My new finds...

Hi all. Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. It's been a crazy month. As I'm sure many of you understand, time is not always on our side. Even during this crazy busy time, I still have managed to cook for my family most nights. Although, we still order out or have eaten out of course once or twice a week :)

Especially with the economy the way it is right now, it is on all of our minds, how can I be more frugal? I have started meal planning for the week. This is something I never thought I would do. I used to be the one who went to the grocery store and bought what looked good and what was on sale regardless of what I had a home. Now I have taken stock of what I have in my pantry and freezer and decide on a menu for 5 nights, then I go shopping.

I also used a gift card my husband's grandparents gave me for Christmas at Macy's and spent one wondeful afternoon off in the kitchen section of Macy's. I came across the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook, Deliciously Deceptive. It is amazing! Now, I have to admit I have a daughter who loves her vegetables, but mommy doesn't always like to eat them :) The recipes that I've tried so far have been big hits. One is tortilla cigars - mix cream cheese (I used the low fat neufchatel cream cheese), with some shredded cheese, carrot purree and sweet potato purree and whatever you have leftover, like chicken or pork. I also added some black beans. Roll in a wheat or multigrain tortilla and bake for 5-10 min. Soooo good! I cut them in half and Karina ate it all! She loves it.

Seinfeld's cookbook just gave me alot of ideas. I also used a modified version of one of her recipes and made mashed potatoes but just added a cup of purreed cauliflower. Again, sooooo good! Another good tip is to add some purreed vegetables (I've been buying canned pumpkin) and adding that to soups. I made a chicken and brown rice soup the other day and just added a 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin to the broth. It adds flavor and nutrients, sooo good! Karina loved it!

The other new discovery I've made is barley risotto. Oh my. It was sooo good! I have become the person who makes risotto in my rice cooker because its easier, but I saw a recipe somewhere for using barley instead of aborrio rice and wanted to try it out by hand. I added some parmesan, sage and canned pumpkin. It used alot more liquid than aborrio rice, about twice the amount actually. Next time I'll try the barley risotto in my rice cooker, but I don't know if its big enough for all the liquid.

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