Cheap Meals That Seem Expensive


Calling all chefs, NPR has a great challenge for you. Feed four people for $10 or less with bonus points if you can make your meal seem expensive. There are already 318 comments with some great recipes. Since we are only two people I could get a dinner and two lunches for $10. Sounds good to me. And don’t expect everything to be tuna noodle casserole. There are recipes for Coriander Meatballs with Yoghurt-Mint Sauce, Fresh Crab Spring Rolls and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, Sweet Potato Kale Quesadillas, Brined Pork with Chutney over Greens & Rice… you get the idea. If the recipe you post is a favorite you may get a chance to be on All Things Considered.


From Scratch


I would bet that most of us out there, even those of us with jobs, are looking to save a little money these days. Everywhere I look I see recipes to make things I would normally buy with the claim it is cheaper. Bagels, yogurt, cheese, mango lassi, jam, pickles, butter… you get the idea. But is it really cost effective? There is no denying that for the most part making something from scratch with no preservatives to keep it on the shelf for 10 years is going to be better than store bought. But is it more economical? Jennifer Reese set about answering that question in this article on She does a great job of factoring in everything from ingredients to cents per hour to run your oven. Your time is free since as she puts it, “I take it as a given that everyone knows better than to quit their job—any job—to take up cracker-baking.” The bottom line? Try it. You might be as surprised as Jennifer to find that things can be better AND cheaper when you make them at home. Am I going to start making everything from scratch? Probably not everything, but I might try bagels and butter. If you don’t know where to start, The Kitchen has put together a nice long list of recipes.


The Icing on the Cake


For a while now I have been thinking it would be cool to learn how to frost and decorate cakes. A well frosted cake is a lovely thing to behold. This cake by Sarah Magid reminds me of the cake I envisioned having at my wedding. Two petite layers of chocolate frosted goodness, with delicate flowers scattered. If only we could have many weddings in our lives instead of just (hopefully) one. Although I have to say today, I might choose something more like the blue or green cake on her site. But where does one start when attempting to learn how to frost a cake? I tried to fake it a few times, but I am starting to figure out that you just can’t fake your way through frosting a cake. Lucky for me, Zoe of Zoe Bakes has a wonderful tutorial with lots of pictures leading you through the process. Now I just need to find some volunteers to eat my rejects.


I’ll Make You Banana Pancakes


I am not a morning person during the week… well honestly I am never a morning person but especially on weekdays. On lucky mornings my iPod will play Banana Pancakes for me by Jack Johnson. This song makes me so happy. It is all about laying in bed because it is raining outside with the promise of banana pancakes. I have not yet tried this recipe but it sounds delicious. Yum. The whole idea of pretending its the weekend and making banana pancakes is so lovely it almost makes the morning pleasant. Almost.

crafty · DIY · recipe

Not In This Economy

The economy has been on my mind a lot lately. It is a tough time to justify spending money. Personally, I have always been thrifty. I am pretty sure I get it from my Grandpa (thanks, Grandpa!) I tend to save my money everyday and over indulge once in a while, sometimes on one big thing, sometimes just a few days of “reckless” spending. I buy store brand when I can, I don’t buy expensive clothes (although I do tend to pay for comfortable shoes figuring I only get one set of feet) and I will make instead of buy if I can get away with it. Can I just tell you that I love what I am seeing in my RSS feeder lately. Articles on how to make your own cleaning supplies, how to make your own bread, how to paint your own wall mural. I am a fairly crafty person but I never thought about making my own butter. In this age of convenience we tend to buy things instead of looking to how we can make, grow or re-purpose what we have. Recently, I read an article on how to grow my own loofah! I love it! I know we all only have so much time in the day and can we really can fruits and vegetables or compost under your sink in our tiny NY kitchen? Maybe not. But I bet there are things you can do to help put a few more pennies in your wallet. Do you really need to use paper towels? I know, I know they are so convenient but if I can get by without them, so can you. As an extra added bonus (as if saving money wasn’t enough) this new way of thinking about saving money can help save the environment. How you ask? For example, making your own cleaning supplies means you are not throwing away extra packaging and you are reusing bottles over and over. Talk about win win!

design · DIY · geeky · recipe

Improved Candy Hearts

3233933326_c97e65e68cI am not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. At some point February 14th became the time for ridiculous mark-ups on flowers and candy that will be 75% off on February 15th. Yes, I am a jaded New Yorker. So sue me. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the idea of candy hearts. I say the idea of them, because I don’t really love the taste. I do however love the taste of shortbread and the idea of spray painting cookies. If this sounds good to you, head on over to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories (love the name!) because this is the post for you! Wonderful step by step instructions with pictures to make these adorable over-sized hearts. The geeky messages are a nice addition. Maybe this year my sweetie and I will spend some quality time together baking cookies. To me, that is the spirit of Valentine’s Day. via