Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday (creative, aren't I?)

First, by popular demand, the lettuce in the cheese bag:

Hopefully that's showing up big enough for you all to see the lettuce peeking out of the front. (I also want to make sure every knows that I don't make a habit of buying pre-shredded cheese. BUT, sometimes HyVee runs a great sale on it and it's either cheaper or within a cent per ounce of the brick cheeses. Ryan likes to have shredded cheese on hand, and I'll admit, the convenience of it is nice, so when I get get it cheaply, I do.)

Other exciting news: Darren seems to have noticed he has a sister. See photgraphic evidence below--

I know, it's not much, but the fact that he's not trying to scoop Leah's eye out with a spoon, shove his finger in her mouth (one of these times she's gonna bite down, kiddo), or beat her with a lid is nothing short of a miracle. She also seems to be ackowleging his existence, as well. She keeps a pretty close eye on him and what he's doing. I shudder to think about life once she starts moving. I have no doubt he will teach her everything he knows. (Something tells me I should have stopped at one kid!)


In my efforts to experiment with healthier cooking, as well as attempt to introduce some new foods to our diet, I present the following:

Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa

If you've never heard of quinoa, I suggest you google it, becasue I don't know enough about it to describe it. Short version: it's a grain from South America (I think). (Which I also just realized doesn't do much for my desire to eat locally. Can't win 'em all, I guess.)

This was also my first time "sprouting" a grain, meaning the quinoa was soaked overnight and allowed to sprout (very small sprouts, about 1/8"-1/4"). A quick google told me that sprouting is supposed to make the grains more easily digested and better for your intestinal track. I know it's covered in greater detail in "Nourishing Traditions" (there's a link on my sidebar), and I look forward to getting that far in the book.

It's going to be our supper tonight, but it was mostly done (the chicken was done, the carrots were not) at lunch, so I gave it a try. Very similar to traditional chicken soup, but also very different. There's a creaminess to this, not found in traditional chicken soup, that it's very pleasing to the palatte. I'm not sure if it can be attributed to the quinoa or the butter, but either way, it's very good. If you can find quinoa in your store (and if I can, I bet you can--mine was in the bulk bins in the "heath and organic" section), I strongly recommend trying it out in this recipe. I have quite a bit of quinoa left over, so I look forward to experiementing with it more.


And finally today, I thought I'd participate in Frual Fridays.

I think I've mentioned on here before that I don't use paper towels (partially out of a desire to be "green", but mainly because I was annoyed that my husband was using them for stupid stuff). There are times, though, when I really wish I had a paper towel around, for instance, when I'm frying something, i.e. bacon, and want to drain it. Despite the fact that my dishtowels are nothing fancy, just 99 cent flour sack towels, I don't want to risk ruining them. What's a girl to do?

Gerber Flat Fold Diapers. As diapers, they're crap (no pun intended). I originally bought them as diapers, and they're awful. Not very big and pretty thin, almost like cheese cloth. They were quickly relegated to the rag bag.

But while they're terrible diapers, they're fabulous rags! I use them for a variety of cleaning tasks, but they're especially great for jobs that would normally call for a paper towel. They're about $10 for a dozen (and in the baby section of Walmart, Kmart, Target, etc....), and I can't imagine they'll wear out very quickly. Even if they wore out in a year, you're still far ahead. I use them to drain fried items on, and today, I used one to strain my soaked quinoa (the quinoa is very small and would have fallen through the holes of my collander).

This probably isn't a revelation to a lot of you, but since I know some of my friends have wondered what to use in place of paper towels, I thought I'd throw it out there.

Frugal and green. Doesn't get much better than that!