Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Minute grilled salmon filets - cook from frozen

There are times when I try new things in the kitchen specifically with the hopes of creating something delicious and blog-worthy.  And then there are times when I want something healthy and delicious, but I need it pronto.  Just every now and then, those little gems find their way to blog-land.  

Today, I'm happy to be sharing one of those recipes with y'all.  Grilled salmon filets - cooked from frozen in just about 10 minutes.  

Somebody hold the phone.  Did I just say 10 minutes?  Yes, yes I did.  And it was eaten in less than that.  ;)

I keep these frozen salmon filets on hand for times when I need something quick and usually when hubs is out for some reason or another since he doesn't like seafood (although sometimes I will cook a meal, and make salmon just for me...)

For this beautiful piece of salmon, you'll need a frozen filet (I buy the individually wrapped ones in the freezer section of the grocery store), and a non-stick pan.  

1 salmon filet
2 tsp  olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp basil
1 pinch salt and black pepper

Heat non-stick pan on medium heat
Rinse frozen salmon well in warm/hot water to remove any ice 
Gently coat with olive oil and lemon juice
Place in heated pan
Cook for 5 minutes* on each side, sprinkling each side with 1/2 salt, pepper, and basil

Enjoy.  Preferably with kale chips for a lovely light lunch, but hat's just how I like it.  

*Cook time may vary based on the temp of your pan.  It's important to make sure salmon filet isn't frozen hard when you start cooking.  Test for done-ness (see above for the slit I cut in my filet to be sure it was done all the way through).  Don't eat under cooked seafood.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thrift Tip: Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

Over here in the Thrift for Today house, we are always on the lookout for practical ways to save money on things that we buy regularly.  Today, I'm excited to share a new tool that we've begun to use recently and are already seeing savings from.  

Walmart has a new program called, "Savings Catcher".  They've always participated in price match programs, but frankly, I have never been good at the price match program, largely because it depends on my research and time to pull competitor's ads and sales circulars.  (This is also why I'm not that great at couponing...yet.  I do really want to learn this one day.)


With Savings Catcher, Walmart does the price match work for you.  So, how does it work?  

Essentially, if you buy your groceries at Walmart, you simply need to create a free account either online or with your smartphone app.  We use the online version since we enter our receipt info when we reconcile our expenses for our budget.  

When you shop for groceries, simply login and enter your receipt number online and Walmart scans local competitor's ads for identical products to ensure the lowest price.  For any items that you purchased where there was a lower price by a competitor, Walmart credits you the difference in the form of a eGiftcard.  

So far, we haven't had any trouble with it, and even though Walmart doesn't credit you back cash, we can definitely find things that we would regularly buy to spend the eGiftcard supplies, anyone?!  Shampoo?  

I am really excited about this program.  It is definitely worth the few minutes it takes to enter your receipt number.  

Have you used this tool before?  What has been your experience?  

Happy savings, my friends!
*This post is my own and is not sponsored in any way by Walmart Stores. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Party food - healthy bean salsa dip

If there is one thing I love, it's party food.  I really love hosting people in our home and while I don't often throw elaborate, themed party events, we do have friends over often for games or small group, so I am always on the lookout for things to make quickly for get togethers.  

And of course, I've typically been one to whip up a dessert (usually in the form of brownies or cookies).  But, there are times when you need something a little more filling that chocolate and frankly, the more I work in an office (read, have less time to be as active as my young, college self), the more I find myself wanting to add more quick, filling, and healthier snacks to add to my go-to cookbook.  

Enter this yummy bean salsa.  

I've had this before, but it hadn't occurred to me to make it myself until we went to a potluck pool party on the 4th of July and a good friend of mine brought this.  So, of course, I texted her the following week to get her recipe.  Of course, I could look up similar things on Pinterest, and would be pretty quick to find a whole slew of good options, but this is the one I wanted, so I went straight to the source.  Only, this was one of those things that didn't come with a "recipe".  It was one of those, "I just throw x,y,z together..." kind of answers.  

Fine.  I took her ingredient list and this is how it turned out.  Delicious. 

1 can black beans
1 can yellow corn
1 can garbanzo beans
1 large tomato, diced
1 large avocado, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup chopped cilantro (use fresh cilantro, please.)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
(you can add a pinch of sugar, but I like it fine without and so I opted out of the extra sugar)

You see above, that you should chop the tomato, cilantro and avocado well.  
Drain the canned beans and corn
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  

Literally, that's it.  It is so easy.  So far, I've made this to take to a friend's get together and added it and fresh guacamole to taco night for our small group and it was a big hit.  

I don't see this leaving my recipe list anytime soon.   

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Healthy eating - kale chips

A little bit of transparency here - I can be behind the curve sometimes when it comes to trends.  I feel that way about the hype surrounding kale.  

What even is this super food that everyone is going on and on about?!  Well, according to WebMD, kale is one of the healthiest veggies out there.  In fact, "One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus" (source)

So, while we were at the grocery store the other day, I decided to grab a little bundle and try it out.  And I was pleasantly surprised.  Of course, I made chips with the leaves since that seemed the easiest way to try the kale.  

To make these crunchy little treats, I just removed the stems from the leaves and tore the leaves into medium-large pieces.  

Wash them thoroughly and dry them well to prevent them from being soggy. 

I used probably 1 Tbs of olive oil to massage into the leaves, then sprinkled on a small bit of salt and spread out evenly (read, in one single, not overlapping layer) on a baking sheet and cooked for about 20 minutes at 350.  

And I fully intend on grabbing another bunch of these on this week's grocery trip.  They were so yummy!  I also want to learn new ways to make and enjoy kale around our house, but for now, these kale chips are a good start, I think.  

Do you eat kale?  How do you like it best?  What kinds of leafy greens make an appearance in your diet?  

p.s. I also tried this recipe with spinach, but recommend cooking for a little less time since the spinach leaves are a lot more flat than kale.  Still good though.  :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

3 Cheers for customer appreciation

Y'all.  Do you remember last month when I shared my first go at banana pudding?  (If you did, or want to see it again, you can here.)  Well, like any blogger, I was busy just sharing it on twitter, and I probably mentioned how I ate all the rest of the cookies myself or something.  

And then I came home to this little sweet thing on my doorstep: 

Nilla Wafers has it right.  Just to say thank you for being a fan.  The post was all my own.  And they just sent me this handwritten note (which would have been more than enough...and more than any other brand has sent as a thank you), a fresh box of cookies, 3 little pudding cups, a spatula, magnet, and a recipe for their vanilla strawberry ice cream cake...which I will be making for our very next get together.

I used to work in retail and we wrote thank you notes to our customers regularly and hopefully those notes had the same effect on our customers.  Because this little gift made me even more of a fan.

Thanks Nilla Wafers!

And really, for more great recipes, check out their site!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Paddle boarding - a new little adventure

When was the last time you tried something new?  For me, it's easy to get into a routine and forget to be adventurous every now and then.  A couple weekends ago, I was able to take a trip down to the coast with a couple friends from college for a fun girls weekend.

Our itinerary for the entire weekend included iced coffee, the beach, and good food.  Not too shabby.  We also got to paddle boarding.  E goes as often as she can with her sisters, I think, but AH and I had never been.  Frankly, I had just never considered it.  It looked kind of cool, but also kind of nerve wracking to be completely honest.  

But, I sure was not going to sit on the dock while the girls went out on the inlet.  (And this is a good thing considering that I had unknowingly at the time, forgotten to put any sunscreen on my back)  And so, I picked up the little paddle and hopped in.  

And it was really fun.  I would by no means consider myself "good" at paddle boarding.  I am not fast and there were definitely times where I just knew that the wind was going to float me right in the opposite direction I was trying to go.  

But, I had been paddle boarding.  I was so happy to learn a new thing and to not be terrible at it.  I loved being on the water and when I came home, I definitely asked hubs if we could put paddle boarding on our next family vacation.