Grocery Delivery!

The other day I was watching a marathon of ‘Til Debt Do Us Part’, and I absolutely love Gail Vaz-Oxlade.  Admittedly, when I usually watch the show I pick up on all the flubs that I take on my own finances but it doesn’t quite get through my thick head to make the changes that she suggests, but occasionally some advice slips through and is implemented in my day to day.  On one of the episodes the other day, there was a couple that was spending far too much on groceries per month.  They were a fit couple that liked to eat organic, quality food.  Gail suggested to them that they look into an organic grocery delivery service and that it would save them money.  I thought that was absurd, how could your groceries being delivered to you save you money?  My curiousity was peaked though, so I looked into what services were offered in the Lower Mainland and was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

There were a few service to choose from, but I ended up going with spud.ca (SPUD = Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery).  I received my first grocery order this week, and I will definitely be continuing on with this service.  As far as organic produce, meat and dairy, my local grocery store is limited and what they do have they mark up significantly.  I found this not to be case with Spud and just because I love lists, I am going to list the advantages that I feel come along with this service.

  • Fresh, organic, and local groceries.  They list the farm in which each product comes from, love that!
  • Prices for organic groceries are less than that of a large chain grocery store.
  • Provides the ease of ordering online and avoiding grocery store debacles with a crying baby.
  • Because everything is listed in front of you online, I found it much easier to create a budget and meal plan and stick to it.
  • Temptation is decreased.  I often end up spending above my budget and past my desired waist line in the grocery store because I have no restraint when walking by something that looks good.
  • Delivery is free with a minimum order (it is only $35 for my area).  And even if you order less than that, it is only $3.50…probably less than your gas.
  • You don’t have to be home for delivery, you can just specify where you would like your totes to be left.  If you live in an apartment, arrangements will be made for that as well
All in all, I think this is a great option and is a great way to support local farmers and healthy living.
If you are interested in trying it, they gave me a promo code to pass on to friends which will give you a total of $25 off your first 4 orders ($5 off first 3 orders, $10 off the 4th).  So just visit spud.ca and use the promo code CRVAN-PARKAG

Blueberry & Raspberry Muffins

As it turns out, the house we recently moved into has some treats planted in the backyard, raspberries, blueberries and rhubarb.   I really wanted to make use of this somehow other than just picking and eating them as they are, so I felt muffins would probably be a delicious attempt.  I’m going to be honest with you, I probably haven’t made muffins since helping my mom when I was a child.  So when I first began this adventure I was most definitely nervous for the outcome, as my baking track record is grim.  But whoa were these good! Muffins will be making more appearances into my routine now.  I made a few substitutions to make these a little lower fat and lower calorie.

Blueberry & Raspberry Muffins

1 cup non fat vanilla yogurt

1 large egg

¼ cup canola oil

½ tsp vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup granulated white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup raspberries

¾ cup blue berries

Topping:

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp rolled oats

 

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease muffin tin or fill with paper liners.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg, oil and vanilla.

3. In another bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Take 1 tbsp of the dry mix and toss it in with the berries.

4. Fold wet mixture into dry mixture.  Gently stir in the raspberries and blueberries, but be careful not to over mix to avoid tough muffins.

5. Scoop mixture into a muffin tin, about 2 spoonfuls or 1 ice cream scoop.  Sprinkle topping over tops.

5.  Bake for about 15-20 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6.  Let muffins cool for 5 mins before removing from the tin.

Makes 12 muffins

 

Per Muffin:

Calories 180      Fat 5.5g      Carbs 28g      Protein 4g

Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup

Tomato soup is my favourite, and I really wanted to try making it on my own and happened to have some bell peppers in the fridge that needed to be used, so it became a tomato & roasted pepper soup. The version I made is creamy, but this recipe works great without the cream factor as well.

You can definitely used canned tomatoes, but if you choose to use fresh don’t forget to score them as it makes it easier to peel the skin off.

When roasting the peppers what you are looking for is the tops to char a little and the skin to bubble and pucker, so that it will slide off nice and easy.

You can garnish it with whatever you please (sour cream, parsley etc.).  I choose croutons.

Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup

3 large tomatoes

2 bell Peppers (Red, Yellow or Orange)

1 onion – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – minced

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp fresh basil – chopped

2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp chili pepper flakes

¼ cup plain yogurt

salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut peppers in half and remove core and seeds.  Place on a pan and put in an oven set to broil.  Broil the peppers until the tops have charred and skins have bubbled up.  Place the peppers into a ziploc for about 10 minutes and once you removed them from the bag the skins should just slide right off.  Chop up and set aside.

2.  Score tomatoes and place into a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute.  Remove and put into a bowl of ice cold water for a few minutes.  Remove and peel skins off.  Chop up and set aside.

3.  In a large saucepan add olive oil, chopped onion and minced garlic.  Cook over med-low heat until onions become translucent.

4.  Add peppers and tomatoes into saucepan and continue to cook over med-low heat for about 10 minutes.  Then add mixture to food processor (just do bit by bit) and pulse until mixture is the desired texture you would like for your soup.

5.  In a large pot combine tomato/pepper mixture, chicken stock, basil, chili powder, chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.

6.  Stir in yogurt and cook for about 5 minutes more.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving:

Calories 86    Fat 0.3g     Carbs 13g     Protein 5g

Chicken Stock

We had a roasted chicken the other night and there was quite a bit leftover so I thought I would save it to make some soup with. Richard suggested that we use the bones and junk to make a chicken stock with, so that is exactly what I did. It requires a fair amount of time, but not much attention and was perfect to execute on a quiet tv night. Plus it made the house smell amazing 🙂

If you are not planning to use it all for soup, fill up an ice cube tray and that way you have the perfect little blocks of seasoning for cooking.

Chicken Stock 

remains of 1 whole chicken

6 cups of water

1 onion – halved

3 carrots – cut into chunks

3 stalks of celery – cut into chunks

1 tsp rosemary

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Combine chicken remains and water, bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer for 1 hour.

2.  Skim fat off top and add in all the remaining ingredients.  Continue to simmer for 3-4 hours, skimming the fat as throughout this time.

3.  Refrigerate overnight.

Per 1 cup:

Calories 30     Fat 0g     Carbs 6g      Protein 2g

Stocking Your Kitchen

I was looking through some recipes the other day trying to decide what to make and was noticing that my kitchen wasn’t ideally stocked as it could be.  So I have compiled a list of what I feel are key items to have on hand in your pantry and fridge that tend to make repeat appearances in a variety of dishes.   I did leave out things like bread, specific proteins, fresh veg and fresh fruit as  I find those are better bought with recipes in mind so that they do not go to waste….but that is just me 🙂  Let me know if there is anything that I should add on!

Dry Goods

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Brown Sugar
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Rolled Oats
  • Pasta
  • Rice
Spices
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaves
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic Powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
Canned, Boxed, Bottled (In Pantry)
  • Beef Broth
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Chicken Broth
  • Hot Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Vanilla
  • Vinegar
  • Worcestershire Sauce
In the Fridge
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Ketchup
  • Mayo
  • Milk
  • Mustard
In the Freezer
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Frozen Vegetables (Corn, Peas, Carrots)
  • Ground Beef

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Alright, so I revisited oatmeal cookies. After the last debacle I was apprehensive, but I was determined to get them right as they were my favourite style of cookie that my mom made. Raisins were used instead of chocolate chips this time as Richard hates chocolate (crazy I know). One thing I did different this time, other than totally mess up the butter and flour ratio ;), is made the balls/drops a lot smaller as I found that oatmeal cookies really spread out when baking.  The recipe I used is a Grandma Linda original, right off the index card 🙂

Good so far…..

Success!!! And so very good!

 

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

¾ cup butter, softened

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp water

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

3 cups rolled oats

1½ cup raisins

 

1.  Cream butter, brown sugar and white sugar together.  Beat in egg, water and vanilla.

2.  In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda and cinnamon.  Stir  2 mixtures in together.

3.  Add rolled oats and raisins into mixture.

4.  Roll into small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350º for about 12-15 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen

Chicken Parmesan

I made Chicken Parmesan from scratch, woot woot!  This recipe uses my Italian Breadcrumbs and Tomato Sauce recipes.

Chicken Parmesan

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 egg, beaten

1 cup Tomato Sauce

1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs

1 tbsp parmesan cheese

2 slices mozzarella cheese

1.  Coat chicken breast first in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs.  Place on baking sheet and cook @ 350º for about 40minutes, or until juices run clear, or internal temp. reaches 165º.

2.  Brush baking dish with light layer of tomato sauce and place chicken breasts on it.  On top of each breast sprinkle parmesan cheese, pour tomato sauce, place a mozza slice, and pour a bit more sauce over that.  Put back in oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Makes 2 servings

Per Serving:

Calories 302      Fat 10g      Carbs 10g      Protein 27.5g