Category Archives: Great Food Pictures & Stories

More $5 meal ideas.

The Slow Food Movement has had people blogging on their website about how they accomplished the $5 meal challenge. 

Please check out their page for sharing recipe ideas (and pictures) here: and let your own creativity about meal planning grow and prosper.  When I looked a little further for $5 meals I came across the $5 dinner website that is chock full of ideas about meals to cook on the cheap and easy.

Eating cheap, fast, easy and healthy is definitely doable!   To increase your pleasure, invite some friends over and make it fun.

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$5 Meal Challenge Report

As I promised earlier, I would report to you the results of my own $5 challenge (cooking a fresh, local, healthy meal for $5 or less and sharing it with others that was initiated by the Slow Food Movement).  As it turns out, I cooked my own meal and shared it but I also participated in the Katy Trail Slow Food Movement $5 meal challenge fundraiser for Centro Latino. 

The meal I made falls into my category of “healthy fast food.”   Just as a reminder “healthy fast food” has the following requirements.  Has to be EASY!

  1. Doesn’t take a lot of time.
  2. Not expensive.
  3. Tasty and delicious.
  4. Good for you (loosely defined on purpose)
  5. When possible, it includes ingredients that can be found locally and are seasonal.

I prepared organic polenta, black beans, and goat cheese and served it with an organic spinach salad topped with tomatoes.  Talk about healthy, quick and easy.  All I did was get the polenta that comes in a roll.  I cut the roll in pieces and sautéed them in olive oil until they were lightly browned.  I placed them on a plate, poured the warmed up black bean soup over it, and topped it with goat cheese.  I love the “black bean soup” by Goya and definitely prefer it over their can of “black beans.”  The black bean soup is much more flavorful and I use them just as I would black beans.  I can usually find it at World Harvest and always ask them to order it if I don’t find it on the shelf.  For the salad, I just bought organic spinach.  Spinach is one of those foods you really want to buy organic.  I had prepared so many tomatoes at the fundraiser the night before, that I was able to take some home to use for my meal the next day.  They had been prepared for the pasta that was served, so they had been lightly sautéed in olive oil with garlic.  I’ve broken down the cost of the meal below.  It is approximate on the tomatoes because I borrowed them, but I’m close enough.

Per person cost:

Organic Basil Garlic Polenta – (Food Merchants) (bought at the locally-owned health food store) –  $1

Black Bean Soup (Goya) – $.45

Fresh Goat Cheese (Goatsbeard Farm) – $1

Organic Spinach and Local Fresh Tomatoe Salad – $1.50

TOTAL = $3.95

This is just one simple suggestion for having a cheap, healthy, fast, locally-produced meal.  Get to your farmers market this weekend and pick up some fresh squash, green beans, sweet potatoes, or anything else that strikes your fancy.  A sweet potato with some black beans and goat cheese makes a meal.  Cut a squash in two and bake it in the oven.  Fill it in the middle with your favorite toppings.  I love brown rice, feta, and raisins inside.  Be creative! Taste the goodness of fresh and easy.

Have a glorious fall weekend!

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“We have to eat to live, so why not enjoy food to its fullest?” (Cooking Wild in Missouri, Bernadette Dryden)

I am honored to be able to send you this press release about the new cookbook created by a friend and Slow Food companion, Bernadette Dryden, called “Cooking Wild in Missouri.”  I’ve seen the book and it is a “must have” even if you don’t cook.   It is a book put together with love and bursting with love for food, for life, and for all things Missouri.  I hope you avail yourself to it! 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has published a colorful new cookbook that emphasizes local and seasonal ingredients in a tempting collection of appetizers, fresh salads, savory stews, elegant entrées and delectable desserts.

 “Cooking Wild in Missouri,” created by author Bernadette Dryden, presents more than 100 kitchen-tested recipes that will inspire beginner and advanced cooks to savor Missouri’s game, fish, nuts, fruits and mushrooms. The 200-page book also features color photographs on nearly every page and tips to make time in the kitchen easy, efficient and fun. Continue reading

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The Happy Meal Art Project

Someone recently sent me the link to the Happy Meal art project by New York artist, Sally Davies.  I couldn’t resist sharing it with you—people I care about—in hopes that I can convince more of you not to eat at fast food restaurants.  I had heard anecdotal reports about the fact that McDonald’s food doesn’t decompose over time, but this art project documents it once and for all.  Continue reading

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Slow Food is Good Food

I recently had the pleasure of eating at The Harvest, a restaurant that is also a member of the Slow Food Movement. Located on the Capitol Square in Madison, WI, Harvest is, as their website notes “passionately devoted to bringing Madison a unique dining experience, and a menu enhanced by seasonal locally-grown, and organic ingredients.”  Continue reading

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