Lazy Budget Chef

Sunday, March 29, 2020

16 Ways to Save Money That Don’t Cost Any Money at All

I find that the cheapest way to save money is with new habits because habits are FREE!

I like free.

Free is good. 

Free habits are also the easiest way to unintentionally spend more money if you break them. Or in my case, I tell myself the ol’ Oh not doing that frugal thing this one time won’t hurt – which sometimes gets me out of my good habit until I double check a utility bill. Oops!

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This is a list of ideas, not money saving absolutes. Some you might already do. Others may not apply to you. You might do something that is even better than what I have here and if you do, please share it with us in the comments below!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Quick and Easy Instant Mashed Potato Pancake Recipe

When my husband and I eat fresh potatoes (which is always), we cook them in a Microwave Potato Bag similar to this one for four minutes and then pop them in the toaster oven to crisp the skin while the rest of dinner cooks on the stove because we generally don’t have the time to bake potatoes old school in the oven.  Mashed potatoes are pretty much off the table due to my severe dairy intolerance because let’s face it loads of butter and cream is what makes mashed potatoes taste like heaven. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience)

Which is why my husband was baffled first time he found a box of instant mashed potatoes in the kitchen. Why do we have this when we have real potatoes?

waffle maker instant mashed potato pancakes a comfort food recipe
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Monday, March 16, 2020

How Much Emergency Food Storage to Buy and How Make It Last

When I was trying to get the hang of paying attention to seasonal sale cycles to help my family save money on groceries, I typically bought the household staples we used all of the time, for example like toothpaste, every time I saw it on sale. That way I’d have a sale priced backup on hand when we run out. In theory that should work just fine. In practice I seemed to always have too many of one thing on hand (like  toothpaste) and not any of another when I need it most like my DIY laundry detergent. This grocery buying strategy didn’t help me one bit when it came to having an extra two weeks of food in my pantry for emergencies because I had weird amounts of stuff that didn’t always go together to make a meal.

Reading advice from food storage moms about how many extra pantry items to have on hand in case of emergency (we have storm related blackouts here) didn’t help much either because the amounts they suggest are for families much larger than mine or for food we don’t typically eat, like Jell-O and desserts. The first thing preparedness folks tell you is to store the type of food you typically eat.

That’s great advice but the food some of them suggest are not the things we typically or are interested in eating. For example keeping giant sacks of wheat berries and grinding my own flour is not practical during a blackout when I have an all electric kitchen but having enough oatmeal on hand to keep making our morning oatmeal for hopefully less than a week using the overnight oats method (soaking the oats overnight in milk or water) instead of a the stove is much more practical for us. (As always your mileage and desires my vary.)

how much food do I need to buy in an emergency
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Determine the what to keep on hand is easier than the how much. How do you determine when you have too much of something and it spoils vs not having enough?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Quick, Easy, and Cheap! Instant Pot Ham with Duck Sauce Glaze Recipe

While poking around in the refrigerator,  I moved a little pile of Chinese takeout duck sauce containers aside on a shelf for the eleventy billionth time as  I was looking for dinner recipe ideas to make with what I already had in the pantry and refrigerator. 

Generally we think of duck sauce as a dipping sauce but as a sweet and sour sauce, it also makes fantastic glaze for chicken or pork. Just pour it out the packet and there ya go – instant ham glaze! You can’t get much lazier than that.

I had carrots and potatoes I needed to use and by chucking some ham from the freezer into the pot, I made a hearty and inexpensive 15 minute meal. What’s more to to love about that?

duck sauce glazed ham recipe

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Instant Pot Ham with Potatoes and Carrots Recipe

Monday, February 17, 2020

17 Things I Will NOT DIY to Save Money

When searching for tips on how to save money, reduce debt, and/or reduce your household waste, often the first suggestion is to stop buying things and start making them yourself.  I’ve tried many of them myself either in a pinch because either I ran out of my store bought option, to try it see what would happen, or in an attempt to save money, reduce waste or get a customized thing for a DIY price.

Many of these DIY things I’ve kept simply because I like them or they are more convenient.

While I’m willing to give almost anything the good ol’ DIY try (which is how the recipes on Lazy Budget Chef came to be) there are a list of things I will not make myself and always buy. As always, your mileage may vary. Tell us your list in the comments below!

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17 Things I Will Always Buy

1. Home improvements that involve a permit – I’ve remodeled rooms in my house, switched out light fixtures, toilets, faucets and a whole host of DIY projects but if it is something that involves a permit or something I’m not 100% comfortable of learning as I go such as anything involving natural gas lines I’m leaving it to the pros. That’s why they are pros!

Many of the things on this list are part of our High Low Household Budget. For example, we splashed out the cash on this floor tile for our bathroom (the High) because I did the labor of installing it (the Low.)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Icing Recipe

There are days when you just gotta have a cupcake. Since I have a severe dairy intolerance, that usually means a cupcake that I have to bake.

I rifled around the kitchen for cupcake ingredient inspiration when my eyes landed on a jar of peanut butter. Peanut butter cupcakes?!

Oh yes please.

And since I was going to the trouble of making cupcakes, I figured I should do something a little snazzier with the icing. I made icing with the real deal so local you can visit the guy who taps the maple trees he uses to make it maple syrup for a taste combo that won raves from the friends I asked to eat the rest of my batch of cupcakes because I was only in the mood for one.

peanut butter cupcake real maple syrup icing recipes
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Peanut Butter Cupcake Recipe

(Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience)

Monday, February 3, 2020

How to Clean Burnt Food from Pots and Pans the Easy Way!

Every once and awhile, I cook something and for various reasons food ends up sticking to the bottom of the pan (especially when I cook rice in the Instant Pot – whhhy?!) or lightly scorching my bake ware.

Or in this case, find the drip tray of my indoor smokeless grill (learn more about my winter grilling BFF here) looking like this - when I have little time and inclination to scrub it  like my life depends on it  to clean it. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

how to clean greasy pots pans bakeware the easy way

Of course merely filling the pot with water and dish detergent and letting it soak will not do any to budge it unlike every dish washing detergent ad in the history of ever wants us to believe.

Fortunately, there is a super easy, cheap, AND nontoxic way to clean those greasy, burnt pots and pans that also deodorizes your kitchen drain – really.

The Easiest Cookware Cleaning Hack You Need to Know Right Now!