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Friday, June 20, 2014

Eat like a fancy pants on the cheap!

Ok, so the title of this one is "Eat like a fancy pants on the cheap" but what should be tagged on to the end of the sentence is "the Japanese way:" because this episode of "how to make your life a little more awesome for less" is brought to you by RAMEN!

Whether or not you've been to college I'd put money on the fact that your early twenties was spent eating like you were trying to afford it. And why not? at 15 cents a meal (which happens to actually be delicious) its hard to beat. Then later on your got a little smarter and learned about nutrition...

You probably know now (or will learn soon) that Ramen is just carbs, sallt, and fat - and while you can get full and happy on about a dollar a day (on average) you are gonna burn out soon, and all of that thinking you like to do throughout the day will because pretty monotone.

For not much more you could actually be eating like a pro, and still have a deliciously quick and easy meal going for ya! I put all of my effort, money and work into dinners for my family. With a husband set like a lumberjack and 2 kids I dont have a lot of time but need to come up with a lot of food, and WAY too often I forget to feed myself throughout the day. Here are some of my "Ramen Hacks" that keep me and my son fueled through the day while enabling me to continue on my journey to actually having a clean house:

AS I WRITE THIS Im actually eating some AMAZING ramen. I took a package of beef ramen, cooked the noodles with an egg (like egg drop soup) some chopped green onion, a sprinkle of garlic powder, and a LOT of fresh spinach (about 2 cups - when that stuff cooks it doesnt go very far) When its done I poured a good amount of liquid out, added the flavoring powder, and then dug in! No one even missed me while I was feeding my own face - THATS how quick it was! It was SOOOO DELICIOUS that I fed it to my husband (as a way to brag about how lucky he is to have such a great wife that saves him money and feeds him nutrients) and he was impresssed!

So it isnt rocket science - and there is no recipe per se - its all up to you, but consider just keeping some staples around the house when you think you'll be broke for a while, or if you just feel nostalgic.... or really hungry for sodium.

Try some Spices like salt, pepper, garlic, powered turmeric, steak grilling seasonings.. I dunno, this is YOUR adventure!
Try these Veggies (Just toss them in the water while the noodles are cookin):

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce/Cabbage
  • Sprouts
  • Beans
  • Scallions/Green onion
  • Broccoli/Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Any frozen veggies you have inthe freezer.. even corn would be an adventure!
Try some MEAT! Any meat cooked, cubed, chopped, sliced, etc would make a FINE addition to your ramen. even if its pepporoni slices!
Try some EGGS! They are a cheap and easy way to add protein and a lot of other vitamins. This has always been the easiest way to get it into my little boy too!
(I took the following "Level system" on ideas for eggs from THIS link)

  • Level 1: Hard boiled eggs are the easiest—just add the eggs to a pot of cold water, bring it to a boil, then drop in your noodles. The egg should be pretty perfectly hard boiled in just about the same time that it takes to cook the ramen through.
  • Level 2: Soft boiled eggs are a tad trickier, because they involve a time. Drop them into the pot after it's come to a full boil, start a timer, and pull them out after 3 minutes for super-soft, or 5 for a fully-set white and semi-liquid yolk. I like to cut the eggs open and stir the yolk into the broth as I eat it.
  • Level 3: The egg-drop method creates small curds of egg blossoms that float in the broth and coat your noodles. Lightly beat an egg in a small bowl. Once your noodles are cooked, swirl the noodles and hot broth gently around the pot. While the broth is moving, slowly drizzle in the beaten egg. It should set into fine ribbons.
  • Level 4: Poached eggs will never come out perfectly shaped, but who really cares? Just cook the noodles until they've just started to separate from each other (about halfway through their total cooking time), pull the pot off the heat, break a raw egg into the center, place the lid on the pot, and let the whole thing sit for a couple minutes until both the noodles and eggs are cooked.
  • Level 5: Fried Eggs require the use of an auxiliary pan and heat source. This is hyper-advanced stuff, and not to be trifled with until you've mastered all of the first-level egg techniques.*

And REMEMBER - theres no reason to stay in the orient for this one. The following link has recipes for ramen Pizza, soups, salads, casseroles, omelettes, chimichangas, snack mix, even shephards pie utilizing our 15 cent buddy! CHECK IT OUT, Its actually kinda ridiculous:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Need help getting veggies into your kids?

My almost-4 year old makes it pretty impossible for me to get vegetables into his body, and this is obviously a notorious problem with almost all parents. Until I figure out how to convince him that this entire diet cant consist of fruit and bread Ive been resorting to tricking him for years.

This recipe is flawless and allows you to get veggies into them in a delicious and healthy way. Best of all this recipe is entirely customizable, where you use a few necessary ingredients, but other than that you decide what your kid needs the most! Plus, as a bonus theres a quality to this recipe that makes being a mother so much easier - its fast and brainless. Nothing needs to be EXACT, so don't stress! Just dump a bunch of things into a bowl and mix it up!

So I give you.... *drum roll*

(The number of muffins depends on the tin your using)

2 cups whole wheat flour (or what you have on hand)

about 1/4 cup flax meal (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup whole oats (optional)1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
about 1/3 cup brown sugar (or other sweetener if you prefer)
2 -3 tablespoons honey (optional - but really adds to the texture and taste)
1 egg
about 3 cups vegetables - Use anything you like, its gonna be blended together. (I use carrots, zucchini and spinach regularly, but you can even use banana, applesauce, berries, etc.)

1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 teaspoons cinnamon (depending on your preference)
I throw a little turmeric in there too.. just a small amount. It adds color, cancer fighting properties, and a million other great things into the body.

Like I said, mix it up - different veggies, different additives like the flax or oats just to add nutrients. If your kids like nuts Id suggest almonds, too!

  • None of this has to be in any specific order, either....
  • Get the butter out and throw it in a bowl so it will soften up while you get the rest of the ingredients in there!
  • First you want to Puree any of the non-basic ingredients. The veggies, oats, nuts, etc. I even put the brown sugar in the food processor just to make sure it gets broken up. Put it all in there. Puree it until its the consistency of baby food or applesauce.
  • Put the processed food into a bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients.....
  • Heat the oven to 350.
  • Get our your mixer and blend it all up!
  • Fill the cups in a muffin tin to about 2/3 full
  • Bake for 25 minutes!
VOILA! Yummy muffins for pesky children! Good luck getting them to want anything other than muffins after this though....