Lazy Budget Chef

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Went Dumpster Diving for Coupons - Really

I went somewhere I thought I’d never go for coupons – into a dumpster.

I came home from grocery shopping, Husband peeked into my shopping tote bags and said, “Why are there plastic bags and papers in these two totes? I don’t even want to know…”  

Obviously, I feel like I have to explain that I am not turning into a psycho shelf clearing maniac.

It was errand day. I dropped off our recycling at the city dumpster near our house. As I’m grousing about almost forgetting this errand twice in one day, I chuck Bag Number One into the full dumpster with a practiced sky hook.

As I’m planning the trajectory of Bag Number Two, I see them.

A stack of flyers in door bags – GOLD!

But not for the reason you think.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The I’m Sick Grocery Shopping Trip

I keep a running shopping list of items I update when we run out. (I use the Cozi organizer app because I can access and update it from my computer, iPad, and Android phone and it’s FREE!)

My grocery list was large enough to warrant a grocery-shopping trip instead of just a juice run. I’m still sick with a kidney infection and drinking a bottle of cranberry juice a day.

 I was (am) sore, and tired, and didn’t feel like shopping. Originally, I planned to buy everything at Meijer. For the last month, I feel like someone repeatedly kicked me in the kidneys and the back of my scalp is on fire (hence the dandruff shampoo. The natural tea tree oil shampoo my hairdresser recommended made the problem worse. Ow!)

I played around with the Intragram filters for this post. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

S’mores Fondue

Do you have anything special planned for Valentine’s Day? Sometimes Husband and I go out to eat. Other years, we stay home and try to cook something extra special and silly dance in the kitchen while making it.

This year looks like a dine in year because I’m still not feeling well   (in fact, it’s past 2:00 pm and I am still in my jammies as I write this post. I’m going to take a nap after I’m finished.)  If we had kids, I’d suspect this Valentine’s Day would still be a stay in year because Valentine’s Day is on a school night.

While we cook at home almost all of the time, Husband and I don’t usually make desserts unless we have guests or it’s a special occasion.

Valentine’s Day is a special occasion. And who doesn't miss making summer s’mores? ME! ME! ME! I DO! My friends at Aldi put them together to make S’mores Fondue dessert for Valentine’s Day! S’mores Fondue

You will need:

15 oz. chopped Milk or Dark Choceur Chocolate Bars
1 cup Friendly Farms Half & Half
Pinch Salt (less than ½ fourth teaspoon)
2 cups Baker's Corner Miniature Marshmallows
14  Benton's Graham Crackers
Strawberries, banana slices, and assorted fruit 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shwarma Black Bean Burgers

Sometimes I like to make a meatless meal to keep things interesting. It’s easier on the budget and my waistline after binging on holiday cookie for the last month. I haven’t found a black bean burger recipe that truly satisfies. Most are southwestern style, which is fine, except they usually need some help in the form of a slab of cheddar cheese – which doesn’t agree with me.

I have nothing against the occasional premade meatless burger. However, my little vegetarian niece, Miss M does. She says she doesn’t like to eat real meat so why should she eat fake meat? The kid has a point.

I decided this is the perfect opportunity to create a tasty black bean burger that fills bout our needs. Unfortunately, every burger and meatloaf I make is soupy because it lacks a trans fat free crouton binder.

As a Budget Chef, I could most certainly make my own croutons without all of the nasty stuff I don’t want my family to eat. As a Lazy Chef with real world responsibilities, there isn’t always time to do so.

One of the nicer things about being a Balancing Act Community Blogger is that they like to challenge me to develop recipes with a new to me ingredient like Rothbury Farms croutons. Rothbury Farms Rothbury Farms Organic Seasoned Croutons  croutons are one of the rare brands that are trans fat free, high fructose corn syrup free, hydrogenated oil free, AND made with whole wheat flour.

Let’s see how they taste, shall we?

Spicy Shawarma Black Bean Burgers

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Branding Your Blog at a Blog Conference

My long term blogging goal is to speak at a blogging conference.

I am one of the Food Community Leaders for Blissdom 2012. I’m living my dream!

You can read my bio here. They make me sound very smart. 
(Smart like I know stuff, not smart as in Alec.)

I'm a Blissdom Community Leader!Blissdom changed their session format this year. We will have one session speaker instead of panel discussions. After the speaker presentation, we will break into groups by niche. The Community Leaders will lead discussions about how to apply the session topic to our particular blog niches because every niche has it’s quirks that don’t always apply to the others.

I made a video with some ideas on how to market your blog during a blogging conference. I made this specifically for my Blissdom girls, but it can apply to any conference you attend.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My First Guacamole

True confessions time.

I never made guacamole until last week.

I’m hanging my head in shame. 

In my defense, the only Hispanic/Mexican/Latin food I ate growing up was Taco Bell.

Oh wait. We went to Chi-Chi’s once. I remember eating fried ice cream and not enjoying the meal very much because the Spanish rice clearly came out of a can – bleach!

I suspect my parents don’t care for it much either, since we rarely ate it. That includes guacamole. Which is sad really. I learned after living in Miami for a few months after colleges that freshly made, not frozen or from a can Hispanic/Mexican/Latin food tastes AMAZING!

Especially if you pair it with a margarita or mai tai.

Many of you suggested that I perk up my boring, newly cheese free sandwiches with avocados. Some of you suggested using guacamole on my sandwiches instead of mayonnaise. I can give that a whirl.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Lunch is Boring, Can You Help?

I work from home. Most of my lunches are either leftovers or sandwiches. It saves serious cashola on the lunch front and it is healthier than fast food.

When we don’t have leftovers on hand, I take the easy way out and make a sandwich for lunch.

With my new lactose free diet, lunch is getting boring.

Especially sandwiches, I can’t put cheese on my sandwiches every day like I used to. I got a nasty surprise in more ways than one (ahem) when I found lactose listed in the ingredients of my turkey lunchmeat yesterday. Aw, man! I have to give that up too?!