Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Ten Best of Lazy Budget Chef in 2014

It’s time to say our good byes to 2014. Before we welcome 2015 and all of the bright shiny promise a new year brings, let’s take a look at the most popular Lazy Budget Chef posts of 2014.
best of Lazy Budget Chef 2014

1. 8 Painless Ways to Go Green and Save Money in the Kitchen – Eco friendly living doesn’t have to take gobs of money or time if you do it the lazy way!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rum Ball Recipe

As much as I like baking cookies and delicious Christmas desserts, I save it for parties and pot lucks.  That way I have the time to make something extra special.

Bawhahahahaha!

This is Lazy Budget Chef land. I want to make something special and labor intensive but don’t have the time. Instead I make a quick and easy no bake cookie recipe that everyone thinks took forever to make but is really a low effort high wow factor recipe because I made it with with rum.

Yum!

no bake rum ball recipe
Please eat responsibly. The alcohol doesn’t cook out of this recipe.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

15 Ways I Saved Money in November

Our family tends to spend more money in the last two months of the year due to the holidays. That isn’t always a bad thing because we know that it is coming and try to plan accordingly.

15 frugal tips for november


Here are 15 ways I saved money in November to prepare for the extra Christmas holiday spending in December.
 

15 Frugal Tips for November

Friday, December 5, 2014

14 Budget Friendly Hostess Christmas Gifts

hostess gift ideas under twenty dollarsHusband and I are lucky we have so many friends and family who want to include us in their celebration and I am truly grateful for that.

In fact, so many of our friends like to host Christmas and New Year’s parties that we have to practically do a conference call and create a December holiday party schedule so our parties will not overlap.

That is a nice problem to have.

Although it presents a challenge when it comes to buying gifts for our hosts that won't break the bank since there are so many of them.

You too?

I can help with that!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Date Night Lobster at Bonefish Grill #TuesdayTales

This Christmas Husband and I vowed to make a change. No matter how busy or crazy things out of our control get this year, we are going to find/schedule/steal an hour or two for ourselves to unwind with a Date Night.

It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. Going out to dinner at a causal restaurant will do just fine as long as we are doing it together.

Awwwwwww.

how to make time for your spouse during the holidays


We usually do Date Night during the week because weekend crowds at Christmas light displays, malls, movies, and restaurants quadruple and make our chill out time more stressful. That isn’t a greet idea since we are doing this to calm down and reconnect.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hunger Games Recipe: Haymitch’s Hangover Muffins

In just a few short days, The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part One will hit the movie theaters! Food is practically a main character in The Hunger Games books that I decided to make a recipe from the book for RaeGun Ramblings Hunger Games blog party.


Hunger Games Mockingjay Muffins


I bought the book The Unofficial Recipes of the Hunger Games  187 Recipes Inspired by The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay from Amazon (you can buy it here) a couple of years ago because I wanted to try making the bread recipes from each of the 12 Districts.

Instead I made these yummy breakfast muffins.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pumpkin Overnight Oatmeal

Even though breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I'm not big on eating it.

That goes double on holidays. I use the business of the day as an excuse to make breakfast a fend for yourself with the exception of coffee kind of deal. I know I shouldn't do it especially on Thanksgiving since breakfast is usually the only meal we have time to eat before cooking all day or jumping in the car to go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house for dinner.





Breakfast casseroles don't usually work for me because they use milk. I think Chelsea's pumpkin overnight oatmeal recipe is the perfect compromise.

Doesn't it look delicious?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

My foodie curiosity got the best of me at the Mexican grocery store. That’s how I ended up with a can of green enchilada sauce and no idea how to make enchiladas.

I created Version 1.0 of this Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe during our Eat From the Pantry Challenge in a delicious attempt to use that lonely can of green enchilada sauce. It was a win!

 crockpot chicken enchilada awesome soup


Last Sunday, Good Day Columbus asked me to do a slow cooker cooking segment on their TV show.  I wanted an easy dump it all in the crock pot type of recipe because I knew the anchors would ask me interview questions while I was trying to teach them how to make it. I also wanted a recipe that would work for a variety of budgets.

Oh, and it had to taste good too.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Watch the Lazy Budget Chef on Good Day Columbus this Sunday!


I have exciting news! Not only is Sunday, November9th my birthday (happy birthday to me and all that) but I will be doing a Lazy Budget Chef cooking segment on Good Day Columbus on Fox 28 (WTTE)!


It's getting cold outside and if you don't want to leave the house,  I will be making a slow cooker recipe you can prep in the morning and it will be ready by dinner time.  

My segment will run Sunday morning at 9:45 AM on Fox 28. If you live in Columbus be sure to tune in or set your DVRs to cheer me on and hopefully I won't make a giant fool out of myself. Or if I do, Good Day Columbus gets more entertaining 5 minutes of TV than they originally planned.

If you don't live in Columbus, Ohio you can still watch me on the Good Day Columbus live stream here.

Now for the biggest question of all, what recipe should I make? A new one or one of your Lazy Budget Chef favorites?

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Seven Frugal Things I Did and Did Not Do in October

I put together a list of the big and mostly small things I do to keep my budget in check.
Unfortunately, when you write about budgeting and saving money as much as I do, I think people get the idea I’m impoverished or don’t like to spend any money at all. 

Nope.

We save some to splurge later and splurge to remind us to save. That’s why I’m including a list of what we didn’t do to save money to give you a more balanced look at how we manage our tradeoffs.

7frugalthingsIdidanddidnotdoinOctober

 

7 Ways I Cut My October Budget 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

7 Easy Grocery Shopping Habits that Save Money

Lately, I’ve been doing a big monthly grocery store trip and filling it in during the rest of the month with milk, coffee, and banana runs. Three staples our house does not run without. 

This month I came in under our monthly grocery budget – by accident.

seven easy tips to save money on food


I’d like to say I spent hours and hours combing through sales circulars and matching up Extreme Couponing quantities into a $5 cart of groceries but that didn’t happen because that’s not my style.

It’s fine if you do. I’m too lazy to create The Marshall Plan of Extreme Couponing every time I need to buy groceries.

My secret to saving money on groceries is simple. I followed the budgeting habits I know I should follow but sometimes (often) don’t. When I don't follow the spending and budgeting rules, that’s when I blow my grocery budget.  

 

How I Cut My Monthly Grocery Budget Without Really Trying


Monday, October 20, 2014

Freezer Meal: British Beef Pies

With our unplanned water damage room renovations  happening during the holidays, I know there will be days we don’t want to cook dinner after working on any number of projects or, in the case of the kitchen, not able to use the stove to to cook a real food dinner.

I’m going to try something new. I’m dipping my toe into the making freezer meal waters.



Monday, October 13, 2014

How to Make Apple Chips

Hello fall. Helllllllllo apple season!

True to form, Husband and I bought more apples than we probably should at the spectacular farmer’s market in Amish country. What can I say? We like fresh fruit.

Fortunately, we also like to add dried fruit to almost any breakfast food we can think of. Sometimes we get a little crazy and snack on dried fruit as is or make a DIY trail mix kind of thing what whatever else is lurking in the back of the pantry.

how to make apple chips

With that in mind, I dehydrated half of the apples we bought for later in the year when we crave apples out of season.

Or pie. One of these days,  I need to try making a dehydrated apple pie because Piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie.

Apple pie in the sky dreams aside, let’s preserve those fresh applies first.


How to Dry Apples

Monday, October 6, 2014

20 Pumpkin Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Helllllllllllllo pumpkin season! My family loves this time of year. We get to eat one of the world’s tastiest and most budget friendly and nutritional foods around – the pumpkin!

Many folks, including myself once upon a time, only use pumpkin to make desserts which is fine (and could you pass the pumpkin pie around the dinner table again? I want seconds) but are seriously missing out on pumpkin’s  national benefits.  According to WebMD:

”Pumpkins are loaded with vitamin A and fiber, and low in calories. So don't just buy canned pumpkin for pie; keep it in the pantry to whip up…homemade pumpkin recipes"




Monday, September 29, 2014

7 Frugal Things I Did and Did Not Do in September

I’m taking my cue from other frugal bloggers and posting a list of the little things I did in September month to save money. Some of these things may be big. Most are small. They all add up.


7 Ways I Saved Money in September


1. Created my first eBay auction. I’m better at buying on eBay than going through with the idea of selling my extra stuff. I finally did it. Please check out my eBay auction here and let me know how I’m doing in this brave new world of selling things on eBay.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pumpkin Danish Kringle

 It has been a lousy week. First, I flooded the upstairs bathrooms, master bedroom, and kitchen when I turned the water back on after trying to fix a leaky shower faucet.
pumpkinkringle


Monday, September 22, 2014

Top 23 Tailgating Supplies for the Perfect Football Tailgate Party

Fall means football and football means it is time to tailgate before, during, and after the game!

Like many parts of the country, tailgating in Columbus is an art form. It is always fun to walk the parking lots before an Ohio State game to people watch. Buckeye fans go all out! It isn’t unusual to see a motor home painted with an elaborate Ohio State scarlet and gry paint job that people use just for tailgating. That's why Tailgater Magazine ranked Ohio State number 8 on its Top 20 Tailgate Colleges this year.




Another reason why I think tailgating so popular here is that get tickets to an OSU game is hard because the games sell out quickly. On the rare chance tickets are available they cost crazy money! S

My Top 23 Tailgating Must Haves

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Dehydrate Fresh Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a staple in my kitchen. So much so that I usually buy more than one container when I go grocery shopping.

Well wouldn't you know it, the one time I buy three containers of fresh mushrooms, we can't go through all of them before they take a turn toward iffy. And if you know your mushrooms, iffy turns into compost fodder real quick.




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

6 Frugal I Did and Did Not Do in August

When you write about budgeting and saving money as much as I do, sometimes people get this reputation for being an extreme cheapskate and not spending any money at all. 

So. Not. True.

My shoe closet is proof of that.

I’m taking my cue from other frugal bloggers and posting a list of ways we saved and spent extra money. Some of these things may be big. Most are small. They all add up.



Six Money Saving Things I Did In August

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ruben Eggrolls - Only in Cleveland

Earlier this month, I performed with my marching band in Cleveland.  It was one of the best experiences of my life!

Since I was staying in Pierogi Central, my plan was to stuff my face with delicious comfort food pierogi until I burst. When in Rome, right?

Well, the band changed all that.  Since we were putting together a field show in three days with band members from 19 states and three countries (some who never marched in a US marching band type show either) food breaks and restaurants were not always under my control. No biggie. I think. I'm sure I can start My Cleveland Pierogi Pig Out when we go to the band sponsored hors d'oeuvresy dinner after rehearsal.

Surely Cleveland pubs serve pierogi ?  Um, no. Not exactly. I was introduced to another crazy Cleveland food phenomenon: The Reuben Egg Roll.


The Reuben Egg Roll. Only in Cleveland folks. Only in Cleveland.


I grabbed a couple of egg rolls from the buffet figuring it was a safe lactose free food. Besides, I like egg rolls despite the fact I try to avoid deep fried food. Imagine my surprise of finding corned beef and sauerkraut in my egg roll instead of Asian vegetable goodness.  

It is awfully taste too. 

I wonder how I can make them at home. Do you know?

Update: 9/4/2014: Thanks to reader DocWyldeCard we have a link to a Ruben Egg Roll recipe, you can find it here.  





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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

22 Doctor Who Party Food and Beverages

It is better than New Year’s. Better than your birthday – almost. The day is right up there with Christmas (because we usually get a special episode) – it is Doctor Who Day!

22doctorwhofooddrinkrecipes


For those of you who don’t know your Who, Doctor Who is a British science fiction show about a Time Lord named The Doctor who travels through time and space in his ship the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) which looks like a Police Box and saves the universe from bug eyed monsters. Doctor Who ran from 1963 to 1989. The show  took a little break until they made a Doctor Who TV movie in 1996. The BBC brought Doctor Who back in 2005 and I celebrated it with the world every since.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

20 Crazy State Fair Foods You are Afraid to Eat but Secretly Want To

The Ohio State Fair opened and you know what that means – insane amounts of sugar coated double deep fried , cooked in a sheep's bladder, insane thing on a stick food!



Wait a sec. Scratch the cooked in a sheep’s bladder part. That’s haggis at the Celtic Festival.

Never mind.

This mild mannered reporter disguised at Clark Kent your average Ohio State Fair visitor, braved the crowd and searched high and low for the wackiest state fair food I could find for this edition of our family’s favorite game: I Dare You To Eat That!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Easiest Way to Shuck, Cook, and Clean Sweet Corn That’s So Simple it Will Blow Your Mind

Summer sweet corn is finally in season! Yippee! Yahoo! *Backflips of joy*

During this time of the year it seems not a cookout, barbecue, or day that ends with a y doesn’t have sweet corn on the cob in some way shape or form. I think some of our local road side farmer stands sell the best sweet corn around but I’m not against buying it at my farm market either.

Boiling sweet corn on the cob is easy. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, drop the corn cobs into it, and let them cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Easy.

Except for taking the husk off the corn and removing the strings. No matter how well Husband or I think we removed all the corn strings, someone usually ends up with an extra portion of corn strings with their clean corn on the cob. Our bad.

Until Husband experimented with not only the quickest and easiest way to remove all the husk and strings from fresh corn on the cob. Let’s husk corn the lazy way!




The Quickest Way to Cook and Clean Corn on the Cob

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How to Resize Free Plastic Bags with a Food Saver

I shop with reusable shopping bags as much as possible. Many stores give you some sort of incentive to bring your own bags. Other stores, like Aldi, charge you for disposable shopping bags. Ten cents a disposable shopping bag isn’t such a big deal but I used it as incentive to get started on a new habit and put all of those freebie shopping bags we get from events and the like to good use.

HowtoresizeplasticbagswithaFoodSaver


Not to mention, the disposable shopping bag population threatened to take over the house! I’m convinced our Meijer has an employee contest for how many grocery bags they can use to pack an order. Could be why I don’t shop there as much as I used to…

Friday, July 11, 2014

I Ate My Way Around Put-in-Bay

When Lacey joined our family over a year ago her separation anxiety was so severe that she lost it when either of us went on a short business trip. With that and some of her other issues, Husband and I didn’t think it was a good idea to go on a vacation with her. Lacey behavior hasn’t earned the privilege of going on a vacation yet so we stayed home.

Husband and I really needed a vacation this year.

putinbaysignpost
The signpost is in nautical miles!

We’ve been working with Lacey on her issues and she is making progress. We decided to test the waters and board Lacey while we took a went to Kelley’s Island and Put-in-Bay. We get a break, I finally get to visit the islands I grew up near but never visited, and we are close enough to home that if Lacey has issues, we can come home early. Fortunately, we didn't. Lacey did well while we were gone.

Whew!

putinbayhusbanddaycarecenter

As soon as I smelled the lake air and the island ferry launched, I didn't realize exactly how much I miss boating and being on the water. Seeing some of the tourist puns during our first quick jaunt around downtown Put-in-Bay reminded me of my childhood lake life. I knew I was HOME.

TJ’s Smokehouse is kind enough to offer husband day care services for guys who don’t want to go poking around the many shops downtown. This wasn't an issue with us. When Husband went running, I window shopped for something to do.


We stayed on Put-in-Bay because there was more things we interested in seeing on doing (and eating!)

We took a day trip to hit the highlights on Kelley’s Island. Check out my DIY blog Condo Blues for more Put-in-Bay and Kelley's Island fun!

Kelley’s is a little larger island than Put-in-Bay. It only made sense to fuel our day of pedal powered tourism with lunch at Kelley’s Island Brewery. We had a great chat with Doug the brewer about his beers and how he makes them as we sampled Kelley's Island Brewery Summer Haze. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Three Things That Make Grilling Easier and More Fun

This post brought to you by Grate Chef, Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.

My family likes to eat grilled food. It is quick. It is easy and it doesn't heat up the kitchen during the summer.
I am ready to put food on the grill as soon as the snow melts in the spring. My husband? Not so much. He isn't a fan of doing the grilling himself, which is fine since I like to cook that way. But it becomes a problem when my husband does cook on the grill, he doesn't clean it.

I don't grill as often as I'd like because cleaning the grill is such a pain, especially the dried bits of stuck on food my husband leaves on the grill.  Have you ever tried washing a grill in your kitchen sink because the grill brush doesn't get all of the charred bits off of it? It doesn't work very well at. all.

Friday, June 20, 2014

How to Make Iced Tea

Ah Ohio summers. Like they say, it’s not the heat, but the humidity that makes us look for ways to stay cool inside and out.

How bad is it? So bad that my neighbors who had relatives visiting from Africa complained the humidity made Ohio too hot.

Yep. That. Hot.

That means it is iced tea weather!

howtomakeicedtea