Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roasted Garlic Cheesy Potato soup

Sometimes you want to eat something comforting, but you know you don't/won't have time to cook, this is a recipe for just such an occasion.

Roasted Garlic Cheesy Potato soup
(Very important, read entire recipe before you start)

32 oz bag of frozen O'Brien hashbrown potatoes (the kind with onions and peppers in them) I've found that the cheaper kind has smaller dices and makes a nicer soup.

1 jar of Cheesy Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan pasta sauce
(I am looking for a healthier substitute for this so if anyone knows of one please let me know)

1 can of diced tomatoes with roasted garlic and onion (plain tomatoes or tomatoes with onions will work as well)

1 box of Brown n Serve sausage (the precooked kind) thawed and diced (you can substitute diced ham, diced kielbasa, cooked bacon or omit it altogether for a vegetarian soup)

Turn slow cooker on low.
Add entire bag of hashbrowns, whole jar of sauce, whole can of tomatoes(juice and all), and all of the diced sausage, mix thoroughly. Then add 2 cans of water and one jar of water (you want to get all of the yummy sauce out of it so put the lid on and shake well), mix again to incorporate all of the water. Put the lid on the cooker and cook for about 8 hours. You could also cook it on high for 3-4 hours instead if you are in a hurry but make sure to stir it once an hour if you do so as it can stick otherwise.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Can't Brain Today I Have the Dumb

*grunt* *nod* *crash* *ouch* *cawwfee*
One of the lovely things about ADD/ADHD is that occasionally you wake up and find that you have no coordination and your powers of speech have vanished. Thankfully for me this does not happen everyday or it would be a huge problem. It's funny because you can still think of what you want to say but somehow all the words don't quite make it to your mouth. So instead of saying "I need some coffee" it comes out "coffee", only like a troll said it. Good morning often becomes well nothing really, kind of a grunt and a nod. Oh and forget smiling because the face hasn't mastered that one yet. The most fun part is walking. Basically you look like you are either quite drunk or a young child is behind the controls, so you walk into things...a LOT. The only thing you can do is either drink some coffee or take your medicine and wait for either or both to kick in. Makes for an interesting morning(or whatever time it was when you woke up) that's for sure. I'm having one of those right now... :(
PS Think something went horribly wrong with hubby's coffee again this morning, I have dim memories of hearing him say some choice words and filling the carafe with water. :-s

How to Make Clear Coffee

Yesterday evening I washed out the coffeepot and put everything back together. Then I got it all ready to make coffee in the morning, so all hubby had to do was turn it on. Well this morning he turned it on and after about 4 minutes he said, this is the clearest coffee I've ever seen. Even though I could have sworn I'd put coffee in the filter there was none there, personally I think Aliens took it. ;-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lisi's De-Stress Tea

I came up with this recipe one day, after I discovered how well Celestial Seasoning's Tension Tamer tea actually worked, and how much I disliked the taste of it. I thought what would happen if I mixed it with another tea? I happened to have a new tea on hand at the time which was Celestial Seasoning's Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai so I used that. Then after it was brewed I thought if a little chocolate is good then more would be even better so I added some hot cocoa mix to it as well. Then for good measure I added the tiniest bit of vanilla creamer to it, the result was so yummy I've been making it ever since.

Unfortunately they have since stopped making the Chocolate Chai tea but you can use their India Spice Chai instead.


2 cups boiling hot water
1 Tension Tamer teabag
1 India Spice Chai teabag
2 tbsp of hot cocoa mix (sugar free will work fine here)
1 tbsp vanilla creamer (optional feel free to substitute something else here or leave it out entirely)
*Every once in a while I'm in pain and stressed out, for those times I add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. The capsacin in the pepper is a known pain killer. It also gives the tea the nicest little kick. ;-)

Steep the teabags in the water for about 4 minutes. Remove the teabags and toss(or compost them), then add the hot cocoa mix and stir. Add the creamer and cayenne pepper and serve, this makes either one large serving or 2 smaller ones.

RIP Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai I'm sure gonna miss you!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


For a while now I've been using the menu planning ideas outlined in Stephanie Nelson's books to try and save money on our groceries. It's worked rather well for us, I am down to spending about $50 a week or less. This is great because, due to some rather unpleasant circumstances beyond my control, our finances have basically been cut in half since early December. Instead of just buying whatever I feel like making, I now buy the very best deals on sale and base my menu upon those items and what I already have in the house.

I've been very lucky in recent weeks to be able to stock up on all the ingredients necessary to make Lasagna.
We used to buy the On-Cor frozen lasagna at $3 each but it only made one meal for us and contained a lot of things I couldn't pronounce and too much sodium. My sister is rather famous for her lasagna so I asked her for the recipe so I could try and make my own. I found out that lasagna is actually ridiculously easy to make and the recipe is completely adaptable. This is the recipe I started with, starred items are my notes, the rest are hers:

Barbie's Lasagna
9 Lasagna noodles cooked (*this is half of a package)
1 lb or less ground beef, browned and drained.
1 30 oz jar spaghetti sauce. (I use Prego either the one with Italian sausage, or the Vegetable one), Prego is thicker. (*they don't seem to make this size anymore)
8 0z mozarella cheese grated (honestly I use a pound.)
Cook noodles. Cook meat, and drain grease, add jar of sauce and heat. Layer in baking dish (13x9x2) small amount of sauce on the bottom, then 3 noodles, then meat sauce, then cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Very easy, very yummy!! The more cheese the better!

This is how I adapted the recipe to suit us:

9 Lasagna noodles cooked (this is exactly half of a package, I use Ronzoni Healthy Harvest)
1/2 pound of Farmland Pork N Bacon Sausage (this might be a regional item but you can substitute 1/2 pound of diced bacon) cooked with
1/2 pound of ground turkey (or beef, pork, venison) browned and drained. (I actually cook 1 pound each together then freeze half for use later) 
The resulting meat is much like what you'd find in a bolognese sauce and quite yummy.
I don't recommend using just ground turkey in this recipe, the meat is rather flavorless and you really want that flavor.
1 26-28 oz jar/can spaghetti sauce (I prefer Hunt's Chunky Garden Vegetable)
2 8oz packages of grated mozzarella cheese
12 oz or 1 1/2 cups of lowfat cottage cheese (I used 1/2 of a 24oz container) to which I add
2 tsp of powdered garlic
1 tsp of oregano (you could use Italian seasoning instead but I didn't have any)

Cook noodles. Cook meat, and drain grease, add jar of sauce and heat. Layer in baking dish (13x9x2) small amount of sauce on the bottom, then 3 noodles, then meat sauce, then cheese. Next layer 3 more noodles, a small amount of sauce and then spread the cottage cheese mixture over it and more mozzarella cheese. Then repeat what you did for the first layer. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. (It seems to take longer with the cottage cheese layer added)

This is a cost breakdown 

Pork n Bacon Sausage .50 (bought on sale for 1.00 lb)
Ground Turkey 1.00 (bought for 2.00lb)
Lasagna .75 (on sale for 1.50 package)
Cottage Cheese .50 (on sale for 1.00 for a 24 oz container)
Mozzarella Cheese 2.00 (bought for 1.00 each 8 oz package)
Spaghetti Sauce 1.00 (sometimes this can be bought for even less)
Spices (cost negligible as I already had them in my pantry but you can find them for about 1.00 a jar)

Total 5.75 for 9x13 pan which makes either 3 meals or 2 meals and 2 lunches for hubby.
I freeze half for use at a later date when I don't feel like cooking.
Using these figures I saved $3.25 making it myself and got a far superior product as well.