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1

The Easiest Summer Barbecue Ever— Ribs, Beans, Slaw, Dessert

On the off chance that your fear-of-ruining-a-pile-of-ribs keeps your backyard grilling events stuck in hamburger mode, you can let those fears go!

That’s because you’re about to learn a fool-proof, easier-than-easy method for turning out perfect baby back ribs every time you give it a try. But wait! There’s more …

I hope these recipes come in handy just in case you’re planning to barbecue this weekend! See you there … Love, xo m

2

Accessories, Tips, Secrets of Instant Pot Rockstars!

Everyone, it seems, is talking about Instant Pot—the revolutionary electric pressure cooker that for all the hype, promises to turn anyone into an overnight culinary rockstar. Well, bring it on! The latest model (10-in-1, which means it does just about everything short of vacuuming the living room) is an egg-cooker, sauté pan, slow cooker, rice […]

3

Frozen Summer Treats are Cool

In these sizzling days of summer, it’s tempting to load up the freezer with pricey frozen treats. Or to duck into a coffee shop or juice bar to grab one of those decadent blended coffee chillers or a fruit smoothie. But the big price tags can make even the creamiest concoction or slushiest treat hard to swallow.

Giving up favorite cold treats isn’t your only option. Make these yourself and you have great summertime treats at home for just pennies, not dollars. 

Today, a few ideas for you, with recipes. And you can be sure I’m counting on you to add any favorites you might have to the comments area at the end of the post!

See you there… Love xo Mary 🍦☀️

4

How to Roast a Cheap Cut of Beef

No matter how relatively inexpensive a chuck or round roast may appear, if it turns out so tough and flavorless it’s passed to the dog, that purchase was no bargain.  That’s why everyone on a food budget needs to know how to roast cheaper cuts of beef.   And, finally, thanks to very extensive research […]

5

How to Make Perfect Iced Tea (plus Southern Sweet Tea Recipe)

The only thing more comforting than a big, tall glass of iced tea on a hot summer day is knowing how to make that perfect iced tea yourself. With confidence. And for just pennies per serving.

My dear mother-in-law, a very proper Canadian, taught me the difference between proper iced tea and the “swill” most restaurants pour, which in her opinion was, at best, a very poor facsimile. And trust me, she knew her stuff—including the six rules for proper iced tea! All that, plus how to make proper Southern Sweet Tea in today’s post.

Also, in case you missed it …
EC Father’s Day Gift Guide 2020

Father’s Day 2020, coming up soon on June 21, is a fabulous, wonderful day to show Dads how much we love them, how special they are—and a great opportunity to poke a little fun, too! For your consideration—28 super cool gift ideas to help you come up with just the right gift for the Dad(s) in your life…

6

Join a CSA for Your Health and Your Wealth

Being a savvy consumer means a lot of things. It can refer to a person who knows how to get the lowest price on whatever he or she is buying. It can also mean finding the best value—the highest quality product for the most reasonable price. Or, it can refer to someone who shops ethically, according to his or her values.

However you define “savvy consumer,” becoming one requires research and education about the products that you buy according to your individual priorities. When it comes to shopping for food, today’s savvy consumers know where their food comes from, and, if they do things right, they save money, too.

Growing our own food is certainly one way to go—and don’t we all wish we had an abundant garden at its peak right about now! Well hang on, because I have good news.

It is quite possible you can piggyback onto an abundant “garden,” right there in your local area, with an owner willing and anxious to share its bounty. Seriously! All the details in today’s post.

See you there! Love, xo m 🌽🍅🥒🍆🥔🥕 and 🍉🍎🍒🍓🥝🍇, too!

7

Rotisserie Chickens to the Rescue

If you’re fresh out of ideas (let alone desire) to make one more home-cooked meal, but even the thought of yet another take-out or curbside pickup leaves you cold during these days of uncertainty and angst—I invite you to embrace these two words: rotisserie chickens.

Not exactly take-out, not completely home-cooked—think of a well-seasoned, perfectly cooked rotisserie chicken as your ace in the hole; a kitchen assistant with an extra pair of hands to help you get delicious, home-cooked meals on the table in a flash.

Today’s post … what to do with it once you get that rotisserie chicken home! Follow these guidelines and you can easily get three great meals from one chicken. See you there …

Love, xo m 🐔🍗🍲❣️

8

Cheapskate Gourmet: Salad Dressings

If you think eating well means eating out—home delivery, pick-up, or dining-in—you may be feeling the effects of restaurant dining your wallet as the cost of restaurant meals is now soaring in ways we’ve not seen before.

Yesterday, I was shocked to read the new (disposable) menu at a small local hamburger joint in our town. The same classic hamburger that was $7.95 pre-virus, is now $11.95. Will prices decline as this thing settles down? I wouldn’t bet on it.

It’s time for us to change our thinking and start digging in to find every realistic way imaginable that we can save time and money every day.

If I can make the leap from being a diner-in-debt to making irresistible meals at home that often taste even better than those from a restaurant—at a fraction of the cost of eating out—you can, too.

For many years ( before there was a Food Channel), I was uniquely privileged to sit under the personal tutelage of world-famous gourmet cooks the likes of Julia Child, Christopher Kimball, Martha Stewart, Martin Yan, and Jacques Pepin.

Every weekend I had standing appointments with one or more of them. They came right into my home and demonstrated unique techniques while I assumed a prone position, curled up in my favorite blanket, first-row-center in front of the television. They sparked confidence in me. From that start, my love for making great meals economically has grown.

Today, I want to share my basic recipes for what I consider to be gourmet salad dressings. So fresh and easy. Tasty, too.

See you there! Love, xo m ❣️

9

Orange Chicken, Three Ways—Kitchen Friendly and Easy on the Wallet

For years, I’d been searching for the perfect recipe for one of my family’s favorite dishes, Orange Chicken. And then wouldn’t you know it, within a very short period of time, I found not one, but three recipes that are quite different from one another, but all of them simply too yummy for words! Easy on the wallet, too!

Preparing today’s post has propelled me into a major state of hunger. My only problem is I can’t decide which one I’ll be making for dinner tonight. I’ll bet you’re hungry, too. No matter which recipe you choose, you can be sure that you’ll be eating very well, and for a fraction of the price of take out, delivery or eating out.

See you there … Love, xo m 🍗

10

Fabulous Slow Cooker Summer…Salads! Plus My Salsa Recipe

My Dear Readers …

Before we head to today’s post, I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.

Late yesterday, you may have been surprised to hear from me for the second time in one day with an email message about something exciting we’re working on here at EC Central. Did you see that? A Quick Start Guide—Laundry Smart. Well, that was a big Oops!! on our end. Here’s what happened and what’s going to happen, as well.

We’ve been working on this exciting new feature, which is geared to build our EC audience. It’s really great, if I do say so myself, but not quite ready for prime time. We hit the SEND button by accident. Seriously … maybe you know that feeling of hitting “Send” before you meant to. Uh-huh, I think we’ve all done that. So …

Do not expect “Lesson 1” today. Or even tomorrow. I will be offering my New Quick Start Guide—Laundry Smart to the world in the next week or so. AND don’t worry, I will let you know right here in the coming days how you, a faithful subscriber, can get it too! Watch for those details.

In the meantime, I am blown away by how many of you responded by sending me your laundry questions and concerns! THANK YOU! And don’t worry about that either, because I’m scrambling to compile quick and easy solutions for all those annoying problems. You’re not alone … we all have them!

All that to say, sincere apologies for that premature “send” yesterday. We’ll make it up to you very soon.

Ah … summer! While the calendar says we are still a month from the official first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, as far as I am concerned it’s here! And what a beautiful summer it is. And about the last thing I want to do is to start heating up my kitchen. So out comes my slow cooker.

I use it more in summer than any other time of year because it uses hardly any electricity even when set for hours on end, doesn’t heat up the kitchen at all, and I can set it out on the deck or any place with an electrical outlet.

Even better—hold on, because you might not believe it at first—I use it to make glorious summer salads! Yes. All that in today’s post.

See you at today’s yummy post … Love, xo m

11

Smart Saving Tastes Like Chicken

With the price of beef skyrocketing, now more than ever, chicken is the backbone of a frugal kitchen.

Chicken is much less expensive than beef or pork and useful down to and including the bones. Everything you need to know about buying, storing, freezing, cutting up, preparing and using up completely—it’s all in today post! See you there … xo m 🐔🍗

15

16 Practical Ways to Stretch Your Food Budget

If soaring food prices are getting you down, help is on the way! Here are some basic saving strategies, practical solutions, and novel ideas to stretch your food budget—and make your life easier.

Granted, one of these strategies on its own is not likely to make a huge difference. But lots of small strategies working together—that’s the way to see huge results.

17

Salad in a Jar—Good for Health and Wealth

If you’ve been hanging out with me for any length of time, you know I’m pretty wild about making Gifts in a Jar, now a free downloadable ebook. I’m talking about wide-mouth glass canning jars with screw top lids. Seriously, you can stuff just about anything in one of these amazing containers and come up with […]

18

Worst and Best Ways to Grill Chicken

In a previous post, I asked readers to share their worst barbecue and grilling experiences that could have been spared if they’d had a decent instant-read thermometer.   I loved reading your comments, some of which are so funny you had me laughing out loud. But more than that, I learned that most of our grilling […]

19

6 Easy Ways to Give New Life to Leftover Rice

Instead of pitching the leftover cooked rice from tonight’s dinner, try using it in different ways in your next meal. Just don’t make the fatal mistake of calling it “leftovers” 😂

Provided you think of leftover cooked rice as an ingredient in a future meal, you’re home free and all your picky eaters will be none the wiser.

Here’s a secret: When I cook rice, I always more than required for the meal. That gives me at least three cups leftover to refrigerate and use in a meal tomorrow!

Enjoy these 6 ideas for using leftover rice (including two of our favorite recipes). Will you add your ideas for how to use up leftover rice in the comments? TIA. See you at the post … Love, xo Mary

20

Cilantro-Lime Rice Just Like Your Favorite Restaurants

I have no idea why on the one hand I seriously do not care for cilantro but on the other hand, I’m crazy for Cilantro-Lime Rice as served by both Chipotle and Qdoba casual Mexican restaurants.

How do they do that? How do they take rice, lime, and cilantro for goodness’ sake, and turn it into such a delicious side dish?

I’ve been asking that question for a long time. Finally, I believe I have figured out how to make delicious, amazing Cilantro-Lime Rice that tastes for all the world just like the restaurants’—and for just pennies.

But before I get into the specifics for how to make Cilantro-Lime Rice, I want to tell you about something I have learned in this process—a super fast way to prepare plain rice from scratch in about 12 minutes give or take.

Today I have two copycate recipes for Cilantro-Lime Rice—Chipotle style and Qdoba’s. Yes! You can make either (or both) at home, today—easy! Both methods, super awesome! Yum.

See you there… Love, xo m 🍚 ❣️

21

16 Brilliant Reasons to Stop Throwing Out Pickle Juice

It was a weird request. My friend Mary Ann asked if she could borrow some pickle juice. Huh? Who keeps pickle juice?

The purpose of pickle juice is to keep the pickles fresh and flavorful. And when the pickles are gone, out goes the juice, right? That practice that makes Mary Ann cringe.

Here’s the deal: Mary Ann is famous for her potato salad. She makes ten pounds at a time and it disappears faster than homemade ice cream on a hot summer day. Her secret (which she confides to only a chosen few*) is sweet pickle juice. Not pickles, not relish—only the juice. And lots of it.

So, I wondered if there might be other uses for the briny stuff? A quick search of the multiple thousands of tips readers have sent to me over the years plus research online came up amazingly positive!

Really, I had no idea that pickle juice had so many health benefits or could be used in so many ways in the kitchen …

See you at the post!

Love, xo m

22

Best Non-Perishable Food to Stockpile for an Emergency and Where to Keep It

If recent world events have given you on big fat wake-up call, you are not alone. The message is clear—every household needs to have some amount of food in storage. Natural disasters like blizzards, hurricanes, and floods often come with little or no warning.

Stocking up now on the right non-perishable food items will help you weather the storm (or global pandemic) with less stress. The type and amount of food to store is an individual decision that depends on your financial resources and storage area.

Ideally, your long term goal is to have stockpiled enough to feed your family for six months. But start with shorter goals, like enough food for one week, then two weeks, and then a month. This kind of incremental plan won’t bust the budget or throw you into panic buying that can easily lead to burnout and buyer’s remorse.

Not sure how to get started, or even what you should have in storage? Or how to make sure it doesn’t spoil before you can use it? No matter your situation, there’s a reasonable way you can get started now. All that in today’s post! See you there …

Love, xo m

23

Best Ever NO-YEAST Homemade Bread

Good Morning, Dear Readers!

First thing this morning I checked my favorite overnight news source, Morning Brew (it’s free and a lot of fun). Then I looked outside to be welcomed by 9-inches of snow. WOW! … and it’s still coming down until at least 10pm. Only in Colorado 😂.

Which leads me to thoughts of hot, homemade bread. And not just any bread. I’m talkiing bread with no yeast, no-egg, no-oil, and no-sugar. For hard-core bread lovers, that may sound awful, but you just have to try this.

For those times when you’re fresh out of yeast—this is the recipe you want handy.

No-yeast bread, often referred to simply as soda bread, is different than a light, airy yeast bread. It’s rustic, more dense—a bit heavier than typical yeast breast. And oh, so delicious. Eat it plain, toast it or serve it warm and all slathered up with butter. 

Is your mouth watering? Mine too … so let’s get baking!

See you there! Love, xo m 🥖🍞❣️

24

27 Things Never to Put in the Refrigerator

Have you outgrown your refrigerator? Thinking it’s time to replace it with one that’s bigger? Before you do that, take inventory to see just how much stuff you have in there that really should not be refrigerated. You just might discover that suddenly, current fridge is a lot roomier!  

25

Ground Beef Entrees Cheap, Fast … Good!

As food prices continue to soar, I am more convinced now than ever that given the right recipes, we can cook a wonderful meal from scratch at home and have it on the table in the time it would take to decide on a restaurant or take-out, drive there, place the order, wait for it, […]

26

How to Cook Perfectly Boiled Eggs

Eggs. They’re nutritious, delicious and cheap! And who’s not thinking eggs right about now as we head into Easter Weekend!

Cooking boiled eggs properly—Easter eggs, ramen eggs, deviled eggs—is quite simple and foolproof, provided you know the secrets.

All that in today’s post!

See you there … Love, m 🥚 🍳!

P.S. Got great tips and ideas for how to color and decorate perfectly boiled eggs for Easter baskets? We would love to know … so please share in the comments area. Thanks!

27

How to Make Fabulous Meals Using a Formula, Not a Recipe

Ever feel like kitchen klutz? Wish you could take that odd assortment of stuff in the pantry and freezer mix it with leftovers in the fridge, and make something delicious without a specific recipe and without having to run to the market?

Well, grab your whisk and shout for joy! Thanks to the Fool-Proof 5-Step Formula in today’s post, you can create fabulous, original, homemade, delicious, and nutritious entrees designed by You, using the items you have on hand.

I hope you’re doing well, today. Living so much uncertainty has a way of bringing us down emotionally. That’s why I am so grateful we have each other—you’re an anchor in my life I can count on. Meeting up every day is a sure thing!

See you at the post—I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this! Love, xo m

28

Homemade Pot Roast with Gravy—Quick and Super Easy!

Good Morning, Cheapskates!

Addressing you as Cheapskates makes me smile, and certainly not used in a derogatory way. For me it goes back to those days when I’d made a U-Turn on the road to financial ruin—learning how to be frugal, spending less than we earned; shunning credit and determined to get out of debt. My husband teasingly called me his Little Cheapskate. I wore that like a badge. He was proud of me and that would spur me on!

I’ve done more cooking in the past three weeks than I’ve done in a long time. No kidding! I’m making three home-cooked meals a day. I’m not sure if that’s because I am so focused on staying home or that we depended a bit too much on drive-thru, pick up and eating out. Whichever, it’s making me so happy.

This past weekend I made a big Pot Roast—the kind that makes its own gravy. Fall-apart beef that’s tender, flavorful, and smothered in a rich gravy that it makes itself. Mouthwateringly good, yet insanely simple to make. Use a slow cooker or Instant Pot. So good. But even better—super easy, and quick. Curious? I knew you would be.

Let’s get cooking!

See you there! Love, xo m 🐮🐔🐷

29

Clever Ways to Make Meals from Leftovers

My Dear Readers …
If you’re finding yourself being more judicious with everything from fresh produce and milk to toilet paper, you’re not alone. And that’s sure not a bad thing!

We may look back at this time in our lives to when we really turned the corner with discovering the many benefits—and levels of frugality! I’m not reusing dryer lint yet, but who knows?! 😂

Which brings me to the subject of food. And leftovers. I have to confess, using up food to the last bit is a real challenge. And I’ve learned the most important rule of leftovers—reframe them to be ingredients, not recycled meals. That has changed everything for me. If you watch that show on the Food Channel, “Chopped,” you know that leftovers are often in those secret baskets!

I’m certain that is if we can nail this thing of repurposing leftovers, we’ll be stretching our food budgets even farther—especially during this challenging time.

Please stay safe! You’re in my thoughts and prayers. You know where I am.

See you at the post! Love xo m 🥘 🍕 🍚 🌭 ❣️

30

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Once upon a time, there was a restaurant located in Fountain Valley, Calif. Mañanas’ claim to fame—fresh, hot, homemade flour tortillas. Mañanas had a machine—a big, long, crazy machine—set right out in the open in plain sight. It alone was worth the trip, if only to watch a tiny ball of dough start at one […]

31

The Food Pantry Items You Need to Stock Up On Now

No one knows how long these difficult times brought on by a wicked virus will last. It could drag on for a while, it may be over relatively quickly. Life is uncertain. Regardless, every home needs a stockpile of food. It’s part of any sensible emergency preparedness plan. You need to stock up now. Today. Good news! It’s not too late. Even if you are self-quarantined at home, you can do this.

Please take a few moments sometime today to assess your stock of food and pantry items. We’ll do this together! See you at the post … Love, xo m

P.S. This is for my readers and friends of faith. If that does not describe you, please feel free to click through to the post.

The responses to a recent post, “How to Keep Calm and Carry On,” rocked my world. Your gratitude lists—so encouraging for me! In those lists, many of you expressed your deep faith in God.

This has moved me to consider offering a new faith option in addition to this daily email—a way that I can share my faith and we can all enourage one another in our daily walk with Christ. I don’t know what that is exactly, but if you are interested, do this:

Send an email to mary @everydaycheapskate.com (close that space when you type in the email address) using the word “Faith” in the subject line. This will help me assess interest and how to proceed. Thanks!

32

How to Break the Restaurant Habit

Whether this wicked virus that continues to spread represents a temporary disruption or it changes life as we know it, one thing is clear: We won’t be going out for a lovely restaurant meal this evening. The world of food has been turned upside down.

Suddenly, eating out needs to be replaced with cooking in, and that scares a lot of people who’ve become accustomed to eating out.

But how can you go from eating out most of the time to knowing how to cook at home all of the time? I have a few thoughts (and you find that surprising?!) and an idea in today’s post! See you there … Love, xo m 🍽 ❣️

33

A Simple Meal to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Twenty-four years ago on March 17, I surprised my DPL* staff by bringing a homemade meal to the office to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It was such a hit, I’ve done a repeat performance every year since. The menu is simple and remarkably inexpensive: Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes and Carrots Irish Soda Bread […]

34

This is the Only Way I Will Ever Make Cornbread Again

As a northerner, born and bred in the Pacific Northwest, it wasn’t until I was well into my adult years that I learned that when it comes to cornbread, there are two camps. Those who put sugar in their recipe and those who do not. I belong to the latter. To many Southerners, sugar has no place in cornbread and the addition of it is sacrilege.

Here’s my idea of to-die-for cornbread. Crispy, golden edges, soft not dry inside, slightly sweet and so moist it doesn’t even need butter (although who would skip the butter?). And possibly even more important, must be super easy to make and ready to eat start-to-delicious-finish in 30 minutes. Are you with me?

Not exactly a recipe, this is more of a recipe hack—a brilliant way take two $.55 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix then perform a little magic!

If you’re at all like me, which something tells me we are a lot alike, you’re going to love this.

See you there. Love, m

P.S. Your response to yesterday’s post blessed my socks off. Hundreds of gratitude lists—each one of them encouraging me, empowering me, and spurring me on. Oh, how I love each an every one of you, my Dear EC Family! I have so much to share with you on this current situation they’re calling a pandemic and how we can best deal with changes that are coming moment-by-moment. Stick close and I’ll see you tomorrow.

37

How to Make Stir Fry Like a Rockstar—Quick and Easy!

I can’t think of a more perfect food than stir-fry. It makes good use of leftovers; it’s healthy and when prepared well, tastes fantastic!  Pam Anderson, author of How to Cook Without a Book, says the reason most home stir-fry comes out a soggy mess is that our home stovetops don’t get as hot as […]

38

Make it Better Yourself: Homemade Coffee Creamer

Cream. It’s coffee’s perfect mate. And when that creamer comes flavored in a handy bottle from the dairy case, even more perfect, right? Oh, but so pricey! Here’s a solution: Make it yourself cheaper, better and faster!

The way to do this is to start with a Base Recipe that is basically bland in taste but creamy. Then you add flavor it up exactly the way you love your creamer.

In today’s post I offer two Base Recipes—#1 starts out sweet, #2 is not sweet and then we go from there with specific “recipes” for 28 different flavors. The one you love has to be in there somewhere!

Unless you are a black-coffee only die-hard ☕️, you’re going to love this. See you there … Love, xo m

39

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

My mother-in-law was a very organized woman. She had file folders for everything you can imagine including one containing lists of her most valued possessions along with the name of the person who would fall heir to that item upon her passing. Among the items I received are two three-ring binders filled with “magnetic” scrapbook […]

41

How to Make High Cost of Ground Beef Easier to Swallow

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says in 2019 the average price of a pound of lean ground beef climbed to a whopping $5.63 per pound. If you and your family are not ready to turn vegetarian—nor are you prepared to pay that much for a pound of quality hamburger—you do have another option: Get creative. Okay, […]

42

Two Recipes on the Menu Every Week at My House

There are two meals I prepare nearly every week—Crispy Skin Chicken Thighs and Honey Garlic Salmon. These are my go-tos because both are so quick and easy—and so delicious they never grow old! Family-friendly, too!

Sam and Eli, our grandsons ages 4 and 10, would dive into either one of these entrees every day of the week if they could. And my husband couldn’t agree more. Both recipes are winners, for sure!

43

Secrets to No-Fail Tender Juicy Chicken Breasts

They’re convenient and, we’re told, more healthy. But there are few things quite as boring or more difficult to prepare well than boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Here’s the problem: Chicken skin helps to keep the chicken moist and the bones add flavor. Remove both and what do you have? The potential for dry, tasteless, tough chicken.

But not to worry. Here are two foolproof methods to prepare boneless skinless chicken breasts (BSCB) so they come out and tender and juicy every time—provided that you follow these instructions exactly.

44

How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans

It all started about 10 years when I had a conversation with Dax Wilson, who’d recently taken up this hobby of home roasting. The motivation? First, quality and taste, but also to cut the high cost of quality coffee by at least half. That was enough to get my attention and all I needed to […]

45

How We Use Meal Kits to Cut Food Costs

Since discovering just how much we love Home Chef meal kits—and writing about it—I’ve received the most interesting feedback. Seems that you love it too! I love your feedback and and letters—especially the creative, innovative and clever ways so many of you are coming up with to enjoy Home Chef while at the same time make the service work to cut overall food costs … !

46

Confessions of a Compulsive Chopper

I did something I hadn’t done in years. I took a weekend—plus the holiday—off. It was wonderful. Had friends over. And I made salsa. From scratch.

I used my absolutely favorite kitchen gadget, the Vidalia Chop Wizard to chop the stuff that needed chopping (tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro). This thing is amazing and super inexpensive—still just $20. Mine has to be at least 15 years old, and still chopping flawlessly.

It chopped the tomatoes fast and uniformly—without launching seeds and pulp across the room or turning the whole thing into a squished mess.

47

The Best Reason NOT to Buy Prewashed Salad in a Bag

I don’t buy bagged double- or triple-wash salad in a bag but not be for the reasons you might assume. It’s not because I’m overly concerned that bacteria might make it through all that pre-washing in a chlorinated bath (although tests conducted by Consumer Reports did find bacteria that are common indicators of poor sanitation). Show me any […]

48

Instant Pot New York Cheesecake—Fast, Easy, Perfect!

You could have knocked me over with a feather as I was searching for ways to use my instant pot and locked eyeballs with—cheesecake. What?! I can bake in this thing? Every day, it seems, I learn something new that I can do with this multi-cooker. But cheesecake? I had visions of throwing cheesecake ingredients into […]

49

How to Make a Perfect Baked Potato in the Oven

If you’ve ever wondered how some restaurants turn out such perfectly baked potatoes with salty, crispy skin—potatoes that are super fluffy inside and so delicious, you’re about to discover the secrets. And don’t be surprised when once you have the technique down, your family will be all in when you announce that potatoes are what’s […]

50

Homemade English Muffin Bread

Here’s an easy way to cut your grocery bill this week: Make your own bread. Wait! Hear me out.

Let me show you how to make homemade bread that is so easy, so simple, and so foolproof it’s going to make you feel like a genius. Homemade bread, specifically this English Muffin Bread, is simply amazing.

See you there … Love, m xo

51

It’s All About the Sauce—Chinese Brown Sauce!

Some of my earliest childhood memories center around Asian food. But not just any Asian food. I’m talking about the food at the Golden Dragon restaurant in Boise Ida., city of my birth and the home of tiny pork ribs swimming in the most beautiful and delicious brown sauce with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

We moved when I was 10. It never dawned on me that might be the last time in my life I would experience that level of Chinese food. But it was. That is, until just a few months ago when I had a true Eureka! moment.

If you’re looking for something special for your New Year’s
Eve celebration … this might be it! So easy, quick and out-of-this-world delicious.

Happy New Year! Love, m xo

52

Shelf Life of Baking Supplies + Free Printable Cheat Sheet

Look up the word ‘impulsive’ in the dictionary and prepare to see my face. In my basement pantry, I have bags of chocolate chips to prove it. They are the ghosts of a Christmas past—left over from one of my Gift-in-a-Jar marathon projects. And those two containers of candied fruit that must be ten years old […]

55

Cinnamon Rolls—So Decadent, So Simple It Might Be Illegal!

There was a time that I felt compelled to rise early on Christmas morning to bake Cinnamon Rolls—my family’s breakfast item of choice on that very special day of the year.

When I say early, I mean 3:30 am. It takes hours for sweet bread dough to rise multiple times. And let’s just say that over the years, some attempts have been more successful than others.

Those days are gone. I’m done with that routine and not because I don’t love my family.

Now I sleep in until exactly 43 minutes before I want everyone to wake up to the smell of fresh, hot, decadent, perfect-every-time Cinnamon Rolls.

I may regret letting the cat out of the bag on this because they still think I’m a world-class Cinnamon Roll baker, but for right now, I’m excited to show-and-tell the most outrageously awesome food hack I’ve ever discovered.

See you there! Love, m xo ❣️❣️

You’re going to doubt me as we get started here, but you shouldn’t. Trust me on this. Magnificent Cinnamon Rolls in just 43 minutes from start to glorious finish

56

Incredible Edible Gifts

You do not need a lot of money nor must you have the gift of craftiness to assemble fabulous gifts in your kitchen. It’s hard to go wrong with a gift that is meant to be eaten or used up. That kind of gift does its job to convey your love and best wishes without increasing the recipients’ stuff-factor.

So gather your supplies, set up your production line and let the fun begin!

See you there … Love, xo m

57

White Fruitcake that Dreams are Made Of

I have no pride and, according to some, no taste. I love fruitcake. Sickeningly sweet, loaded with pecans, cherries, pineapple, and golden raisins; heavy as a brick and about four weeks old. Yum.

I can only assume that these terribly misguided people are only familiar with a version that is dark brown, dry-as-dust, molasses laden, overly spiced and mystery-fruited (what is citron, anyway?).

Just let me say that you’d be singing a different tune if you’d ever eaten my Grandmother’s white fruitcake. And I think you should! Join me and I’ll give you the recipe, with all my notes. Love, m xo

59

Make Your Own Spreadable Butter

You’ve seen the little tubs of “spreadable butter” in the dairy case of your supermarket. In fact, you may purchase them because they’re just so convenient. And if you watch your prices you know the typical spreadable could almost be considered a luxury item.  Most “spreadables” are part real butter, part canola oil. Others have […]

60

Instant Pot Vanilla Extract—One Week from Start-to-Gift

For nearly a decade I’ve been making vanilla extract for Christmas gifts. And every year I find myself scrambling because it’s a process that requires two months minimum—six is better. But all that has changed since discovering how to make vanilla extract using my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Instead of months, Instant Pot vanilla […]

61

9 Easy Moves That Will Simplify Your Spending

Confused and stressed out about how to manage your money so you don’t run out before payday? Put these nine easy moves into action and you’ll be well on your way to simplify your spending.

I know what you’re thinking—simplify and spending in the same sentence? Ha! Like that’s even possible when we have credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts, bills, bill-pay, auto-pay, fees, penalties, interest rates, and fees to keep track of. How can we possibly make managing money simple?

By having a plan. By choosing to become accountable and then using every tactic possible to streamline and de-stress your money. I’ll show you how in today’s post! See you there … Love, xo m

62

Absolutely the Best Way to Store and Reheat Leftover Pizza

By some miracle, you ended up with more pizza than you could eat—or you intentionally ordered a larger pie just to have leftovers. Read on for the very best way to store and reheat leftover pizza. Don’t let your leftovers sit in the fridge until they dry up, curl up, and turn downright disgusting. Enjoy […]

63

How to Make Tulip Muffin Cups

In a past post I gave away all my secrets when I taught you how to make muffins that are so great, your friends will call you a genius. Reader feedback has been off the chart. In fact, that’s exactly what I was thinking about one Saturday morning as I was making muffins for brunch. I […]

65

Everything You Need to Know About Storing Coffee

Having reached the level of coffee snob some years ago, I don’t think I’m quite to the level of coffee geek yet, but I continue to work on it. That’s how much I love really good coffee! As you may recall from previous posts I’ve been a home roaster for many years now. While my […]

66

Coffee Hacks, Tips, Tricks, and Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte

Whenever I write about my love of coffee that admittedly has turned me into a coffee snob, reader feedback is as enthusiastic as it is voluminous. I’m happy to know I’m not alone in my snobbery.     Many of you bring up interesting points—questions, too. Like what to do with brewed coffee that is […]

67

23 Ways to Chop Your Grocery Bill

Need a foolproof way to cut your food/grocery expenses by 25% this month? Announce to your family that there will be a complete ban on the consumption of food during the first week of every month. There. That should do it!  Twenty-five percent right off the top. What?! Don’t think you can pull that off? […]

68

4 Absolutely Brilliant Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

There’s just nothing that screams late summer like sweet corn when it’s fresh, hot, and slathered with butter and salt. Today, I want to share with you four brilliantly delicious ways to cook corn on the cob that are sure to thrill and delight you, your family, and guests, too. Corn on the cob is […]

71

Peaches—Tips, Tricks, and My Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler

And just like that, it’s peach season. That’s a big deal where I live in northern Colorado in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. We love peaches! Soon we’ll be enjoying Peach Street Fairs, Palisade Peach Festivals; peach fruit piled high in every store’s produce department and featured on nearly every restaurant’s menu. Freestone or cling? […]

72

A Crash Course in How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Could you use an extra $300? You might want to take a look in your garbage. A survey conducted by Glad, the food storage people, revealed that the average household throws away 150 pounds of rotten produce each year! Mind-boggling, right? Here’s a fun, crash course in the how, where, and, why of fresh fruits and […]

73

A Dozen Ways to Make Dump Chicken

The meal prep method is called “Dump Chicken” and it’s genius. Here’s why: You dump chicken pieces and your choice of sauce ingredients into a 1-gallon freezer bag, seal it and stick it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, dump it into a pan (or slow cooker) and […]

74

Outdoor Grilling on a Budget

Getting our outdoor grill cleaned, polished, and ready for summer got me thinking about how much fun it would be to celebrate. After all, the first day of summer comes but once a year, so why not do things up right with an amazing menu and a few good friends to kick off the season […]

75

How to Make Taco Seasoning Mix and What to Do With It

Seasoning packets from the supermarket may be convenient, but they have drawbacks—not the least of which is they’re relatively expensive! I just checked Lawry’s Taco Spices and Seasonings Mix—! I just hate to pay that much for so little. And I don’t have to because I’ve got a great recipe to make taco seasoning mix […]

76

Make Sure You Have These 9 Essential Pantry Items

Have you been paying attention to what’s going on with the cost of food? I just read that the average cost of ground beef in the U.S. has once again hit an all-time high. I believe it, and not only beef. It is shocking how grocery prices are going up, which underscores the need for […]

77

How To Make Family-Friendly Finger Foods Your Kids Will Love

In less time than it takes you to get into the car and drive to the closest drive-thru, you can make your own fast-food chicken fare—for half the price, or less. In fact, you can make a fabulous coating mix to mimic the best-coated chicken you’ve ever eaten, in five minutes flat.

I know what you’re thinking: Chicken. Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Fingers, Chicken Sandwiches—they’re all so tasty from these places, so convenient and so kid-friendly!

Well, today I want to show you how you can make those family favorites—cheaper, better and faster! See you there … Love, m

78

What to Do With Leftover Green Salad (Don’t Throw it Out!)

If throwing out perfectly delicious leftover green salad were a crime, I’d be serving a life sentence.   It kills me to do it, but until fairly recently, I had no idea there was a second life for a leftover green salad, dressed or not. Once tossed, passed and partially consumed, that’s it, right? Wrong. Salad […]

80

13 Ways to Save Money Eating Out at Restaurants

The average American household spends most of its money—62% of an average $56,000 in annual expenditures—on just three things: housing, transportation, and food. If you’re trying to cut costs and save money, food is the place to get started. Reducing restaurant visits and increasing your home-cooked meals is a surefire way to cut food costs. […]

81

How to Make Perfect Iced Coffee

As a coffee lover, there’s one thing I just didn’t get until quite recently: iced coffee. What?! The idea left me, well … cold! Coffee is supposed to be hot. ☕️ Very, very hot!

And then I made a fatal mistake. I accepted a sample of iced coffee in a popular coffee shop. It was strong, sweet, creamy and icy, icy cold. Wow … !

82

Here is the Secret to Healthy Eating on a Budget

Recently, I got a frantic letter from Barbara, who lives in Florida. It seems that her teenage son has taken up bodybuilding and her husband is adhering rigidly to the Atkins Diet, both of which are protein-heavy. Barb got through the first week with a major case of mixed emotions: Her husband lost 7 pounds, her […]

83

4 Easy Ways to Make Perfectly Baked Potatoes

Think you have nothing to fix for dinner? As long as you have a few potatoes in the pantry, you have at least one option—bake potatoes and call it dinner. Whether topped with a pat of butter or loaded up with broccoli and cheese—or a big scoop of hearty chili—baked potatoes really are an easy, […]

84

9 Cooking Mistakes We All Make and How to Fix Them

Just the other night I suffered a kitchen disaster. I hate when that happens. I ruined an entire pot of pasta because I got busy and was not paying attention. By the time I realized, the pasta had cooked way beyond al dente, all the way to total mush. It killed me to dump the whole […]

85

Pasta Mama: World-Class Gourmet Pasta on a Shoestring

A popular restaurant  Hugo’s, in West Hollywood, Calif., has been critically acclaimed for one of its menu items, Pasta Mama. The first time I heard about it, I thought it was a bit odd. Pasta with eggs? I couldn’t imagine what would prompt people to drive many miles to get Pasta Mama. But they do, […]

87

The Ultimate Restaurant Menu Cheat Sheet

A restaurant menu—no big deal, right? It’s just a list of the food items that a restaurant offers its customers. Sure it is. Plus a whole lot more. Before menus ever make it to the printer, restaurant owners hire menu engineers and consultants to bury super sneaky psychological tricks into the pretty pictures and mouth-watering […]

89

One Pound Ground Beef Makes a Meal

Hey, that was quick! It’s already Friday again.

Is it just me, or does it seem like January has been the longest month ever?! I am so ready for the weekend.

Recently, I had the perfect opportunity to test a tip sent in by a reader: “Before you pay full price for ground beef, look at other cuts of beef that might be on sale. If the price is better, ask the butcher to grind that roast or steak.”

I put that tip to the test, and Wow! What a difference. I saved 50% on ground beef.

I got home, divided the meat into about one-pound portions, and put them in the freezer. Now what? What can anyone with a family to feed do with just one pound of ground beef? I can’t wait to tell you, in today’s post. See you there!

Love, m xo (Yum!)

90

10 Brilliant Food and Cooking Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

Whether you are naturally gifted in the kitchen or had the pleasure of growing up with some talented cooks who were happy to give you a few pointers along the way—lots of people shy away from the kitchen because they find cooking complicated, and even a bit confusing. 

Fortunately, there are tons of great little tricks that can help anyone improve their cooking game, and maybe get some interest in further developing their skills.

Today, I have for you some of the most useful cooking hacks that can benefit everyone, regardless of skill level.

See you there …

Love, m xo 🍞 🥓 🍕🍰 🍨 and more!

91

When it Comes to Food Products—What’s in a Date?

No doubt, you’ve noticed that some food products come with dates and codes printed on them. Does that mean it has to be consumed by that date or just sold by that date?

It’s so confusing!

But not to worry, I have untangled this to help us understand. Notice, I did not say it’s going to make sense, but at least we will know how to interpret the confusing dates and codes. Actually, it’s kinda’ fun!

See you there! Love, xo m

92

Muffins So Amazing, They’re Insane!

I love to bake, however, baking has not always been fond of me. We’ve had our moments. It wasn’t until I surrendered to the following recipes exactly that our relationship made the turn. I had to come to the point that I was willing to measure the ingredients, follow directions and believe that little things […]

93

Dinner-in-a-Box is Not What I Thought

Dinner-in-a-Box. Seriously?

Who in their right mind would trust seafood, meat and produce from some unknown assembly plant, piled onto a loading dock then moved into the back of an unrefrigerated FedEx truck for who knows how long and until some delivery guy drops it on the porch?

The whole idea sounded ridiculously expensive to me, if not just plain gross. I didn’t need to test the obvious so I did what comes all too naturally for me: I jumped to conclusions.

Turns out I was way off base and so wrong. Today I’m here to come clean and set the record straight…

94

Just in Time for the Holidays Gift-Worthy Caramel Corn

For years, I’ve tried to make caramel corn, without success. It was either too soggy or too chewy. Or the caramel turned sugary. Once, I needed a hammer and chisel to get the stuff out of the bowl.

I’d really given up until my encounter with Popcornopolis. I had to figure this out―I had to find a way to create a reasonable facsimile in my kitchen that would hit the mark without breaking the bank.

I am excited to let you know is that I believe I have … oh my, yes! My recipe, instructions and very important final step, all of that in today’s post

See you there!

Love, Mary 👌❤️

95

Favorite Super Short, Super Easy Instant Pot Recipes

I have loved my Instant Pot since the day it arrived back in 2016. I’ll admit to being slightly intimidated in the first few days but that was short-lived. Thanks to a few tips, tricks, and these ridiculously simple recipes, in no time I was making dinners in 30 minutes or less—start to finish. Meals from my Instant […]

97

The 4 Make-Your-Own-Mixes You Asked For

They’re convenient and tasty, but the high cost of your favorite prepared mixes and spice blends is enough to make you choke right there in the supermarket! In less time than it takes you to run to the market to pick up a box of Bisquick or a few packets of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing […]

98

Turn Leftovers into Soup

Soup is a great frugal, potentially delicious meal that can successfully be made from leftovers. It’s a great way to “waste-not-want-not” because potentially you can get a free meal for your efforts. But I’m not talking about just dumping stuff in a pot willy-nilly. There’s a method here for making really great soup from ingredients […]

99

Favorite Egg Recipes for Instant Pot

I’ve been using Instant Pot for a couple of years now. Somedays I wonder how I ever got along without it. It has earned a prominent place on my kitchen counter—a privilege enjoyed by few other items because I prefer for my counters to be clear open spaces.

101

Stay Calm and Make Your Own Mixes

Checking one of my email inboxes this morning (I have several) made my heart race and my head spin. Hundreds of messages all related to BLACK FRIDAY. Then I checked my news feed and the blaring headlines and accompanying photo made me slightly nauseous: Full-grown, visually mature adults fighting over TVs at Walmart. Look, I’m […]

103

Money-Saving Tricks to Put Your Freezer To Work

Whether you have a stand-alone unit or it’s is part of your refrigerator, your freezer is either costing a lot in wasted energy or saving a bundle in food costs. The day I discovered I could freeze certain fresh herbs in olive oil—sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano do best using this method—I fell in love […]

104

Skip the Dinner, Bring on the Appetizers!

Fall is more than the kickoff to all of our favorite holidays. For me, it’s also the season of dinner parties, casual get togethers— and lots of entertaining. We’ll be hosting our first big event of the season this coming week and I’m so excited! I’ve learned the hard way just how risky it can […]

105

Instant Pot Quick-Start Guide

About 20 years ago there was a pressure cooker renaissance in America. Our grandmothers knew that day would come, that we would return to her favorite kitchen tool—a pressure cooker—to make fast braises, stews, soups, and casseroles. They just didn’t know how we’d get there. If you, like me, are a Nervous Nellie who grew […]

106

They’ll Think It’s Filet Mignon

From time to time my supermarket runs a special on a cut of beef they label,  “London Broil.” It’s a lean piece of meat, about 1 1/2 inches thick and tough as shoe leather. You may wonder why I load up my freezer when it goes on sale for around $5 a pound. That’s because […]

108

How the Right Thermometer Makes Me Look Good in the Kitchen

Faithful readers know how much I love to cook. That has not always been the case. It was coming face-to-face with how much money we were spending on restaurants, diners, take-out and drive-thrus that forced me (kicking and screaming) into the kitchen. All those years ago, I looked to TV shows, cookbooks and online videos […]

109

Best Instant Pot Tips, Recipes and Accessories

Last week I turned to use my microwave oven only to have it glare at me with a fatal error message in its little display screen. What?! I googled “Whirlpool” plus the error code and learned that the cost to replace the electronics that had blown out would be far greater than replacing the whole thing. Great. But not […]

111

Food Cost-Cutting Strategies for Every Lifestyle

Ever wonder why you never have enough money to save? I’m talking about consistent, regular deposits out of every paycheck that go straight into a savings account. Maybe it’s time to consider that you’re handing over your savings to local restaurants, drive-thrus, diners and coffee shops. Think about it. What if you didn’t eat out so […]

112

Foods in Which We Find Comfort … Ahhhh!

I was shocked out of my mind when I learned the origin of two of my all-time favorite comfort foods—rice pudding and bread pudding. Can you believe it, both were born out of, well—let’s just be straight up about it—poverty. It was during the Great Depression that clever cooks who preferred to feed their families […]

113

The Crockpot Casserole Slow Cooker: A Review

A few weeks ago I told you that I would be testing and then reviewing the 3.5-Quart Crockpot Casserole Slow Cooker. What’s different about this slow cooker from the typical slow cooker is its shape. The stoneware insert is a 9” x 13” rectangular baking dish that is the perfect size and shape to cook […]

115

What Would You Do with 35 Pounds of Lemons?

I kinda’ went nuts on my last trip to California. You’ll recall from a previous column we make that trip quite often for business but also to visit our son who has a Meyer lemon tree in his back yard. I have never seen such a prolific fruit tree in my life. It’s not on any […]

117

Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month

The title, Once a Month Cooking, made me laugh. Cook once a month? I didn’t need a book to do that. I needed the motivation to cook the other 29 days of the month, too! I didn’t actually read that book until years later when I met up with co-author Mary Beth Lagerborg. I learned […]

118

Incredibly Edible Eggs

They’re packed with nutritional goodness, available almost everywhere and relatively cheap when compared to the soaring cost of other proteins like meat and poultry. But the cheapest and most available eggs in the world are not likely to impact your food budget unless you know how to prepare them perfectly. In keeping with my belief […]

120

Slow Cooker Nailed It!

There’s just something about the bountiful tastes of autumn and slow cookers that go together. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of testing in my kitchen and while some results have been less than palatable (let me make all the mistakes so you won’t have to), other attempts have turned out even better than I […]

121

Chicken Labeling: Prepare to be Surprised

If you’ve ever stood in the supermarket wondering if paying more for chicken that is free-range, antibiotic-free, no hormones added, farm-raised, natural, and organic, makes you a better person, you are not alone.  Recently, as I was doubting myself on my chicken choices I decided to get to the bottom of what all of this […]

122

Impossibly Easy Impossible Pies

If you shy away from making homemade pies—savory or sweet—because of the crust (it can be tricky and there’s all that rolling) you are in for a treat. Meet the impossible pie. Impossible pies are just the best because they’re easy to make and always turn out so well. Impossible pies are family-friendly, too. Even […]

125

It’s All About that Sauce

Sometime ago, I posted an impromptu fan poll on our Facebook page asking, “What is your greatest financial temptation?” Answer choices: accepting more credit, vacation, clothes, new car, stuff for house, eating out or none-of-the-above. I thought I could easily predict the outcome: stuff for the house would win. The runaway winner at 41 percent […]

126

The Scoop on Free Ice Cream

Updated 9-22-19 Is there anything better than ice cream on a hot summer day? Well, yes there is—FREE ice cream! And I’ve got the scoop on where you can get free goodies like ice cream on your birthday and other times, too. Most of these stores and restaurants will require you to join a club […]

128

How to Feed a Crowd and Not Go Broke

Graduation parties, rehearsal dinners, family reunions—it’s the season for large gatherings. If feeding lots of people has you in a panic, relax. I’ve got you covered with great big recipes for enough fabulous food to feed a crowd that won’t bust the budget.   Crockpot Chicken BBQ 4 pounds chicken breasts (skinless, boneless) 3/4 cup […]

129

Of Meatloaf and “Homade” Chili Sauce

My sweet mother-in-law loved chili sauce. But not any ol’ version. It had to be Homade Chili Sauce,  which for the longest time I thought was her personal spelling of “homemade.”  But she was right. Homade Chili Sauce it is. She’d put it on almost everything, which surprised me. I’d always thought chili anything meant […]

130

Cooking Under Pressure

I’m a big fan of pressure cooking because I can make an entire meal in just a few minutes. Pressure cooking is crazy fast which means I save a ton of time—and energy, too. I do find this fact rather amusing as I am equally fond of slow cooking. I have come to love and adore my 5-quart Kuhn Rikon […]

131

One Recipe, Endless Uses

Last week, a friend called asking me to send her “That Recipe!” Of course I was puzzled, but it didn’t take long to figure out what she was talking about when she mentioned,  “homemade Biscuits with freezer jam.” Apparently, I served that for breakfast the last time she visited. That Recipe is my Master Mix. The […]

132

Let Us Eat Cake!

What do Pat Benatar, George Foreman and I, your humble columnist, have in common? We share the same birthday. I only know this because someone gave me a 797-page book titled simply, The Portable Book of Birthdays. Good thing too, or I’d never have known that Pat, George and I have socially savvy personalities and […]

134

Microwave Popcorn May be Trouble in a Bag

When I first read about the possible dangers of microwave popcorn, I assumed I would read about issues having to do with sodium and trans fats. What I’ve learned is that the real problem may be with the bag. The bag almost all microwave popcorn varieties come in is lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This […]

135

Muffins: The Perfect Solution

Mom was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You cannot afford to miss it for many reasons, but here are three which come from recent medical research: 1. People who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off are faithful members of the “breakfast club.”  2. People who eat breakfast […]

136

To-Die-For Gluten-Free Muffins

I thought this matter of gluten-free was pretty solid–that some people are truly allergic to gluten, others have celiac disease for whom gluten is a serious health issue, while others are simply gluten sensitive. Now I learn there is a growing school of thought that unless a person is diagnosed with celiac disease, it’s all […]

137

Never Trust a Dark Restaurant

I should have known better. Of all people, I should not have trusted a menu that had no prices on it. But for some reason it just didn’t cross my mind that I needed to. Friends called asking us to go out to dinner. It was spontaneous so they looked to me, their fearless cheapskate, […]

138

Got Five Minutes? Bake Bread!

  It’s been seven years since I became a bread maker. I read a book, gave it a try and found immediate success. I can’t really take much credit for this thing I love so much–turning out amazing loaves of bread on a whim. I owe any success I have achieved to Jeff and Zoe–creators […]

139

Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared

  If there is one thing most people take for granted it is food. US supermarkets are always well-stocked and we don’t think much about how all that food gets there. When pushed to consider it, I wager most of us assume there are huge warehouses somewhere filled with enough food to feed the nation […]

140

Make Your Own Mixes

  They’re convenient and tasty, but have you ever considered the high cost of your favorite prepared mixes and spices? In less time than it takes you to run to the market to pick up a box of Rice a Roni or Shake ‘N Bake, you can make it yourself, and save a bundle in […]

141

The Art of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  A surefire signal that I’m out of town is the big square burn mark in my best stainless skillet. That’s the tale tell sign my husband has attempted to prepare the one and only item on his repertoire of home cooked meals: A grilled cheese sandwich. The man doesn’t know how to cook. His […]

142

Recipes That’ll Make You Look Good

  Not long ago, as I was preparing one of my favorite dishes, I got to thinking about you. No kidding, I really did. As I was mulling over my short list of quick and easy recipes that make me look good, I made a mental note that I need to share these recipes with […]

143

Make Your Own Groceries: Salad Dressing

  If you read the list of ingredients on the back of prepared food products and wonder what they are really (and how to pronounce them), you’re going to love the idea of making your own groceries, whenever possible. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with these mystery ingredients in […]

144

Mashed Potatoes with a Twist

  What’s fat-free, cholesterol-free, high in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium, a great source of dietary fiber and dirt cheap? Potatoes, of course! If you, like me—you load up on potatoes when they are priced well—you may be looking for ways to prepare them that are a bit out of the ordinary. I have […]

145

Hawaiian Sliders: Perfect on the Grill

Have I got a treat for you. I’d have you close your eyes and hold out your hands, but we’ll save that for another time. Right now, I want to help you add another winner to your ever-growing collection of recipes that set you apart as a cook and make people think you are a […]

146

Another Fabulous Double-Duty Dinner

I love the concept of a “double-duty dinner.” Basically, it’s a dinner that also yields a second meal for later in the week. This is not a leftover meal, but a completely new menu for the second dinner. Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph, the mother daughter duo at WeLaughWeCryWeCook.com, blog came up with a way […]

147

Bring the Kids Into the Kitchen

Kids love to help out in the kitchen, but they don’t want to only watch. They want to get involved. To kids, cooking is like an edible art project. It’s fun for them to help with food preparation, but it’s more than that. Making their own food helps children develop confidence in the kitchen. It […]

148

Pâté and Other Yummies for Holiday Fare

I know I run the risk of “grossing out” some of you with one of my favorite recipes. However, I am certain that for every 10 people who turn their noses up at liver (braunschweiger is smoked pork liver sausage), another 10 will be tingling with anticipation. It really is a wonderful thing. Now, before […]