Saturday, March 28, 2009

More fun with Polenta, and updates

I haven't been posting quite as much, because I haven't been cooking quite as much. We've been stretching our meals, cooking some old favorites, and trying out new, simple recipes. I've decided to reduce our food budget by 50-75%. Mark has been unemployed for a year now, and my teaching school year will be over in two and a half months. I may go to grad school next year, Mark may not have a job right away - we honestly don't know how things are going to look come the summer, so I'm trying to be prepared for all situations. That said, I don't feel deprived or hungry or resentful by any means. This is just a different season in my journey to go green in this pink world. In fact, I enjoy the challenge of coming up with frugal meals that will be tasty, nutritious and not break the bank! I won't be buying new and exotic ingredients in quite the same way (the $5 pomegranate molasses, for example), and am really making an effort to use items we have. Buying a cow in February obviously helps quite a bit - we don't have to buy any meat! And lastly, the less time I spend in the kitchen means the more time I spend outside, going for walks, or visiting Mom and reviving the garden we started there last summer! So if you don't see me around quite as much, it's a temporary reprieve.

Now onto the "recipe"! We've been eating polenta for the last few nights, since I made chili on Tuesday. (Mark said he liked polenta 100x better than cornbread, which was a good sign - because GFCF cornbread just doesn't seem to appeal to me.) I simply boiled 3 cups of water, and 1 cup of chicken stock (though all water, or all stock would be fine, too), stirred in 1 cup of polenta, 1/2 t of paprika, and 1 t salt. I whisked until it was thick, and then poured into and baked in a glass dish for maybe 10 minutes in a 350F oven. I then put the polenta in the fridge overnight, and cut thin strips as we wanted it, either gently sauteing them in the cast iron skillet, or toasting them in our toaster oven. Since we finished the chili yesterday, I decided to polish off the polenta too. A few days ago, I made a banana polenta toast "sandwich," but our new bananas are a little green still, so I made a few changes. I cut the polentas into cubes, and toasted it until the outsides were just slightly crispy. I drizzled the cubes with 1 T honey, 1 T coconut flakes, and cinnamon. It was great!!

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