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Eating From Our Cupboard

There is definitely something satisfying about having my cupboard stocked. As much as I wanted to complain about grocery shopping in this post, I have a sense of bounty when it’s full. Our cupboard is an old metal cabinet inherited from Grandmom that is more like a pantry. I removed my upper cabinets in the kitchen and this is what we use now instead. And to have it stocked means that I can throw together quick-breads or a pasta dish or a soup based on what’s in there and the fridge. I can be lazy or I can make effort but it’s there for the cooking. Some of the meals I have given recipes for that I think of as cupboard meals are my Cannellini bean and Tuna salad and the Warm Salad.

Cannellini bean and tuna salad on Shalavee.com

On the random day that I inventoried my cupboard just to see what I had, it contained the following ingredients:

Oats, grits,olive oil, vegetable oil, bulk fake yellow sugar , sugar free syrup, peanuts, almonds, cashews, craisins, prunes, raisins, popcorn, goldfish, graham crackers, animal crackers, rice cakes, saltines ,triscuits, oreos, Nillas, rice crackers, peanut butter, natural peanut butter, taco shells, breakfast bars,squeezy applesauces,peach cups, whole grain spaghetti, penne, angel hair, rotini, quinoa, mac and cheese, chicken stock, black beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, cannalini beans, re-fried beans, taco shells, salsa, tomatoes and green chilies, evaporated milk, coconut milk, tuna, petite diced tomatoes, olives, green chilies, artichokes, brown sugar, cornmeal, Masa Harina (corn flour), wheat flour, mayonnaise, juice bottles, freezer bags, and brown rice. Not to mention the various vinegars and sauces that we use and all the baking powder, soda, and salt. The sugar, flour, and rice live in tins on the counter top. Architecture with butter on Shalavee.com

The fridge and freezer are stocked by mood and sale items. Currently there’s shrimp, pork butt, pork chops, chicken breasts, ribs, flat-iron steak, and various frozen veggies as well as chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and ice cream in the freezer.

The “rotter’ as my husband likes to call the fresh veggie drawer, is filled with lettuce, cabbage, spinach, carrots, celery, thyme, ginger, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, and a lemon or two. Dairy includes butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, cheese, and buttermilk. And breakfast sausages and bacon as well. The onions, potatoes, and hand fruit sit on my counter behind my sink.kitchen window and sink on Shalavee.com

I do find that too much choice can be a bad thing so I feel much much better when I write out suggestive menu plans for the week. That way I can get “in the mood” for some meals. And I can switch around meals depending on the amount of effort I feel like making . Although it almost seems hard to make that meal plan out sometimes, I’m always happy when I do.

I also didn’t realize that I cook breakfast 5 days out of 7. I don’t often just let everyone eat cereal or yogurt. So we eat eggs or leftover pancakes or oatmeal more often than not. And leftovers can be bundled into a burrito later. I try to be frugal and mindful of making what I have bought. My kids hopefully will eventually appreciate this. Or not.salad nicoise on shalavee.com

Tip number 7 of the 10 Smart tips for eating healthier on a budget from the Kitchen.com is to keep a well-organized fridge and pantry. Shopping for fresh produce at the end of the farmer’s market, sale meats, whole grains, planning and eating outside your box/comfort zone are all on the list. Wonder how well you’re doing ? Read the article and find out.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Are You a Mourning Cook Too?

There was once a time when I cooked for the joy of it. I dared to try different techniques, different regional tastes, or daring feats of culinary craziness. I deboned a turkey for Thanksgiving just to say I did it. I make a mean tiramisu when I take the time to. That went with my Italian Christmas feast I made one year with homemade pasta and reinforcement salad. And now I am in mourning for the cook I used to be.

I soooooo miss those days when the pursuit of culinary loveliness was just for self-gratification. And for the gratification of the ones I love of course. What wine pairs with my culinary feat du jour and who am I inviting over to impress? Do we have enough wine? Who cares the time.

Those days are gone Daddy gone. I became a Mom and Eamon and Fiona are happy to be eating some boxed mac and cheese and a microwaved hot dog. Don’t forget the ketchup. And the ice cream.Thanksgiving dinner 2015 on Shalavee.com

When I indulged these thoughts, I felt suddenly as if I were mourning this memory. I love cooking to cook. And I resent cooking plebeian meals for temperamental palettes. But my wise and dear husband pointed out, after I shared my depressing revelation of cooking sentence, that he thinks eventually those same children will develop their taste buds and sense of adventure and they’ll be cooking with me and eventually for me.

I dearly hope his prediction is correct. I won’t hold my breath. But my love of cooking came from my parents, yes, although I also was an adventurous eater. I find it very hard to put so many parts of my soul on hold for the sake of the children. And yet, my complaints are rare because I do understand that this is one of many sacrifices one makes for your children. Like the reading of a book or peeing in private. And that to wish the hurrying through of this phase is to wish to hurry their childhood. And I’m not about to do that.Saturday morning breakfast in the living room that we dine in on Shalavee.com

Sandra Lee had a pretty keen idea of mixing the downtown and the uptown cooking and I commend her for her efforts to create fancier meals with less prep and throw in a decorative element to make the dining experience an event. Children can learn to revere the meal times and eventually the food that is there on their plates. And it’s time I revisit the review I did of French Kids Eat Everything by Karen La Billon. It was really good.

So here’s me dreaming of truffles and oysters and sabayon. And planning a dinner party sometime soon so that I can get some culinary yaya’s out.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Eat Your Rainbow

I’m no health fanatic but a yummy food aficionado? Absolutely. I also love beautiful pictures and art. I love colors. I swoon over a wildflower garden with butterflies or a rainbow in the sky. So when it comes to wanting to make pretty food, I’m inspired by natures palette to be a little more creative. Why-Eat-Rainbows on Shalavee.com

Eat your colors, or eat your rainbow, was a nutrition advocacy slogan from a few years ago. Here’s one article that enlightened me on the eating my rainbow. The concept was catchy and it seems that it really does round out your nutritional needs for phytonutrients. The yellow food is good for your skin and digestive system. And red helps our joints. And you remember orange is good for your eyes.overhead wax beans on Shalavee.com

Farmers market tomatoes on Shalavee.com

Our appetite, or our mood to eat specific foods, has a lot to do with how food looks. If you see pretty, you want to eat it. So I’ve added a few recipes and practices to my cooking repertoire just to appeal to my visual. And of course, they make my body happy too because there’s more vegetables.

health salad on Shalavee.com

purple cabbage on Shalavee.com

I regularly buy purple cabbage to use in stir-frys, my warm salad, coleslaw, and to throw in my salad mix with shredded carrot which then makes it look good enough to eat with nothing more added. Red onion is lovely in salads, fresh fruit salsas, and just classes up the joint where plain onions can seem plebeian. I also now but the three pack of multicolored peppers, red, orange, and yellow plus the greens. I’m happy enough seeing all of these together.Fresh salsa on Shalavee.com

But on top of gazpacho, in a stir fry, or in that fruit salsa to top off grilled pork chops, I am equally happy. It may become more challenging as we move into Winter but there’s a new crop of fresh produce to explore. Cranberries, butternut squash, and kale !

Do you think about the colors of your food? Do you agree that it seems more satisfying when you see more colors on your plate?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

 

Faidley’s Crab Cake Recipe

We live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with the Atlantic Ocean to our East and the Chesapeake Bay to our West. Both my husband and I grew up in rowhouses in Baltimore eating steamed crabs at picnic tables covered with newspapers and the sound of wooden mallets whacking the claws and people spitting out shells. We’re crab and seafood lovers.

In my teen years, my friends and I would travel down to Lexington Market, a landmark on the West side of downtown Baltimore at Eutaw and Lexington Streets. The market was a grid of stalls filled with vegetable stands and fried or foreign food and at the South West corner of the Market was Faidley’s seafood. We would go and visit a friend who worked there and order raw oysters or steamed shrimp. And when I found this recipe for Faidley’s crab cakes in a newspaper, probably the Baltimore Sun, and then made this recipe, I knew I had my “go to” crab cake recipe. It is delicious even when you use the less expensive Backfin crabmeat, Pacific crab meat, or dare I say, claw meat.

Faidley’s Crab Cakes

Ingredients

1 Pound Backfin or jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over

1 cup crushed saltines (crackers)

½ cup mayonnaise

1 egg

1 TB Dijon mustard

1 TB Worcestershire sauce

Dash of Tabasco Sauce

Unsalted butter or olive oil for sauteing or Vegetable oil for frying

Making Faidley's crabcakes on Shalavee.com

Directions –

  • Spread the crabmeat out on a flat pan/cookie sheet and sprinkle the crushed saltines over the top.
  • Mix together the mayonnaise , egg, mustard, Worcestershire, and Tabasco in a small bowl.
  • Pour the mayo mixture over the crabmeat/crackers and gently toss or fold the ingredients together, taking care not to break up the crabmeat lumps if using lump. Let the mixture sit for 2 or 3 minutes before forming the cakes.Faidley's crab cakes in the making on Shalavee.com
  • Form the crab cakes by hand or with an ice cream scoop into 8 mounds about 3 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Do not pack the mixture too firmly. The cakes should be loose as possible, yet still hold their shape. Place the cakes on a tray or platter lined with wax, cover, and refrigerate at least an hour before cooking.
  • At this point, you can choose to saute, broil, or fry your crab cakes.I saute in unsalted butter (burning temperature is higher) over med/high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. They turn a lovely shade of golden brown and have a good crunch this way. Broil about 5 minutes each side in preheated broiler. They’ll be crispy and brown too. But there’s no real calorie savings and I’d be afraid I’d burn them.
    crabcakes on plate and recipe on Shalavee.com

    Faidley’s crab cakes with homemade pita chips and corn and grape tomato salad

    And you can deep fry the crab cakes as well in 1 ½ inches of preheated oil for 4 minutes each side, if you must.

 

Serve the crab cakes hot with tartar sauce, a combination of mayonnaise, lemon, and sweet pickle relish, on a roll, with crackers, or on a salad.

Here’s the downloadable version of Faidley’s Crab cake Recipe from Shalavee.com.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Roasted Beets

Not until I came across Pam Anderson’s wonderful cookbook, The Perfect Recipe for Eating Great and Losing Weight( see my Granola recipe for the link), did I ever consider roasting vegetables. Sure I’d had eaten a righteous roasted vegetable salad in my life but the concept of doing this myself was ludicrous. Until I learned that all it takes is a baking sheet, oil, a 425 degree Farenheit (220 degree Celsius) oven , and 20 – 25 minutes to roast uniformly medium cut veggies to perfection. beets and a ramp on Shalavee.com

Vegetables that I’d previously written off as not a part of my eating or cooking vocabulary suddenly became exotic. Beets? I don’t make borscht and I like an occasional dose of sweet and sour beets in my salad bar trough. But roasting them renders them a delicacy and sort of unrecognizable. Roasted beets, who knew?

Cut them to a quarter-inch thick, toss them in oil and sea salt if desired, and lay them out on a baking sheet. The sugars bubble to the surface and they are tender and meaty and become a vegetable candy they’re so sweet. Carrots do a similar thing and they make a happy combination on any salad. Today I put them in with salmon, feta, and a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. I could have added apple and walnuts or substituted chicken and it would have been equally yummy.Roast beets on salad with salmon on Shalavee.com

Another vegetable that took me by surprise when roasted was green beans. I detest the squeak of a crispy green bean but when roasted, they have a meaty nutty texture. Then marinade these to put back on top of a salad and you are eating “out”suddenly. Roasted cauliflower is immensely popular these days. When roasted in cubes, sweet potatoes are a great potato salad base with craisins and apples and celery for crunch with a little Tumeric. And we always roast red potato cubes as a french fry substitute. Higher sugar content will make any veggie yummier with the roasting method.

onions in a bowl on Shalavee.com

If you have the oven on for a chosen meat already, consider being proactive and cooking up a sheet of veggies to eat on the rest of the week. Cut everything uniformly in half-inch widths and at 425 for 20 minutes, you will wonder like me, how you hadn’t started this practice a long time ago. Happy Veggie Roasting !

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