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Friday, December 30, 2011

Co-op Gift Card: Year Three

The whole spread (minus the chicken feed)

If you've been following our blog for a while, you might remember that one of our most anticipated and useful Christmas presents is a gift card to our absolute favorite place to shop: the Willy Street Co-op. Mr. and Mrs. Claus have bestowed upon us this wonderful gift three times, and each time, I believe Andy and I have gotten better at figuring out how to get the most bang for our buck.

Veggie Burger Ingredients
Before heading to the co-op, we sit down to brainstorm a few meals to make in bulk and freeze - we try to coincide those with our financial and dietary pitfalls. Anyone who knows Andy knows he has a slight addiction to pizza. So,this year, we canned extra pizza sauce, and with our gift card, we bought enough mozzarella cheese to make me reconsider our need to own our very own cow!  Another way that we fail to live sustainably, both in terms of ethical food production and our personal finances is going out to eat during the work week. Usually this is because we don't have the time or the energy to use the ingredients residing in our fridge and cupboard. So, we bought all of the ingredients to quadruple our recipe for veggie burgers. This way, hopefully, when one of suggests going to Chipotle, the other can counter-argue that by pointing out we have veggie burgers in the freezer and potatoes in the cupboard.

Oftentimes, an argument against shopping for whole, organic, local foods is that it is too expensive. This is where being shopper savvy comes in handy. The back of our Subaru is loaded with canvas totes, Ball jars, canisters, and reused glass bottles because we buy nearly everything that we can't get from our CSA or garden in bulk. Local and/or organic bulk foods are surprisingly reasonable. Yesterday, we stocked up on maple syrup, honey, oats, peppercorns, coffee beans, milk powder, a few spices, and chicken feed.
Ingredients for granola
Milk powder for yogurt

A few other necessities...

Our personal New Year's Resolutions involve financial, dietary, and sustainability goals. This co-op trip and the cooking resulting afterward were a perfectly wonderful way to work towards those....for FREE! Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Clause for once again helping us reach our goals.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What to do with all of those holiday leftovers?

This Christmas, like all others, we ended the evening too full to even consider dessert. Thankfully, we had stuffed ourselves with Christmas cookies all day long anyway, so we had our go at the sweet stuff.

The Poquette-Lapp Christmas dinner is what many would consider the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Our menu hasn't changed much from last year, but we did have a few highlights.

We began the day with  Irish Cream (of course) and cheese, crackers, and trail mix. That evening, our menu was as follows:
The brussel sprouts were a new addition. At the last second, we Wisconsinites went out to our brownish-green yard, found our way to our still half-living garden, and picked a fresh stalk of Brussel Sprouts. It's worth noting because this may never happen on Christmas Day in Wisconsin to us again. We actually still have two more stalks to pick -- it's looking good that we may get fresh Brussel Sprouts again on New Year's.

Another reason to mention the Brussel Sprouts is that they ended up being the main attraction at dinner. To make them, you need:

  • one stalk of Brussel Sprouts
  • 1/2 lb. of bacon, diced
  • seasoning (salt, pepper, etc.)
  • a tiny drizzle of olive oil
  1. Toss diced bacon, halved Brussel sprouts, and seasoning together. If the bacon isn't giving off enough fat, a drizzle of olive oil may be necessary.
  2. Dump onto baking sheet. Put in the oven at 425 until done.

The pets thoroughly enjoyed Christmas also, as you can see in the pictures below.
Franklin enjoying his first turkey dinner.

Benson --after a little too much to drink :)

 Yesterday, we used the leftover cranberry relish as a topper to a wedge of brie and toasted baguettes as an appetizer. Yum! For the main course last evening, we made a half-vegetarian, half-turkey casserole using the leftover turkey and stuffing. Both the appetizer and the casserole were divine, and our fridge is much more manageable today without all of the leftovers occupying every shelf.

Here's our rough recipe for Fetttuccine Turkey Casserole

3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs. butter
1-2 Tbs. flour
4 cups of 2% or whole milk
4-6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. shredded Romano cheese
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
leftover turkey
leftover stuffing
fettuccine noodles

1.To make the alfredo sauce,
  • Melt butter in saute pan. Add garlic, and saute for about one minute. Add flour. Cook until golden. This is called a roux.
  • Slowly mix in the milk. Heat on medium-high heat until milk begins to boil. Reduce heat. Add cream cheese in cubes. Continue stirring until cream cheese is combined thoroughly. Gradually reduce the heat as you add in the Parmesan and Romano cheese.
2.  Boil noodles. Drain. Put them in a baking dish, mix in the turkey chunks, and pour sauce over the mixture. Top with stuffing, and grate fresh Parmesan over the top.

3. Bake at 350 until the sauce is bubbly, 20-25 minutes.