Friday, August 31, 2012

Rotten Egg

Here's your kitchen tip for the week:
If you can't remember when you bought those eggs in your fridge, try the float test! Fill a glass with water and place the egg in question into it. If the egg floats, you have a bad egg on your hands. If it sinks, you have a good egg!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Date Night

My dearest husband gave me the idea for today's blog: last night's date! We went to the Fresh Market and bought whatever the heck we wanted! (Within reason, of course...) I am a bit of a foodie, so this was a thrill for me. We spent $20 and enjoyed dessert, treats for tomorrow, and a few gourmet ingredients that I wouldn't normally buy. Perfect! So the next time you're looking for a creative date, go to a high-end grocery store or specialty food store and see what you can find.
The loot as follows: 2 types of flavored coffee, organic raspberries, specialty seltzer water, brown rice noodles, Greek salad dressing mix, a huge box of doughnut holes (You see what's left!), and a Meyer lemon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Golden Egg

It's been a while since I've posted a golden egg over here at the nest. In case you've forgotten, a golden egg is a "diamond in the rough" bargain that I bought and intend to re-purpose. (Note the use of the word intend.) I picked this old cabinet up for $25 at a yard sale a few weeks ago. Its new life will be as a craft cabinet for my crafty daughter. It looks pretty rough, but the "bones" are good and sturdy and the shape and size is exactly what I need. I love the rim around the edge for containing projects! I'll post new pictures after its face lift. Wish me luck!
Front View
Crazy laminate-type yuckiness on the top

Yes, someone actually misspelled "drawer" in Sharpie. I really didn't know that was a drawer. Good thing it's labeled. Classy.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fall Garden

I know, I know summer is still alive and kicking and here I am talking about fall! Now is the time to plant your fall garden. Just tuck the seeds in for now, water, and you'll thank me when you have plenty of tasty things to eat from your garden later. Here's a list of fall veggies to plant now: radishes, spinach, beets, carrots, turnips, lettuce, kale, collards, hanover, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and broccoli to name a few. Don't forget to plant your flower bulbs in another month or so too!
*I know this carrot guy is creepy, but I just couldn't resist!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Use up the last of your garden's veggies on a grilled flatbread pizza. This recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to make. It's the perfect vehicle for that veggie goodness! This picture is from last night's supper. Yum.

Grilled Flatbread Pizzas
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Sprinkle yeast over warm water; stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Combine all ingredients; knead 1-2 minutes.
  • Let dough rise for 30 minutes, covered.
  • Roll out to 1/8" thickness and cut into 4 portions. Brush with olive oil.
  • Heat grill to medium (spray with Pam before turning on) place flatbread pieces onto grill, oiled side down. Brush other side with olive oil. (The dough will be soft and you will be questioning me because it will seem like the dough will stick but trust me on this one.)
  • Grill 2 minutes and flip.
  • Top with marinara sauce, cheese and toppings.
  • Grill 2 minutes. Devour.
  • Serves 4

*Topping suggestions: fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, Italian get the idea!

Monday, August 20, 2012

DIY Dried Basil

If you've already made a ton of pesto and need to use up some extra basil, try drying it. If you live in a drier climate, simply hang bunches of basil in a cool dry place until completely dry and crunchy. Rub leaves between your fingers until crushed. Place in a spice jar and call it a day! If your climate is more humid, line baking sheets with paper towels. Place leaves on a single layer on sheet and stick in the oven after you've baked something else and the oven is still warm but not smoking hot. Leave for about 5 minutes or until crunchy. rub until crushed and store as before. If you haven't yet made pesto, click on the link from a previous post for a super recipe:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Little Luxeries

There are certain ingredients that you (like me) probably look at in a recipe and automatically start thinking of substitutions because they look expensive. Think again! There are plenty of tasty ingredients that have bold flavors and yet are surprisingly inexpensive. I did a little price scouting at Kroger last night and here's what I found:
  • Fresh bunches of cilantro $.79 each
  • Fresh bunches of parsley $ .89 each
  • Shallots (a personal fave) for $2.99/lb. (translates to about $.50 for 2 shallots)
  • Fresh ginger $2.99/lb (one small piece will set you back $.59)
  • Red onion $1.49/lb, which isn't much when buying just one
  • Jalapeno peppers for $.99/lb
  • All kinds of exotic peppers for $2.99/lb, again, not much for a small amount
  • Whole nutmeg- yes I know they are $4-5 a jar but they last forever!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Veggie Stand

Instead of a lemonade stand for the kids in these last weeks of summer, try a veggie stand. Set out produce from your garden in your yard and watch it disappear! This is a great way for young children to earn money since they don't have to man the stand. Simply put out a change container made from a coffee can or shoebox for the honor system. If your child is raising money for a specific cause or charity, don't price your produce, just make sure your sign says "donations accepted" with an explanation of where the proceeds will go. It's so much fun for the kids (and adults) run outside to check the money box!
*Some examples of things from the yard to sell are: dried lavender, dried hydrangea, cut flower bouquets, herbs, pumpkins, tomatoes, and other produce.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olympic Fun

Are your kids obsessed with the Olympics? (We hold several award ceremonies around here every day.) Spray paint old or scratched cds in gold and bronze colors. Don't forget to leave an unpainted cd to represent silver! Attach a red, white, or blue ribbon and host your own ceremony with the kids. They are guaranteed to love it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cheap Spice Tip

While shopping in Food Lion this summer, I made a discovery in the Latin foods section: cheap spices! I found packets of sesame seeds, oregano, chili powder, bay leaves, and cumin for just 55 cents per packet! There were many other spices too, I've just listed a few standouts. So next time you need spices, don't spend $4-5 for a tiny jar. Go to the Latin food section at Food Lion and pay a fraction of the price!

*My apologies for not posting yesterday- our power was out!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Corn is here!

For a quick and easy way to cook fresh corn on the cob, look no further than your microwave. Microwave the corn, unshucked, on high for 3 minutes per ear. Wait a few minutes before you shuck, it will be hot! (The silks come off easily with this method.)

Feeding a crowd? Melt butter and pour into quart sized mason jars. Guests can dunk their corn on the cob for quick and easy buttering. You can also provide unconventional seasonings such as smoked paprika, chili powder, lemon pepper, and fresh herbs for sprinkling.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lunch to go

For an easy way to keep lunchtime chaos at a minimum, try making the kid's plates ahead. Sectioned plates are perfect for keeping foods fresh. You can find them at Walmart or Target or even at yard sales. (I think I paid 10 cents for this one!) Cover with plastic wrap and stash in the fridge. Now the kids can get their own lunch and it's much healthier than the pre-assembled preservative-packed alternatives found in the lunchmeat section.
Lunchtime suggestions:
  • Veggies with hummus or bean dip
  • Fruit
  • Applesauce
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Nuts & craisens or raisins
  • Yogurt
  • Lunchmeat
  • Small crackers (Cheezits or Goldfish)
  • Popcorn
  • Chicken or tuna salad
  • Fruit leather
  • Mini muffins
  • Banana or apple slices with peanut butter
  • Cookies or chocolate for dessert!