Challenge Month 30 Minute Meals – Cheeseburger Pasta

I have done so much soul searching about this blog and where it needed to go. And after a much needed posting where I expressed to you my feelings I felt inspired by the responses enough to come to a decision. I am continuing to blog, doing what I love but in doing so I am going to set things up a bit different. You see my purpose for starting this blog was initially a challenge to improve our food budget and eat healthier. One of the many things I loved about this blog is how it felt to be challenged and even more so how it felt to succeed. I also loved when I would hear from readers how I had inspired them to change their spending and cooking habits.

So I have decided two things, one I won’t be blogging quite as often as I was per month so as not to overwhelm myself but secondly every month I am going to give myself personal challenges and sometimes asking you to challenge me so focusing on quality postings rather then quantity. So every month with my new challenge I will post within the rules of my challenge and push myself to grow even more. As I am about to become a mother again one recurring challenge is going to be how to make sure I continue to provide us with meals that are easy to put together so it fits into our crazy lives. Along with the new focus I am hoping to launch a new redesign which is going to be very recipe orientated to make it easier for people who use this blog as their cookbook, like I do, to find the recipes they want. Thank you everyone for your impute over the past month and I hope you enjoy the journey with Small Wallet, Big Appetite.

So Challenge number 1 for October is going to be 30 minute meals. This month I want to focus on meals that from start to finish take only 30 minutes or less because lets face it when you have a family and/or a busy career you don’t always have the time to assemble more complex meals. This pasta dish was very kid friendly and makes enough for 6 portions which for us is perfect because that means it fed us for two nights in a row which gave me a night off from cooking. Served with a different vegetable side each night it satisfied both the toddler and the adults in the family.
Cheeseburger-Pasta

Cheeseburger Pasta

500g (1 lb) lean minced beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 garlic, clove
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
225g (8 oz) uncooked pasta any shape
750mL (3 c.) reduced-sodium beef stock
150mL (3/4 c.) milk
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp mustard*
80g (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
*If using English mustard like I was be aware you might want to use less as it will be very hot. I use about 1/3 tsp of English mustard

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Posted in 30 Minute Meal, American, Beef, Casserole, Challenges, Easy Meal, Main Course, One Pot | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thoughts on the direction for this blog

So I disappeared here for quite a while and I thought it was time to share my thoughts on why. I am at a cross roads related to this blog and I am not sure what to do. I have been on this blogging journey for a while and it has been inspiring to push myself and grow as a cook. I have made a lot of blogging friends along the way and watched their journeys in growing their hobby into a career that they love. But that is where I hit a bump in the road. I am not sure I can go that route myself. You see this blog was a journey of mine getting my family away from processed foods, going the route of saving money and eating healthier by not eating pre-prepared products. So I don’t feel comfortable going the direction of having companies pay me to review their products and me tell my audience to buy said products when it isn’t something I would truly buy myself. Well then don’t advertise with those companies you say? The problem isn’t just that it is this idea that every day we are bombarded with advertisements for new products that we “have to have”. Oh this new phone is so much better then your old one, this blender is the latest must have. Personally I am getting weary of it all. I have an ad block on Firefox so I don’t even see most ads and avoid any websites where there are more ads then content. Now when I see blog postings with #ad I avoid even reading it. Most of the companies that pay for bloggers to write about their stuff I don’t even like any way so I am not interested in giving it too much of my attention. So earlier this summer when tons of emails from advertising companies and such asking if I could blog about their company or allow their ads on my blog flooded my inbox I hit a wall and can’t seem to bounce back. I love blogging and sharing what I love which is food. But is there really a need for yet another blog that just shares recipes? In business the best way forward is to find a gap in the market and fill it. I see blogging the same way, whether you monetize it or not, and I just don’t know if the world needs another food blog. So the question remains, do I continue just blogging for fun or do I say I have had a great run and walk away. Blogging takes a lot of work to keep up with so as a hobby it can be a time consuming one and when you have two kids, a house to try and keep up with and your own business it is hard to find the time. But on the other hand it is a hobby that I do love so sometimes I wish I would make more of an effort to make the time.

Can you help me walk through this decision by sharing some of your thoughts?

If you are a blogger where are you in your journey? What is the driving force behind your decision to blog?

And as a reader what drives you to blogs?

Do ads annoy you as much as they do me?

I value your impute and hope you can help me walk through this decision of what to do in my own journey.

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BBQ Stuffed Peppers #SundaySupper

*Update: Sorry WordPress lost my final draft and published an old post without photos.

When I first heard the theme for this weekend was BBQ I thought of some of my typical dishes I do on the BBQ and they were all meat based. So I decided a little out side the box thinking was in order. After some digging around for inspiration I found this recipe for vegetarian stuffed peppers on the grill and knew I had to give them a shot. These were so full of fresh flavour and a lot easier to put together then I thought. The only thing I should have made sure was to have the string on hand to help wrap the peppers so we didn’t have as much issues with the peppers trying to fall apart. I can’t wait to try these again.
BBQ_Stuffed_Peppers

BBQ Stuffed Peppers

2 Tbsp olive oil
50g (1.8 oz) pine nuts
140g (3/4 c.) long grain rice
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
350mL (1 2/3 c.) vegetable stock
1 bunch spring onions sliced thinly
140g (1 c.) cherry tomatoes, halved
150g (5.5 oz) ball mozzarella, chopped
140g (1 1/2 c.) gorgonzola
handful each of parsley and basil, chopped
3 red and 3 yellow peppers
string, for tying
Recipe from BBC GoodFood

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Posted in #SundaySupper, BBQ Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes | 20 Comments

Scotch Eggs #SundaySupper

Today Sunday Supper is celebrating 4th of July with some fantastic picnic ideas. I hope everyone will forgive me for bringing a very traditional British picnic dish to a American 4th of July party but it is one of our favourite picnic foods and one I have been wanting to make at home forever.

These are so filling and tasty, they make a perfect picnic food item as they are good warm or cold. Traditionally these are fried but I wanted to lighten things up and bake them. Sadly this seems to have caused it to split it in the oven. I didn’t have time to make them again before this event but twist my arm it just means I have to make them again soon. But that is what happens sometimes when you try new dishes so I wanted to still share it with you. Hopefully I will be able to update this posting with a reason why it didn’t work out well for me.

What is your favourite picnic dish? Is it traditional or a little outside the box?
Scotch-Egg

Scotch Eggs

4 large eggs (as fresh as possible)
400g (14oz) sausage meat
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp dried parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
125g (1 c.) plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
125g (1 c.) breadcrumbs

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Posted in #SundaySupper, Appetizers, Lunch, Sausage, Side Dish | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Beautiful Beet Salad #PicnicGame

Today we are celebrating International Picnic Day by bringing you a basket packed with goodies from A to Z, in the style of the picnic game! Drop by the Sunday Supper Movement to see the whole picnic spread out on our virtual blanket.

I don’t know your winter went but ours was wet and miserable. It didn’t even really get cold enough to be cold a true winter, just very wet. Spring was also pretty bad so our anticipation for summer weather was big. Summer for me was never filled with many picnics, not sure why. But now that I have a child we find any excuse to have a picnic, even if it is just in our back garden. So today I am bringing to you a favourite salad of mine. Beets are my little obsession and these gorgeous golden and candy beets I get from the market every year are my favourite. You can of course you regular red beets for this recipe, you could even skip the boiling step and use pre-cooked beets. Just make sure you avoid the pre-pickled ones.

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…
Asian Chicken Salad from Try Anything Once Culinary
Beautiful Beet Salad from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
 
beautiful_beet_salad

Beautiful Beet Salad

6 medium beets
2-3 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

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Posted in BBQ Recipes, Gluten-Free, Healthy Eating, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian Recipes | Tagged , , | 11 Comments