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1

Moldy Cheese: How to Prevent, Fix, and When to Toss It Out

Whoever said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” must have been a deli owner. Think about it. With all that cheese in those cases, have you ever seen one growing green mold that looks like we can grow in our refrigerators? Never. 

All I know about the proper care and handling of cheese I learned from one such person. That kind deli owner introduced me to the two archenemies of cheese: bacteria and air.

2

How to Achieve Perfectly Dry Lettuce Without a Salad Spinner

I used to have a salad spinner. It worked OK, but not as well as the currently popular OXO model. Even it does not remove all of the water from a load of salad greens. And it takes up a lot of storage space. This does not mean I’ve abandoned my pet peeve for wet, soggy, limp salad greens. I’ve just found a better way to dry my salad greens for a lot less money and a fraction of the storage space required for a big bulky salad spinner. 

5

How to Make Your Own Soft, 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 know 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 […]

7

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,  I’ve been a home roaster for many years now. While my family and I […]

8

You’re Not the Only One Confused by Date Labels on Packaged Foods!

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.

10

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.

11

Ingenious Tips for How to Store Bread To Keep It Fresher Longer

Whether store-bought or homemade, is it asking too much for bread to remain fresh long enough to use it up to the last crumb? It’s not, that begs the question why does bread become stale or even grow mold so quickly?

It’s a storage problem. If you don’t like throwing out the rest of the hardened, stale, or even moldy bread pieces, I have some ingenious tips to keep bread fresher for longer— up to the very last fresh, delicious crumb.

12

The Best Time to Buy (and How to Store) Baking Ingredients + Free Printable

One of my basic rules of grocery shopping is this: When it’s on sale, buy enough to last until the next time it’s on sale. Baking supplies become so cheap this time of year, we’re nearing the time to stock up.

Which begs the question: What is the shelf-life of baking supplies, in the event you decide to buy enough to last the year?  All that in today’s post including a Free Printable Cheat Sheet.

14

How to Turn Your Barbecue Grill into a Baking Oven

If you have an outdoor barbecue grill with a cover that closes over the top of the grill, you can turn it into an outdoor oven. Why would you want to do that? I can think of a few reasons! To have another baking oven on holidays or other occasions when you really use it. To have an alternative on days you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. To expand your camping-out cooking repertoire. To have a way to cook and bake during power outages …
To have an alternative appliance should electric rates spike.

15

Your Best Thanksgiving Feast Ever, Healthy, Delicious, and (Relatively) Cheap!

If there’s one thing we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving, it’s this: Turkey is cheap! And the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner can be, too.

So much good stuff in today’s post … I learned so much from interviewing two turkey experts! Honestly, I’ve interviewed a lot of people over the years, but these two are my absolute favorites.

See you there! xo m 🦃

16

12 Fabulous Ways to Use Fresh Cranberries Starting Now and Throughout the Year

Fresh cranberries are available in supermarkets and grocery stores from October thru December—a very short season! Stock up on fresh cranberries during the fall season and freeze an amount that will last you through the year.  Store them right in the bags they come in and they’ll be good for up to 12 months. What to do with all those cranberries? I’m so glad you asked!

18

34 Ways to Make Fabulous Meals from Leftovers

How to use leftovers? Oh, let me count the ways. There really are so many ways to make meals from leftovers, something the late Julia Child preferred to call “the remains of the day.” Such an elegant way to refer to leftovers. Regardless, both terms refer to anything from half a pan of lasagna to a dab of […]

19

The Best Reason Not to Buy Prewashed Salad in a Bag

Those bags of prewashed chopped salad greens are certainly a tempting option because what’s not to like about having someone else do all the work of chopping and then double- or even triple-washing?  Even so, I don’t buy pre-washed chopped bagged salad greens, but not be for the reasons you might assume.

20

15 Insanely Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries

According to the USDA, a normal American family of 4, is spending on average, $$1,108.10 a month on food at home. That’s a lot of money for groceries, no matter the size of your family. And it’s going to get worse unless we determine right now to fight back. There are so many things we can do even in these uncertain and inflationary times to make our food dollars stretch farther than we might have ever dreamed possible!

21

How to 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 you’ve become accustomed to tossing out in the past.

Continue

22

The Emergency Food Items You Need to Stock Up On Now

No one knows how long these difficult times 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. 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.

24

The Best 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 from an occasional home cook into an overnight culinary rockstar. Whether you’re on board with your own IP, still considering, or are just now learning about such a thing as an Instant Pot, discovering […]

25

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

27

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Latte—Cheaper, Better, Faster!

Originally created by Starbucks, Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) has developed a cult following. It is so popular, PSL even has its own Twitter account! The downside is that PSL is so stinkin’ expensive. And you have to go there, wait in line, order, then wait some more. At $5.75 for Starbuck’s venti PSL, that’s quite a price to pay! […]

29

Most Requested Copycat Recipes

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 […]

30

These 3-Ingredient Cakes are So Easy It’s Almost Scary

Just in time for the holidays, quite possibly the easiest, most versatile, amazingly delicious boxed cake hack ever to be discovered. I can’t take credit for this, it’s a basic hack I ran into while cruising the Internet—wait, I mean while doing exhaustive research!

I tried it. Again and again. I switched things up, came up with ways to hack the hack and well, it’s amazing. And did I say easy? It’s almost scary, like how can this work? But it does. And as a bonus, this is super budget-friendly, especially when the ingredients are on sale.

31

Stop Making These Slow Cooker Mistakes

I gave away my slow cooker. I’d stopped using it feeling pretty much like a slow-cooking failure. I’d just acquired a multi-cooker with a slow cook option should I ever feel the urge to try that again.   Besides, who wants to dine on meat that’s an odd shade of gray and vegetables with all […]

32

Hands Down This is The Best Apple Pie in The Whole World

Classic Apple Pie with a flaky crust, perfectly set filling, and just a hint of cinnamon—does anything shout autumn more than this? This is the recipe that hits the mark for even the most discriminating apple pie connoisseur. No overpowering spice, an annoying hint of lemon. Crust too thick, too thin; soggy bottom, “curdled” filling, overcooked, undercooked—I’ve battled every possible variation. I can confirm that this is The One. This is the recipe that’s both foolproof and inexpensive. It makes Apple Pie dreams come true.

33

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

Who doesn’t love a perfectly ripe, fresh peach? Whether freestone or clingstone (don’t know the difference? read on … ) they’re delicious raw, grilled (yes! and oh yum!), made into jam or cobbler, peaches are one of the most popular fruits. While they’re in season, fresh peaches are relatively cheap, too. In this post, all you need to know to take full advantage of peach season.

36

Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup

You can plan on this to be your signature dish with your friends and family.  Guests to beg for the recipe! It’s that good, and fast, too! Keep this handy to see you through cold winter days. Prepare for this to become your signature dish and for your guests to beg for the recipe! It's […]

40

How to Regrow Scallions and Other Vegetables from Scraps

At our house, we’re getting much better with storing and using up produce. In fact, we’ve all but completely stopped throwing rotten produce into the garbage. Now I’m taking it further by actually regrowing vegetables from scraps. In the kitchen window! It’s like my inner gardener has come out to play and not a moment too soon as grocery prices soar and inflation in the U.S. has now reached a 20-year high.

42

Do I Need to Drink Filtered Water or Is the Tap Okay?

These days, a trip to the grocery store requires nerves of steel. The cost of everything, it seems, is soaring. Why? Can we blame the pandemic? Will prices return to pre-pandemic levels once this thing settles down? Will it ever go away? Who knows? One thing for sure: It’s time to hunker down and find reasonable ways to cut food costs every way that we can. Here’s one: Stop buying bottled water.

46

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. 

48

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 […]

51

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 former, with apologies to my Southerner readers who believe that sugar has no place in cornbread and the addition of it is sacrilege!

52

A Casserole Connoisseur’s Guide to Healthy Substitutions

It’s easy to see why casseroles have fallen out of favor with the weight- and health-conscious crowd. One serving of some casseroles can harbor an entire week’s worth of carbs or WW points. Luckily, it’s not difficult to trim the calorie count and step up the nutritional value of almost any casserole recipe around, even those typically laden with high-fat ingredients. You can make healthier versions that taste just as good.

53

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 does not need to be refrigerated. You just might discover that suddenly, your current fridge is a lot roomier!

Do you know which items should never be stored in the refrigerator?

54

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 become equally enthusiastic. Let me walk you through the entire process to get started, complete with tips and advice on creating your perfect cup of home-roasted coffee.

55

24 Ways to Chop Your Grocery Bill

It’s impossible not to notice that the cost of everything is going up, but learning just how much is quite shocking. Consumer prices jumped 5% in May—the fastest pace since the summer of 2008. And while the exact numbers have not been released for June, predictions are even worse news.

Here’s the deal: We can either stick our heads in the sand and pretend that nothing has changed, or we can get smart and determine to beat inflation. It won’t be easy, but we know how to face difficult situations! I say we pull out every stop, get super serious, and take full advantage of every possible way to cut the cost of food without giving up good nutrition and the foods we’ve come to enjoy.

Impossible? I don’t think so, and I hope what follows will convince you as well.

Even if everything you will read you know already, it’s good to be reminded to keep our grocery shopping skills honed and working at top efficiency.

And please … share your best tips and ideas in the comments area following the post as a way that we can stick together and help one another through these difficult days ahead. See you there! ox m

56

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

59

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 the official recipe and instructions for how to make Southern Sweet Tea in today’s post.

xo m

60

How to Liquefy Crystallized Honey and Best Way to Store It

It’s discouraging when you reach for the honey, only to discover it is no longer a smooth liquid, but all grainy—like sugar! You may have even tossed it into the trash assuming that it’s gone bad, and certainly not safely edible. Truth be told, it is still perfectly delicious and nutritious. It’s easy to turn  crystallized honey back into its liquid self.

65

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 even if that means grilling on a budget …

68

8 Ways Online Grocery Shopping Can Actually Help You Save Money

There are few things more annoying than stopping at the supermarket to pick up a few things, hauling bags of groceries into the house only discover you have nothing for dinner.

Or putting everything away only to realize you totally forgot the one thing that prompted you to stop at the store in the first place.

Online grocery shopping isn’t for everyone, but it has become a total game-changer for me. Let me tell you how.

See you there! Love, xo m 🛒 ❣️

70

This is How to Make (Awesome!) Crispy Orange Chicken

You can make Crispy Orange Chicken a dead ringer for the Applebee’s version) today, quick and easy (cheaper, too) in less time than it takes to open an app, place an order, pay online, get in the car, drive to the restaurant, find a parking place, call the number to alert staff you have arrived, wait, accept order, drive home while food is getting soggy and cold, go in the house, open the bag, notice they forgot to include the rice, oh well … [try to] enjoy. Do it! Mom will be amazed by your cooking skills.

71

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 a kitchen that includes the essential pantry items.

74

7 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” 😂

Enjoy these 7 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? See you at the post … Love, xo m

75

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’m pretty sure you’re going to love this! Love, xo m

77

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—Instant Pot Cheesecake. What?! I can bake in this thing? (Yes, I can.) There aren’t enough words to describe just how great this Instant Pot Cheesecake recipe is. Instead, I’m going to show you. Prepare to be amazed.

80

How to Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (No-Fail Secrets!)

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 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!

88

Eggs, Milk and Cheese … in the Freezer?!

I’m sure my supermarket is not the only grocery store that slashes the price on perishable items nearing their “Sell By” date. And when I see eggs, milk, and, cheese in that Bargain Bin, I load up! How do I make sure those items don’t, well … perish? I freeze them. Yes, even the eggs, milk, and cheese.

89

18 Kitchen Hacks You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner

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!

90

Supermarket Chicken Labeling—What Does it All Mean?

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 […]

97

This is What to Do With Leftover Green Salad

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 hadn’t considered that leftover green salad could possibly have a second life, dressed or not. Once tossed, passed, and partially consumed, that’s it, right? Wrong!

98

How to Make Homemade Chinese Brown Sauce

I’m done buying bottled, disappointing Asian-type sauces. That’s because I can confidently make two fabulous Asian sauces (Chinese Stir Fry Sauce and Teriyaki Sauce) cheaper, better, and faster than the time it takes to actually go to the store and search for something that might work …

104

Gift-Worthy Caramel Corn Just in Time for the Holidays

For years, I’d attempted 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 had 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! The recipe, instructions, and very important final step, all of that in today’s post ….

See you there! Love, Mary 👌❤️

107

3 Quick and Cozy Slow Cooker Soups

Dump and run. That’s the kind of slow cooker recipe I love. No muss, no fuss— and no hovering over a hot stove to get dinner on the table.   As the days of autumn bring cooler weather, I find myself thinking about hot soup. And having dinner all planned and taken care of ahead […]

110

How to Make Easy 3-Ingredients Party Dips

Here’s my idea of a fabulous Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Super Bowl, or any other kind of party—one that includes a smorgasbord of dips and things to dip in them. I’m talking about absolutely delicious hot, cold, savory, spicy, even sweet dips—an amazing variety sure to please all—beautifully arranged so that everyone can easily graze […]

111

Use This for That to Reduce Clutter and Save Money

We could go broke furnishing our kitchens with the ‘right equipment’ if we look to television cooks and professional chefs as examples—although I must say that the late Julia Child was the queen of using this-for-that. Recycle pantyhose to store onions, pick up a rolling pin or create a French baking oven with a single trip to HomeDepot!

Check this out—four clever ways you can use this for that to cut kitchen clutter and save money, too!

See you there … Love, xo m

115

How to Make Perfect Cold Brew Iced Coffee

As a coffee lover, there’s one thing I just didn’t get—Iced Coffee. What?! The idea left me well, cold. Coffee is supposed to be hot. Very, very hot. And then I made a serious mistake.

I accepted a sample of iced coffee in a popular coffee shop. It was strong, sweet, creamy, and icy, icy cold. Wow! I needed to figure out how to make this myself because as much as I might want iced coffee again, I was not going to pay the outrageous price to have someone else make it for me ….

116

More than a Dozen Ways to Make Dump Chicken—Updated!

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, label it and stick it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, dump it into your slow cooker (or […]

118

11 Surprising Ways Lemons Can Make Your Life Easier

Several years ago, my son gave me the bounty from the two fruit trees that pretty much rule his backyard. My Mother’s Day gift of Meyer lemons weighed in at 124 pounds. I know, lucky me!

I had to figure out ways to use, share, and preserve lemons in a big hurry. I juiced, cooked, and baked all kinds of lemon things. And I learned so many ways to use lemons in around the house, too! Who knew lemons could be so useful? Love, xo m

120

Shredded Barbecue Chicken

I have discovered over the years that “barbecue” has varying definitions depending on where you live. Where I live in Colorado anything cooked on an outdoor grill qualifies.

We barbecue burgers, fish and steaks, fresh vegetables, slices of pineapple—even pizza dough. However, if you live in the south you know “barbecue” is defined by these two words: Long and slow. And trust me, you’d better have proof that the brisket or rack of ribs were on the grill for the better part of a couple of days if you dare to call it barbecue!

With Labor Day right around the corner, I have a great option for your end-of-summer barbecue celebration! Oh, this is SO yummy!

See you there! Love, xo m 🍔 🇺🇸 ❣️

121

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

122

7 Best Ways to Use Up Stale Bread

Got stale, leftover bread? Don’t toss it—use it up instead. Here’s the secret: Grilling, toasting, baking, or frying gives bread a second yummy life. In fact, today’s ideas, tips and recipes are all best when the bread is not fresh. Prepare to be amazed! See you there … Love, m xo 🥖 🍞 ❣️

123

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? Sounds so elementary if not boring. I couldn’t imagine what would prompt people to drive many miles to get Pasta Mama. But they do, insisting, it’s the best pasta they’ve ever eaten.

I had to try it, and as you might imagine, I love it. I would describe it to you here, but it’s indescribable—indescribably delicious, that is!

Pasta Mama just might be the best thing you can make this weekend. Let’s find out! See you there … Love, xo m

124

How to Propagate Basil, Grow and Turn it Into the Most Amazing Pesto

While I came bearing gifts and lunch to celebrate my friend Sharon’s Birthday, I left with a gift of perhaps even greater value! She taught me how to propagate basil.

As we were walking to my car, I casually reached down to admire her ginormous basil plant. Oh, that earthy, delightful fragrance! With that, she pinched off a couple of stems and suggested that I stick them in water for a few days.

What happened (and so quickly) has spun me into homemade holiday gifts mode—yes, Christmas in July. Ha. Curious? Click thru and I will tell all … See you there! Love, xo m 🎄

125

3 Easy Ways to Doctor a Cake Mix So No One Has a Clue

When cake mixes are on sale, I load up. And that’s a good deal provided you like the taste of a boring cake from a cake mix.

A better idea is to use that mix as an ingredient in a fabulous homemade cake or cookie recipe.

Because no one my family is fond of plain, boring cake made from a box mix, my challenge has been to find better ways to use a cake mix than to simply follow the instructions on the box. Today, I’m sharing my favorite boxed cake mix hacks! See you there …Love, xo m

126

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 and […]

127

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!

128

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 🐔🍗🍲❣️

129

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 🐔🍗

132

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.

134

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 […]

135

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 […]

136

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 🥖🍞❣️

137

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, […]

138

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 🍽 ❣️

140

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 […]

141

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

If you were to look up “peanut butter cookies” in a dictionary dating back to the mid-1960s, I’ll bet you’d see a picture of Gwen Hunt. 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 […]

143

3-Day Coconut Cake

What do Pat Benatar, George Foreman, and I, your humble columnist, have in common? We share the same birthday! I only know that because someone gave me a 768-page book titled simply, The Portable Book of Birthdays. Good thing too, or I’d never known that Pat, George, and I have “socially savvy personalities, a keen […]

144

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.

145

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

146

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 […]

148

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 several brands including Lawry’s Taco Spices and Seasonings Mix both online as well as the prices today at the two supermarkets in my community. Prices range from $.89 to $1.61 an ounce! I hate […]

149

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 […]

150

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, […]

151

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 […]

153

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…

154

White Fruitcake is What 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

155

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.

156

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 […]

158

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 in only a few weeks and I’m so excited! I’ve learned the hard way just how risky it […]

159

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. There are affiliate links in this post. If you click […]

160

Make It Better Yourself: In-N-Out Burgers

It happens at least once a week: Someone asks me if I miss living in California, a question I find truly appropriate. After all, I did live there for most of my life and in some ways, we are still adjusting to a much different life in more rural northern Colorado. My inquirers assume my […]

161

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 […]

163

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 […]

164

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 […]

165

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 […]

166

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! There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small […]

167

Slow Cooker Nailed It!

There’s just something about the bountiful tastes of autumn and slow cookers that go together. Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of testing in […]

170

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 […]

171

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 […]

172

Let Us Eat Cake!

What do Pat Benatar, George Foreman and I, your humble columnist, have in common? We share the same birthday. Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you. I only know this because […]

173

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 […]

174

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, […]

175

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 […]

176

3 Ways to Stretch a Can of Tuna to Feed Four Hungry People

Are the popular “reality” television shows anything close to what you consider reality? Take the venerable hit show Survivor, getting ready to launch its 39th season, for example. To me, that seems more like fantasy than reality. And, honestly, I can’t remember the last time I had to survive on approximately 14 grains of rice per […]

177

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 […]

178

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 […]

179

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 […]

180

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 […]

181

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 […]