Archives for June 2011

Meatless Monday: Pasta with Spinach Pesto

Pasta with Spinach Pesto Recipe

Yesterday I talked about how Savings Start on Sunday.You get your coupons that net you free to cheap products. Then what?

Dinner doesn’t make itself I’m afraid.

So here you are with a .20 box of pasta. What to do. What to do.

Well, all you need is some spinach and a few good ripe tomatoes to make Pasta with Spinach Pesto for a really inexpensive but satisfying and healthy meal.

By the way, I often make this for my girl’s lunches. It is a break from the ordinary lunches of sandwiches, sandwiches, sandwiches.

Meatless Monday: Pasta with Spinach Pesto


  • 3 C steamed spinach
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 C almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 C chicken broth
  • 2 T lemon juice


  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, wilt the spinach with the pressed garlic. Set aside.
  2. Heat the same skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped almonds and cook 3 - 4 minutes while stirring. Do not allow to burn.
  3. Add the spinach and garlic, toasted almonds, Parmesan cheese, chicken broth and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are pureed.

If you have them, you can add roasted tomatoes. I cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over, sprinkled them with a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt and popped them into a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Of course, if you are trying to avoid turning the oven on thanks to the stifling summer heat, or you just don’t have any tomatoes, you too can skip this step.

Saving Starts on Sunday

The Sunday Paper

photo credit

The Sunday morning paper. Loved for its comics, crosswords and…that’s right, coupons. How many papers do you need each week if you are a couponer?

That depends.

Have you seen Extreme Couponing on TLC? Then you know those couponers are accumulating lots of inserts each week – even if it means jumping in a dumpster to find them.

But lets say you don’t subscribe to that kind of crazy. Maybe you’re more like me: I dig getting free stuff, but I’m not interested in a 3 year supply of Yakisoba noodles. What can I say? I like saving on the things my family will use without having to work 3 cases worth of toilet paper into my living room decor.

Here is how I decide how many papers I need:

I get two Sunday papers delivered every week. One from the closet large city and one from the hometown. The larger paper has better coupons – and more of them – while the local paper has coupons to local stores.

My main rule of thumb is to have as many papers as there are inserts. So this week there were only 2 inserts in each paper. I’m happy with 2 papers this week. If there had been 4 inserts, as there often are at the beginning of the month, I would have bought 2 more papers.

You never want your cost in papers to be more than the amount you save at the store!

Here’s why this works for me:

1. I find I can often print the same coupons that are in the Sunday paper from, red plum or smart source.

2. I search out the coupon booklet each quarter from Mambo Sprouts or print coupons from their site. This is the booklet with coupons for products I like to buy for my family. This is the best source for real food and organic coupons – NOT the Sunday paper.

3. I take advantage of the coupons I can find in my stores. These are available for free. I take 2 copies each time I’m in the store – no more. Don’t be a greedy jerk and swipe them all just because you can. Couponing karma will bite you in the butt for that.

4. Free coupons are available all over the store! One of the things I’ve learned is I find organic/natural products put out more tearpads and peelies then they do coupons in the Sunday paper. So take a few minutes to stroll past your favorite products. You may be rewarded with coupons!

5. Both Target and Whole Foods coupons are available to print for free and will save you the most amount of money if you shop in those stores.

Of course, every rule has its exceptions. Here is mine:

1. If there is a coupon in the Sunday paper for a product my family loves and I really want to stock up, then, I buy more papers.

Saving a lot at the grocery store is fun. But coupons are only one part of the equation. If you want to eat real food, there are so many other parts to a solid saving strategy.

So relax. Enjoy that Sunday paper. Take those inserts and organize them. But for goodness sake – stay out of the dumpster!{Unless no one is looking. In which case, I think its ok to peek your head in. Let’s just not make a habit out of it, ok?}

DIY All Natural Sunburn Treatment

It's easy to whip up this all natural DIY Sunburn Relief Spray

At some point this summer, you may find yourself in the same boat we did: you need a sunburn treatment for sunburn relief.

This is the first summer my girls have been venturing to the pool on their own.  Before they left, I said, “You have to wear a rash guard. Here’s money for lunch.” What my teenagers heard was, “blah. blah. blah. Here’s money for lunch.

They’ve both learned I wasn’t kidding about that whole rash guard thing ~ and it took the proverbial “hard way.” Red shoulders for the both of them.

Mothers. We really do know a thing or two! {But it’s hard to gloat when you’re babies hurt. So I didn’t. I plan on gloating next year when I say, “Remember what happened last year when I told you to wear a rash guard and you didn’t? Wear your rash guard. Here’s money for lunch.”}

How can you treat a sunburn naturally? What really works? This natural sunburn remedy will relieve and soothe the sting of a bad sunburn.

It's easy to whip up this all natural DIY Sunburn Relief Spray

Sunburn Relief Spray

You will need:

  1. Mix together all 3 ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well.
  2. Spray onto the burned area as often as needed.
  3. Keep refrigerated and use within two weeks. Keeping it refrigerated adds to the cooling.

Also, you’ll want to make sure you are drinking 3 cups of green tea a day while you have your sunburn.

The natural antioxidants in green tea will help with the healing.

Consider trying my Spiced Green Tea, Green Tea-quila Sunrise or Green Tea Mock-Jito for a delicious way to drink it. Don’t let the names fool you. They are all family friendly.

With your leftover lavender essential oil, make my DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner. I tell ya, I’m gonna market the stuff. I end up spraying the whole classes’ mats! Make it and you can be the most popular kid in class too!

Strawberry Rhubarb Eggrolls

Strawberry Rhubarb Eggrolls

Before you go any further, you need to know these must be fried. If you can’t handle frying them, this isn’t the recipe for you. How do I know these absolutely must be fried? Cuz I tried baking them, and it was a no-go. Soggy. Not good. Don’t do it. I ended up frying the ones I had tried baking.

But to ease any “fat guilt” you may have, egg roll wrappers don’t have any fat in them. Let’s say you had made a strawberry rhubarb pie. The crust most likely would have had lard or butter or shortening anyway. In my mind, frying these is equal to the fat that would have gone in a pie crust. That’s Andrea logic going on right there.

Strawberries and rhubarb are both in season right now, but it will get harder to find fresh rhubarb at the Farmer’s Market soon. If you can find some and store it, these would be a great 4th of July dessert!

Strawberry Rhubarb Eggrolls

For the filling:

In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups rhubarb, 2 cups strawberries, 6 tablespoons flour, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1 1/2 cups sugar.

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Cook over medium-low heat until rhubarb softens, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. You will need it cool enough to handle.

For the eggroll:

Using 1 package of eggroll wrappers, roll strawberry rhubarb filling according to package directions.

Rolling Egg Rolls

Once they are all rolled, heat 1/4 cup coconut oil in a large fry pan. Cook eggrolls until browned on each side. About 3 minutes per side.

Enjoy with vanilla ice cream. You don’t even need a spoon! Just dip the eggroll right in!

Linked to Tasty Tuesday

Spiced Green Tea

Spiced green tea is a unique blend of spicy and sweet. You’ve never tasted anything like it.

Spiced Green Tea is a unique blend of spicy and sweet. Save the spices to create beautiful ice cubes to add an extra special touch to this drink.

Now that summer is here, I’ve switched from my daily cup of herbal tea to iced tea. I drink green tea because of its health benefits. But I do not enjoy the taste of plain green iced tea. Bleech.

Instead, I drink Spiced Green Tea. The flavor combination is really unusual, but trust me {you do trust me, don’t you?} The taste is extraordinary!

Use the spices to make ice cubes. Added to this spiced green tea, it makes this drink so beautiful.


4 cups brewed green tea

4 star anise

1 tablespoon pink peppercorns

1 teaspoons cloves

Strip of lemon zest

1/2 cup honey

2 cups water

1. Brew your 4 cups of tea then chill.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the star anise and pink peppercorns until they become aromatic.

3. Add the water, honey, and cloves and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the strip of lemon zest. Let simmer an additional 5 minutes.

4. Pour the tea into a large pitcher. Place a strainer over the pitcher and pour the star anise syrup in.

Don’t discard the spices!

Divide them in an ice cube tray, cover with water {or more green tea} and freeze to make pretty ice cubes! Stir your tea. Chill. Enjoy!

Are you an iced tea drinker? What kind of tea do you brew?

Spiced Green Tea

Eat Food in Season: June

rhubarbSource: Haiku Girl

This is the time where eating in season becomes a pleasure. Farmer’s Markets are opening all over the country and it is time to get our fill of just-picked-produce. Depending on where you live, you can still find many of the items on May’s List.

Apricots – Choose fruits that plump and firm (but not hard). They ripen quickly, so store out of sunlight and heat. Eat them soon after purchasing.

Cherries Cherries come either sweet or sour. Eat the sweet and turn the sour into pies or other sweet treats. Store wrapped loosely in plastic in the fridge and eat quickly as they don’t keep well.

Eggplant -For the most part, the smaller the eggplant, the less seeds and the less bitterness. Look for an eggplant that has no brown spots, and it should feel heavy relative to its size. A good tip when picking eggplant: The greener the stem, the fresher the eggplant.

Summer Squash – There are so many types of summer squash and these will become plentiful as each area of the country warms up. Look for squash with no blemishes. Summer squash should be kept in the fridge until ready to use.

Radishes – If you’re a regular at The Natural Green Mom, you know I’ve been harvesting my radishes! If you go to the farmer’s market, make sure you look for the radishes with the tops on, so you can add the greens to recipes. But if you plan to keep the radishes for several days before eating them, make sure you remove the tops. Without the tops, they will last up to 2 weeks longer! Store in the fridge.

RhubarbIn some areas of the country, I believe it is required by law to have a rhubarb patch. Once planted, they come back year after year. But if you were unlucky enough to miss out on your own rhubarb patch, buy crisp stalks. Wrap unwashed rhubarb loosely in a dish towel and keep in the fridge no longer than a few days. If they start to wilt, revive them by standing them up in a cup of cool water. **IMPORTANT** the leaves of the rhubarb stalk are toxic. Toss them – and not in the compost bin!

Roasted Radishes and Potatoes

You have seen my plump little beauties, haven’t you? We’ve been on a radish high ever since this first-of-the-season crop pushed its scarlet shoulders up out of the dirt. So far, this has been the family’s favorite radish recipe. While technically this is something you could serve for Meatless Monday – after all, there is no meat – we all agreed the absolutely most tasty companion to it would be a grilled steak. We ate it by itself for lunch the other day. But it was a little like having Fred without Ginger. Fred is pretty stinkin awesome on his own, but with Ginger he is brilliant. So consider a steak on the side. This dish will still be the star of the show, but the steak will be the best supporting actor.

This was my first time having radish greens. I’ve eaten radish sprouts, but never the greens. I’ve since learned that the radishes you buy in the store come without the greens because if you cut the greens off, the radishes will stay fresh about 2 weeks longer. If radishes didn’t make it into your garden, you may only be able to find radishes with the greens still attached at a farmers market. Promise me you’ll try to find some radish greens?

Roasted Radishes and Potatoes

4 Baking Potatoes

1 Bunch Radishes, with tops

3 T Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar

1 t Dijon Mustard

2 T Chopped Fresh Parsley

1. Heat the oven to 425 and place a large, rimmed baking sheet inside while it preheats.

Toothbrush Scrub Potatoes

2. You’ll need to scrub your potatoes and radishes prior to dicing them. I used to have a darling potato scrub brush that has somehow mysteriously disappeared. I’ve found using one of the many FREE toothbrushes I get through couponing does the job of scrubbing the dirt off potatoes and radishes brilliantly.

Diced Potatoes and Radishes

3. Dice your potatoes and radishes into the same size pieces. Toss them with about 2 T oil and salt and pepper. Pull the hot sheet out of the oven. Transfer potato mixture onto the sheet and roast for 20 – 25 minutes.

Radish Greens4. Once the potatoes and radishes are roasted, top with the radish greens and slide back into the oven for about 2 more minutes – or just until the greens wilt a bit.

While the greens are wilting, whip up a dressing of 1 T olive oil, the mustard, parsley and salt and pepper.

5. Pull the roasted mixture out of the oven and top with the dressing. Serves 4.

Roast Radishes and Potatoes

Let me know if you like it!