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Posts Tagged ‘eat cheap’

Homemade Raspberry Jam Bars

February 11th, 2009
Homemade Raspberry Jam Bars

Homemade Raspberry Jam Bars

In the month of February the days begin to get a little bit longer and it is a thrill to wake up to a sunny bedroom in the morning. It may still be blustery cold outside, but I can not help but dream of warmer days that will be spent in my garden, at the local farm markets, and at an assortment of pick your own farms.

I long for the days when I can leave the house early in the day with great big empty baskets and not return until they are full of the season’s treasures. As the sun sets, I will sit on my patio with a glass of wine and a good book while our dinner cooks on the grill. Late into the evening when the weather has cooled and a slight breeze billows through my windows, I will begin the process of canning the brilliant flavors of spring and summer.

On wintry grey days like today in Ohio, I will go down to the basement and pull out a jar of food that was preserved during my favorite time of year. I smile every time I hear that Ball Jar lid pop open and I am reminded to hold on just a little bit longer, that nothing lasts forever, and this season too will pass.

Today as I popped open a gorgeous, jar of my homemade Raspberry Jam the deep red color reminded me of sunnier times. It was an absolute pleasure to use it to make Homemade Raspberry Jam Bars. After mimimal effort, my home was filled with the exquisite fragrance of raspberries, butter, and sugar. Because they are blissfully decadent, but easy to make, these cookies and this recipe will always hold a special place in my heart. So, for Valentine’s Day I am choosing  to share a taste of my home and a cookie that we love with you. Try them with your favorite jam, preserves, or marmalade and I bet you will love them too.

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Vanilla Souffle

February 9th, 2009
Vanilla Souffle     Vanilla Souffle

Whenever I set a souffle on the dining room table, the room gets quiet, guests hold their breath, and for a brief moment there is complete silence. Secretly, this always amuses me, because there have been many things that I have completely annilated in the kitchen, but knock on wood, a souffle is not one of them. At least not yet…

Now yes, I will admit that once upon a time, anytime I saw a souffle recipe in a magazine or cookbook, I would quickly flip the page. I had absolutely no intention of making one in this lifetime and suffering through the humiliation of serving something that resembled a flat soggy pancake in a souffle dish. However, a few years ago, I discovered that souffles were very simple to make, using ingredients that I almost always have on hand. A basic souffle does not cost a fortune to make, require you to slave in the kitchen for hours, or disastrously explode without warning. Instead it can be the most inexpensive, yet most impressive desserts you have ever made.

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A Simple Asparagus Salad

February 8th, 2009

 

Asparagus Salad

Asparagus Salad

Once I had tasted asparagus that had been roasted or grilled, I was hooked on its delicious caramelized texture and never looked back. Other then enjoying them pureed in a soup or canning Pickled Asparagus for Bloody Marys, I really did not crave it any other way. However, recently while searching through some old Polish recipes, I found a simple and inexpensive way to prepare it that completely captured my curiosity.

I picked up a fresh bundle of asparagus at the market this weekend for $1.99 and for less than $3.00, I made this gorgeous dish to enjoy as a light snack. The colors were bright, he flavors were crisp, and although, I am not a huge fan of hard boiled eggs, I found myself dragging them through the remnants of the dressing on my plate till there was nothing left. The pairing of flavors was so divine, that I can not wait to make this again. It is a perfect make-ahead dish that would be a welcome relief to vegetables and dip at a party. The hard-boiled eggs could easily be replaced with cocktail shrimp or do not use either and serve this as a side dish next time you make dinner.  Either way, you really should try it and remember how good asparagus is when it is lightly cooked and simply prepared.

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Eating for $30 a Week or Less

January 25th, 2009

30 Bucks a Week

Recently I discovered a blogger in Brooklyn, NY, who set forth on a challenge to feed 2 people for $30 a week. The purpose of the blog, $30 Bucks a Week, is simply to demonstrate that it is entirely posible to eat healthy and suport a sustainable lifestyle without spending a fortune at the checkout counter.The blog and the challenge began in September of 2008 and is still going strong. The practical, well thought out approach utilizes cookbooks  such as Mark Bittman’s, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters .

Natural and organic foods are frequently utilized to create an interesting repertoire of meals that range from Polenta with Three Root Ragu to Caramelized Onion Soup in a Bread Bowl. They are eating well and have already experienced several occasions where they did not need to use all of the money budgeted. Due to the current state of the economy, $30 Bucks a Week, is choosing to continue with this challenge, so we will all have plenty of time to track their progress, cheer on their efforts, and find better ways to eat for less.

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Depression Era Corn Soup

July 26th, 2007

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I have been so busy lately, that my head hurts to just think about it. This Summer will definitely go down on record as one of our most hectic ever. I will be so glad one week from now when our move will officially be over and we will finally be settled into our new place and new life. Till then I will be counting the days till I actually have time to do more then dust off my laptop once a week…

In the meantime however, I wanted to take a moment to share the last recipe for the Food Stamp Challenge. Surprisingly, we had more then enough food left over from our meal plan that I did not actually get around to making the Depression Era Corn Soup until last week. It was so simple and so delicious that we actually forgot how thrifty it was while eating it. If you were to have access to some herbs and spices, I think the sky is really the limit with the variety of flavors you can get from this easy meal.

Many thanks to those who have followed our participation in the challenge, especially in being so patient in waiting for this last recipe.

Depression Era Corn Soup

Inspired by this version I found on allrecipes.com.

Gather together:

1 onion

3 Cloves of Garlic Read more…

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Just a quick note…

June 28th, 2007

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Today is day 7 of our participation in The Food Stamp Challenge and I am happy to say, that we did not run out of food. We finished our last meal of a Totino’s frozen pizza and spinach tonight and believe it or not, the cooking time for the pizza ended up taking longer then anything else we ate this week.

Thankfully all of our meals were successful and their simplicity worked out really well as this turned out to be a very busy week in our home. After weeks of aggressive apartment hunting, my husband and I finally found an adorable urban apartment in downtown Columbus and will be moving very soon. It may take me a few days, but I will catch up our last recipe in the next day or two.

Many thanks to all who followed our progress and took the time to consider what life might be like in another’s shoes.

Best Wishes To All!

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No Electricity Dinner

June 28th, 2007

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UPDATE:Click here for Emergency Grocery Lists & Menus

Living in Florida for as long as I did, I have probably spent years of my life standing in line at the grocery store during hurricane season. There would always be a run on bread, a shortage of milk, a collective panic of people wondering what foods could be made without electricity, and lines that ran clear back to the end of the store. It was a madhouse and as I often walked away with bags full of water, juice, granola bars, trail mix, protein bars, and fruit I would wonder, other then junk food, what else you could eat?

In planning meals for The Food Stamp Challenge, I could not help but think of the victims of Read more…

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Taco Soup & Packing Tape

June 24th, 2007

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My husband and I are in the process of moving, so it is fair to say that this is a pretty hectic time around our house. Our walls are lined with boxes filled with our personal belongings, all of them carefully wrapped and cataloged on one of my infamous lists. Looking at the remaining mess, I am convinced there is something very disturbing about seeing much of what you have accumulated in this world reduced to stacks of ugly brown boxes. Right now I am exhausted and it feels as if my entire weekend has been spent trying to pry packing tape off the roll without reducing it to useless shreds. Having quick and easy meals to rely on this weekend turned out to be a very helpful thing…

Saturday morning we woke up to the same breakfast of eggs, with cheese, salsa, toast and juice. Lunch was a predictable but reliable half of a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich with half of a banana each. Snacks of trail mix and 8 oz glasses of milk were successful in maintaining our energy level and we have yet to be hungry. Bored maybe, but definitely not hungry… Dinner last night was leftover pasta with beans and red sauce. I wish we would have had some grated mozzarella cheese to melt over the top of it, but that luxury was just not affordable this week. One thing is certain; a Food Stamp budget of only $3.00 per day only affords the necessities and definitely no extras. Even then, you have to spend it carefully to keep from going hungry especially if you wish to eat healthy and do not have the extra time and energy it takes to prepare healthy meals or elements of meals from scratch.

For almost that reason alone, I am really excited about Read more…

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Burning Dinner One Garlic Toast at a Time

June 22nd, 2007

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This evening my home is filled with that distinct aroma of burnt garlic bread. Without thinking, I was going to toss all of it in the trash, but my husband reminded me of the fact that it might not be an option for someone trying to stretch their grocery budget as far as they could. So, we salvaged the best pieces (the ones in the picture) and scraped the rest. Inside I felt defeated. The garlic toasts were the one thing that I was really looking forward to for dinner and they were ruined all because in keeping in step with this challenge and my commitment to abandon all of the “luxury” items in my kitchen I chose not to use my timer. Thankful this was not a dire mistake, but it did made me realize how important it would be to pay attention to what I was doing. In a real case scenario, one burnt meal could easily send someone to bed hungry especially if the item could not be salvaged and nothing else afforded. Almost as bad, would probably be the need to Read more…

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The $0.41 Lunch

June 22nd, 2007

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The day is flying by and thankfully our shoe string budget for breakfast carried us through the morning with out feeling hungry. Hopefully, I can say the same for lunch…

In researching, planning, and shopping for a menu and grocery list that could accommodate a poverty level grocery budget, it was lunch that seemed to be the most difficult to afford. Taking into consideration that many of the working poor and struggling families may not have access to refrigeration throughout the day and would not necessarily be able to store leftovers at work, half of a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with half of a banana was the healthiest meal I could come up with. Yes, I really did mean half of a banana! Read more…

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