Archives for February 2011

Meatless Monday: Pasta E Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli Ingredients

Quick and easy. Add ingredients, leave some out. This soup can be made any of a 100 ways and it will always be satisfying. With the exception of the carrots and the celery, all ingredients can be found on my staples list. Make sure to have these ingredients on hand and to stockpile them when you find a great price. Then you can whip up a quick meal any night of the week!

Remember, even if you aren’t vegetarian, your family can benefit from one night a week of a meatless meal. It is good for your health as well as for your pocket book! And of course its GREEN!

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta E Fagoli Serves 6

1 T Olive Oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 celery stalks, sliced

1 carrot, diced

3 C beef stock

3 C water

28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped

15 oz can cannellini beans (or 2 cups cooked beans)

2 t dried basil

1/4 t red pepper

1 C whole wheat pasta (elbows or shells both work great)

sea salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onions, garlic, and celery and saute for 6 minutes.

2. Add stock, water, carrots, tomatoes with juice, beans, basil, and red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Return soup to a boil. (important or pasta won’t cook!) Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Now it’s your turn! Have a great recipe that could be served on Meatless Monday? Please link it up below. All I ask is that you link directly to your post so we can find it later. Also, please be sure to add a link back here to Meatless Monday so more people can join in the fun!

Meatless Monday: Spicy Black Bean Cakes

These Spicy Black Bean Cakes are a savory, healthy version of a pancake. When I was growing up, my mom instituted the “Sunday Night Supper.” Sunday night suppers were when we got to have breakfast for dinner! Man, did my brother and I think that was the greatest thing ever. Now, as a mom, I truly see the brilliance. It’s called – I have no plan for dinner, what can I make that is quick and easy? Breakfast foods are both.

Before you think “a black bean pancake?” I want you to know my husband pronounced them “company worthy.” And these were gobbled up as fast as I could cook them!

What’s more? All the main ingredients can be found on my Staples List. AND by serving just one meatless main a week, you can serve your family a meal that is cost conscious and good for the environment!

Spicy Black Bean Cakes Ingredients

Spicy Black Bean Cakes

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 15oz can black beans, rinsed

1 C all purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t cumin

1/2 t salt

3/4 C milk

3 eggs

1 T canola oil

1. Saute onions and garlic until soft.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine onions, garlic, and beans.

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt.

4. Beat together the eggs, milk and oil. Stir into the flour mixture.

5. Add the flour mixture into the bean mixture and stir to combine.

6. Heat additional canola oil in a large fry pan over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, drop bean mixture in by 1/3 cupfuls.

7. Cook like you would pancakes.

8. Serve hot with any topping you may have on hand – salsa, grated cheese or sour cream.

Spicy Black Bean CakesEnjoy!

Have a meatless main meal you’d like to share? Please link up here, or leave the recipe in the comments. Make sure you are linking to your post – not your main page – so everyone can find the recipe later!

Take Advantage of Warranties

New PotsI’ve been married almost 19 years now. (I know – amazing since I’m still in my 20’s, right? *wink*) As a wedding present we received very nice pots, pans and a teapot from Chantal.

10 military moves and 18 years of use and one of my original pots, a pan, and a teapot were all chipped, and the pot and pan had handles that had fallen off.

Now, Chantal has a lifetime warranty. But, I am lazy. I really just wanted to donate our old pots to Goodwill and just see what I could find at TJ Maxx or Ross to replace them.

My husband could not believe it. He wanted to know just what kind of eco-friendly deal blogger I thought I was? Well, truthfully? I was the kind of eco-friendly deal blogger that simply thought it sounded a whole heck of a lot easier to just buy something new then to go through the trouble. Plus, it was Christmas time when we unpacked our stuff, and I just could not face the post office to mail our old stuff back in hopes of our new stuff.

So, my husband said he’d do it for me. See why I’ve been happily married for over 18 years? 🙂

And it was so worth taking advantage of that warranty. It has been 2 months since we started corresponding with Chantal. But my new pots arrived today, and I am so happy that my husband persevered and followed through. I think I will enjoy cooking dinner tonight more than I have in a long time!

The moral of this story? Take advantage of warranties. The result should be that you will be rewarded for your time and effort.

Have you ever taken advantage of the warranty on an item? Any tips you’d be willing to share? Good experiences? Bad? Leave them in the comments so we can all learn!

Meatless Monday: Basil Tomato and Rice Soup

Why a Meatless Monday?

  1. It’s been reported that if every American ate just 4 oz less of red meat every week, it would be the equivalent to taking 4 to 6 million cars off the road!
  2. If you are looking to save money on your grocery bills, creating a delicious meal from staples you’ve stockpiled at rock-bottom prices can really help you with your budget.

It’s about saving green and going green both!

Tomato and Rice Soup Ingredients

This Basil Tomato and Rice Soup is perfect for a Meatless Monday! It’s inexpensive, comes together quickly, and the rice makes it quite filling.

Basil Tomato and Rice Soup

Basil Tomato and Rice Soup

1 T olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 C chicken broth (or vegetable)

1 C water

15 oz can diced tomatoes

2 T chopped fresh basil, or 2 tsp dried basil

1 t salt

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1 C cooked rice

Optional garnish: spicy microgreens, chopped chives or green onions

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute for 4 minutes.

2. Add stock, water, tomatoes with juice, and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add rice and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Quick, easy and satisfying!

Have a great Meatless Monday recipe? Please link up to inspire everyone to start Meatless Monday in their own homes!

The nitty gritty: Please link only to your recipe, not to your home page. This way months from now everyone can find your recipe again! Also, please be sure to link back here with Meatless Monday, so more people can join in the fun!

Not a blogger? Leave your recipe in the comments!

5 Natural Cold Fighters

sneezephoto by mcfarlandmo

You people are sick! No, really. I mean it! Facebook, twitter, blog posts….they are all loaded with “I’m sick.” “My kids are sick.” “Another day sick.”

“Under the weather.”

Even as I write this, I am knocking on wood and tossing salt over my shoulder while washing my hands and wondering if its ever ok to snort hand sanitizer – all in hopes that we stay healthy.

What are some natural ways to fight back during cold season?

1. Wash Your Hands – I’m not telling you anything you don’t know here, am I? I have a simple cold and flu season rule – touch a door handle, wash your hands. Hot water, plenty of soap. If ever you were to channel OCD like behavior, this is the time and the way.

2. Drink More – Sick or not, now is the season you want to remain uber hydrated. Black tea is a great drink for this time of season. The recommendation is to drink 5 cups of black tea for 2 weeks to supercharge your body’s cold and flu fighting cells.

3. Salt Water – Dissolve 1/2 t salt in an 8 ounce glass of water and gargle three times a day. It is reported this lowers your chance of getting a cold or flu by 40%!

4. Saline Nasal Sprays – Completely safe for use by adults and children alike. Plus, you don’t get the rebound effect of over-the-counter medications where you have a few days of worsening symptoms when you quit the medication. No one likes spraying stuff up their nose – until they realize the relief it offers them. Then, its a welcome treatment.

5. Vitamin C – I said it in my Eat Food in Season: February article. There is a reason citrus fruit is in season during cold and flu season. Make sure you are getting your vitamin C from whole food sources while it is plentiful and delicious. Taking a vitamin C supplement when you are in the throws of a cold won’t cure you – but it will shorten the duration of your cold.

What natural cold and flu remedies do you use? Better question, how’s everyone feeling at your house?

Ten Ways to Reuse Toothbrushes

toothbrushphoto by theogeo

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love to use coupons to get toothbrushes for free so I can spend my money on things I really want to – like organic milk.

But, conventional toothbrushes aren’t the most environmentally friendly objects. Think about it. Toothbrushes need to be replaced at least once every three months or more often – like right after you get over a cold. That means for my family of 4, at the least 16 toothbrushes are used by my family in a year. Sure, there are recyclable toothbrushes – but they cost the same as a pound of grass fed beef!

So what is an eco-friendly girl to do? First, before tossing that toothbrush, sterilize it, then reuse it and put it to another good use! Here’s 10 ways to repurpose those toothbrushes:

1. Wash Window Screens – Use warm water, castille soap, and a toothbrush to scrub screens clean. Give them a good rinse and enjoy the clean view!

2. Dust Your Wicker – A toothbrush is just the right size for cleaning wicker baskets or furniture.

3. Scrub Potatoes – No need for a special scrub brush – a sterilized toothbrush works great.

4. Brush Dirt and Salt Off Suede Boots – Emus? Uggs? Other suede boots? Lightly brush dirt and salt off with a soft bristled toothbrush.

5. Dust Your Keyboard – Get rid of the dust, hair and pet fur that lurks between the keys on your keyboard!

6. Emergency Car Kit – Keep a toothbrush with your jumper cables. If you ever need a jump – or need to give someone else a jump – they work great for cleaning any corrosion off the battery terminals.

7. Grout Cleaner – Toothbrushes are perfectly suited to help scrub the grout between the tile of your shower.

8. Nail Cleaner – Gardener? Use an old toothbrush to help scrub the dirt out from under fingernails.

9. Distress Paint – An old toothbrush can add a distressed look to painted crafts. You can also use them to create a splattered paint look.

10. Bottle Washer – Bend a toothbrush head slightly and it makes an awesome bottle cleaner. Toothbrushes can be bent after soaking in boiling water for 8 to 12 minutes. The toothbrush head is also excellent for cleaning the threads of the screw on bottle top.

Those are the ways I reuse or repurpose toothbrushes around my house. Do you reuse toothbrushes? Please add any other ways you’ve found to use them so we all can benefit!

Linked to Top Ten Tuesdays

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce

This recipe is a perfect fit if you are trying to eat healthy and trim money from your grocery budget. Check it out – all the ingredients can be found on my staples list.

Baked Eggs Ingredients

Since I am featuring recipes that contain ingredients on my staples list, it occurred to me that all these recipes are a perfect fit for Meatless Mondays.

Do you already have Meatless Monday at your house? If not, I hope to inspire you to start. It is a fantastic way to save both your budget and the environment!

Baked Eggs

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 (28) oz can whole tomatoes or 2 (14) oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 8 large eggs
  • pinch salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan. Add onion and cook until translucent - about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika and cook an additional 2 minutes. Pour tomatoes into a bowl. If using whole tomatoes, chop. Add to the onions. Turn heat to medium low and allow to cook down for about 20 minutes.
  3. Spread tomato mixture in the bottom of a 9x9 pan. (or, do I like did. I used individual gratin dishes). Crack eggs on top of tomato mixture. Place in oven and cook for 24 to 26 minutes.

We love to serve this with a side of toast for dipping! Or try it with Cheesy Garlic Bread.