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  
Watercress Salad with Grilled Sweet Potatoes & Orange Honey Vinaigrette from LaughingLemonPie.com

August 31, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
3 Comments

Watercress Salad with Grilled Sweet Potatoes & Orange Honey Vinaigrette

Ready to try watercress – the super-est (but least practical) superfood? It’s the CDC‘s #1 PFV (Powerhouse Fruit & Vegetables). Despite my shock at its ranking, initial balking, and further obstacles in getting familiar with this impractical and un-versatile superfood, I do have 2 applications to recommend. You can click over to Watercress: Super-est (but least practical) Superfood to read about the journey and more about PFVs.

It took some doing, but I tried and found two recipes I actually fully enjoyed, and might make again if I see cress on sale – A salad with watercress, grilled sweet potato (yum!!), grilled pork chop, and orange honey vinaigrette; and a potato salad with creamy yogurt and wilted watercress dressing.

I was inspired by a Martha recipe for Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, but since it was WAY too hot to be turning on the oven,  I took further inspiration from the sensational grilled sweet potato salad in Salad for Dinner: Complete Meals for All Seasons. I added grilled pork, and used fresh-squeezed orange juice rather than lemon juice in the dressing. Yum. A grilled chicken breast could very well stand in for the pork. The sweetness of the potatoes, orange juice, honey, and candied nuts really balanced out the peppery-ness of the raw cress in a salad like this. Creamy feta was a good add-on as well.

Watercress Salad with Grilled Sweet Potatoes & Orange Honey Vinaigrette from LaughingLemonPie.com

Watercress Salad with Grilled Sweet Potato and Orange Honey Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 4 oz watercress
  • 1 or 2 medium to large red-skinned sweet potatoes
  • 10 oz salad greens - spinach, red or green leaf lettuce, or butter lettuce would all be nice here.
  • Spiced salad nuts (optional - recipe below)
  • Feta or fresh mozzarella (optional)
  • Some meat perhaps? Grill a chicken breast or a couple of pork chops to top the salad.
  • Dressing:
  • 3 T fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1-2 tsp dijon mustard (depends how much bite you like, remember the cress is peppery)
  • 1 tsp - 1 T white wine vinegar (optional, depends how much mouth pucker you like in a salad dressing).

Instructions

  1. Grilled Sweet Potatoes: Pierce then microwave the sweet potatoes whole, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Turn them over periodically to get even cooking - you're looking for a knife or fork to slip in easily but you don't want them so cooked as to be falling apart. Let them cool down (you can cook them well in advance), then slice in half lengthwise then cut the halves a few times - you want spears about the size of "steak fries." Heat your grill to medium-high. Coat the sweet potato pieces in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill over medium for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes until well marked but not too black.
  2. Orange Honey Vinaigrette: whisk all ingredients until emulsified, or use a small jar to combine, shake, and potentially serve the dressing in and from.
  3. Spiced Salad Nuts can be purchased (I like the spiced pecans or walnuts at Trader Joe's), but lately I make my own: Heat a non-stick pan over med-high and add 1/4 cup brown sugar with a splash of water (2 Tablespoons more or less). Grind in a whole bunch of sea salt and pepper (I generally do about 20 turns of salt, and 40 of pepper from hand-held salt/pepper mills). Add a good dash of allspice - this is to taste, at first the allspice flavor can seem odd or off-putting but I rapidly came to love it in this application. You could easily sub in any other herb or spice that you adore. Using a silicone spatula, add an overflowing cup of pecans or walnuts to the pan and coat them with the sugar-spice over a good bit of heat for as long as it takes for the water to dissolve and the nuts to become coated in spicy caramel and toasted in the pan, 5-10 minutes. Let cool in pan - hopefully they come out nice and crispy. Every now and again mine don't or won't crisp up - humidity? They're still tasty that way, but less satisfying without the crunch.
  4. Assemble the Salad: Remove the watercress leaves from the stems - try keeping the stems in a container of water to see if they'll regrow! Toss with spinach or leaf lettuce, and plate. Top with grilled sweet potato spears, spiced nuts, feta, and sliced grilled meat. Add dressing to taste!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://laughinglemonpie.com/watercress-recipes-using-the-super-est-but-least-practical-superfood/

Another idea would be to add watercress to turkey or roast beef sandwiches, which can be quite bland and could use some strategic pepper if you ask me. However, not being a turkey sandwich eater…I haven’t tried this, nor have I been able to convince my turkey-sandwich-eating husband to do so.

Maybe it could be made into a sauce for steak? That’s another place that the peppery flavor would be a good complement. There are recipes for watercress sauce to go with salmon, I haven’t cooked steak in years…so it’s another idea I haven’t tried myself. Martha’s Slow-Roasted Salmon with Green Sauce or chef Jill Hough’s Pan-Seared Salmon with Upland Cress Creme Fraiche would be a good place to start, though.

So tell me…what would, will, or do YOU do with watercress?

Watercress Yogurt Potato Salad from LaughingLemonPie.com

August 31, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
3 Comments

Watercress Yogurt Potato Salad

Ready to try watercress – the super-est (but least practical) superfood? It’s the CDC‘s #1 PFV (Powerhouse Fruit & Vegetables). Despite my shock at its ranking, initial balking, and further obstacles in getting familiar with this impractical and un-versatile superfood, I do have 2 applications to recommend. You can click over to Watercress: Super-est (but least practical) Superfood to read about the journey and more about PFVs. Watercress from LaughingLemonPie.com

It took some doing, but I tried and found two recipes I actually fully enjoyed, and might make again if I see cress on sale – A salad with watercress, grilled sweet potato (yum!!), grilled pork chop, and orange honey vinaigrette; and a potato salad with creamy yogurt and wilted watercress dressing.

The potato salad was inspired by a recipe for Watercress Sauce with Thick Yogurt found in Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with Over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes. The cress gets blanched for this recipe, and it really amounts to nothing once blanched and chopped into the salad. On the upside, blanching really mellows out the peppery flavor.

Watercress from LaughingLemonPie.com

Watercress Yogurt Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 oz water or upland cress
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 3/4 cup thick plain yogurt (greek, or pressed regular plain yogurt)
  • 2 Tbl mayo or sour cream
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 5 red-skinned potatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil or microwave the potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork or knife, 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain and let cool. Cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Blanch the cress for 5 seconds only - if you are boiling the potatoes it is easy enough to just blanch the cress in the potato water, either before, during, or after they are being boiled. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Pat and squeeze dry in a kitchen towel to remove excess water. Chop the cress finely, it's ok to use the stems - keep chopping down until it is just stem, no leaves.
  3. Make the sauce - combine the cress, yogurt, and all other ingredients. Then add the cut potatoes and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. You can cover and refrigerate to serve cold, or it is very pleasant warm or at room temperature immediately after making.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://laughinglemonpie.com/watercress-yogurt-potato-salad/

Another watercress idea would be to add it to turkey or roast beef sandwiches, which can sometimes be bland and could use some strategic pepper if you ask me. However, not being a turkey sandwich eater…I haven’t tried this, nor have I been able to convince my turkey-sandwich-eating husband to do so.

Maybe it could be made into a sauce for steak? That’s another place that the peppery flavor would be a good complement. There are recipes for watercress sauce to go with salmon, I haven’t cooked steak in years…so it’s another idea I haven’t tried myself. Martha’s Slow-Roasted Salmon with Green Sauce or chef Jill Hough’s Pan-Seared Salmon with Upland Cress Creme Fraiche would be a good place to start, though.

So tell me…what would, will, or do YOU do with watercress?

Watercress from LaughingLemonPie.com

August 31, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
3 Comments

Watercress: Super-est (but least practical) Super Food

Did you see the news back in June? The CDC released a list of Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables (PFVs) in an effort to get to the bottom of the whole super food phenomena. It was published in their journal Preventing Chronic Disease. (Scroll down past the article abstract et al to see the ranked list). Uhh…watercress is #1.

I don't really own one of these, but for $750 you could!

I don’t really own one of these, but for $750 you could!

Watercress? Watercress. No joke. Go ahead and check, I’ll wait. And kale is…#15 (ranked below chives! below leaf and romaine lettuce! Even parsley is apparently more powerful. What the what?!). So the question is what I’m going to do with my kale necklace, and if watercress has too many letters to be made into jewelry.

Continue Reading →

Chiles Rellenos Casserole on LaughingLemonPie.com

August 25, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

Summer Eats

Happy Summer! Some would argue that fall is right around the corner, but I’m lucky to be able to ignore that for a few more days.

Between camping trips, visits with family, and vacation we’ve been quite busy – but never too busy to eat well!

Here are some highlights from our kitchen this summer, hopefully they give you some fresh ideas and inspiration:

Zucchini Enchiladas – a very intriguing idea I saw in Cuisine at Home magazine. You halve garden or farm fresh zucchini, then carve out the middles to create little boats! Fill the boats up with any Mex-y filling you like or would normally fill enchiladas with. I used store-bought fresh-ground beef chorizo, pintos, corn, enchilada sauce, and plenty of cheese. Tasty!

Grilled Pizza – We have our own style and technique but Martha has some good tutorials and there are good getting-started tips here from the kitchn.

34 ° Pan "Fried" Chicken from LaughingLemonPie.comPeach, Tomato, and Spinach Salad with 34° Crisps Pan-”Fried” Chicken Strips (recipe forthcoming!)

Jerk Shrimp Tacos - Cantaloupe is one of the few things I cannot stand, so I subbed in mango instead.

White Chicken Chilli – I used store-bought rotisserie chicken, and store-bought salsa verde. Super easy.

Ribs using Penzey’s 33rd & Galena as a rub and following this basic Emeril Oven-Baked BBQ Ribs recipe, then tossing them on the grill later for a few minutes to finish.

Red Beans & Rice – so satisfying. In my book, any day you get to buy ham hocks is a good day. I made this ahead and took it camping – we grilled a big andouille sausage, and served both over rice (that I had cooked ahead at home). Reheating the rice was a bit tricky over a camp stove, but it all came out phenomenally. I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day.

Then there were those 3 days we lived (almost exclusively) on Chinese take-out while my husband was out of town…

Gumbo from A Mouthful of Stars on LaughingLemonPie.comGumbo from A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels – I added rice and a can of kidney beans.

Thai Red Curry with Tofu and Snap Peas (I just follow the directions on the spice packet) ;)

Falafel with veg and hummus etc.

Enchiladas Verde – I found some Enchiladas Suizas sauce packed away in the back of my freezer. I blended it up with a bunch of spinach and some frozen green chiles I found in there too. Chopped up some frozen leftover rotisserie chicken, rolled the chicken and some pinto beans up in flour tortillas, sauced and cheesed the whole thing, and set it to bake. YUM.

Chiles Rellenos Casserole on LaughingLemonPie.comChiles Rellenos (more of a casserole version, much easier on the home cook) from A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home. I broiled and skinned chiles from our own garden, and couldn’t resist adding a mandoline-d home-grown zucchini plus some leftover sweet corn kernels.

Kalustyan's Korma Masala MixChicken Korma Masala with Peas (and a less-than-glamorous time-pressed attempt at home/hand made grilled naan bread) – got the spice mix from Kalustyan’s in NYC years ago, part of my trying to clear out the backlog (i.e. hoard) of spices (see Balance Through Depletion).

Crispy Grilled Kale with (store-bought) Rotisserie Chicken

Breakfast?: Zucchini Spice Bread

Dessert?: Blueberry Hand Pies

What’s been your favorite or most- requested meal this summer? Please share in the comments below!

kokopelli

August 18, 2014
by Lacy
0 comments

Restaurant Report: Kokopelli Beer Company

kokopelli

When a new restaurant/brewery opened up this close to my house (under 5 miles!), you know I couldn’t wait to try it out. It’s in an unassuming little strip mall, but don’t let that put you off.  Friendly atmosphere, good beer and pretty good pizza make this a fun hangout.  I’ll definitely be back to try another brew and a different slice.

Location: 8931 Harlan Street, Westminster, CO

Claim to Fame: Up to 20 beers on tap, some made in-house, some brought in for a limited time, including gluten-free beer. They also serve fresh artisan pizzas, sandwiches, giant pretzels, and salads and have a limited selection of wines.

What we tried: We started with a giant pretzel, which was very tasty—especially with the mustards provided! Shared a large Italian salad, which was fresh and full of goodies, and a pick-your-own pizza with sausage, black olives and mushrooms.  The pizza has a medium-thin crust—not crispy, but not too bready either. We also liked the beers we tried (though I can’t for the life of me remember which they were—sign of a good brew???)

Favorites: The pizza was the standout of our meal. I’d love to go back and

Unexpected: I really wasn’t expecting such a huge tap selection from such a small place! Something to please everybody, for sure. Plus, they have a large selection of gluten-free items—I haven’t tried them, but it’s certainly nice to have the option.

Atmosphere: Bright and family-friendly with live music several nights a week, trivia nights, and “beer and board games” nights.  This place definitely wants to be your local hangout.

Kid-friendly?: Yes!  Surprisingly kid-friendly for a brewpub. Family-friendly atmosphere, and what kid doesn’t like pizza?

August 11, 2014
by Lacy
1 Comment

Announcement: Pay What You Wish!

I’m super excited to announce that now ALL of the Laughing Lemon Pie family of infoproducts are pay what you wish!

I realized that price might be a barrier for some people to getting the information you need to lead a healthier life and feed your family well on a budget, so I’ve eliminated that barrier!

Here’s what you can get:

  • The Ultimate Guide to Eating Organic on a Budget will tell you how to eat organic on a low budget—without resorting to eating nothing but organic beans and rice for the rest of your life!  It’s got 22 real-world tips to help you learn how to buy organic food on a budget. Plus, each tip is followed by an action step—so you know exactly how to get started saving real money. More than 1,200 people have already started saving money with these tips!
  • Meal Planning for Real People walks you through everything you need to know to make meal planning part of your routine, with two bonus meal plans and the extremely awesome Meal Planning Worksheet.
  • The Deluxe Mix & Match Meal Kit is a simple tool to enable you to serve healthy, balanced, diverse meals to your child in less time and with less money wasted on planning meals your family won’t eat.
  • And the Autumn Mix & Match Meal Kit is the same amazing tool as the original Deluxe Mix & Match Meal Kit, customized with the rich and fragrant flavors of fall in mind.  It makes feeding your family a seasonal menu practically effortless. Perfect for back to school!

Take a look and see what tools you want to add to your toolbox before the busy fall season starts. Do you want to learn to eat better on a budget? Plan your meals in less time and with less effort? Find a tool that will make feeding your family healthy foods a SNAP?  Then you’re in the right place!

On each product’s page, you’ll see a box under the description that says, “What is this worth to you?” Edit the price to reflect what you believe the information is worth to your life, and click the “add to cart” button. It’s that easy!

I hope if you’ve been on the fence about any of these tools, this new pricing will push you over! Because the goal of this site is, and always has been, about helping as many people as possible.

Got a question? Hit me up in the comments below!

August 4, 2014
by Lacy
1 Comment

Boozy Desserts in Denver (and at Home!)

There’s just something about summer that makes boozy desserts sound awesome—or is that just me? Sangria, popsicles, trifle with a splash of cointreau… Let’s face it:  alcohol and desserts go together like watermelon and summertime!

If you want to get really creative, check out what these local places are cooking up for the dessert/drinks course!

Continue Reading →

Spicy Carrot Dressing from LaughingLemonPie.com

July 28, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

Spicy Carrot Dressing

CARROT salad dressing? Vegetables on top of vegetables? How can you beat that?

Could this possibly be the world’s most virtuous salad dressing? As if eating a salad weren’t already an act of virtuousness, but then to top your salad with vegetables? Well that puts you on a whole ‘nother plane of righteous eating.

Now, this is a decidedly atypical and funktastic dressing, one that does not conform. You can tszuj it in a number of directions to suit your taste, or your diet – spicier, sweeter, miso-less, oil-free, etc and etc. Since I go through a bottle a week, I get a lot of time to experiment and/or be short of one ingredient or another. I make it differently every time, but here’s the core recipe.

Continue Reading →

Balance through Depletion from LaughingLemonPie.com

July 14, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
6 Comments

Balance through Depletion

In other words…Efforts to attain a more Mindful Pantry; Liberation through Reduction; and/or Managing the Well-Stocked Life. How’s that fer #firstworldproblems?

I’ve been following the Pantry Challenge over at Good Cheap Eats in an effort to once again be able to see the back of my freezer. But…being a type-A person, it isn’t enough for me just to clean out my pantry/freezer. Once I get rolling, LOOK OUT!Balance through Depletion from LaughingLemonPie.com

For me, this Pantry Challenge has re-ignited my drive to work through all the shampoo, lotion, cleaning supplies, perfume, vitamins & supplements, spices, teas, sunscreen, scented candles, and any/all other old funky stuff I’ve been stocking up on. Not to mention all manner of hair products that were supposed to change my life. Oh wait, I guess I just mentioned that, huh?

I’ve managed to avoid confronting all this stuff so far despite all the anti-clutter chatter because I keep it all out of sight and (relatively) organized, therefore it can’t be “clutter,” right? However, since it isn’t cluttering in a visible way it has just been growing. The curse of storage space! (Never thought I’d say that).

Now, I can’t control the fact that it is going to take forever to work through the backlog – We can only use so much lotion, so much shampoo, so much sunscreen. But I can control my buying – ie NO MORE BUYING!

Balance through Depletion from LaughingLemonPie.comImagine the “savings!” No new shampoos until all the shampoos in the linen closet are used up. No new cleaning products until all the ones I already bought are used up (and then replace them with natural alternatives). No new lotion until all the bottles of lotion floating around the house are empty and recycled. No new sunscreen until every one of the 50 bottles I already own are gone. Sigh.

How do you balance abundance with reason?

Moving from a 600 sq ft apartment in Los Angeles to beautiful CO (where you can buy 3 houses for the price of 1 LA abode)…well, I might have gone a bit overboard (ie: just because I have a 100 sq ft pantry doesn’t mean I need to stock every square foot of it). LA was a place where I needed to be prepared for days or weeks with no shopping, but had no room to store all that entailed. Here in CO I have all the space in the world, but no impending Armageddon. Tack on to that the life-change of going down to one income and having the time to coupon…Well we’re in need of balance, let’s leave it at that.

Last summer I started delving into mindfulness, and it has helped in every aspect of my life but most superficially (or not?) in my house. While not a main tenet of the practice, heightened awareness has me questioning just about everything around me: Why is that couch there? Why are the toys stored this way? Why do I have all these spices? Why am I keeping every sample I ever got from Clinique?Balance through Depletion from LaughingLemonPie.com What is all this stuff, and if I’m not using it what is it for? If I’m not using it, then who am I saving this for? or for what special occasion?

Balance and abundance are key words around here – but how to BALANCE the ABUNDANCE?

I’m slowly coming to believe that Target is always going to be there. The grocery store will always be there. There is nothing that I really and truly NEED, you know? Can I just be grateful enough to recognize that I technically have everything that I need? I live an abundant, privileged, beautiful life. WHOA. Profundo.

For me I also see an aspect of recovery to this – getting over couponing, getting over scarcity, getting over LA and the emergency-mindset, getting over myself, getting over the shock of early motherhood. The mental recovery is leading to recovery of physical space and the mindfulness to make creative, progressive, and healthy choices about the things I collect and surround myself with (even if they are well organized and out of sight). Again – WHOA.

If you’ve read this far, to you especially I say: Use the things you are “saving” for a special occasion – YOU are a special occasion! Life is a special occasion. Being alive today in this moment is a special occasion. Truly. I’m not just burping butterflies, I mean it!

So…how to balance the abundance? I don’t know! Yet. But I think I’m on the road to find out. And of course, I’ll let you know what I learn along the way.

Have you been through this? Have any tips about managing the well-stocked life to share?

Banana Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from LaughingLemonPie.com

July 7, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
2 Comments

Banana Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF, vegan)

Confession: I bought a beautiful bunch of yellow bananas, secretly hoping they’d go brown. Banana Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from LaughingLemonPie.com

You know you have a problem when you pack a banana as a ‘just in case’ snack, while simultaneously knowing full well that it’ll come home uneaten, bruised, and battered. Ah, Perfect! When the brown spots outnumber the yellow you can make…Banana Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies! (There has GOT to be a better name for these, right? BABCCCs? Not enough vowels to make a neat acronym.) ;)

Not much to write about these cookies. They are just plain awesome.

Step 1 – wait for bananas to brown

Step 2 – make these cookies

Step 3 – be happy

Step 4 – thank me. Oh wait – I’ll save you some time…You’re Welcome!! :D

Banana Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from LaughingLemonPie.com

Banana Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF, vegan)

Ingredients

  • 1 small gnarly old banana*
  • 1/2 cup Almond Butter
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Quick Cooking Oats (gluten-free oats, if living gf)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips (vegan or carob chips, if vegan)

Instructions

  1. Mash the banana either with a fork, in a food processor, or with an immersion blender.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Add the almond butter to the mashed banana, mash them up together to form a uniformly wonderful paste.
  4. Incorporate the brown sugar into the banana almond butter mash (you could still be doing this all in your food processor or with the immersion blender, or with a good old fork).
  5. In a separate bowl whisk the oats, salt, and baking soda together.
  6. Toss the dry ingredients into the banana almond butter mash, and combine.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased or Silpat-lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes - these do not want to be undercooked! Wait until you see some brown on top, and place them on a rack near the heating element - that'll give you a nice caramel-y banana flavor.
  10. Let cool 5-10 minutes on baking sheets to set up.
  11. *About bananas - As you may have noticed, bananas vary in size. 1/4 cup is a good amount in this recipe, however I have made it also with a larger banana which mashed to 2/3 cup and it worked well enough (though I would have been better off doubling the dry ingredients to offset the excess banana). So - your banana, your call! Overall, 1/4-1/2 cup mashed banana should result in a pleasing cookie.
  12. Note: these are SUPER moist - the usual airtight/Tupperware storage isn't going to be the best for these little yummers.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://laughinglemonpie.com/banana-almond-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies-gf-vegan/

Wait, what’s that you say? You’re house isn’t super into almond butter? Not a staple of your fridge? I understand, I was once like you. You can make your own pretty easily, assuming you have a food processor and a bunch of almonds on hand. Alternately, this recipe should work and be delicious with peanut butter instead.

Let us know if you try it with PB, or make any other improvements to the recipe! Share in the comments below.