pan sear

Chopped

TED: Four chefs, one chance at a ten thousand dollar prize.  They must create an unforgettable meal using the mystery ingredients provided, or they will be chopped.  Let’s meet our contestants.  First, Chef Angela.

ANGELA: I’m Angela, I’m sous chef at Le Snobbe in Omaha Nebraska.  My specialty is Scottish with an Asian twist.  I need to win this so my parents will take me seriously.

TED: Next we have Chef Madagascar.

MADAGASCAR: I run the Shaggoth Catering Company.  My family came over from Kazantzan to build a better life here, but my brothers all died of the plague the second our house foreclosed.  I need the ten thousand dollars to buy my mother a new kidney.

TED: Chef Bill.

BILL: I’m extremely loud and have a broad range of interests that will do nothing to help me in this competition.  Watch me as I punch the camera with my tattooed knuckles that read FOOD.

TED: And finally, Chef Gooseberry.

GOOSEBERRY: I’m Gooseberry, I live in Los Angeles, and I love vegan food to the point where I won’t eat anything that ingests oxygen.  I see so many people eating meat and it *starts crying* just makes me so sad, I have to win this to show them that there’s a better way.

Ted: Chefs, before you there is a basket of ingredients.  You must use all of them, and your dishes will be critiqued by our panel of distinguished chefs on taste, presentation, and creativity.  If you can’t, you will be chopped.  Please open your baskets.  You must construct an appetizer using shank of unicorn, human hair, ground glass, and puffed cheese snacks. You have twenty minutes.

ANGELA: I see the puffed cheese snacks and I immediately think, haggis.  I run to the pantry and grab chickpeas and Sriracha, to give it a little kick.

GOOSEBERRY: Unicorn!  Whyyyyyy is there meeeeeeat!  (cries) Oh well, I’ll just have to suck it up and make it vegan as possible by pan-searing it and dousing it in chicken broth.

MADAGASCAR: I’m so stoked to see ground glass in the basket.  My mom used to cook with this all the time.  It has sort of a crunchy texture, so I’m gonna make pancakes.

(Shot of Bill looking alarmed and confused)

BILL: Guys…none of these are…food…uhh…

BILL: I just have this wad of human hair in my basket and I’m thinking, what the hell am I supposed to do with this?  But I know unicorn has to be soaked to get the glitter off, otherwise it’ll be way too salty and start sprouting little flowers, so I get that soaking and hope the rest will come to me.

JUDGE ALEX: What a great basket!  But I think it will be a real challenge for our chefs.

JUDGE SCOTT: There’s a lot you can do with puffed cheese snacks, but you’d have to be careful their saltiness doesn’t build on the natural saltiness of the unicorn shanks.  I’m so curious to see what they plan to do with the human hair, which in this basket is a mix of Asian, African, and Caucasian strands.

ANGELA: Some of these hairs are Asian, so I use them to tie the ends of my haggis.  I love showing off my specialty.

MADAGASCAR: Not many people would think to cook and eat a unicorn, but in Kazantzan, you take whatever comes your way.  I take the glitter and I put it into a puree for a sauce with vinegar, making sure to chant the ancient evil incantation over it that will keep it from sprouting.  But I’m running out of time, so I may have slurred some of the words together.

(Madagascar starts bleeding from the nose)

JUDGE ALEX: Ohhh, it looks like he’s reversed the S and the Q in “sesustngsnqsutintan.”  That’s the kind of mistake that could cost him some time.  You have to admire his ambition though.

BILL: I get the unicorn into the grill, but I haven’t even touched my hairball yet.  I remember thinking of a prank my big brother played on me once, so I throw the ground glass into the blender with some ice, vodka, and limoncello.

TED: And there is one minute left remaining!

ANGELA: I haven’t even started plating yet, my haggis isn’t done swelling, but I’m thinking, just get it on the plate.

GOOSEBERRY: I have one minute.  I’m gonna make a fresh green salad to represent my vegan lifestyle, and start making a vinaigrette.

TED: FIVE…FOUR…THREE…TWO…ONE…time’s up, please step back.

MADAGASCAR: I look down at my dish, and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done.  Then I see that there’s nose blood on the plate.  I need that ten thousand dollars.

BILL: I quickly added the hairball as a garnish.

It’s not gross, it’s gormet

GOOSEBERRY: ohhhh nooo I forgot the unicorn shanks, the glass, the hairball, and the Cheetos (TV EDIT, TOTALLY DIFFERENT VOICE) puffed cheese snacks.  All I have is this red onion salad and white truffle dressing.

ANGELA: If I’d just had five more minutes, this would have been a killer cheese and hair haggis.  *shrugs*

TED: Alright chefs, let’s see what you made. Chef Bill.

BILL: I’ve made for you today a cheese-snack encrusted grilled unicorn shank, with a lemon glass slushie.

JUDGE ALEX (sternly): I love this.  You really handled the glitter beautifully, and the limoncello adds a lot of much-needed acidity to the salty flavors.

JUDGE SCOTT: I don’t like it.  There’s hair on my plate and I hate you.

BILL: It…it was one of the ingredients…

TED: Chef Angela.

ANGELA: Before you today we have a cheese snack and ground unicorn haggis, tied with Asian hairs and garnished with a tarragon and glass crumble.

JUDGE ALEX (sternly): The combination is brilliant, the flavors really play off each other well.  But mine is a little cold in the center, and you can see…I have sprouts.

ANGELA: It’s supposed to do that.  I meant to do that.

TED: Chef Madagascar.

MADAGASCAR: Today I’ve made you a unicorn pancake with a glass crust, and a glitter dipping sauce.

JUDGE SCOTT: I’m not getting any of the human hair.

TED: Tell us why you need to win today.

MADAGASCAR: I need to get my mother a new kidney, as we had to sell her good one to pay for my father’s ransom.  He’s okay now, but times have been hard with just one kidney to share between them.

JUDGE ALEX: There’s blood on my plate.  I can’t eat this.

TED: Chef Gooseberry.

GOOSEBERRY: I’ve made a vegan-friendly dish, with the unicorn, cheese snacks, and the hair omitted.  The glass did not make it onto the plate.

JUDGE SCOTT: This is just red onions and white truffle oil.

GOOSEBERRY: That is correct.

(TV EDIT, SCENE RECONVENES TEN MINUTES LATER)

GOOSEBERRY (with a black eye, sniffling): Thank you chef.

TED: Now whose dish has been put on the chopping block?

(DRAMATIC MUSIC AS WE LOOK AT EVERYONE’S SAD FACE)

TED (revealing Gooseberry’s dish): Chef Gooseberry, you’ve been chopped.

GOOSEBERRY: I was pretty disappointed to get chopped, but I stand by my work, and I’m proud nobody had to eat meat made by my hand. (leaves down the hallway)

TED: Next up, the entree round. WHO (flash to Madagascar) WILL (flash to Angela) BE (flash to Bill) CHOPPED???!!??

“I’ll make enough potato chips to last myself a few days” I say, peeling roughly my own body weight in potatoes and narrowly avoiding removing my fingers with the mandolin slicer. 

“It’ll be a good supply of snack food for me to eat and I won’t have to keep prepping them” I say, placing the tray into the oven and setting the timer. 

“I’m so glad I thought ahead like this,” I say, eating the still sizzling potato chips off of the searing hot pan with both hands like a starving wild animal that just caught the scent of blood.

2

Peter Darling by Austin Chant

Summary: Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

Thoughts: Wow. I loved this book. The plot is quick but well-paced, the tension between Hook and Pan is searing, and the portrayal of Peter as a trans boy is brilliant and powerful. What begins as Peter’s next fairytale adventure ends as a charming love story between two men who escaped to Neverland to forget the pain in their real lives.

Warnings: Transphobia from Peter’s family, dysphoria, action violence and death of minor characters

A Wild Night in Vegas -- Part 10

I feel like I say this with every chapter, but Ish and I enjoy this AU so much. It’s helped keep us sane in crazy days of stress and confusion and all sorts of things. Hope you like this chapter!

Catch up on all previous installments on my Master List


Fraser Bairn Watch: Month 4

Things were definitely beginning to change inside her body. She could feel it, even as she watched the changes. Her belly was beginning to really grow now, no longer appearing as if she’d eaten too much. Some mornings she would steal Jamie’s phone before he woke and flip through the photos he had of her belly. There were only a few of them, since they’d found out late, but he kept them in their own folder in his phone.

That was one of the best things about this situation. No matter how she was feeling, how many times she’d thrown up, or how many evenings she fell asleep halfway through her meal, he was happy. He was overjoyed to watch her grow.

She wasn’t getting as sick this month, though it still happened. Jamie was so good about making sure whatever had triggered her sickness didn’t make it onto the grocery list for that week.

He came home, several bags of groceries in his hands and a small bundle of flowers.

“You’re going to spoil me, Jamie Fraser. If you’re not careful, I’ll start expecting flowers every month.”

With a wink and a kiss on her cheek, he went to set the bags down. As he put their groceries away, she set the roses up in the vase where the previous three had been.

“Four roses for four months,” he said, coming up behind her. “Because I love ye more than my own life and I thank ye for carrying my bairn.”

The following day, she went to work as she usually did, armed with a cool water bottle and several frozen washcloths to help keep her cool. She’d had an idea brewing in her mind, but she hadn’t figured out how to execute it yet.

Jamie had done so much for her, given up so many things for her, and steadfastly held true since before she had moved out and back (if she was honest with herself), and she wanted to figure out what she could do for him. He wasn’t a materialistic man, he didn’t need things. She wanted to do something else, take him somewhere closer to home, but still have it feel like a getaway.

There were quite a few options that they could afford that were nearby, but she hadn’t been able to make a concrete decision yet. As she finished her shift, she watched a young family wander through the gardens. The man and woman held hands as they walked, their eyes content as they looked at each other. Their little girl toddled around them, eager to explore everything around her. Both parents looked at their child with such tenderness and fondness that Claire felt tears pricking her eyes.

The whole drive home, the image of the young family played in her mind’s eye. When she walked in the door, she stared around the front room with her mouth open. She wasn’t a messy person by nature, but with her odd cravings at times, she ate food just about everywhere. Jamie never complained about it either, which was comforting. Frank had hated if she’d had a snack somewhere other than the kitchen table.

But the entire apartment, from what she could see, was spotless. The carpet was freshly vacuumed, she could still see the lines in it, and everything had been dusted. When she put her bag down and headed into the kitchen for the extra washcloth Jamie kept frozen for her, she noticed that he’d even mopped and wiped down the counter. The bathroom was also probably wiped down and scrubbed as well, if he’d gone to this much trouble.

He was moving about the kitchen as if some exciting tune was playing that only he could hear. As he did, he hummed something she didn’t recognize. Sometimes when he was in a really good mood, he’d hum or chant something he’d heard growing up in Scotland. Given the cadence she thought this thing he was humming might be along those lines.

A pot sat on the stove, Jamie stirring its contents. She thought she smelled chili powder, but wasn’t sure. He had a few other bowls sitting out on the counter filled with a few different things and she realized what he was making. Meatless taco salad. It was something he’d tried a few weeks back and she’d loved it. None of the things in it had made her sick or given her heartburn.

Watching him swaying to his own music, an overwhelming sense of fondness flooded her and she began weeping.

“Claire?” He turned suddenly, surprised to see her standing behind him and noticed the tears flowing down her cheeks. “Christ! Are ye alright lass?! The bairn?”

Unable to form words, she just stared at his blurry image and wept.

“Is it something in the kitchen bothering ye? I thought it was alright last time and ye liked it so much… If it’s too much I can make something else.”

“No! No don’t do that!” she said, suddenly finding the words. “It’s just… You’re such a good man, Jamie. I know you had training at work today and you still had the time to come home and clean our whole apartment and make dinner. I just… I’m just…”

When the words fled from her mind again, she reached for him and brought his lips down to hers. He was surprised at first, but quickly melted into her embrace and returned it.

“I love you too, mo chridhe,” he whispered when she let him go. “Are ye sure the bairn’s alright?”

“Yes,” she said, spreading her hand over the small swell. “We’re both alright. I was just a little emotional. These goddamned bloody hormones. I’m sorry.”

He shook his head, laughing, and went back to them stove.

“Dinna apologize for that, Sassenach. It comes wi’ the territory of you being wi’ child.”

She smiled. “How long until dinner is ready?”

“Only a few more minutes. Just need to heat the beans and corn back up and throw it all together.”

The idea that had been forming in her mind came suddenly to life and she knew what she needed to do.

“Alright. I just have a few things I need to do on the computer.”

Before she turned away, he took two steps toward her and stole another kiss.

Sitting down at her desk, she opened up her laptop and began researching Lake Mead. It was about an hour from their apartment and would be a perfect thing for them to do. They could get away without really going anywhere and have some time just to themselves. She knew Jamie would love it.

Friday night, she snuggled up to him and began playing with the hairs on his chest.

“Have you any plans this weekend?”

“Ah… No, I dinna think so. Why?”

“What if we went to Lake Mead for the day tomorrow?”

Craning his neck, he looked down at her, brows raised.

“Oh? For the day? We dinna have a boat.”

“No, but we can rent one.”

He leaned down and kissed her forehead.

“Aye, I’d like that verra much, Sassenach. Thank ye.”

“Well, this is sort of my way to say thank you actually. You’ve done so much for me since I told you I was pregnant. You’ve taken such good care of me, so I’ve got a whole day planned for us.”

“Have ye now? Been planning this for some time, then?”

She shrugged.

“Not really. It’s been brewing in my head for a while, but it only just fell into place.”

“I look forward to seeing what ye’ve planned for us, then.”

With a smile, she hugged him tightly and relaxed into sleep.

The following morning, she packed a few things into a large bag and they drove out to Lake Mead. They picked up their rental boat and Jamie set out to find a spot of beach just for them. It was hot, but being out on the lake was more fun than she’d expected. She stayed under the awning with him while he drove the boat around.

He looked good out here, dressed only in his swim trunks as he’d shed his shirt as soon as they’d gotten on the boat. She wore the only swimsuit she owned, but had put his shirt on over it.

“It’s a beautiful day,” he said, staring out at the blue water.

“It really is. I was worried it might rain, but it looks like the sky has cleared up.”

“Aye. Thank ye, Sassenach. This is a verra nice thing to do.”

They ate lunch on the beach, laying out on the towels she’d brought with them. It was too hot to be too near each other, but they were comfortable this way.

“We canna make love on a public beach, can we?” he asked some time later.

Claire snorted.

“This corner might be secluded, but it’s not that secluded. See?” she nodded to someone flying by on a jet ski.

He sighed.

“Someday I want to take ye somewhere and make love to ye on a beach.”

“Why?”

“Dinna ken. Something I’ve never done and I suspect ye havena either. Always thought it would be verra romantic to do that.”

She smiled at him.

“You really are a romantic at heart, aren’t you?”

“Aye, maybe I am. Ye said ye had other plans for us today?”

“I do. We’ll need to head back soon so I can get started on our dinner.”

Nodding, he helped her up and gathered her into his arms for a very thorough kiss.

“Then let’s return the boat and head home.”

On the drive back, she dozed off a little. Jamie woke her when they got back to their apartment.

“Can I help ye wi’ the meal?”

“No, you can’t. Go and read or watch TV or something. It’s my turn to appreciate all that you’ve done for me.”

Pursing his lips, he grunted and went to the couch to read. She got to work on a full dinner for him. Pan-seared steaks, his favorite garlic mashed potatoes, and cheesy broccoli. The last time he’d had cheesy broccoli had been over a month before and it had ended with her vomiting in the bathroom. But she knew how much he’d loved it, so she made it for him.

When the meal was all done, she set the table and looked proudly at all she’d done.

“Christ Sassenach, this looks amazing!”

“I hope so. It’s all your favorites.”

“And the cheesy… Claire, ye dinna need to cook things ye canna eat.”

Shaking her head, she motioned to his seat and he took it.

“This is something you like, Jamie. I wanted to do this for you.”

“It isna fair for me to eat it and you to-”

“I made you these bloody cheesy broccoli to say thank you, damn it! Will you not just eat them?!”

He blinked and looked down sheepishly.

“You’re right. I’m sorry, Sassenach. I appreciate that ye made them for me.”

“Good. Now eat up. I have one last thing planned for tonight.”

After they finished, Jamie insisted that she leave the dishes for him to take care of the next day. Reluctantly, she agreed.

“So what are we to do next? Dessert, perhaps?”

The glint in his eye made her giggle a little.

“Maybe later. How are your shoulders?”

He moved them stiffly, as if his shirt didn’t fit him quite right.

“Still sore. But no’ so bad as they were a few days ago. Ye’ve a good touch.”

“Lie down on the bed. Take off your shirt and trousers.”

As he did, she caught the wince he tried to hide. No matter what he did, all of the tension and soreness from his work ended up in his broad shoulders. He lay down on their bed arms folded beneath the pillow she’d moved for him.

“I’m glad we did this today,” she said, running her hands up his back.

He shivered a little, gooseflesh rippling over him

“Aye, me too. It’s always good to get away wi’ you. Helps to get away from the city and the strip. Sometimes I think…”

Squeezing the bottle of oil, which she’d gotten specifically with this in mind, onto his back, she began to work it into his muscles.

“Think what?”

“You’ll think I’m daft.”

“I live with you. I already know you’re daft.”

One blue eye opened a crack to glare at her. She smiled at it and started digging her fingers into his tense back.

“Weel now I’m no’ gonna tell you.”

“Please? I like to hear what you’re thinking.”

A knot in his lower back gave way and he let out a deep sigh.

“Weel… Sometimes I find myself thinking that if the whole world fell away, I would be alright. Because I have you.”

Again, she felt tears in her eyes.

“Oh Jamie, that’s very sweet. I couldn’t think you daft for that.”

“Thank ye, Sassenach.”

Working slowly, she released the knots in his lower back and middle back before reaching his shoulders. His breathing was slow and even, but he wasn’t asleep. She climbed onto the bed and held herself above him to get a better angle.

Putting as much pressure into her hands as she could, she compelled the knots to release. Closing her eyes, she imagined the muscle held beneath his skin. She thought of how they should look, how they should feel, how they should move. Kneading and pressing in the places her hands told her, she continued until she felt the tightness give. Jamie let out a mighty gasp, his body flinching beneath her.

“Oh… Claire that…”

“Did it work?”

“Aye, lass. It worked verra well. I dinna think my shoulders have felt this good in weeks.”

With a pleased smile, she got off the bed.

“Good! That was the whole point of doing this, after all.”

Jamie rolled onto his back, staring up at her. His eyes drooped, but they glittered with desire and mischief.

“Though, now that ye have me thinkin’…”

Claire snorted, already opening the bottle of oil again.

“What? Are you going to tell me your cock has a certain stiffness as well?”

He smirked at her and shook his head.

“It doesna yet. But I think other bits of me could use yer touch.”

As she looked his body over, she thought it would be most enjoyable to start from the bottom and work her way up, skipping sensitive areas. With the majority of his body now covered in oil, she felt her own desire stirring. How could someone be so perfectly formed? In the waning light of the room he looked like a sculpture of a Greek god, in the living flesh.

Her eyes darted down to his crotch and she smiled. Living flesh indeed. Flesh that she needed to feel. Hands back on his chest, she made the mistake of looking up to meet his eyes.

She was drawn to him by some invisible force. He made no move for her and said nothing. Yet he compelled her to bring herself closer. Was it the eyes? Perhaps. But it was also more than that, as if his soul was calling to hers and it was calling back.

Before she even realized how close to him she was, her mouth found his. Both of his arms came around her waist then and pulled her up onto the bed. Feeling his body beneath hers shortened her breath.

At some point, he’d begun to pull her jeans off. Forcing herself to get off him for a moment, she stood and finished what he’d started. Jamie was not one for remaining idle, though. Hopping to his own feet, he pulled her to him and kissed her hard.

His skin was smooth to her hands, oiled as it was. She couldn’t help but smile when his hands found her buttocks, squeezing them excitedly. Then he pushed her panties off before removing his boxers.

“I must have ye now, Claire,” he said, voice strained with his desire.

“Then have me,” she answered.

He brought her back into his arms and began to tug at her shirt. She shied away from him, pulling it back down. His brow furrowed at her, eyes narrowing in question.

“Just leave it.”

“And no’ see your beautiful body in all it’s naked glory? I think not, Sassenach. Off wi’ it.”

Reaching for it again, he had her stomach exposed before she started to pull it back down. For a moment, she thought about insisting, but that would lead to questions. Instead, she lifted her arms so he could take the last bit of covering from her.

He laid her down on their bed, pausing briefly to kiss her stomach. Then he moved back up to kiss her lips.

“Thank ye, Claire, for all you’ve done today. Taking me out for a day on the lake, cooking me a verra fine dinner, even wi’ things ye couldna eat. And then ye tend my body? I’ve never kent a woman like you.”

“I don’t think there’s ever been a woman quite like me before,” she sighed before stroking his face. “Or a man quite like you.”

“I’m glad I found ye.”

She opened her mouth to say something back, but was cut off by his sudden thrust. Whatever she’d done to help relieve the tension in his back and shoulders had clearly made him feel better. He moved with a frenzy she hadn’t felt in some time, like he was making love to her for the first time.

Her legs couldn’t lock around him, constantly slipping off his body from the oil as much as his vigor. She let her head fall back onto the pillow. His lips visited her neck, biting gently. Her back arched off the bed in response, hands clawing at his back uselessly as they slipped and slid against his skin. Lifting her head up, she bit his neck in kind, spurring him to rear up and continue his merciless attack on her body, hands exploring every piece of her as she did the same.

Overwhelmed by the animalistic feelings aroused in him, he pushed on, growling into Claire’s ear, “Ye’re mine, mo nighean donn. Now and forever, yer mine.”

He gripped her hips to hold her body in position while he continued on. The end was coming nearer, her body preparing for that release it needed desperately. Taking a grip on his hair, she pulled him back down to her and bit his shoulder hard to mute her scream. Then he too cried out, his own body bucking against hers.

They lay together for several minutes, neither able to move after the climax faded. Jamie gave her a very sweet kiss before rolling onto his side. She curled up in his arms, observing the bright red mark she’d left him.

“Sorry about that one,” she said quietly, poking it.

He hissed a little.

“Dinna fash. Was worth a little pain to hear ye squeak like that.”

With a contented sigh, she pressed her ear to his chest and let his steady heartbeat sing her to sleep.

###

The following night, Jamie was nudged awake by his wife. Grunting, he forced his eyes open.

“Are ye alright?” he mumbled. “The bairn?”

“We’re alright. Would you mind… Maybe going and getting us some hot wings?”

“Are ye daft? I dinna even ken what the time is.”

With a heavy sigh, he looked at the clock on her bedside table.

2:31 AM

“Wings? Ye want hot wings? Now?”

She smiled sheepishly.

“Pregnancy cravings?”

“If ye start craving pickles wi’ yer ice cream, I’m moving out,” he said, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. “But if it’s hot wings ye need, it’s hot wings ye’ll get.”

“Thank you, darling.”

“Anything for you.”

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he tried to ignore the clock inside his car. He drove around for nearly half an hour until he found a place that was open and sold hot wings. As he pulled up to the window, his phone buzzed.

Hello darling. Could you maybe pick up some cheesy chips too? Thank you!

The speaker squacked and a woman yawned.

“What can I get you?”

“I’d like an order of hot wings and cheesy chips, please. Thank ye.”

“One order of hot wings and one order of nachos. That’ll be-”

“No, miss. I’m sorry. I mean cheese fries.”

“Hot wings, nachos, and cheese fries. That’ll be…”

Jamie rolled his eyes. He was too tired to argue with the woman at three in the morning.

He tripped several times as he went up the stairs to their apartment, but he kept the food from dropping. She was in bed, wiggling like an excited puppy. Her nose flared when he walked in.

“Did you get nachos too?”

“I forgot to say cheesy fries rather than cheesy chips, so she thought I meant nachos. But I got you proper chips too.”

Laying out a napkin on the bed, she pulled the things out of the bag and began shoveling them into her open mouth, still wiggling happily.

“Why did it take you so long?” she asked, licking hot sauce from her fingers.

“It isna easy to find a place that sells hot wings at three in the morning.”

When she smiled at him, he sighed and wiped the sauce from her chin.

“You’re a good husband.”

His heart leapt, hearing her say that, though he chose to keep that feeling to himself. Instead, he stole a cheesy and slightly spicy kiss from her.

“Here,” she said, setting the nachos out. “Share with me.”

“I wouldna dream of taking a pregnant woman’s late night cravings,” he said with a chuckle.

“Well this pregnant woman is sharing them with you. You went out at three in the morning to get them for me.”

With a nod, he gave in and split the nachos with her. They weren’t bad, he thought. When she finished, he gathered up the wrappings and took them to the kitchen trash.

Despite how tired he was now, the look of satisfaction on her face was worth it. He slid back into bed beside her and held her close. Her breath smelled like all the things she’d just eaten, but he didn’t mind.

###

After she showered in the morning, she went out to breakfast. Jamie beamed at her and kissed her cheek.

“Morning, Sassenach. Sleep well?”

“Very. Thank you for going out last night.”

“Dinna fash. Glad I got ye what ye needed. Oh! And it’s Monday. Ready for yer weekly photo?”

She was a little surprised he wanted to take it right now. It was usually something he did after he got home in the evenings.

“Oh, um… Sure, I guess.”

Going to the same spot she always stood in, she tentatively lifted her shirt to expose her growing belly. It felt heavier somehow, like a lead weight had settled in her stomach.

“Look at ye! Finally looking verra pregnant. Christ, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen!”

Verra pregnant.

Those words echoed through her mind all through her classes that day and through her short shift at the gardens. She’d known that she would get bigger, of course, she wasn’t stupid. But she wasn’t sure she liked how she was starting to look now.

She was nursing a mug of tea when Jamie came home.

“Sorry I’m home late,” he said, locking the door behind him.

“It’s alright. I just had some leftovers for dinner.”

“Are ye alright?”

She finished the tea and nodded.

“Yes, we’re both doing just fine.”

As she reached to put her mug in the sink, Jamie made a move to feel her stomach. It was something he’d done regularly since finding out about the baby. But with her newfound discomfort, she shied away from him, backing into the wall.

A hurt expression moved over his face before he stepped back. Unable to meet his eyes, she maneuvered around him to her desk to attempt studying while he ate his own leftovers for dinner. When they went to bed that night, she chose to wear a long night dress. It felt a little old fashioned, but the cut of it hid the new shapes of her body.

Jamie observed her new sleeping outfit with lifted brows, but he didn’t say anything. He only gathered her into his arms and held her as they went to sleep. She let him rest his hands on the bump, the deep-seated awful feeling she had at pulling away from him before tugging at her heart. She knew the coming days and months would bring more changes. All she could hope, for now, was that she’d grow to accept and embrace them.

squirrellygirlart  asked:

((you don't have to do all these, I am just insane XD) "You don't have to do ALL these, I'm just insane."

“You don’t have to do ALL these, I’m just insane.”

Marinette, Alya and Nino stopped dead in their tracks. They exchanged looks before proceeding with what they were doing. Adrien was sitting silently at the table in the Dupain-Cheng household while his 3 friends were working. Fifteen minutes later he found himself being almost drowned in food.

“Blanquette de Veau?” Marinette offered shoving a pot in his face.

“Entrée , first, Mari, you heathen.” Alya complained and then he had a bowl shoved in his face. “Soupe à L'oignon?”

Marinette pushed Alya aside. “Sole Meunière?” she extended a plate towards Adrien, but before he could reach to take it, Nino appeared in front of him.

“Hachis Parmentier, bro?”

“Fuck off, DJ, he needs Pan-seared Foie Gras !” Alya dragged Nino away by the collar.

“Shut up with your ‘my mother is a five stars chef’ bullshit, Alya.” Marinette appeared again before him. “ Bouillabaisse?”

Alya used her hip to nudge Marinette, as she also presented him with a plate. “ Cod Accras?”

Nino appeared, pushing both girls on either side and presenting Adrien two huge plates. “Tagine? Couscous?”

Marinette hissed and also placed a plate in front of him. “Boeuf Bourguignon?”

Alya appeared on Nino’s other side with a large bowl. “Tartiflette?”

What happened next will shock you. Adrien fainted.

“What happened?”

“I think we overwhelmed him with love and care.”

“And delicious food he was probably not allowed to eat.”

“Yeah.”

“Probably.”

“That must be it.”

Who would have guessed that would happen when all Adrien did was ask for a snack?

3

Gourmet Burgers 

These burgers were inspired by the amazing, organic bison burger I had last week at Yeah!Burger when I went home to Atlanta. The burger I had was an organic bison burger with goat cheese, fig jam, caramelized onions, and arugula on a whole wheat bun. These are beef burgers but with a delicious twist. 

Ingredients 

1/3 lb ground chuck 

1/3 lb ground sirloin 

1/3 lb ground beef 

Burger seasoning: 1 tsp of each: black pepper, kosher salt, chili powder, granulated garlic, granulated onion, smoked paprika, and ½ tsp mustard powder. 

Small amount of olive oil 

Arugula 

Caramelized onions - recipe here: + 1 tbsp sugar 

Goat cheese 

Organic peach jam 

Buns of your choice - I chose French Brioche 

Directions 

Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Also, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 

In a large bowl, mix together the three ground meats and the seasoning blend.

Form patties – you should be able to form about 4-6 burgers. 

Once formed, place into pan and sear both sides to develop a nice crust. 

Finish in oven to your desired temperature. 

Toast your buns with butter and assemble! 

Be forewarned that these are incredible. 

Enjoy! 

Easy Balsamic Beef Pot Roast
I felt the chill of autumn as soon as I walked out the door this morning and comfort food immediately flooded my mind.  I’ve been with IP for over 7 years now, and now I’m total pro at making any recipe phase 1 friendly so comfort foods are no longer a restriction on IP anymore.

(This super easy and very delicious Phase 1 Beef Pot Roast can be made on the stove, in the slow cooker or in a pressure cooker.)

Original Recipe by: Mellissa Sevigny
Serves: Four- 8 oz servings (serve with cauliflower mash for a complete IP supper meal)

Ingredients
• One boneless chuck roast, approximately 3 lbs.
• 1 Tbsp IP salt
• 1 tsp black ground pepper
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• ¼ cup of IP balsamic vinaigrette dressing
• 2 cups water
• 1 tsp of onion powder
• ¼ tsp xanthan gum or 1 tsp of IP potato puree
• Fresh parsley, chopped to garnish
Instructions
1. Season the Chuck roast with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder on both sides.
2. In a large heavy bottomed pan sear both sides of the roast until browned. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and cook for one minute.
3. Add the water to the pan. Bring to a boil.
4. Cover and simmer on low for 3 to 4 hours.
5. Carefully remove the meat from the pan to a large bowl. Break carefully into chunks and remove any large pieces of fat or other refuse.
6. Whisk the xanthan gum or potato puree into the broth and add the meat back to the pan.
7. Serve over Cauliflower Mash, garnished with lots of fresh chopped parsley.

To make in the Pressure Cooker:
1. Cut your chuck roast in half so you have two pieces. Season the roast with the salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder on all sides. Using the sauté feature on the instant pot, brown the roast pieces on both sides.
2. Add ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 cup water to the meat. Cover and seal, then using the manual button set the timer for 35 minutes. When the timer runs out, release the pressure by moving the lever to the “venting” setting. Once all the pressure is released uncover the pot.
3. Carefully remove the meat from the pan to a large bowl. Break carefully into chunks and remove any large pieces of fat or other refuse.
4. Use the sauté function to bring the remaining liquid to a boil in the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce.
5. Whisk in the xanthan gum or potato puree then add the meat back to the pan and stir gently.
6. Turn off the heat and serve hot over cauliflower mash, garnished with lots of fresh chopped parsley.

“California” Tofu “Taco Bowls.” I’m not sure you can call it taco at this point, but here’s a vegan dish that takes inspiration from the fresh and bright flavors of the West Coast. There are four main components–

Green Quinoa: You can do this with any grain you like. I planned to do this with brown rice but I was out of rice. It’s super simple. Cook 2 cups of quinoa in water or vegetable stock. Now, I like to play a game called, “what can I put the spinach in?” Once cooked, add a blended mixture of spinach, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and garlic. See, green! 

“California” Cabbage Coleslaw: I posted a full recipe earlier but the components are green cabbage, radishes, yellow bell pepper, poblano peppers, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, salt, molasses, grapeseed oil, black pepper, and cayenne. 

Pan-Seared Tofu: Press and drain your tofu, marinate it overnight in wine vinegar, minced garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, ground coriander, and oregano. Cook it on a very high heat for about 3-5 minutes to get a crust before flipping and cooking through. 

Avocado Crema: This came out seriously fluffy and whipped. I was surprised at how amazing this was. I mean, it wasn’t gonna suck. But, WHAT? In a blender, take the meat of a large avocado, a container of coconut milk yogurt, a jalapeno, a few tablespoons of cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Blend until smooth.

CAN ANYONE SEE I HAVE AN OBSESSION WITH LIME?

If anyone would like a full recipe for any of the items featured on my Tumblr, just ask and your wish will be granted!
Every episode of Chopped

Courtesy of @jadedanddark

TED: Four chefs, one chance at a ten thousand dollar prize.  They must create an unforgettable meal using the mystery ingredients provided, or they will be chopped.  Let’s meet our contestants.  First, Chef Angela.

ANGELA: I’m Angela, I’m sous chef at Le Snobbe in Omaha Nebraska.  My specialty is Scottish with an Asian twist.  I need to win this so my parents will take me seriously.

TED: Next we have Chef Madagascar.

MADAGASCAR: I run the Shaggoth Catering Company.  My family came over from Kazantzan to build a better life here, but my brothers all died of the plague the second our house foreclosed.  I need the ten thousand dollars to buy my mother a new kidney.

TED: Chef Bill.

BILL: I’m extremely loud and have a broad range of interests that will do nothing to help me in this competition.  Watch me as I punch the camera with my tattooed knuckles that read FOOD.

TED: And finally, Chef Gooseberry.

GOOSEBERRY: I’m Gooseberry, I live in Los Angeles, and I love vegan food to the point where I won’t eat anything that ingests oxygen.  I see so many people eating meat and it *starts crying* just makes me so sad, I have to win this to show them that there’s a better way.

Ted: Chefs, before you there is a basket of ingredients.  You must use all of them, and your dishes will be critiqued by our panel of distinguished chefs on taste, presentation, and creativity.  If you can’t, you will be chopped.  Please open your baskets.  You must construct an appetizer using shank of unicorn, human hair, ground glass, and puffed cheese snacks. You have twenty minutes.

ANGELA: I see the puffed cheese snacks and I immediately think, haggis.  I run to the pantry and grab chickpeas and Sriracha, to give it a little kick.

GOOSEBERRY: Unicorn!  Whyyyyyy is there meeeeeeat!  (cries) Oh well, I’ll just have to suck it up and make it vegan as possible by pan-searing it and dousing it in chicken broth.

MADAGASCAR: I’m so stoked to see ground glass in the basket.  My mom used to cook with this all the time.  It has sort of a crunchy texture, so I’m gonna make pancakes.

(Shot of Bill looking alarmed and confused)

BILL: Guys…none of these are…food…uhh…

BILL: I just have this wad of human hair in my basket and I’m thinking, what the hell am I supposed to do with this?  But I know unicorn has to be soaked to get the glitter off, otherwise it’ll be way too salty and start sprouting little flowers, so I get that soaking and hope the rest will come to me.

JUDGE ALEX: What a great basket!  But I think it will be a real challenge for our chefs.

JUDGE SCOTT: There’s a lot you can do with puffed cheese snacks, but you’d have to be careful their saltiness doesn’t build on the natural saltiness of the unicorn shanks.  I’m so curious to see what they plan to do with the human hair, which in this basket is a mix of Asian, African, and Caucasian strands.

ANGELA: Some of these hairs are Asian, so I use them to tie the ends of my haggis.  I love showing off my specialty.

MADAGASCAR: Not many people would think to cook and eat a unicorn, but in Kazantzan, you take whatever comes your way.  I take the glitter and I put it into a puree for a sauce with vinegar, making sure to chant the ancient evil incantation over it that will keep it from sprouting.  But I’m running out of time, so I may have slurred some of the words together.

(Madagascar starts bleeding from the nose)

JUDGE ALEX: Ohhh, it looks like he’s reversed the S and the Q in “sesustngsnqsutintan.”  That’s the kind of mistake that could cost him some time.  You have to admire his ambition though.

BILL: I get the unicorn into the grill, but I haven’t even touched my hairball yet.  I remember thinking of a prank my big brother played on me once, so I throw the ground glass into the blender with some ice, vodka, and limoncello.

TED: And there is one minute left remaining!

ANGELA: I haven’t even started plating yet, my haggis isn’t done swelling, but I’m thinking, just get it on the plate.

GOOSEBERRY: I have one minute.  I’m gonna make a fresh green salad to represent my vegan lifestyle, and start making a vinaigrette.

TED: FIVE…FOUR…THREE…TWO…ONE…time’s up, please step back.

MADAGASCAR: I look down at my dish, and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done.  Then I see that there’s nose blood on the plate.  I need that ten thousand dollars.

BILL: I quickly added the hairball as a garnish.

It’s not gross, it’s gormet

GOOSEBERRY: ohhhh nooo I forgot the unicorn shanks, the glass, the hairball, and the Cheetos (TV EDIT, TOTALLY DIFFERENT VOICE) puffed cheese snacks.  All I have is this red onion salad and white truffle dressing.

ANGELA: If I’d just had five more minutes, this would have been a killer cheese and hair haggis.  *shrugs*

TED: Alright chefs, let’s see what you made. Chef Bill.

BILL: I’ve made for you today a cheese-snack encrusted grilled unicorn shank, with a lemon glass slushie.

JUDGE ALEX (sternly): I love this.  You really handled the glitter beautifully, and the limoncello adds a lot of much-needed acidity to the salty flavors.

JUDGE SCOTT: I don’t like it.  There’s hair on my plate and I hate you.

BILL: It…it was one of the ingredients…

TED: Chef Angela.

ANGELA: Before you today we have a cheese snack and ground unicorn haggis, tied with Asian hairs and garnished with a tarragon and glass crumble.

JUDGE ALEX (sternly): The combination is brilliant, the flavors really play off each other well.  But mine is a little cold in the center, and you can see…I have sprouts.

ANGELA: It’s supposed to do that.  I meant to do that.

TED: Chef Madagascar.

MADAGASCAR: Today I’ve made you a unicorn pancake with a glass crust, and a glitter dipping sauce.

JUDGE SCOTT: I’m not getting any of the human hair.

TED: Tell us why you need to win today.

MADAGASCAR: I need to get my mother a new kidney, as we had to sell her good one to pay for my father’s ransom.  He’s okay now, but times have been hard with just one kidney to share between them.

JUDGE ALEX: There’s blood on my plate.  I can’t eat this.

TED: Chef Gooseberry.

GOOSEBERRY: I’ve made a vegan-friendly dish, with the unicorn, cheese snacks, and the hair omitted.  The glass did not make it onto the plate.

JUDGE SCOTT: This is just red onions and white truffle oil.

GOOSEBERRY: That is correct.

(TV EDIT, SCENE RECONVENES TEN MINUTES LATER)

GOOSEBERRY (with a black eye, sniffling): Thank you chef.

TED: Now whose dish has been put on the chopping block?

(DRAMATIC MUSIC AS WE LOOK AT EVERYONE’S SAD FACE)

TED (revealing Gooseberry’s dish): Chef Gooseberry, you’ve been chopped.

GOOSEBERRY: I was pretty disappointed to get chopped, but I stand by my work, and I’m proud nobody had to eat meat made by my hand. (leaves down the hallway)

TED: Next up, the entree round. WHO (flash to Madagascar) WILL (flash to Angela) BE (flash to Bill) CHOPPED???!!??

i’m so proud of this

so i had some frozen salmon from tj’s

the first night, i followed a recipe and tried to pan sear it

it came out okay but very meh
tonight i took the other fillet and did it MY WAY:

1) thaw fillet in fridge overnight
2) set on baking pan, wrapped in foil
3) douse liberally with salt, cracked pepper, lemon juice, butter and garlic cloves (which woulda been even better if i could’ve crushed them better) and a little bit of dill
4) wrap it all up and bake in the oven for about 20~ min at 350 degrees

it took me like 4 minutes to prepare and then i just had to wait for it to cook

imma get fish more and experiment with seasoning it different ways because this is way less stressful than trying to cook stuff in my pan, where i’m always afraid of burning AND undercooking stuff

Omg look at this dinner I made a few nights ago. It was my first time not only cooking but eating lamb, and it was sooooooooo good omg. My roommate @ketokiana got a cast iron skillet and I used it to make pan seared lamb shoulder loins with rosemary and garlic. Mashed cauliflower and shaved zucchini salad (tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper) as delish sides.

Also I got a new cookbook called The Keto Diet and I HIGHLY recommend for anyone who is new to keto or anyone who has ridden the keto train and trying to understand the whole dietary process better. Some seriously savory recipes!! Can’t wait to try some out. 😊

Have a great day!!

The Broke Girl’s Guide To Healthy Eating

Yes, it’s true that health food can be staggeringly expensive — especially if it’s something trendy, like raw almonds or cold-pressed green juice. But, eating well and staying on a budget don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The secret is to plan ahead and choose staples you can cook with all week long. These foods — like canned beans, for example — aren’t necessarily flashy, but are still packed with nutrients. Click through for 14 affordable and healthy items you should always have on your grocery list. They’ll run you about $60 total, and you’ll use them to whip up countless good-for-you meals and snacks.

Eggs

What they cost: About $3-$7 per dozen, depending on whether you choose organic, cage-free, etc.

Why they’re healthy: Ounce for ounce, an egg is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. It contains all nine essential amino acids and is rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium, and vitamins A, B12, B2, and B5. One egg contains 113 mg of choline, a nutrient that’s critical for healthy brain function. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that can help protect your vision. Almost all of these nutrients are found in the yolk, so eat the whole egg!

How to cook with them: ”Eggs are incredibly versatile,” says Amelia Winslow, nutritionist, chef, and founder of Eating Made Easy. They’re not just for breakfast, either. “You can put an egg on just about anything, from sautéed veggies to rice and beans, and turn your dish into a complete, balanced meal.”

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Make a Southwestern omelet with salsa and diced avocado.

Canned Fish, Such As Tuna & Salmon

What it costs:About $2-$5 for a can of tuna and about $4-$5 for a can of salmon. All the experts we spoke to suggest you look for BPA-free cans and choose wild-caught salmon if you can afford it.

Why it’s healthy: Canned tuna and salmon are excellent sources of vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. (So are other varieties of canned fish, like sardines and anchovies — but they can be more of an acquired taste.) And, salmon is one of the best food sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that’s crucial for our immune function, bone health,and mental health. “Buying canned fish is a great way to get quality fish without having to spend a fortune,” say Hayley Mason and Bill Staley, founders of Primal Palate and authors ofMake It Paleo 2. Additionally, Winslow says, “canned salmon is among the ‘freshest’ fish you can buy, because it’s canned immediately after being caught, as opposed to being frozen and thawed before reaching your table.”

How to cook with it:Don’t worry about removing the bones if there are any — unlike the bones in fresh fish, which can pose a choking hazard, these bones are softer as a result of the canning process. And, canned fish bones are a terrific source of dietary calcium. Make tuna or salmon burgers in a food processor: Combine the fish with a little olive oil or mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, and the seasonings of your choice, then pan-sear the patties until golden brown on both sides. For a quick, easy lunch, simply add the fish (right out of the can) to a salad with a little olive oil and lemon juice, suggests Mason.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list:Make a kale and apple salad, top with canned fish, and dress with olive oil and lemon juice.

Avocados

What they cost: About $.88-$2 each. Unless you live in Southern California, avocados can be a bit of a splurge. But, this is one food you don’t have to buy organic — which can save you some money, say Mason and Staley. “Avocados top the ‘Clean Fifteen’ list of foods with the least amount of pesticide residues,” explains Mason.

Why they’re healthy: Avos contain healthy fat and protein, and they’re packed with lots of vitamins and minerals. In fact, they have more potassium than a banana, and high doses of vitamins C, E, K, B6, and folate.

How to cook with them: You can add avocado to just about anything, like sandwiches, eggs, dips, and even frosting or brownies. For an on-the-go snack, just grab an avocado and a pinch of sea salt, suggest Mason and Staley — it’s essentially a mini meal all on its own.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Stir together canned tuna or salmon with garbanzo beans, a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and top with avocado for a different take on white bean salad.

Oats

What they cost: $2.69-$4.29 for a canister or bag (usually between 18-22 oz)

Why they’re healthy: One of oats’ standout qualities is that they contain beta glucans, compounds that slow the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body. This helps keep your blood sugar levels steady and could be the reason why oats seem to keep people fuller longer than most other cereals. Just one half cup of oats contains a generous dose of folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc as well more than 100% of the recommended daily dose of manganese — a mineral necessary for strong bones and healthy skin.

How to cook with them:You don’t have to eat oats Oliver Twist-style. You can blend them into smoothies, soak them overnight with berries, or combine them with your Greek yogurt. As far as rolled versus steel-cut verses quick, nutritionally they’re all about equal; the only difference is texture and cook time, so pick your preference.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Combine oats, Greek yogurt, and frozen berries in a blender for a high-protein, high-fiber, low-sugar smoothie that will keep you going all morning.

Greek Yogurt

What it costs:About $1.25-$2 per small tub

Why it’s healthy: Greek yogurt packs up to three times the protein of regular yogurt, and many brands also contain beneficial bacteria that aid digestion. Go ahead and buy the full-fat kind instead of fat-free — full-fat dairy has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and a lower incidence of weight gain, and it also helps your body absorb nutrients better.

How to cook with it: Winslow recommends buying plain, so you can control the amount of sugar that’s added to it. This also means you can use the yogurt in savory dishes — it’s great in marinades, dressings, and dips, and you can also use it instead of heavy cream, mayonnaise, or sour cream. And, of course, it’s delicious for breakfast — including smoothies.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Make a protein-packed hummus by blending garbanzo beans with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Use as a sandwich spread or dip (try it paired with homemade kale chips).

Frozen Mixed Berries

What they cost:About $3-$4 per bag (typically 8-12 oz). Winslow recommends splurging for organic if you can, since berries are often on the “Dirty Dozen" list of produce with high amounts of pesticide residues.

Why they’re healthy: Berries are low in sugar, high in fiber, and one of the best food sources of antioxidants. But, if you can’t get to a farmer’s market, frozen fruits might be your next best bet, as research has shown that frozen produce often contains more nutrients than what’s found in the refrigerator case. This is because frozen produce is processed shortly after it’s picked, while fresh sometimes travels hundreds of miles before it ends up on a supermarket shelf — and during that time, its vitamins and antioxidants start to degrade.

How to cook with them: Mason and Staley use frozen berries in smoothies, while Winslow says you can blend them with olive oil and vinegar to make your own fruity salad dressing.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list:Thaw the berries and mix with Greek yogurt; use as a topping on oatmeal, pancakes, or granola.

Sweet Potatoes

What they cost:About $1.29 per lb

Why they’re healthy: Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin C, B6, and potassium, plus nearly 400% our RDV of vitamin A. Carotenoids, the compounds that give the potatoes their orange color, are powerful antioxidants that can help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity in addition to protecting against aging.

How to cook with them: Mason and Staley like to dice up sweet potatoes for breakfast home fries. They’re also delicious roasted (try them topped with toasted nuts or pomegranate seeds). Or, you can simply bake them (a shortcut: Pierce the skin a few times and microwave on high for 5-8 minutes) and eat with your favorite toppings.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Cut sweet potatoes into small cubes and sauté with ground beef and kale. If you have them on hand, add spices like cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, and cumin to turn it into a curry. (Curry powder works great, too.)

Ground Beef

What it costs: About $6-$7 per 1lb package

Why it’s healthy: Beef — and red meat in general — has significantly more B12, iron, and zinc than white meat. And, it can often be the best choice for those on a budget, say Mason and Staley. This is because meat from ruminant animals (cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, etc.) is made up of about equal parts saturated and monounsaturated fat, and only a small amount of polyunsaturated fat (which can be inflammatory). Unlike pork and poultry, the ratio of these fats stays relatively constant no matter what the animal eats. So, red meat can be a better choice for people who can’t afford pasture-raised or grass-fed meats.

How to cook with it: Ground beef can be more susceptible to bacterial contamination (the germs get mixed into the meat as it’s chopped up), so use a meat thermometer when cooking and make sure the temperature hits 160 degrees. One pound can make up to four meals, says Mason, who uses ground beef to make meatloaf, chili, stuffed peppers, and stir-frys.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Brown the beef in a frying pan, then add lentils and frozen veggies and season with a sprinkling of dried sage, turmeric, sea salt, black pepper, and fresh thyme.

Related: Pinch Those Pennies: 8 Superfoods Under $1 Per Serving

Kale

What it costs: About $3.49 per bunch of organic kale. Winslow recommends you always buy organic, since conventional kale tends to be heavily sprayed with harsh pesticides.

Why it’s healthy: Ah, the vegetable everyone loves. Or loves to hate. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, the fact is, kale didn’t get all that hype for no reason. One cup, chopped, has 206% our RDV of vitamin A, 134% vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of our vitamin K. Kale also contains glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that may protect against cancer and help our bodies detoxify. And, this stuff will last! Kale is much tougher than other leafy greens, so it won’t go bad as quickly, say Staley and Mason.

How to cook with it:Kale stands up to dressings without getting soggy — in fact, many culinary pros actually recommend dressing your kale ahead of time for better flavor. So, you can make kale salad on a Sunday and still be eating good on Tuesday. Homemade kale chips are also super-easy to make (roast pieces in a single layer in the oven) and will satisfy a potato chip craving — just check your teeth when you’re done.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Sauté kale and garbanzo beans with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then top with Greek yogurt. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with a little more salt and pepper.

Frozen Vegetable Medley

What it costs: About $3 -$3.50 per package (typically 10-12 oz)

Why it’s healthy: Like frozen berries, frozen veggies often contain more nutrients than produce that has been shipped long distances or left to refrigerate for an extended period of time. And, you don’t have to worry about them going bad, which is a waste of money, say Mason and Staley. Like all veggies, the frozen kind will bump up the amount of fiber and vitamins in a meal.

How to cook with it: You can add frozen veggies to just about any dish that could use more produce. Because they have a soft texture, frozen veggies are best in cooked dishes like stir frys, pastas, casseroles, and soups.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list: Make a stir fry with the veggies and ground beef and top with a fried egg.

Green Apples

What they cost:About $5 for a 4-pack of organic, which is recommended, since conventional apples are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Those chemicals tend to collect on the apples’ skin — which is also where most of the nutrients are concentrated.

Why they’re healthy: Low in sugar and high in soluble fiber, green apples help fill you up and stabilize blood sugar levels. As an added bonus, they can also save you from bad breath. That’s because the tartness in the apple stimulates saliva, which helps to break down bacteria in your mouth.

How to cook with them:The flavor of a green apple can be used from breakfast to dinner. Green apples are great in juices and smoothies, and they’re also delicious sliced into salads. Or, try sautéing or roasting them and serving with chicken.

Build a quick meal from this shopping list:Chop up an apple and mix it with kale and lentils. Toss with a dressing made from vinegar (preferably apple cider), olive oil, Dijon mustard, and honey.

Garbanzo Beans

What they cost:About $2-$2.50 per 15oz can. Look for a brand that’s BPA-free, like Eden Organic.

Why they’re healthy: One cup contains 15g of protein and a whopping 12g of fiber, not to mention iron, magnesium, potassium, and more than 70% of our RDV of folate.

How to cook with them:“Toss them into salads, blend them with olive oil and lemon juice to make a hummus-like dip, or add them to soups,” suggests Winslow. “You can even turn them into a crunchy, salty snack: Just coat them with a little olive oil and salt and roast at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.”

Build a quick meal from this shopping list:Make chickpea fritters by blitzing together one can of garbanzo beans (drained), one egg, ½ cup flour, an onion, and garlic in a food processor. Shape into patties and fry in a skillet. Top with Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

By Grace McCalmon

https://www.yahoo.com/health/the-broke-girls-guide-to-healthy-eating-108776332993.html