Category Archives: Thrifting

Meatless Monday: Indian Chole Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Happy “Meatless Monday!”

Indian Chole Masala

Chickpeas are one of my favorite ingredients.  There are so many things you can do with this humble (and cheap!) ingredient, that I always have a stash on hand.

As I’m still not feeling all that well, I’m going to keep this post short. Continue reading

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Wild Mushroom and Marjoram Chicken

I started my morning off with a trip to the dentist.   It’s not the most pleasant way to begin the day and truthfully I had no idea that I even had an appointment.  There was some sort of a mix up at the office—they thought Piyush had an appointment at 7am, so they called to remind him about it.  He said he didn’t make the appointment, so they thought maybe it was me.  They called me and I had no idea that I made an appointment either (especially at 7!  on my day off!).   Since I was free for the day, they convinced me to go in and get my pearly whites cleaned and checked out.  Unfortunately, Dr. Watkins gave me some bad news…

This princess is getting a new crown!  I’ve never had a crown before—actually I’ve never really had any dental work, aside from some cavities filled.  Sadly it’s because of one of those cavities (mostly the really bad job my prior dentist did filling it) that I now need this crown.  Ok, and it might also be that I drank too much soda as a kid…and too much hard liquor as a college student, but there’s nothing I can do to change that now.  The damage has been done, my friends.

I was out of the dentist’s office in about an hour, and since I was already awake—and functioning—I decided I might as well check out the thrift store and see if I could find anything neat.  Today was a bust.  I didn’t find anything super exciting, but I did get a new book to read, a shirt for Piyush, some canning jars, a terra cotta garlic roaster and a cake platter.  Total spent?  Around 10 bucks.

There was a big dresser that matched the one I bought for my entry way, it was obviously from the same set.  I thought it’d make an awesome buffet for our dining room (with a little elbow grease and repurposing), but the price tag said $50.  That’s about 30 dollars too much, in my opinion.  So I passed.

When I got bored of thifting, I grabbed a few groceries and headed home to a sink full of dirty dishes.  At home, I was quickly reminded that it was winter and I needed to put on boots and stop wearing my totally awesome crocs:

click photo to go to the crocs website

Seriously, I never thought I’d be a croc kind of girl…but I love these shoes!  They’re slide ons—so they’re quick.  They’re durable, comfy and rubber (or something like that…I don’t really know what they’re made from, actually).  I hate wet feet, so these do a good job of keeping them dry.   I wore them everyday in India—even when we were climbing the steep hills of Darjeeling (I have really high arches and walk more on the sides of my feet. Even without my custom insoles these shoes give me no pain.)  Basically, I love this shoe.  But sadly, they have no traction…and are terrible on ice!  Lucky for me, I am a very graceful faller.  Like, really graceful.  You should have seen it.  I slipped on the ice, went into a perfect lunge—didn’t even crack my knee on the ground—and slid back up, all in one motion.  It was like some sort of weird ice ballet.  I bet it looked awesome.

After shimmying my way down to the mailbox, trying to avoid the ice…and back up to the house, I decided to make Piyush a nice dinner.  I had some chicken breasts, so I knew that was going to be the base.

I eventually settled on seasoning the chicken breasts with marjoram, making a simple pan sauce and serving it all with mushrooms and roasted purple potatoes.  I was worried he wouldn’t like it.  But it turned out really delicious and he scarfed it down…no complaints.  He even told me the recipe was a “keeper.”  Yay.

Marjoram Chicken Breast with Mushrooms and Roasted Purple Potatoes

The purple potatoes were amazing!  I’ve never had them before so I had to try them out.  They taste really similar to red potatoes…but they’re such a beautiful color!

I cut them in half (or quarters, if they were big), drizzed them with some olive oil, seasoned with salt/pepper, added some chopped rosemary and smashed garlic and then roasted in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Simple.  Easy. Fast.

While they roasted away, I got to work on the chicken.

Marjoram Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala Pan Sauce

(recipe inspired by Bon Appetit)

  • 4  skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 teaspoons dried marjoram (use fresh if you have it!), divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 10 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (I bought a frozen bag at the co-op…and they were awesome!)
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth (make your own!)
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • 3 tablespoons dry Marsala
  • Salt/Pepper

Directions:

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then 2 teaspoons marjoram (I didn’t really measure—just sprinkled liberally).

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1/2 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until just cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate; tent with foil to keep warm.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with1/2 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add mushrooms, shallots, and 2 teaspoons marjoram. Sauté until mushrooms are brown and tender, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.

Combine broth, cream, Marsala, rosemary and remaining 2 teaspoons marjoram in same skillet; boil until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Divide mushrooms among 4 plates. Top mushrooms with chicken. Spoon sauce over and serve.

This meal came in at around 650 calories for my portion (pictured above).  It’s not something I’d eat all that often, because it’s so rich.  But it’s definitely something I’ll make again!  It had a lot of flavors and they all worked extremely well with one another.  The original recipe didn’t call for rosemary but I thought it’d be a good addition…and I was right!

If you’re looking to impress someone (Valentine’s Day is around the corner….I’m just sayin’), this will do it.  This meal is seriously restaurant quality…and I’m not talking “Olive Garden” or “Applebees” kind of restaurants.  This tasted like something I’d expect from a really fancy place.  It was that good!

Now that I have a full belly, Teen Mom is over, and my face has been cleansed…it’s off to bed!  I have a long day tomorrow!

It’s Clemen-time!

You know what I love about winter?  It’s not the snow or the cold (actually, I hate both of those things).  It’s not even the holidays.  Nope.  What I love most about winter is the clementines!

Look at this guy:

One bite…and I was in love.  It didn’t stand a chance.  The only problem?  (aside from the price $$$) I don’t have nearly enough to last the week!  I love clementines and we try to keep them on hand—they’re the perfect snack.  I bought these guys from the co-op, and they rock my world!  They are a million times more scrumptious than the “cutie” ones we usually buy from the grocery store.

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to shop at our local co-op, The Good Food Store.  You can find practically anything there!  It kind of reminds me of whole foods, actually—it’s just smaller, filled with local produce, and the people are so much more friendly.  All good things!

I had a few items I wanted to pick up including romaine, herbs, beans, salsa and some cheese.  I’ve got bean taco salads and a pasta dish on the menu for this week, and I’m hoping that a little extra planning will really make dinner preparations seem a lot less tedious.

Since I was out and about, I figured I might as well make a quick stop at Goodwill.  Deals wait for no-one, you know! (haha!)

I want to find a tiny desk for our laptop, but had no luck today.  Instead, I did find an amazing, little serving dish for $3 that will be awesome for chutneys or salsas!

How cute is that?!

After I finished up at Goodwill, I stopped in at Michaels to get some knitting supplies.  I’ve always wanted to learn to knit and never really knew how to make that happen.  I thought about taking classes, but with my work schedule it’s not that easy to commit.  I don’t have a set schedule and it’s hard to get certain days off in during the week.  So, I decided I’d buy some needles and yarn and check out youtube.

It's not much...but it's a start.

Aside from knitting, I’m also doing a little “gardening”…I have green onions growing on top of my refrigerator!

I just threw some old roots in a jar…and wham!  I’ve got onions!

Does anyone know if I can grow other herbs this way?  I don’t think they get the greatest sunlight, but they really seem to be thriving!

Now, it’s Greek for dinner (we got some take out from a local restaurant we haven’t tried before), then some mind numbing television (Teen Mom)  before I shower and head to bed!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!!!

Not So Fancy Frittata

We eat a lot of eggs in this household.  They probably comprise about 25% of our meals, now that I think about it, and we always have a dozen or two on hand. When we want some food quickly and I don’t feel like standing over the stove for hours and hours on end (am I being a little too dramatic?), I can usually crack a few eggs and have supper finished in no time (I can also crack a few eggs and have some cookies…or creme brulee in no time too, but that’s another story!).

Aside from being convenient, eggs are also quite beautiful in that they’re so diverse.   I can’t think of any other ingredient that can be prepared over 100 different ways, taste completely different, and you can still recognize what it was in its original form.  How beautiful is that!?

I didn’t really feel like cooking a nice dinner tonight.  It’s my day off.  I had absolutely nothing planned today.  It’s not often that I have no idea what to do with myself, and although I could have spent all day making some fabulous food…I just didn’t want to.  Before you start thinking about how lazy I am, let me just reassure you that I did change out of my pajamas.  I brushed my teeth too!  I even made it out of the house today, and managed to do the dishes!  So, the day wasn’t lost completely.  I mixed up some bread and I even went thrifting.

I love thrifting.  You never know what you might find.  Once, a couple months ago, I found a Le Crueset Bistro Grill Pan.  This pan retails for around $120, and it’s been on my wish list since I discovered my love of cooking.  It was calling to me as soon as I walked through the doors of the store, and begged me to save it from being surrounded by mismatched storage bowls and containers full of butcher knives (scary!).  The pan looked pretty new, like it had been used once and the previous owner had no idea how to properly clean it, is my guess.  It was even the same color as my cast iron pan (awesome!).  But the best part, it had a price tag of $2.50.  SOLD!  Today I didn’t find anything nearly that cool, but I did get a new winter jacket.  Okay, not new…but new to me!  It’s at the dry cleaner as we speak.  I also found Piyush some new golf shirts.  They still had the tags on them and were major brand name steals.  $4 for a $90 dollar shirt…tags still attached, yes please!  Anyway…

When I got home I realized that the bread dough I had mixed together was ready to be shaped.  It had risen so much that it was like 6″ taller than the bowl.  Oops!  Luckily I had covered it with plastic wrap before I put the lid on so it didn’t get all crusty.  Piyush got home from golfing so I asked him to help me.  Afterall, the rolls were actually for him to take to work tomorrow to share, so I thought it was appropriate for him to learn how to shape buns.  He did a good job!

While the rolls rested for their final rising, I threw dinner together.  I’ve never made a frittata but it sounded good and was even healthy (not to mention cheap!)  You could really add anything you wanted to the frittata, it’s definitely nothing fancy.  I used some ham that I chopped up, a carton of mushrooms, arugula, some herbs I had laying around and goat cheese.  Oh how I love goat cheese!

I sauted the ham, mushrooms and arugula in a little olive oil until I was satisfied with their doneness.

Then, I added 6 eggs that I had beaten with a little salt, pepper and cheese into the mix.  I let it cook until it just began to set, then popped it into the oven which was set on “broil”.   This dinner came together so quick, probably less than 15 minutes.  When it was done I cut it into 8 triangle pieces.  It looked like an egg pizza!

It was awesome!  It was also so filling that I only had one piece.  That leaves leftovers for breakfast/lunch tomorrow!

Oh, yeah...I also had a hot roll with a little jam!

What’s your favorite way to eat eggs?