Monday, April 26, 2010

Tofu, Anyone?

Last week I was perusing the grocery store when I came across some organic tofu that was 50% off. I had never tried tofu. I didn't even know where to look for tofu until that day. Since I love a bargain and I've heard it's good for you, I decided to get some. I got home and thought "What do I do with it?"

I poked around the internet and found a few recipes that looked good. The lasagne sounded really good, but I'll have to pick up a few ingredients before I try it. I decided to try a grilled tofu sandwich and a tofu stir-fry.

For the tofu sandwich (this was NOT gluten-free), I placed two slices of bread on a cookie sheet. I spread a little mayo on each piece. I then put tomato slices on one piece and tofu slices on the other. I sprinkled a little sea salt on the tomatoes and a little garlic powder on the tofu. Under the broiler it went. It was pretty good, although I couldn't taste the tofu. Is that good or bad? The garlic and tomatoes made a nice combination. It might be good with a little Parmesan cheese.

For the stir-fry (gluten-free), I kinda cheated and used a bag of Asian-style frozen vegetables from the grocery store. I sliced the tofu into cubes. Then I heated some olive oil, sauteed the veggies, again with sea salt and garlic powder, then sauteed the tofu. It was ok, but nothing outstanding. I could taste the tofu a little more, but it's pretty bland.

Do you have some good tofu recipes you're willing to share?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Junk Food in Disguise

I like to feed my family home-cooked meals and give my kids healthy snacks. Yes, we like to have our cake (or brownies, cookies, ice cream, pie, etc.) and eat it, too, but we don't make a daily ritual of it. Since I'm home with the kids all day it's easier for me to dish up from-scratch meals than if I had a paying job, but sometimes we find ourselves having oatmeal or scrambled eggs and toast for supper.

There are times when the kids have eaten all the grapes and cottage cheese and we've had apples for 4 days straight and I'm looking around for something for them to snack on. I can always find raisins in the pantry, but most people like a little variety - my kids are no different - so I keep an eye out for non perishable snacks.

I don't think all parents buy junk food on purpose. Sure, there are parents who don't care. But some people just don't think about checking the label. I wasn't raised to read the ingredients. It's a habit I've gotten into over the years. There are times you have to give a product more than a cursory glance to know exactly what you're getting. I happen to have 2 packages of "fruit snacks" marketed for preschoolers. They were given to us and have been sitting in the pantry for a while.

A glance at the first shows "Fruit Snacks. Made with REAL FRUIT." Looks good, right? Here are the ingredients: juice from concentrates, corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, fruit puree, gelatin, citric acid, lactic acid, natural and artificial flavor, ascorbic acid, coconut oil, sodium citrate, carnauba wax, tocopherol acetate, red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, vitamin A. There are 15 g of sugar in one serving. The second says "Juice treats. Naturally flavored." The first two ingredients are corn syrup and sugar and there are 17 g of sugar in one serving. Why would I give these to my children?

So in addition to raisins, I've been trying to keep other dried fruits on hand: things like dates, papayas, apricots, and pineapple. I've also found fruit leathers. I like these kinds of snacks because you can store them for an extended amount of time in the pantry (stock up when they're on sale) and they're easy to throw in a bag before you head out the door.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pop, Pop, Fizz, Fizz

I don't drink many soft drinks. Once in a while I'll have a ginger ale or root beer and, on those rare occasions, I look for the drinks with all natural ingredients. My brother-in-law came across some fizzy drinks I have to tell you about (if you haven't already discovered them). I think he found them at Big Lots. My father-in-law then went searching for them and found some other flavors.

Some are made by Santa Cruz; these are all organic. They found Ginger Ale, Lemon Lime, Raspberry Lemonade, and Root Beer. So far I've tried Ginger Ale, Raspberry Lemonade, and Root Beer.

The others are made by R. W. Knudsen. These aren't organic, but they have natural ingredients and no added sugar. They found Lemon Lime (80% fruit juice), Orange Passionfruit (85% fruit juice), Jamaican Lemonade (90% fruit juice), Ginger Ale (80% fruit juice), Boysenberry (100% fruit juice), Cranberry (100% fruit juice), and Raspberry (100% fruit juice). When the can says "100% fruit juice" they've added enough sparkling filtered water to reconstitute the juices. Of these I've tried Orange Passionfruit and Raspberry.

I particularly enjoyed the drinks with fruit flavors. The ginger ale and root beer were good, but if you prefer a bite to your ginger ale or a LOT of fizz to your root beer, you might be disappointed.

All the drinks I've tasted were mildly fizzy with a light flavor. They also didn't feel heavy in my stomach, if that makes sense. Another bonus: each 6-pack was $2.00. That's only $0.33 per can!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Rachel

Today's the day to wish our very own Rachel a most wondrous and bliss filled birthday!

Happy Birthday Rachel! We are all so grateful for you =D

Monday, April 5, 2010

Appliance Rebates

Just in case you haven't heard, you may be able to get a rebate for replacing an old, functional appliance with a new energy-efficient one. Rebates (ranging from $45 to $1600, depending on the appliance) are available for refrigerators, freezers, room air conditioners, washing machines, dishwashers, central air conditioners, air-source heat pumps, and hot water heaters.

You need to reserve your rebate beginning April 7 at 7:00 am. You can apply for up to 2 per address, but they have to be in different appliance categories. You must purchase your appliance from April 16 through April 25 (April 16 through 60 days from reservation or waitlist request for central AC, heat pumps, and hot water heaters). You can get a $75 bonus rebate for properly recycling your old appliance.

Texas Rebate Guide LOTS of info here.
Eligible Appliances Here you'll find links to qualified models for each appliance category.