Monday, December 28, 2015

The 5 Top Lazy Budget Chef Posts of 2015

It is always interesting when I take a look at which Lazy Budget Chef blog posts are the most popular posts of the year because I am almost always surprised!

2015 is no exception. I had no idea you all loved shopping at dollar stores so much. I though I was the only crazy person who buys some Dollar Tree items by the case. Whew! Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.

As we say good bye to 2015 and before we say hello to a bright, shiny, and new 2015 let’s take a look at my most popular Lazy Budget Chef posts for 2015.

The Five Most Popular Lazy Budget Chef Post in 2015


17 Things to Buy at the Dollar Store by the Case

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Everything Guide for Spending New Years Eve in Times Square

Spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square for the ball drop is a Bucket List item.

Now, if you ask a New Yorker for New Year’s Eve in Times Square tips, they will most likely scoff that it is a crowded Tourist Thing natives just don’t do.  That’s a shame. Being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve for the ball drop makes for a long day and evening but it is definitely something you should do at least once in your life!

Fortunately several years ago, Husband and I flew to New York with friends to cross a Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration off of our collective Bucket Lists. Today, I’m writing the New York Times Square New Year’s Eve travel guide we wish we had as reference during our vacation.



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Photo courtesy of morgueFile


20 Tips for a Trip to the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

Monday, December 14, 2015

DIY Personalized Painted Glass Baking Dish

Tis the season for holiday gatherings and pot lucks. Fa, la, la, la, la. La, la, la, la!
This is the time of the year when my glass baking dishes get a workout. My glass casserole dishes have snap on lids and use them to take everything from casseroles to cookies to parties and family gatherings. Best. Wedding. Present. Ever!

In fact, I use my covered baking dishes so much, I often give them to people as gifts. I like to personalize the plain glass baking dish with the person’s name or initials before I wrap it up as a present. It’s the best way to make sure you take the same baking dish home with you that you brought to the party!

Monogrammed Painted Casserole Dish Tutorial

 

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Friday, December 4, 2015

What Goes on Sale and What to Buy in December

What goes on sale in December? I’m tempted to wrap this monthly series by saying everything and calling it a day.  But the truth is just like every month of sales cycles I’ve researched for you this year there are some things you should buy in December and some things you should not buy in December if you want to get the best return on your investment.

For example, you won’t see many sales or deals on the general day to day type of groceries but if you like to add flavor to your meals with spices, December is one of the few times of the year they go on sale. The December grocery sale cycle focuses more on party and entertaining food and drinks.
Household and Hanukah, Christmas  and New Year’s Eve items will be on sale in December although the best deals will be either the week of or the day after the holiday.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas Vacation Tips: Freezer Meals Save Your Sanity!

I accidentally found a great way to prepare for after a vacation or to feed your family real food, real quick when time is short during the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve holidays – freezer meals!


Of course you folks who are regular freezer meal makers are probably laughing at me because my epiphany is nothing new to you. But like most things in the Lazy Budget Chef household, I fell into vacation freezer meals by accident because it filled an urgent need.

We were getting ready to go on vacation and still had a bunch of fresh produce in the refrigerator we wouldn’t finish before we had to leave for New Orleans. (I’ll write about how I vacationed with food allergies a little later in the holiday season on Lazy Budget Chef so stay tuned!)

Real Food Pantry Freezer Meals for Lazy People

 

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Shopping Seasonally: What Goes on Sale and What to Buy in November

When most people think of November store sales, it is the largest and most notorious seasonal shopping sale is in November – Black Friday.

But you don’t have to wait until the Black Friday weekend to find good seasonal sales on the food, fresh produce, and household items you need.

If your local growing season is over in November (like where I live) you can save money if you shop according to the national growing season. And you don’t have to search the world for it because I have that list right here on Lazy Budget Chef!


Pin this list for later!


Of course just because something is in a store and on sale, doesn’t mean you have to buy it if you don’t need it or will use it. I do not believe Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday sales force anyone to overspend or overbuy – they do. Just because it is in a store and on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it but if you need it, by all means go for it! Research sales, make a list, and stick to it for the best results.

For extra savings, pair the sale with a coupon from my printable online coupon database (affiliate link) because money saving coupons often follow national sales cycles too!

November Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables on Sale

Monday, October 19, 2015

How to Make Dried Carrot Dog Treats

Many people ask me how I get such great photos of my dog Lacey.

Lacey would tell you I have nothing to do with it besides pressing the shutter on the camera because she is naturally adorable.

I would tell you I bribe Lacey with treats to take cute dog pictures.  

And Lacey is naturally adorable. I can't deny that!

Lacey has to earn all of her treats. Sometimes she doesn't realize she is earning a treat when we are doing behavioral training to help her with her fear and anxiety issues. Lacey just thinks we make it rain treats in scary to her situations because we are the most awesome humans a dog could ever have! 


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Neither Husband nor I will dispute this.

Monday, October 12, 2015

5 Seasonal Pumpkin Beers You Have to Try This Fall

 The leaves are turning colors and it’s getting cooler outside.  I try not to be too sad that my favorite season is getting ready for a long winter’s nap because we get pumpkin season to compensate!


Shelves in stores all over the country have craft pumpkin beers on them.  Craft breweries are experimenting with recipes all the time and pumpkin season isn’t any different. It can be hard to know which ones to buy because there are countless brands and types of pumpkin brews to choose from.  Fortunately, Husband and I have done arduous research for you to make your decision a little easier.  Here are a few of our favorites to suit every pumpkin beer drinker’s taste.


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Monday, October 5, 2015

Shopping Seasonally: What is on Sale and What to Buy in October

October shopping doesn’t have to be full of scary high prices as long as you shop in season and according to the October sales schedule as much as possible.  Of course fruit and vegetables are cheaper and tastier when you buy them according to their national growing season -  which is a blessing for those of us who can’t garden or buy locally grown in the fall and winter months.
    Seasonal sales and shopping can save money on other items besides fresh food. October has many industry awareness days, weeks, and months that usually lead to sales on things as diverse as pet adoption fees (my personal favorite) to pasta.

    October is also the last big cycle of staple food and grocery items which will not typically go on sale during the November and December holiday season. If you have a need and the room to store it (sadly I don’t) October is the time to buy a few extra to get you through to the January sale cycle.


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    For extra savings, pair the sale with a coupon from my printable online coupon database (affiliate link) because money saving coupons often follow national sales cycles too!

    Monday, September 28, 2015

    17 Things to Buy at the Dollar Store by the Case

    Shopping at dollar stores is another way to save money and trim your budget. I don’t buy a ton of stuff from dollar stores. In my opinion, you get what you pay for when it comes to most of their products, health and beauty in particular. I will pay a little extra for those items because I want to know exactly what ingredients are in the things I give my family to use.

    That being said there are certain types of products that are cheaper to buy at the dollar store. So much so that I sometimes buy them from Dollar Tree by the case. I don’t get an extra discount shopping Dollar Tree by the case because everything is still a dollar each. What I do save is time.

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    Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post for your convenience. Thank you for supporting Lazy Budget Chef! 

    I don’t have to keep going to the store hoping the thing I saw on the website is in my store and in the quantity I need. For example, I like to keep a couple of boxes of dairy free milk in the pantry for when I run out of my regular half gallon size (always mid recipe. Why is that?)  After checking the unit price of organic soy milk at several stores (learn how to find the unit price here on Lazy Budget Chef) Dollar Tree has the best price on shelf stable organic soy milk.

    Monday, September 21, 2015

    How to Know You are Saving the Most Money: Find and Compare the Unit Price

    I used to think that shopping at a warehouse club automatically meant I was saving money because buying giant size was supposed to save money.

    The same thing goes for dollar and closeout stores like Big Lots. Sure sometimes the package is smaller but it is cheaper than a conventional store so I had to be saving money, right?

    Pin this post if you like to save money! 

    No. Not always.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015

    I Learned an Important Lesson at Whole Foods Today

    Oh Whole Foods you are a blessing and a curse.

    Love it or hate it, Whole Foods is a good place to shop if you have a food allergy since they seem to carry every variation of traditional foods you are allergic to or need a substitute for a nontraditional diet.

    I don't shop there often b but I will shop there on occasion because there are a few things we use  I can only get at Whole Foods. 




    When I learned a new shopping area was going to include a Whole Foods, every time I drove past it I  silently urged them to 'build faster'.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    How to Dehydrate Zucchini

    I like zucchini.

    Husband does not.

    That does not stop me from buying and cooking zucchini. I try to buy it in smaller quantities because I typically use zucchini to make myself a dairy free lunch on those days when Husband makes a hot and spicy food fiasco that my wimpy taste buds can’t handle. Everybody wins!

    Sometimes during gardening season we end up with more zucchini than I can eat before it goes bad. That encourages me to preserve the summer squash for the winter months when zucchini is out of season and costs stupid money. I don’t have room in my small freezer a bunch of extra zucchini to freeze until the off season so I dehydrate it.

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    Here’s how.

    How to Make Dried Zucchini Chips

    Tuesday, September 1, 2015

    Shopping Seasonally: What’s on Sale and What to Buy in September

    September has a strange combination of sales. There’s a ton of summer still in the stores with fresh fruit and produce bursting with in season flavor and low prices. On the home goods front the stores are trying to clear out the rest of their summer and back to school items to make room for Halloween and Christmas merchandise. If you have a current need or know you will have a need next summer, now is the time to shop for those items.



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    For extra savings, pair the sale with a coupon from my printable online coupon database (affiliate link) because money saving coupons often follow national sales cycles too!

    September has several industry awareness months and days that usually lead to sales and savings. They are:

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    I Did Yoga in a Brewery. Really.

    Husband and I went to a craft beer tasting.





    This is the excuse we use to visit the owner’s dog Pinky. Because dogs.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    Eat from the Pantry Recipe: Spicy Tuna and Caper Pasta

    Yesterday the cupboard and refrigerator were a bit bare after cleaning them out before a weekend trip.  I thought it best to eat lunch before I went grocery shopping later that day. If I didn't, I knew I"ll fall into any of the traps in my Six Hidden Grocery Budget Busters post.


      This  pasta with tuna and capers recipe took around 10-15 minutes to make and all with basic pantry staples.

    I poked around the pantry and found some pouches of tuna fish behind a jar of capers. I vaguely remember buying capers for a tuna fish recipe I saw in passing online. Unfortunately I apparently pinned every other recipe to my Pinterest boards except the tuna and caper recipe I saw and intended to eventually make.

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Shopping Seasonally: What’s on Sale in August

    I am loving the mountains of summer produce tumbling into the store this time of year! Good, healthy, and if you shop according to the seasonal August sales cycles - cheap!
     
    Seasonal shopping isn’t limited to food and groceries. Back to School shopping is in full swing which means that it is a good time to stock up on office supplies, small appliances, and summer clearance items if you aren’t sending a kiddo off to school.





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    For extra savings, pair the sale with a coupon from my printable online coupon database (affiliate link) because money saving coupons often follow national sales cycles too!
     

    Seasonal Food, Fresh Fruit, and Vegetables That Go on Sale in August

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    15 Summer Mocktail Recipes That Will Make You the Queen of the Cookout

    It’s summertime and that means just one thing. It’s time for backyard cookouts, barbeques, and refreshing drinks!

    In addition to the rare bottles of pop we break out for these occasions, I like to pull out all the stops and make a pitcher or two of interesting mocktails - cocktails without the alcohol.  They’re a great way to be refreshed while also offering your guests something that’s alcohol free.

    Pin this post for your next party! 

     

    You won’t have to worry about them driving home after leaving your party either. Which is just another reason why mocktails are becoming all the rage.

    15 Summer Non Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    Shopping Seasonally: What’s on Sale in July

    July is when summer is at its peak. School is out. Vacations are on, warm weather, and outdoor fun are the rule of the day. Do you know what else is happening in July?
    Summer clearance sales.

    Which makes me a little sad because our summer activities have barely started but seeing grocery stores, farmers markets, local produce stands overflowing with seasonal, often local - and cheap! - produce makes up for it.































    Pin this post for reference!


    July is when I start scouting for future upgrades and birthday gifts I know I will need in future months. I’m noticing my beloved Zulily (referral link) often follows these monthly sale cycles and is helping me get my Christmas, birthday, and shopping done bit by bit while saving some serious coin thanks to the research I’m doing for this blog sales series.

    For further savings, I check the Lazy Budget Chef database for printable coupons (here) (affiliate link) and use them during the store sale on the items I need.

    Seasonal Food, Fresh Fruit, and Vegetables on Sale in July

    Monday, June 22, 2015

    Five of the Best Session Beers for Summer

    It is officially my favorite season of the year – Summer!  Now while I am a stout and porter gal during the winter, those beers are generally too heavy on hot summer days. Fortunately the summer seasonal craft beers are already on the store shelves and make a great session beer.


    Pin me!

    What is a session beer? 

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    How to Reuse Plastic Food Scoops: 10 Genius Ideas You Have to Try!

    Sometimes Husband likes to add a scoop or two of protein powder to his pre or post workout smoothie. He works out in one form of another almost daily and goes though a container of protein powder like nobody’s business!

    On the upside, I always have a supply of his empty plastic protein powder containers to hold just about everything that needs contained in the kitchen, my craft room, and garage.

    On the downside, we have a mountain of leftover plastic scoops in a growing pile on the kitchen counter.

    Pin this list for reference!


    Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    Shrimp Sauté with Leeks and Barley Risotto

    Some people go site seeing in parks. Husband and I go site seeing in ethnic and specialty grocery stores. More often than not, we buy an interesting or new to us ingredient and call it a souvenir. That’s how we ended up with barley in our pantry and didn’t quite now what to do with it until we did a little research.

    Barley is a wonderful versatile grain with a rich nutty flavor and a pasta like texture. Raw barley looks  like wheat berries. After you cook it barley looks a lot like Arborio rice.  Tricky, tricky changing your appearance like that barley! But barley has so many health benefits (read about them here) I won’t hold the appearance switcheroo against it.


    Besides, if I did, I would be missing out on this quick but fancy shrimp and barley recipe.



      Pin this recipe for later!

    Tuesday, June 2, 2015

    Seasonal Shopping: What is on Sale in June?

    I like grocery shopping in June because not only is the fresh fruit rolling into the stores but it a heck of a lot better because it in season. Even better than that, being in season means you can buy it on sale. 
     
    I taught Husband that little less last week at the grocery store. He suggested we buy a bag of apples. The price was crazy money for out of season apples in June. However, berries and cherries are in season and affordable if you pay attention to June store sales. We bought berries instead.

    Now I could take it a frugal step further if I had a big pantry or storage space by buying extra sale berries and use them to make homemade jam for cheap (get (get 19 of my favorite jam recipes here,) or freeze or dehydrate them for later when they are out of season and cost crazy money. We usually move on to whatever the next fruit is in season and on sale but you get the idea.
     
    See how that works?





    Tuesday, May 26, 2015

    18 Unusual Father's Day Gift Ideas Dad Will Love!

    Father’s Day is coming up. I’m stumped for good Father’s Day gift ideas as usual. I’ve done all of the stereotypical gifts for Dads.
    • Grilling gifts? Check
    • Golf and sports team gifts? Check.
    • Pity doodads, ties, and cuff links Dad doesn’t have much if any use for? Check, check, and double check!
    Click the photo to pin this post!

    18 of the Best Father’s Day Gifts Ever!


    Thursday, May 14, 2015

    How Do Foodies with Food Allergies Eat in Restaurants?

    Is it possible for a person with food allergies and intolerances to dine out in a restaurant with normal people and not have a reaction? Seriously I want to know.

    As someone who is lactose intolerant and it is so severe I’m getting tested for a probable dairy allergy I’m leaning towards no.

    And that makes me very, very sad.

    can food lovers with allergies still eat in restuarants


    Thursday, April 30, 2015

    Shopping Seasonally: What’s on Sale in May?

    Hello Spring! Hello warmer weather, fresh berries, and sales! Fresh produce is barely being planted in my area. The only way to feed my family fresh food or less is to shop according to the national growing season. Chances are very good that those are going to be the sale items in the grocery store anyway. Better tasting seasonal produce and on sale? Yes, please!

    what to buy in May on sale


    Shopping seasonally also saves money on household and big ticket items too.  If you have a current or future need, now is the time to shop the May holiday sales for the following fresh fruit and vegetables, food, and household goods.


    For extra savings, pair the sale with a coupon from my printable online coupon database (affiliate link) because money saving coupons often follow national sales cycles too!

    Seasonal Food, Fresh Fruit, and Vegetables on Sale in May

    Monday, April 27, 2015

    Cinco de Mayo Mexican Recipe Roundup

    I love to use a good holiday as an excuse to shake up our dinner menus every once and awhile.

    Instead of doing Taco Tuesday for Cinco De Mayo next week why not try something new?


    mexican-recipes-round-up

    Jillian from Food Folks and Fun has a great ideas of a Mexican menu for celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

    Check out her Mexican Recipes Round Up here!

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