Friday, March 31, 2017

Foraging Wild Swiss Chard or Sea Beet in my Backyard!

I love Swiss chard but it's not so cheap to buy locally. I mean it's not a fortune but it's more than I'd like to pay for a leafy green. In my home growing up we grew Swiss chard in our garden and enjoyed it. When married and in our first home, the one with a garden and chickens, my mom gave me some Swiss chard to transplant into my yard and it grew wonderfully giving us a regular supply of yummy greens. But then we moved and the Swiss chard was no more as we has no yard.

Image my excitement when I found out that there is a wild Swiss chard relative, the ancestor of beets and chard, called sea beet, growing locally! It pretty much looks identical to store bought Swiss chard, only growing in the wild. Though native to the coasts of Europe, Northern Africa, and Southern Asia, it now grows in many other parts of the world. It's scientific name, beta vulgaris maritima, meaning common beet sea references the fact that it's originally a coastal plant.

Unfortunately though, while it grows in other parts of my country in large quantities, in my city, I guess because we're not near the sea, I've only ever seen it in two different places. One of those places is near my husband's work, in the part of the  city that is nearest to my town... and that same plant has been growing there for years. But just one plant. I would go back and pick some and then come another time to pick some more. But that was the only place I could forage it. I wouldn't even tell anyone about that plant because I was afraid that  someone else would get there first and there's be nothing for me... I thought of it as 'my Swiss chard plant'.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vietnamese Scallion Oil Recipe -- Mo Hanh -- Easy, Paleo, Vegan, Allergy Friendly

There has been a request for some super simple recipes here, which is why I'll share this one, even though it seems quite silly to me to share something so simple. But as people said when I shared my fried banana post, even if its not something complicated, it may be something that others wouldn't have thought to do, so why not share?

Last night I wanted to make a Korean style dinner, because I had leftover Korean cucumber salad, and ready fermented wild mustard, carrot, and fennel kimchi (which came out awesomely, by the way), and a bunch of wild salsify greens that I wanted to cook up. I figured that to go with the theme, I'd make them Korean style (recipe/method to come soon).
For lunch I had been super lazy and just threw a batch of chicken wings into the oven to roast, not even salting or spicing it whatsoever, just 100% plain. Recently I'd read about a scallion oil garnish that sounded good, so I threw together my own batch and topped the plain chicken wings with that. It was divine, and completed the Korean theme!

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Or so I thought...

Because when I tried to go back and find that recipe on, my go to source for delicious Korean recipes, I couldn't find it. And then remembered that I had originally seen it on, My chicken wings were Vietnamese then, not Korean. Though, cooking Korean foods a lot, and being familiar with their various commonly used ingredients and many of their recipes, I wouldn't be surprised to find scallion oil in a Korean kitchen, albeit with a different name than Mo Hanh.

Mo Hanh might have specific recipes in some places, but this is more a general idea than an exact recipe, because proportions don't matter so much.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reese's Flavored Chia Pudding Recipe- Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Dessert- Vegan, Paleo Option

Recently we had a guest over from Namibia, which was really cool. For those that don't know (I didn't until she was at our house), Namibia used to be called South West Africa and gained independence from South Africa only in 1990, and is has a very large Afrikaaner population, the Dutch descent people who also comprise a significant percentage of South Africa's white population. My husband is part Afrikaaner (my mother in law's mother) and part English (mother in law's father) (along with Greek and Lithuanian from his father's side), so having over an Afrikaaner and getting to learn more about their culture and language and history was pretty awesome. South African English and Afrikaaners have some similarities in terms of culture and some things very different (and I see that my mother in law is an equal mix of English and Afrikaaner in terms of personality and culture), but one thing they have in common is similar eating habits.
Which brings me to this post.

I grew up with cakes and cookies and other baked goods being our standard desserts. Mandelbrodt was one of the most common, oatmeal raisin cookies and marble cake too, not to mention brownies. Ever since we've been married, though, my husband constantly tells me "Why serve something heavy like that at the end of the meal? You just ate something filling- dessert should be something light, like ice cream or pudding or jelly (the South African word for jello)!"
Well, sometimes I take what my husband says into consideration, and make his style desserts. Other times I stick to mine. My versions of desserts are usually more easily made with pantry staples and quickly, whereas the light desserts usually take more work or have ingredients that I don't always have in the house.
When I knew this Afrikaaner guest was coming, I decided to go with the South African accepted type of dessert- something light, but I didn't have much time available to prepare something, and my kitchen wasn't full of many of the ingredients I would usually use to make such desserts. I thought and thought about what type of dessert to make, and came up with this one.

Chia seeds are in the sage family, and have a special property that makes them absorb tremendous amounts of water and swell up. You can grind them up and use them as a vegan egg substitute as you would ground flax seeds, or you can let the seeds swell up and make desserts or drinks based on that, such as this chia kombucha drink, as long as you don't mind the gelatinous texture of soaked chia seeds.

I used chia seeds to make this quick no fuss pudding. It did need some time to sit to let the chia seeds fully absorb the liquid, but actual hands on time to make it was very minimal. And it used only ingredients I had in the house.
This makes quite a large batch- feel free to halve it or quarter it or whatever.

I used peanut butter, since that was what I had available, but any nut or seed butter can be used for this, whether walnut, almond, cashew, hazelnut, sunflower seed butter, or tahini etc.... You can even use coconut milk or rice milk or regular milk in this, but then it won't have that Reese's chocolate peanut buttery taste that you can get when combining the chocolate with other nut or seed butters.
What I like about this recipe is its versatility, that you can use whatever sweetener or nut butter you prefer or have in the house, so I could make mine cheaply and vegan and refined sugar free by using jaggery syrup, but you can make it paleo by using nut butter, and as cheap as possible by using white sugar if you don't try to avoid it.
I topped mine with dragon fruit that I got super cheaply at the market because it was from the reduced rack, and coconut cream, but you can top it with whatever fruit you have available, or leave out the fruit if you want.

Not only is it a wonderful dessert that went over well with my family and with my guests, leftovers also made a great breakfast.

Reese's Flavored Chia Pudding Recipe- Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Dessert- Vegan, Paleo Option

Sunday, March 26, 2017

No Shame, a Little Guts, and a Lot of Free Food

Today I went to the market to meet with my friend Juli, who was coming with her kids, and she wanted me to show her around the market. My fridge was already full from the last time I was there and got so much food for very little money, but I did need some fruit, because all I had was citrus fruit. So I went with the goal of getting other non citrus fruit, and if I found anything free, then why not...

In the end, in the above picture, I got all that for free. And yes, you've got that right- that isn't just produce.
In fact, I would say today was one of my better hauls of free stuff, lots of "high brow" foods- chicken, beef, and produce that is generally sold very expensively. Specifically I got an extremely large amount of chicken skin and chicken frames, chicken bones (from drumsticks), beef bones, a very large amount of cardoons, en entire box of pink lady apples, and a few clementines, a tomato, a pepper, and an eggplant.

People see/hear that I got all this for free, and I generally get one of a few reactions.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sesame Baked Sweet Potatoes Recipe- Paleo, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, Gluten Free

A while ago I discovered how delicious the various orange vegetables (sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, etc...) taste with a sweet soy sauce based sauce. Koreans make a dish like this, where sweet potatoes or pumpkins are braised in a sweet soy sauce mixture (gogoma jorim is what it is called when made with sweet potatoes), and I've made it like that a few times. Out of this world delicious. But the problem with such dishes is you have to stand by the stove constantly to make sure it doesn't burn, and to make sure that the veggies are fully cooked before you run out of liquid. Additionally, because of the mixing to prevent burning, the produce, especially if using softer things like pumpkin, starts falling apart and becoming mushy.

Inspired by my love of Korean cooking, and my knowledge of various jorim type recipes, I decided to make this sesame baked sweet potato recipe, which works just as well with pumpkin, butternut squash, and carrots, though the cooking time may vary, and it tasted so delicious. Its hands off, and because of its cooking method, burning isn't as likely and the produce doesn't fall apart.
I was debating whether or not I should call this teriyaki sweet potatoes because the taste is very much like that as well.

If you can't eat sesame seeds, or otherwise don't have them, you can leave them and the sesame oil off- the taste will be different, but still delicious.

Sesame Baked Sweet Potatoes Recipe- Paleo, Vegan

Preserving More Produce

I truly feel blessed whenever I get my hands on free produce. The other day, once my fridge was already mostly filled after my last nearly free "grocery shopping" trip, I was gifted with even more produce, in very large amounts.

It was predominantly extra large sweet potatoes, celery, and carrots, with a smaller amount but still significant quantities of clementines, beets, and purple onions.

I did not have room in my fridge to store all of that produce, and fortunately it was mostly in very good condition, so it was great for fermented produce. (When I get my produce from the reduced rack, unfortunately, it usually is not good enough quality to be used for fermentation- it'll likely mold if I attempt to ferment it, so when I have good quality produce, I am extra tempted to ferment what I can.)

I chopped up some beets and am fermenting them into beet kvass. a probiotic beet based drink.

I am making fermented Moroccan style carrots using this recipe (only with no oil, since I've since learned that it is a bad idea for fermented), and then I pickled celery three different ways. Once was stalks in brine with homemade Cajun seasoning. I thought that might taste extra awesome since celery is a standard ingredient in Cajun dishes. I made one of celery leaves seasoned like kimchi, with ginger, garlic, and got pepper flakes, and the other was just super simple, in brine with caraway seeds.

I dehydrated a bunch of produce as well, and am still dehydrating more. Celery leaves got dehydrated, separately from celery stalks. I dehydrated both cubed sweet potatoes and sliced sweet potatoes, and will be making more dehydrated sweet potato chips. I dehydrated cubed carrots and also sliced purple onions, which I will then use as a spice, and also grind to make onion powder.

Lastly, I cleaned out my freezer and found room to store some things there as well. 
A reader sent me instructions on how to make Indian masala in bulk to freeze, and while I haven't gotten around to doing that yet, the instructions included tips on putting one cup of the sauce in a ziplock bag, and then flattening it and freezing it that way, allowing you to break off as much as needed to use, instead of needing to defrost the entire thing at once. That inspired me to saute up a bunch of the purple onions, and freeze them in bags, flat, so I can break off what I need each time to use that. 

I chopped up celery and carrots too, and froze them separately, and I also froze a few bags of celery and carrots already combined, to be used as a soup base.

I still plan on dehydrating more carrots and sweet potatoes, but essentially it'll be more of the same of what I already did.

It's nice that by preserving this produce, I am able to lengthen its life so that once my fridge is no longer packed to the gills, I'll still be able to have and enjoy this produce.

I love food preservation!

Have you done any food preservation lately? What was it?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fried Green Bananas or Plantains Recipe- Paleo, Vegan, Easy and Delicious

Occasionally when I lived in the US as a kid, my mom would come home with plantains, and we'd make fried green plantains. They were soft and sweet and delicious, but locally plantains are a fortune, when I can even find them, so fried green plantains are out.
Fortunately, fried green bananas taste very similarly, and can be made very cheaply.
I tend to buy bananas from the reduced rack, because even in season, their price rarely seems to get down very low, and especially considering the fact that a large percentage of the banana gets thrown away, making it cost even more per pound than it would appear at first. Buying from the reduced rack allows me to pay as little as possible for bananas, and most of the time reduced rack bananas are brown, mushy, and overripe, which work amazingly in dessert recipes and either eliminate completely or drastically reduce the need for sweeteners in recipes.
Sometimes, though, the bananas I buy cheaply are green, and aren't just being sold at the regular price, left to ripen, because they got nicked or similar, and therefore they won't necessarily ripen completely. When this happens, that's almost better, because green bananas can be made in recipes that call for green plantains, such as fried green plantains or bananas.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Paleo Update, and Insane Foraging and Extreme Frugal Food Shopping

I feel like those reading my blog for a while think I'm so inconsistent, and terrible with follow through, because I can't count how many times I said I'd do something... and then fell off the bandwagon. But I think that's life, and especially when there are a lot of things going on, its hard to keep doing what you'd intended on doing, even more so when those things are challenging.

Why am I bringing that up? Because Paleo. It wasn't that long ago that I wrote about having been off Paleo and how it made me exhausted, and that's why I was going back on...  Guess what? I did go back on Paleo and I did have much more energy, but then in the last two months I've been so insanely busy with everything related to my book, and life in general, that I went back to shortcuts in food preparation, and despite it being a relatively healthy diet (not counting the junk I was eating... though that wasn't too frequent), it was heavy on non Paleo foods like rice and lentils. This past week I've been crazy exhausted beyond belief, falling asleep every night at 8 or 9 pm, crashing. That is not me, and the last time I felt that perpetually exhausted was when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with Anneliese and eating gluten since that was all I could keep down, so I knew something was not right. (No, not pregnant.) People were trying to tell me that it was just that I ran myself down, that I've been working so hard with everything book related that I have to give my body time to recover, but I knew it wasn't just that.
I knew it was diet.

And so, I decided that I would go back to Paleo. I have to. Not half-heartedly this time. It isn't worth it. I may think I'm saving time and energy and money by making only one meal for the entire family, a non Paleo but frugal meal, and eat that together with the family, but if that means that I end up being more exhausted and having much less energy and sleeping 4 more hours every night, that's not much of a time saver- I may be spending less time on food prep but I have fewer hours in my day available period, because I'm wasting my time sleeping. (And yes, sleeping is a waste in this situation, because its not that my body actually needs those hours of sleep, but rather that I'm hurting my body and making it need to recover.) I end up wasting more time because then I have fewer hours available in my day...  
Even from a frugality perspective it isn't worthwhile, also because I know I can make Paleo meals extremely frugally (I have a post on that coming up very soon, I hope), And with less energy, I can just do the bare basics to take care of my home and my family and can't find any energy to work to make money, so even financially these "money saving" things set me back.

Since Friday I've been strictly Paleo once more. Its a night and day difference in terms of energy. Instead of feeling like a sluggish sloth who wants to catch as many winks as possible, I feel bursting with energy even after doing supposedly physically taxing things, and even at times like now when I am running on only 4 hours of sleep. When I'm sharing my Paleo meals, people are asking me how I find the time and energy to make such meals, but what they don't get is... I really can't afford not to. Its an investment into my health and well being that is really, really worthwhile. 

A few things happen, though, that make me slip and not end up sticking to Paleo. One of those is when everyone has a treat or special food to eat, and I just have plain and boring foods. I decided that I wasn't going to set myself up for failure, and I'd make sure to be prepared. When I made my family sushi (a super easy cheater sushi-post on that up soon-since I made this on Friday, when I still was running low on energy since my new regime's effect hadn't had a chance to kick in yet) I made sure to make myself a Paleo approved sushi plate, so I wouldn't be tempted to cheat. I made my daughter a birthday cake, and was able to hold myself back from eating that because I made myself a Paleo crumble and a Paleo cheesecake, so I wouldn't feel like I was missing out. In short, I can't just make nice things for everyone else and then do nothing nice for myself, and then expect myself to hold strong and not cheat. Whole 30 diets talk against this type of thing exactly, but if anything, this, more than anything, makes the case why incorporating SWYPO foods is a good technique to make Paleo a lifestyle that is sustainable in the long run.

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Another thing that makes me fall back to non Paleo eating is when my fridge is mostly empty, or at least without a lot of variety, and I have no back up Paleo approved foods in the pantry and I'm hungry. I have energy to cook two sets of meals when I can let my creativity run free and know I'll come up with some terrific foods, but when I don't have many options with which to prepare food. I get uninspired and then non Paleo food, even plain white rice, seems so good and tempting. 

I knew, therefore, that the first order of business if I wanted to do this properly and stick with it is to make sure my house is filled with plenty of varied produce (and animal protein, but that's for another trip). So yesterday I decided to fill my fridge frugally, and take the time to nourish my soul as well. 

I went to the city to stock up on produce, with the goal being to eventually head over to the open air market. Before that, though, I went to a nature reserve in the city, walking distance from my bus into town, with the goal of foraging some unique and special veggies. In my town. I can forage, but I'm a little bored of what we have here right now, and I can't find as much variety or things close together, and I knew this nature reserve was special. There's a stream in it, which meant there was a chance to get some watercress (not any other natural body of water remotely near my house that I can get to easily), but even if not, I knew there would be plenty of great things there that I could use to fill my fridge.

I didn't leave disappointed. While I struck out on the watercress (I found a tiny amount, which I left to grow), for the first time in my life (despite looking so many times, and sporadically finding a few stalks), I managed to find a large amount of wild asparagus. I adore asparagus, but it costs so much money locally (a bunch this size costs around $10) that I can't bring myself to buy it. Finding that asparagus just made my day!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Our Urban Homestead's Kitchen Today

I feel like a real homesteader, you know, those farm wives that are all self sufficient and do everything themselves from raising their own food to transforming it to something that will feed their family for long periods of time, etc... all entirely from scratch. Though we don't live on a farm, what we have is definitely a little suburban homestead, and today I homesteaded to an extreme.

It started off this morning when I went in to the city to refill my pantry that was getting bare. I foraged a bunch and got some great things, and then after that, went to the farmers market and got a bunch more things very frugally. Details on that will be in tomorrow's post hopefully...

But ever since I got home, I've been non stop taking care of all the produce that I brought home.

I first cleared off my counters enough so I could take pictures of my haul on the counters, and then had to clean out the refrigerator to make room for everything in it that I brought home. I took out the stuff that, unfortunately, I let spoil. Other leftovers I combined to make supper for the family (leftover rice and leftover lentil soup, with the addition of some tomato paste, became rice with lentil sauce, and I served that with cabbage salad made from a cabbage about to go off). I found a Paleo meat dish and had that for my supper (more on me and paleo vs my family, hopefully in tomorrow's post as well.)

I then sorted out my fridge and put like with like, and then found room to fit everything in my fridge that I bought. Well, almost. I took out some produce from my fridge that needed to be cooked or otherwise it would go bad...

I had some beets, radishes, fennel, and hot peppers.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Making Your Home Gluten Free- Without Breaking the Bank: Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten Free- Part 2

Gluten free corn tortillas I made from scratch
When my friend Daniella's son was diagnosed with Celiac, I told her I'd help her transition her son to going gluten free, with a series of posts on my blog, and I did part one-  the Beginners Guide to Going Gluten Free: What is Gluten and How to Avoid It, which did a very thorough job of explaining that aspect, but part two, the part that actually tells people how to make the transition... never got written. However, now another friend's kid is most likely going to be diagnosed with Celiac, so what better time than to put out part two of this guide.

So, you or someone you love has been diagnosed with either Celiac or gluten sensitivity, or otherwise told to avoid gluten by a medical professional. Generally when someone is told something like that, it is scary and overwhelming and people don't know where to start. On top of that, these diagnoses are nearly always are not temporary (though some say gluten sensitivity can be reduced via certain gut healing diets, but Celiac is not one of them), so it isn't just a temporary change people have to make, but a change that will be for the rest of their lives.
Nearly anyone "in the know" will tell you that gluten free diets are much more expensive than gluten diets. People who tell you otherwise are not comparing like with like. A processed food filled diet that contains gluten will be much cheaper than a gluten free processed food filled diet. An all natural made from scratch gluten diet will be much more affordable than a from scratch gluten free diet. Those who say going gluten free saves money or doesn't cost any more are only accurate if you switch from a processed food filled gluten diet to a more frugal, made from scratch, gluten free diet, but that isn't a fair comparison. I know that when my family switched to a gluten free diet for our family of six, most of the extremely frugal things that I did in the kitchen became much more expensive. Yes, our family size grew, but that doesn't account for the nearly doubling of our grocery budget. Gluten free living is expensive.
People often go to health food stores or health food aisles to find their gluten free items, which typically mark up the prices of their gluten free items.

But, I'm here to tell you that while it is expensive, there are ways to make a gluten free life less expensive than it would be otherwise, and without needing to shop in overpriced places catering to those gluten free. However, I'll admit that much of this takes a lot more work. Life is a trade-off though. In life you can typically save money, or save time, but saving both at the same time is much more rare. (Though I do have a post coming up on how to save money while very short on time.)

How To Make Your Home Gluten Free -- Without Breaking The Bank

Gluten Free Sesame Noodle Salad- Vegan, Easy, and Delicious

I want to apologize for not having posted recently- life has been a bit hectic here for a variety of reasons. Part of it was that I hosted a lunch time family reunion for 21 family members, first time hosting a crowd in our new house. It was a crazy day, and while people offered to contribute dishes to the meal, because of dietary restrictions, I offered to make all the food for the entire get together. Which, you can imagine, was quite a lot of food.

When trying to figure out the menu plan, part of my thought process was to divide up the food into different categories. Some would be a little more time consuming to prepare, but those dishes needed to be completely freezer friendly (I made dairy free beef moussaka, and gluten free dairy free enchiladas in advance, and then froze them), and the rest of the foods needed to be quick to prepare because I didn't have room to store so much ready food in my fridge at one go, so everything needed to be cooked the morning of. But I also had a lot of other preparations I needed to do that morning, including cleaning the house top to bottom, and finish arranging the rooms that hadn't been fully finished since we moved in, since that was the first time most of the family members had seen the house, and the first time that any of the family members saw it when it wasn't in the middle of the unpacking-just-moved-into-the-house frenzy, and we wanted to impress.

I decided that sesame noodle salad would appear on the menu, since it has always been a crowd-pleaser, and it is super easy to make. The fact that it is low cost and gluten free and allergy friendly is just an added bonus. I highly highly recommend this dish. (Though I have a sesame noodle salad on my blog already, I much prefer this recipe to the old one.)

Gluten Free Sesame Noodle Salad- Vegan, Easy, and Delicious

Friday, March 10, 2017

Homemade Corn Tortillas Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan, and Easy

I wanted to make enchiladas, and my friend Amanda, hearing that, offered to give me the masa harina she had in her house, which I could then use to make some great gluten free corn tortillas. I was really excited about this, because I'd wanted to get my hands on masa harina for a while but wasn't sure where to buy it locally.

Masa harina is a corn based flour used for making tortillas. It should not be confused with corn meal or corn flour or polenta, since masa harina is made by grinding corn that had first been soaked in a lime (calcium hydroxide- not the citrus fruit) solution, which then completely changes the texture of the corn into something that makes a wonderful workable dough.

Using this masa harina, also known as maseca, I then made some corn tortillas very easily- with just two other ingredients- water, and salt. When I say easy, I don't mean that there wasn't any work involved- I had to roll out each one, but rather, it didn't flop and was relatively straightforward to work with, not a finicky dough at all. It reminded me a lot of making gluten free vegan chapatis, an Indian flatbread.

So, how do you do it?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Homemade Cooked Tomato Salsa Recipe, Restaurant Style- Cheap and Easy Salsa Roja

Growing up, my dad used to buy these giant bags of tortilla chips in bulk, and as a family we'd enjoy them dipped in salsa, whether mild, medium, hot, or volcanic, depending on what my dad bought that time and our moods. Recently I've been getting a hankering for chips and salsa, so I bought some jarred salsa and it was really delicious and hit the spot, but the price was outrageous. $5 for the small jar of salsa, and $5 for a medium sized pack of tortilla chips. As much as I loved it, the cost for this snack- $10- was quite ridiculous. 
My little sister, Lizzy, came over and discovered chips and salsa through me (she is many years younger than I am, so didn't grow up in the US with these foods as I did) and wanted to buy some. I told her not to waste her money on salsa, because it is so easy to make it yourself. Which reminded me that I should probably do the same.

I had a bunch of tomatoes that were getting soft in my fridge, some that needed spots cut off, and some onions that were getting old. I realized that making salsa would be the perfect thing to do with them- I get some delicious salsa for next to nothing (something like 25-50 cents for the jar, depending) and I also get to use up some produce before it goes off. While the peppers I used were nice and crisp, it works just as well with peppers that are beginning to soften. 
This batch made a large pot full of salsa, which then got transferred into 5 large jars and canned, which is the equivalent of 6 or 7 of the store bought jars they were selling for $5 a pop, or what would cost $35. And instead it cost me about $3.25 to make the entire batch, so 1/10 the price. 
Best thing- it really is not a lot of work at all. 

Now I need to whip up another batch of my sweet potato chips to eat with this salsa, because that is so much cheaper and healthier than tortilla chips. 

Though I love salsa best with chips, it is wonderful so many different ways. I like topping chicken and fish with salsa (either before or after cooking it), putting it in tortillas or wraps or sandwiches, cooking vegetables (especially green beans) in salsa. Pretty much any place you'd use condiments, you can use salsa and it will be great.

While my recipe calls for cilantro, you can play around with it and use other spices in it as you desire. If I don't have cilantro, I sometimes add parsley or field eryngo instead, or just leave it out entirely. Whatever herbs you add will change the taste slightly, and that is fine- it'll be good regardless. If you like, you can also add a drop of cumin to the recipe.

Because I make my recipe with produce that is about to turn, often that needs parts cut off, I've listed the ingredients both in total amounts of each vegetable, as well as in cups, so that if you aren't using whole tomatoes or peppers or onions, you don't have to do the guess work- just measure them by the cup.

Homemade Cooked Tomato Salsa Recipe, Restaurant Style- Cheap Salsa Roja Dip -- Paleo, Vegan, and Easy

Friday, March 3, 2017

An Insane Cooking Marathon with Free Food

I mentioned once, when I got so much free milk, that I love getting free food, but too much of it can stress me out, and this was no exception...
The other day they were giving out free past prime produce and nearly expiring rice milk, and because the weather was bad, nearly no one came, so there were huge amounts of food just sitting there, that would get thrown out, so despite having food in my house already (not a very full fridge, but full enough) I took home a cart full of groceries. After clearing off my counter, I unloaded all the groceries, and took this pic.
It was an insane amount of food.

A ton of radishes, a ton of carrots, a ton of clementines, a relatively large amount of red onions, 15 bottles of rice milk, a medium amount of beets, and a bag of sweet potatoes.
Which is awesome. But I didn't have room in my fridge for that.
I decided to put as much rice milk as I could in the freezer, leaving out 5 cartons of it that didn't fit. But that meant that I had no room left in the freezer for anything else.

I tried to come up with as many ideas as possible for so many carrots and oranges and radishes as I could that wouldn't be boring, and that, ideally would be either shelf stable or last a while in the fridge, and then had an insane cooking marathon to get it all done.

I still have a bit more to do, but here's what I made with all that (plus some stuff in my fridge that needed to be used up to make room for what I needed to put in):