Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

While there may still be some things posting to the blog this month, I am actually on vacation. Everything has been written and schedule to post on the blogs on specific days, so you can still check in and read new things while I am away.

I will be enjoying working at The Inn a little extra this week and next (or, at least, I will enjoy the extra money that goes along with it), and spending time with family. The bestest will be dropping off gifts, and I’ll be organizing and tidying up my space to start afresh in the New Year. I’ll also be doing my tarot and numerology readings, to see what my 2020 should look like. And finishing up filling out my 2020 planner. These are the little traditions that get me into the New Year successfully, so I have a clue about what I am doing.

So I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you had a Happy Yule!

Love & Light,

~ Shannon

Cottage Pie Work-Week Meals

This week I thought I’d post about a simple work-week meal based around the cottage pies I made the other day. They’ve been delicious, so far.

I froze enough for my four shifts at The Inn and, when I took them out of the freezer this evening to prepare them for tomorrow’s trip to work, I added just a couple of things to the containers. Organic carrots and grapes that taste absolutely amazing. Snacks for the weekend will be sliced cucumber.

I don’t care what anyone says, I can taste the difference between organic food and the other foods. Does anyone else? Is it just me?

This simple meal will fill me up during my shifts at work, in a healthy way. Can’t beat that.

~ Shannon

 

 

Cottage Pie Variations

I posted this shepherd’s pie and the variations back in 2013. I still love the original recipe and those variations, but there is more you can do with these pies.

Also, my daughter Zowie pointed out to me that, while these were called Shepherd’s pies while I was growing up, and therefore while she and her sister were growing up, they are actually cottage pies. Why? Because our versions are not made with lamb. If yours are, please continue to call them shepherd’s pie.

These pies can be baked in pans of varying sizes, and they allow for some amount of experimentation. I recently decided to make some for work meals, and these are some of the food combinations I came up with. They are so easy to make.

 

 

  • Ground beef, peas, mashed carrot, and mashed potato.
  • Shredded chicken, corn, mashed squash, and mashed sweet potato.
  • Ground beef, corn, peas, mashed carrot, mashed squash, and mashed sweet potato.
  • Shredded chicken, corn, peas, mashed squash, mashed potato.

I’m trying to get in as many vegetables a day as I can.

I love the little pie plates I bought. They allow you to make serving size pies for easy lunches, and can be packed into lunch sacks once covered. I use reusable methods for doing this, such as bees wax wrapping. I’d like to find some mini baking pans with lids.

Making a cottage pie is easy.

First, cook the meat and add some to the bottom of the baking dish with 1 or more tablespoons of water, broth, stock, or vegetable cooking liquid. Then add mashed, frozen, or canned vegetables, like this:

cottage pie 14

Next you want to add a top layer of your choice: squash, white potato, or sweet potato. And sprinkle on any herbs you want.

cottage pie 9

You can also add a dollop of another topping if you’d like. Be creative. Try new things.

Last, you’ll want to bake the pie(s) at about 350 degrees until they are warmed through. At least 15 or 20 minutes.

Tips

  • Grow what you can to save money.
  • Use store coupons or wait for sales to save money. Better yet, use sales and coupons together.
  • Eat in-season when possible for the freshest food, and to maybe save a little money.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy the recipe!

Shannon

This Weeks Misfits Market Box 10/2/2019

Look at all of this amazing food. I love getting these Madness Boxes from Misfits Market. I look forward to them every other week. There is plenty of fresh produce for me, and I can share some with my daughters.

  • 2 pints of grape tomatoes (Took what I would use and gave the rest to Skye & Zowie)
  • red grapes
  • 8 little pepper (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 zucchini (Kept 2. Gave 1 each to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 yellow peaches
  • 6 Bosc pears
  • 2 bunches green onions (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 lemons
  • 2 bunches red kale
  • 2 egg plants
  • 14 carrots of varying pretty colors
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 4 onions (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 8 apples

This was a very nice bounty of delicious goodness! The squash is being stored because it will last longer than anything else. I have others as well and, once-in-a-while, I will make a stuffed squash.

With this bounty I’ve already made lemonade and am planning to use the rest of the lemons to make lemon water. I made apple-peach and apple-pear sauces for work, and am using kale in smoothies. (One thing I wish came in the boxes is bananas. Oh, and lots of berries. I buy these at the store for my smoothies.)

I also used some of the kale for work salads, adding the tomatoes and zucchini I kept, and some of the carrots. And I’ll be bringing grapes to work for a snack! I love grapes.

I do plan to use the eggplant later in the week by roasting them with potatoes and carrots.

What do you think of all the good stuff that comes in these Misfits Market boxes? Do you get them? I noticed that my sisters boxes are usually somewhat different than mine, and she only lives about ten minutes from me.

~ Shannon

 

 

 

An Easy Salad for Work

I may have mentioned that I eat a lot of salads. They’re especially easy to make and pack for my work-weekend meals. I make a big salad, and split it between containers for work. I can easily grab a salad and munch on it in between my duties at work.

Having recently been asked, again, why I don’t put dressing on my salad, I thought I’d just tell you.

  1. I like the taste of food. I don’t really need to put dressing on a salad to make it taste good. I think it already does.
  2. I don’t want to consume the extra stuff that comes in dressing. Some of it isn’t really good for you anyway.
  3. I haven’t yet learned how to make my own in a healthy way, but I do plan to. I especially want to try a vinaigrette utilizing raspberries. I will eventually get to this.
  4. Salads don’t really need dressings. JMHO

 

These are the salads I was referring to in the Misfits Market 0/7/19 post I recently made. I am working on eating healthier when when working, and salads are helping me to make that switch.

Ingredients

lettuce

tomato

cauliflower

cucumber

  1. Rinse produce and lay everything out on a towel.
  2. Pat dry with a second towel.
  3. Rip the lettuce into chunks.
  4. Cut the vegetables into bite-size bits.
  5. Throw it all into a big bowl and mix it by hand.
  6. Distribute between lunch containers.
  7. Refrigerate.

Tips

  • Use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
  • Use leftover bits of any vegetables to make a simple salad. It doesn’t always have to be made with whole veggies.

Serving Suggestions

  • Pack with other meal items such as pot roast and potatoes, or chili.
  • Top with chicken to make it a meal of it’s own.

Enjoy!

~ Shannon

 

Sausage & Apples Leftovers with Eggs

My basic Sausage & Apple One-Pan Meal has netted me four meals. Not bad. After the initial meal, I also made stuffed squash that is actually two meals for me, and then I had this meal that makes for a hearty breakfast.

I’ll tell you something. I had a $0.00 budget for groceries this week, so I am extremely grateful that I had the apples, potatoes, and garlic from previous Misfits Market shipments, and the squash from my parents garden. It was so helpful. I also had one last sausage in the freezer. The fact that those items, some oil, and seasonings made such wonderful meals warms my heart. With a few eggs in the refrigerator and the other items I still have available, I didn’t feel deprived at all.

It’s not every week that I have a $0.00 grocery budget, but it’s good to have things on hand when I do.

The leftovers for this recipe include potato, garlic, apple, sausage, and squash. Add an egg, and you have a tasty breakfast!

Ingredients

Serves 1

leftovers from the previous Apple & Sausage recipes

oil, butter, or ghee

1 or 2 eggs

sea salt

pepper

seasonings of choice

  1. Heat oil, ghee, or butter in a skillet.
  2. Add the leftovers from the previous recipes.
  3. Stir and move the contents of the skillet to one side of the pan.
  4. Add more oil, ghee, or butter to the empty area of the skillet if needed, and crack and egg or two into that area.
  5. Allow the egg(s) to cook on one side, then flip.
  6. Stir the leftovers.
  7. Allow the egg(s) to cook on the second side.
  8. Remove eggs and plate them.
  9. Sprinkle seasonings over the leftovers, stir, and remove the skillet from the heat.
  10. Transfer the leftovers to the plate.

Tips

  • This is a versatile recipe, meaning you can use leftovers from other meals.
  • Use sales coupled with coupons to buy the eggs and meat when possible to save money.
  • A windowsill herb garden will save money on the cost of organic herbs.

Serving Suggestions

  • When I have the ingredients on hand, I pair one-pan breakfast meals with a healthy smoothy for added nutrients.

Enjoy the recipe.

~ Shannon

 

 

 

Misfits Market Box for 9/7/19

Wow. I just love these boxes! Look at the goodies I got this week, and I’ll share with you how I’m using most of it below.

 

It’s all lovely, and I’m happy to find ways to use it all. This is the list of everything I received:

  • 2 cauliflower
  • 3 Mango (Kept one for smoothies; gave the others to Skye & Zowie.)
  • 5 potatoes
  • 2 grapefruit (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 6 oranges
  • 6 lemons
  • 4 onions (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 6 Cucumbers (Gave one to Skye & one to Zowie)
  • 4 peppers (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 2 bags green beans
  • 4 tomatoes (Gave one to Skye & one to Zowie)
  • 2 lettuces

It’s amazing how much these boxes of food weigh. With my back issues, I can’t even carry them upstairs to my place. I have to bring reusable shopping bags down with me and split everything between the bags, and then bring them upstairs like that.

So, I did a few things right off. First, I made a couple of pitchers of lemon water because I wanted to enjoy some while I took care of everything. This lemon water is super easy. Each pitcher is about a quart. I juice one lemon per pitcher, add a few tablespoons of organic honey, and fill each with filtered water. Then stir. That’s it! The pitchers fit on the door of my little refrigerator.

I try to always have lemon water or lemon-limeade made up whenever I get the fruit. Vitamin C is good for you.

Then I made salads for my weekend at work. You may have have gotten the impression while reading these posts that I eat a lot of salads. I have been. I also drink a lot of super-healthy smoothies.

Spring and summer are a great time for this, but I’ve been wondering what later fall and winter produce boxes will look like. Salad fixings?

I had plenty of leftover cauliflower to last the two weeks, but I’m not sure if it lasts that long. Usually I eat it all before it gets to the point of going bad. My plan is to use some in smoothies, because it won’t be noticeable. And to eat it whenever I need a snack. I am not a fan of cooked cauliflower, so I will not be using it as a pizza crust, as rice, or roasted. Nope.

Same with green beans, and here will be plenty of this to eat raw as well. And I’ll be roasting potatoes with sausage, and using those two items, raw, as sides. I will also these raw veggies with breakfast, along with fresh fruit.

Can you believe all the yummy goodness my Madness Box is stuffed with each week? I’m always excited to get it. If you want your own box, use this link to place your order. (Use this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE ) They are currently giving discounts to new customers, and I’ll get a discount on a future order. We’ll be helping each other out.

~ Shannon

 

Sausage & Apple One-Pan Meal #2

At this point, I have a good little stash of squash going. A couple straight from my parents garden. I’m hoping to acquire enough for use this fall and through the new year. One thing I love is stuffed squash, and I’m planning one for tomorrow.

I also have a steady stream of potatoes and apples coming in. It’s great. I’ve made apple and apple-pear sauces for my work meals recently. And now I am ready to utilize more of the potatoes and squash.

The upcoming change of season is the reason. Right about this time every year I start making more and more heartier meals. As I sit here writing, I’m full from one such meal. This is that recipe.

By the way, when I say large potato I mean a huge one. Not sure how much it weighed, but it was a hefty one. Also, I left the peel on the potato, cutting out a couple of small bad parts. And I left the apple peeled, but cored it. Peels have important nutrients too!

Ingredients

oil, ghee, or butter

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large potato, chopped

1 large apple, diced

1/2 lb turkey sausage, chopped

sea salt

pepper

  1. Allow oil, ghee, or butter to heat in a skillet, then add crushed garlic and stir. Allow to cook for a minute.
  2. Add the potatoes and allow to cook down about half-way.
  3. Sprinkle the apples over the potatoes and stir.
  4. Add the sausage, salt, and pepper, and stir again.
  5. Stir occasionally while it all continues to cook, until the potatoes are done to your likeness.

Tips

  • Use whatever potatoes and apples you like.
  • Try using other seasonings, such as parsley, rosemary, or oregano.
  • Buy fresh from a farm stand if there is one nearby, or a farmer’s market. Or, try a Misfits Market box. (This is an affiliate link. You get a discount on your first order, and I get one on a future one. A win-win! Use this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE ) This is where I get most of my produce.
  • Plant a garden. This would be the ultimate in savings, and exactly what I would do if I wasn’t renting.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy the recipe!

~ Shannon

 

Kids in the Kitchen: Make a Pumpkin Cookbook

I’ve already posted about having children make apple and zucchini cookbooks. This another great family or homeschool project. You would first need to do some research about the elements you would like  added to the cookbook.

Some suggestions are:

  • table of contents
  • this for that information
  • measurement information
  • information on the different types of pumpkin
  • information on making homemade pumpkin puree, by baking or boiling
  • information on freezing pumpkin, or the finished recipes
  • how to store roasted pumpkin seeds

They might also want to add a photograph of finished recipes, or one of them making each recipe.  A nice two-page spread should include the recipe and picture on one page, and a journaled story about making or eating the dish on the next page.

It would be fun if they made their book in the shape of a pumpkin. My daughters did this, and bound the covers and pages together with yarn. The covers were made of construction paper.

Have them use only your family’s favorite holiday/harvest pumpkin recipes, so they will have to try them all out first. This can be a lot of fun. Make sure they know how to prepare relevant recipes for the freezer.

Here are some pumpkin recipe ideas:

  • bread
  • muffins
  • pumpkin  cake with cream cheese frosting
  • soups, and soups served in hollowed out pumpkins
  • vegetable medley
  • pumpkin bars
  • pie
  • cookies
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
  • pancakes

Let us know what your children include in their cookbooks!

Shannon

Kids in the Kitchen: Make a Zucchini Cookbook

Like the apple cookbook project, this is another great family or homeschool project that will teach children many skills. You would first need to research what elements you want to add to your cookbook.

Some suggestions are:

  • table of contents
  • this for that information
  • measurement information
  • information on zucchini
  • information on freezing zucchini, or the finished recipes
  • how to clean and shred the zucchini

If they grew the zucchini then they can also add gardening information, and summer and autumn harvest information.

They may also want to add a photograph of finished recipes, or of them making each recipe.  A nice two-page spread might showcase the recipe and picture on one page, and a journaled story about making or eating the dish on the next page.

You’ll want to have them use only favorite holiday/harvest zucchini recipes, so have them try them all out first. This can be a lot of fun. You will also want to make sure that they know how to prepare relevant recipes for the freezer.

When my daughters made theirs, they used construction paper and bound everything together with yarn.

Here are some zucchini recipe ideas:

  • bread
  • muffins
  • zucchini mashed potatoes
  • harvest salad
  • zucchini in stir-fry
  • chocolate zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting
  • soups
  • vegetable medley

Let us know what your children include in their cookbooks!

Shannon