the versatile frittata…

Frittatas are a lot like quiche, without the crust. No crust, means they are that much more convenient to prepare. The built in bonus – they are versatile. I love versatile…

1.fritatta eggs

Fresh eggs and veggies. Eggs and meat. Eggs and cheese. Combine all three or more or less, and you have a frittata.

Simple. Inexpensive. Quick and Healthy.

Frittatas are perfect for house guests, a potluck or brunch. They can be served warm or cold.

Expecting company and want to serve straight out of the oven?  Prep veggies the night before and then simply heat, add herbs, mixed eggs and cover. Voila, a beautiful breakfast/brunch/meal is ready to be shared… freshness and scrumptiousness served up in minutes -and for a fraction of going out.

What’s not to love?

Artichoke heart and goat cheese frittata

Print this recipe!

*adapted from Patrie Grace, in Potlucks.

What you’ll need;

2.fritatta ingrediants

1 bunch spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced (substitution – 1 medium onion, chopped and browned)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 cup basil, finely chopped

1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted and sliced in half

3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 medium tomato, chopped)

1-2 good pinches of sea or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

8 large eggs, well beaten (preferably farm fresh) (:

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (I substituted brie for the goat – I was out of goat – it was great too!)

3.brown onions

Cook onion in olive oil in a large oven proof skillet – cast iron works great – until onions are soft and brown. Add the garlic, cook briefly.

4.ingrediants added

Add the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil. Stir gently, until all vegetables are heated through.

5.top with egg

Reduce heat to low and pour the beaten eggs on top, covering all the vegetables.

6.cover with lid

Cover skillet and cook until eggs are firm on the bottom, about 5-7 minutes…give it a little shimmy to see how firm it is on the bottom. If more time is needed go on a minute to minute basis…

7.cooked

Uncover and place under the broiler, watching carefully until frittata is lightly golden. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and return for 1-3 minutes.

8.top with cheese

Slice, then garnish with ribboned basil or freshly chopped chives and serve.

9.enjoy

Enjoy with a light green salad and or pan fried potatoes.

Serve with soup and salad.

Eat warm or cold – either way, it’s delicious!

enjoy the weekend!

P.S. Fun fact –  the cute rooster plate I found at my local freebie barn – actually, I found an entire dish set for four, including, tea cups, saucers, side plates and dinner plates – plus, the lovely green bowl the eggs are photographed in … I love that place! (:

summertime strawberries make fabulous smoothies

Yeah for fresh picked summertime strawberries! Picking strawberries is such a delight this time of year in Maine…even on a cloudy cool day…

Finn and I went picking last week and we had so much fun. We were the only ones there!  I think the clouds and drizzle kept everyone else away – which was just fine with us…it was like having our own private strawberry field. It was lovely and so peaceful…snacking on berries, looking out at cloud shrouded hills with a gentle mist falling all around, and cows grazing nearby…it was a magic day in Maine, to say the least…

The strawberry fields were a part of a larger organic farm, Uncas Farm, in Whitefield Maine. The farm is an organic farm and they have a super sweet general store on the premises where they offer sandwiches, soup, coffee, local meats and their own produce…plus, lots of other fabulous goodies…enjoy them in their homey cafe and peruse a book or two (they have a mini library there too!) or take lunch with you…either way, it’s a great spot to go picking organic strawberries, so we did.

sheepscott general

happy boy

picking

deliciousness

organic strawberries

strawberry thief

Now, what to do with all those strawberries…hmmm…last year we made biscuits and then topped them with strawberries and cream – this year, we’ll do the same, though we’ve also been enjoying a super simple, nutritious and quick snack – strawberry banana smoothies!

They are so easy with fresh or frozen fruit that you should try them this summer too…

Here’s what you’ll need;

smoothie ingredients

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

1-1.5 cups plain yogurt

1-2 tablespoons ground flax (easy way to get all those omega benefits!)

a bit (or more) of honey

and that’s it!

Chop and place all in blender.

in the blender

Blend and pour.

smoothie servedThere is nothing better than a freshly made batch of fruit based beverage – added bonus are all the nutrients and the versatility…

Other combo. possibilities;

peanut butter and yogurt

yogurt and blueberries

blueberries, rasberries and banana

What’s your favorite combo?

Try it for yourself and see how refreshing (and filling) this beverage is -especially on those sweltering summer days…

enjoy.

P.S. Fun fact – my blender and fun strawberry glass were picked up for free at my local ‘freebie barn’.

hand cut fries – at home…

Hand cut fries are something you can make at home. Seriously.

Want to know why making them at home is not only possible, but better than out?

1. If your like me and live 25 minutes from the nearest restaurant, well, it just makes sense to know how to make them. And if your a city/town dweller, well, what’s the harm in knowing how?

2. You can choose to go organic, plus your oil will be super fresh (unlike most restaurant deep fryers which cook up all sorts of foods, sometimes for days, with the same oil…).

3. They will cost you a fraction of the cost of going out.

4. They will be made with love.

…revel in the simplicity of homemade hand-cut fries…you’ll wonder why you don’t make them more often…

Here’s what you’ll need;

Print this recipe!

Russet potatoes (I actually used yukon golds and they worked just fine and were delicious!) – quantity depends on how many you’d like to make. I used about 12 smallish potatoes – russets are larger, so less would be needed.

1.potatoes

My suggestion, cut up 3 russets and see how much you end up with – if you need more, cut up another, if its enough, perfect. If it’s too much, store cut potatoes, covered with water, in the fridge for up to two days. Who says you can’t have fries (homemade) twice in one week?

Coarse salt or sea salt

High heat oil – I use sunflower oil. Peanut oil works well too.

A pot for frying. I use my wok or cast iron frying pan. Any heavy bottomed or deep heavy bottomed pot will do.

You’ll also need a slotted spoon, some brown paper (think paper bags), a tea towel (or two), a candy/frying thermometer (if you don’t have one, don’t fret), and (if making a few batches) a cooling rack (with baking sheet placed underneath) to store cooked fries on while keeping warm in the oven…

Here’s what you’ll need to do;

Fill a large glass or ceramic bowl, half-way, with cold water.

Slice potatoes into the thickness and length you like – here’s yet another added bonus – you choose how thick or thin to make them!

2.hand cut potatoes

As your chopping away, place the cut pieces into water, in bowl. This helps release their starch as well as prevent browning. Add more water as necessary…

Once all potatoes have been cut and covered with water, pour cut potatoes into a colander and drain cloudy water. Refill bowl with fresh cold water. Add potatoes again. Continue this until water is no longer cloudy. Two or three times should do…

Drain water again, though now, place cut potatoes onto a tea towel and thoroughly dry. Remember, water and oil do not mix. So, if you need to use a second tea towel to ensure their super dryness, do so.

While your drying the potatoes, get the oil heating up. You’ll want to use enough oil to cover the potatoes, yet not so much that the oil would bubble over once heated up with potatoes in…trouble for sure…

*be sure to leave enough space at the top of the pot for the bubbling hot oil and the potatoes – do not overfill your pot.

If you have a candy or frying thermometer, great, use it. The oil should be between 350 degrees F and 375 degrees F. If you don’t have such equipment – don’t fret. If you drop a 1″ cube of white bread into the oil and it browns in 60 seconds or less, your up to temperature. You can also try tossing a cut potato slice into the oil, if it starts to sizzle, a lot, well, it’s probably up to temperature… if it doesn’t, let it heat up some more…

The key is to not overcrowd the pan.

Too many and the oil will cool and the fries will absorb too much oil and become soggy. Too few and they fry up super fast – almost to the point of burning…so best to cook in smaller batches, leaving enough room around each piece to allow for proper cooking.

Once potatoes have been added to the hot oil, increase heat, slightly, to compensate for the heat absorption from the fries…Keep an eye on them as they cook. Stirring occasionally and regulating the heat as necessary.

4.sizzeling and crispin'

Once the fries look nice and browned, remove with slotted spoon and place on paper bags/paper. Salt generously.

Turn heat slightly down while removing. Once all fries have been removed, increase heat again to bring back up to temperature and repeat the process all over again…

I place the salted and cooked fries onto my cooling rack (seems to prevent them from getting soggy) which is also placed over a cookie tray (to catch the ones which fall through the ‘cracks’) and then tuck them into the warmed oven (200 degree F) until all fries have been cooked or all food is ready to be served…

5.fried and salted

This recipe can also be used with sweet potatoes – sweet potato fries – YUM!

What do you like your fries with?

I like mine with fried fish – fish ‘n chips – dipped in organic ketchup and malt vinegar. Super deliciousness – at home…

Enjoy!

noodle broth

I’d been yearning for something different.

Something light.

Something fresh.

Something new. And I found it.

Noodle broth and spring rolls.

noodle broth + rolls

My inspiration (and Noodle broth recipe) came from the fabulous food blog, Frugal Feeding. As the name suggests, it’s a blog about eating well without spending a fortune – great recipe collection there, to say the least. The photos were so enticing and beautiful I knew right away, this was what I was looking for.

Try them for yourself and see what you think. I think both dishes are divine…especially served in this beautiful dish set from China…can you believe I found the whole set? Still in the package? At my local transfer station. Amazing…

Noodle Broth 

recipe from Frugal Feeding:

print this

100g rice noodles

4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

small bunch of thyme

2-3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger

smidgen dark soy sauce

1-2 small red chilies (depending on your likes)

a few leaves of fresh basil

2 tbsp. sesame oil

broth herbs

stock added - broth

Fry garlic and ginger in a large cooking pot, using the sesame oil. Add thyme, bay leaves and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow spices to infuse, with lid on, for 15-20 minutes.

straining

Sieve the stock.

noodles

Remove all the contents. Return to pot and add uncooked noodles. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, at which time, noodles should be cooked.

noodle broth

Serve in bowls and top with finely chopped red chilies, a sprinkling of soy sauce and a few freshly torn basil leaves…deliciousness indeed!

Side note – I forgot to buy basil, so I substituted with fresh cilantro (maybe you can tell in the photos?). While it didn’t take away from the dish, I do look forward to trying this dish with the sweetness of basil added…if only my little plants were bigger!

enjoy

P.S.  Stay tuned for the spring rolls…

365 days ago…

I decided to start this blog. I wasn’t sure if people would like what I wrote, or if they would even find me – why would anyone be interested in what I had to say? But enough people suggested I try it, so I did. And I’m so happy I didn’t let fear stand in the way. I chose to take a leap… and get over my fear, and just try – what’s the worse that can happen, right?

Turns out, it has been a wonderful creative outlet for me. So much of my life is my business, Designs Adrift, which I love too – but I’m in the ‘background’. I do all the paperwork, writing and photography (some of the photography), taxes, etc…yet Michael, my partner, is the artist in the end…and his work is beautiful, yet this blog, is mine and mine alone. My time writing, photographing, planning and editing is well spent – it allows time for me, to be me. And the added (and unexpected) bonus is, it’s been a great way to meet other, incredibly talented, like minded individuals! Who knew?

So when my first post was published, I was so excited and shocked to have a like and a comment – on my very first post! How did they find me? Who are they? What? People liked what I wrote? Liked it enough to take the time to write a comment? Wow!!  It made me smile…Thank you Norma, From Wok to Garden, for my first comment – you inspired me to keep going! I’m still kind of figuring out what readers are interested in (and what makes folks comment), but for the most part I just share my life. I’m just being me, really. Camera in hand, sharing what I love…what I cook, how I prepare it, what I’m interested in and how I keep my expense down…my life in rural Maine, on an extremely tight budget, in other words, The Art of Thrift.

Knowing what to buy and when and more importantly, when not to…recognizing quality and craftsmanship; not to buy cheap, but well, or not at all – it makes all the difference (in my opinion)…for the planet and your wallet. I like to encourage second hand buying – it makes so much sense! (and if your still a bit worried about second hand – don’t be – if you’ve eaten in a restaurant or slept in a hotel, then you’ve used second hand items!)

I know how to be thrifty, but I also know when (and how) to spend…even the NYTimes agrees… and while I’ve accomplished some of what I had set out to do, there’s still so much more to share…I’ve posted a lot of recipes, but not a lot of suggestions for travel, groceries shopping, children’s needs, insurance – everyday stuff – but all things in time right? As long as I can find the time to write and photograph (and get to the library to publish – my dial-up access is a real detriment not only our business, but my blogging!!) I will.

I, thank you all for reading and sharing this past year – it’s been fun and a challenge. (A challenge because of my dial-up!!).

And now this, little miss thrift, needs to find the time to get to the library (wifi, remember?) a little more often so she may become a little more tech savvy – fonts, layouts, widgets, settings oh my…this is one arena where being thrifty isn’t necessarily helpful…but being patient is. All things in time, right?

What have you been doing lately that is thrifty?

Have a fabulous weekend and thank you for reading! xoxo

Enjoy.

handmade with love

Is your christmas tree in need of a little handmade love? Well, if so, here are three simple (and inexpensive) ideas to do with your kids or for yourself…why not bring out the child out in you this holiday season?

1.Bake-art dough

Bake art dough is not edible, but it’s a super fun project for kids and grown-ups alike. You can use cookie cut-outs or design your own. Bake, cool and decorate. Use non toxic paint, markers, glitter, tissue paper, ribbon…whatever your fancy. We kept things simple – paint, glue and sparkles, perfect for 2 year old (or 40 year old) fun!

All you need is; 

2 cups unsifted all purpose flour

1/2 cup salt

3/4 cup water

Decorations/art supplies

Ribbon or metal hook to hang with…

How to;

Blend flour and salt, add water and stir. When water is mixed in, work dough into ball. Knead dough for about 5 minutes, or until the consistency is smooth and pliable. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour, if too watery, more flour…

Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/8″ thick.

2.dough rolled

Cut out ornaments and place on cookie sheet.

3.finn printing

Using a straw, make a small hole near the top of each ornament – before baking.

Bake at 350 F for about 20-25 minutes – or until completely baked through.

With spatula, remove baked pieces, place on cooling rack and allow to cool, completely.

Decorate till your hearts content…

4.christmas ornaments

Wrap carefully once the holidays are over and store in a dry place.

*These also make sweet gifts for friends and family.

Write the year it was made on the back and by whom, it makes for a lovely keepsake…

2. Pinecones, glitter + ribbon 

Another beautiful, and nearly free idea – pinecones. Decorate with glitter and hang with ribbon.

5.pinecone ornament

*This idea is also great for gift wrapping. Notice the ‘cookie’ cut-out decoration in the background, they look wonderfully festive on the tree…

3. Thrift shops

You just never know what you might find. I recently found these beautiful decoupaged vintage christmas balls (a set of 12 – each one is unique).

7.thrift find8.santa + pipe9.christmas ball6.box

Complete with ribbons and storage box, for only $12. If you love thrift shops as much as I do, then you know the feeling – it’s like being a kid in a candy shop. What’s not to love?

Magic abounds…

enjoy.

fish chowda’

The ponds are starting to freeze over, the wind is beginning to bite and snow is only a matter of time…warm soup and warm bread – good for the bones and soul (especially on a cold December night, in Maine).

Around here people say, ‘fish chowda’, not fish chowder. You’ll find this soup (or a variation thereof) on just about every menu in the state of Maine (ok, not every menu), but a lot, that’s for certain…yet, it’s far less expensive to prepare and enjoy at home. A few basic ingredients, some white fish and a bit of time is all you need. Prepare in the morning (if possible) and let stand all day…like any soup, time only enhances the flavors and textures…

Fish and Potato Chowder

What you’ll need;

chowda ingredients

parsely

2 tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 leek, chopped (no leeks? replace medium onion, above, with 1 large)

2 tbsp. flour

3.5 cups whole milk (whole milk only)

1 – 2 bay leaf

small handful chopped fresh parsley

1 pound haddock (or any mild flavored white fish – smoked fish also works brilliantly)

1 – 2 pounds potatoes – cooked and smashed – the more potatoes, the thicker the soup…

1 good pour heavy cream

course salt + freshly ground pepper

Peel (or not – depends if you like skins in your soup) potatoes. Cut. Boil for 20 minutes or until soft enough to be pierced, gently…drain and smash with a bit of butter, dash of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

smashed potatoes

While the potatoes are boiling away, melt butter (I use a bit more than this recipe calls for – butter is so tasty) in a large heavy bottom pot, over medium heat, add onion and leek and saute until slightly softened and lightly browned. Meanwhile,

Mix the flour in a small bowl with enough of the milk to make a smooth paste, then stir into pot, (stirring constantly – you don’t want the roux to burn) until paste is thoroughly blended with the onions (about 2-3 minutes), then gradually stir in the remaining milk.

adding milk

Add the bay leaf and parsley and season to taste tie salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes.

added parsley

Rinse fillets under water, pat dry, then cut into large (the fish will likely break into smaller pieces once in the soup) chunks. Add to the soup and cook for 15 minutes, or until fish is tender and cooked right though.

adding fish

Add the smashed potatoes and stir in cream. Simmer just 5 minutes more. Remove bay leaf, season with salt and pepper to taste.

simmering soup

Ladle into warm bowls, serve with fresh, warm – crusty bread, and salad or greens…add a glass of red wine and candlelight – deliciousness and heartiness for under $10. Serves 4 – 6.

bowl of chowda

Fish and potato soup adapted from The Fish & Seafood Cookbook – From Ocean to Table, 2005.

enjoy.