Food and Meredith Sittin’ in a Tree

I want to preface this post by saying that this may be a little more serious than most of my overly-adjectived blog stories. Typically after making what we feel like is a blog worthy dinner, we discuss a story that leads into or makes us think about the recipe at hand. Before we know it, the recipe is in the shadows of a funny experience. So I will disclose, this post may lack humor, but it won’t be sad either. It is simply allowing you as a reader to get to know a little bit more about me and perhaps understand my healthy relationship with food. Feel free to scroll past personal story to killer, healthy, Weight Watchers “Anything Marinade”. No offense will be taken.

Chapter 1 of 1:

I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. I won’t say I was a fat kid because I wasn’t. I attribute that to my endless energy and hand-eye coordination. I know what you are thinking…”What does hand-eye coordination have to do with not being fat?” Well, in my opinion, if you are 12 and under and live under the same roof as a PE teacher with insane natural athletic ability, an avid golfer of a dad and an incredibly competitive brother who has the ability to become a professional in whatever sport he begins to play, and you add hand-eye coordination into the mix, you are bound to burn a massive amount of calories in your day-to-day schedule. This was me.

It wasn’t until high school when I began to drive that I began to have an unhealthy relationship with food. Food became the center of my world. I constantly thought about what meal was next, where it was from and when I was going to eat it. I will admit that my family can cook a great meal. My mom cooked for us all the time and when dad cooked, it was something southern… I mean white gravy-white biscuit-deep fat fried southern. Don’t worry, this has not been eliminated, but it is no longer a weekly treat.

My great-grandmother, Lottie, (yes that is where my Lottie’s name came from) and her husband Bob owned a restaurant in High Point, NC called River Road Inn. Though my brother, my cousins, Jeff and Brad, and I (zero percent chance that comma use is correct) never had the chance to truly experience River Road, it is a big part of our lives. We have lived stories our in our heads that have been told in detail by our parents. We cook with the cast iron pans that were used in the kitchen there. This place was a landmark. If you talk to anyone who lives in Greensboro, High Point or any of the surrounding areas  and are between the ages of 50-70, they will know about the River Road. The will know that they paid minimal money for the best fried chicken, whole flounder, hamburger steak, hand cut french fries and homemade apple cobbler in the world. It was here that my daddy learned to cook this delicious food that I fell in love with.

My life revolved around food in a bad way for a long time. Each morning on my way to high school, I chose between two breakfast options: 1/2 dozen chocolate donut gems and an Orange Fanta from the BP station if I was running late or a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and a Coke from the Magnolia Bakery Cafe if I had time to run in somewhere and wait on a hot meal. Most of the days, either of these meals didn’t touch my hunger level, so I would run through the school cafeteria to top off my stomach cavity and make sure I was uncomfortably full. Next was school lunch. I was in school when the cafeterias were much less nutritionally-conscience, and even if a healthy food was offered, I steered clear. I would leave school and my addiction to food would kick in again. I was a tomboy-hippie, so I didn’t care much about my body. Most of my hippie skirts were elastic-waisted and floral coated so I could be a size 2 or a size 20 and people would see me the same. Almost daily, I pulled through the McDonald’s right off of our campus and ordered a combo meal and ate while driving my friends to their houses. This cycle continued, and I left for the University of Tennessee in 1999 at a weak 175. I am 5 foot 3.

To not bore you with the details, I gained more than the freshman 15. By the end of 1999, I weighed over 200 pounds. I will never forget the day I went to my obgyn, and he showed me that I landed in the extremely obese category. I was 19. It was then that I decided to change my life. I moved to Colorado, focused my life on the outdoors, ate only when I was hungry and became healthy. After a few years I moved away from Colorado to Wilmington, NC where natural activity was lessened. Any guesses for what happened? Gained weight again……. (fill in several life experiences and give or take a few 20 pound weight fluctuations).

I met Blake (when I was 170), and we fell in love. We decided to get married…. Any guesses to what me and my unhealthy relationship with food did? Virtually stopped eating anything besides steamed vegetables and raw fruit for six solid months to look “beautiful” (aka skeletal and boney) in my wedding photos. Ugh looking back, I wish I looked like me, healthy Meredith, and not Skeletor in my wedding photos. I weighed 204 in 1999 and 104 in 2007. Hello unhealthy!

After we got married and I had Lottie, I feel like I have developed a healthy relationship with food. I accredit that 100% to Weight Watchers. I think Weight Watchers is a lifestyle, not a diet. I do not count points, though I would in a heart beat if I got above my comfortable weight. It works. I have seen a huge change in my friend Sean who has lost 65-70 lbs since November 2011, redeveloped a relationship with exercise and met the woman of his dreams. My mom who is shrinking away by the day and numerous other friends who have created healthy relationships with food with the help of Weight Watchers.

My mom and I have talked WW all summer. We are really into it. Tonight she introduced me to the most simple and wonderful marinade for salmon, pork, chicken, steak or tofu. She calls it the “Anything Marinade”. It is delicious and only adds 0.25 points to any meal.  We used it on Salmon where we would normally use a brown sugar based marinade. It was awesome!

The “Anything Marinade”

“Anything Marinated” Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients
  2. Marinate chosen protein
  3. Baste protein with excess
  4. Enjoy!
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Thai-ing The Knot

Blake and I honeymooned in Thailand. It was beautiful, romantic and much more than I ever imagined. It was a long trip, but we would both gladly make it again to be in such a unique place with friendly people. We had the most wonderful and extravagant cabana all to ourselves. We felt like modern-day movie stars.

We didn’t do too much touring, but we did ride elephants, play with monkeys, made curry with all ingredients from the jungle and ate many local dinners and lunches. All of the tours and excursions were fun and we felt fairly safe EXCEPT the zipline tour. Needless to say, I thought our marriage was going to be a short one. At many points on this zipline tour, I was completely sure our lives together were going to begin and end in Thailand.

When we arrived back at our hotel, we had Authentic Spicy Basil Chicken to celebrate not dying. For the whole story, continue past the recipe and keep reading. It was quite a day!

Spicy Basil Chicken

Serves 4

Spicy Basil Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch Thai Basil (at asian market, not normal basil)
  • 2 Bell peppers
  • 1 Vidalia Onion
  • 2 Jalapeno pepper
  • Small handfull of sesame seeds
  • 5-8 Cherry Tomatoes (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 lb. Chicken breasts
  • 1-2 tbsp low sodium chicken stock
  • Sesame Oil

Directions:
1. Deseed and dice jalapeno peppers or leave in seeds for more heat
2. Cut bell peppers and onions into desired size and set aside
3. Cut cherry tomatoes in half
4. Cut up chicken into desired size (1 inch long strips or so) and set aside
5. Heat 2 tbls oil in wok (1 tsp sesame oil if available)
6. Add onions, peppers to wok and saute for 5-6 minutes
7. Add cut up chicken to wok or large pan and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until white edges start to form
8. Turn up heat, add sesame seeds, and continue to stir fry, add drops of sesame oil (regular if no sesame) as needed to keep from sticking
9. Once everything is sizzling loudly and starting to get a fried color add chicken stock and soy sauce in small amounts to create moisture and steam as needed (this is not a very wet dish it should be moisturized but mostly dry)
10. Continue stir frying
11. Add pulled basil leaves, halved cherry tomatoes
12. Add lime juice, shrimp if using, cherry tomatoes if using and turn heat to low or off while continuing to stir fry with remaining heat
13. Let sit for 2-3 mins stirring ocassionally and serve over rice. We always like to add a fried egg to our meals.

Honeymooning in Thailand was like being on a bipolar vacation. Within the walls of the resort, it was magical. The staff, dressed in their pristine uniforms, stopped and bowed at us as we walked by. After walking through a lobby of luxury, we passed several pools overlooking a crystal blue ocean. The property was lined with lush green plants, orchids and simple trickling natural streams of water which enhanced the sounds of paradise. After meandering down the most beautiful path, we engaged on our personal gate which enclosed the most romantic and private cabana steps away from the gently crashing waves.

We arrived to a bottle of delicious champagne on the lip of our own personal pool whose surface was covered in local flowers. I literally felt like I was in a story book. I opened my 10 foot glass french doors and walked across the mahogany hardwood floors and fell face first onto a pile of rose petals on my four-posted king sized bed wrapped in the freshest, 1000 thread count white sheets my body has every made contact with. Blake brought a special bottle of wine for me, but I didn’t have a glass. He pressed “0” on the phone, mentioned a wine glass and before he hung up, a polite gentleman was at our gate with a crystal wine glass on a tray waiting for my arrival. Story book…I know.

We settled into our cabana with a dip in the pool, a few chapters in my easy-to-read Nicholas Sparks’ book and a midday nap in the previously mentioned extravagant sheets. After a well worth it 26 hour travel day, we were pretty tired. Unfortunately when we woke up it was 4:30 am Thailand time. Hmmmm…. we had to figure out how to kill an hour and a half before the obnoxious breakfast buffet opened.

I could get used to this.

We decided to walk in the ocean as at low tide in front of our resort you could walk a mile toward the horizon and only become knee-deep in water. It was a wonderful time in our memory book. When we returned, the buffet was opened. We walked up the stairs to the open air octagonal dining room surrounded with ocean views. Before entering, we were greeted by the staff. We were presented with every fresh fruit on the island upon a bed of crushed ice, waiting to be chosen to be our juice of choice for the morning. I typically chose watermelon and lychee and Blake opted for kiwi and mango. We waited briefly while our fruit was transformed from one state of matter to another. 

The juice bar

Needless to say, we were living a dream. If people hadn’t noticed my abundant freckles, 5 foot 3 frame and bushy eyebrows, and people hadn’t noticed Blake’s asymmetrical face, narrow backside and knob knees, one may have mistaken us for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Wait….I just got a little caught up in the dream.

Anyway, the bipolar begins when we stepped outside the front door of our resort. This doesn’t mean that Thailand was not nice outside the doors, it was just a different world. A world of Muy Thai boxing where boys aged 10-18 beat the ‘you know what’ out of each other on a homemade wrestling ring, with a non-educated referees who were more into  a good fight than keeping the children safe. The likes of blood, saliva and teeth were flying everywhere. My vision of a honeymoon night: looking at stars and having Chardonnay on the shoreline. Blake leaned more towards Muy Thai and Red Bull and Vodka. I guess he won 1/14th of the time. This was a night to remember. Romantic….not so much.

Date night under the not-so-romantic lights of Muy Thai Boxing

One afternoon, we decided to go for a walk around the island. It was scary but memorable for sure. Along the way, we were convinced by a nice local fella to book a tree top zipline tour. “This seems fun” we thought. He told us he would pick us up at 8:00 in front of our resort. Since we were rising at 6:00 most days, 8:00 seemed perfect, plenty of time for a pre zipline nap and consumption of local fruit juice.

7:30 am hit, and we had finished our overly extravagant breakfast, walked passed several bowing staff members who knew us by name at this point, jumped over the flowing waters that encompassed the lobby and waited on the bamboo chairs by the breezeway where guests were picked up for such tours.

Blake and I watched as several European couples were whisked away for their jungle tours, beach tours and waterfall trips. Each couple being picked up in a white vans or buses with very authentic logos decorating the sides. 8:10 rolls around and all of the other parties have been picked up. Blake and I begin to think we booked the wrong day. In the distance, we see a small 1990 Suzuki Sidekick ripping down the gravel drive. The vehicle is so small that the dust from the gravel covers the windshield.

“Beep, beep, beep!” Blake and I look behind us thinking for sure the 15-year-old driver is coming to pick his girlfriend up from the night shift on duty at the resort. We continue to sit, waiting on our white van with an authentic logo. “Beep, Beep, Beep!” Blake and I both instantly look behind us to see who this local teen was honking at. Said teen approaches with his hand out saying “you Mr. Bake? Bake? Mista Bake?” I turn to my new husband and make the “there-is-zero-percent-chance-I-am-getting-in-the-Suzuki-with-this-child” look at him. He looks at me and passively says to the teen, “Yes, that’s me.” My feet concrete themselves into the luxurious lobby floor as I grip onto the bamboo chair. The whiteness in my knuckles tells Blake that I am not on board, but he and his non-confrontational ways grabs my hand and pulls me towards the two-door, logoless Suzuki. “Get in” the local teen says as he pushes the front seat forward for us to load up. Blake jubilantly jumps in the back, reaches for my newly blinged left hand and looks me in the eye for what I thought was going to be the last time.

Twelve miles of careless, bumpy, off-road driving later, we arrive at anything but a licensed and insured zipline tour. The teen straps on our harnesses and pulls out his Nokia flip phone. After exiting the home screen which was decorated with a naked woman with blonde hair and delicious fake breasts, he began to give us the ziplining “demo”.

He flipped up the screen and began to play a self-made video of himself and his friends doing this zipline tour. This was our safety video/training. Then he let us strap into a non-name brand harness and “practice” ziplining on a 6 foot wire where our feet still hit the ground. Training complete. “Let’s go” he said.

Notice our ride in the background

Hesitantly,Blake and I climb up a tree 75 feet on a homemade ladder to a homemade platform to stand and overlook Thailand before we delve into what I think it my adventurous honeymoon death. I pictured Monica Kauffman on Channel 2 Action News saying “Two newlyweds from Atlanta ziplined to their death yesterday in Thailand. The company was a group of teenagers who were attempting make a few extra dollars. The fled the scene. One was found with a local prostitute in a pub and the other three are still on the loose.”

If I had only known how to slow down

Pretty far fall

Blake commits and follows our non-english speaking, adolescent leader who gives us hand signals to instruct us. He makes it safely to the next platform. I am so in love with my husband that I drop as well. I did not understand the sign language instruction which told me to use my hand to slow down. Instead I went full speed into an off brand spare tire which was attached to the tree for”cushioning”. Yeah, that’s going to be a bruise. Aside from the direct danger we were in, the views were to die for. We did snap a photo hoping those who found our bodies would see that we were happy in the moment.

A moment where to pros outweighed the cons

We got the hang of it and went from platform to platform. We landed in the middle of the course when I noticed that there were no ladders along the way. It was zipline to the end or jump 150 feet to the bottom of the jungle. Miraculously, but we made it to the end. ‘Teenage ring leader’s mother’ was waiting for our arrival with juice boxes and fresh lychee-esque fruit to curb our appetites. We ate, spoke different languages, smiled and I gripped Blake’s hand until my knuckles where white as we drove back to our little “Yuppie Paradise”. I took a deep breath as I arrived back at my cabana. Needless to say, the staff knew to follow me with a wine glass and a bottle of the finest chardonnay. For the next two hours, I relaxed by my personal pool (vacation bipolar at it’s best).

I told Blake that for dinner I wanted a classic. Spicy Thai Basil Chicken. We went to the city and had ourselves some local cuisine. Every month or so, I ask Blake to recreate this meal for me. It always reminds me how precious life is. For this reason, we always grow our own Thai Basil. Life is good and Thailand is my favorite place on Earth. Enjoy a recipe from our memory book and celebrate the fact that Monica Kauffman is still not familiar with our names.

Life is Sweet

Saucey Pants

I am on a constant search for the perfect sauce. My definition of perfect, as it relates to a sauce, is something that doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, isn’t fancy, doesn’t cost too much and can be used on several different meats or vegetables. I am pretty sure I have found it.

When I make pork tenderloin, my” go-to” flavors are BBQ sauce or Paul Newman’s Olive Oil and Vinegar salad dressing. As a pulled the tenderloin out of the freezer the other morning, I knew neither of the above were going to cut it. I wanted something bold, clean, and slightly citrusy. I found a similar recipe and browsed my pantry.

The result of what I created is PERFECT! We had it on pork, but I think it would add a great spin on fish, beef or chicken. It would be delightful on grilled shrimp thrown into a salad.

The PERFECT Marinade

The PERFECT sauce

Ingredients

– 1 can (8 oz.) pineapple juice

– 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

– 1 tbsp lime zest

– ¼ cup orange marmalade

– 3 tbsp Hoisin sauce

– 2 tsp minced garlic

– 1 tsp Dijon mustard

– ¾ tsp ground ginger

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
  2. Coat meat or veggies of your choice in marinade and prepare.

*We used ½ on our grilled pork tenderloin and used the other half as the sauce on the plate*

If You Roll It, They Will Eat

Lottie ate anything I put in front of her until the day she turned two. I think a lot of it is her developing the cognitive skills she needs to make a decision based on taste. She will still eat some broccoli and she is ok with beans, but that is about it as far as healthy goes. We do make her mac ‘n cheese home-made with wheat pasta and parmesan, but I am still not putting that in the healthy category.

My best friend’s nieces are the cutest things in the world. Their mama, Janice Hudgins, is always making them these wholesome, food pyramid meals that they actually eat. Every time Lottie plays with them, she scores one of these meals, and she does eat them.  The one component of the meal that I loved was Janice’s rice balls.

Rice is a healthy grain, and Lottie really likes it. Here is the problem: My OCD and rice don’t mix. It sticks to everything and when Lottie ate it, she was covered head to toe in it. Then I discovered…the rice ball. Now I like to add a few fun and healthy surprises in her rice balls, and we are good to go. Making them into small balls makes them fun to eat and mess free!

Rice Balls

Serves one toddler for 5 meals

Rice that Kids Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

–          1 cup of rice

–          1 cup of water

–          1 tsp salt

–          1 tsp soy sauce (optional)

–          Anything you want to add to the balls

Directions

  1. Cook rice in rice cooker as directed (sushi rice works best)
  2. Make a bowl of warm salt water.
  3. Dip hands in warm salt water.
  4. Grab a little rice, roll it into a ball.
  5. Put on plate and top with soy sauce and anything else you want to try.

 

Money Saving Tip: Buy rice in bulk. It lasts forever. Go to an Asian market and get a big bag so you always have it!

 

Curry in a Hurry

I rarely cook. Typically, I buy the groceries and bring them home for Blake to use. He is just a million times better than me at cooking. He is the “a little of this a little of that” type of chef. I am the OCD type that reads the entire recipe, measures everything out and puts in into little bowls, prechops everything and THEN I start cooking. It’s definitely an ordeal.

The other night I was flipping through Cooking Light when I found a healthy and fast Indian Curry dish. It said 20 minutes. I begged to differ knowing my cooking style. I made a few changes to suit our tastes, and believe it or not, had it done in 27 minutes flat!

Be warned, it is pretty spicy, but you can alter the amount of crushed red pepper that you choose to add. Blake loves it miserable-hot, so I took one for the team. Happy Eating!

Bombay Indian Curry with Shrimp and Filet Mignon

Serves 4
Total Cost- $8.80
Total Cost per person- $2.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales used in this recipe-

Spices from Big Lots, Filet at Costco, frozen shrimp from Costco, Frozen veggies $0.50 off

Ingredients

–  1/4 cup Canola oil

–  1/2 lb peeled a deveined shrimp

–  1/2 lb steak- cubed

–  3/4 tsp salt

–  1/4 tsp black pepper

–  1 1/2 small onion chopped (buy prechopped to save time)

–  1 1/2 tbsp curry powder

–  1 tbsp mustard seed

– 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (don’t overdo this)

– 1/8 tsp ground red pepper (more or less to heat liking)

– 1 1/3 cup hot water

– 1 cup frozen mixed veggies

Directions:

1. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in Dutch at medium high heat.

2. Salt and pepper shrimp and cook on both sides until just underdone.

3. Remove from pan and repeat process with steak. Remove from pan.

4. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining oil.

5. Add onion and cook until translucent.

6. Add remaining salt, curry powder, cinnamon, mustard seeds and red pepper. Cook one minute. Stir constantly.

7. Add hot water and frozen veggies and bring to a boil.

8. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 4 minutes.

9. Add shrimp and steak back to pan and cook one minute.

10. Enjoy!

*** Serve with rice***

FUN TIP: When you cook your rice, replace some of the liquid with light coconut milk for a more authentic Indian flavor.

Catering to the Everything-Free Eaters

One of the things that my mom and her sisters share in common is that they all have very nurturing and catering personalities. I think these are such neat character traits to have. My aunt Sue posted on her Facebook that she is looking for gluten-free, sugar- free recipes and would love to have some that are vegan friendly. She wants to entertain her loved ones by catering to all of their specific diets.

The dinner we had last night was Thai Chicken Noodle Soup that can easily be made vegan by either substituting the chicken with tofu or leaving it out altogether. It was quite delicious and had just the right amount of spice.

Thai Chicken or Tofu Noodle Soup

*We got this idea from Food Network Magazine this month*

Serves 6

–          1 tbsp vegetable oil

–          1 onion, thinly sliced

–          2 cloves of garlic minced

–          2 tbsp green curry paste

–          6 cups low sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth for vegans)

–          15-ounce can coconut milk

–          1-2 tbsp fish sauce

–          2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

–          4 oz thin rice noodles, broken into pieces

–          2 small skinless chicken breast thinly sliced or 2 cups of tofu

–          1 tbsp fresh lime juice

–          1 cup chopped cilantro

  1. Heat oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook, stir occasionally about 5-7 minutes
  3. Add garlic and curry paste and cook, stirring 1-2 minutes
  4. Add chicken broth, coconut milk and fish sauce and bring to a boil.
  5. Add bell peppers and noodles and simmer uncovered until the noodles are al dente (3 minutes)
  6. Add chicken or tofu and simmer until cooked through (3 more minutes)
  7. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and serve hot!
  8. Savings in this meal:

Chicken- $1.48/lb at Kroger

Coconut milk- BOGO at Super H

Katsu Culture

I have always been intrigued with cultures. I love how the way people eat, live, talk, pray, etc. is so highly influenced by where they grew up. I grew up in Georgia and my parents in North Carolina. Our culture is southern. We eat fried food, love front porches, drink sweet tea and spend a lot of time together on Sundays.

Blake grew up in Georgia too but his mom is from Michigan. She has lived in the south for a long time, but it is interesting to see how Blake and I are different just because his mom was from Michigan. You know the stuff inside the turkey on Thanksgiving? Blake calls it stuffing. I call it dressing. Bratwurst’ were a part of Blake’s childhood where I only knew of hot dogs. They are just little things, but they are interesting to me.

In Japan, slurping your soup and noodles is a compliment to the chef. This has started some pretty heated conversations in the Foster household.

Me- “Blake STOP slurping!”

Blake- “I am trying to compliment you, babe.”

Me- “I am not Japanese, so stop!”

Blake- “Still.”

“Still.” will always win an argument. Be the first to say it!

Anyway, the point about cultures is that we all have comfort food based on our likings, upbringings and cultures. Chicken Katsu with Tamago Omelets and Miso soup is definitely a Japanese comfort food for us. Every time we make this for friends, they ask for it again and again. Enjoy

Chicken Katsu and Tamago Omlete

Serves 2

Total Price- $2.11

Total Price per person- $1.06

Average Retail Price- $4.91

Total Savings- $2.30

Chicken Katsu and Miso Soup

-5 eggs

-2 tbsp mirin (see photo)

-1 tbsp soy sauce

-2 tsp sugar

-2 tsp rice wine vinegar

-1 tbsp oil

-2 tbsp white Miso (see photo)

-2 tsp Dashi powder

-3 cups water

-1/2 cup cubed tofu

-2 green onions diced

-2 chicken breasts, butterflied/pounded to 1/2 inch

-1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

-1 sheet dried seaweed

-Katsu Sauce (see photo)

1. Mix eggs, Mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine vinegar

2. Set aside about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture.

3. Heat 1/2 the oil large sauté pan over med-high heat

4. Add 1/6 the egg mixture to the pan and spread thin across the saute pan

Step 1

5. Fold/roll the egg mixture in 1 inch portions and continue to roll until 1 inch thick

Step 2

6. Add another 1/6 of the egg mixture to the pan and spread thin

7. Fold/roll the 1 inch portion of rolled egg, pausing for 10-15 seconds each fold to allow it to cook.

Step 3

8. Add another 1/6 of the egg mixture and repeat until it is completely rolled and about 1 inch thick and 1 inch tall

Step 4

9. Set aside.

Complete Tamago Omelet

10. Add the remaining oil to the pan and repeat for the 2nd Tamago Omelet.

11. Cut Tamago Omelet into 1/2″ portions and wrap with strips of dried seaweed if preferred.

12. Heat water in medium sauce pot or microwave

13. Add white Miso, Dashi powder, tofu, and green onion to the water and serve.

14. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, or heat 1/2 inch of oil in sauté pan over high heat.

15. Dip the chicken in the 1/2 cup egg mixture that was set aside, and then coat in Panko breadcrumbs.

16. Place on a pan in the oven, or into the oil.

17. If cooking in oven spray with butter spray or drizzle with oil and cook 8-10 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through and bread crumbs are golden brown.

18. If cooking in oil cook roughly 7-8 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through and bread crumbs are golden brown.

Serve with Tamago omelet, Miso soup, a side of Katsu sauce and rice.

SALES USED IN THIS RECIPE

-Boneless, skinless chicken breast- Ingles $1.98/lb

-Tofu- Super H Mart $0.98

-Mirin-Super H Mart $1.00 off

-White Miso- Super H Mart $2.00, and it lasts for a year

Pictures for Reference

Sauce
Mirin

White miso

Don’t Judge a Dinner by It’s Color

JAPANESE WEEK

We have had a lot of requests for Japanese food, and we have been craving it which is ideal. Last night we had Japanese Curry. According to www.dictionary.com curry is a pungent dish of vegetables, onions, meat or fish, etc., flavored with various spices or curry powder, and often eaten with rice.

When Blake and I were in Thailand, we learned to make Thai Curry from scratch which was very cool. Granted we were on a two week vacation with no child, so we had time to make curry from scratch. Now, the circumstances are a little different. We have a clingy toddler, full-time jobs, and a marriage to put our time into. Though muddling garlic and other spices is quite fun, it doesn’t quite fit into my weekday evening schedule. This is exactly why I love Asian Markets. We have one in our town called Super H Mart, but almost every city has something similar. Go to your local Asian market and get the premixed curry cubes (We like Golden Curry brand) to make a quick, easy and tasty Japanese style curry dinner that is guaranteed to please the family!

Cheesy eggs are one of Blake and Lottie’s favorite easy egg dishes.  Blake learned to make it from his best friend’s mother who is Japanese.  It is great simply served over rice, but one day we had left over curry and decided to make some cheesy eggs to accompany it and the combination has never been apart since.  The key to cheesy eggs is there 1 slice of American cheese for every 2 eggs, and you have to microwave in intervals and stir often to be sure to end up with gooey, runny, cheesy eggs.

If you can’t find a good Asian Market, buy online. www.asianfoodgrocer.com

Japanese Curry and Cheesy Eggs Over Rice

Serves 6

Total Price- $5.24

Total Price per Person- $0.87

Average Retail Price- $11.40

Total Savings- $6.16

Not pretty, but delicious- Japanese Curry

1 tbsp oil

2 tsp garlic

1 large onion, chopped

3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 tsp pepper

2 potatoes, cut into chunks

3 carrots cut into ½ inch pieces

6 cups water

1 package (8 cubes) of Japanese Curry

8 eggs

4 slices American cheese

2 cups cooked sushi grade rice

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat.

2. Add garlic, onion, pepper, and chicken and cook until nicely seared stirring often. (Roughly 3 minutes)

3. Add potatoes, carrots, and water and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover until potatoes are cooked through.  (Roughly 15-20 minutes)

5. Remove from heat and break the curry cubes into the pot and stir until it is thickened.

6. Return to heat over low.

7. In a bowl combine eggs and cheese

8. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes.

9. Stir eggs thoroughly.

10. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.

10. Heat in 30 second intervals stirring thoroughly after each interval.

11.The eggs should be juicy and cheesy when served.  Do not overcook or they will become dry.  It usually takes 2-3 intervals.

12. Spread rice across a plate and place eggs over one portion and curry over the other.  13. Enjoy!!

Sales used in this recipe:

Golden Curry (Super H Mart BOGO. $2.99/2)

Onions- (Ingles $0.99/lb)

Carrots- (Ingles 2 for $0.88)

Chicken Breasts (Ingles $1.48/lb)

Japanese Cooking Staples:

Japanese Cooking Staples


Surprise Me and Appetize Me!

Until I met my husband, I was not very ethnically diverse in my food choices. I often ate steak and potatoes and threw a twist on them with a flavored butter or a different method to preparing the potatoes. Sometimes I would get a wild hair and throw some unique spices on my steak for a blackening. Whoop-de-do!

Blake’s best friend is named Yasuaki. We call him Yas. His family is from Japan. They lived in Norcross when Yas was a young kid. At the end of middle school, Yas’ parents decided to move back to Japan, and Yas moved in with Blake and his mom. Through all of this, Blake learned to cook the most amazing Asian food, and interestingly enough Yas’ favorite food is anything from Paula Deen’s cookbook. Ironic, right?

The appetizer that we made tonight is very easy to make, it just has an intimidating name. Call it Beef Roll-Ups if it scares you too much. This is always a crowd pleaser, and it is easy on the wallet.

GRILLED BEEF NEGIMAKI

Serves 4

Total Price- $2.52

Total Price per Person- $0.68

Average Retail Price- $5.08

Total Savings- $2.56

Beef Negimaki

Beef

– 1/2 lb of thinly sliced ribeye beef (Super H $3.99/lb Average Retail $7.99/lb) 

*Most Asian markets sell this presliced, but if you can’t get it that way, place ribeye in the freezer for one hour and then thinly slice *

– 3 stalks of green onion (Super H 5/$0.99 Average Retail 2/$0.99)
– 2 tsp oil
– 1 tsp pepper (BIG LOTS)
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder (BIG LOTS)

Sauce

– 3 tbsn soy sauce (Costco $3.99 for 64 oz Average Retail $2.99/ 10oz)
– 2 tbsn mirin (Super H $2.00 off coupon. Average Retail $5.49 1 Liter)
– 1 tbsn sugar (Publix Buy one Get one free 2/$3.98)
– 2 tbsn beef/chicken/vegetable stock (Costco 12 cans for $6.99 Average Retail $1.19/can)

Directions

1. Slice the green onion stalks in 1-inch portions.
2. Wrap 2-3 of the 1 inch green onion portions in a rib-eye slice and set aside.
3. Repeat until all of the ribeye slices are rolled.
4. Drizzle with oil, and season with pepper and garlic.
5. Combine all sauce ingredients in a saucepan on high heat.
6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer until the sauce thickens, roughly 10 minutes. (It should leave a residue on the pan when you tilt it, and be close to a syrup consistency.)
7. Place the rolled ribeye slices onto a high heat grill or sauté pan.
8. Cook until nicely browned/charred, turning often, roughly 1-2 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the rib-eye slices.
9. Drizzle the sauce over the ribeye slices and place the remaining into a small dipping bowl, and serve immediately.

*Money Saving Coupon Tip of the Day:

Want $4.00 free from CVS?

Go to www.cvs.com/email and sign up for Extra Care email and you will get an instand $4.00 coupon for CVS.