Recipe: Hot Honey Ginger Carrots!

This recipe is so easy and so tasty. You probably already have some (if not all) of these ingredients in your kitchen.

We get carrots in our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box every week, and with a few extras we have hanging around in our fridge, I make these weekly.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of carrots
  • 2 T oil of your choice, I used Yasukochi Farms Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Yasukochi Farms Honey
  • Pinch Ground Ginger
  • Pinch Pepper Flakes

Directions:

  1. Place a foil-lined baking sheet in a cold oven. Pre-heat to 425 degrees.
  2. While the oven and pan heat, peel and cut into spears or bite-sized pieces, and toss carrots in oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast carrots in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring mid-way.
  4. Once the carrots are cooked, toss in a bowl with honey, ginger, and pepper flakes, as serve right away.

These carrots are so good. If you don’t want the heat from the pepper flakes, omit them. The honey and ginger plays nicely with the natural sweetness from the carrots.

Recipe: Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is super easy. I used the Brussels Sprouts from my CSA box.

There is no need to use expensive balsamic vinegar or honey, whatever you have on hand is fine. BUT_ Make sure your honey is 100% honey and not honey flavored syrup.

Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Brussel sprouts
  • Two bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil (your choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions

  1. To prepare the brussels sprouts for roasting, sliced each Brussel sprout in half and discard any loose outer leaves.
  2. Destem and deseed the bell peppers, dice or cut into long strips.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°. Place a foil-lined baking sheet into the cold oven and allow the pan to heat.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine brussels sprouts, bell peppers, salt and pepper, and oil. Toss veggies to coat in oil.
  5. Once the oven and baking sheet has come up to temperature, evenly spread veggies on the hot baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, stir, and roast for up to an additional 10 minutes.
  6. While veggies are roasting, in a small pot combine honey and balsamic vinegar, cook on medium until the mixture reduces by half.
  7. Once veggies are cooked and removed from the oven toss in honey balsamic glaze. Serve immediately. If you desire, top with a little shaved Parmesan or pecorino.

Serves 4 to 6.

If there are any leftovers, they can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheated as you see fit.

Starting off 2022 Right: How to save money at the grocery store and beyond!

Saving money is my bag. It’s what I’m good at, and I’ve made a name for myself as the resident frugalista in many of my friend circles.

A lot of people want to save money as one of their New Years Resolutions, and with the price of everything going up (thanks to inflation and the global pandemic), it’s becoming more important for people to learn and use some frugality skills.

So let’s get started on saving you some money at the grocery store and other places as well. Since I’ve been writing about these topics since 2016 on various blogs, I have tons of great posts that will be linked to throughout this post.

Start by making a list of what you already have at home. I use inventory sheets that I made on Canva.  I have one for the Pantry, one for the fridge, and one for the freezer. They live in plastic page protectors, and I update them when I am cooking (or afterward). It makes seeing what we’ve got on hand a breeze.

  • Shop sales- Buy and eat what is in season. This doesn’t only mean produce. Various items are on sale during the year, usually to correspond with holidays. My list of sales cycles can be seen here.
  • Buy in bulk if you are able.
  • Utilize Store apps to save money- CVS, Walgreens, Target, Vons, Ralphs, Food4less, Sprouts, etc.) all have apps with digital coupons and savings. With a few clicks, you’ll be saving money without clipping coupons! This tip is a great way to save on cleaning supplies, health and beauty aids, and OTC meds. 
  • Utilize cash back apps. My list of favorites can be found here.
  • Take advantage of local farms and CSA’s. I love Yasukochi Farms CSA. They are a local farm and have great produce boxes.

Right now they are having a New Years Sale! Choose either a 1-month regular box subscription for $88, or a 1-month jumbo box subscription for $120. To learn more or order, check out their website.

For less than $30 a week, we get a big box of produce delivered to our door. It helps us stay on budget and eat healthy!

Basically, it boils down to being organized, which can be hard. Choosing 1 or 2 of the above to get started and adding them to your routine until they become second nature, and then adding in 1 or 2 more, and so on and so on.

 

Tutorial: Meal Prep with Protein Bowls!

We don’t eat a lot of meat. Partially because our fridge/freezer is still broken, and it’s getting really expensive. So we’ve been eating more non-meat proteins lately.

This tutorial is more like a choose your own adventure. Depending on your dietary restrictions, food likes and dislikes, and what you have in your pantry and refrigerator will greatly influence how your protein bowls turn out.

The base of your bowl is going to be a grain. We used red and white quinoa, but you can use brown rice, bulgur, Right Rice (which isn’t actually rice), you could use high protein pasta like the kind made with lentils, or if you don’t like any of those you could just use regular pasta, noodles, or white rice. It won’t be as high in protein. We prepared 8-ish cups of quinoa cooked per package directions with vegetable broth.

Your next step is to prep your vegetables. The vegetables will take up the bulk of this dish. Because we get a variety of veggies each week with our Yasukochi Farms CSA box, it was easy to select our veggies. We used onions, carrots, celery, peppers (bell peppers), zucchini, mushrooms, and bok choy. We added cherry tomatoes uncooked directly to the bowls while packing. 

Cut your veggies into bite-size pieces (you want to end up with about 8-10 cups of veggies, and sauté them in about a tablespoon of oil (I love avocado oil, but it’s up to you).

Because you will be re-heating these veggies before serving, cook them until they are al dente, or still slightly crisp. Otherwise, they can get mushy.

I started with the onions, cooking them until translucent, then adding the mushrooms, and cooking the moisture out. After that, add the remaining veggies and cook for 5-10 minutes.

While your veggies are cooking, in a separate pan you’re going to heat 2 tablespoons of oil, your choice. This is where we’re going to cook our protein and sauce. We cooked salmon. The salmon was cut into bite-size pieces and then lightly sautéed in oil until it was about 3/4 of the way cooked.

Then we added a jar of Private Selection tikka masala curry sauce (it’s available at Kroger brand stores). I’m usually not a big fan of premade sauces, but in the case of Indian food, the sauces are so much more financially savvy. I believe the sauce was three dollars or less for the jar, and it tastes delicious. Like restaurant quality mild tikka masala sauce. If you wanna add heat, you can add some chili oil or red pepper flakes. But I don’t recommend doing it while you’re cooking, because it will just infuse it with so much heat.

We cooked the sauce with the salmon pieces for about 10 minutes added bok choy and allow that to cook down for another five minutes.

And now the assembly!

We set out eight of the Rubbermaid storage containers (these are the ones that we use).

 

 

Each container contains:

  • one cup of cooked red and white quinoa
  • one and a half cups of vegetables
  • 2 6-oz ladles full of salmon and sauce

Once the containers had cooled to room temperature lids were put on, and they were stored in the refrigerator. When it is time to eat, we will then to the lids and reheat them in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Here are some other options if Salmon Tikka Masala isn’t your bag:

Meat/non-meats (you need 1- 1 1/2 lbs of meat/non-meats for this recipe)

  • ground beef/chicken/turkey
  • lamb chops
  • boneless chicken breasts/boneless thighs
  • beef (cut of your choice)
  • veggie crumbles/other faux meat
  • pollack/tilapia/fish of your choice

Sauce- All of these sauces are pre-made. Feel free to use your own recipe for your favorite sauce.

Kevin’s Sauces has a wide variety of sauces that would be GREAT!

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your protein bowls- What combination of sauce and veggies would you use?

 

Family Recipe: DIY Salad Bar

The post is dedicated to Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes… RIP.

One of our family favorite restaurants pre-pandemic was Souplantation. So many great veggie and salad options all in one place. This summer I’m trying to find easy, simple lunch options for the family, so this week I’m making a salad bar.

It might sound like a lot of work, but I spend about an hour a week prepping veggies as soon as the CSA box arrives, so it’s just a slightly different prep this week.

First I got out our Rubbermaid reusable containers and lids, and I chopped the various ingredients. At lunchtime, I’ll set all of the containers out, and put the salad greens in a large bowl that is nestled in a baking dish full of ice to keep the greens crisp.

If you are having a salad bar for your July Fourth celebration, consider using a cold ingredient caddy like this one.

It keeps the components cold and at their preferred temperature for an extended period of time.

Here are just a few of the ingredients that we’ll be featuring in our DIY salad bar:

  • Salad greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, butter bibb lettuce, mixed greens, kale)
  • Radishes
  • Brocolli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Red onions
  • Green apples
  • Strawberries
  • Beets (raw or pickled)
  • Bell pepper or other sweet peppers
  • Pickled veggies
  • Capers
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cheese cubes (or crumbled feta or goat cheese)
  • Diced ham or diced turkey breast lunchmeat
  • Croutons
  • Salad Dressing- I like this vinagrette, and this one, and this ranch.

What do you like on your salads?

5/23/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg

The fridge was fixed on Tuesday and I filed claims for the lost groceries through the warranty, however, the check hasn’t yet arrived yet.

I have yet to shop for groceries this week, but at least I know what’s in our CSA box that arrives tomorrow.

The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes each week, and that really gives me an upper hand when it comes to meal planning for the week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I’ll be hitting up the grocery store this afternoon. Today I’m making a big batch of bolognese sauce today- I’ll be using it a few times this week, and freezing the rest for future use.  Tomorrow once the CSA box arrives I’ll prep the veggies and fruit for the rest of the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: Kids take lunch to school. I eat leftovers. Everyone rejoices.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Bolognese Sauce, pasta, roasted cauliflower
  • Monday:   BBQ chicken, salad, texas toast
  • Tuesday:   Soup Night: Soup, biscuits, fruit salad
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night (nuggets, fruit, crackers, milk)
  • Thursday:   Baked Ziti (with bolognese sauce, cheese, and veggies: zucchini, carrots, onions, celery)
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Meal o’ Snacks and /or leftovers

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

5/10/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg

Last week on Tuesday night our fridge started acting up, and by Wednesday afternoon, it was no longer blowing cold air. the fan was broken. Thankfully we have the extended warranty, so they came out Thursday afternoon and repaired the fridge (replaced the fan).

As a result, we lost most of the food in the fridge, including all of the condiments. The meal plan for the rest of last week was scrapped.

I hit up the store to replace what was lost, but I wasn’t able to replace all of it, for some reason, there are some food shortages, probably because some items are made overseas and there are some countries that are seeing surges in Covid Cases as of late.

The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes each week, and that really gives me an upper hand when it comes to meal planning for the week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: Kids take lunch to school. I eat leftovers. Everyone rejoices.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Take out (It was Mother’s Day after all)
  • Monday:   Big Ol’ Salad, fruit, protein shakes
  • Tuesday:    Salsa Chicken, Rice, roasted veg
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night (nuggets, fruit, crackers, milk)
  • Thursday:  Steak, potatoes, roasted veg
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Meal o’ Snacks and /or leftovers

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

4/5/2021 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg

The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes on Monday, so that’s helped me be able to meal prep and write up this post.

I usually spend time over the weekend getting the meal plan and prep started. Saturday I made banana bread (recipe here), and a big box of chicken brown rice. I portioned the cooked rice out so we can have it for lunch and dinner as a side dish a few times this week.

Sunday I made chicken stock using the rotisserie chicken carcass I had tossed in the freezer a few weeks ago, along with the veggie scraps I keep in a large bag in the freezer. It’s usually celery tops, carrots bits, onion skins, and the ends and pieces from various vegetables from my weekly veggie prep. I cooked the stock most of the day, strained off the solids, and used the stock to make a yummy chicken vegetable soup. I used this recipe, substituting the chicken stock for veggie stock.

I did a grocery trip on Saturday- Milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. We are pretty well stocked on most other stuff. I went to Costco last week and did the quarterly stock-up trip- Snacks for lunches, coffee, powdered peanut butter, trash bags, laundry soap, paper towels, and toilet tissue, and a few other things fell into my cart.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling, lately it’s been sandwiches on croissants, and strawberry yogurt.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Vegetable Soup, homemade apple sauce, sourdough toast/Banana Bread
  • Monday:  Poached Eggs with Hashbrowns, fruit salad, Protein shakes (Big kid doesn’t like eggs)
  • Tuesday:   Tamales, Salad, Rice
  • Wednesday:  Roasted Veggies, Baked Potatoes (with an array of toppings)
  • ThursdayCheesy Bacon Meatloaf, Roasted Broccoli, Noodles (or rice)
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

3/29/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg

I usually post this First thing on Monday morning or late Sunday night, but I was waiting for our CSA box to arrive to firm up our meal plan for the week. To learn more about Yasukochi Family Farms and our first CSA box, click here. We partnered with Yasukochi Farms for a month and we enjoyed it so much that we’ve subscribed! For $25/week, we get a box of quality produce! It keeps us out of the store, I don’t have to pick the best of the overpicked offerings, and the box is all local and farm fresh!

The kids and I hit up the grocery store this morning and picked up some snacks and some pantry staples that we had gotten low on (brown sugar- I’ve been making a lot of cookies).

This week is our second week of spring break. It’s warm, so we’ve pulled out our kiddie pool, and we’re visiting the Platypus at the San Diego Safari Park on Wednesday. We’re spending a lot of time playing with the neighbor kids in our bubble. In fact, water balloons have been requested, so we may have a water balloon battle later in the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling (I’ve been prepping bean and rice bowls on Sundays for us to have during week) so we can get back to our adventures.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Soup, Roasted Veg, garlic flatbread
  • Monday: Quiche, Fruit Salad, blueberry muffins (blueberries from our CSA Box)
  • Tuesday:  Veggie Burgers, Nuggets, Potato Faces (these things), Salad/fruit
  • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, Fruit
  • Thursday : Pollo Asada Taco Salad with Beans and Rice
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night!
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

3/23/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg

I posted on Instagram on Sunday that our meal plan was going to be late this week, and I was right. Our CSA Box arrived yesterday and there are all sorts of goodies in our Jumbo box. You can see a picture here.  I made cookies and soup for this week on Sunday.

This week we’ve got a family friend in town, so lunches will be a lot of snacks/picnic style food. Dinners are going to be quick/easy to prepare as we’ll be on the go most of the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: This week and next it’s spring break, so the kids and I will be out having socially distanced adventures. I’m filling the backpack with snacks and our reusable water bottles each morning. This will help keep us on budget and keep us out of the drive thru- although we will still stop at Starbucks a few times. I’ve been saving my stars for some freebies.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Soup, Sourdough toast/avocado toast
  • Monday: It was going to be dinner out, but we had a late lunch and had snacks for dinner
  • Tuesday:  Spinach Salad (recipe this week), Roast Veg, Garlic flat bread
  • Wednesday: Nuggets/veggie burgers, Salad, noodles
  • Thursday: Tamales, beans and rice, Roasted Veg
  • Friday:  Pizza Night/Takeout
  • Saturday: Leftovers (probably soup)

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?