7.28.2014

Tuna corn salad

I'm not a big fan of canned tuna. I love a good grilled tuna steak, but that's generally about it. No one else around here will eat tuna noodle casserole so I rarely get to eat it. That was the only use I had for canned tuna.

Until this year.

Delicious summer tuna corn salad - www.lifeinrandombits.com #salad #dinner #recipe

I've discovered two fantastic tuna dishes that I can't get enough of. Tuna corn salad, in particular, is amazing. The flavors are so fantastic together, especially with fresh ingredients. You really can't beat fresh tomatoes and herbs plus corn cut off the cob.

I'm not sure where or how I found this recipe. It was either Pinterest or a linky party a few weeks ago. I'm so glad I took a chance and made it for dinner one night. Doug thought it was a dinner party worthy recipe. He also claimed most of the leftovers over the next couple days. A winner for sure!

Delicious summer tuna corn salad - www.lifeinrandombits.com #salad #dinner #recipe


Tuna Corn Salad 
from An Italian in my Kitchen

Ingredients
  • 1 cup drained tuna (I used two cans)
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked sweet corn
  • 20 halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • ½-1 green onion chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons oregano
Directions

In a medium size bowl, add tuna, mozzarella, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes,celery, green onion, basil, oregano and toss gently. In a small bowl mix salt and vinegar and pour over tuna mixture. Then add the olive oil, gently toss together, let sit in fridge for 1 hour, and serve.

You know me, I messed with the ingredients a bit. The original recipe showed chopped up string cheese. I used fresh mozz and just chopped it. We also were swimming in garden tomatoes so I just chopped some of those up instead of using cherry tomatoes. And I boiled corn and cut it off the cob. I also neglected to fully read the directions and just mixed up all the dressing ingredients together and dumped them over the salad. It worked just fine.

A note: Perhaps don't eat this on your patio unless you have a way to combat flies. We had a gorgeous setup on the patio for a nice Sunday dinner. And then the flies descended, attracted by the tuna I assume. Within 6 minutes of getting set up, we were running for the house. Oh well. Dining al fresco doesn't always work out.

Delicious summer tuna corn salad - www.lifeinrandombits.com #salad #dinner #recipe

What's your favorite cold salad to make in the summer? We love light, easy summer salads and always love new recipes!


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7.24.2014

Save on natural & organic groceries!

After we settled in Austin, we were thrilled to find that the farmers' markets are year round. A big improvement over the sporadic farm stands and small markets in New Hampshire and Ohio. Our schedules don't always leave us time to get to the market, but it's really nice to know that there are several throughout the week we can try to get to.

Eventually we discovered Wheatsville, a fantastic co-op grocery store. Our grocery trips here were sporadic at first. But, as we started to change the way we were eating and we began to focus more on local, organic, and natural, Wheatsville became our primary grocery store and we became members.

Yes, things are pricier at the co-op sometimes. But we get a lot of fresh, in season, local produce and that's our favorite feature. There are quarterly member specials, lots of good coupons and deals every week, and buying in season is always cheaper.

I've found several sources of natural and organic coupons over the last year or so. When we originally started shopping organic, there weren't a lot of coupons to be found. Now, I can find many for products we normally buy, especially things that Phee really loves.

These are great resources and have definitely helped our grocery budget. You may find duplicates if you visit all of these sites every week. For example, Greenbacks Gal lists all sorts of coupons which then link to the actual coupon site, such as Common Kindness. If you use these regularly, you'll start to recognize which coupons you've already seen and which ones are likely duplicates and you can save yourself the extra time trying to get them to print!

Coupon and deal resources for saving on natural & organic groceries - www.lifeinrandombits.com

Natural & Organic Coupon Resources
Mambo Sprouts
Mambo Sprouts is a great resource for info on natural and organic products. They have a blog, samples, and coupons available in several ways. Best of all, they have printable coupons.
 
The Greenbacks Gal
Andrea at Greenbacks Gal is all about saving on organic products. She has recipes, daily deals on all kinds of healthy lifestyle items, and links to printable natural and organic coupons.

Coupons.com
Surprisingly, Coupons.com often has printable coupons for healthy and beauty products we use and some organic foods. I didn't expect this when I first started perusing their coupons.

Common Kindness
Common Kindness is a great resource. Not only do they have their own coupon gallery, they also have Smart Source, Redplum, and other galleries as well. The Common Kindness gallery has the most organic and natural printable coupons, but you can find other useful coupons, such as batteries or allergy medicine, in the other galleries too.

Another great feature? You can register and choose a charity to benefit from your printing and saving!

Money Saving Mom
This site is full of all sorts of deals on ebooks, magazines, groceries, drug store items, and more. There are recipes, projects, and all sorts of info geared toward saving money. Each week, there is a Natural & Organic Coupons & Deals post. Much of the information comes from Greenbacks Gal, but if you follow the site, you can often find deals and coupons for other things throughout the week. I've been clued in to some great sales and deals at Target and Amazon by following Money Saving Mom.

Lozo
Lozo is new to me. I've only tried it a couple times, but you can enter in the products you're shopping for and then the site searches the internet for available printable coupons for those products. You can also sign up for coupon alerts. The first time I tried it, I did find a couple useful coupons. I'll definitely be testing it again.
 
Checkout51
I love this app. This isn't coupons, it's money back on specific products. After you shop, you upload a photo of your receipt, choose the offers you're redeeming, and once approved, the money appears in your Checkout51 account. Once you reach $20 you can request a check. Using this is a slow and steady race for us, but they have at least one fresh produce offer each week. While it might only be a $0.25, that quarter is better than nothing!

Sometimes, if you follow a particular brand on Facebook, they will have printable coupons on their page. I know Green & Black's chocolate has done that before. And Rudy's, too, I think. One other thing I've tried is contacting companies directly if I really like a product. Sometimes I get lucky and get coupons in the mail!

What resources have you found for saving on natural and organic products and produce?

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7.23.2014

Early morning


Gorgeous summer morning sunrise in Austin - www.lifeinrandombits #austin #morning #wordlesswednesday


Linked up at Gay NYC Dad, Mrs. Tee, A Star in My Own Universe, Carrie with Children, Fresh Mommy Blog, Dagmar's Home.
 
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7.22.2014

Laundry organization

I like to think I'm a fairly organized person. At work, I'm very organized and everything is in its place if I'm in charge of it. At home... everything is usually organized. Or, I have some great ideas about organizing at least.

Doug and I cleaned out our closet a while ago. It has decent shelving, though not ideal. There's plenty of room for all our stuff which is the important part. Except the three compartment laundry cart that moved with us from the apartment never really fit.  We used it because there wasn't anything wrong with it, but it was constantly in the way.

Once it started to fall apart, I was thrilled to move it out.  So, when we cleaned out, we rearranged a little bit. My china is in the closet because I don't have another safe place to store it. That bin moved, I culled my unworn shoe collection and nearly never used bags that were piling up.

And then it was time to figure out the dirty laundry situation. After searching high and low for a decent hamper that would fit and match, I gave up. None of them were what I really wanted.

Use laundry baskets in the closet to organize and collect dirty laundry - www.lifeinrandombits.com

My solution? Laundry baskets. They fit perfectly side by side under Doug's hanging clothes. They tuck in and don't take up too much space. No one is tripping over them. It's useful, purposeful storage and organization.

Best of all? You know exactly when it's time to do laundry. With the old laundry sorter, you could jam a lot of clothes into each canvas compartment and suddenly you've got no clothes and too much for just one load of laundry.

With laundry baskets, you're all set. Basket is full? Time to do a load of laundry. It's perfect! We have a few extra baskets for when we've got a lot of towels or sheets to wash. Doug keeps one in his office to catch all the work clothes he ditches in there.

It's been a great space saver and has kept our laundry and closet much more organized. And that certainly makes me happy!

What laundry solution has worked best for you?

Use laundry baskets in the closet to organize and collect dirty laundry - www.lifeinrandombits.com

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7.21.2014

Restaurant Roundup

We're big fans of local and organic and love all the great farmers markets that are available around Austin. Buying Texas is a part of that so when my good friend Shelley invited me to attend the kickoff of Go Texan Restaurant Roundup week, I jumped at the chance. Go Texan is great program that promotes food and products from Texas. I love finding the little symbol on things I buy at the grocery store and knowing I'm helping local companies and farms.

Now, the Restaurant Roundup is a very neat celebration of the state. Participating restaurants have special dishes and drinks and make donations to food banks across Texas during the week. It's win-win if you ask me: delicious Texas food and support for thousands of people across the state.

The kickoff was at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. I love that museum and its awesome mosaic entryway floor. I feel compelled to take a picture of the giant star out front every time I visit. I've always wanted to go to an event there, so now I can cross that off my list!

There were a number of local restaurants and wineries sharing sips and bites as a preview of their menus this week for the Restaurant Roundup. Honestly, everything was just delicious. Some were favorites, of course, because how can you not thoroughly enjoy lobster rolls or pie?!

Dock and Roll lobster roll
I'm a sucker for lobster and always will be. Absolutely delicious! And the homemade chips were light, crispy, and amazing.

Tiny Pies pecan mini pie
I'm not generally a fan of pecan pie, but this is by far the best one I've ever had. I could have eaten many more!

The great thing? Restaurant Roundup isn't just in Austin, it's all over the state. So, if you plan on going out this week, I highly suggest checking out a participating restaurant because your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised!

What's your favorite Texas dish?

Austin Land and Cattle pulled pork slider
Perfectly cooked pork in this little slider. The sauce was so flavorful.

Carmelo's pasta with shrimp and zucchini mousse
Great pasta dish! The zucchini mousse had an interesting texture, but the flavor was good.

Searsucker Shiner fried eggplant
How can you not love beer fried anything? Perfectly crisp and lovely with the sauce and slaw.

Backspace and Parkside bites with goat cheese and Texas quail
Tasty little bites. The goat cheese on the left was wonderful and the quail on the right was delicate and delicious.


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