In the Kitchen | Let's talk about...

Let's talk about FOOD! I love food. I mean, I really LOVE food! I love cooking it and eating it and I even love reading books about food. Food. Is. Awesome. As you may know, these last few months have been insane in the most amazing of ways, but with the busyness of our lives, it's super easy to decide not to cook and just pick up take-out or eat something from a box a wee bit more than we should. I'm happy to report that has not been the case... thanks to Real Plans!

Real Plans is a subscription online meal planner offering a variety of options for dietary needs/restrictions that I discovered through one of my favorite foodies, Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo and I've been using it ever since. I was instantly in love, but I wanted to see if the love wore off over time. It's been more than 3 months now and I love Real Plans even more today!


TRUE! I'm now spending a fraction of my previous planning time getting organized and cooking so much more for our family! Over the last 2+ years, cooking at home has become even more important for me with my celiac disease diagnosis, because in addition to it being rather difficult (and expensive) to dine out, we're also limited in options. I have yet to be bored with Real Plans and my 'to cook' list is growing weekly.

I've always loved cooking. My mom is a wonderful cook and shared the joy of the kitchen with me at an early age. I honestly can't even remember how young I was, but I do remember feeling right at home in the kitchen and it's the same to this day. I love the flavors, colors and smells of fresh food and making something delicious from scratch is one of my favorite past times. I enjoy it so much, that many times I'm at a crossroads of knitting or cooking and cooking can win that contest. I love cooking THAT much!

I also adore my cookbook collection (really, I'm a total sucker for pretty pictures of food and flipping through pages and putting on post-it notes), but getting organized for the week was time consuming and was expensive (really, I wanted everything) and I would much rather spend my available time actually cooking. But... I found that if I didn't spend the time planning, I'd toss whatever into the cart at the grocery store and so much of the food would go to waste over the next week because I lacked a plan. 

Now I spend about an hour each week planning things out and we're saving $ at the grocery store. Real Plans has paid for itself (and then some) with what we're saving. Wanna see how it works?

So... now I feel like this is an infomercial, but seriously, this has changed my life and I'd only share if I believed in it and I wholeheartedly do - I believe in it so much that I'm an affiliate now. I'm also asked frequently about how I plan food out and I've been so happy with Real Plans that I HAVE to share the joy! In addition to a HUGE library of recipes that are built in, there are some amazing additions that are really reasonably priced, including: Nom Nom Paleo, Whole 30, Well Fed, Cookie & Kate and more! AND... (yes, this is where I say... "wait, there's more!") you can modify the existing recipes (ingredients, portion size...) and you can add your own recipes. The latter is very important to me because I find so many delicious recipes online and it's as simple as adding a url to the recipe box or clicking on the Real Plans Chrome extension to add it. It's so easy and quite fun. 

That's all the words I have for you today. I'm passionate about cooking at home and healthy eating and I hope I've inspired you to get organized and into your kitchen. Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.



In the Kitchen | Pickles, Curd and more...

Last weekend when I finally started feeling like myself again, I *might* have gone a little off the deep end in the kitchen. Really, I couldn't help it. I was sick and didn't feel like myself for a month and spent about half of it without an appetite. I didn't get my needed relaxing time in the kitchen, but last weekend, I made up for it... First, Marisa of the fabulous Food In Jars blog posted a recipe for Honey Sweetened Meyer Lemon Curd on March 5th and I had hubby get lemons for me so I could make it the following weekend, then I came down with that bear of a cold. While I was out of commission, I literally had dreams about this stuff - seriously, my mouth waters just thinking about it. So, this was on my kitchen 'to make' list last Sunday and I have to say, it is divine! A little bit of patience and time is a small price to pay for the end result of a perfectly balanced tart and sweet lemon curd. Yum!!!IMG_20140412_143201Then, not wanting to waste the egg whites from the lemon curd, I had the brilliant idea to make some lightly sweetened coconut macaroons. As they were baking, I dug around and found some dark chocolate bars to melt and drizzle on. These also were DELICIOUS! In my usual fashion, I made these up as I went along since I wanted a VERY low sugar recipe. I'll keep track next time and I can type it up.

IMG_20140412_143004Next, I started a batch of homemade yogurt - I've been doing this for a couple years now and I love it! The texture and taste is so much better than store bought.


And then I took a break to spend some time with my new sewing machine (more on that in an upcoming post).


After sewing success, it was time for supper and I had another Food In Jars recipe that I had to make. Marisa had been taunting me with her Instagram photos of some Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumbers on a salad with lentils and avocado. Again, as soon as I saw these, I knew I had to make them. They are delicious and I've had them 3 times this week!!!

IMG_20140410_201312Then, I while I was letting the cucumbers mingle with the flavor a bit, I started a batch of Homemade Kimchi - also from Food In Jars (have you noticed a theme here?). It's been cool in our house so it's taking a bit longer to ferment, but after setting for a few days, I think it's ready to pop into the fridge to enjoy. I can't wait to try it!


It's time for another weekend, I don't have any crazy kitchen plans like last weekend. Regardless, I'm sure I'll find something to whip up.

What's on your 'to cook' list for the weekend or have you made something fabulous lately? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy weekend and CHEERS!



Shiny and New

The time has come for my interests to occupy the same internet space. This website is the new home for all things Alisa -- welcome to! I started blogging several years ago and during that time I've had various blogs focusing on my interests. Opening Firefly Fibers in 2010 meant there would be much less time for my blogging and the posting became random, at best. [easyrotator]erc_7_1353966169[/easyrotator]

I enjoy blogging and this new home allows me to centralize everything for everyone's convenience (and my own sanity). Over time, you will see my past posts carrying over to the new site, but mostly you will find new posts on the fiber obsession that consumes nearly all of my life -- knitting, spinning and other fiber related tangents -- and also a view into my kitchen, books, music, travel and life in general.

I look forward to growing my new website and sharing with you. Cheers!

PS - Stay tuned for a giveaway later this week celebrating my new website launch!