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A Tightwad-y Little Thing I Did

Jason and I both pass over the heel of the loaf of bread when making toast and sandwiches and a couple of months ago I got the idea of saving them in the freezer and turning them into bread crumbs.  I was waiting to use up my current jar of bread crumbs before I did it and I finally got around to it the other day.  First I toasted the bread slices on a sheet pan in the oven at about 200 degrees.

Then I cut the bread into small pieces.

Then I threw the bread chunks in the food processor and started grinding them up.

I had to do a bit of sifting.  Some of the chunks wouldn’t get small enough to qualify as bread crumbs so I tossed them out after trying them a few different times through the food processor.  I threw away less than 1 slice of bread so I don’t consider it to be that much of a loss.

The crumbs!

I like doing little things like this.  I don’t use bread crumbs a lot so I hate buying them when a recipe calls for them.  The bread was a mixture of whole wheat, rye and sourdough and I think the flavor will be good.  I plan to keep these in the freezer so they don’t get rancid.


Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna

This is from my cousin, Tracy.  I love the idea of using the zucchini instead of lasagna noodles and it was really good but my version wasn’t vegetarian because I only had chicken stock on hand so I just went with that.


4 med zucchini, sliced into 15 strips to fit your baking dish

1 cup quinoa

2 cups veggie stock

1/2 c. tomato sauce

1 small onion

10 basil leaves

2 cups marinara

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 cup thawed drained chopped spinach

1/4 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheese


Preheat oven to 400.  Layer sliced zucchini into a colander, sprinkle with salt & layer with paper towels.  Combine stock, quinoa, tomato sauce, onion, garlic in sauce pot, bring to a boil and simmer 20 min.  Turn off heat, stir in cottage cheese, spinach and basil, season with salt and pepper.  Pour marinara in baking dish to coat, layer with zucchini, half of quinoa, zucchini, rest of quinoa & the last of the zucchini.  Top with marinara & shredded cheese.  Bake for 30 min or until bubbly & zucchini are tender.  Set for 5 min and serve.

I used fresh spinach instead of frozen, it wilted just fine when I put it in the hot quinoa mixture.  Maybe my basil wasn’t very fresh but I didn’t taste it very much in the dish and I think you could omit it if you don’t have it on hand.  It was very delicious and makes quite a large pan, which is a great thing in my house because I like to have leftovers for lunches!  I think this might make it into the freezer meal rotation for the baby’s arrival.

Maui Black Bean Soup

This one came from my Aunt Debbie.  It was very easy and really delicious.


2T Olive Oil

2 ribs celery

1 large carrot

1 small red onion

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 tsp chili powder

4 c low sodium chicken or veg stock

2 15 oz cans black beans

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

salt and pepper


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over med heat.  Add celery, carrot, onion and bell peppers.  Saute unitl onion becomes translucent, abt 8 min.  Add garlic and spices.  Cook another 2 min.

Add stock or cooking liquid of your choice, beans and tomatoes.  Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat.  Cover and let simmer for about 20 min.  Using a hand held blender, puree soup to desired consistency.  Add corn and let simmer about 5 min more.  Season with salt and pepper, Serve hot.

I omitted the green bell peppers as Jason doesn’t care for them and blended to a chunky rather than completely smooth consistency.  I also garnished with a bit of shredded cheese.  It was really good and made a good sized batch so I still have leftovers in the fridge.

Broiled tilapia parmesan and birthday bubble bread, from Libby and Mollie

Once again, too hungry to stop and take pics of this but we ate it all up.  The tilapia recipe is from Libby and the bread is from my cousin Mollie.



1/2 cup Parmsesan

1/4 c. butter, softened

3 T mayo

2 T lemon juice

1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 tsp dried basil

4 tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven’s broiler while you mix all ingredients except fish.   Arrange fish in a single layer and broil 2-3 min.  Flip the fish & broil another 3-5 min.  Remove from oven and top with parmesan mixture.  Broil 3-5 min until the topping is browned.

I did all of this except officially broiling it.  I just baked it on a sheet pan while the bread was baking.  It worked fine.  The mixture adds a lot of flavor to the fish.  I brushed it on thickly and still had a bit leftover that I’m going to try on some chicken.

Birthday Bubble Bread:

Packaged frozen bread dough

1/2 c butter

2 T Italian seasoning (I used a blend of dried basil and oregano)

Leave bread dough out to thaw.  Grease bread pan or bunt pan & preheat oven to 375.  Soften butter & mix in seasonings.  Tear bread dough into pieces & roll in balls.  Dip bread balls in the butter mixture and bake in pan.  Allow bread to rise for about an hour.  Bake until golden brown on top.

I used some pizza dough I had made and had in the freezer.  I realize on re-reading this that I made it wrong.  I didn’t let it rise for an hour before baking it!  It turned out ok but next time I will let it rise.

Carrot Stew From J.J.

We ate this so fast I didn’t even take a picture.  The recipe makes a small pot of soup.  Next time I’m going to double it.  I liked it so much it made my list of freezer meals that I am going to prepare before the baby comes so I don’t have to worry about cooking.


1.5 cups sliced carrots (I diced my pretty small)

2 cups chopped broccoli

1-14oz can chicken broth (I used my homemade chicken broth)

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup butter (I used more like 2 tablespoons, I tend to always use a bit less fat in recipes.  I like it but I’m cheap)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper (does anyone measure this?  I just grind over the pot til it looks right)

2.5 cups milk

2.5 to 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup flour


Combine carrots, broccoli & broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat & simmer for 10 min.  Remove from heat and set aside

In a large soup pot cook onion in butter until onion is translucent.  Wisk in flour & pepper & cook for 1 min (J.J. was tricky here, she didn’t mention the flour in the ingredients list!  I’ve made this type of roux before and have learned that you use about the same proportion of butter to flour so I just did that and it turned out fine.  Ha, ha J.J.).  Slowly wisk in milk.  Bring to a boil then stir in cheese, saving some for garnish if you like.  Once cheese is melted, stir in veggies and broth and heat through & serve.

She says it’s great with sourdough bread.  I was so hungry I just ate two bowls and called it a night.  Jason ate the rest.  My mother makes a soup similar to this but with potatoes and celery in addition to the carrots.

Summer Squash Breakfast Sandwich

I woke up yesterday morning thinking about summer squash.  We had a bit in our CSA and needed to used the last two small ones.  I tend to do carb and protein for breakfast and as I lay thinking about the summer squash I thought about how I need to work fruits and veggies into my breakfasts.  The idea to work the squash into a breakfast sandwich came together pretty quickly and Jason liked the result so much that I offered to make it again this morning if he would take pictures for the blog.  Thus I present our first joint effort: the summer squash breakfast sandwich.

Ingredients (makes 2):

2 small summer or zucchini squash

2 green onions, chopped with green and white parts

2 eggs

2 slices jalapeno jack cheese

2 English muffins



Grate the squash

Chop green onions

Crack eggs, add salt and pepper

Scramble the eggs. I usually use a fork for this because a whisk can overmix them. You could add a little milk but I don't think it is necessary in this application.

Saute squash in a little olive oil

A couple of minutes into the saute, add the thicker, whiter parts of the green onion you chopped. The idea is to sweat them a bit with the squash to incorporate the flavor. Everything will saute pretty quickly. When the squash looks somewhat wilted add the rest of the green onion.

When the rest of the green onion has been in the pan for a minute or so, pour in the egg.

Continually stir the egg/squash mixture to scramble it nicely.

Once the egg is fully cooked, divide it between two toasted English muffins, add the slices of jalapeno jack cheese, and serve.

Some notes:

You realize this is pretty flexible, right?  You could use a different cheese or another kind of bread, you could season the eggs or squash differently.  The first morning I made it I grated yellow onion into the squash simply because I didn’t think of using the green onion I had in the fridge and I sauteed the whole thing at once.

I love the pictures Jason took!  It made it a lot easier to do the blog post with him helping me and I think he is better with the camera than I am.  Thanks, honey!


Our backyard garden

Jason has quite a green thumb and has before transformed tiny patches of dirt (known as a So Cal backyard) into verdant growing spaces from which we have enjoyed summer bounties.  This year our backyard is just a concrete slab so he built us 4 gigantic wooden planters to hold our summer garden.

He optimistically put handles on the ends but they are so big and heavy I don't know if we can lift them.

We’ve had the seeds in pots for weeks and recently transplanted them and they are going gangbusters.

This is a red leaf lettuce and you can see the leaves beginning to turn.

This variety of watermelon is called moon and stars.

We buy a lot of our seeds from Seed Savers.  They are a fantastic company with a great mission.  You can check out their website: http://www.seedsavers.org/

My parents are avid gardeners as well.  In fact they grow so much produce that they eat it all year.  My mother cans like crazy when the tomatoes and beans start coming in and they freeze a lot of produce, too.  My mother told me they are already eating salads of their spring greens out in Tennessee, my home state.  I hope to be eating some of my own soon.

This year we are growing:

Brown Berry tomatoes

Brandywine tomatoes

Silverbeet chard


Sun and moon watermelon




I like looking at the list.  It makes my mouth water…