Tuesdays Meals & House Update

Phew, yesterday was quite a day. We had the home inspection on the house we’re (hopefully) buying and it needs a fair amount of work, but we weren’t terribly surprised by anything, since the house is pretty old. I’ll share yesterday’s eats with you but I have to warn you that there is an embarrassing lack of vegetables here. Like none (unless you count a handful of unpictured baby carrots.) But you know what? Sometimes that’s how life goes and you just have to roll with it! So I’m thinking up with Jenn to show you what I ate!

I started off the day with a peanut butter + banana smoothie.

banana smoothie

This was 1 cup of ice cubes, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 small banana, 1/4 cup peanut flour, bit of sweetener.

I had a small apple for a snack but half of it ended up being pretty bruised so I didn’t eat much of it. My stomach was growling by 11:30! I ended up grabbing a quick bite at my apartment before running over to the new house to meet the home inspector.

frozen pizza

I know, frozen pizza, be impressed. Really though, this Culinary Circle Ultra Thin Crust Margarita Pizza is pretty delicious. It’s also not to terribly bad for you, so if you’ve got a pizza craving, try it!

We spent most of the afternoon following the inspectors around, asking questions, taking measurements, and taking pictures.

Our future house

I was hoping to share more pictures with you, but the person living there hasn’t totally moved out yet, and it would be weird showing you pictures of her stuff. But here’s a little sneak peek of the master bedroom leading into the sunroom! There is SO much natural light in that sunroom.

After our home adventures, our small group came over for dinner, so I made a huge pan of ravioli. It wasn’t my most creative recipe but I usually play it safe if I’m cooking for a big group.

I’ll have to borrow Betty Crocker’s photo since I didn’t want to be rude and pull out my camera to snap 100 pictures while everyone was waiting to eat. You can find the recipe here. It turned out well, and I mostly followed the recipe, although I made a slightly bigger batch and I added in some crushed tomatoes and additional seasoning. It turned out similar to a lasagna but it was so easy to throw together. (Then again, lasagna in a crockpot was pretty easy…) There was also an unpictured chocolate chip cookie… because every day should end on a sweet note!

Clearly I need to make up for lost veggies today! But I have to admit, eating pizza and pasta all day tasted pretty good!

Which do you like better: pizza or pasta?

Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe

I think I’ve only been to Red Lobster twice in my life. The last time was probably in… 2004? I honestly can’t remember. But what I can remember is those pillows of cheddar goodness. When I was in high school, I found a Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe that was pretty good but I can’t remember exactly what it was and I’m pretty sure it used Bisquick. I don’t have anything against Bisquick, I just don’t usually have it on hand.

Anyways. I was searching Pinterest for some ideas for our fall-themed cooking club and when I saw a biscuit recipe, the lightbulb came on. While these might not be the healthiest side dish on the block, who can turn down a cheddar biscuit? I went rogue and came up with my own recipe since all the ones I could find online used pre-made biscuits or Bisquick. I was really excited about how these turned out!

red lobster cheddar biscuit recipe

Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe
Recipe type: Biscuit
Cuisine: Red Lobster
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 biscuits
 
This Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe will give you the perfect cheddar bay biscuit!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk (2% would probably work)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and diced
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Topping:
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Lay out a slipat or parchment paper on a large baking sheet.
  3. In a small dish, combine the whole milk and the vinegar and set aside.
  4. Start by mixing the flour and cornstarch in a large bowl until well combined.
  5. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, & garlic powder.
  6. Using your hands, work in the butter. It should be somewhat soft. You can knead it until the mixture because sort of a crumbly, sticky combination.
  7. Stir in the shredded cheese.
  8. Last, mix in the milk. At this point, the batter will be pretty sticky and thick.
  9. Scoop in ¼ cup mounds onto your baking sheet.
  10. While those are in the oven. Melt the last 4 tbsp of butter and combine with the garlic powder and parsley. Set aside.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven and brush with the butter + garlic mixture.
  13. Pop them back in the oven for 6 minutes until just beginning to brown.

I brought a plate of these to last night’s cooking club dinner and I think they were a hit! I probably should have made a bigger batch, because I’m sure Alex wouldn’t have minded me bringing home leftovers!

Red lobster biscuit recipe

They were best right out of the oven, but they were pretty good at room temperature as well. They were so marvelous, I’m linking up with Katie!

In other news, the inspection for the house is tomorrow so we’re praying that goes smoothly. I’ve been pinning like a mad woman and I just want to move in and make the house a home! You can see some of my favorites on my I Heart Homemaking pin board.

Have you ever had a cheddar biscuit?

Frugal Friday- Vegetarian Crockpot Lasagna

Thank goodness it’s Friday. This week has been a little crazy and I’m ready for the weekend! My friend Eric (the one who moved to Dallas last year) was in town this week so he came over for dinner last night. Eric is one of those people that you could talk to for hours and hours and feel like only 10 minutes has passed. I’m sad he lives so far away now, but we’ve been able to keep in touch pretty well.  I decided to try making a crockpot recipe so I wouldn’t have to worry about throwing something together right after work.

I’m honestly not much of a crockpot expert. The whole idea of it weirds me out a little. (Like, I’m intentionally leaving this appliance on all day? That seems scary.) But I figured it was time to try some new things. I happened to have the basic ingredients for lasagna in my pantry so the question was:

Can you make lasagna in a crockpot?

Answer: Yes. Yes, you can.

This timing worked out perfectly since it’s Friday and I wanted to share a budget friendly recipe with you! This makes a huge portion but it’s still cheap!

vegetarian crockpot lasagna

5.0 from 3 reviews

Vegetarian Crockpot Lasagna
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together and then it’s ready when you come home from work!
Ingredients
  • 8 lasagna noodles (uncooked)
  • 1 12 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 24 oz jar of pasta sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Handful of spinach
  • ¾ cup water.
Instructions
  1. Spray the inside of the crockpot with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Add about ½- 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes to the bottom of the crockpot. (The amount will depend on how large your crockpot is. Mine is huge so I used about 1 cup.)
  3. Place 1 layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom. You’ll have to break them up a bit to make them fit. That’s ok, it doesn’t have to be pretty.
  4. Top with ½ the ricotta cheese and spinach leaves.
  5. Add a layer of mozzarella cheese.
  6. Repeat- noodles, ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, noodles.
  7. Add the cup of water to the pasta sauce jar and shake. Pour over the layers.
  8. Top with cheese.
  9. Put the crockpot on low for about 6 hours. Let sit for a few minutes then cut and serve!
  10. Note: My guess is that all crockpots are not created equal, so you may need to adjust the amount of water to add. Play around with it and see. I think this recipe would be hard to mess up!

vegetarian lasagna in a crockpot

And this crockpot lasagna is healthy on the budget, too!

  • Ricotta Cheese- $2.50
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese- $2
  • Crushed tomatoes- $1
  • Marinara Sauce- $2.50
  • Lasagna Noodles- $1
  • Spinach- $1

You could certainly add in more veggies, I just didn’t have much else on hand. I also sprinkled it with a little fresh basil just before serving. It adds a nice pop of color! Shredded parmesan never hurt either. So many options, so little time.

For more budget friendly recipes, visit the new Frugal Friday Recipe Page!

What’s your favorite thing to make in a crockpot?

Our Crazy Weekend

I told myself I would wait until things were more finalized before blogging about it but… isn’t the whole point of blogging to (over) share? So while things are still a little up in the air I just have to tell you!

Alex+Liz-144

We’re buying a house!

We’ve been looking for a while but hadn’t done anything official until last week when we met with our realtor. We looked at 4 open houses on Saturday while my parents were in town and it was very… informative. We realized that what we were looking for was pretty specific and finding the right house in our price range wasn’t going to be easy. There was a 5th house we wanted to see but they weren’t doing any showings until an open house on Sunday. So we stopped by Sunday afternoon.

As soon as I walked in and saw a big, open kitchen I texted my parents and told them to come meet us at the open house. We spent about an hour chatting with the realtor who was selling the house, talking with neighbors in the area, and going over every inch of the house. We both knew it was what we were looking for.

After a cup of coffee and a lot of discussion… We knew we wanted to make an offer. The rest of the night was a blur. Good thing we had coffee.

We walked into the house around 3pm. By 10pm we had made an offer, they countered, and we accepted. 

We have the inspection on Tuesday so we are praying that everything goes smoothly. Assuming we don’t run in to any hurdles, we will be homeowners before the end of the year!

There is no one I would rather be on this adventure with more than Alex!

Alex+Liz-38 Alex+Liz-38

Got any first time home buying advice for us?

Mini Dark Chocolate Cakes

Phew! It has been a family filled weekend which is one of my favorite things! My parents have been in town over the past few days and it is so awesome having them here. I’m so lucky to live in the same city as my brother, sister in law, and adorable nephew, so it’s awesome when my parens come for a visit.

jack's grandma and grandpa

We’re hoping they move here soon! It’s pretty hard to resist adorable baby smiles, so we think they’ll cave in.  baby jack

It’s been an exciting weekend, but I can’t share the details quite yet. (Uh, no, we don’t have a baby on the way.) But I CAN share a new recipe with you!

These mini dark chocolate cakes are super delicious!

Mini Dark Chocolate cakes

5.0 from 1 reviews

Mini Dark Chocolate Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
These little cakes are so gooey and delicious. It makes 5-6 cakes total.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 tbsp mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Stir in the greek yogurt, vanilla and water until just combined.
  4. Grease a muffin tin or mini baking tins.
  5. Scoop out the batter evenly into the tins.
  6. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just set.

Sometimes I want dessert but I just want a little bit. These little cakes are perfect! They stored well in an air tight container for about 4 days. (They might have lasted longer… but I couldn’t resist them for any longer.)

IMG_5002 Mmm. Cake.

What’s the best cake you’ve ever had?

 

Frugal Friday- Tomato & Rice Soup

I’m so excited that it’s Friday! My parents are coming to visit this weekend and Monday is a holiday (thank you, Columbus Day!) so I’ve got a long weekend ahead. Last night, I went to a party at Shockoe Denim with Alex, Kate, AJ, and Christina. After a few beers (thank you Ardent Craft Ales!)

shockoe denim party

After the party we went to Southern Railway Taphouse for a few more drinks and some pretzel bites… and some fried macaroni and cheese egg rolls. Yes, really. It was so much fun, especially since it seems like everyone has been so busy lately and we haven’t had a chance to just hang out and talk!

Since it’s Friday, I’m sharing another “Frugal Friday” recipe with you. All of these frugal recipes will serve 2 for dinner for less than $10. (And for most of them, you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day!)

Tomato soup is one of my favorite dishes, especially in the fall. We typically have ours with a grilled cheese, but this recipe is pretty hearty on its own. The rice adds a little extra filling to the soup. I typically like more soups more chunky, as it feels more like a meal that way.

tomato and rice soup

To be honest, this recipe is so inexpensive, you could certainly add a grilled cheese sandwich on the side and still stay under our $10 budget! This also makes a fairly large ammout of soup, so you’d probably have leftovers!

  • yellow onion- $1
  • diced tomatoes- $2.50
  • tomato paste- $1
  • Vegetable broth- $1
  • Brown rice- $0.50
  • Spices + olive oil

Click here for the full Tomato & Rice Soup Recipe!

What’s your favorite food to have with tomato soup?

Simple Sweet Potato Nachos

Phew, this week is moving by quickly! I had another great photo class on Monday night and I think I finally understand the relationship between Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed. I could usually get a photo to turn out the way I wanted, but I didn’t really understand why. The class has been really interesting and it’s motivating me to take pictures other than food! Last night was also jam packed as we met with a realtor to start the house hunting process and then hosted our small group for dinner & a bible study. The rest of the week should be a bit slower but I do love staying busy!

I thought I’d show you what I’ve been eating lately (specifically this past Sunday) & link up with Jenn. Alex went to get the paper and he surprised me by coming back with Sugar Shack donuts! I had a few tastes of each, Pumpkin, Samoa, and Sprinkles.

sugar shack donuts

I eventually ate a “real” breakfast of yogurt, blueberries, and granola which was also pretty delicious, but didn’t quite compare to the donuts. After a leisurely morning of reading the paper and lounging around I eventually started making lunch. Alex was craving grilled cheese + tomato soup and I love taking requests so that’s exactly what I made!

lunch of tomato soup and grilled cheese

I made a slightly modified version of this parmesan tomato soup. Served with a toasted grilled cheese, it was a perfect fall lunch. (Grilled cheese tip: if you spray the sides of the bread with olive oil, you get crispy bread without having to use a lot of butter!)

We did a little house hunting and then went to church. When we got home, I went to work making dinner. I whipped up sweet potato nachos which turned out to be pretty delicious. These are super easy to make!

sweet potato nachos

Here’s the “recipe” although you could top the sweet potato chips with just about any nacho ingredient!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Sweet Potato Nachos
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner or snack
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Super easy and full of veggies!
Ingredients
  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup black beans
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 roma tomato or 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Red onion, avocado, salsa, cilantro, etc.
Instructions
  1. Use a mandoline slicer or sharp knife to slice the potatoes into thin rounds.
  2. Spread on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes or until they begin to crisp up. (It will depend on how thin you sliced them)
  3. Sprinkle with black beans and cheddar cheese and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and top with other ingredients. (I used red onion and cherry tomatoes on mine and added avocado to Alex’s.)

My plan was to use avocado on top (a little green in there would have made them even more colorful!) but when I sliced my avocado, at least half of it was brown. Does that happen to you? I’m terrible at eating them when they’re perfectly ripe. They’re usually either rock hard or overly brown. First world problems.

After cleaning up the kitchen, we got a few things on our to-do list done and then sat on the couch for a little TV time and snacked on some popcorn.

evening snack Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks because it’s a “volume” food, meaning you can have quite a few handfuls, versus a cookie that is gone after 3 bites. Sometimes I make ours on the stove but sometimes we’re lazy and just use a microwave. If you want a slightly fancier twist on stovetop popcorn, try this rosemary parmesan popcorn recipe.

Looking back, I guess Sunday was a little heavy on the carbs and light on the protein. Such is the challenge of being a vegetarian. (I’m not even sure it’s so much being a vegetarian as it is being someone who just loves carb-y thing.) But I’m sure this week will end up balancing out.

What’s your favorite evening snack?

 

Baked Mexican Frittata

I did a pretty terrible job taking pictures this weekend, which is a bit sad since there was so much going on! I spent most of Saturday at Common Good RVA, an exploration into ways that we can improve our city in our everyday lives. There were some great speakers, thoughtful discussions, and an overall positive mood that made me feel so encouraged! I’ll just share this picture from the CommonGoodRVA Twitter handle, so you can at least see how gorgeous it was while we ate lunch outside:

CommonGoodRVA Lunch If you’re in Richmond, you should get involved. It’s a great group of people!

Anyways, let’s talk about frittatas!

I’m  not a huge fan of eggs but sometimes a craving just hits. Or maybe it’s really just a craving for cheese and eggs seems to be the best vessel. I’m not sure. I’m not even sure if this is a real frittata. I don’t know what the rules are, but it’s cheesy, eggy, and full of vegetables so you can’t really go wrong. The beans add a little extra protein and fiber and you could certainly sub in difference vegetables (peppers anyone?) for what you have on hand. Plus it’s meatless, so I’m linking up with Tina for Meatless Monday!

vegetarian fritatta

5.0 from 2 reviews

Baked Mexican Frittata
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This skillet meal only uses one pan so you’ve got less dishes to clean! It’s loaded with vegetables and makes a great meal any time of the day!
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed & rained
  • ½ tsp chili powder (less if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar + mozzarella)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (Mine were gluten free)
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a large cast iron skillet or oven safe pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375.
  3. Sautee the zucchini and yellow squash for 4 minutes over medium heat until it begins to soften.
  4. Add in the corn and black beans.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and mix in the spices and shredded cheese.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet.
  7. Sprinkle with panko crumbs.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the mixture has “set” in the pan.
  9. Turn the oven to broil and bake for 3 more minutes or until the top begins to brown.

Mmm. Everything should have panko crumbs on top.  Mine were gluten free, which meant this whole recipe was gluten free. (Not that it matters to me personally, but if that’s your thing, you’re in luck.)

vegetarian fritatta

We did end up with a lot of leftovers. I think next time I might halve the recipe. But then again, leftovers aren’t a bad thing. They certainly do make packing your lunch easier!

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Frugal Fridays- Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

It was Lindsay’s birthday this week, so we went to Shyndigz to celebrate. It’s kind of funny because it’s an amazing dessert place that I’d never been to before until a couple of weeks ago, and now I’ve been twice. No complaints here, because it’s absolutely delicious.

shyndigz cake

Anyways, as I was looking through old recipes, I came across this broccoli macaroni and cheese recipe that I had made for Lindsay and Alex awhile ago, for one of our family Jeopardy nights. (We all love Jeopardy.) And now that it’s officially fall, it’s the perfect time to break out the comfort food recipes! Don’t worry, this one is healthier than your average macaroni & cheese, so you’ll still have room for dessert!

Since it’s Friday, this is also a budget-friendly recipe! All of these “Frugal Friday” recipes serve at least 2 people and cost you less than $10. This one could serve a whole family, but it’s still under $10!

broccoli macaroni and cheese

 Here’s what you’ll need to put on your grocery list:

  • Whole wheat macaroni-  $2
  • Broccoli- $1.5
  • Skim milk- $1
  • Sharp cheddar cheese- $2
  • Smoked Gouda- $2
  • Breadcrumbs- $.50 (Don’t want to buy a whole container? Just toast a slice of bread and crumble it up!)
  • Parmesan (optional, you only need a sprinkle)

Click here for the full Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese recipe!

What’s your favorite comfort food?

A Saturday in Richmond

So my goal for this day was to take pictures of things other than food. It was mostly a fail, which gave me a new appreciation for lifestyle bloggers in general. How do you take so many pictures? How do you get photos of yourself? I’m always behind the camera, which is why you don’t see my face too often around here. Anyways, it was an awesome Saturday so I wanted to give you a little recap. It also served as a great way to link up with Jenn and show you what meals looked like on Saturday.

We headed to the Farmer’s market early in the morning so I ate half a banana covered in a little peanut butter on our way out the door. Reginald’s peanut butter rocks. (And it’s local, so it tastes better.) Usually the farmer’s market is packed but since we got there early, we were able to just stroll around a little.

donuts at the farmers market

Richmond pickles

Obviously we had to get a donut from Mrs. Yoder’s donut truck because they’re literally the best thing ever. I’m serious. If I had to list the top 10 things I’ve eaten in my life, those donuts would be on the list. (Don’t make me name the other 9 because that would require a lot of hard decisions.) We picked up some garlic & chives goat cheese and some bread & butter pickles. I love all of the local vendors here in Richmond.

After the market we drove around garage sale-ing and casually house hunting.

rva prints

We picked up these awesome Richmond prints for $25. (It was a total steal. These prints go for at least $45 each!) I can’t wait to find some frames for them and make a little gallery in our hallway.

We then headed over to the RVA MakerFest at the Richmond Science Museum, which was packed with various vendors & groups, showcasing their goods.

RVA Maker Fest

It was like a craft show… with 3D printers. They also had food trucks, so I couldn’t resist getting a dish from Goatacado. (Their food could make it into that top 10 list.)

Alex wanted to watch the Wisconsin game, so I met up with a friend for coffee while Alex watched the game. I got home just in time to make some crackers to eat with the farmer’s market goat cheese. I actually followed this recipe (no seriously, I actually followed a recipe. I MEAN IT!) Once the game was over, my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, Jack, came to see us and we all went to the park together. Throwing dried leaves around is apparently the coolest EVER because Jack couldn’t get enough of it ;) I didn’t take any pictures, which is kind of crazy, since that was the cutest part of my day. Epic fail.

homemade crackers

As soon as we got home, we headed to a friends house for the Ohio State game. (I told you this was a busy day.) We ended up not really eating a “real” dinner but we snacked around all night. A dinner of guacamole, goat cheese and crackers is fine with me!

saturday snacks

 What do your Saturdays look like?