Déjà Vu

You might remember a post from last month wherein I SWORE I would write a post every day of November. It was a lofty goal that I absolutely tanked on. I blame it on equal parts the flu, a particularly notable case of writer’s block, and, let’s face it, rampant time mis-management. Thank you to the readers that have stuck with me with multiple stop-and-go spurts. I promise I won’t leave you hanging again!

Good Judgment Rita Mae Brown

Moving the blog forward, I’d like to put it out there into the universe that the mission of Our Camo Covered Life has officially evolved as our own Camo Covered Lives have changed.

As a military couple working our way back from financial catastrophe, we have become quite skilled at making the most of what we have so that we can live below our means and subsequently build a brighter financial tomorrow.

It is our sincere hope that others can benefit from our hard-learned lessons. Therefore, moving forward, Our Camo Covered Life will be geared toward frugal living, with cameo appearances of DIY and food in a frugal context.

If you happen to be further interested in money-wise writing, you may want to consider liking my Facebook page over at http://www.facebook.com/katyreiberwriter. Whenever I happen across a great frugal living/personal finance article, I tend to share it there.

I truly look forward to sharing this journey with you and I hope you’ll consider coming along for the ride. After all, carpooling is a great way to save money!

 

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It’s aliiiiive!

I have a confession.

I haven’t posted to the blog since July. Oh, you noticed that too? Hmm…

Well, this is awkward.

The good news is that the freelancing project tsunami has finally retreated and left new blog life in it’s wake. It’s November… and it’s National Blog Post Month. A perfect time to come back with a vengeance, don’t you think?

So, this month I’ve effectively cleared my freelancing schedule to give us some time to reconnect… we’ll have much frugal and food-related fun as we recap some of those posts I meant to share in the last couple months and some new content too.

I hope you can carve out a few minutes to drop by from time to time as we head into in this increasingly hectic holiday season and, as always, suggestions are more than welcome!

Here’s hoping to a fun filled November and a joyous holiday season!

Cheers!
Kate

PS First post on the docket is an introduction to couponing. Saving you some dough during the holidays so you can afford more… dough?

Yeah, we’ll go with that…

For The Love of Quinoa

It’s a rather novel addition to the mainstream North American diet, but what you likely don’t know about quinoa, well, you should.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) is a wonderfully filling and protein-rich food, a staple of the South American communities that have grown it for generations. Quinoa is often mistaken for a grain, but in reality our society is becoming addicted to the tiny seeds of the chenopodium plant. When cooked, this grain-like seed resembles a small round grain of rice, surrounded by tiny, delicate tendrils of its germ (the source of its high protein profile). Rumor has it that quinoa is the only complete protein derived from a plant source, and I would venture to guess that that’s right… Quinoa is one of the best foods for satiety that I’ve come across, and it boasts an immense list of healthy attributes, including anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy properties.

I haven’t always loved quinoa, though. In fact, the first time I tried my hand at it, I hated it. It tasted bitter and the bulk of it ended up in the trash. But then the nutritional world kept right on buzzing. And I saw more and more recipes focused around the seed. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I hadn’t given quinoa a real chance. Maybe I had used the wrong kind or missed a step. I bought more. I googled. It seems I was right that I was wrong. I didn’t adequately rinse the quinoa and I hadn’t even thought to toast it first.

And, then, this morning, I tried it again. I rinsed the heck out of it, and then I toasted the heck out of it. And now that my quinoa was thoroughly lacking any trace of heck, I cooked it.

Three words.

DE.

LI.

CIOUS.

quinoa

And so simple too.

1 cup dry quinoa.

Rinse it thoroughly in a sieve (And I DO mean thoroughly.)

Toast it for 1-2 minutes in a fry pan with a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add 2 cups of liquid and 1/4 tsp of salt. Bring to a rolling boil.

Cover and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.

Let stand for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork, add salt and pepper, and ENJOY!

I’m glad I gave quinoa another chance. What about you? Have you discovered any novel foods that you now can’t live without?

Spearmint and Hibiscus Tea

Few things in life can provide me with as much satisfaction as a recipe made with ingredients from the yard. Eggs and lemons are our primary homegrown staples, but we also have a host of other crops, and among them are spearmint and hibiscus. (I tend to forget that hibiscus is edible until I run across a recipe using it.)

hibiscus flowers

As I realized today just how many hibiscus flowers were in bloom, I was inspired to try my hand at making hibiscus tea, an idea that I have often seen floating around Pinterest and that I heard a friend had recently made for guests.

It was, à la Borat, a great success!

I’m glad I added in the spearmint, because the flowery and minty flavors were wonderful together. I’d caution you not to use too much mint, though, as it overpowers the hibiscus easily. I also recommend you make a double batch. After all was said and done, there was only about a third of a pitcher of tea, which is great if you’re drinking it hot by the glass, but not so much if you want more than a couple iced glasses of it.

I must say, though, that the best part of making this tea was simply how fast the magic started happening as soon as the flowers dropped into the hot water. They instantly started to lose their color and it made me ridiculously excited to watch. If anything, I recommend you try this recipe purely for the entertainment value… and also to say you made something edible out of hibiscus flowers, because when you get right down to it, making a beverage out of hibiscus flowers is pretty impressive.

Spearmint and Hibiscus Tea… it’s like a tropical vacation in a glass!

hibiscus iced tea

Spearmint and Hibiscus Tea

Ingredients:

9 cups water
13 fresh hibiscus flowers
3 fresh spearmint leaves
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Rinse flowers thoroughly. Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add sugar and stir. Add flowers and spearmint. Steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher. Can be served hot or iced.

If you’re interested, you can check out the neat pictures of the flowers starting to steep here and after a few minutes here.

Sauteed Kale Pasta

Some days you just need a quick and healthy meal. We’ve all been there. The following is an account of my latest attempt to combine the first two healthy ingredients I found into a decent meal…

Now, pay attention, because I’m going to have to walk you through this terribly complicated recipe…

Step One: Saute Kale with olive oil and butter.

kaleStep Two: Boil and drain whole wheat spaghetti noodles.

whole wheat pastaStep Three: Combine.

kale pastaStep Four: Add butter. (Because, let’s be honest, everything is truly better with butter.)

pasta kale butterStep Five: Now this is the hard part… Mix it together.

final kale pasta

And devour!

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t quite as hard as I made it out to be…

What’s your go-to quick and healthy meal?