Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Happy Spring!

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Some tulips at the Bulb Show. I adore tulips!

Do you want to know the hardest part of keeping track of what I eat for $60 a week?  Taking pictures.  Today I have one, not so great photo of my supper because by the time I had prepared it I was so starving that I didn’t want to take the time to compose and take a good shot.  It’s something to work on for the future…

I did the rest of my shopping for the week on Thursday and I went over my $60 for this week – wah, wah, wah!  BUT, because of my $14.73 surplus last week I have still averaged <$60 per week – yay!  So, what did I get?

  • A big bunch of basil for $2.99
  • 1 bunch of carrots for $1.39
  • 1 small butternut squash for $2.08
  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce for $1.19
  • 1 cucumber for $.60
  • 1 bunch of scallions for $.34
  • 5 broccoli crowns (1.21 lb.) for $1.20
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley for $.89
  • 1 wedge of Parmesan cheese for $4.12
  • 1 block of smoked Swiss cheese for $3.49
  • 1 box of frozen artichoke hearts for $2.99
  • 1 quart of buttermilk for $1.19
  • 3 packages of cream cheese for $2.97
  • 1 quart of sour cream for $.99
  • 1 box of frozen chopped spinach for $.79
  • 1 box of fettuccine for $1
  • 1 bag of Tostitos tortilla chips for $2
  • 1 bag of walnuts for $3.49
  • 1 box of Barilla Plus rotini for $1
  • 1 package of Lipton vegetable soup mix for $1.50
  • Food coloring for $2.99
  • 1 box of powdered sugar for $.89
  • 1 small bottle of white vinegar for $.49

My total for the trip?  $40.58.  My total for the week?  $64.21.  That list up there is a bit out of the ordinary and there’s a reason for that – on Saturday our friend Erica is having a Twilight movie release party *squee*

Gist and I are bringing spinach and artichoke dip and red velvet cupcakes with white sparkly icing – I’m calling them Cullen-Cakes.  Those two items account for the scallions, Swiss cheese, artichoke hearts, buttermilk, all of the cream cheese (and that’s a lot of cream cheese), the sour cream, the spinach, the Tostitos, the Lipton, the food coloring, the powdered sugar, and the vinegar (although that’s really a staple that I was out of).  The rest of the groceries made/will make Pasta with Broccoli, Edamame & Walnuts; Roasted Squash Pizza and Creamy Lemon Pasta (all served with salad – we do love our salad!).  These groceries, along with what I’ve already purchased for the week, will also take me into Monday’s supper – yay!

Pasta with Broccoli, Edamame & Walnuts

This recipe comes from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers, a Christmas gift from Nancy.  I love all of the Moosewood cookbooks, but this is one of my favortes.  It is chock full of, as promised, simple suppers.  Every recipe I’ve tried has been quick, easy and tasty – just what I’m always looking for in a weeknight meal.

Pasta with Broccoli, Edamame & Walnuts
Recipe courtesy of Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers

  • 3/4lb. chunky pasta – I use Barilla Plus rotini – it comes in a 14.5oz. box, a little more than 3/4 lb.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed – I used five
  • Red pepper flakes – not in the recipe, my own modification
  • 3 cups bite-sized pieces of broccoli – I used 5 crowns that weighed 1.12 lb. before trimming
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, oregano, thyme, or marjoram – I used basil
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • salt & pepper
  • grated Parmesan or Romano (optional but of course I include it)

Bring a large pt of salted (like the sea) water to a boil and cook the pasta until it is al dente.

Meanwhile, warm 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large skillet on low heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Add the pepper flakes if you’re using them.  Add the broccoli with about 1/2 cup of the hot pasta-cooking water, turn the heat to high, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the edamame, salt, and herbs. Continue to cook until the water evaporates and the broccoli is crisp-tender and bright green, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the pasta is done, drain it. In a serving bowl, toss the pasta with the vegetable mixture, the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, and the toasted chopped walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with grated cheese if you wish.

The recipe comes with the following ingredient note – In place of fresh herbs, add about 2 teaspoons of dried herbs to the skillet with the broccoli.

This stuff is yum, yum, yummy and it’s great left over.  I had it for lunch today and I’ll probably also have it for supper (or I’ll have grilled brie and chutney sandwiches…)  The combination of the broccoli, edamame and basil with the toasty walnuts is amazing.  I even think it would be tasty served vegan-style without the cheese.

I’ve been busy today working on my Cullen-Cakes…

Day 13/365 - Friday, March 20th 2009 - Oh my, that's red!
Oh my, that’s red

…And I’ll have the recipe and more pictures tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to frosting them with the sparkly-white icing!  I’ll also be posting my (until now) top-secret spinach and artichoke dip recipe either tomorrow or Sunday (I have to write it down as I make it because it’s all in my head) – it is quite popular at parties and easy to prepare.

Have a happy Friday and first day of Spring!

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