199 at Target and I have a conscious about spending $199 on something that shaves my ice for me, we will continue to use the beast with a thankful heart.

 

 

Cherry Caribbean Mockaritas

1 part Corona

1 part Cherry 7-up

1 part Rum (the cheaper the better . . . )

1/2 part frozen limeade concentrate

Mix and Pour over shaved ice. Garnish with maraschino cherries

Cheers!


Spicy Turkey Lasagna

Everyone makes lasagna differently. I would never consider myself an expert lasagna maker, but I think I’ve perfected this recipe to fit the taste buds at our house, we like flavor and spice, we don’t like cheese or grease. I have a hard time making the same thing twice, but this recipe is becoming a quick favorite around here, freezes well for hubby meals too!

This lasagna has ground turkey, tomato sauce, crimini mushrooms, eggplant, a small amount of mozzarella mixed with soy cheese and some parmesan shredded on top, but not in and lasagna noodles (preferably Italian noodles, not American style).

I grew up disliking this classic American comfort food, I think it was a consistency thing, and I still loathe ricotta cheese.

I find ricotta bland yet heavy and having rather a weird consistency, that I find unpleasant in a lasagna.

I will be happy to change this blatant opinion when I discover a good ricotta lasagna . . . I’m waiting patiently.

Also, I don’t boil the noodles beforehand.

Why, you may ask.

Because Alton Brown told me not too. I LOVE Good Eats, perfect balance of Food Science and entertainment. (Fast forward the clip to 6:40 to hear his reasoning)

I also have not been taking the time to purchase proper ground beef. So, I find a better choice is ground turkey, less yucky rancid meat flavor, less fat and significantly less $$$ BUT, if you have a good source of organic, grass fed ground beef that doesn’t, BY ALL MEANS, please use it, it’ll be epic, I’m sure.

Spicy Turkey, Eggplant, Crimini Mushroom Lasagna

2 lb extra lean ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

1 can (6oz) tomato paste

12 Crimini Mushrooms, washed and chopped

2 TB Valentina Hot Sauce

1 TB Red Pepper Flake

1 TB oregano,

1 TB basil

2 TB fresh garlic, chopped

2 cans tomato sauce

12 lasagna noodles

1 eggplant chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

1 cup shredded Soy cheese/mozzarella mixture

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Heat ground turkey and chopped onion in large skillet on medium heat, covered, stirring every minute or so until turkey is no longer pink and onions are translucent. Add tomato paste, stir. Add oregano, basil, garlic, hot sauce and red pepper flake, stir; cook on medium low covered so flavors meld, add ONE can of tomato sauce. Add mushrooms, stir covered 10 minutes.

Prepare lasagna dish. Spray with non-stick coating, place 4 uncooked lasagna noodles in base of dish top with 4 cups of lasagna mixture.

Bring remaining lasagna mixture back to medium heat, add 1/2 can tomato sauce, add eggplant, stir till incorporated, cover and allow to cook 10 minutes or until eggplant is softened.

Top first layer in lasagna dish with additional noodles, pour eggplant filling on top, spread evenly. Layer eggplant mixture with 4 lasagna noodles, spread remaining 1/2 can of tomato sauce on noodles, top with shredded soy cheese/mozzarella cheese and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of that.

Bake for 80 minutes at 350, allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.