Posts Tagged 'recession'

25 Money-Saving Tips for Frugal Cooking and Shopping (Best of 2009)

i LOOOVED this blog post from thekitchn.com!  i am always finding ways to pinch pennies and frugal my cooking.  with this economy, recession proofing your kitchen and habits is the only way to survive.  check this out:

thekitchn.com’s Money-Saving tips:

Frugality has been on everyone’s minds these days, and cooking at home is one of the best ways to save money and nourish yourself and your home at the same time. From good yet inexpensive cuts of meat to good ideas for using up the last bits of your ingredients, here’s a look back at some of our discussions and tips on saving money in the kitchen.

Unemployment and Burritos

Well this (pardon my French) shit storm of economy finally caught up with me in the form of being laid off last week. At first I could really see the silver lining to the whole situation because I loved my job and Im one of those weirdos that actually enjoys working. But as the days have gone on Ive started to be okay with this whole unemployment thing. Ok of course Id prefer to be gainfully employed, but my former company gave me a nice severance which allows me the time to take a look at my career and take my time finding new employment. Its also giving me some time to get back to doing some things that I love and havent had much time for lately…like exercise, photography and of course, cooking.

Right after I got laid off I saw an interesting article on Divine Caroline called Can Unemployment Be the Healthiest Time of Your Life? all about another professional woman who was laid off and found time to cook and enjoy life more. Now I do cook almost every day, unless my boyfriend and I are going out, I make dinner every night. Breakfast and lunch, however, were always grabbed on the go or at the office. But now Im realizing “hey theres two more meals I can make in a day!”

So here I am embarking on a journey of unemployment..of course this wont last forever…as much as I enjoy having some free time financial woes will begin to bear down. But for now Im going to take my former boss’ advice and take a few weeks of personal vacation. I really want to use this time to explore new money saving ideas around the house that I can continue to use when I find a new job. Thankfully my fellow domestic geek Katie is a pro at maximizing home cooked meals so I got a good guide to go off of. In fact, yesterday I used one of her ideas to make a tasty money saving breakfast/snack!

A few days before my boyfriend and I had some friends over to our house and we had some salsa and bean dip. The bean dip was made simply by mashing some chili beans (not canned premade chili, but spiced chili beans) with some garlic, dried onion and cumin. So I decided instead of tossing out the leftovers, I would make mini breakfast burritos!

Mini Breakfast Burritos
Ingredients
Bean dip or black beans or re-fried beans
8 eggs
1 red or yellow pepper
1/2 yellow onion
salsa
soy milk or regular milk
corn tortillas
cheese

Crack 4 eggs open on a bowl and add 4 egg whites to the mixture and beat with a fork. Add a splash of either soy milk or regular milk, dont add too much though, you dont want the eggs to become runny. Add a bit of salt and pepper and set aside. Preheat a skillet or cast iron pan and add a bit of oil and add the egg mixture. Dice the onions and pepper and add them to the eggs and slowly cook the whole mixture so as not to burn the eggs. Once the eggs are nice and fluffy remove from heat and set them aside.

Next take the corn tortillas and lightly wet them and throw them on an oiled skillet for a few seconds to soften them up. This is a little trick my boyfriend’s mother taught me for making nice soft corn tortillas that are easy to fold. Dont cook them too long or they will get crispy!

To assemble the burritos take a spoonful of the bean dip or whatever canned bean you have on hand (pinto or black, make sure to drain them!) and spread it in a line on the tortilla. Add a spoonful of eggs, salsa and a bit of whatever leftover cheese you have available. Now these tortillas are small so you wont be able to roll them like normal burritos but rater like a taquito. It might take a try to two to figure out the ratio of the ingredients…you dont want too much or you wont be able to roll the burritos.

After you roll each burrito wrap it in plastic wrap and throw it in the freezer. Now you should have a nice little fleet of breakfast burritos ready for a quick breakfast or snack! Just pop them in the microwave for about a minute and a half and youre good to go!

<3 seanalyn

leftover bagel ideas

i love these ideas from thekitchn.com!!!  you can also freeze bagels so they do not go bad and pull them out to defrost when you are craving one!

1. Make Sandwiches – Because leftover bagels are a little too chewy for our taste, we pack the bagels and the sandwich fixings separately in our lunch. At work, we toast the bagels before assembling them into warm, crunchy sandwich.

2. Make Bagel Pizzas – A favorite from when we were kids, and still a great quick weeknight meal! We smear the bagel with a little tomato sauce, a sprinkling of cheese, and whatever pizza toppings we’re in the mood for, and then we bake them under the broiler or in a toaster oven until the cheese is bubbly.

3. In Salad – Leftover bagels may be too stale to eat on their own, but we’ve found that we really like them torn up into big, soft croutons in our salad. They soak up a bit of the dressing, and add some substance to the salad. Sometimes we toast the bagel first for a little crunch.

4. In Frittata – Like leftover pasta, we’ll throw cubes of bagel into a dinner frittata. Think of this as a quick, extra-eggy bread pudding!

5. In Bread Pudding – And while we’re at it, why not make savory bread pudding?! We don’t usually have enough bagels left for a full-sized pudding, but we can make smaller ones in individual ramekins. Just fill a ramekin with bagel chunks, cheese, and veggies, then pour a mixture of egg and milk over the top. Let it sit for a little while and then bake at 350°.

<3 kt

leftover cooked rice ideas

yo, we are in a recession!  using EVERYTHING and wasting nothing is key to survival.  i had a fiesta bbq and made way too much rice.  now i need ideas of what to do with it.  searching the internet, i found some unique recipes:

  • workitmom.com is a working moms’ blog and they always have fantastic ideas:

1.) Fried rice. Scramble an egg, add diced whatever leftover meat you have (smoked ham and roasted chicken are always winners, though I’ve even used up leftover Chinese food with awesome results), diced carrots and celery, diced onion, and any leftover cooked vegetables from the fridge. Mix together soy sauce, a little honey, and rice wine vinager; pour it over, toss to coat, and serve it up.

2.) Quiche with a rice crust. Combine rice, an ounce or two of grated cheese (something hard, like cheddar or swiss), and an egg; press into a pie plate and bake until set. Then pour in the quiche filling and bake some more.

3.) Thicken a soup or stew. Seriously, just add it to prepared broth by the handful. If you add too much, call it porridge. No? Fine… make some chicken soup and add just enough so that you can call it chicken soup with rice (singing the song is optional).

4.) Rice pudding. This recipe from Slashfood.com is easy and delicious. If you serve it for breakfast, your kids will think they’re getting away with something.

5.) Jambalaya. Think fried rice with a Cajun twist. Pick a recipe here, or make up one of your own: Start with a diced sweet onion sauteed in olive oil. Add crumbled hot sausage and cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Add some tiny shrimp (thaw ‘em first) and chopped bell peppers, toss in the leftover rice, and douse with a tomato-based sauce. Authentic? Nah. Tasty, quick, and economical? Yes, indeed.

  1. Garlic Rice – This is a simple Philippine fried recipe that calls for adding pantry staples plus some ground pork, but after reading comments made on the recipe from users, the pork can be omitted and vegetables such as mushrooms and green peppers can be added.
  2. Calas – A sweet rice fritter made with leftover rice, flour, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Like the garlic rice above, this too can be made with things you most likely already have in your pantry.
  3. Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice – If you’re looking to use up your leftover rice and the baskets full of tomatoes you’re bringing in from your garden, here’s a  Giada De Laurentiis that will help you. I’ve never made a recipe from Giada that I didn’t like.
  4. Anything Rice – This recipe takes your leftover rice, some eggs, onions, green peppers, and anything else you have leftover in your frig and creates a meal out of it.
  5. Rockin’ Rice Pudding – Tyler Florence’s recipe for rice pudding using three cups of cooked rice. Hmmm. I have three cups leftover from last night. Guess what I’ll be making tonight!
  6. One other tip – Cooked white rice can be frozen after it’s cooled, so if you can’t use it right away, put it in an airtight container and freeze it.

let me know if you have any suggestions too!

<3 kt

Dumbrella booth at Comic Con inspires me

the Dumbrella booth at Comic Con had a clever sign made out of cardboard!

a cheap and green way to utilize regular household items for decorating purposes.  i am totally using this idea at my next party! :)

<3 kt

homemade parmesan croutons

i have a leftover day old baguette that i do not want to go to waste.  in these times, and with economy, streatching food and money is on everyones’ minds. i thought i would share my homemade parmesan crouton recipe!  you can use any type of bread (hot dog or hamberger buns, sandwich bread, english muffins, bagels, etc).

photo

directions

preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  take your day old bread and slice it into small pieces.  take a baking pan and sprinkle with olive oil.  add bread slices, then sprinkle with more olive oil.  next top with spices (i used garlic powder, paprika, and dried basil) and fresh parmesan .  bake for 8-10 minutes.

throw on top of a salad or some soup and enjoy!

<3 kt

4th of July BBQ leftover ideas

everyone is going to BBQ this weekend for the fourth of July.  however, what in the world are you going to do with all of those leftovers???  i’ve searched high and low for some budget friendly ideas!!!  check them out:

1.  leftover hot dog & hamburger buns

i love chopping buns into little cubes, dousing them with olive oil, a little minced garlic, fresh grated Parmesan, and a dash of red pepper flakes.  after preheating the oven to 400, i throw them on a cookie sheet and bake them for 10 minutes.  presto!  homemade croutons!!!

2.  leftover sausages, hot dogs, and brauts

slice these up and toss in an omelet, spaghetti, on a pizza, or in a burrito.  or slice and freeze them for a quick meal down the road!

3.  leftover corn on the cob

you can always toss them back on the grill to reheat them.  you can use the kernels in some homemade salsa.  i love cutting the kernels off of the cob and adding them to a pasta salad!  here’s my favorite whole foods recipe:

Corn & Roasted Tomato Salad

Ingredients

4 ears corn, shucked, kernels removed
6 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups chopped spinach
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 pound dried penne or fusilli pasta
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a medium skillet, dry-roast corn over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Place in a large mixing bowl with tomatoes, garlic, spinach and blue cheese. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain thoroughly. Add hot pasta to bowl with corn mixture. Stir to wilt spinach and blend ingredients. Drizzle with lemon juice and oil. Toss with walnuts, season with salt and pepper and serve.

feel free to send me your ideas for BBQ leftovers too!  hope you had a great 4th!

<3 kt

Live bloggin Martha Stewart

In the fallout of my father’s passing Ive been working from home (dont want to make anyone in the office uncomfortable with spontaneous crying and what not) and the one benefit of this is daytime television. Ok so I dont really like much daytime television but I do enjoy my occasional dose of Martha. Today looks like an interesting show with recession busting ideas and Aussie chef Pete Evans and I figured those of you not able to watch the show live might enjoy a play by play account (or not haha. This could be epic fail). So lets start the show!

1:03 Pete comes out, Im slightly disappointed with his Aussie accent. I have a few super Aussies at work and they all put his accent to shame. Oh well, theyre flipping through his cookbook to decide what to cook today.

1:05 Oh theyre cooking Huevos Rancheros and Steamed Arctic Char. Not very Aussie but delicious sounding regardless.

1:05 Wow Martha brought in eggs from her own chicken! I want Martha’s eggs!

1:06 Apprently all dishes should have color, flavor and texture. The crispy tortilla ads the texture to the Huevos Rancheros.

1:06 Pete is talking about hout Australia is such a new country that they dont really have their own cuisine yet, they are like America and mostly a melting pot with a few emerging specialties. Ive always been a fan of vegemite and toast ;)

1:08 wow they are already done with the Huevos Rancheros and they look DELICIOUS!

Get the recipe here

1:13 OMG Pete’s fish that he brought with Australia to cook was confiscated at LAX. Epic lols. Also I just realized that Martha and Pete kind of look like twinsies, they are both wearing light purple button up shirts. How cute.

1:14 Hmm never realized how much Arctic Char looks like salmon. They are adding the soy sauce and other ingredients. Fun fact: In Australia they call green onions either green onions or spring onions.

1:15 learned a new tip! Peel ginger with the back of your spoon. I never knew…

1:15 Interesting Pete is using the garlic for texture. Wonder what hes going to do with it…fry it maybe?

1:17 Yup fried it with some red chili. Wow that was an easy recipe! Only a few ingredients and very simple. Prep time was like 5 minutes and cook was about 8! Amazing!

Get the recipe here

1:18 Ahaha Martha just corrected Pete because he kept calling the green onions shallots. Martha BUUUURNNNNN!

1:18 Annnnd everyone in the audience is getting a copy of Petes book and the crowd goes WILD! But not as wild as Oprah’s audience

1:21 Ohh up now is a woman showing how to make a cardboard box and other recyclables into a toy oven! I want to make one…anyone have a kid I can borrow? Because it would be weird to make a toy oven for myself.

1:22 So the woman showing how to make the stove says one day she was in her basement and a box started to look like a stove. This woman must grow shrooms in her basement.

1:23 Aww she originally made it to cary pies in! Now I have an excuse to make one!

1:26 Wow the bottle cap knobs on the oven actually turn!

1:27 Huh using CDs for burners by drawing grooves with a sharpie. How cute!

1:30 Man, Martha must be on speed or something because she does her show in lightning speed! Either that or she is a domestic robot sent from the future to destroy us with cupcakes. Mmmm apocalyptic cupcakes.

1:32 Oops the rack inside the oven wont stay up. Martha is not amused and is scolding her guest. Im sticking with the evil Cylon Martha theory right now.

1:34 And the oven is done! How cute! Theres even a light inside that turns on and off when you open and close it

To learn to make your own cardboard oven, click here

1:35 Up next things to make to go along with your toy oven.

1:38 “What would an oven be without play food” Yeah Martha, what would an oven be without play food? Nothing a sad sad little oven

1:39 Wow absolutely adorable handmade felted food from Lilly Bean Market. I have a soft spot in my heart for felted toys. I just want to add little smiley faces to all the food for extra cuteness

1:40 Martha boasts that shes made more lattice top pies than anyone in the studio and then stares ominously into the camera like shes looking into your soul to make sure shes made more pies than you.

1:42 Heres some of the felt foods they showed.

cuteness overload!

1:43 Oh nice she sells kits to make her felted toys online! Click here to buy the felt pie kit for only $6! What a steal!

1:45 Martha is impressed with this guest, she compliments her neatness and says the pie looks better than the real thing. I just realized that the girl has the same haircut as Martha….I fear that Martha has made another skin job to help her quest to dominate the world with cuteness.

1:47 And the pie is done! Very cute!

You can buy the kit for a mere $6 or click here to learn how.

1:50 Another cardboard crafter is up next! Wow shes a 19th century literary major with 1 kid and another on the way. Martha shows off the cardboard washing machine and table that she made for her kid. They are going to show us how to make a cardboard furniture

1:52 How neat, all of the furniture is made of interlocking pieces so you dont have to glue them together to assemble. That way kids can take them apart and travel with them. The pieces are all very modern looking.

1:52 Wow the drawing of the furniture that she made for reference were done in Photoshop. My design geek heart just went pitter patter.

1:54 I just learned a new word “take-apart-able”

1:55 Wow the doll furniture is like a mini cardboard version of Ikea furniture. Everything just locks into place! Nifty!

1:58 And the furniture is done!

Cardboard table and chair are VERY cute (hmm I notice a theme here) although that doll sitting in the chair is kind of creepy… Im a little frightened. Maybe it was a former guest that angered Martha and she used her evil cupcakes and turned them into an ugly toy. Oh well instructions for the furniture including templates can be prnted outhere

1:59 Well the show is over! Martha promises tomorrow will be another great show and Im inclined to believe her mainly out of fear.

Hope you enjoyed the first live blog! I know it was silly but hey…who doesnt want a little dose of Martha in the afternoon!? Before you answer remember that Martha is a Cylon and has super strength and does not fear death because she made her own resurrection hub out of cardboard and jell-o. Im just sayin…

<3 seanalyn

fake Tiffany’s for Valentine’s day

i have ALWAYS been a fan of Tiffany & Co. what girl isn’t? it all began when i was a girl, probably 7 or 8 years old, and i saw the infamous Audrey Hepburn movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. not only is Audrey a classic, sophistacated starlet. but she lived a girl’s dream! she was a sexy party socialite with a handsome mad trying to win her affection! and her mascot was Tiffany’s!

years later, Hollywood released another film, which further reassured my obsession with Tiffany’s. the flim, titled ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ starred Reese Witherspoon and Patrick Dempsey. in this love comedy, Dempsey’s character surprises Reese by closing Tiffany’s and letter her choose her engagement ring. AMAZING!

so with that being said, it’s our society’s fault for luring innocent women to the expensive hands of Tiffany’s.

although i have never owned ANYTHING from Tiffany’s, the hunger still holds strong. i was head over heels excited when i came across this website that sells exact identical Tiffany’s replicas, which comes with the box and all! i thought to myself, perhaps someday i can get my own Tiffany’s, even if it’s not 100% real!

so all you men out there, now is your chance to surprise your lady for this Valentine’s day! and truly, she won’t care if it’s not real. it’s the thought that counts! (hint, hint pk!)

plus, we are in a recession!

<3 katie

Graphic wrapping paper

I realized earlier today that I needed to wrap Cesar’s birthday present which I have been hiding in my office before I take it home (trying very hard to keep it a secret!). I had looked at wrapping paper at the store the other day and didn’t really see anything I liked. Everything was either too Christmasy or just too cheesy so I decided to go for an oldie but goodie….news paper recycling! Yeah this isnt nothing new of course, we’ve all wrapped presents in the comic section, but I decided to go for something a bit funkier.

I grabbed a copy of SF Weekly that was lying around the office and flipped through it. The nice thing is that most papers now have full page color ads which can make for some pretty awesome patterns. I found an amazing full page H&M ad and decided to use it for the front of the package. This is the result (please pardon the shitty camera phone quality pictures).


I personally think it came out pretty awesome and much more exciting than neon balloons. The key is to pay attention to how you place the paper on the package. Focus on the front first but also make sure the back is engaging. I like the way the text, strip club ad (hehe couldnt resist throwing that one on there) and runoff from the H&M ad make a nifty geometric pattern. As a designer I love using text as pattern and textures, so remember that you dont have to have a picture to make an interesting image.

Im thinking of wrapping all my Christmas presents this year in newspaper wrapping paper, I think its a lot more creative than regular wrapping paper and of course eco-friendly and economical (bonus!). Plus with the holidays that means there will be tons of full sized holiday ads being printed so I should have no shortage of interesting material. I really want to play with making bows out of the newspaper as well….I’ll have to get back to you on that one after some experimentation ;)


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