Friday, April 25, 2014


I was trying to come up with something to blog about, and a friend requested vegetarian recipes!  So, I figured I’d do one for Zach, one for me, and one for Tu (hence “Goldieblog”).  Fair warning: I don’t like measuring, and usually judge amounts on consistency.
Papa Z-Vegetarian “Chickn” Noodle Soup
This recipe is a veggie version of the chicken noodle soup my mama makes.  We’re not one for thin, brothy soups, so this one is very hearty.  
  • Fake chicken strips (without breading; we buy the Kroger brand grill strips)
  • Egg Noodles (sub a non-egg version, and ta-da: recipe is vegan!)
  • Vegetable Stock (Even if you eat meat, you should be using this.  So good!)
  • Carrots (and any other veggies you like) sliced into disks
  • Milk (I use almond milk because I like the consistency, but coconut milk (in the carton not the can) would work too.  Oh, and regular milk if you’re into that.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Spices (I’m old school and just use salt and pepper.)
  • A big ‘ole pot.  
Sauté the “chickn” over medium heat in enough olive oil to just coat the bottom on your pot.  You don’t have to totally cook it, just get a little color on the outside.  Dump in the carrots, veggie stock, and milk.  I let that work with no lid for a while.  If you feel like too much liquid is evaporating, put the lid on (this isn’t rocket science).  When your carrots are almost tender, dump in the noodles.  Cook for the time on the package.  Don’t add any more liquid.  I like my soup thick, so I add noodles until there’s just enough liquid to cover them.  If you like a thinner soup, add fewer noodles.  Add salt and pepper at the end, and serve!
Mama T’s “Egg” Salad
I definitely stole this one from Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s chef.  He has a great book called Vegan Cooking for Carnivores.  So good.  Soooooooo good.  I love egg salad, so this is a welcome substitute when Z and I are eating more vegan.
  • Extra Firm Tofu
  • Vegan Mayo
  • Mustard (I use Dijon)
  • Dill pickles (+ the juice)
Drain and slice the tofu into about ¼” slices.  On a plate, lay out several layers of paper towels, a layer of tofu, a layer of paper towels, tofu, and a final layer of paper towels.  I just press the heck out of it with my hands, but you can put a pot with something heavy in it (can of soup, etc.) and leave it in the fridge for a while (1 hour or so). I’m not generally one to work in advance, so pressing it myself works just fine.  Just get the majority of the liquid out, or the good stuff won’t stick.  Chop the tofu into small cubes.  Add a couple tablespoons of mayo, a squirt of mustard, and a splash of pickle juice.  Stir it up, and see if you like the consistency.  Add more of any ingredient you want.  Chop up some pickle, and throw it in the mix.  You could cut out the middle man and use relish, but I usually only keep a jar of dill pickles at my house.  I like to put mine in a pita pocket with some lettuce, but it’s also great between a couple slices of bread!
Baby Tu’s Sweet Potato Mash
Turner hasn’t done much culinary exploring, but she’s liked pretty much everything she’s had so far.  One of her favorites is sweet potatoes.  I had to Google how to bake a sweet potato (don’t judge), and I’m guessing other people don’t know how to do it either.
  • Baking sheet
  • Foil
  • Fork
  • Sweet Potato
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Poke a bunch of holes in the sweet potato with a fork.  Wrap the sweet potato in foil.  Put it on a baking sheet, and bake for about an hour, or until tender (it usually takes an hour in our oven).  Unwrap it, let it cool, and scoop out the insides.  Mash.  That’s it!

I hope you get a chance to make one (or all) of these for yourselves! They’re really just jumping off points.  Add some spice to the soup or some curry power to the salad, and you’ve got a completely different dish!  You can even make them, gulp, non-vegetarian.  It’s up to you!  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Baby Food Update

One of my money saving tips is making baby food at home.  We spend maybe $10 on our weekly grocery trip for extra fruits and veggies.  Something about baby food being in a jar, on a shelf for who-knows-how-long just rubs me the wrong way.  Now I know Turner is getting preservative-free, organic food.  The only problem was storage.

The first containers we used were the ones that came with the Baby Bullet.  Those were great.  We could twist the top to the correct date, so we didn’t end up feeding Tu old food.  Well, she quickly out-ate those little jars.  My mama bought some little plastic containers, and Tu blew through the amount they held as well.  She really likes to eat.  I also wanted to start freezing large batches, but I didn’t want to mess with proportions and switching containers (I’m a diva).  Enter the baby shower gift from my friend, Brittany.  

If you have a baby, you’ve definitely seen the pouches of baby food in the store (probably even if you don’t have a baby, you’ve seen them).  Well, I got this fancy doodad!  I can make my own baby food pouches!  I can freeze them, write on them, refrigerate them, and so much more!  I really should be on infomercials.  I steam fruits (if needed) or veggies like normal, then squish them into the pouches (it’s a little more complicated than that, but the Amazon link explains it much better than I can).  The only downer is they can’t be microwaved.  This is for the best, though.  I really shouldn’t be using the microwave forTu’s food anyway. This stops me.  They heat up in no time in a cup of hot water.  I think I had it in there for all of about 3 minutes.  Since summer is coming, I probably won’t be heating up fruits for her anymore.  I might even make her some all fruitpopcicles!  Guess I need to find another doodad…

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thrifting or Bust!

As promised, I went thrifting on Saturday with my mama and Turner.  The main goal was to get 9 month clothes for Tu, and maybe some other goodies for the house if I found any (we needed an outdoor rug desperately…if you can need an outdoor rug desperately).
We started out at a thrift shop in a small town.  We confused consignment shop with thrift shop.  This particular thrift shop would take ANYTHING.  I saw half empty bottles of shampoo for sale.  I did get a potato masher for $1, so I call it a win.  The place was more fun for the people-watching.  Zach and I have been watching Big Love (HBO show about polygamy), and I felt like I was in the show!  Potato masher and an experience?  I’ll take it.
Second stop was Castaways Consignment in Washington.  I was much underwhelmed.  I was half looking for a pair of jeans, but they didn’t have any long lengths in my size.  Also missing were any 9 month clothes for Tu.  I found exactly 2 items that were 6-12 months.  After I left, I realize I paid $7 for each item.  A little (A LOT!) ridiculous for second hand.  I am not proud of that.  I was just so excited to find something!
Third on the list was a new consignment shop in Washington, called New 4 You.  The store carries new accessories.  It’s smaller than Castaways, but I really liked the décor.  They only have women’s clothes and accessories, and this mama found a super cute scarf for $5 and it was new!   I tried on a pair of jeans, but tiny back pockets on a big butt look like regular sized pockets on a huge butt.  NO THANK YOU.
After New 4 You, we went to Peoria.  I’ve heard good things about Wee Wares from several people, and it was a success!  Tu got three pairs of shoes, a dress, and two pairs of shorts.  All this was only $27 including one pair of shoes were StrideRite, which are not cheap new.  Again, we had a lot of trouble finding 9 month clothes, but what we did find was good.
Even though Wee Wares was better than the other consignment/thrift shops, I still didn’t have enough to outfit Tu for the spring.  Target just so happens to be just down the road from Wee Wares.  Jackpot!  Well, “jackpot” might be a little overkill.  Does everyone have a baby in 9 month clothes right now, or do they just not stock as much?  Either way, I decided the way to go was comfy.  I got a bunch of onesies and cotton pants.  She even got a bicycle onesie for PawPaw Brian (he’s a big time bike rider)!  I also got an outdoor rug at the Target.  They had almost all of their Threshold outdoor rugs on “clearance”.  Sidebar;  .99 off $12.99 is not a clearance.  $6 off $12.99 is a clearance.  Naturally, I chose the only one not on clearance, but the extra .99 didn’t hurt too badly.  Last on the list was formula (we are so lucky that we had the most luck with the Up&Up brand of soy formula since it’s half the price!).  Out the door, I was $138 poorer.  
So, I failed at the second hand shopping game; bust.  Do you have any tips?  I’m excited for garage sale season.  .50 is more my style than $7 for second hand.