Lazy Budget Chef: 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Will Homemade Food Gifts Kill You?

Home canning is the new trend this year! It’s not surprising given the economy, that more people are growing their own food and preserving that food for later by canning it.

I also think that this trend is cutting into food company’s market share because I read on MSN a big scary health warning story not to eat homemade food gifts because they might kill you! Then they go into a few gross horror shows of getting homemade cookies and such with hair in them – YUCK!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Crock Pot Turkey or Chicken Stock

To keep our sanity Husband and I flip flop major holidays with each side our respective families. After last year's Tofurky Thanksgiving, we traveled deep in the heart of Texas to spend this Thanksgiving with Husband's family. As we were cleaning up I stopped his sister from tossing the turkey carcass. It was stripped clean of meat but was still able to produce a bunch of tasty homemade turkey stock. 

I asked Husband - the King of Homemade Turkey Stock to work his magic. He's a Lazy Chef too because he makes his turkey stock in a crock pot.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Thanksgiving Tofurky

Tofurky. It sounds like the punch line to some sort of food joke, doesn’t it?

And yet I ate it. Not only did I eat it but I enjoyed it.

Last Thanksgiving Husband and I decided to do something different and made a Tofurky for Thanksgiving instead of the traditional turkey.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Made Pumpkin Curry!

Many Americans forget that pumpkin, while tasty in desserts like pie, it is actually a squash.

Pumpkin a great budget stretcher because you can get a  fresh 10 pound carving (squash) pumpkin for around $1.99 - $4.99 at the grocery store.

Some people claim that the big pumpkins are too tough or too bland to eat. I disagree. The small (pie) pumpkins are sweeter which is nice for pie and desserts. However, the big pumpkins work just as well with the right combination of pumpkin spices.

If you think your pumpkin dishes are too bland, check your pumpkin spices. The spices are what gives pumpkin dishes and desserts their kick of flavor. My favorite pumpkin spice is Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice because it has a hint of black pepper that makes all the difference in the taste of my dishes. I buy at least two bottles of it every Fall and use it year round.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Make a Halloween Monster Guts Smoothie

I have a set of nieces and nephews that are horrific eaters. They think fruits and vegetables will kill them.

That makes me want to get them to eat fruits and vegetables.

One way I do that is to give a fruit or vegetable dish a gross name. I got one of nephews to eat honeydew melon, which he is previously sworn will kill him on the spot because it isn’t a potato chip by using it to make a Monster Guts Smoothie.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thai Red Curry Shrimp Recipe

Stir fries are one of my quick go to meals. Chop up whatever vegetables and meat you have on hand, throw it in a frying pan with some sauce while rice or rice noodles cook and you have dinner. It’s a great quick meal.

I have Thai Basil growing in a pot on my patio. I’m experimenting with it and some ready made Thai sauces because I’ve never been to Thailand or even a good Thai restaurant so I’m not sure what real Thai tastes like.
Pin this post for later! 

But my recipe tastes good, so that what counts for me.

Thai Red Curry Shrimp

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pickled Garlic Turns Blue, Who Knew?

I made three jars of dill refrigerator pickles with a gift of summer cucumbers. It was my first attempt at making pickles and they came out well. Or at least that’s what I gather since Husband sucked down all but the taste I got from Jar Number One.

I was about to open Jar number two when I noticed that the garlic cloves in the pickle jar were turning blue. They weren’t fuzzy (thank goodness) but I figured that blue garlic can’t be good and poured the jar and it’s contents in the compost bin.

It killed me to throw out food.

When I noticed that some of the garlic in Dill Pickle Jar Number Three had a spot of blue on it.

I did a little research. Turns out that pickled garlic, turns blue as part of the pickling process. Blue garlic is safe to eat! I also learned that pickled asparagus turns pink.


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Six Questions about Replacing Rusty Aluminum Baking Pans

I wanted to use the last of my in-laws rhubarb to make a peach and rhubarb crumble. My glass baking dish was already in use. I rooted around in the back of the cupboard for a metal baking pan of the same size.

I was very surprised to find that the inside of my metal baking pan was rusty! I checked the rest of my cake pans and they are rusty too. How can this happen? I don’t use these pans very often!

Has this ever happened to you?

My first thought was to use sandpaper to remove the rust and save my baking pans. Then I remembered that aluminum has to be coated with something to make it food safe. If I sanded off the rust, I’d sand off the coating and that would make matters worse when I used the pans.

My best bet will be to replace the rusty baking pans with a new set. Now I have even more questions about what to get because I got my current pans as a Christmas gift.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Making Blackberry Jam without Pectin

Husband and I picked a big bowl full of wild black berries on the in-laws farm. We brought our sweet treasures home and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. I wanted to turn them into blackberry freezer jam.

Mother in law taught me how to make freezer jam when I was just a girlfriend. It’s easy to do and I don’t have to worry about my fear of canning because you pop the jelly into the freezer instead of a water bath when you are done. Easy!

I already had a bunch of new jelly jars, rings, and lids left behind from an old roommate so the expense was minimal. I had plenty of sugar on hand too.

I decided to make my freezer jam without pectin. I’d like to go on about how I don’t want extra additives in my food (which I actually try to avoid as much as possible) but the reality was that I spent an hour in Kroger looking for pectin and they didn’t have any. I since Chef Druck made jam without pectin and Food in Jars has an amazing blackberry jam recipe I figured I’d combine the two and give it a go.

I got four and a half jars of jelly from one bowl of blackberries. It is a little sweet for my taste, but as first efforts go, Husband declared it a win!

Have you ever made jam? Then check out the following below!

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Peach Rum Smoothie Recipe

I came back from the store with a big bunch of fresh peaches. It’s warm outside and I’m in a festive mood – peachy in fact – why not kick back on the front porch with a homemade peach smoothie?

Peach Rum Smoothie Recipe

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baked Scotch Eggs

I agree with Andy M. Stewart who joked that Scottish cuisine was created on a dare. It seems like everything in Scotland is breaded and deep-fried – sometimes in a sheep’s bladder - and the only seasonings they use are salt and pepper.

I love eating it but sometimes Scottish food seems a little bland to my spice loving American palette. Sorry UK.

Husband and decided it was time to try something different and create a Scotch Egg recipe that was a more flavorful than a traditional Scotch Egg and wasn’t deep fried. Fried food does not always sit well with me.

Egg-Land’s Best  gave me a coupon for their eggs at Blogher. Perfect! I’ll use those.

Baked Scotch Egg Recipe

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm Afraid of Canning

Hi, my name is Lisa and I have a confession.

Canning food intimidates me.

Yes, the woman who jumped at the chance to use a jackhammer . The person who used a big honking rototiller and didn’t chop off her feet. The girl who’s new profile picture would have been on the roof of her house if her husband was not concerned about her falling and breaking her head open.

Yet, preserving food in the kitchen – stereotypical woman’s work if you will - scares the bajeezes out of me because if I do it wrong, I could wipe out my family with botulism.

No pressure.


From what I’ve read, it sounds like you need all sorts of expensive equipment to can. Pressure cookers, jar lifters, jar cages for the water bath thingies. I hate to invest a bunch of money in something I might only do once. Because, you know, if the botulism thing happens.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Ate My Way Around Blogher 10

I just got back from Blogher 10 in foodopolis – New York City. This was my second year at the conference. In addition to networking and meeting blogging friends in real life, I was determined to learn more about this food blogging thing. Turns out, I learned that there is an ocean of food blogs and Lazy Budget Chef is a drop in the bucket. I wondered if I had something different to say about food. 

Two conversations made me think that maybe there is room in the crowded food blogsphere for me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Eating Local at The Ohio State Fair

Husband and I went to the Ohio State Fair. I'll post about all the funny things we saw on Condo Blues tomorrow. I saved the best for you here – the food. Husband and I ate ourselves around the fair. It was crazy easy to eat local and it’s the Ohio State Fair’s best kept secret.

Oh sure there were the regular funnel cake, burgers, and put anything on a stick and call it fair food stands. They even had Egg on a Stick!

Why? I have no idea. At least they are Ohio Eggs.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Orange Summer Squash Bread

I’m overrun with summer squash. It’s up to me to eat it because Husband doesn’t like it. He doesn’t like zucchini either. However, Husband will eat zucchini bread because he says it doesn’t taste like zucchini.

I threw a brunch and wanted to show off my mad baking skills. I planned on making zucchini bread but instead of getting zucchini in that week’s CSA delivery we got more summer squash. Ugh! I threw caution to the wind and made my orange zucchini bread recipe with summer squash instead.

My guests loved it. Husband loved it because it does not taste like summer squash. Even my two nephews who swear up and down that eating vegetables will kill them ate it and loved it. Of course, I failed to mention to the boys that they were eating and enjoying vegetables. That’s our little secret.

Orange Summer Squash Bread

Thursday, July 22, 2010

OK, So I Started This New Food Blog...

Food and food topics have been on my mind lately. If you look at my Twitter I have many foodie followers. I follow many foodies too. However, when I post a bread maker recipe or anything about food or cooking on my green living and home improvement blog Condo Blues, the sound of silence in the comment section of the post is deafening. 

The thing that really set my teeth on edge about food topics was watching the movie Food, Inc. on TV.  The movie featured a family who believed that it was cheaper to feed their family of four at a fast food drive through than to make a healthy meal at home. I hit the roof because no one offered to help this family or show them that you can cook a healthy meal for less quickly and from scratch. Not to mention I really doubted that most people actually believed like the example family that fast food must be healthy food because they sell it. Wha?

How do I know? Well, the example family spent over $20.00 to buy dinner for four people at fast food restaurant. The evening I watched the movie, I used a recipe from $5 Dinners to make a healthy 30 minute dinner that would feed four people for $3.83. Actually, I made it for a little less than that because I made the bread I needed for the recipe in my bread maker from basic ingredients.

I have come across the attitude lately that healthy eating has to cost a lot of extra money. It really bugs me because Husband and I cook from scratch every day with ingredients that mostly come from a grocery store that you have to put a quarter in a slot to use a shopping cart. I grocery shop at other stores for some things but price is a concern for me just as avoiding trans fats, hydrogenated oils, crazy amounts of sodium, and high fructose corn syrup in my food. It's simple to avoid those things if you take time to read the back of the ingredient label.

That's why I largely do not like legislation that bans these items from stores. To me it says, "You are too stupid to read a food label. I need to be your mom and take it away from you." I think better food education can solve a lot of these problems. I'm also sure that there are times when people knowingly eat a bad for your comfort food just because (note the brownie I decorated in my blog header.) I do sometimes. Do you?

When I started cooking from scratch even though I largely stopped using coupons, my food bill went down. My health improved. At the time, my doctor considered me healthy even though I was taking several over the counter and prescription medicines for stomach and digestion issues. Now I take none.

I do not want to give up taste in order to save money or eat healthy and quite honestly I don't.

Therefore, I started the Lazy Budget Chef because it describes my life and my kitchen to a T. I like to cook good food on a budget but I don't have hours to spend in the kitchen doing it. Fortunately, things like my bread maker, slow cooker, and stir fry pan make it easy to put a great healthy meal from scratch on the table in a short amount of time - the lazy way.

Do you have any thoughts?