no more shopping, polenta, & some college memories

$ 200 spent in August and we’re not going to spend anymore.  Yes, we’re a little crazy, but we’ve got some big goals and thanks to bulking up we cut our food/grocery bill down in half in the month of July.

For August we decided to make another record.  We shopped at Costco and Good Earth on the 16th and we’re avoiding any spending for the rest of the month.

No, it’s not much, but if we can live off of $200 (nearly $100 of which are diapers, wipes, pull-ups, and tp…and yes, the explorer is officially in training!), then our financial goals seem so much more obtainable.

And isn’t that what we all want?  To feel like we can live on less and still be happy?

Well it’s what we want.  :)

Meanwhile, it’s raining outside and we had a warm polenta lunch with some fresh delish green beans from the designer’s mom’s garden.  Thank you!

Polenta…don’t you love it?  I think about my sophmore year at BYU when we were taking turns cooking meals each week (cooks in training was more like it).  One morning my rommie Jen, was craving grits.  And she was not getting any sympathy from Amos, Nance and I, who were all raised in So. Cal. and who had not even heard of grits.

Jen managed to get to the store and made us some grits with eggs one morning.  They were good.  I wan’t sure if I’d want them every morning.  But I did enjoy trying something new for breakfast.

Then while studying abroad in Italy one summer, Gayle, Laura, Elizabeth and I took a funicular (ladies do you remember?  was it a funicular?  or one of those disneyland wire buckets?) up the moutain side above Lago Maggiore, (in the same district as Lakes Como and Bellagio).  Seriously amazing place.  Isola Bella (the beautiful island) in the middle of the lake is the home of the town Stesa and the Borromeo palace.  Beautiful gardens, grotto and of course so much history, & artifacts.  But back to the story…

We ate some handmade polenta (all fancifully formed), venison, and yummy fresh local veggies.  I’d never had polenta.  I was charmed.  Yes, I used to buy polenta in tubes, but now making it is ever soo easy.

I’ve posted my green bean creamy herb polenta recipe we ate today here if you’re interested. Enjoy!

development – chicken marsala spinach & zucchini pasta

1-1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into bit sized pieces
2 slices bacon/pancetta, thinly chopped (i used 2 small italian sausage links)
2 cups cooked pasta (i used brown rice spirals)
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter (or coconut oil)
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 1/2 cups marsala cooking wine
3 cups spinach, rinsed
1-2 small zucchini, chopped

1. In a large sauce pan, cook bacon/pancetta, drain any fat.

2. Add olive oil, garlic, and chicken and saute (4-6 minutes).

3. Cover and simmer with butter and then add the marsala, lemon, and thyme. Simmer another 8 minutes until wine sauce has thickened, covered. Add zucchini and parsley, cover for 2 minutes.

4. Serve over pasta and spinach leaves.

Salt to taste.

Serves 4.

Depending on how soft you like your spinach, you could place the spinach in your sauce pan and cover for a minute to wilt…without heat. It was just delicious!

development – brown rice with apple cereal

Just the perfect way to use leftover brown rice from the night before…into an easy & quick, healthy breakfast:
brown rice & apple cereal
1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked brown rice (i used left overs from last nite’s dinner)
1 tbs coconut oil
1 small apple, grated
a dash of cinnamon & nutmeg
1 tsp salt
In a large saucepan, warm the coconut oil on medium heat. Add the brown rice, grated apple, and salt. Stir and cover for a couple minutes. Serve immediately with or without a bit of milk.
serves 4-5

development – spelt pastry crust


When I was 6 or 7, when the primary children sang happy birthday, one of the leaders announced that she’d asked my mom about my favorite food.  My mom had responded, Quiche.  She was right.  But the kids thought it was gross.  Usually the favorite food was pizza, mac n’ cheese, or hamburgers.  I don’t think the majority had ever eaten Quiche.  I loved it though. 

My mom makes a wonderful Quiche.  Over the last 6 years I’ve tried to alter her recipe to accommodate my cows milk allergy.  Yes, you can use almond milk, but it then requires more egg and cheese, veggies, and it takes longer to cook.  We usually let it sit out all evening, put it in the fridge before bed, an d then warm it the next day for lunch or dinner.  I have been pondering Julia Child’s recipes, trying to find a way to speed up the process without adding the cream.  The other night I used coconut milk and goat brie cheese with her  Quiche au Roquefort recipe.

It was the right consistency, the crust was amazing, and parts of the Quiche were too, but when you got a large bite of the goats milk brie, it was simply too overpowering.  So once I’m finished cooking with my leftover turkey and fresh sage, I’m pulling out the Gruyère and trying it again.  Meanwhile, here is the delicious spelt crust.  Feel free to use whole wheat…I’m sure it will also be amazing!

spelt pastry crust (one large enough for a 10-12″ pie pan)

1 1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 stick butter
a scant 1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs water
1/2 tsp raw sugar

  1. Soften the butter and mix well into the spelt flour. 
  2. Add coconut oil, salt, and sugar and mix well.
  3. Add water and mix until you have a consistent dough.

I put the dough into the pan and use my fingers to push it evenly around the pie pan.  This pastry crust will work well with fruit pies, tarts, and of course, Quiche:)

development – coconut herb marinated chicken

It was one of those nice spring days when the designer was itching to grill.  But I forgot to marinade the chicken ahead of time.  So with a half hour to spare I threw together a coconut milk marinade that is now our latest favorite.  Try it on your veggies, fish, and enjoy!

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
1/3 c coconut milk
2-3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs dried parseley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram

  • Combine everything in a bowl, mix well and let sit for about 30 minutes till grilling.  Because of the short amount of time, I left mine out, covered on the counter, but you can also marinade in the fridge for a couple hours.
  • Grill and enjoy…these were very very moist and tender…oh how I love coconut milk!
  • we enjoyed ours with a fresh salad and quinoa…soo yummy~!

development – blackberry oat pancakes


Or purplelicious pancakes, as the dancer calls them!  :)  These can be made with just about any berry and with any whole grain…experiment and have fun with them.  When using whole wheat or spelt, I use 1/4 cup less flour…it just depends on how thick you like your pancakes.

1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cup almond milk
3 tbs butter (or use 2 tbs olive oil)
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 c fresh blackberries

  1. Combine and mix all in blender
  2. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.
  3. Add your favorite toppings: butter, syrup, blackberries, jam, etc. and enjoy!

serves 4-6

* I’ve been asked to teach a nutrition class next month, so I’ll be updating this site with missing recipes pretty frequently till then.  Let me know if you have any requests. :)  I’ll be serving these pancakes along with a creamy veggie soup and some marinated chicken and veggies…well that’s the plan for now…I might change my mind by then.