Archives for March 2011

How Facebook Can Save You Money

According to Facebook, it currently has more than 500 million active users with 50% of those logging in daily, so it’s no wonder more retailers and companies have established Facebook fan pages. To entice customers to like their pages, companies have been rewarding their fans with exclusive sales and discounts.

Loft Facebook Page

What are the deals to be found on Facebook? In my experience, I’ve found grocery coupons for products like Tillamook Cheese not available anywhere else, free shipping and discounts on Internet orders, and free sample offers. For example, when I “liked” the Natural Store during a special offer, they gave me $20 to spend on their site. I got $20 in products and only paid the nominal shipping fees!

It’s simple to take advantage of these special savings. By giving the companies and products you like the “thumbs up” these deals will be delivered to your Facebook wall. Not sure if you want companies showing up where you interact with your friends? If you find a company offers more spam than deals, you can unlike the company by visiting their page and finding the “Unlike” button on the left hand column of their page.

When using Facebook to start saving money, look for products you buy frequently and “like” the company’s Facebook page. Odds are if they are going to offer exclusive savings, it will be to their fans.

Then, consider your favorite retailers. But look beyond just those at the mall. If you are planning a summer project on your yard, be sure to like the big home improvement stores. Or, are you traveling over the summer? Hotels, resorts, travel sites and airlines have all been known to offer discounts on their Facebook pages. And don’t overlook the businesses you like in your own community. Not only will you find you’ll be privy to their deals, but you’ll also be up-to-date on the best events in town.

And, don’t forget to Like The Natural Green Mom. I’ll be sure to update you on all the Facebook offers I find!

Meatless Monday: Cheddar Corn Bake

I just read a few more statistics about why a “Meatless Monday”. The United Nations states animal farming has “deep and wide-ranging” impacts that make it a target for major environmental policy. (You won’t tell the Pioneer Woman that I mentioned this, will you? *wink*)

Anyway, I do think that forgoing the meat at least once a week has positive impacts for both the environment and your personal health.

Cheddar Corn Bake Serves 4

Cheddar Corn Bake Ingredients

1 Onion thinly sliced

2 Cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 T Chili powder

1 t Oregano

1 10 oz bag frozen corn (OR substitute 3 cups Fresh when in season – just scrape off the cob!)

3 eggs

2 egg whites

1 C Cheddar, shredded (I used a mix of cheddar and pepper jack)

6 Corn Tortillas

1. Heat 2 t oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, chile powder, and oregano. Saute until onions are soft.

2. In medium size bowl, mix corn, eggs, egg white and 1/2 cheese. Add onion mixture and stir well.

3. Spray a 9×9 pan with non-stick spray. Cut the tortillas into long strips. Lay 1/2 tortilla strips in bottom of pan. Pour egg mixture over. Top with second 1/2 of tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

4. Bake at 375 for 30 to 40 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Meatless Monday: Potato Frittata

Potato Frittata

This recipe has only three main ingredients that can all be found on my staples list – making it a snap to whip up any night of the week or for a delicious Sunday brunch! Served with a salad, it makes a surprisingly complete meal where your family may never miss the meat.

Of course, this recipe could be made quite deliciously with some cooked bacon. However, then it wouldn’t be much of a meatless meal, would it? So I’ve got a secret ingredient I use that gives this dish all the smoky flavor of bacon – Smoked Paprika.

Smoked PaprikaYou can find smoked paprika on Amazon for $4.25 a canister – which is about the same amount that you would pay for a pound of nitrate free bacon. But since you only need a tablespoon for this recipe – you will be left with almost a full canister to add to other recipes!

On to the recipe…

Potato Fritatta serves 6

4 small potatoes, diced

2 T olive oil

1 onion, diced

8 eggs

1 T smoked paprika

1 t salt

1. Boil diced potato until a fork can easily pierce through a cooked piece. Drain.

2. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet. Add the onions and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes, paprika and salt and cook for an additional two minutes.

3. Beat the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Pour the eggs over the cooked onions and potatoes. Cover the skillet and continue to cook over medium low just until the eggs start to set.

4. When the eggs are almost set, remove the lid. Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil under low heat just until the top starts to brown. Cut frittata into 6 wedges and serve immediately.

Now it’s your turn! Link up any recipes you have that we can all try for our next Meatless Monday! Don’t have a website? Leave a recipe in the comments! Make sure you link directly to your recipe and link back here! In fact, you can even grab my new Meatless Monday button!

Meatless Monday


Meatless Monday: Cheese Enchiladas

enchiladasThank you to hackett for the enchilada pic. My won’t be made until tonight!

Having trouble getting your family on board for a Meatless Monday? I know some of you have commented that some of the things I serve my family, just won’t fly for yours. But Cheese Enchiladas? Surely there is universal love for something so ooey gooey yummy?

I use canned sauce. It is cheap, it is easy, we think it tastes great. If you make homemade sauce, link up the recipe! I know we’d all love to try it!

CHEESE ENCHILADAS

2 cans enchilada sauce (I use one medium and one mild)

24 small corn tortillas

3 C shredded cheddar or monterey jack or a mix

1/2 C chopped onion

1. Preheat oven to 350. Empty one-half a can of enchilada sauce into a 13×9 inch pan.

2. Mix cheese and chopped onion.

3. Heat the other can of enchilada sauce over low in a large skillet. Using tongs, place tortillas one at a time in the warmed enchilada sauce, just until the tortilla softens.

4. Place warm tortilla in baking dish, stuff with cheese and onions, roll up with seam side down.

5. Repeat with remaining tortillas, rolling each enchilada tightly.

6. Pour remaining 1/2 can enchilada sauce over enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Now it’s your turn! What are your recipes that would fit a Meatless Monday? Link it up! All I ask is that you submit only the link to your recipe, so we can all find it, then add a link back here to your post, so more people will participate!


Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel

I’ve mentioned before that for Christmas I got a compost pail. I love that guy! I can’t believe the amount of kitchen scraps we accumulate in just one day. And thanks to my compost pail – none of that is going to the landfill. Instead, it is getting hauled out to the backyard to the compost bin where it is mixed with yard waste. I get kinda tickled when I head out each week to stir it. I’m always looking to see if it is making any progress.

Compost Pail

Well, one of the things I’ve noticed when I’ve peeked in, is the citrus peels we’ve been adding don’t seem to be doing much. In fact, they all look a lot like they did when I threw them in. That’s when I read these words, “You will find out that orange peels take forever to break down….” Alrighty then. So what exactly am I supposed to do with the 8 -10 orange peels we seem to have each week?

Candied Orange Peel! I turned those scraps into a delicious treat!

If you don’t like Orange Marmalade, this might not be for you. Still, you might want to make up a batch for gift giving. Stored in an airtight container, they will last a month.

Candied Orange Peel

Orange Peel from 6 large oranges

Water

4 1/2 Cup Sugar divided

4 inch piece of vanilla bean

1. Cut orange peel into long strips. Place in saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Pour off water. Repeat this step three times to remove the bitterness from the pith.

2. Bring 1 cup water to boil in a large saucepan. Add 4 cups of sugar, slowly, stirring until it dissolves. Add the vanilla bean and citrus peels. Return to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer and let simmer for about an hour, or until peels are translucent.

3. Use tongs to remove peels and let dry on a drying rack placed over a pan. (don’t throw out the sugar water! it is delicious. I froze mine in ice cube trays to add to ice tea this summer!) It will take about 5 -6 hours for the peels to dry to the point of just being tacky. When they reach this point, roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.

Candied Orange Peel

There you have it! Kitchen scraps turned tasty treat! Have you had candied orange peel before? Are you a fan?

Eat Food in Season: March

Photo credit: wundoroo

Oh Happy Day! It is finally March! Spring is upon us and the foods that are in season are becoming more plentiful! Be on the lookout for great pricing on these fresh ingredients and pull out your recipe books to find ways to include them in your menu plan.

Artichokes – Buy artichokes that are heavy for their size. Wrap in plastic and store in the fridge.

Asparagus – Look for plump spears where the tip is undamaged. Store in the fridge, and try to use soon after purchasing.

Leeks – A member of the onion family, leeks should be crisp looking with no slimy, brown leaves. If you store in the fridge, leeks will keep for several weeks.

Lettuce – Look for lettuce that is free from brown spots. I like to bring mine home, wash it well, spin it dry, then store it in the fridge in a plastic bag with a paper towel in it to keep it crisp.

Oranges – These are still in season and are plentiful right now – and the price shows it. Some brown or green spots on an orange is fine. I’ve never figured out the perfect way to make sure an orange is juicy – not dry. I buy them mainly in the winter when they are plentiful and cheap – and that seems to help avoid those gross dried out ones.

Pineapples – Buy pineapples that have a yellow color (not all green.) To pick a fresh one, try pulling a leaf out of the center. If it comes out easily, the pineapple is ripe. It should be eaten immediately, so buy as close to the day as you plan to serve it.

Rhubarb – Rhubarb stalks should be firm and free of most blemishes. This is another choice that needs to be stored in the fridge and eaten soon after purchase.

This is a generic list of what will be found in your grocers in the next few weeks. Look for pricing to be as low as it will be all year. Want to know what is being grown in your specific state? Check out this fun Peak Sesaon Map at Epicurious.

Do you have any favorites on this list?