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Since sat I’ve been eating chicken. I LOVE chicken. Lamb and duck are probably my favorite tasting meats, but I love me some chicken. It’s to the point that when I am on a more vegetarian diet, I actually crave chicken. Plus these is SOOO much you can make from it and use EVERYTHING.

From my first cooked chicken on Sat, I was able to have 6 full meals and some snacks. I have some bones left over that I will using to make a chicken stock once the other bird is cooked and I can get all the meat off. It’s always nice to have homemade chicken stock in the freezer. Usually I just make vegetable stock (most cost effective using scrapes) but both are good and both add SOO much flavor to sauces, rissotos, rices, etc. It’s also good to have on hand when you want to make a super quick starter soup. I like to cut up some onions and bok choy and let simmer with the broth.

 

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Whole Chicken

So I know from my last post I stated that I wasn’t going to be buying any new protein. However, I couldn’t pass up this great deal I found on Sat. The store Fresh n’ Easy always has a sale section and major discounts on food that is next expiration. I snagged 2 whole chickens for less than $6. I wasn’t really intending to buy chicken either but word of a good deal got the best of me and I was off and running to snag up my bird.

Saturday was a very busy and food lacking day. I participated in this archery thing through Meetup.com. Wasn’t hungry before of after. Headed over to one of the ceramic studios I work at, still not hungry when I left after a couple hours being there. Decided to hit ikea just to look around. I like Ikea, I just hate the wandering people who stop right in front of you. Kinda like at costco. Anyway, so I started to get hungry. Since I am on a budget, and I decided to to Trader Joe’s. I knew I wanted chicken but I couldn’t make up my mind if I wanted one of their premade frozen things or fresh. I opted for fresh. As I was looking through, I made a comment to the lady next to me on how expensive chicken was while she was putting it back. She then in turn said as soon as she was finished at Trader Joe’s, she was heading over to Fresh n” Easy for the under $3 whole chicken. She just got a call from her girlfriend who was there and they had about 10 of them there.

I quickly abandoned my basket discreetly and headed over. Sure enough they were $2.60 – $2.80 a bird. Always up for a good deal I picked up 2 along with a diet coke. My total under $8.  Only problem, I have never cooked a whole chicken. I assumed it wouldn’t be that hard and since I had 2 I had one to practice on. The other to be served when I have my girlfriends I went to Jr High and High School over for dinner Tuesday night.

I quickly read up on what to do. The innards of the chicken already take out. I was not looking forward to that. I slathered butter and seasoning on the bird but didn’t add anything to the  cavity. Chicken came out good, think adding onions or lemon to the cavity would have helped. Overall not bad. I set the bird on top of onion, carrots and sweet potatos. So delish. I don’t know if the next one I’ll cook whole or break down. I do know that I will probably be buying more whole chickens in the future to same money. May take a bit more time but if it save me money and I can eat for days, why not.

 

Long time no post. Over a year. I started the year off great. Went on that crazy  HTC diet where you only eat 500 cals a day. Lost 12 lbs and more than half of it off. Lately though I have been indulging a bit too much with little or no exercise. I screwed my back back up REALLY bad a few weeks ago so no walking for me. This week I gotta get back into the swing of things such as no eating out and walking everyday weather I’m tired or not and no alcohol. Today/night is my last cheat night. After that it’s strictly business for the next week which leads me to my reasoning of this post.

I had a gross experience with some ground meat. The meat wasn’t bad, it’s been hot and to keep my leftover ground meat concoction away from the flies, I threw it into the oven. For some reason I didn’t put the leftovers in the fridge (which i normally do)  and completely forgot about it the next day and half. Well I realized I forgot about it because my kitchen smelled like something died. Opened the oven and low and behold a maggot infested pan. Not too bad they were small but still. I wasn’t completely grossed out to the point of puking, but grossed out enough to not want to make anything ground meat (chicken, pork, beef) for awhile. So from this sparked my decision to eliminate red meat from my diet. I have enough red meat and pork in my freezer for maybe a total of 5-6 meals. I have a lot of chicken and some fish. I am thinking that in the next 5-6 weeks I can consume the rest of the red meat slowly and stick to chicken and fish.

Ultimately I would like to limit chicken and fish as well but I don’t think I could ever give either one up. There are times I seriously crave chicken. It’s more cost effective for me to stick with a mostly vegetarian diet. My veggie soup costs under $10 and sometimes under $5 and lasts me ALL WEEK LONG and then some. I also can make veggie stock as well.  My greatest expense would be cheese and eggs. I could probably do without the cheese, but eggs really is a staple. Oh and I have pretty much eliminated bread from entering my house. I will eat it if I buy a sandwich from outside or out to eat with friends but I do not buy bread specially crusty french baguettes. Too dangerous. I will eat the whole thing. I love bread. I hardly buy pita or tortilla either. I have been wrapping things up in lettuce instead or making dishes with rice. I love white rice but need to know my intake limit.

My challenge for the rest of the month is to not buy groceries or buy very little only staples such as some fresh fruits and veggies and onions. I have looked in the pantry and have a lot of items that I can turn into quick easy meals. I made Alfredo garlic shrimp over Israeli couscous. I only added the alfredo because i have a open jar in the fridge and I might as well use it than let it go bad and throw it out. Overall this meal cost me what maybe $2-3 for 2 servings. Leftovers for tomorrows lunch. When you start to look at numbers like that, it’s a bit ridiculous to go and get take out from a fast food joint.

Tomorrow I plan on making some sort of veggie patty. I’ve read enough recipes to make up my own. The only thing I worry is the carb content but if I get back into jogging/running then the carbs are okay. Maybe I should save the veggie patties for next week when I somewhat more active.

Veggie Soup

It’s summer and getting warmer in the evening. I don’t particularly want to cook every night because it gets so hot in the apartment and I don’t want to eat something heavy during lunch because it’s too hot. My solution, make a huge pot of veggie soup every Sunday to eat throughout the week. This soup is more tomato based and can varied however one pleases. It’s quick easy and will keep for a week. The broth, at least mine, is super yummy. I add so many spices to kick the flavor up.

What’s nice about this soup is that it just a base soup. You can add additional veggies to the soup, add meat, beans or pasta,  roast the veggies before making the soup and eat the veggies by themselves as a side dish instead of potatoes or rice. I’ve also tried the veggies over rice, pasta and a baked potato or eaten with a egg over easy with  a nice thick slice of toast. You definitely don’t get bored eating this soup if you know how to use it in various ways or add different spices to it. It’s quick and easy to make and low in calories. It’s just really nice to eat during the hot summer days and nights. You don’t necessarily have to have it super hot either. Heating it to just the right temp is a perfect or you can blend it up and eat is as a gazpacho. Either way, it’s delicious.

Anna’s Vegetable Soup

3-4 Cloves garlic – chopped ( more if you like)
1 Medium or large Onion – diced (white or yellow)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium vine tomatoes or roma tomatoes – chopped
1 – 1 1/2 lb carrots – chopped (i chop them kinda chunky so it doesn’t break down too much)
1 bunch celery – chopped
1 lb green beans – chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 – 2 Green peppers – chopped
1 Anaheim pepper or other chili pepper – chopped (optional)
1 32 oz can diced tomato or whole peeled low sodium
1 – 1 1/2oz  vegetable stock, beef or chicken stock (low fat)
1 packet Lipton chicken noodle soup mix (only 1)
water to fill the pot

All Spices below to taste

sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chili flakes etc. Basically any type of spice you like

Chop all ingredients and separate into bowls. Garlic and  onion and be in the same bowl. Carrots, celery and green beans can also be in same bowl.  Keep fresh and canned tomatoes separate.

Turn burner on and place pot and add oil.
Add onion and cook until translucent then add garlic and cook for a few minutes
Add carrots, celery, green bean, green pepper and fresh tomatoes. Cook for a 5 minutes.
Add canned tomatoes and let simmer and some stock. Let simmer
Start to add spices to taste and add soup mix. At this point it is okay to over salt because it will be diluted down with stock and water.
Add a bit more stock and let simmer so the spices are incorporated well.
Add rest of stock. If you want more soup add water to fill the pot
Add more spices to taste.
Bring to boil and let boil for 10 minutes
Lower heat and simmer an additional 5

Trader Joe’s and Fresh and Easy are really great places to shop if your single. Lots of smaller portions at great prices. I like both places equally but can not just shop at one location. I tend to go to Trader Joe’s for certain produce, ie persian cucumbers, avocado, mache and other salad packs and other TJ prodcuts. I find that Fresh and Easy has a better deal on meats and fish. They have this awesome Tuna with a wasabi cream sauce that I LOVE.  Sometimes you can find it  in the daily discounted section. You can often find awesome deals in this section. They shelf out items that have a sell by date for the next day. It’s hit or miss depends on what time of day. each day they load that section 2 times. Once in the morning once at night. Fresh and Easy also have a nice selection of pre-made meals that are quite tasty. The only thing I that is a catch 22 about this place is some of their produce. It’s not cost effective to buy staples like onions, garlic etc. I go to Jon’s, Vallarta or the Asian market for that.  Overall, I like to shop at both stores every other week or so.
Earlier tonight I went to Trader Joe’s. I wanted to pick up some salmon but in the end it was a little too pricey. I’ll  make a stop at Fresh and easy next week so I can make my Asian salmon some other day. I opted out of my original dinner plan and picked up the precooked Roasted Garlic Chicken Patties. These are great for a quick and easy meal. I was going to just heat up the patty,cut it up and then put it in a salad. I remembered that I had some wheat hamburger buns that my Mom gave me at home. This actually made me happy because I really didn’t want to eat a salad. So I walked around Trader Joe’s again and picked up some other things up along with  alfalfa sprouts and was on my way home.

When I came home I heated the patty up along with 2 strips of turkey bacon. Cut up some avocado, onion and tomato. Did a quick smear of mayo top bun and smashed some avocado on bottom bum. Added some Alfalfa sprouts and tomato. Added the patty and topped with the rest. Took picture and ate. Dinner was yummy and took less than 7 minutes to make. I love alfalfa sprouts with these chicken patties. I don’t know what it is, the combination just goes together according to my palate. I was going to make a small salad but I had a few chips and some corn puffs (also from Trader Joe’s) and am stuffed.

Later tonight I am going to make Kale chips that I’ve been meaning to make. I need a healthier alternative for snackies. Though I bought the puff things from TJ’s, I still need something with less carbs. I have 2 bunches of kale that I bought last week and only used a few stalks. Should be able to make a bunch for the next few days.

Just recently I was introduced to kale. Not on purpose, kinda stumbled upon on accident. I was looking for alternatives for snacky thing. Something tasty and light, oh and crispy. As I browsed the internet, I came across Kale chips. It seemed interesting enough that I read more. Simple, wash, cut, coat lightly with olive oil and salt and bake in oven. Supposedly delicious. I never got around to actually making these. One day I will though but since then kale has been in the back of my mind.

One day at the market I was picking up some greens and wanted to add some diversity to my usual green selection. This is where kale crept up from the back of my mind. From then on I would buy kale here and there to use in salads. It’s texture is a bit tough but if you cut it small enough it’s easier to eat. One day I was low on other greens and the main component was kale. I didn’t have enough time to chop the leaves well so I just tossed the dressing right into the salad and closed the container knowing my salad would hold up. That lunch was so yummy. The leaves had just a bit of crisp left and everything marinated so nicely.

It wasn’t until a couple of night ago that I used kale outside the salad world. That evening I was making some pasta. My base was olive oil, onions, garlic and chicken. I wanted to added something green so I tossed in a few broccoli florets. That didn’t seem enough. As I was looking through my fridge,  I caught a glimpse of kale  in the crisper. AHHH maybe I can use this. So i took a couple of leaves, washed them, chopped them up and tossed them in. I was pleasantly surprised at subtle taste the greens brought to the dish. I also proceeded to add some turkey bacon into the dish for a sort of faux carbonara. Minus many ingredients.

The next evening I started to make a simple salad of cannellini beans, tomato and red onion. When I tasted it, the onion, which had been sitting in the pantry for a bit, was SO strong. I decided to throw it all into a shallow pan to cook out some of the onion. For some reason I added a bit of water so it the beans wouldn’t burn. Then things started to click. Well if I added water maybe I can add some rice. Looked in the pantry and took out lentils, barley and chicken stock. Threw all that in the pot. Then I remembered the kale and how much I enjoyed it. Took some leaves out, washed, cut and threw those in. I let is all simmer together for about 15-20 minutes. I needed some protein so instead of chicken that I was going to use, I threw in some left over Al pastor (spicy pork) into the mix. So yummy and filling. There was a lot so if people don’t mind eating this for a couple of meals, it won’t disappoint. You can always freeze half of it for a later time.  You can find the recipe for this dish in the recipe section just cut the recipe in half for a smaller portion.

So what is kale? Kale is type of cabbage that belongs to the plant family Brassica and native of Asia minor. The three most common subtypes of this leafy vegetable are ornamental kale, dinosaur kale and curly kale. Each of these varieties has their own distinct flavor and texture and they vary in their general appearance also. While the curly kale has a typical pungent taste(most commonly found)the ornamental variety has a very mellow flavor and their texture is also very tender and soft. The dinosaur kale, on the other hand, has a slight sweet and delicate taste. I’ve only used the curly as that is all I kind in the markets.

Now why should one incorporate into their meals? Not only does it taste great, cost-effective and a versatile super food,  it’s jam-packed with a butt load of vitamins. Kale provides an excellent source of vitamin B6 and C, carotene and manganese. It’s also a great source for vitamin B1, B2 and E, fiber, copper, iron and calcium.

Last night after my delicious dinner, I was thinking of other ways to use kale. I thought about stuffing them so tonight I am going to use some left over of the stew (hopefully it’s not as soupy but I can also add some rice to the mixture to firm it up) and stuffing the rest of the kale leaves with the mixture. I’ll pop them in the oven with a bit of chicken stock and see how it’s turns out. Kinda like a play on stuffed cabbage of stuffed grape leaves. Hmm I’m getting so hungry. Can’t wait to get into the kitchen.


I started watching that new show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It’s a great show and  it’s a really good thing what he is doing. I remember watching  his other show while flying back from NY on Virgin American last year. Basically he did the same thing but in England. Cleaning up the act of our school systems and helping families eat healthier. I just don’t understand why there were people who were/are opposed to this. One of the opposers, DJ Rod the Dawg, basically thought Jamie was going to come to their town and start force feeding them salads and carrot sticks. So silly.  It was just a bit difficult to watch him berate Jamie on what he is doing. Telling people on the radio that he wants Jamie to just go away and leave their town because they are fine the way they are. After weeks of treatment like this, Jamie needed him to see why he was doing what he was doing. Seeing enlarged coffins and hearing the towns youth about obesity, DJ Rod FINALLY started to see Jamie’s point of view and hop on the Jamie train. By the end of the 4th episode (last week), a sigh of relief can literally be felt and it looks like it’s taking off in the right direction.

The head lunch cook, Alice another opposer to Jamie’s actions, at the elementary  is a tough cookie. She won’t budge on what she has been trained to think. It was nice to see the lunch lady at the high school have a completely different opinion. But back to Alice. She is making it very difficult. Everything is too this or too that. She is too negative and doesn’t like change. I don’t understand how she thinks that breakfast pizza is okay. This is teaching our youth to start eating poorly right off bat.  I was completely appalled on the 3rd episode where french fries were considered a vegetable. REALLY??? Yes indeed it’s a veggie, but it’s fried. It’s like people who go to Japanese eateries and order vegetable tempura and think their eating healthy. Though I would say the tempura would probably be a tad bit more nutritious. It’s also a shame at how much food is wasted. Why can’t they just take back the uneaten whole fruit and either wash it and offer it the next day or donate it to a shelter.

It’s just  amazing to see what sort of crap our school systems are  feeding the children of America. It’s amazing what crap we all eat. I am guilty of this as a lot of  us are. It’s just too simple. Your tired at the end of the day and the drive through is right there. Sure you’ll order a “salad” but when your hungry, a salad just doesn’t seem to do it. It’s just too easy these days. For awhile I was eating out every night. Good and bad. I knew I needed to stop eating out and only treat myself to one meal out a week unless meeting up with a friend for dinner. I chose this for financial reasons but more over I started to become more aware of the food. After watching the episode where Jamie shows the children how chicken nuggets are made, it completely grossed me out. I already knew that the McNuggets at McDonalds is liquified chicken, but seeing this really made me want to puke.

So I started to read the nutritional value from fast food and other chain restaurants. While some is fine, others items from the popular McDonalds, Taco bell, Carl’s Jr etc were truly horrific values. Some meals (sandwich, fries and a soda) were well over the 1500 – 2000 daily value and that is just ONE meal. Being so grossed out, it got me to start cooking for myself again. I love to cook and I love to cook for people but since I am single, it’s often hard to cook just for one. BUT I’m on a journey of my own food revolution. Cooking healthy meals with limited meats. I have given thought to give up meat and become a vegetarian but I don’t know. Maybe I can be a pseudo vegetarian or just allow myself 4-6 meals a week with meats. I don’t know, will still need to play it out. I’m so excited to start cooking again and now able to share it with the world. I don’t know if I will have a big audience or one at all but it gives me  motivation on cooking for one.