Resources for living like a foodie, even with a family, a budget, and a busy life.™

Learn how to save hundreds on your groceries buying organics (for FREE).

   First Name  
Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.com

January 26, 2015
by Lacy
2 Comments

Better For You Prepared Food Choices (Review: Red’s Burritos and Tandoor Chef)

Natural AND convenient? Microwave foods whose ingredient list matches exactly what you would use to make it yourself? Sounds like something we all need in our freezer, a tasty plan B for those nights when…well, you know how it goes!

Tandoor Chef Review on LaughingLemonPie.comTandoor Chef and Red’s All Natural products are decidedly worth stocking in your freezer. Natural and Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.comconvenient applies to both of these freezer-to-microwave-to-table, natural-ingredients-only, tasty convenience food lines.

Soccer night? Lazy bones? Worked late? In the mood for super-tasty, but not in the mood for a ton of prep, work, and clean up? Yup, natural and convenient frozen foods fit the bill and Tandoor Chef and Red’s All Natural are great choices among those. Instant yum, less than 5 mins to table, and no ingredients you wouldn’t recognize and/or put in if you were making it yourself.

I’ve been loving Tandoor Chef for years, and have mentioned the convenience of ready-made Indian foods a few times on this site as part of what-I’ve-been-eating- this-month. My husband and I often marvel at how lucky we are to both enjoy Indian food – ready-made Indian foods make one dinner of the week so so so easy (and yummy).

Tandoor Chef Review on LaughingLemonPie.comTandoor Chef Chicken Tikka Masala?: The chicken is so luscious and tender, it comes with rice, and I could just drink the sauce. I’ve contemplated having a waterproof coffin constructed so I could be buried in this sauce, but that is a) gross, b) morbid, and c) gross. The only thing unnatural about the sauce is my love for it.

Palak (saag) Paneer is a lovely dish featuring spinach (saag) and Indian cheese cubes (paneer). Tandoor Chef Review on LaughingLemonPie.comIn Tandoor Chef’s version the saag is so creamy and smoothly textured, and the paneer so soft and subtle – if you’ve had as much Indian food as I have, you come to appreciate a nice soft perfect paneer.

And basically, you don’t even want to get me started on Tandoor Chef’s Samosas. I’m c-c-c-crazy about them. I could eat those every day.

Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.comRed’s All Natural Burritos come in 2 sizes: 5 and 11 ounces. We tried four of the 5oz burritos: Chicken & Cheese, Bean & Cheese, Steak & Cheese, and Spicy Chipotle Beef & Bean. To make a meal, you’d want two of these little guys, or one alone would make a great snack. Definitely something to stock in the freezer at work too – what a tasty lunch! Though all the “PROPERTY OF ME! (NOT YOU!)” mailing labels you apply probably won’t deter your coworkers from pilfering these lunchtime gems.

Red’s tortilla is so tasty and rather amazing, truth be told – I mean, how do you get a tortilla to Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.comdo it’s job, freeze, AND rebound in the microwave? As their website points out, these tortillas really are notable: Red’s All Natural’s tortillas are custom-made in a bakery using only the finest and simplest ingredients. They are just big enough to hold together all the goodness inside without overwhelming the delicate burrito balance. In fact, Red’s All Natural uses just 20% tortilla in each burrito compared to usually 50% from other frozen burritos.

Red's All Natural Burritos Review on LaughingLemonPie.comRed’s Ingredient list?: Yeah, you know all the guys on that team. Not only are the ingredients recognizable, they’re non-GMO, antibiotic and hormone-free, and comparatively low in sodium.

Red’s Chicken & Cheese was the kid-favorite of the bunch, nicely seasoned by not spicy/hot. I should say family favorite, since we all liked it equally. The Bean & Cheese? So yummy, and how can you go wrong really? I mean, beans + cheese? Talk about super foods. A perennial and unbeatable combination. The Steak & Cheese burrito was excellent – very satisfying steaky flavor, and nice and cheesy too. Spicy Chipotle Beef & Bean was tasty as well, spicy but not hot. Overall – 3 very satisfied and burrito-filled tummies!

Red’s recommends baking the burritos, as opposed to the strictly microwave method. I tried 2 in the oven and 2 in the microwave and I’d say it’s a matter of taste. I liked the nicely browned exterior of the oven baked burrito, but my husband preferred the softness of the microwave method. You’ll have to see and decide for yourself!

These burritos really need no accompaniment – maybe some guac, but really they are so well seasoned that salsa seemed unnecessary. They stand alone – another great reason they’d be ideal for a quick lunch or dinner option.

Find Tandoor Chef and Red’s All Natural products near you, I bought both at Sprouts.

Laughing Lemon Pie was provided with coupons to purchase these freezer-case items, but our review and opinions are completely our own.

lemon_pie_3

January 19, 2015
by Lacy
7 Comments

Healthy Laughing Lemon Pie with NestFresh Eggs & Wholly Wholesome Crust

When I recently got the opportunity to review NestFresh eggs and Wholly Wholesome pie crusts at around the same time, I knew exactly what I wanted to make: Laughing Lemon Pie.

But, being January and all, I am one of those trying to eat a bit healthier to balance out all those December indulgences.

So I decided it was time to update the recipe. It was time for a healthier Laughing Lemon Pie.

Continue Reading →

January 12, 2015
by Lacy
1 Comment

Gluten-Free Cutie Cake Recipe

I’m on a big anti-food-waste kick lately.

I heard a story on NPR recently about food waste that stated that as much of 1/3 of the food in this country goes to waste — and consumers are the biggest problem.

Take, for example, the ubiquitous Cuties you can find at the grocery store this time of year.

cuties

I don’t have a problem with Cuties on the whole. In fact, I think lots of fruits and veggies would benefit from this kind of awesome marketing!

The problem I have is that it’s so easy for these guys to go to waste. Think about it: At the peak of the season, you can get a 5 pound box of these little guys for $5 or less. Irresistible! But if you have a small family like I do, you might have trouble getting through 5 pounds of adorable mandarins before they start to go squidgy.

And, while you can still eat them when they get a little squidgy, nobody really wants to, so they just sit there getting squidgier and squidgier until they are ultimately composted.

WASTEFUL.

So, I’ve started looking for recipes that incorporate foods that might otherwise go to waste. (I’ve started a new tag that says “use it up” where I’ll collect them!)

And this recipe was born of that.  Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe that originally called for clementines, this cake also has the benefit of using the WHOLE fruit — you’re not even putting any rinds in the compost!

Cutie Cake

Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Cutie Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Cuties (mandarin oranges)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/3 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place Cuties in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for two hours. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375. Butter an 8" springform pan and line with buttered parchment.
  3. Chop cuties (peel and all) finely in a food processor.
  4. Mix eggs, sugar, almonds, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Add Cuties and mix.
  5. Pour cake into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Check at about 30 minutes; if the top is very brown, cover with foil for the remaining time. Allow to cool on a rack before removing from pan.
  6. Serve with whipped cream.

Notes

5 ppv per slice Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake

http://laughinglemonpie.com/gluten-free-cutie-cake-recipe/

This is a wonderful, naturally gluten-free cake recipe that works well as dessert with some ice cream or whipped cream, as a snack/tea cake, or even served for brunch. It’s not-too-sweet and pretty easy to pull together.

Looking for another fun way to use mandarins? Check out these candied orange peels! I originally made them with satsumas, but any citrus — including Cuties! — will work.

Natural Beauty Products_Budget

December 29, 2014
by Guest Author
3 Comments

Natural Beauty Products on a Budget (That You Will Love!)

Do you ever think “I would love to change to natural, pure, organic products, but they are just too expensive!”

We all want to avoid harsh chemicals and toxins, but we also want products that work and won’t break the bank.

Sure, some natural and organic products are more expensive.  But not all. You can find great, natural, clean products for the same (or close!) to what you are paying now.

Below is a list of my personal favorite natural and affordable beauty products.  These are products I use every day and wouldn’t live without… you may be surprised by their prices!

Continue Reading →

Christmas Foodie No. 14: Vegan Thumbprint Cookie Mix from LaughingLemonPie.com

December 22, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

Christmas Foodie No. 14: Vegan Thumbprint Cookie Mix

Christmas Foodie No. 14: Vegan Thumbprint Cookie Mix from LaughingLemonPie.com A Christmas Foodie idea for the vegan in your life! Vegan Thumbprint Cookie mix in a jar, our Laughing Lemon Pie Christmas FoodChristmas Foodie No. 14: Vegan Thumbprint Cookie Mix from LaughingLemonPie.comie No. 14.

This fantastic recipe was graciously given to LLP at our tour of the new Whole Foods Bradburn in Westminster (full-sized (ie readable) recipe image at bottom of post).

I made them last night and promptly realized what a great mix this would be to share with our vegan friends. Since not everyone has a mini-food processor (though everyone should!) and I have way too many almonds in my freezer, I blitzed up a couple recipe’s worth of the dry mix and poured into jars for gift giving.

This recipe is super simple and very kid-friendly. It’s a forgiving dough, no baking soda or powder so no need to rush these into the oven. Also it could easily be made gluten-free by subbing in a GF flour.Christmas Foodie No. 14: Vegan Thumbprint Cookie Mix from LaughingLemonPie.com

Christmas Foodie No. 14: Vegan Thumbprint Cookie Mix

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place almonds and oats in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until coarsely ground.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the flour and salt.
  4. Transfer mix to a 24oz canning jar - a canning funnel works wonders for this step!
  5. Instructions should read: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour contents of jar into a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup oil + 1/2 cup maple syrup. Mix thoroughly. Roll dough into balls and place 2" apart on a baking sheet. Make a well in each with your thumb. Fill the indentation with jam of your choice. Bake approximately 18 minutes.
http://laughinglemonpie.com/christmas-foodie-no-14-vegan-thumbprint-cookie-mix/

All your vegan friends have to do is add 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup maple syrup! Simple! Make a little well in each dough ball and fill it with the jam of your or their choice – it would be really sweet and over-achieving to include a small pot of homemade jam with this cookie mix, wouldn’t it? That would be over the top and divine. Alternately, these would be super genius with nutella in the middle (o.m.g.) or as a modern, heart-healthy take on those cookies with the Hershey’s Kisses smooshed in the middles. Oh man, now I’m giving me ideas…

A few notes: This recipe won’t fit in a standard 12 oz jar (unless you skip the flour, which is an option, but not as convenient for the receiver). However, it doesn’t quite fill a 24oz jar either. So you’ll have a lot of headspace, as they call it in the canning world. To make your gift more attractive therefore and mask the unfilled-ness, you’ll need a longer than usual piece of fabric to cover the top (if that is the style of “wrapping” you’re going with). 8×8 minimum. If you get yourself to a fabric store in January you can pick up as many yards of as many patterns of Christmas-themed fabric as you like. I use this fabric for wrapping foodie gifts like this, but also as eco-friendly reusable Christmas wrapping.

As promised, here is the full and wonderful recipe as provided to us by the kind folks at Whole Foods Bradburn.

Christmas Foodie No. 14: Vegan Thumbprint Cookie Mix from LaughingLemonPie.com

home-meals-5_zps1f1fb58a

December 18, 2014
by Lacy
3 Comments

Looking for Cheap Protein? Eat an Egg (With These Recipes)

When you’re looking to eat healthfully on a budget, responsibly raised eggs are a staple. By responsibly raised, I mean eggs that come from happy chickens.

Our friends at NestFresh sent us a round-up of tasty egg recipes that won’t break the bank from their website.

nforganicdoz

The nice thing about NestFresh is that their entire product line is 100% cage-free, so you can choose from there which options meet your family’s needs and budget — whether you choose to go organic, GMO-free, pasture-raised, etc.

Continue Reading →

Chocolate Cake in a Mug in a Jar Foodie Gift from LaughingLemonPie.com

December 15, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

Christmas Foodie No.13: Chocolate Cake in a Mug in a Jar…

OK – This Christmas Foodie gift idea is kinda tricky to explain. Have you had Chocolate Covered Katie’s One Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug? If you haven’t, I’m letting you know upfront – I can’t be held responsible for introducing you to this kind of decadence. It’s a single-serve chocolate cake you “bake” in a mug in the microwave. In other words it is basically the answer to every bad day, and/or the ultimate afternoon pick-me-up.Chocolate Cake in a Mug in a Jar Foodie Gift from LaughingLemonPie.com

It dawned on me that if one cake in a mug is nice for me, how nice of me would it be to present someone with the ready-made mix that they could whip up any old time they felt the need? Introducing Christmas Foodie No. 13: Chocolate Cake in a Mug in a Jar. That totally cleared it up, right?Chocolate Cake in a Mug in a Jar Foodie Gift from LaughingLemonPie.com

This would be a great homemade gift for any chocoholics you know. I’m especially thinking of a teacher-chocoholics or dorm-dwelling chocoholics, but really it’s for anyone whose day would be remarkably more bearable/enjoyable with the added convenience of a mini, personal, anytime chocolate cake. Yes, food is a crutch. When the going gets tough, even the toughest of us heads to the pantry.

It is beyond super cute to put this mix in a 6oz canning jar and present it inside a cheesy 8oz (or larger) Christmas mug – makes a great presentation. However, a 6oz jar holds only 2 servings. If you are truly looking to enable chocolate-cake-in-a-mug as a habit you’ll want to present 4 servings in a 12 oz jar (possibly accompanied by a 1/4 measuring cup).Chocolate Cake in a Mug in a Jar Foodie Gift from LaughingLemonPie.com

Christmas Foodie No.13: Chocolate Cake in a Mug in a Jar Mix

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • *Please note: this recipe was derived, multiplied, and adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie, with much thanks and enjoyment.
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • add 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules to make it mocha cake

Instructions

  1. Whisk all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
  2. Use a regular or canning funnel to pour the dry mix into a 12oz canning jar.
  3. Label, include instructions, decorate/wrap, and gift it to your favorite chocoholic.
http://laughinglemonpie.com/christmas-foodie-no-13-chocolate-cake-in-a-mug/
Chocolate Cake in a Mug in a Jar Foodie Gift from LaughingLemonPie.com

Instructions: Scoop 3/4 cups of chocolate cake mix into an 8oz mug. Add 3T milk (or milk substitute), 2-3t oil, and a dash of vanilla. Stir it all together well with a fork or spoon. Microwave 60-80 seconds, until you see the cake rise up and the top is dry and springy.

Now, you know I’m a chocolate cake purist – but our good friend Lacy has generously done the math to create a Buttercream-for-One recipe:
1 T butter (softened), 1 tsp milk, splash of vanilla, pinch of salt, 1/4 c powdered sugar. Whip the butter lightly with a fork, then add milk, vanilla and salt.  Add powdered sugar 1 T at a time until you reach your preferred consistency.
Frankly, I’m not sure if this gift is a blessing or a curse. A few years ago I had a ritual of chocolate cake in a mug every afternoon (ah, to be nursing again!). But now if someone handed me a jar of chocolate cake in a mug mix I would wonder if they were truly my friend. As with so many things, it all depends on your current relationship with food and chocolate.
Whole Foods Bradburn: a LaughingLemonPie.com Field Trip

December 8, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
4 Comments

Laughing Lemon Field Trip: New Whole Foods Bradburn

The Laughing Lemon team was recently invited to check out the newest Whole Foods in our area – Bradburn! It’s in Westminster – 120th between Sheridan & Federal. Lots to love there.

First off, it is big! I’m talking 35,000 square feet big. It features a special and specialty cheese counter, sushi made fresh in house and/orWhole Foods Bradburn: a LaughingLemonPie.com Field Trip to order, a chef’s-pick hot food station, a pickle bar(!) stocked entirely with locally made pickles, a hot foods-to-go bar, an in-house smoker, as well as a full coffee & smoothie bar (50 different kinds of smoothies?!).

At Laughing Lemon Pie we are most excited about the gorgeous, long, full-service meat and seafood counters. Whole Foods’ rigorous standards for ethically raised meats and sustainable seafood are right in line with our own feelings about how animals should be treated and the level of quality when it comes to the meat we consume and feed our families. Their easy-to-understand labeling system makes making good choices so so easy.

We’re equally impressed with all the family- and budget-friendly options the store will include. The Whole Foods team specifically designed this store to cater to families, with lots of money and time saving options. For example, they’ll have two-for Tuesdays, with two portions of the weekly fish special for just $12. They have lots of ready-to-prepare meal starters in the meat, fish, and produce departments, and the new bulk department has more than 300 items — with about 30 on sale any given week!

And last but not least…commence salivating…the Whole Foods in-store bakery. Sigh. The stuff of dreams.

We were lucky enough to meet Elyse McGraw, the Bakery Team Leader for our region, and get a demo session full of tips and tricks for decorating with royal icing this season.

And, they were kind enough to share the cookie recipe:Whole Foods Bradburn: a LaughingLemonPie.com Field Trip

Whole Food Bradburn is really committed to showcasing local products. The list goes on and on, but some of our favorites are Ozuke out of Lafayette, Boulder Tamales, Allegro Coffee from Thornton, Ritual Chocolate in Denver, and Red Camper’s line of Deliciousness-es.

I ran across an excellent idea reading Prune the other day – Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune Restaurant in NY had a gorgeous photo and write up of a Bacon and Marmalade Sandwich on Pumpernickel Bread. Genius! Some good pump, some Whole Foods’ 365 Applewood Smoked Bacon, and Red Camper’s Absinth Orange Deliciousness? DIVINE!! Whole Foods Bradburn: a LaughingLemonPie.com Field TripWhole Foods Bradburn: a LaughingLemonPie.com Field Trip

Whole Foods Bradburn opens to the public this week on Tuesday December 9th – check it out! (And tell them the Laughing Lemons sent you!)

 

 

November 24, 2014
by Lacy
1 Comment

Southern Cornbread Dressing: A Traditional Recipe

 

I get my foodie nature honestly, from generations of women who enjoyed cooking and eating both for reasons of necessity and economy as well as the desire to nurture friends and family around the table.  My maternal grandmother actually had her own cooking show, teaching a generation of war brides in El Paso, Texas how to cook simple, inexpensive meals for their families.

But my paternal grandmother was no slouch in the kitchen, either. My Granny grew up with a slightly different food education, learning the secrets and recipes at the elbows of the other matriarchs in our family. She measured flour with a teacup and her recipes were all by feel — a pinch of this and a dash of that. It drove my mother nearly crazy trying to learn to fix the things her new husband liked to eat from his mother’s table.

I wish I had learned more of her recipes and techniques while she was still able to teach them.  I’m lucky that my mom learned as much as she did from my Granny so that she can pass them on to me.  One of them I haven’t mastered? Frying things. Not my strong suit.  Maybe someday…

But one recipe I have mastered is my Granny’s cornbread and her famous (infamous?) cornbread dressing.  My Poppy, my dad and I all love the stuff.  Other people seem to be able to take it or leave it.  But it is pretty much a necessity to my mind at my Thanksgiving table.

It’s kind of like a savory bread pudding, thick and dense, not fluffy little cubes like the stuffing that comes from a box. I love the richness of the corn and custard, the savory flavors of sage and celery.  If there’s one dish that represents the holidays for me, this is it.

Southern Cornbread Dressing: A Traditional Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Granny's Corn Bread
  • 1/2 loaf dry white bread (ie: French or Italian)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T dried sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 C celery, diced
  • 1 C onion, diced
  • 28 oz chicken broth
  • 2–3 T melted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Crumble cornbread and white bread into small crumbs. Look for a ratio of 2:1 cornbread to white bread. (You can do this stage up to 2 days in advance and allow the bread to get stale.)
  3. Whisk eggs, sage, salt, pepper, and dry mustard together and pour over bread mixture. Mix with hands until all bread is moist. Then add celery, onions, and chicken broth and stir until mixture resembles the thickness of cake batter. Add melted butter and stir just to combine.
  4. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch casserole.
  5. Bake for 30–40 minutes or until dressing is golden brown and firm.
http://laughinglemonpie.com/southern-cornbread-dressing-a-traditional-recipe/

Whatever your holiday traditions, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. I’m so grateful for this community that has built up around this blog and for the opportunity to share with you all!