Featured Friday – Small Wallet Big Appetite

It’s that time of the week again!!! My favorite day!! I am Co-Hosting today with another #SundaySupper favorite of mine!! Laura from Small Wallet Big Appetite is here with me today! Laura is a wife and a busy mom of one who somehow squeezes in time to work freelance. She has many passions in her life; family, traveling and gardening to name a few. But second only to her family, is cooking. Laura’s love for cooking started at a very early age. She remembers when she was about seven, waking up early, pushing a chair against the kitchen counter and making her parents a surprise breakfast. Now while she couldn’t attest to how good it was it was, it was the start of her love for preparing meals for others. It is more than just enjoying the food itself, it is the anticipation of having someone take that first bite. I can agree with that Laura! I think that must be when you really know if you truly enjoy cooking, that feeling you get when the person you are cooking for takes that bite and enjoys it every other bite after it!

It is also Laura’s dream to inspire those who are afraid to cook or feel that they are just not good at cooking, to believe in themselves enough to at least try. She believes that everyone is capable of cooking amazing meals and that with a little bit of guidance and encouragement that people can achieve more in the kitchen then they ever thought possible. That is why she strive to photograph her recipes in cooking steps, because she knows you can learn so much from seeing it rather than just reading it. I agree with Laura here too, I work so much better with visuals! I love the cook books that show pictures and steps, it’s always nice to see what “it should” look like while you’re attempting a recipe for the first time.

Laura also believes that when it comes to dealing with debt the best way to reduce your family’s budget is in the kitchen. At different points in our lives we all struggle with our budgets and it can seem impossible to pay off our debts let along save any money. But Laura has found that when she tackles her food budget and makes certain lifestyle changes with her families eating, she saw a huge difference in the amount of money they saved each week. You might be amazed at how significant a small change can make! This is one of the things I love the most about reading Laura’s blog, I could always use a good tip when grocery shopping. Nobody wants to be limited, you really don’t have to if you stick to the tips Laura talks about on her blog.

Check out Laura’s Pantry, and see what she always has on hand to be able to stick to a certain budget. You can also take a look at her Conversions page, this may be helpful while cooking when you’re not sure of everyday conversions, hey I even used it yesterday when I had to give my daughter amoxicillin for her sinus infection, I needed to find out how many millimeters was in two teaspoons! Thanks Laura

Another section I will be going to sometime next year is a section called Baby-Led Weaning. I heard a lot of mommies talk about this after my daughter was born, I went to mommy groups a lot and this subject was discussed a lot however I never looked into, I believe I may not have the issues  I have with my daughter with eating close to nothing…….could be avoided if I had tried Baby-Led Weaning, so you better believe that I’ll be trying next year with Baby F. :)

So before I move onto what awesome recipe I’ve tried of Laura’s, lets give her a hand and a special Thank You for Co-Hosting with me today! :)

If you remember back in October I hosted the Crock Pot Challenge of 2012. Well Laura was one of the participants who cooked 5 dishes of crock pot meals and posted about them on her page. Well one of her dishes caught my eye and I’ve been meaning to make it for a few reasons, one because it’s a side dish and I can honestly say I’ve never cooked a side dish in the crock before, and two because I’ve never cooked with Leeks before, yes I know I know, crazy, but I haven’t. Well pregnancy sent me into a whirlwind of nausea and tired days so when Laura came up on my list for a Featured Friday I knew right away what dish of hers I wanted to make!!!! Yay!

Crockpot Barley and Leek Risotto

1.260 Liters (5 1/4 c.) low-sodium vegetable broth
(1 1/2 c.) pearled barley, rinsed
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 tsp thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

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Chop up leeks so they are in thin small slices. I like to chop the leek in half and then chop up the stalk.

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In a slow cooker, combine the broth with the barley, leek, thyme, garlic, 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper.

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Cook on low until the barley is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 4 hours.

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Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Spoon the barley risotto into bowls and serve, with additional cheese or any other toppings of your choice. I added peas to mine because it’s one of the few veggies that my daughter has been eating lately!

Small Wallet Big Appetite

I think it has the Madison Approval!!

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