Campfire/Grill Mushrooms, Peppers & Onions with Kielbasa

Camping doesn’t mean we need to eat junk food. Healthy food can be quick and easy, too. It doesn’t take long to prepare these tasty meals. If you want to go meatless, ditch the kielbasa. The texture of the Crimini mushrooms is “meaty”. That’s why I like them. Happy camping!!!

 

Mushrooms

1 package of Baby Bella (Crimini) Mushrooms, whole

1 heaping spoonful minced garlic

Montreal Steak Seasoning or your favorite seasoning

Drizzle with EVOO

Wrap in aluminum foil and throw on the grill or grate over campfire for about 15-20 minutes.

 

Peppers & Onions

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Yellow Bell Pepper

1 Green Bell Pepper

1 White or Yellow Onion

EVOO to drizzle

Lemon Pepper or your favorite seasoning

1 heaping spoonful minced garlic

Wrap in aluminum foil and throw on the grill or grate over campfire for about 20-30 minutes.

 

Grill the Kielbasa on a grill or grated over the campfire.

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Southwesternized Spicy Thai Curry Noodle Soup

I had forgotten about this tasty noodle dish. It is so good and so quick the way I modified it. Yesterday I noticed I had a can of coconut milk, a half package of rice noodles in my cabinet. And being from New Mexico….yes, it’s one of the 50 states here in the USA; I’m an American….I usually have green chile in some form.

Adapted from a recipe I found 4 or 5 years ago and just googled again and found on http://heatherchristo.com/2014/01/27/spicy-thai-curry-noodle-soup/ (always give credit where it’s due).

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• 2 heaping spoonfuls of minced garlic (small dinner spoon) or less if garlic isn’t your fav. You can also mince your own. (I’m all about shortcuts now that I had to become left handed and my right hand lost 90% function).
• 1 nub of fresh chopped ginger or a large spoonful of ginger paste found in the produce section in a tube.
• 2-3 tablespoons curry powder
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil or just enough to make your curry paste. Otherwise the soup is oily.

 

Combine well in a bowl. Fry your paste for a few minutes.

 

• 4 cups vegetable broth**see below** (you can use chicken for non-vegan soup)
• 1 can coconut milk
• 1/2 of a package of rice noodles
**optional: a palmful of hemp hearts ( for added easily digested protein, iron, omega-3&6, B-vitamins, antioxidants, zinc, calcium Vitamins D&E, and other goodies. And no…there isn’t any THC in it!)

 

Deglaze the pot with the broth. Add coconut milk. Add seasoning like Goya Adobo Seasoning (my staple, “go to” soup seasoning. You’ll see it in other recipes of mine) or salt and pepper to taste (or your favorite staple seasoning). Bring to a boil and throw in the noodles for a few minutes. They will soak up a lot of the liquid.

 

• 1/4 batch of fresh cilantro (or less if you don’t care for a lot of it)
• 1 bunch chopped green onions
New Mexico green chile (you can use the canned kind in the Hispanic aisle, the jar kind in the natural grocery stores, or the “real” kind…roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped, if you are from the Southwest. They sell it at Whole Foods Market in the fall here in the Portland Metro area also.
Some would use the rest of the ingredients for garnish, but I throw the rest in the pot. It blends the flavors better. Simmer for a few minutes to achieve this.
Chow time!

 

**Homemade Veggie Broth:
Roughly chop onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers, or whatever veggies you have in your fridge and place in a Dutch oven or stockpot (depending on how much you want to make). Add seasonings such as garlic, celery salt, onion/garlic powder, and yes…..Adobo Seasoning. Cover with water (don’t forget to leave space for boiling so it doesn’t end up coating your stove….yes I learned the hard way). Bring to a boil and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out veggie mush and put it containers. I freeze what I’m not in need of in 4 cup containers because recipes usually call for that amount.

 

Thoughts from a Box of Baking Soda

IMG_7423Early in January, I was sitting on the couch on my laptop getting bank info so I could go shopping at the wholesale warehouse we use. I had all my coupons ready so all I needed to know was how much I had to spend. I was headed 30 minutes in one direction; Hubby and my nephew (who was still living with us at the time) were headed 30 minutes in the opposite direction.

All of the sudden, out of nowhere and for no reason, I felt this horrid pain in my lower left abdomen that doubled me over and made me cry. It was so bad; I almost had Hubby take me to the emergency room. The intense pain lasted about 20 minutes. The pain has not stopped since. It comes and goes and has levels of “ow”. I think I’m getting used to it now, so I can tolerate it better (except on bad days).

In the past four and a half months I have done nearly every test known to doctors. CT scans, ultrasounds, biopsy, blood work…..you name it. My blood work shows lower count white blood cells, large red blood cells, and I have toxic granulation (where my blood cells break apart), but no one can tell me what’s wrong with me or why I have this pain. At first they said I had beta-strep in my bladder which is a different kind of bladder infection. After 10 days of strong antibiotics (and one rip-roaring yeast infection) the problem still hadn’t been solved. Apparently I am a carrier of these bacteria. GI docs say it’s possibly colon spasms which can be quite painful; Female docs say it could be endometriosis. The hematologist said sometimes people have unexplained pain. I’ve been poked, prodded and drugged with no answers. Exploratory surgery is next on the list.

Not real keen on the idea of someone fishing around inside me for who knows what, I decided to try and take matters into my own hands.

I’m one of those people who don’t like to take medication unless it’s absolutely necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I know God gave us doctors and there is a place for medication but we don’t have to go the other way and say there is no place for natural remedies.

The GI doc told me to look into peppermint oil. It’s an anti-spasmodic. I got enteric coated peppermint oil supplements so they digest within the colon. Researching that lead me to other herbs and remedies. Did you know that Frankincense is one of God’s pain “pills” and that valerian root (you don’t want to take this too regularly) helps with pain as well? Stinging Nettles (which makes for great iced tea), Astragalus Root and Holy Basil (Tulsi) help build the immune system as well as having other benefits. And Turmeric helps with the digestive system as well as having other benefits (a nice warm cup of Silk Vanilla flavored soy milk with a tsp of turmeric and a tsp of cinnamon twice a day is pretty good stuff).

I’ve always leaned toward natural ways of doing things. Honey (local of course) and cinnamon or lemon concoctions for allergies, flu and colds or sore throats (I’m a huge fan of “Emergen-C” too); my system can’t handle dairy so I do soy or rice milk; ; I try to eat mostly fruits and veggies which is the original diet God had in mind for us “11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good……..29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

Over the years I’ve done a lot of reading on herbs and the healing properties they have. Until now, I haven’t really delved into trying too many. There are some great places online to buy bulk as well. It really is affordable to get into. Hopefully my immune system will thank me for it.

This mystery pain has really gotten me thinking about all the chemicals and things I constantly bombard my system with. It’s not just in the food and drinks but the toiletries and cleaning products too. “Convenience” has caused us to do things to our bodies that are really unhealthy. Our bodies are fighting back.

So, my next projects will be all about getting back to the basics in life; using the things that were provided for me to begin with. In a world where convenience has trumped healthy, I know it won’t be an easy task. Hubby thinks I’m weird anyway, so no harm no foul. I know my son will do some of these things with me (after all he is a product of me) but Hubby is a convenience/technology/”state-of-the-art” kind of guy……he’ll fight it tooth and nail.

About 2 years ago I started using homemade baking soda toothpaste. It works great, but I need the peppermint flavoring. I had a small bottle that lasted me through 2 batches then I couldn’t find it at any store in the area. I tried cinnamon which tasted terrible and then I got some great coupons and started using store-bought again. Frankincense powder is supposed to be great for teeth too but it tastes awful. I’ve seen recipes for it but don’t know if I can take the taste. Chewing the resin for pain isn’t too bad but the powder is nasty.

At the beginning of this week I gave up shampoo and conditioner. Hopefully this will solve my dandruff problem. I’m not a hair washing junkie anyway. Unless I get Grioli’s all over my hair (that’s the name of the Italian restaurant I work at) I only wash my hair every four days so this shouldn’t be a hard transition. See my project section to follow my journey on getting back to the basics. I really want to start taking care of my body, God’s temple and I’m not getting any younger. The time is now.

Pasta with Kale and Tomatoes and Onions

This one came out great the way I made it. I love modifying healthy recipes during my fast to adapt to the dudes too (who don’t fast).

Pasta with Kale

Whole wheat penne pasta

Kale

Olive oil

1 onion

Garlic

Can of tomatoes

1 TBsp wheat flour

2 cups soy milk

Red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

Adobo seasoning

Beef Stew Meat

Cook pasta add kale last 3 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Sautee onion in oil with seasoning , 6-8 minutes. Add garlic. Dredge in flour cook stirring for 1 minute. Gradually add milk. Cook til slightly thick, 2-3 min. Add red pepper. Throw everything together. Add tomatoes and simmer while you cook the meat. In another skillet, brown the meat in a small bit of oil. Take out fasting portion, add meat simmer for a few minutes to mingle the meat flavor. Voila! Dinner for all

7 Day Detox- Day 7

Day Seven Today your food intake will consist of brown rice, fruit juices and all the vegetables you care to consume.

Tomorrow morning you will be 10-17 lbs. lighter than one week ago. If you desire further weight loss, repeat the program again. You may repeat this program as often as you like, however, it is suggested that you are allowed two glasses of white wine in addition to the instructions on the program. You may substitute champagne for white wine. Under no circumstances are you to drink any other alcoholic beverages with the exception of beer which is allowed. Any liquor (bourbon, vodka, rum) is forbidden. Cream drinks are especially forbidden. You may have an occasional cordial such as creme de menthe or schnapps, but you must always limit yourself to two drinks. If you have wine, drink only wine that day. If you have beer, drink only beer that day, etc. Alcohol adds empty calories to your diet. However, after the first week it will help your digestion and settle your stomach.

 

Ok, Day 7….hardest day of all!

The rice and vegetables did nothing for me. I use brown rice regularly and I love vegetables.

But what my body really wants is substance. All Oreo jokes aside, I can’t wait to have a chicken salad lettuce wrap. I made chicken salad the other day for the dudes and it has been calling my name ever since. Normally my chicken salad is the bomb but Hubby said it didn’t taste the same this time. I have always used the taste as you go kind of cook (unfortunately the results always come out different. That’s why I’ve started documenting my recipes). I was doing the 7 Day Detox so I didn’t taste test. I wanted to get the full effect of the plan.

We were sitting on the couch in the evening after Dancing with the Stars Elimination show (I am an addict and have seen every season), and Hubby sat down with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. He asked if I wanted one: black.

During this Detox I realized something; I honestly forgot that I used to like my coffee black in my pre-hubby days. Hubby turned me on to the art of cream and sugar (ok, I can’t totally blame him). Since then I have graduated to sugar, powdered cream AND a splash of flavored liquid cream. Talk about a morning carb-fest!

In all reality, that was the easiest eating plan I have ever followed. I ate as much as I wanted, so I was always full. It is something I would be willing to repeat every once in a while. My waist went down by 3 ½ inches. Hubby said I look slimmer. It’s been eons since I weighed myself. If I had to venture to guess, I probably weigh about 150 (give or take 5).

The point of this was to cleanse my system and see how much healthier I felt. I don’t get the science behind the food plan, but it worked.  I know the excess water flushed me out, as well. I’m pretty sure I can stick to the water habit. If I drink one full jug of water (74 ounces) throughout the day and watch my caffeine intake it should be easy. I need to take my jug to work with me too. Just because the soda is free doesn’t mean I should drink it all the time. I really need to break my sugar addiction.

At the beginning of December, I’ll take you through another detox called the Lemonade Diet. It is a 10 day program. More details on that later. I’m still in the midst of research. My next project is going to be Photography based with a co-running project in Recipes. My best friend of 20some years is here for a 3 week visit from New Mexico. One of our favorite things to do together is cook.

I feel like a kid on Christmas eve waiting for Santa. She’ll be here tomorrow!

Cost Breakdown
¼ bag of frozen peppers and onion blend $0.27

¼ bag frozen broccoli $0.50

½ bag frozen California blend veggies $0.60

Brown rice ¼ a bag (made in a rice steamer) $0.25

Apple juice ½ gallon container $2.00

Total Cost: approximately $3.65

Total Combined Cost of the 7 Day Detox for me (and my belly was full feeling the whole time):  approximately $40

7 Day Detox- Day 6

Day Six Beef and vegetables. Today you may eat an unlimited amount of beef and vegetables. Eat to your heart’s content.

It occurred to me this week that popcorn can be classified as a veggie. It’s dried corn, right? I don’t know why I didn’t think of it the first 2 times I tried this detox. I put ¼ cup of popping corn in a brown bag and pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes. This is one of our staple snacks at my house. I don’t buy the prepared ones (I usually don’t buy anything prepared that I can make myself. I save a lot of money on groceries this way).

I had some heartburn issues again, mostly in the morning though. I wonder if it’s also the meat causing that. It was a chore to eat all the beef again. I made a hamburger (for lunch) and a big meatloaf with the ½ lb of meat. There were meatloaf leftovers. One of the vultures…I mean, my loving dudes, will eat it; it won’t go bad.

I think that the water drinking will be easy to integrate into my life. I have my trusty, easy to tote water jug and with the discovery of fruit water (Thanks Pinterest! J) I now have a new love for water. As I should! It is vital to healthy living; it is something our bodies require;

My leg is feeling better. I can walk better now. I had to limp around for a couple days. There is still a very large knot and a pretty dark-blue bruise; it still hurts a little to walk from the jiggle of my thigh. Hopefully I won’t try to catch anymore falling restaurant sized ice cream containers with my leg.

I’m pretty sure it’ll be a bit before I have any more beef. I’m all cowed out!

Cost Breakdown

¼ bag of frozen peppers and onion blend $0.27

½ bag frozen broccoli $0.50

½ lb ground beef $1.50

½ bag frozen spinach $0.50

Fresh green chile salsa from my lifelong, best friend’s garden $Free (I love her she keeps me going with New Mexican food…man I miss home)

3 small sweet potatoes approximately $0.75

Cucumber for my water $0.88

Package of Oreo cookies $just kidding

Total Cost: approximately $4.40

 

7 Day Detox- Day 5

Day Five Today is feast day. You will eat beef and tomatoes. Eat two 10 oz. portions of lean beef. Hamburger is OK. Combine this with six whole tomatoes. On day five you must increase your water intake by one quart. This is to cleanse your system of the uric acid you will be producing.

I did a little research on uric acidout of curiosity. The cause of high uric acid is purines. According to Wikipedia,” In humans, purines are excreted as uric acid. Purines are found in high amounts in animal food products, such as liver and sardines.[53] A moderate amount of purine is also contained in beef, pork, poultry, fish and seafood, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, lentils, dried peas, beans, oatmeal, wheat bran and wheat germ”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uric_acid).  Another cause of high uric acid is excessive consumption of beer and wine. Increased water intake, dairy intake and regular exercise depletes uric acid, along with eating less meat.

Too much uric acid can cause kidney stones, and a painful form of arthritis called gout. This is very useful information to me. I, at the age of 38, already have arthritis in my left arm and a few other miscellaneous places from injuries that have occurred in my life. Also, a few years ago I had an ultrasound that revealed un-passed kidney stones (probably from my caffeine habit).  I think it’s a good idea to control my uric acid levels to get ahead of the game.  I’m learning a lot on the 7 Day Detox. I really am on my way to healthier living.

And now, on to my take on Day 5.

The 6 tomatoes were easy for me to eat. Slice them up; add a little pepper and viola! Insta-meal.  Piece of cake! (ooh….cake! That would be awesome right now….or some Oreo cookies…mmm… wait! Focus, Nikki!). Ok, obviously I’m craving sweets today.

I’m thrown off by them calling it “Feast Day”; maybe a cow festival with all that meat. My first portion of beef was last week’s roast that I froze in expectation of the beef days. I made sure to eat the full 20 ounce allotment; it wasn’t easy for me. If I have meat, I prefer chicken or seafood. I get to do it again for Day 6; I’m just glad there’s no portion requirement.

I also noticed that adding 32 ounces more of water wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I even had even space left in my belly to have a mug of herbal tea at the end of the day. I thought for sure I would be water-logged.

I had a slight case of heartburn throughout the day as well. I figure it was from the tomatoes. 2 antacids took care of it for me.

Ok fun fact that has NOTHING to do with this detox: Did you know that you can download an app that acts as a T.V. remote? Hubby just showed me. I’m blown away with technology. There really is “an app for ‘THAT’”! Now if they would just make an app for a Dish Fairy to make my sink-full of dishes disappear!

Cost Breakdown:

Last Week’s leftover roast $0.00 (I feel justified in saying this because my dudes would have polished this off if I hadn’t put it away for myself. Therefore it was food I was already buying for them)

Tomatoes $3.20

Ground Beef approximately $1.40 (at $2.79/lb, there are 16 ounces in a lb, I ate approximately 8 ounces of this)

Total Cost: approximately $4.60

7 Day Detox- Day 4

Day Four Bananas and milk. Today you will eat as many as eight bananas and drink three glasses of milk. This will be combined with the special soup which may be eaten in limited quantities.

I finally made it through Day 4! I feel accomplished! No amendments to todays post…..yay!

I decided to make it easy on myself (and I’ll tell you why in a minute). I measured out the 3 glasses (24 ounces) of milk and threw 7 bananas in the blender. Banana milk is pretty good stuff. It’s very filling too. I decided to go with all 8 of the allowed bananas since I was substituting rice milk for real milk. The stuff I use is fortified with extra calcium. I ate one banana for breakfast. I have never been a breakfast person but I have been waking up hungry in the mornings since starting this detox. Later in the day, I ate one bowl of cabbage soup. It says limited quantities. It’s not specific so I only had one, which was my lunch.

On the night of Day 3, (while I was at work) I was in the walk in freezer getting cheesecake since I had used the last 2 pieces. We keep desserts on the top shelf and the 3 gallon tub of ice cream was in front. The ice cream fell off the shelf and for some ridiculous reason I tried to catch it with my leg. I have a huge bruise, a fabulous knot and am having a bit of trouble walking. Lovely!  Of course I had a ton of stuff to do and was supposed to work. The bad part of being a waitress is that if you injure a major appendage, you can’t work. My son, who has always wanted to be an EMT, spent the day nursing me back to health.

I measured my waist for reference for those who are using the 7 Day Detox as a diet plan. At the beginning of this week, I was at 34 inches on my waist. Today I measure 22 ½ inches. So, I have lost a little bit of weight.

One thing I noticed about Day 4 of this detox is that I should have spread my banana milk out. I was pretty hungry by the end of the day. Once again my teeth hurt from all the sugar. I have terrible teeth and too many sweets make them achy. I also find myself looking forward to a little meat tomorrow. I know I’ll enjoy eating 6 tomatoes.

Cost Breakdown:

Bananas approximately $2.50

Rice milk $4.00

Total Cost: approximately $6.50

7 Day Detox- Day 3 the Remix

Day Three A mixture of fruits and vegetables of your choice. Any amount, any quantity. No bananas yet. No potatoes today.

Without a doubt, Day 3 was easier than the first 2. Fruits and veggies only is definitely my natural element!  The grilled veggie stuffed bell peppers (see recipes) were amazing. Even though I made it up, I give Hubby all the credit for that recipe. I had him grill 5 of them so I have leftovers for day 6. Regarding the name of my peppers; I know, I know……my recipe has tomatoes in it which are technically a fruit, but according to answers.com(http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_tomatoes_considered_a_fruit_or_a_vegetable), I’m going to count them as a veggie. And since the diet doesn’t have any specifications against it, I feel comfortable making this exception.  (not to mention, I’m a tomato fanatic).

Here’s a fun fact: did you know that some think the tomato was the “forbidden fruit” from the Garden of Eden in Genesis? (Years ago, I took a 3 year bible overview course that followed Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible; that was one of the points of view it showed).  The yellow ones have called the “golden apple” according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato

Anyhow, back to the task at hand.

I’m feeling less bloated today from the water. I make frequent trips to the bathroom still, but I don’t feel like floating away like I did the first 2 days.  The water consumption part of the diet is a good habit to keep; I hope I don’t revert to my cola habit when I’m done with this deto, seeing as though I am on a quest for healthier living. My body is the Lord’s temple after all. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)

Today was the easiest day for me to follow. My body will probably rebel on Beef day (at least I have the tomatoes to keep me happy).  My son said “Don’t worry mom, I’ll do the beef thing with you.” Easy for him to say…..he’s the opposite of me and would eat nothing but red meat every day if I let him. Thanks son. LOL

Amendment: Nothing new to note about today. Still anxious about Day 4. I think I’ve figured it out this time, though. I can use lactaid milk in small portions, so I’ll mix it with soy or rice milk and make banana smoothies for my meals.

Cost Breakdown: 

Can of mandarin oranges $1.00

Leftovers from yesterday’s brussel sprout concoction $0.00

Stuffed Bell Peppers-I made 5 last week for $8.00 and froze which makes each pepper $1.60. I had 1

Blueberries for my water $1.25

Mixed frozen veggies $1.00

Total Cost: approximately $4.85

7 Day Detox- Day 2 the Remix

Day Two All vegetables. You are encouraged to eat until you are stuffed with all the raw or cooked vegetables of your choice. There is no limit on the amount or type. For your complex carbohydrate, you will start day two with a large baked potato for breakfast. You may top the potato with one pat of butter.

Day 2 went a lot better than Day 1. My first thought when I woke up was of the baked potato (my usual breakfast consists of coffee. I’m just not hungry in the mornings. So this was new to me). I headed downstairs to get a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates. I added a pat of Smart Balance Light since I am also dairy free (yes, I am definitely anxious about Day 4 which is milk and bananas day-still trying to decide what to do. Time to do more research).

As I said yesterday my normal diet consists of mostly vegetables (I’m not a vegetarian, I just don’t like meat all that much), so today wasn’t such a system shock. Regarding my anemia, I made sure I added in plenty of leafy greens for extra iron. Upon research, I also discovered that potatoes and chickpeas are high in iron (now it makes sense why I regularly crave both. Good info for the future).

I made the soup and added a ton of seasoning (I make my own onion soup mix, as well). Being a southwestern girl, I added green chile to it for a kick (the guidelines said the veggies could be changed or added to for taste differences). It still came out bland. So I kept adding spices. No salt though, so I didn’t feel like I needed even more “replacement” water since salt can deplete water. I also added twice the amount of water to the recipe because I couldn’t justifiable call it soup without any liquid in it. It seemed like just steamed vegetables. Plus, I like to have veggie broth in stock for normal recipes so I put some juice away for later.

When I got to work I realized I didn’t bring my water and in my city we don’t drink public water. I’m a waitress and my shifts only last 4-6 hours thankfully. So I drank some coffee instead. (Self note- don’t forget to take water to work. I don’t need all that soda that I normally drink there anyway). Even with that error, I still got in the daily requirement for water (although, I paid for my mistake with multiple trips to the bathroom throughout the night). As a bonus, since I started infusing my water, I have a new love for it and am pretty sure it’s something I can sustain (I’m on my way to a healthier diet and it’s only Day 2). By bedtime I was definitely stuffed with veggies………and of course, craving fruit (Go figure!).

Well, I’m off to the store to buy some more toilet paper….we r SO out!

Amendment:  I am ashamed to admit how addicted to potatoes I am. I am now aware of my problem. Once again, my first thought was of that stupid potato. That’s probably another good habit to pick up from this detox; avoiding eating so many carbs. Hi my name is Nikki, and I am a carboholic.

Cost Breakdown:

Frozen California blend veggies- about $0.60 (half a small bag)

Brussel Sprouts $2.00

Bell Pepper $0.80

The Red Onion and Celery I used can’t even be counted in money I had them on hand and used small portions

¼ head of iceburg lettuce- $0.25

Romaine hearts $1.00

Tomatoes $0.50