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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Green Kitchen: Vegan Creamed Kale

Green Kitchen is a bi-weekly column about nutritious, inexpensive, and ethical food and cooking. It's penned by the lovely Jaime Green.

There are lots of reasons one might want to avoid dairy. One might be allergic. One might be vegan. One might be omnivorous but prefer dairy from happy, grass-fed cows, which can be expensive or hard to come by. One might be lactose intolerant and rationing those pricey lactase pills.

Or one might like that experimenting with non-dairy versions of usually-dairy meals can lead one to delicious dishes one might never have eaten otherwise.

A little of column A, a little of column B.

I ended up at creamed kale the other night by an internet/culinary odyssey – my original plan for cold sesame broccoli was thwarted by the fact that it was about thirty degrees outside, and maybe five cooler in my apartment. Next thought: cream of broccoli soup, but Leigh already has us covered there. So what else is in my fridge? Kale! Cream of kale soup? Creamed kale? I love creamed spinach – is creamed kale a thing?

Thank you, internet, because you showed me that it is.

(Have I ever mentioned how much I owe the internet for my cooking? Other people have cookbooks; I have a netbook and WiFi.)

I read a few recipes, and started to get an idea of how one might make creamed kale at all; creamed spinach, love of my life, has always come to me frozen in a little cardboard box. I eliminated recipes that called for whisking flour into broth, to keep things totally grain- and gluten-free. I found a recipe calling for a cashew cream for the sauce. That sounded intriguing, and while I didn’t have any cashews, I’ve been working through a bag of slivered almonds (after some unsuccessful almond meal pancake attempts) that could do with being polished off.

What’s amazing about this dish isn’t that it tastes like it’s made with dairy – it doesn’t. It’s saltier, more savory and complex, and, to be fair, not as smoothly creamy. But, and maybe even more excitingly, this dish is amazing in its own right. It scratches the creamed spinach/kale itch – hot, creamy, savory comfort food, totally addictive despite being packed with super-healthy greens – but without pretending to be something it’s not. The sauce is nutty and has a hint of oniony taste, not quite cream but just as good.

And I can save my lactase pills for the Seabrook Farms creamed spinach hanging out in my freezer. Maybe in February, when local greens are truly, totally gone. Late November? Still total bounty.

~~~

If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
~~~

Vegan Creamed Kale
(adapted from Whole Foods)
Serves 4


1 bunch kale, torn into smallish pieces (5-6 cups, torn)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used Better than Bouillon)
dash salt
1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tablespoon soy creamer (or more milk)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/3 cup blanched, slivered almonds (or ½ cup whole raw almonds, or cashews)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
a few grinds of black pepper

1) Steam kale until bright green and tender, about four minutes. (You can also blanch it.)

2) Drain kale and rinse under cool water.

3) Melt 1 T margarine in a sautee pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and a dash of salt, and sweat until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic; cook one minute more.

4) Combine onion mixture, broth, creamer, milk, lemon juice, soy sauce, almonds, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg in food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender, to puree smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

5) Return mixture to sautee pan and simmer over medium-low heat until it thickens slightly, stirring often, about ten minutes.

6) Stir in kale and cook, tossing often, until kale is cooked and sauce is thickened to your liking, 5-10 minutes more. Top with ground black pepper.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein and Price per Serving:
155 calories, 8.6g fat, 4.2g fiber, 7.2g protein, $0.83

Calculations
1 bunch kale (5-6 cups, torn): 184 calories, 2.6g fat, 7.4g fiber, 12.1g protein, $1.50
1 medium yellow onion: 42 calories, 0.1g fat, 1.8g fiber, 1.2g protein, $0.50
2 cloves garlic: 9 calories, 0g fat, 0.1g fiber, 0.4g protein, $0.04
1 T butter: 102 calories, 11.5g fat, 0g fiber, 0.1g protein, $0.13
½ cup vegetable broth (Better than Bouillon): 2 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.05
dash salt: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
1/3 c + 2 T unsweetened soy milk: 35 calories, 2g fat, 1g fiber, 3.5g protein, $0.45
1 T lemon juice: 8 calories, 0g fat, 0.1g fiber, 0.1g protein, $0.07
1 t soy sauce: 4 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0.6g protein, $0.02
1/3 c blanched, slivered almonds: 207 calories, 17.8g fat, 4.4g fiber, 7.6g protein, $0.33
1 T nutritional yeast: 27 calories, 0.3g fat, 1.7g fiber, 3g protein, $0.19
1/8 t red pepper flakes: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
1/8 t nutmeg: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
a few grinds of black pepper: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
TOTALS: 619 calories, 34.4g fat, 16.6g fiber, 28.6g protein, $3.32
PER SERVING (Totals/4): 155 calories, 8.6g fat, 4.2g fiber, 7.2g protein, $0.83

Ask the Internet: What DON'T You Spend Money On?

Simple Organized Living started it. Then, Money Saving Mom picked it up. Today, Casual Kitchen's Daniel puts his own twist on it. I think it's officially a meme:

Q: What ten things DON'T you spend money on?

A: Okay, here goes:
  1. Beef (Thank you, chickens.)
  2. Bottled water and soda (Thank you, tap.)
  3. Lawn care (Thank you, Brooklyn concrete.)
  4. Mayonnaise, radishes, scallops, cauliflower, and anise. (Thank you, food aversions.)
  5. Name brand clothes (Thank you, lack of fashion sense.)
  6. Cable TV (Thank you, Netflix.)
  7. DVDs (Thanks again, Netflix.)
  8. Books (Thank you, public library.)
  9. A car (Thank you, feet.)
  10. Kitchen gadgets (Thank you, limited cabinet space.)
Readers, fire away. This is a fun one.

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Post: Pioneer Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe

Shane can be found at ShaneHalbach.com, blogging about the zombie apocalypse, bacon, and his adorable kids (not necessarily in that order).

My daughter Evie likes pancakes. A lot. It's not really Sunday at our house if you're not in your PJs at noon eating pancakes while batter slowly drips off your daughter (and the stove, and the walls...). I can't say I blame her, they're fun to make, they're delicious, and they're really not that bad for you.

(This is assuming you don't put chocolate chips inside and then slather them with whipped cream and who knows what else - I mean, you can do that, I'm not judging. I won't even call the health police on you. However, if she was going to be eating pancakes that often, I figured we should at least try.)

So why are they "pioneer" pancakes? Well, anyone who has kids knows that the first component to a successful meal, especially one they don't want to eat, is marketing. (Yes, we had to sell our daughter on the idea of pancakes. Kids are funny that way. I'm sure she wouldn't believe it now either.) One of the main components of the recipe is substituting molasses for sugar, since molasses is a mineral-dense sweetener, particularly for calcium and iron. My daughter and I were reading the Little House on the Prairie books, and they mentioned eating molasses as a topping for pancakes. Voilà, marketing slogan established!

Evie, helping me make pancakes: "Are we going to put that in now? The other thing?"
Me: "What thing?"
Evie: "The icky sticky goo?"

Well, apparently I can't add molasses to anything without singing, "Molasses, molasses, icky sticky goo! Molasses, molasses, it'll always stick to you!" A song that fun was not going to go unnoticed.


As far as I'm concerned, there aren't a lot of things that can't be improved with the addition of pumpkin (and there's not a lot of other ways to sneak vegetables unnoticed into breakfast). And I throw some walnuts in there too for good measure ("Brain Food"...it looks like your brain and it's good for it too! There should be a requirement that all ad execs have to have prior experience as a parent.) Use whole wheat flour and you're in business!

We usually make a triple batch and freeze them on cookie sheets, before putting them in big freezer bags. Then we can reheat one or two at a time for a quick breakfast during the week. Because, hey, if you could get away with eating pumpkin pioneer pancakes for breakfast every morning, you would too!

Pioneer Pumpkin Pancakes
Feeds 3 hungry people (12 - 14 medium-sized pancakes)

1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp black strap molasses
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup walnuts

1) Beat egg in a large mixing bowl.

2) Beat in buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, molasses, canola oil, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.

3) Beat in whole wheat flour. I just hand mix it (but then again Evie doesn't mind if it is a little lumpy). You might notice that the batter is pretty dark thanks to the whole wheat flour and the molasses.

4) Add water to thin batter if necessary.

5) Heat skillet. You could hypothetically do this at the same time as mixing the batter, unless you also have to manage a 3 year old.

6) Oil the skillet. I usually do this about every other batch of pancakes or so.

7) Use a large spoon to make whatever size pancakes you want.

8) Sprinkle a handful of walnuts on each pancake. You could mix it into the batter, but I like to put it into the pancakes manually so the walnuts are evenly spread. I find that if you mix them into the batter, you end up with the last few pancakes being walnut city.

9) Flip the pancakes when bubbles rise to the top and the edges look a little crispy.


NOTE: All of the following calculations come from Kris (the proprietor of CHG), instead of Shane (author of the guest post). Please e-mail her/me if there are any issues. Thanks!

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
382 calories, 15.4 g fat, 8.1 g fiber, 14.6 g protein, $0.99

Calculations
1 egg: 54 calories, 3.7 g fat, 0 g fiber, 4.7 g protein, $0.33
1 1/4 cups buttermilk: 172 calories, 6.1 g fat, 0 g fiber, 12.6 g protein, $0.62
1/2 tsp baking soda: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
1 tsp baking powder: 2 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.01
1 tbsp black strap molasses: 47 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.13
1 tbsp canola oil: 124 calories, 14 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.08
1/2 cup pumpkin: 42 calories, 0.4 g fat, 3.6 g fiber, 1.3 g protein, $0.33
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice: 6 calories, 0.2 g fat, 0.3 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.70
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour: 509 calories, 2.8 g fat, 18.3 g fiber, 20.5 g protein, $0.27
1/4 cup walnuts: 191 calories, 19.1 g fat, 2 g fiber, 4.5 g protein, $0.50
TOTAL: 1147 calories, 46.3 g fat, 24.2 g fiber, 43.7 g protein, $2.98
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 382 calories, 15.4 g fat, 8.1 g fiber, 14.6 g protein, $0.99

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Guest Post: Companies Vs. Consumers: A Manifesto

Today's guest post comes from Daniel Koontz. Dan is the author of Casual Kitchen, a kick-butt blog that helps readers cook more, think more, and spend less. It's my (Kris') favorite food blog. Er, beyond this one.

Why are so many people convinced that all food companies and retailers are evil, greedy, and exist solely to exploit their customers?

If you hold that kind of simplistic, generalized world view, you are committing an act of personal disempowerment. You may not know it, but you are willingly giving your power away to these companies.

This is not to say that some companies aren't greedy. And it's not to say that consumers aren't at times unfairly separated from their money. But it is the height of enfeebled hypocrisy to whine and complain about "greedy companies" when they merely make and sell the very products we consent to buy.

I will not allow my readers to give their power over to companies like that. No way.

The truth is this: big business (or Big Food, or Big Retail, or Big Auto, or Big Pharma--go ahead and take your pick) has absolutely no power over us unless we willingly choose to be disempowered first. There have never been more companies competing for our consumer dollars, and there have never been more consumption choices available to us--including the easy-to-forget option not to consume at all.

Just walk into any standard supermarket, and you'll find at least 50,000 products--three times what you'd find 30 years ago--all helpfully arranged throughout the store in the hopes that you'll make a purchase.

And sure, among those 55,000 products there are lots of unhealthy foods. But an unbiased walk through any grocery store will reveal an extremely wide array of healthy, laughably cheap foods too.

If you decide to eat unhealthy foods in the face of all of those choices, you are the one making that choice. No snivelling marketing executive from Big Food forced that overpriced and heavily-advertised bag of potato chips down your throat. (PS: uh, if this actually does happen to you, please put down this blog and call 911).

Sure, the food industry may have made those chips hyperpalatably salty and tantalizingly delicious. But you picked the bag off the shelf, you carried it to the counter, you paid for it with your money, and you took the bag home, opened it and consumed the contents.

If you think it's reasonable to blame Big Food for that sequence of events, then you're beyond help. You've already given away all of your power.

~~~

Related Posts:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ask the Internet: Radish Recipes?

This week's question comes from reader Allison.

Q: The other week I was perusing the veggie section and came across these massive red radishes, and I wondered, What could I do with radishes besides slice them up raw for salads? Can they even be cooked? They never appear in any recipes I read. (I feel like maybe I have seen them in an Asian recipe, but I very rarely cook any kind of Asian cuisine at home, so I could be wrong.) I suppose I could steam some up and try but hey, that's what Ask the Internet is for, right?

A: Hi Allison! I have to admit, I'm not a big radish fan myself (also see: mayonnaise, Michael Bolton, wedgies), but Leigh (of Veggie Might fame) likes 'em muchly. Her write-up of Braised Radishes with Tarragon looks particularly enticing.

Beyond that ... readers? It's a non-Thanksgiving question! Yay! Go crazy.

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Guest Post: Butternut Squash Soup - Test Kitchen Tuesday

Angela is on a mission to eat healthy one new meal at a time. You can catch up with her at Test Kitchen Tuesday

Hi everyone! Before we get started, I just want to say how happy I am to be here. So, my fellow CHG-lovers, it’s so nice to meet you!

And, now that we’re on a first name basis, I have a confession to make. I am a lot of things: a wife, a small business owner, a triathlete, a skier, and an animal lover, among others. Until recently, I was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a cook.

In fact, I used to pretty much avoid cooking as much as possible, aside from maybe boiling water for pasta. My husband and I have fully remodeled two houses together, which left little time to think about what we were eating. When you’re covered from head-to-toe in some form of paint, drywall mud, tile mastic (or worse), the last thing on your mind is what goes in your mouth. Dinner came out of a box, a bag, or from a restaurant. I. Did. Not. Cook.

About a year ago, I started paying attention to the foods we eat, and, yikes! Have you ever internalized what some of those ingredients in convenience foods really are? I finally did, and had an “ah-ha” moment: I realized the meaning of that old adage, “you are what you eat.”

The past year has been an interesting journey of figuring out how to feed us things that actually qualify as food instead of chemistry, and it has been surprisingly wonderful. Among the many surprises, I found out I really like having an active role in our nutrition. I learned to make things I would have never thought I could make, with ingredients I would have never purchased (or had even heard of) before.

It’s all good.

A while back, I was on a mission to serve my husband, AKA 2ChiliBreadBowl (yes, I actually call him that) something with butternut squash in it. I was certain he wouldn’t actually eat butternut squash if it wasn’t somehow disguised, but he had mentioned he had tried butternut squash ravioli once and liked it. My ears perked up. Anytime 2Chili mentions he likes something that does not involve massive amounts of sugar, ketchup, or barbeque sauce, I take notice. I decided I would try my hand at this magical ravioli he liked.

A surprise dinner guest on that fateful butternut squash ravioli night, which happened to be a Tuesday, gave me the idea to create Test Kitchen Tuesdays. Now, I make something completely new-to-us every Tuesday night, and have started blogging about it. 2Chili is taking it in stride. He’s the first one to admit his palate is about as diverse as your average 6-year-old’s, and watching me put effort into something new and outside my comfort zone in the kitchen has (I presume) inspired him to eat outside his box of chicken nuggets.

All that stage-setting aside, let’s get on to business. I figured since the fabulous and humble butternut squash was responsible for inspiring me to start up our weekly test recipe endeavors, it was only proper to feature a butternut squash recipe in this post.

I happen to like the ol’ butternut in a multitude of dishes, from smoothies (really!) to soup to just plain roasted. When I stumbled on a large butternut squash on the end cap at our local Trader Joe’s for only $1.59, I couldn’t resist. The result of that purchase was this creamy, savory soup that officially qualifies as autumn in a bowl. If autumn in a bowl wasn’t good enough, as an added bonus, it’s so good for you that you can gobble it down without regret!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Original Recipe/Inspiration: The Reluctant Vegetarian.

Recipe Makes: 8 one-cup servings, plus or minus, depending on the size of your squash


 Time Required:
  • 15 minutes to prep
  • 30 minutes to cook
Skill Level (out of a possible 5): 2

Chili’s Taster Rating (out of a possible 5): 4

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 1/4 cups low sodium vegetable broth/stock
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
Method
  • Peel and cube butternut squash, and peel/core apple and set aside
  • Heat olive oil in a stock pot. Once it begins to heat up and thin out, add onion and nutmeg; Sauté until the onions soften up – 3-5 minutes
  • Add squash, vegetable, apple, and apple cider; Depending on the size of your squash, you may need more broth than called for – just make sure that the apple and squash are covered by about 3/4-1 inch of broth
  • Bring to boil. Then, drop heat to low or medium-low and simmer (uncovered) around 30 minutes, until both the apples and the squash are soft and tender.
  • Add soup to blender with a ladle, making sure to evenly distribute enough liquid to help blend your squash/apples well. The amount of broth you add will determine the thickness of your soup. I had to blend the soup in two batches, and I have a pretty big commercial-sized blender. It’s called the Ninja, by the way. If you’re going to blend, you might as well blend like a ninja!
  • Puree soup until smooth, and serve immediately
General Notes:
  • The original recipe called for seasoning with sea salt and pepper – I am generally not in to adding salt and pepper. Maybe you are. If so, season to taste!
  • If you don’t have apple cider, and don’t want to buy apple cider just for this, you can do what I did. Peel and chop an apple and put it in your blender. Add a couple tablespoons of water, and blend until you have applesauce consistency. Then, pour the applesauce into a sieve that is set up to drip into a bowl, pressing down on the sauce to squeeze out the juice. Let the sauce drip for about 10-15 minutes and you’ll have about 1/2 cup of homemade cider. You can use the leftover applesauce in another recipe to replace some butter. Talk about thrifty!
  • I feel like this recipe would freeze well. Perhaps make up a big pot and save half in the freezer to remember the taste of autumn when we are deep into the winter doldrums.
Nutritional Profile
I used the Lose It app on my iPhone to calculate this info based on a low sodium vegetable stock. Your final results may vary, depending on the type of stock you add.
  • Calories: 79
  • Total Fat: 1.9g
  • Saturated Fat: .3g
  • Cholesterol: 0g
  • Sodium: 79.3mg
  • Carbohydrate: 15.9g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Sugars: 7g
  • Protein: .9g
The Verdict: Okay, I’ll admit it. 2Chili doesn’t much like soup. He has a thing against hot liquids (yes, he knows chili is technically a hot liquid). Try as I may, I have not been able to get him to overcome his hot liquid aversion. So, for him to give it a 4 star rating is a pretty big deal. You’d think I’d learn to stop trying, but I find myself channeling my mother a lot: “just try it, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it…”

Personally, I thought it was so good I would drink this soup from a mug and call it a thick latte. I guess you’re just going to have to try this one yourself and determine your own rating!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Top 10 Links of the Week: 11/12/10 – 11/18/10

No time to waste! Let’s get right to it.

1) The Kitchn: 10 Things to Buy in the Next 60 Days to Save You Money
Supermarket are holding some huge sales right now, meaning you can stock up on food used all year-round. Butter it up, everybody.

2) Casual Kitchen: Organic Food, Chemicals, and Worrying About All the Wrong Things
ComPLETELY agree with Dan here. Sometimes, our fears are amplified so much by hype, we get distracted from the real issues. Case in point, pesticides.

3) 344 Pounds: Discrimination Against Fat & Obese People
Interesting viewpoint on prejudice leading to an even more eye-opening discussion thread.

4) Divine Caroline: 10 Sugary Cereals to Avoid
Marshmallow Froot Loops are 48 PERCENT SUGAR? Are you JOSHING ME? It’s one of those things you knew, but don’t really know until someone translates it into a stat like that. Yowza.

5) Public Radio Kitchen: What Not to Get the Cook on Your List
Um, not that we’re ungrateful. But … yeah. Lots of cluttery tools out there.

6) Chow: Best and Worst Recipes You Made From a Cooking Show
Oo! Fun, huge thread. Paula Deen's Gooey Pumpkin Bars represent very, very well (with good reason).

7) Mama Says: School Lunches
A glimpse into modern cafeteria cuisine.

8) Jezebel: What Fast Food Really Looks Like
Ooo … reality bites. Entertainingly so.

9) Obama Foodorama: Huge BiPartisan Coalition Urges House to Pass Childhood Nutrition Legislation in Lame Duck
Damn right.

10) The Simple Dollar: Some Thoughts on a Plant-Based Diet
Updates on Trent’s vegetarian experiment. Insightful. A spreading trend, perhaps?

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Gawker: The Internet Has Killed Cooks Source
It will live to “edit” articles no more.

Obama Foodorama: Improved Nutrition Labels on Food Packages Coming Very Soon, Sebelius Says
We’ll see, Sebelius. We'll see.

Plixi: The Windows at Barneys
I had a dream like this once.

stonesoup: Defrosting 101 – The Quickest and Safest Methods Without a Microwave
Behold: THE SUN! (Just kidding.)

THANKSGIVING
AND ALSO

Gawker TV: Tina Fey’s Famous Friends Pay Tribute at the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
Does Jon Hamm ever stop being so dreamy? Seriously now. Oh, also, Fey is my hero. (Well, her and Ina Garten. If they ever combined forces to produce Barefoot 30 Rock, my life would be complete.) (P.S. Alec Baldwin as Jeffrey. It could work.)


Thank you so much for visiting Cheap Healthy Good! (We appreciate it muchly). If you’d like to further support CHG, subscribe to our RSS feed! Or become a Facebook friend! Or check out our Twitter! Or buy something inexpensive, yet fulfilling via that Amazon store (on the left)! Bookmarking sites and links are nice, too. Viva la France!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Veggie Might: The Battle of Pumpkin Spice Biscuits

Written by the fabulous Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about all things Vegetarian.

Do you ever have an idea that you're convinced is the Best Idea Ever? Do you then have the utmost confidence that this idea will be Really Easy to Execute?

Last month, CB and I ventured north where I bought a farm stand's worth of squash. I have since made soup, a pie, and frozen the rest for Thanksgiving.

Then I had the Best Idea Ever. I should make pumpkin biscuits for Thanksgiving dinner. Doesn't that sound amazing?! I pictured them: light, flaky, fragrant with clove and nutmeg, steamy and dripping with butter.

But I decided I should not look in any of my cookbooks or on the Internet for recipes. I would make this happen on my own, armed only with my family's biscuit mix recipe and my own ingenuity.

Between batches three and four, my tiny Hells Kitchen galley looked like the aftermath of a battle between the Swedish Chef and the Pumpkin King.

A heavy dusting of flour blanketed the room like snow. Blobs of dough stuck to the floor and table. Orange puree splattered the walls and my face. My little dog cowered in the far corner of the living room, knowing well enough to stay out of the line of fire.

The first batch was too dry and didn't have enough pumpkin flavor. The second was the right consistency, but it needed more spices. The third and fourth batches were too wet and sticky to be called dough, but the spices were right.

Finally, late in the evening, the oven timer dinged. Batch five was ready. Battleweary and a little queasy, I peeled myself from the couch where the flicker of Veronica Mars, Season 2 kept me tethered to 2006.

The scent of pumpkin pie wafted through the battlefield kitchen. The puffy, pumpkin biscuits looked delicious as I relieved them from heat of the oven, but I had been deceived before. I forked one open, smothered it with vegan butter, and, with a single bite, sent up a cry of victory.

The texture was light and airy and, though savory, essence of pumpkin and warm pie spices came through. I collapsed from joy and fatigue, too full to eat more than one. But my roommate came through, eating biscuit after biscuit, declaring the battle won.

Pumpkin Spice Biscuits taught me a few valuable lessons about recipe development: it is both challenging and worth the effort. And between batches 3 and 4, there are some things even a dog won't eat off the floor.

~~~~

If this recipe floats your boat, paddle on over to:
~~~

Pumpkin Spice Biscuits
Makes 10-12 three-inch biscuits


2 cups biscuit mix*
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove

*Biscuit Mix
8 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
4 tsp salt
1/2 cup baking powder
1 cup shortening, chilled and cut into pieces

Instructions
Note: Dough may be a little fluffier than typical biscuit dough. A well floured work surface and hands, as well as kneading in a little extra flour, should take care of any stickiness issues. If you like tall, thick biscuits, roll your dough a little thicker than 1/2" and add a couple more minutes to the baking time. Also, a mesh strainer works great as a flour sifter.

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly coat baking sheet with oil or nonstick cooking spray.

2) Sift flour into a large mixing bowl, then measure out 8 level cups into food processor/stand mixer bowl or another large mixing bowl. Add baking soda, salt, and chilled shortening pieces.

3) If using mixer or food processor, pulse in short bursts until shortening is cut evenly and dry ingredients are combined. If using a pastry cutter or fork, cut shortening evenly throughout dry ingredients. Mix should look like bread crumbs.

4) Measure out 2 cups of biscuit mix into a medium mixing bowl and refrigerate the rest. (Now you're ready the next time you want to make biscuits!**) Add pumpkin puree and spices. Mix with a fork until just combined.

5) Sprinkle extra flour onto clean work surface and turn out dough. Powder hands and rolling pin with flour. Knead in a little flour if dough is too sticky to work with. Form dough into ball and pat down into a disk. Roll out dough into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Cut out biscuits with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter (a juice glass works great in a pinch). Reflour your hands and repeat using scraps until all dough is used.

6) Place biscuits closely together on prepared baking sheet. Make sure the biscuits are touching; it helps them rise. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

7) When lightly golden, remove from oven and wait a couple of minutes before moving to a towel-lined basket or bowl to keep warm. Serve at breakfast with vegan butter or dipped in veggie gravy with your Thanksgiving meal.

**For regular biscuits, just add 1/2 cup of your favorite milk to 2 cups of mix and follow directions 5-7.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price per Serving
117.5 calories, 4.5g fat, .8g fiber, 2.3g protein, $.12

Calculations
Biscuit Mix
8 cups sifted all-purpose flour: 3640 calories, 8g fat, 24g fiber, 104g protein, $1.68
4 tsp salt: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.08
1/2 cup baking powder: 48 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.48
1 cup shortening: 1760 calories, 208g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $2.24
TOTALS: 5448 calories, 216g fat, 24g fiber, 104g protein, $4.48
PER SERVING (TOTALS/4): 1,362 calories, 54g fat, 6g fiber, 26g protein, $1.12

Pumpkin Spice Biscuits
2 cups biscuit mix: 1,362 calories, 54g fat, 6g fiber, 26g protein, $1.12
1 cup pumpkin: 49 calories, 0g fat, 3g fiber, 2g protein, $0.25
1 tsp cinnamon: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.02
1 tsp nutmeg: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.02
1 tsp clove: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.02
1 tsp star anise: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.02
TOTALS: 1411 calories, 54g fat, 9g fiber, 28g protein, $1.41
PER SERVING (TOTALS/12): 117.5 calories, 4.5g fat, .8g fiber, 2.3g protein, $.12

Thank You!

Sweet readers!

The response to yesterday's Call for Guest Posts, er, post has been really wonderful. There are a ton of great ideas, and it's going to take a little while to wade through all of them, but I can't wait to read the finished pieces. I think we'll have more than enough content moving forward.

Thank you so much.

Veggie Might coming soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Call for Guest Posts

Sweet readers! Hi there. It’s Kris. And I have a favor to ask yis.

First, some background: We’re all about life changes at the CHG Mansion lately. HOTUS and I are still cleaning up from the wedding. I started a new job last week. We’re buying a car, even though I’ve driven exactly once since 2004. Our cat barfed.

And now, the latest, most unexpected (but happy) development: we’re moving right after Thanksgiving.

As they say in France, LES YIKES.

Among many other fabulous things, this means there's not much time to blog, much less pack, much less see the new Harry Potter. (Crap!) Leigh and Jaime are taking up some of the slack, but we’re gonna need backup. So, I was wondering if any of y’all would be interested in providing it. With guest posts, I mean.

If you’re not interested, no worries. We’ll catch up over a few drinks later.

If you are interested, yay! I kiss you.

Here are the details: We’re looking for fun, original, grammatically sound recipe posts and CHG-esque articles. They can be personal accounts, experiments, Top 10s, or anything really, as long as the topics generally adhere to CHG's usual subject matter (cheap n' healthy food). Also, taking a look at this Guest Submission Guideline post from Get Rich Slowly might be a good idea.

In return, we can offer you a fair amount of publicity for your own blog, website, small business, or backwoods militia. Our RSS feed is up over 10,000 these days, and we’re getting between 4,000 and 5,000 hits off of various search engines and links daily. So there’s that.

Should this sound like a fun idea, shoot me an e-mail at


to discuss a potential post, as well as a few blogging rules and regulations (formatting, recipes instruction rewrites, etc.). We’ll take the best ideas and run with ‘em, and see how it all ends up.

If you don’t receive a reply within a few days, I apologize, and will hopefully get to everybody as soon as possible. In the meantime, thank you for being more wonderful than an evening with Ina Garten, Tina Fey, and Eddie Vedder combined.

Now, off to clean up some cat barf.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Green Kitchen: Mashed Cauliflower and Freezing Food

Green Kitchen is a bi-weekly column about nutritious, inexpensive, and ethical food and cooking. It's penned by the lovely Jaime Green.

Oh man, guys. I just had the best/worst idea for how to start today’s column.

It’s getting icy.

Brr, y’know, cause winter’s coming? But also because I want to talk about freezing food. Like, for storage.

I know, it’s awful. My dad would be proud.

I could also aim this in the direction of Thanksgiving sides. The recipe herein is an amazing Thanksgiving side, and I will be making it for my family next week. (Oh crap, next week?!) But the food-blog corner of the internet is already overflowing with Thanksgiving recipes right now, and they really just serve to make me panic about the fact that Thanksgiving is next week and how am I making two pies and four side dishes and cranberry sauce in half a day in my mom’s kitchen??!?

So, back to freezing.

As fall starts hinting that winter’s on its way, my mind turns toward my freezer. Not for the popsicles and other frozen goodnesses of summer, but because, like a squirrel with its acorns, I’m suddenly compelled to start putting food away. Every week in fall brings another visit to the farmers market, another fearful peek at the produce for sale, to see what’s gone out of season next.

In spring and summer, vegetables go out of season to be replaced by the next round of tasty produce – we go from asparagus to bell peppers to broccoli to kale, strawberries to raspberries to stone fruit to apples – but once we get to fall, foods end their season unreplaced. Or replaced by apples, onions, and potatoes. Piles and piles of apples, onions, and potatoes.

Now’s when I start to panic. What can I freeze? What can I save? Come February I’ll be wandering the supermarket aisles, pallid under the fluorescent lights, trying to decide between California kale and Mexican Brussels sprouts. I’ll make eggs with frozen spinach. I’ll mix frozen cherries into my yogurt. And I will feel sad, disconnected from my local growing season, like a poor steward of the Earth, and broke.

So I’m trying, this year, to shore up my stores of local, seasonal, cheap vegetables, to pack them away in ways they can last, and last tastily. (Let’s not talk about the frozen beet greens fiasco of 2009.) Sure, just about any home-frozen vegetable can feature passably in a soup, but I want food that actually tastes good.

The trick to freezing most vegetables is blanching. When you freeze raw vegetables their cell walls burst – thanks to waters magical expands-as-it-freezes-ness – and burst cell walls equal mush. Blanching vegetables – a quick boil or steam – eases that problem and neutralizes enzymes that can wreak havoc on icy goods. Unfortunately, I don’t like a lot of vegetables blanched – I rely on hot sautéing to make things like kale and Brussels sprouts delicious, and once you’ve blanched, you can’t go back. (Sorry, is that not an awesome new catchphrase?)

So far I’ve found two awesome recipes that freeze well. They’re easy to make in large batches, defrost without any degradation, and are preparations of these foods that I actually love. Points there. One is the spiced applesauce I wrote about a little while ago.

The other is mashed cauliflower.

Ignore any bad connotations it carries as a sad low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes; mashed cauliflower is delicious in its own right. It satisfied the creamy, salty, comfort food part of your heart/stomach/brain, but with a bit more flavor than plain potatoes. It’s still a great vehicle for anything mashed potatoes play with well, and, oh right, it’s a giant pile of super-good-for-you vegetables.

This is the time of year for cauliflower. At the big Union Square farmers market in New York City, giant 5-pound heads are going for two or three bucks each, and they’re fresh and gorgeous. I’ve got a stack of little one-cup containers of this stuff lining the back of my freezer (interspersed with apple sauce, of course). A few more weeks, a few more massive cauliflowers, and I should be set for winter.

I mean, set in terms of cauliflower. I can’t quite live on apples and cauliflower alone, though. So I ask you, dear readers – how do you freeze or store fall produce to last into the winter? Jaime-in-February-without-vitamin-deficiencies thanks you.

A note on this recipe: This is a very basic version. The options for embellishment are nearly endless. Anything you can do to mashed potatoes, you can do to this. Possible additions: roasted garlic, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, shredded cheese, olive oil, a little milk (cow, soy, or otherwise), paprika, scallions, roasted kale, sautéed zucchini, baked tofu, bacon, bacon bits, etc. I find that, just as with potatoes, a little fat goes a long way as long as the food’s thoroughly salted.

~~~

If you like this, get a load of:
~~~

Mashed Cauliflower
Serves 4
NOTE: The picture didn't come out too great, so this is an amazing facsimile taken from Flickr Creative Commons user roolrool. Needless to say, it's the stuff on the left.


1 large head of cauliflower (about 8 cups chopped)
1 Tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Chop cauliflower into florets.

2) Steam cauliflower until very tender, about 8-10 minutes. (Alternately, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower, and boil until tender. Timing here depends on the power of your stovetop to bring the cauliflower and water back up to temperature. Maybe 15-20 minutes? Or maybe my stovetop is weak.)

3) Drain cauliflower, and let cool until not too hot to touch. Pat cauliflower dry with paper towels.

4) Return cauliflower to pot, or to a big bowl, add butter, and puree with an immersion blender until creamy. (Alternately, puree in food processor.) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price per Serving
76 calories, 3.1g fat, 5g fiber, 4g protein, $0.54

Calculations
8 cups cauliflower: 200 calories, 0.8g fat, 20g fiber, 15.8g protein, $2.00
1 T butter: 102 calories, 11.5g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.10
1 T salt: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.03
1 t pepper: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.02
TOTALS: 302 calories, 12.3 g fat, 20g fiber, 15.8g protein, $2.15
PER SERVING (Total/4): 76 calories, 3.1g fat, 5g fiber, 4g protein, $0.54

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ask the Internet: Toaster Oven Recipes?

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Monday Recipe to instead bring you Ask the Internet, a feature that usually appears on Tuesday. You could say it was kismet, or you could say that over the last seven days, I attempted four new recipes that failed worse than this poor squirrel. They ran the gamut from bland (corn pudding) to a dish that might actually qualify as a WMD (Thai-inspired rutabaga puree).

From Amazon
So, instead, please give a warm round of applause for Alex, who has a most excellent question:

Q: I have a microwave, toaster oven, slow cooker, rice cooker, and hot plate. I've found a number of ways to use all of these to make meals, except the toaster oven.

Do you have any resources for fun/creative/healthy ways to employ my toaster oven? I love the Crockpot 365 blog and it basically taught me how to use my slow cooker when I bought it, and I was kind of hoping there would be a similar website doing justice for the toaster oven.

A: Readers, this one is 100% you, since my toaster oven experience is limited to college pizza bagels. Do you know any good toaster oven blogs, cookbooks, and/or recipes? Do tell.

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Throwback: 100+ Thanksgiving Recipes and Links - the Only Turkey Day Post You'll Ever Need

 Every Saturday, we post an article from the CHG archives. This originally appeared in November 2008, and was updated in 2009.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve read approximately 40,000,000 blog posts and magazine articles dealing with next Thursday's dinner. And that’s just this morning.

Yeah, Turkey Day can overwhelming, and with so many experts on the subject, sometimes it’s difficult to find information on any single aspect the holiday. And that’s where CHG comes in. What follows are more than 100 links, organized by the following subjects:
  • Appetizers
  • Turkey
  • Sides
  • Stuffing
  • Pies & Desserts
  • Drinks
  • General Menu Planning
  • Affordable Thanksgivings
  • Healthy Thanksgivings
  • Vegetarian Thanksgivings
  • Seating & Tablesetting
  • Troubleshooting
  • Leftovers
  • CHG Recipes
With the exception of the CHG section, each link contains several recipes and/or tips about preparing for the day. Sources include All Recipes, Being Frugal, Bon Appetit, Chow, Cooking Light, Culinate, Epicurious, Fine Cooking, Food and Wine, Food Network, Frugal Upstate, The Kitchn, Martha Stewart/Everyday Food, Money Saving Mom, O Magazine, Real Simple, Saveur, Serious Eats, and Squawkfox.

(It should be noted that Cooks Illustrated has a gloriously extensive Thanksgiving guide, as well, but it’s a subscription site, so you can’t get to it without being a member. HOWEVER, they’re offering a 14-day free trial membership for prospective customers. Check out the sign-up sheet here.)

Readers, if you have any ideas, I’d love to see them in the comments section. In the meantime, hope this helps and happy Thanksgiving!

APPETIZERS

Food Network: Thanksgiving Appetizers
Tips, tricks, techniques, and 100 appetizer recipes.

The Kitchn: Holiday Appetizers from The Kitchn
“Are you thinking about your Thanksgiving meal yet? We are! We'll be pulling together some of our favorite Thanksgiving and holiday recipes from the archives this week, and we're starting with appetizers.”


TURKEY

All Recipes: How to Cook a Turkey

Bon Appetit: Best Turkeys Slideshow
“Salted, brined, stuffed, or simply roasted, any of these eighteen turkeys will make a perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal.”

Bon Appetit: Turkey Buying Guide
Including posts called At the Market, Home from the Market, Turkey Prep, In the Oven, and Out of the Oven.

Chow: How to Carve a Turkey with Mark Dommen (video)
“Hacking is for hacks.”

Cooking Light: All About Turkey

Cooking Light: Turkey School

Culinate: How to Brine and Roast a Turkey
“Whether your turkey this Thanksgiving season is small (8 pounds) or enormous (20 pounds), there are plenty of ways to take it from raw to succulent.”

Epicurious: Turkey 101
“Confused about natural versus organic? Wondering whether to try brining? Our complete guide demystifies the process to help you roast the perfect bird”

Fine Cooking: How to Cook a Turkey
“The essential Thanksgiving guide.”

Food Network: Turkey
Tips, tricks, techniques, and 100 turkey recipes.

Gourmet: Expert Advice - Let’s Talk Turkey
“Of all the dishes that make up the Thanksgiving feast, the big bird demands the most attention. But how best to achieve turkey perfection—golden-brown skin with moist, tender white and dark meat? We roasted our way through more than 40 turkeys and found a method that’s so free of fuss and gets results so delicious, we can’t quite believe it ourselves.”

Real Simple: How to Carve a Turkey

Real Simple: What You Need to Know Before Roasting a Turkey

Serious Eats: How to Read Turkey Labels

Serious Eats: Turkey Recipes

Serious Eats: Turkey Talk
Discussions with Ruth Reichl of Gourmet, Barbara Fairchild of Bon Appetit, and Christopher Kimball of Cooks Illustrated.


SIDES

All Recipes: Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving Potatoes Slideshow
“One of these easy, homey potato recipes is sure to earn a permanent spot on your holiday table.”

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving Sides Slideshow
25 Thanksgiving sides.

Cooking Light: Lighten Up - Holiday Classics

Fine Cooking: Vegetable Sides

Food and Wine: Thanksgiving Vegetables
“15 Thanksgiving side dishes, like roasted vegetables with pine-nut pesto.”

Food Network: Thanksgiving Side Dishes
“Make your Thanksgiving feast memorable with spectacular side dishes. The hardest part about these recipes will be figuring out which ones to make.”

Martha Stewart: Thanksgiving Sides
“For many, the real star of a Thanksgiving dinner is the assemblage of side dishes, not the turkey. To help you put together a showstopping selection for your table, we’ve rounded up our favorites.”

Serious Eats: Side Dish Recipes


STUFFING

All Recipes: Get Stuffed
“Options for preparing flavorful and interesting stuffings are virtually endless. From the recipes below, try anything from a traditional style to a southern cornbread dressing. Add richly flavored meats, or get creative this holiday by incorporating fruits or herbs. Whatever your desire, you'll find a recipe to satisfy any dressing or stuffing craving.”

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving Stuffing Slideshow
15 stuffing recipes.

Fine Cooking: Stuffing and Dressing

Food Network: Thanksgiving Stuffing & Dressing
Tips, tricks, techniques, and 51 stuffing recipes.

The Kitchn: Recipe Roundup - Thanksgiving Stuffing
“According to a survey we took last year, stuffing is by far your favorite Thanksgiving side dish. But when it comes to what type of stuffing, there's a lot of variation out there: cornbread, herb, oyster, sausage, apple, chestnut... We put together a list of 14 recipes to get you started.”

Serious Eats: Store-Bought Stuffing Mix Showdown
‘After the jump, the results of the Serious Eats taste test of eight packaged stuffing mixes, along with some suggestions on jazzing up your store-bought stuffing.”

Serious Eats: Stuffing and Dressing Recipes


PIE & DESSERTS

All Recipes: Pies & Desserts
Millions of Turkey Day suggestions.

Bon Appetit: Top 20 Thanksgiving Desserts
“Pies, crisps, tarts, and cheesecake: luscious ways to finish the feast.”

Culinate: Pumpkin pies - Three recipes for Thanksgiving

Fine Cooking: Pies and Tarts

Food Network: Thanksgiving Desserts
100 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes.

Gourmet: Twelve Thanksgiving Pies
‘No matter how much turkey you’ve eaten, there’s always room for at least a sliver of pie—and these delicious options may have you going back for seconds.”

The Kitchn: Best Pie Bakeoff
“Have you ever made a pie? We were intimidated by pies for a long time, but now they're one of our favorite desserts. We hope to make some converts, discover new recipes, and find the truly best versions of classic pies.

Martha Stewart: Holiday Pies
“We’ve rounded up our favorite pies – both the tried-and-true holiday staples as well as some modern variations that, for us, have become classics in their own right.”

Real Simple: Four Foolproof Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

Serious Eats: Dessert Recipes


DRINKS

Bon Appetit: Red, White, and Relax
We have some practical advice about what to drink with Thanksgiving dinner: Serve a few crowd-pleasing American wines.

The Kitchn: Thanksgiving Wine

O Magazine: Cocktails, Anyone?
Steamy Passion. Pink Halo. Dark and Stormy. No, we're not talking romance novels, but the glorious technicolor cocktail. In a flute or on the rocks. With a twist or with a shout. Bottoms up, darling.

Serious Eats: Thanksgiving Wine, a Guide for Hosts and Guests
“Every year, I'm struck all over again by how completely stressed out people get about what wine they should pour to go with the turkey. It is worth mentioning at the outset that traditional Thanksgiving fare goes with pretty much everything—sparkling wines, rosés, whites, and even reds.”


GENERAL MENU PLANNING

All Recipes: Thanksgiving Menus
Includes Make-Ahead, Stress-Free, Traditional, Small-Scale, and Last-Minute Menus.

Bon Appetit: Top 20 Thanksgiving Menus
“Traditional, modern, big, small, or somewhere in between, there's a menu here for Turkey Day your way.” Including menus for: Country Style, Heritage Feast, Vegetarian Feast, A Little Bit Fancy, A Small Gathering, Healthy Thanksgiving, Southern Comforts, Great for a Crowd, A Make-it Buy-it, Green Party, The Weekenders, Small and Sophisticated, Italian-Infused, Big Thanksgiving, New American Feast, Quick Dinner, (Meat)less is More, The Smaller Thanksgiving, Pilgrims Progress, Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Day.

Cooking Light: Ultimate Holiday Cookbook

Culinate: Classic Thanksgiving - All the turkey-day basics
“Here’s our roundup of the classic Thanksgiving basics, by dish. Pick a few to try and assemble your own turkey-day menu.”

Epicurious: A First-Timer’s Feast
“An indispensable Thanksgiving guide for the novice, with recipes and tips even an expert will love.”

Epicurious: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide
“Make Turkey Day easy and stress-free with our delicious recipes and menus, entertaining tips from the pros, tools, and how-to videos.” Master page includes menus for: An Inexpensive Feast, Thanksgiving in an Hour, A Global Menu, plus options for large group, small group, formal, casual, traditional, modern, regional, global flavors, quick and easy, healthy, and vegetarian diners.

Food and Wine: Three Amazing Thanksgiving Menus
“Tina Ujlaki, F&W’s executive food editor, put together these three incredible web-exclusive menus. She created a classic menu (pumpkin soup, bread stuffing with sausage and a deep-dish apple pie), an elegant menu (sparkling punch, a gorgonzola terrine and a chocolate macadamia tart) and an easy ethnic menu with flavors from around the world. All of them center around a turkey, and include drinks, appetizers, soup, sides and desserts.”

Food and Wine: Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide
“With F&W’s amazing recipes, practical tips, festive menus and wine recommendations, this ultimate Thanksgiving guide is the perfect resource to help you welcome family and friends to the table this year.”

Food Network: Thanksgiving Menus
Classic Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving with a Twist, and Thanksgiving Made Easy.

Gourmet: Five All-American Thanksgiving Menus
Inspired by this country’s diverse culinary traditions, these classic Thanksgiving meals represent regions from New England to the West Coast, the North to the Deep South.

Martha Stewart: Thanksgiving Menus
Master page includes menus for: Easy Thanksgiving Dinner, Thanksgiving with Italian Flavors, An Effortless Thanksgiving, A Holiday Buffet for Everyone, Thanksgiving: An All-Day Affair, A Classic Thanksgiving Menu, No-Fuss Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Made Easy, Thanksgiving 1-2-3, A Hill Country Thanksgiving, A Southern-Style Feast, A Down Home Thanksgiving.

Martha Stewart: Martha’s Ultimate Thanksgiving

O Magazine: O's All-Time Favorite Thanksgiving Menus
“Looking to do something a little different this Thanksgiving? Let us help! O turns to an all-star cast of chefs for their most delectable holiday menus.” Page includes: Thanksgiving Miracle, Colin Cowie’s Incredible Thanksgiving Feast, Gobble Gobble: A Light Thanksgiving Menu, Dinner for 20 With the Greatest of Ease, Duck! Here Comes Thanksgiving, The Party Season Starts Here, Holiday Recipe Kit.

Real Simple: 50+ Thanksgiving Recipes

Real Simple: The Best Thanksgiving Shortcuts
“Make these six tasty convenience products part of your holiday arsenal.”

Real Simple: Your Stress-Free Thanksgiving Menu
“These recipes cover all the bases, from turkey to pie (here's hoping you have room for it).”

Saveur: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide

Serious Eats: Thanksgiving Menus
Classic, Easy, and Healthy Thanksgiving Menus.


AFFORDABLE THANKSGIVINGS

Being Frugal: A Memorable, Yet Frugal, Thanksgiving
“I love hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but if I don’t watch it, the expenses quickly add up. Here are some tips for a frugal, relaxed, and memorable Thanksgiving.”

Epicurious: A Potluck Planner
“Giving or going to a Thanksgiving dinner? You'll give thanks for these tips from this pro.”

Money Saving Mom: Thanksgiving on a Budget
Erin from 5DollarDinners and I will be teaming up to share some of our favorite frugal Thanksgiving recipes. Whether you're an experienced cook or a novice in the kitchen, we hope that our recipes, tips, and photo tutorials will inspire you to pull off your own "Thanksgiving on a Budget.”


HEALTHY THANKSGIVINGS

All Recipes: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
“Thanksgiving dinner is all about feasting and family, but it doesn't have to weigh you down.”

Bon Appetit: A Healthy Thanksgiving Menu for 6

Epicurious: Thanksgiving Menus
Includes A Healthy Thanksgiving Menu, Light Thanksgiving for Four, Light Maryland Thanksgiving, and A Turkey-less Thanksgiving.

Serious Eats: Healthy Thanksgiving Menu

Squawkfox: Recipes - Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas


VEGETARIAN THANKSGIVINGS

Bon Appetit: Vegetarian Thanksgiving for 8
“This delicious meat-less meal includes a cornucopia of side dishes and a spicy fruit crisp dessert.”

Cooking Light: Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Gourmet: A Vegetarian Thanksgiving
“With these rich and hearty meatless menus, you won’t even miss the big bird.”

Epicurious: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menus
Includes Autumn's Savory Vegetarian Supper For Eight, Harvest's Home, The Vegetarian's Dilemma, Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast, Rustic French Vegetarian Thanksgiving, Vegetarian Mexican Buffet, Thanks For the Memory, Vegetarian Mediterranean Thanksgiving Menu, A Peaceable Feast, and Green Party. (Some may be repeated in the Gourmet & Bon Appetit posts.)


SEATING & TABLESETTING

Epicurious: A Feast for the Eyes
“Easy do-it-yourself centerpieces, place cards, and napkin holders to complete your Thanksgiving table.”

Food and Wine: Set a Beautiful Holiday Table
Eight ideas for Turkey Day place settings.

Martha Stewart: Thanksgiving Table Settings

Real Simple: 60-Second Centerpieces

Real Simple: Dinner Party Seating Strategies


TROUBLESHOOTING

All Recipes: Thanksgiving Disaster-Savers
“It's 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving and you've got a house full of guests. What's the worst thing that could happen?”

All Recipes: Pie Troubleshooting Guide
“Unworkable dough? Soggy crust? Learn how to prevent common pie problems.”

Food Network: Thanksgiving SOS
A series of troubleshooting videos.

Real Simple: How to Fix 10 Common Thanksgiving Problems

Real Simple: 10 Tricks to a Trouble-Free Thanksgiving


LEFTOVERS

All Recipes: Turkey Leftovers

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving Leftovers Slideshow
“Leftover turkey goes upscale—and global—in these recipes for the day after the Thanksgiving feast. Plus, recipes for leftover cranberry sauce and potatoes.”

Cooking Light: Tomorrow’s Turkey

Fine Cooking: Leftovers

Real Simple: 10 Ideas for Leftover Turkey


CHEAP HEALTHY GOOD RECIPES

Baked Apples
Broccoli With Parmesan and Lemon
Cranberry Relish With Grapefruit and Mint
Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
Honey-Glazed Roasted Carrots
Maple Walnut Apple Crisp
Mashed Potatoes With Leeks and Sour Cream
Mostly Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Peach-Blueberry Cobbler
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Root Vegetables
Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce
Stewed Pears
Wild Berry Betty

Readers – ideas? I’d love to hear.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Top 10 Links of the Week: 11/5/10 – 11/11/10

This week, the links deal primarily with the art of food marketing. Oh. And Mark Bittman. Jeez. That guy.

1) New York Times: 101 Head Starts on the Day
Minimalist Mark Bittman brainstorms over 100 (hee) make-ahead recipes for the greatest of eating holidays. How does he find the time to do this stuff? Oh, because he makes recipes ahead.

From Wiki Commons
2) MSNBC: Hunt for value has taken stigma off Goodwill, store brands, fast food
Woo hoo! You guys! We’re the cool kids! Let’s celebrate with some discount macaroni.

3) LA Times: The Food-Mood Connection
In which the times busts some myths and explore the relationships between feelings and sugar (not so bad!), coffee (good!), carbs (meh), chocolate (NOOOOO), turkey (false), fish (pick-me-upper!), lunch (um), and water (the king of all foods).

4) NPR: Nudging Grocery Shoppers Toward Healthy Food
Not only is this a neat article about how supermarkets can sell more nutritious foods, but they mention Wegmans, the greatest grocery chain in the history of man, time, and space. Western New York, represent!

5) New York Times: Putting Nutrition at the Head of the School Lunch Line
Want better lunches for your kids? Get involved. Here’s how.

6) Time: Study: Fast-Food Ads Target Kids with Unhealthy Food, and It Works
Two important points in this article: "’[Going to a fast food restaurant] is no longer a special event,’” and “The end goal of fast-food marketing is to improve brand affinity starting at an early age.” Together, they suggest to me that the earlier advertisers reach us, the more likely it is that their product becomes habitually ingrained. Marion Nestle has more.

7) Obama Foodorama: Under Attack – First Lady Michelle Obama and the Healthy Food Financing Initiative
It’s one thing to attack poor policy. It’s quite another to attack good policy because it was proposed by someone you dislike. This is opposition for the sake of opposition alone, and it stinks.

From Wiki Commons
8) Food Politics: Nutrition Labeling of Wine, Beer, and Spirits – A Regulatory Morass
Ever wonder, when you’re alone at the bar crooning Tom Waits songs and crying about that waitress that left you last Christmas, why there aren’t food labels on booze? Marion Nestle edumacates us, and it has loads to do with prohibition. Who knew, lonesome piano player?

9) Hunter Angler Gardener Cook: Chanterelles in All Their Forms
Healthy? Maybe. Cheap? If you find ‘em on your own. Good? Aw, heck yeah. What a beautiful post from HAGC.

10) Food Politics: Three reports - eat more fruits and vegetables
Stats! About produce! Use them in your next doctoral thesis.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

CNN: Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds
Everything you know is wrong. Except multiplication tables.

New York Times: How to Shoot Ugly Food
I made a sweet potato curry stew for Serious Eats a few weeks ago that, frankly, photographed like orange barf. And that is my story.

The Simple Dollar: Turning Kitchen Waste Into Something Sublime
Don’t throw out that carrot and onion refuse! Make broth instead.

THANKSGIVING
AND ALSO

The Oatmeal: Why I Don’t Cook at Home
Yes. This.


Thank you so much for visiting Cheap Healthy Good! (We appreciate it muchly). If you’d like to further support CHG, subscribe to our RSS feed! Or become a Facebook friend! Or check out our Twitter! Or buy something inexpensive, yet fulfilling via that Amazon store (on the left)! Bookmarking sites and links are nice, too. Viva la France!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veggie Might: Best Laid Eggs—Winter Squash Frittata

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

As I shared with you last week, my everyday diet is about 90% vegan. My cereal swims in almond milk; nonhydrogenated vegan margarine graces my biscuits; and tofu, flax seeds, and powdered egg replacer bind my cookies and cakes.

When I do eat dairy and eggs, I make it count with good cheese and eggs from chickens that got to run around on some dirt and grass. I am an obsessive label reader, talk to farmers at the market, and, because I’m frugal in other ways, am willing to pay a little more for animal-friendly(er) cheese and eggs.

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting a quaint little “farm” in semirural North Carolina, run by three generations of my family. Okay, “farm” is a stretch. My parents have been raising back-yard chickens for two years, with the assistance of my sister and her three boys; and I, finally, got to try the fruits of everyone’s labor.

HL, the middle boy, is the most enthusiastic caretaker of the brood. Within minutes of my arrival—and well after dark—he offered me a tour of the coop and reassured me to not “be embarrassed if you step in chicken poop in the back yard. It’s everywhere. I do it all the time.” He’s 11.

Gingerly but confidently holding Rooster Cogburn, the tiny bantam rooster, the next morning HL showed CB and I around the coop my dad and sister built for the 12 hens and single rooster. They live in a cozy, wood coop with nesting beds and high beams for roosting. The enclosed pen keeps them safe from the hawks that frequent the nearby wood.

For several hours a day, “the girls” are let out to roam the 1/2-acre backyard. My sister is vigilant about protecting them from predators: snakes, rodents, and those pesky hawks. She once caught two blacksnakes by hand, put them in a big plastic tub with a lid, and trucked them over to her place to “keep down the copperheads.” Apparently, after a mile, snakes lose their way and won’t be back to pester the girls.

The brood consists of white Leghorns, stripey Barred (Plymouth) Rocks, black Australorps and Jersey Giants, and bantam-sized Black Breasted Reds, including Rooster Cogburn. My dad makes no bones that these chickens are more pets than farm animals. He laughs, “They all have names; they’re pets.” Among the current brood are (Chicken) Noodle, Peep, and Annakin.

My family’s reward for their hard work and TLC is fresh eggs every day, even now that its getting colder and toward the end of the season. I’d never had eggs that fresh from the farm and they were delicious. Now, I won’t pretend they were the best eggs I’ve ever eaten; I can’t tell the difference between grocery store eggs and the organic, farm-fresh I normally buy (most people can’t).

But knowing these eggs had come straight from the chicken—chickens lovingly cared for and fed (organic seed and corn) by my family—was pretty special and made me feel good about taking home a dozen.

There are times when I get lazy and buy supermarket cheese or eat an omelet at the local diner* (who knows where they get their eggs), though I think I’ll be less likely do so after witnessing my parents’ backyard farm in action. Knowing where my food comes from is important to me, and I make my best effort to live my beliefs without making myself crazy.

Thanks family and adorable chickens; in so many ways, this is the best frittata I’ve ever eaten.

*Supporting groups like Farm Sanctuary helps ease my conscience, and adopting a turkey is one of favorite my Thanksgiving traditions.

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If this tickled your fancy, direct your attention to:
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Roasted Winter Squash Frittatta
Serves 2


Roasted Winter Squash
2 cups winter squash, peeled and cubed
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Frittatta
4 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp almond or soy milk
salt and fresh black pepper to tasted
1 tsp olive oil
2–3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 – 1 1/2 cups roasted winter squash
3 cups arugula (or leafy green of your choice), torn into pieces

Instructions
For the roasted squash
1) Preheat oven to 350°. Cut squash in half and scoop out guts and seeds. (Rinse and roast seeds separately for a tasty snack.) Carefully peel away skin and cut squash into 1/2-inch cubes.

2) In a medium mixing bowl, toss 2 cups of squash cubes with olive oil, fresh thyme, and salt. Pour into a baking pan and cook for about 20 minutes, until tender. Stir at the 10 minute mark. When squash is cooked through to desired consistency, remove from oven and set aside. Two cups of squash will cook down to about 1 to 1 1/2 cups.

For the frittata
3) Meanwhile...In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs with almond or soy milk. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper if desired. Set aside.

4) Set oven to broil. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet with an oven-proof handle. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is ideal for the job. Saute garlic for 2 minutes over medium heat, then add thyme. Cook together for 1 minute.

5) Add arugula to herbs, cooking until greens are wilted. Add squash and stir until heated through. Pour egg mixture over vegetables.

6) Allow the egg to set, about 10 seconds, then stir. Repeat: allow egg to set, stir. Let egg to cook for 2–3 minutes. Then carefully move pan to the top oven rack, under the broiler, for 2–3 more minutes until top of the egg is set. Be sure to use an oven mitt or pot holder when grabbing the skillet handle from the oven. (Learn from my absentmindedness!)

7) Slide frittata onto plate and serve with salad and crusty sourdough bread for a perfect fall brunch or supper. Be prepared for kisses.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price per Serving
244 calories, 13.7g fat, 3g fiber, 13.9g protein, $.85

Note: My cost is lower because I got my eggs for free (weee)! If I’d spent the usual $4.00/dozen for fresh eggs from the farmers’ market, my cost would increase to $3.01 total and $1.51 per serving.

Calculations
1 tsp olive oil: 39.6 calories, 4.6g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.03
3 cloves garlic: 12 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.04
1 tbsp fresh thyme: 1 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.10
3 cups arugula: 12 calories, 0g fat, 1.5g fiber, 2.25g protein, $1.25
1 1/2 cups roasted winter squash: 134.6 calories, 2.3g fat, 4.5g fiber, 1.5g protein, $.21
4 eggs, beaten: 284 calories, 20g fat, 0g fiber, 24g protein, $0.00
2 tbsp almond or soy milk: 4.8 calories, 0.4g fat, 0.12g fiber, 0.12g protein, $0.06
TOTALS: 488 calories, 27.3g fat, 6g fiber, 27.75g protein, $1.69
PER SERVING (TOTALS/2): 244 calories, 13.7g fat, 3g fiber, 13.9g protein, $.85