Cooking http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/21/all en-US 8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_making_pizza_63266135_0.jpg" alt="Couple who hate cooking learning money-saving hacks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cooking at home is one of the top ways to keep your budget in check. While cooking and eating at home is a wonderful idea, it is also a daunting one for those who hate to cook (and those who hate to clean up afterward). Worry no more. These hacks will save you money on eating out, while also saving you time and cleanup anxiety.</p> <h2>1. Befriend the Crock-Pot</h2> <p>Crock-Pots are popular with older generations of moms of multiple kids, but what about everyone else? Whether you are single, a family of two, or a family of many, a <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKkRSW">Crock-Pot</a> can be the perfect timesaving tool. Use <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKl4pr">Crock-Pot liners</a>, and you won't even have to scrub your cooking dish afterward.</p> <p>Crock-Pot cooking doesn't have to be complicated or bland. Pinterest is full of recipes (and so is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes?ref=internal">Wise Bread</a>). Look for Crock-Pot dump ideas that you can assemble and freeze ahead of time. I regularly do this after I find meat on sale, and I am able to assemble 10 Crock-Pot dump meals in only 30 minutes.</p> <p>One easy and tasty option to get you started is to combine boneless, skinless chicken thighs with one package of cream cheese and one jar (16 oz.) of your favorite salsa. Cook on low for three to four hours. Shred the chicken and stir, and you have creamy chicken ready to eat for tacos, pasta, or just on its own.</p> <h2>2. Cook Once, Eat Twice (or Thrice)</h2> <p>Making a lasagna is time consuming. It can take almost 30 minutes to make a pan. However, if you make two or three pans of lasagna, surprisingly the time effort is not multiplied. The extra lasagna can be frozen and used at a later date, for up to three to six months.</p> <p>You can use this method for enchiladas, many casserole recipes, and more. This method doesn't have to be used just for main dishes. It can also be used for side dishes, such as rice and beans.</p> <h2>3. Embrace Convenient Groceries</h2> <p>There is no shame in buying frozen vegetables, canned beans, and pre-marinated meat. In fact, they make your job a lot easier. Buying items such as pre-chopped onions, microwaveable steamed vegetables, frozen brown rice, pre-made dough, and ready-to-cook meat costs more at the grocery store. However, paying a little more for the convenience will save you a lot more at the drive-thru window.</p> <p>Make sure you are buying convenient groceries that are still healthy instead of processed, cheap food. For example, frozen brown rice where rice is the only ingredient is a better choice than purchasing Rice-a-Roni.</p> <h2>4. Simple Meals Are Best</h2> <p>Ditch the fancy recipes and cookbooks. Your meals don't need to take a lot of time or have a lot of ingredients. Think of your meal in terms of protein + carb + vegetable. With this simple recipe, you can have a healthy and filling dinner in five to 10 minutes.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-quick-dinners-for-lazy-cooks?ref=seealso">8 Quick Dinners for Lazy Cooks</a></p> <h2>5. Grill All Your Meat for the Week</h2> <p>My husband loves to grill, so I will take advantage of this by having him grill a week's worth of meat in one go. For him, this takes about 30&ndash;45 minutes. For me, it takes only a few minutes to season or pour a marinade over each meat. The meat can then be used in salads, soups, tacos, pizza, sandwiches, and more for the rest of the week.</p> <h2>6. Get Over the Leftover Mentality</h2> <p>I've heard so many people complain about eating leftovers, even to the point of avoiding them altogether. Eating leftovers doesn't mean you have to eat mushy casserole repeats each night. Instead, repurpose a meal into something new and simple. For example, if you eat chicken breasts one night for dinner, try taking the extra chicken and turn it into fajitas or barbecue chicken sandwiches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers?ref=seealso">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a>)</p> <p>Many times getting over the ick factor of eating leftovers is just a mental game you need to conquer. The food still tastes good the next day. Even better, eating leftovers will save you money and time.</p> <h2>7. Don't Forget Other Helpful Kitchen Tools</h2> <p>The Crock-Pot gets a lot of praise in the kitchen, but don't forget to utilize a rice cooker, pressure cooker, and bread maker. A <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKoDvE">rice cooker</a> that can cook rice and steam vegetables at the same time does all the work for you while you prepare the meat. <a href="http://amzn.to/2beBoxo">Pressure cookers</a> are a pricier investment, but they can make tender meat and meals in very little time. Finally, a <a href="http://amzn.to/2bfpe7k">bread maker</a>, which is easy to find inexpensively second-hand, can be used to mix dough quickly for homemade pizza and rolls/biscuits (and of course bread).</p> <h2>8. Make Meal Prep Time Enjoyable</h2> <p>Whether you are cooking one meal or tackling freezer meals for the month, start off with an empty dishwasher. This will allow you to quickly clean as you go.</p> <p>Make sure to have all of the items you need out and ready to use. Combine tasks to save time. For example, open all of the cans at once or chop all of your vegetables together.</p> <p>Finally, listen to something fun. I love to listen to audiobooks while meal prepping, but you can also watch your favorite show on a laptop, listen to upbeat music, or watch YouTube videos.</p> <p>In the end, cooking and eating at home will save you money over purchasing fast food frequently. Even if you hate cooking, you can still enjoy the cost-saving benefits of eating at home without spending too much time in front of the oven or washing dishes.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite quick recipes to make when you don't feel like cooking?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-ways-to-cook-outside">8 Alternative Ways to Cook Outside</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-pieces-of-cooking-advice-from-julia-child">The 10 Best Pieces of Cooking Advice From Julia Child</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-get-dinner-on-the-table-faster">20 Ways to Get Dinner on the Table Faster</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Food and Drink batch cooking Cooking crock-pot dinners family meals food prep Grilling meal planning meal prep planning ahead Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1778734 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_burned_chicken_51534210.jpg" alt="Woman trying to salvage a burned meal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband likes to joke that his mother cooked by the &quot;smoke alarm method.&quot; I laugh, but not too hard, because people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I have burned my share of meals &mdash; I'm also prone to burn some types of things more than others. It happens, but you may not have to waste food and money if you burn, or overcook, your food. Here are 10 ways to salvage your &quot;Cajun-style&quot; food.</p> <h2>1. Rice</h2> <p>Rice came in first on my list, because to this day, sometimes I get distracted and burn the heck out of it.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Quickly (before the smell gets bad), scoop out as much rice as you can and put it in a separate bowl. Fill the pan with water (don't just let it sit) so that it's easy to clean up, later.</p> <p>Another method is to turn off the heat, put a slice of white bread over the rice, and re-cover for five minutes. This might help to absorb the bad smell, but you may still have a stuck-on layer on the pot bottom. The rice may still be okay for other uses, such as fried rice. You may also be able to use it in meatballs or soup.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>If you eat a lot of rice, consider purchasing a rice cooker. Alternatively, check your water to rice ratio. I use two cups of water to one cup of rice. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. I cheat and check under the lid once in awhile, to make sure it isn't burning. Turn off the heat at 25 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork, cover, and let it sit for five to seven minutes.</p> <h2>2. Overdone Turkey</h2> <p>Haven't we all been there? The table is set beautifully, and everyone is awaiting the grand entrance of the Thanksgiving turkey. You start carving, and oh, no. It's so dry.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Reconsider carving at the table. It makes a mess, anyway. If you carve in the kitchen, you have time to do some rescuing, if need be. Ladle some broth over the turkey pieces; it will soak in. Another tactic is to brush the pieces with a little melted butter. Or, just 'fess up, and tell folks they'll need a <em>lot</em> of gravy. Fortunately, chopped turkey (even if it's dry) will be fine in creamy casseroles, or enchiladas.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Before you start cooking your turkey, make sure it's thawed. Also, for beginners, buy the brand with the pop-up button, or use a turkey cooking bag.</p> <h2>3. No-Longer-Rare Roast</h2> <p>There you were, making a nice roast for Sunday dinner, and the phone rang. You forgot about that roast, and now it's toast.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Shift gears. You can still probably use some of it. My mother made <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/traditional_roast_beef_hash/">roast beef hash</a> a lot when I was a kid, and now I suspect I know why. Also, try tossing it, along with veggies, into a stir-fry, or making fried rice.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>A good meat thermometer is a wonderful thing.</p> <h2>4. Burned Chicken</h2> <p>Visions of a picture-perfect cookout go right out of your head when flames turn the chicken black, right?</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>If it has skin on, remove the skin, and finish baking it in the oven. You may also be able to cut the burned parts off and chop up the meat. Having a salad with the picnic? Toss the remaining meat into that.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>If you really must keep the skin on (I know, it's so tasty), trim the skin so that it doesn't hang down and catch on fire. Make sure you brush the grill with oil before heating it, so that it doesn't stick and burn. Don't put the sauce on until the chicken is almost done, because any sugars in the sauce may cause the chicken to burn.</p> <h2>5. Chocolate</h2> <p>It's a pretty sickening feeling to burn chocolate while attempting to melt it. I mean come on, it's chocolate. Ouch.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>First, get it away from the heat. If you have any more chocolate around, chop it, add it, and stir. That will stop it from melting any further. Still lumpy? Try adding a little vegetable oil or shortening to the chocolate and stir it. If it still cannot be saved, just let it cool, chop it up, and toss it into cookies.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Rather than melting it on the stove, try short bursts in the microwave. Start at one minute, and stir. Try another 20 seconds, stir, and check. If it still has not melted, give it 15 seconds more and stir. If you own a double boiler, that's also a safer method than just melting on the stovetop.</p> <h2>6. Very Well-Done Vegetables</h2> <p>The veggies were steaming along nicely, and you got a phone call. The water evaporated in the pan. Oops.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Scrape out what you can. There is still hope! One idea is to add grated Parmesan and a little cream to the leftover vegetables. This might actually be yummier than the original healthy steamed vegetables. Or, you can puree them with a little butter, and use as a thick sauce. Lastly, puree, add some stock, and call it soup.</p> <p>How to Prevent It</p> <p>Set the timer, or turn off the stove if you are distracted.</p> <h2>7. Butter</h2> <p>There you were, just melting butter to make a sauce, and... It went from melted to muddy-brown.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Grab a coffee filter and a bowl. Strain the butter through the filter. Now you have delicious, nutty, brown butter. Add some chopped herbs, and pretend you meant to do that. Browned butter makes a great sauce.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Use low heat to melt butter, and don't leave the stove. If you get distracted, turn off the burner.</p> <h2>8. Pie Crust</h2> <p>You were feeling like Betty Crocker there, for a while, until you burned your pie crust. All that work, down the drain? Nope.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>If it's just a little brown, who cares? It looks better than <em>underbaked</em>. However, if it's really obvious, see if you can cut up your pie and put it onto a serving plate minus the outer crust. If it's burned beyond being edible, remove the whole top and make a crumb topping (combine one cup flour, &frac12; cup butter, and &frac12; cup brown sugar, mix together, and sprinkle over top). Put it back into the oven at 425 and bake until brown.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Next time, wrap foil around the edges of the pie, removing just for the last 15 minutes of baking. Also, bake on the bottom rack of your oven, not the top.</p> <h2>9. Burnt Bacon</h2> <p>It happens quickly. You aren't alone.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>It's still edible. Let it drain, crumble it up, and sprinkle over salads, soups, or onto scrambled eggs.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Try <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AALN13mQhRw">cooking bacon in the oven</a>, which is easy and makes less mess, too. Don't forget to set the timer!</p> <h2>10. Crispy Lasagna</h2> <p>My grandmother always burned the top of her lasagna, so I actually learned to like it that way. But that's probably a unique thing.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>If the top is black and crunchy, peel back a layer. Add more sauce and cheese, and return to the oven just to brown it up.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Before you pop it into the oven, cover it with foil. Halfway through baking, remove the foil.</p> <p>If it's overdone, don't throw it out! You may be able to save some food <em>and</em> some money.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-recipes-perfect-for-the-traveling-chef">5 Easy Recipes Perfect for the Traveling Chef</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-ass-alternatives-to-canned-cranberry-sauce">Kick-Ass Alternatives to Canned Cranberry Sauce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink burned food Cooking food waste Mistakes recipes repurposing salvaging Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Marla Walters 1775892 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too http://www.wisebread.com/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_artichoke_16187019.jpg" alt="Woman finding pretty landscaping plants she can eat" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to home landscaping, why not kill two birds with one stone? Up your home's curb appeal this summer with plants and vegetation that can also stock your pantry. Use strawberry plants as ground cover. Edge a garden with colorful rosettes of lettuce. Or infuse your backyard flora with some of the other beautiful and utilitarian plants on this list.</p> <h2>1. Sunchokes</h2> <p>A member of the sunflower family, sunchokes produce chirpy yellow flowers that can add a pop of color to any landscaping design. This staple food can also keep you well-fed through the winter. Alternatively known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are tubers that resemble a ginger root but taste more like a savory potato. Widely harvested in temperate regions, sunchokes are ready for picking after the first or second frost of the season. They make for a great base ingredient in purees, soups, hashes, and mashes. That&rsquo;s not all: When sauteed, sunchokes can contribute a&nbsp;<a href="http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014360-fettuccine-with-sunchokes-and-herbs">slightly nutty flavor</a> to any sauceless pasta dish.</p> <h2>2. Serviceberry</h2> <p>Native to every state but Hawaii, the serviceberry plant produces lacy spring flowers in white, pink, yellow, or red, as well as purplish-red berries infused with a <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-05-28/entertainment/0805230407_1_crust-pie-pan-serviceberry">tart flavor reminiscent of blueberries</a>. In addition to eating them raw, the berries, which fruit for about two weeks per year, can be tossed in salads, baked into pies, or smashed into jams. Also known as amelanchier or Juneberry, this member of the rose family comes in about 20 varieties of small trees and large, deciduous shrubs. To grow well, the plant requires moist soil with good drainage. Other than that, it&rsquo;s not particularly fussy, making it a great selection for the novice gardener.</p> <h2>3. Sage</h2> <p>With its silvery-green, low-to-the-ground leaves, sage makes for a wonderful front-row ornamental. Tricolor sage, which also has brush strokes of purple and white, is a particularly terrific variety for edging the garden. Not only is sage a delicious herb that can spruce up any meat, stir fry, or pasta, it&rsquo;s also deliciously fragrant &mdash; a welcome addition to any yard. Easy to grow, a backyard mound of sage is a chef&rsquo;s dream.</p> <h2>4. Small-Fruited Tomatoes</h2> <p>Small-fruited tomato varieties, such as the Cuban yellow grape, elfin, or sugar lump, produce plentiful yields of sweet tasting, gumball-sized fruit that can be eaten right from the garden &mdash; or added into salads, pastas, or veggie platters for dipping with vinaigrettes or hummus. Outside the kitchen, small-fruited tomatoes also make for a colorful, perky addition to the yard. Since keeping them on the ground will increase the risk of rotting, these attractive edibles can best be grown with stakes, in raised beds, or on trellises. Sunny spots are optimal.</p> <h2>5. Globe Artichokes</h2> <p>Easy to grow and <a href="http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/videos/techniques/how-prepare-globe-artichokes">easy to cook</a>, the globe artichoke is a perennial species of thistle that produces large flower buds with thick, tender, geometric scales that are both ornamental and edible. In flavor, the antioxidant-rich globe artichoke is nutty and tangy. You can prepare them raw, grilled, boiled, sauteed, or stuffed. Our recommendation: Chop the heart into pieces, then marinate and <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/local/recipes/2007/08/26/1993966.htm">toss them into a risotto</a> or salad &mdash; or simply eat them as they are.</p> <h2>6. Paprika Peppers</h2> <p>This mild variety of the pepper has a striking, shiny red color that can add a bit of flash to any home garden. In the kitchen, they can be dried, ground, and used as a spice in mayo-based salads, goulash, or chorizo, or as a deviled egg garnish. These vitamin C-rich peppers can also be eaten raw straight from the garden. Paprika peppers thrive in fertile, well-draining soil with plentiful access to sunlight. Harvest time extends from summer to fall.</p> <p><em>Do you have any edibles in your pretty garden?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake">Are Your Spices Fake?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Cooking curb appeal edible gardening herbs landscaping plants vegetables Thu, 30 Jun 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1740460 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Throw That Out! 19 Great Meals You Can Make From Scraps http://www.wisebread.com/dont-throw-that-out-19-great-meals-you-can-make-from-scraps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-throw-that-out-19-great-meals-you-can-make-from-scraps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_16330968_LARGE.jpg" alt="making meals out of food scraps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Trying to save money? Are you also interested in cutting back on food waste? Sure, most of us are on board with that. What you may not know is that you are probably tossing out both money and nutrients every day. Don't be put off by the word, &quot;scraps.&quot; These 19 food scrap meal ideas are easy and delicious &mdash; and practically free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression?ref=seealso">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</a>)</p> <h2>1. Power Bowl Beet Greens</h2> <p>Beet greens, or tops, are my favorite &quot;greens.&quot; All you need to do is to wash, dry, and sauté those greens. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Add a tablespoon of chopped onion and stir until it is tender and translucent. Add beet greens, stir, and cook until the beet greens are wilted. A dash of balsamic vinegar on top and some chopped bacon really &quot;make&quot; this dish. This is makes a nice power bowl with a side of grains (quinoa or barley are good), a poached egg, and a little diced, cooked squash.</p> <h2>2. Juice Pulp Muffins</h2> <p>Are you a juicer? My favorite juice is carrot-ginger. When I make it, I save the carrot and ginger pulp. It makes a delicious muffin. Just take your favorite, basic muffin recipe (here is <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/220651/quick-and-easy-oatmeal-muffins/?internalSource=search%20result&amp;referringContentType=search%20results">mine</a>) and add &frac14; cup of pulp. This is also good with pineapple pulp.</p> <h2>3. Candied Orange Peels</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yIGztrldUvM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>These <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIGztrldUvM">candied orange peels</a> take a couple of days to make, but they are well worth it. I made them as Christmas gifts one year and they were a hit. Watch for oranges to go on sale, and DIY some cute packaging for adorable treats.</p> <h2>4. Roasted Seeds</h2> <p>Seeds are full of nutrients. You probably know to save pumpkin seeds (soak them overnight, drain, then spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and salt; roast), but did you know you can also roast cantaloupe seeds? They are high in protein, fiber, and vitamin E, so roast away. They are great for snacking, or sprinkled onto a salad.</p> <h2>5. Onion Skins for Soup</h2> <p>Onion skins are full of flavor, so next time you peel an onion, save those skins. Either freeze for stock, or just toss into soup or broth for extra flavor. Remove before serving.</p> <h2>6. Fish Stock</h2> <p>You may have made beef or chicken stock, but how about a <a href="http://www.morethangourmet.com/our-family-recipes/category/fish-fumet-stock">fumet</a>? Fumet is the French term for a fish stock. Using fumet in a poached salmon, or in linguine with clam sauce gives a huge flavor boost.</p> <h2>7. Broccoli Stalks</h2> <p>For years, I just chopped the florets off the broccoli to cook and tossed the rest. Big mistake, because it's all edible. Slice the stalks thinly and cook with the rest of the broccoli, or save for another use, like a stir-fry. The leaves, too, can be eaten. Just wash them and sauté.</p> <h2>8. Celery Leaves for Broth</h2> <p>I have never understood why grocers remove celery leaves. They are the most flavorful part. I keep them in a bag in my freezer until I am ready to make chicken stock. Just toss them in with your other scraps for a super-flavorful broth.</p> <h2>9. Beef Stock</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WvIbGOBNblA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Cutting scraps from beef? Don't throw the fatty scraps away. Put them into a freezer bag and later, make beef stock. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvIbGOBNblA">Here's</a> how.</p> <h2>10. Pickled Watermelon Rinds</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lu4xGmMHBNQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Ever heard of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu4xGmMHBNQ">pickled watermelon rinds</a>? They are delicious, and really easy to make. They are refreshing right out of the jar, or added to a salad.</p> <h2>11. Beef Bone Broth</h2> <p>My mother rarely gave bones to our poodle. Instead, she made <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beef-bone-broth-51260700">Beef Bone Broth</a>, which was delicious.</p> <h2>12. Chicken Stock</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bOTUU9S_pXc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Speaking of broth, done with that rotisserie chicken? Make <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOTUU9S_pXc">chicken stock!</a> It's so easy, and so much more flavorful than the canned stuff.</p> <h2>13. Apple Peel Smoothie</h2> <p>I love the idea of making a healthy smoothie using <a href="http://www.southernliving.com/food/how-to/what-to-do-with-apple-peels-video">apple peels</a>. Or, you can <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/925882/apple-peel-twigs">roast</a> the peels for a fun, fiber-filled snack.</p> <h2>14. Lemon Peel Butter</h2> <p>Done with a lemon? Zest it, and make this yummy <a href="http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/herb-lemon-zest-butter">compound butter.</a> Put a dollop of this on a grilled steak or a piece of salmon. Or, save the lemon peels and put them inside your next roast chicken for extra lemony flavor.</p> <h2>15. Steamed Carrot Tops</h2> <p>Carrot tops can easily be steamed or sautéed, and they make a great side dish. Or, if you are a smoothie fan, wash and toss in the blender, along with the other ingredients.</p> <h2>16. Herb Stem Dressing</h2> <p>Don't waste those herb stems! They are good in salads or stock; you can also use them to infuse oils and vinegar. They are even good tossed into scrambled eggs.</p> <h2>17. Bread Heel Croutons</h2> <p>Not everyone in my household likes the heel of a loaf of bread, but nobody complains when I use them to make croutons. Save them in a freezer bag. When you want fresh croutons for a salad, just defrost, slice into small squares, and sauté in olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt and toss over a salad.</p> <h2>18. Cereal Cookies</h2> <p>Right now, I am staring at a box of cornflakes. There must be a cup of them left in the box, but everyone seems to be tired of cornflakes for breakfast. Solution? Cookies! Cornflakes are a great addition to a basic cookie mix. Also, leftover unsweetened cereals can be tossed with crackers, pretzels, and nuts, and baked in the oven with a little butter, garlic salt, and oregano.</p> <h2>19. Nut Butter</h2> <p>I seem to accumulate bags of leftover nuts. Solution? Nut butter, my newest addiction. Using roasted nuts, just toss into your blender or food processor. It takes patience, so don't give up. Add a tiny bit of honey, if you'd like a little more sweetness.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to use food scraps?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-throw-that-out-19-great-meals-you-can-make-from-scraps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-and-frugal-power-bowls-you-want-right-now">10 Delicious and Frugal Power Bowls You Want Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-fantastic-lettuce-free-salads">13 Fantastic Lettuce-Free Salads</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cooking dinner ideas easy dinners food scraps healthy eating lunches recipes Thu, 16 Jun 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Marla Walters 1731886 at http://www.wisebread.com 16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cooking_000088771691.jpg" alt="Frugal woman mastering simple kitchen skills " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you rather eat out than cook? You aren't alone. In fact, owing greatly to the availability of fast food, frozen food, and convenience food, fewer people are preparing meals at home regularly. Another factor is the decline of home economics classes at the high school level, where many basics were taught to both sexes. All of that eating out takes a toll, though, on your budget and your health. Learning to cook can also be relaxing and enjoyable. Ready to give it a try? Here are 16 simple kitchen skills that every frugal person should, and easily can, learn.</p> <h2>1. Make Coffee</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0FRDQM19WfE" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>How much are you spending each week at Starbucks? Ouch, right? Why not <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-starbucks-drinks-you-can-easily-make-yourself" target="_blank">be your own barista</a>? If you own a <a href="http://amzn.to/1VRcFm0">French press</a> (I paid less than $20 for mine), you can make your coffee concoctions right at home. I love a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FRDQM19WfE">good latte</a>. Some people are intimidated by the frothy milk, but there is no need to be. It's just aerating the milk, and you don't need fancy equipment. Your &quot;froth&quot; goal is to just double its volume. That can be done in the French press, too, or by using a whisk. Add your favorite <a href="http://amzn.to/1VRd08s">Torani syrup</a>, if desired, and you're set.</p> <h2>2. Roast a Chicken</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MOtuBSOcVCs" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>One of the pleasures of being a home cook is the aroma of a roasting chicken on a Sunday afternoon &mdash; especially one that contains fresh lemon and herbs. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOtuBSOcVCs">Roast chicken</a> ensures you'll have delicious leftovers for several days (or you can freeze the leftovers). You don't even need a fancy roasting pan; a large, shallow <a href="http://amzn.to/1qG9zWF">casserole dish</a> will work.</p> <h2>3. Boil an Egg</h2> <p>Every time Easter rolls around, I am surprised by the number of articles online, or in the newspapers, explaining how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtt43zDzXSY">hard-boil eggs</a>. Egg hunts aside, hard-boiled eggs are a very handy thing to have around for a quick high-protein snack, an egg-salad sandwich, deviled eggs, etc.</p> <h2>4. Cook Rice</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-TaeYSiIbbw" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>I'm one of the few people I know who doesn't own a rice cooker. No need! It's really easy to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TaeYSiIbbw">make perfect rice</a> on your stovetop, and so long as you use your timer, it's pretty darn foolproof. I always make a big batch, because I think it's nice to have leftovers in the refrigerator for fried rice, a cold rice salad, or to toss into a tortilla with beans and cheese.</p> <h2>5. Cut Up an Avocado</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3HnqTz-0MvI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Avocados are so enormously popular right now (watch for Sharwil avocados, now being imported from the Big Island of Hawaii). Full of healthy fat and vitamins, B6, E and C, we just can't get enough of them. How do you <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HnqTz-0MvI">cut up avocados</a> without making a mess? If you're a beginner, the chef in this video has an excellent safety tip for cutting out the pit, using a towel.</p> <h2>6. Know Which Knife to Use for Which Job</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pKgGlpe45T0" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Ever use a paring knife to cut meat? How about a serrated edge for cheese? Doesn't work very well, does it? Choosing <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKgGlpe45T0&amp;nohtml5=False">the right knife</a> for the right kitchen job, as well as knowing how to use that knife, will not only keep you safe, but is also more efficient.</p> <h2>7. Use Sharp Knives</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SBn1i9YqN1k" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Most kitchen accidents occur from use of a dull knife. This is due to the fact that a dull knife requires more pressure to do the job, increasing the odds of slipping and cutting yourself. Is <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBn1i9YqN1k">sharpening knives</a> something that you can do, yourself? Sure! As you become more comfortable with cooking, you'll learn to appreciate working with sharp knives.</p> <h2>8. Bake a Potato</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XeDsOAW7JC4" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>I prefer a potato <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeDsOAW7JC4">baked in the oven</a>, but you can also do them in the microwave. However, they won't have that nice, crispy potato skin. Few foods are as economical as potatoes, and you can easily make a meal out of one. Try adding chili, sour cream, and onions, or how about steamed broccoli and cheese? Key point: Don't forget to prick the potato with a fork to allow steam to escape.</p> <h2>9. Use Separate Cutting Boards</h2> <p>To minimize risk of cross-contamination, and making yourself sick, use different <a href="http://amzn.to/1SLhCYz">cutting boards</a> for meats and vegetables. Wash thoroughly after use. If a board starts getting grooves in it from your knives, replace it.</p> <h2>10. Brown Meat</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MRRDRk23gRA" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Why do you need to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRRDRk23gRA">brown meat</a>? Browning meat, or chicken, adds color and flavor, as well as gives it a better texture. If your recipe calls for browned meat, don't skip that step. It's mildly messy, and you need to be careful you don't burn yourself. However, the results make this step well worth the effort.</p> <h2>11. Peel/Chop Garlic</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rdAbdY7fUcY" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>As you begin to do more cooking, you will want to learn how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdAbdY7fUcY">peel and chop up garlic</a>. This isn't difficult, and it will give your food so much flavor! One bulb of garlic will go a long way. Store in a cool, dark place (but not in your refrigerator). If you prefer, you can put it in a little jar, and cover with olive oil.</p> <h2>12. Grow Herbs</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RfJSIlL0PZI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Even if you have no outdoor space, you can still <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfJSIlL0PZI&amp;nohtml5=False">grow herbs</a> inside. Herbs greatly enhance your food &mdash; think of dill in potatoes, tarragon with chicken, or sage in stuffing. You can make a quick pesto if you have fresh basil around, or liven up a tomato sauce with some fresh oregano.</p> <h2>13. Make an Omelet</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OQyRuOEKfVk" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Not only inexpensive to make, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQyRuOEKfVk">homemade omelets</a> are really versatile. Think ham, cheese, and tomatoes at breakfast; herbs and a little shaved parmesan at lunch, or a &quot;filled&quot; omelet for dinner. They take a little practice, but even when they don't come out looking omelet-y, they're still delicious.</p> <h2>14. Make Chicken Broth</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X6jOzA2MTfI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>After making <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6jOzA2MTfI&amp;nohtml5=False">chicken broth</a>, I let it cool, and then pour into Ziploc quart bags, and freeze flat to stack (don't forget to label with the date). I use broth just about as fast as I can make it, using it in soups, sauces, or in place of water (try in rice). The bonus is the cooked chicken, which you can also use right away in meals, or freeze.</p> <h2>15. Frost a Cake</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fQKCitgCRuQ" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Not much of a baker, my cakes always had a humorous &quot;made this for you myself&quot; look. I finally sat and watched an amateur cake decorator <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQKCitgCRuQ&amp;nohtml5=False">frost a cake</a>, and what a difference that made. Getting rid of the crumbs was my favorite tip, followed by cutting the cake into the right shape.</p> <h2>16. Plan Your Menu</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EENpjugzBU8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>You'll save yourself a lot of time and money if you learn to plan menus. It doesn't need to be complicated &mdash; all you need is pencil and paper. Getting the hang of cooking once and eating twice is a real treat, particularly during a busy week. Learn to watch grocery ads for sales; plan around those and save more money.</p> <p>Lastly, if you have gone to the trouble of making your own meal, why not enjoy it in style? Here is how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EENpjugzBU8">set the table</a>.</p> <p><em>What frugal kitchen skills do you find essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-ways-to-use-up-your-summer-tomatoes">The 12 Best Ways to Use Up Your Summer Tomatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink basics Cooking culinary kitchen skills meal planning recipes Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Marla Walters 1696225 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000069487909_Large.jpg" alt="how to save and reuse stale bread" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After about three days of purchase, I'm eyeing our loaves of bread, planning the possibilities. Shall I make croutons? Stuffing? Bread pudding with bourbon sauce? See, stale bread can still be saved!</p> <p>If you don't have time to deal with stale bread at the moment, just toss it into the freezer. When you're ready to make any of the items below, it won't have suffered much more in quality once it's defrosted.</p> <h2>1. Homemade Croutons</h2> <p>My family eats these out of the pan as fast as I can toast them. Just about any bread (except sweet ones) work. Adding warm, freshly baked croutons onto a salad is so delicious, especially if that salad also contains some avocado, tomato, and onion.</p> <p>Here's how to do it: Slice up your stale bread into cubes. Heat a large skillet and add about four tablespoons of olive oil. Add your bread cubes and toss them until they are covered in oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt and any other herbs you like (dried parsley and oregano are good). Over low heat, toast until golden-brown and crispy. Serve immediately. Or, just eat them right out of the pan.</p> <h2>2. Strata</h2> <p>A strata is an almost souffle-like casserole, usually prepared the night before &mdash; which makes it so easy to turn it into breakfast in the morning.</p> <p>Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Lightly butter slices of stale bread and put a layer on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Repeat until the pan is almost full, like you are making a lasagne. Next, crack four to five eggs &mdash; depending on how big a strata you are making &mdash; and whisk together with a half-pint of whipping cream. Pour over the top, add more cheese, and let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.</p> <p>In the morning, pop it into the oven at 350&ordm;F for about an hour (check it at 45 minutes). It will be puffy, cheesy, and delicious. Caution: This doesn't work as well with whole-wheat bread, so stick with French or sourdough. This recipe is very versatile. You can also add a layer of ham or tomato slices on the top. A layer of spinach is good, too.</p> <h2>3. Cornflake-Covered French Toast</h2> <p>Make French toast as usual, except... after dipping the bread in egg/milk, dip it into crushed corn flakes before adding to the skillet. Fry until golden and crispy. Keep pieces warm at 200&ordm;F in the oven until ready to serve. I like mine drizzled with honey.</p> <h2>4. Stuffing</h2> <p>Stuffing is just too delicious to only eat at Thanksgiving. It also <em>needs</em> stale bread, so that it soaks up all the delicious things you will add to it.</p> <p>Here is how I make mine:</p> <p><strong><em>Ingredients</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>10 cups of stale bread cubes (toast in a low oven and cool down, to make sure it will really soak up the other ingredients)</li> <li>1 shallot (a whole shallot, not a section), finely chopped</li> <li>&frac14; cup butter</li> <li>2 T olive oil</li> <li>1 cup sliced celery (with leaves)</li> <li>1 t salt</li> <li>&frac12; t pepper</li> <li>2 t poultry seasoning</li> <li>2 cans chicken broth, heated</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Method</em></strong></p> <p>Melt butter and olive oil; add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Add shallot and celery; stir until tender. Add bread cubes and stir until coated, and gradually add in chicken broth. If you like a moister stuffing, add hot water until desired consistency is achieved.</p> <h2>5. Meatloaf and Meatballs</h2> <p>I would be remiss if I didn't mention stale bread in meatloaf or meatballs. Our mothers and grandmothers called this &quot;stretching&quot; meat, but it does more than that. Adding bread gives the loaf, or meatballs, a lighter texture, and helps to bind the meat together. I soak my stale bread in milk before adding to the meatloaf mixture. This will keep the meatloaf more moist, too &mdash; no brick-like loaves.</p> <h2>6. Bread Pudding</h2> <p>It may be worth letting your bread go stale just so that you can make this bread pudding. If you don't like a traditional recipe with raisins, substitute chocolate chips. I like both, frankly. I also like mine with a bourbon sauce, but it's also good with some whipped cream. I have had a version with chopped pecans, and that was also a nice addition &mdash; just toast them first. No, the sauce isn't kid-friendly &mdash; although Grandma Ruth allowed us to have some at Christmas, when I was a kid. We'd sneak spoonfuls of it later.</p> <p><strong><em>Ingredients</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>2 cups milk, scalded and cooled</li> <li>4 thick slices of bread, lightly toasted</li> <li>3 T butter, melted</li> <li>&frac12; cup packed brown sugar</li> <li>&frac12; t cinnamon</li> <li>⅓ cup raisins OR chocolate chips (or both!)</li> <li>3 eggs, beaten</li> <li>1 t vanilla</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Method</em></strong></p> <p>Grease or spray a casserole dish (9 x 9 x 2), or a little larger. Cut or tear bread into pieces and place into casserole dish. Drizzle with butter; sprinkle with sugar. Add the raisins or chocolate chips.</p> <p>To beaten eggs, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and cooled milk. Pour over bread mixture and bake at 350&ordm;F for an hour, or until knife comes out clean.</p> <p>To make the hard sauce:</p> <ul> <li>1 stick butter, melted</li> <li>&frac12; cup brown sugar</li> <li>1 cup of Jack Daniel's Bourbon</li> </ul> <p>Melt butter; stir in brown sugar until melted. Add bourbon. Pour over bread pudding. Swoon.</p> <h2>7. Bread Salad (Panzanella)</h2> <p>This is more of a <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/09/classic-panzanella-salad-recipe.html">&quot;stale bread in summertime&quot; recipe</a>, because in addition to the bread, you'll need ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. (You can get those things at a high-end grocery store in the winter, but then your budget will feel it.) I was concerned that the consistency would be soggy, but toasting the bread cubes and draining the tomatoes ensures it isn't. You can easily make this a main-dish salad by adding some sliced salami.</p> <h2>8. Bread Soup (Ribollita)</h2> <p>This is a lovely old recipe which comes from Tuscany. Done in a traditional manner, it takes about 25 hours. Yes, that includes soaking beans. I don't know about you, but it's a pretty rare week when I can devote 25 hours to making soup. Fortunately, there exists<a href="http://www.loveandlemons.com/ribollita-tuscan-white-bean-soup/"> this recipe</a>, which is not only delicious, but can be put together shortly before dinnertime. French or sourdough breads also can be used.</p> <h2>9. Bread Crumbs</h2> <p>Talk about a handy thing to have around, and they're so easy to make!</p> <p><strong><em>Ingredients</em></strong></p> <ul> <li>8 slices of stale white bread</li> <li>1 T Italian seasonings</li> <li>1 t garlic salt</li> <li>1 t onion powder</li> <li>1 t paprika</li> <li>1 t dried parsley</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Method</em></strong></p> <p>Preheat oven to 300&ordm;F. Tear up the bread and put it in your blender or food processor. Pulse until you have crumbs.</p> <p>In a large bowl, combine the crumbs with the rest of the ingredients. I like to rub them together with my hands to make sure it all gets well-mixed.</p> <p>Spread onto a large cookie sheet and toast for five minutes. Remove and cool for 20 minutes. Store in airtight container. These can be used on pastas, meat, lasagnas, and so much more!</p> <h2>10. Homemade Shake'N Bake</h2> <p>No need to purchase bread crumbs when you have your own! Try dredging thinly-pounded chicken breasts in plain yogurt, with a little lemon juice, and then adding in bread crumbs. Bake at 375&ordm;F for 50 minutes. Or, dredge a thin pork chop in an egg wash, then bread crumbs, and fry. Lastly, coat some halibut or cod with mayonnaise. Cover in bread crumbs, sprinkle with parmesan, and broil.</p> <p>Lastly, if you are just too overwhelmed by thrifty cooking, there is still no need to waste food. Tear up your bread and go feed the ducks!</p> <p><em>How do you use up stale bread? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-bread-fresh">How to Keep Bread Fresh</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-jobs-for-foodies">12 Cool Jobs for Foodies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink baking bread Cooking cooking hacks food hacks food tricks food waste recipes stale bread Tue, 19 Apr 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 1693273 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart DIY Spice Storage Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000056296686_Large.jpg" alt="smart DIY ways to store your spices" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spices can make or break a dish. And they aren't necessarily cheap, especially if you stock the good stuff in your pantry. Protect your tasty investments by storing them wisely. Here are 10 affordable DIY solutions that will get you organized and excited to cook your next meal. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake?ref=seealso">Are Your Spices Fake?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Magnetic Marvel</h2> <p>Short on space? Use your refrigerator's real estate to house your spices. Making your rack is as easy as buying magnetic containers, filling them, and slapping them onto your fridge door. We use our refrigerator as our daughter's art gallery, so I like this idea to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gardenbetty.com/2013/03/make-your-own-magnetic-spice-rack/">cut a steel sheet</a> to size and attach it to a cabinet door &mdash; or someplace else in your kitchen &mdash; as a makeshift magnetic surface.</p> <h2>2. Baby Food Rebirth</h2> <p>You can make your own spice containers using&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oneluckypickle.com/2012/06/magnetic-spice-jars.html">recycled baby food jars</a>. Just clean the jars on the inside and out and let dry. Create labels out of cardstock or stickers. If you want to stick 'em up, simply hot glue magnets onto the glass end and let set before filling and using.</p> <h2>3. Mason Jar Method</h2> <p>You may already have a good stock of mason jars hanging around your kitchen. We use large ones to hold our bulk foods, but they come in all sizes. These&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1Xg8qiX">4-oz jelly jars</a> cost under $10 for 12. They would be great for purchasing bulk spices (some stores let you fill your own containers) and storing them in a drawer. There's zero waste in the process. Make the jars fancy by painting the lids with chalkboard paint for quick, custom labeling.</p> <h2>4. Under-the-Cabinet Solution</h2> <p>My friend uses the space underneath one of her upper kitchen cabinets to store spices. She bought a set of&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1qq6g60">metal-topped spice containers</a> and then mounted them &mdash; metal cap first &mdash; using industrial-strength glue. For a less sticky setup, you could&nbsp;<a href="http://twomenandalittlefarm.blogspot.com/2011/11/under-cabinet-jar-mounting.html">install a metal strip</a> under your cabinet and use magnets on your containers instead.</p> <h2>5. Test Tube Rack</h2> <p>Even the most frugal among us lusts over the expensive stuff from time to time. This&nbsp;<a href="http://www.deandeluca.com/21-tubes">tube rack</a> from Dean &amp; Deluca will set you back over $100 and stores just 20 modest kinds of spices. Try buying your own&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1qq6g60">test tubes</a> online and then storing them&nbsp;<a href="http://knockoffdecor.com/test-tube-spice-rack/">in a rustic box</a> for a much more budget-friendly option.</p> <h2>6. Mop Holder Hideaway</h2> <p>Here's an ingenious idea to use something common in a new way. Pick up a few of those basic&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Amazing-Easy-DIY-Home-Decor-Ideas-mop-holder-spice-rack.jpg">broom handle holders</a>. Mount them on the inside of a cabinet door. Then all you need to do is stock up on the spices that come in round containers. Click them into place, and you're done!</p> <h2>7. Proper DIY Cabinet</h2> <p>I'm amazed this polished&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hometalk.com/3342573/diy-spice-cabinet">DIY rack</a> looks so good, yet was fashioned for around $5. Cut two 30-inch and seven 8.5-inch pieces from 1x2 boards. Secure together using L brackets. Paint or stain the wood however you like. Use chicken wire, decorative metal, or even fabric to make a pretty door cover. Then attach the door and base with hinges and hang wherever makes sense in your kitchen.</p> <h2>8. Drawer Corral</h2> <p>If you can dedicate an entire drawer to your spices, grab&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dejongdreamhouse.com/2013/01/spice-drawer.html">some tension rods</a> and get to work. All you need to do is arrange the rods horizontally or vertically to place your spice containers into neat and tidy rows. The best part is that you can modify your setup as your needs change. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods?ref=seealso">20 Unexpected Uses for Tension Rods</a>)</p> <h2>9. Slim Bins</h2> <p>When all else fails, you can always get some&nbsp;<a href="http://timelessandtreasured.blogspot.com/2011/09/reorganizing.html">slim plastic bins</a> for your existing spice explosion. Place your spices into the bins one by one. Then stack the bins atop one another to take advantage of the vertical space in your cupboards. A&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1SOKFwY">three-pack of slim bins</a> costs just $6 and provides room for plenty of flavors.</p> <h2>10. Travel Rack</h2> <p>For those of you who often cook on the go, try this great mobile option. You can spoon out a portion of your favorite spices into an&nbsp;<a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2011/02/make-a-portable-gourmet-salt-kit/">inexpensive pill box</a>. In fact, I know you can get one of those guys at the dollar store! The labeling is up to you. Take your spices to the beach, camping, or over to a friend's house to make a fun dinner in.</p> <p><em>How do you store your spices? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake">Are Your Spices Fake?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack">Cutting the Grocery Bill: Reducing the Cost of a Good Spice Rack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-garam-masala">30 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Garam Masala</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Organization Cooking fresh spices kitchen items kitchen spices kitchen storage spice rack spices storage Fri, 08 Apr 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1686651 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons 'Frugal' Shouldn't be a Dirty Word http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-frugal-shouldnt-be-a-dirty-word <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-frugal-shouldnt-be-a-dirty-word" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shhh_face_000020798468.jpg" alt="Woman learning why frugal isn&#039;t a dirty word" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What does living frugally mean to you? Do you think of deprivation and doing without, people merely scraping through in a life barely lived? Or maybe you think of fanatics, evangelizing for their way of life while extreme couponing and haggling in Walmart?</p> <p>Frugal living has had quite the PR problem. But modern frugality really isn't about hair shirts and gruel. Today many people come to frugal living through conscious choice, rather than necessity. They often find it's a lifestyle choice that can actually enrich. Here's why.</p> <h2>1. Frugal Choices Are Value Driven</h2> <p>It's a common misconception that frugal living is all about saving money &mdash; but sometimes the frugal choice is not the cheapest one. To take a simple example, the frugal choice when buying a key item you need to be long lasting, like a winter coat, might not be visiting the thrift store. You might actually be better off buying new, and buying the best quality you can afford. Apart from the wider range available, this is a good way to avoid the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-clothes">high price of cheap clothes</a>.</p> <p>That might not sound so different from the choice anyone else might make, but the crucial point is that it's an <em>examined </em>decision. Frugal choices are mindful, where wall-to-wall commercials and our consumer society tend to promote mindless, reactionary buying.</p> <p>A frugal mindset means that you're aware of your spending, thinking about the real purpose of a purchase before you make it. At its core, modern frugality is not about penny pinching. It's about attaching value to the right stuff. Which, of course, might not be stuff at all.</p> <h2>2. Living Frugally Offers Independence</h2> <p>There's little we Millennials prize more than independence. At first glance, frugality might seem to remove independence, forcing you to forgo opportunities and limiting your choices. And it's true that on a day to day basis, a frugal approach will see you dropping your skinny Starbucks latte habit, and put the kibosh on the designer handbag collection. But in the long run, a frugal life offers great independence.</p> <p>People who choose to live frugally deliberately reduce their material needs. If you need less, you can save more &mdash; but many choose frugality not for the option of filling up the coffers, but for the opportunity to rebalance work and life.</p> <p>Free from the need to keep up with your neighbors, you can critically examine how much money you need to earn for a lifestyle you will enjoy. As your financial needs diminish, you can choose to cut your working hours, take time for your hobbies, visit family, or study. Maybe you could even retire early.</p> <h2>3. Being Frugal Fosters Creativity</h2> <p>Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. Being frugal is a surefire way to foster self discipline and creativity.</p> <p>Take birthdays or celebrations, for example. When you start from a frugal mindset, gifts and parties are not about how much you spend, but about how much you <em>think</em>. No last minute, guilt-driven smash and grab at the shopping mall here. The same goes for eating. Frugal living is about cooking from scratch, planning a menu and shopping list, understanding and working with seasonality. Put down the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">take-out menu</a>.</p> <p>Some elements of a frugal life are more demanding than others. That's where the self discipline comes in. But we humans are meant to be able to look after ourselves, and modern conveniences have stripped away some of that. Getting frugal is a great way to get creative, and experience the rewarding feeling of making something yourself, whether it's a gift or a gazpacho.</p> <h2>4. Frugality Promotes Personal Connections</h2> <p>Living frugally naturally leads to valuing experiences more than things. By being open and mindful to experiences, frugality can deepen personal connections.</p> <p>Traditional research into the science of happiness agrees. The Easterlin Paradox suggests that people could <a href="http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~easterl/papers/Happiness.pdf">ultimately be happier</a> if they devoted more time to non financial goals like spending time with family, or improving our health. More money, once your basic financial needs are met, does not make us happier &mdash; the idea that it does has been described as the &quot;money illusion.&quot;</p> <p>One reason for this is that a more consumerist outlook can inadvertently foster a sense of competitiveness. Even with those closest to you, you might get a jealous twinge looking at the latest flash purchase. Instead of comparing designer high heels, frugal people might share an experience with those around them. Get into the countryside for a walk or cook a meal together &mdash; just stay away from the mall!</p> <p>So, far from merely enduring a miserable existence, perhaps those embracing a frugal life are actually demonstrating that you can have more, with less. Maybe collecting a life full of experience is more rewarding than a closet full of clothes.</p> <p><em>What do you value about frugality?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-frugal-shouldnt-be-a-dirty-word">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less">10 Ways to Improve Yourself for $100 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered">12 Surprising Things You Can Have Delivered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-underwater-watches">The 5 Best Underwater Watches</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle being frugal Cooking decision making independence millennials shopping Fri, 01 Apr 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Claire Millard 1682365 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_playing_food_000064782535.jpg" alt="Woman taking budget challenge to find food" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is the another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>This year I am trying to make an additional $31,000 (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">here's the math</a> that explains why). This means that in addition to taking on extra work, I am combing through our budget looking for ways to save money on our household expenses.</p> <p>One of the biggest line items in our budget is food. Our high food cost exists because my husband and I looked at the health of our elderly relatives and realized that we can spend more money now on better quality food, or we can spend more money later on medical treatment for things like Type 2 Diabetes.</p> <p>While the price of groceries at Whole Foods might lead anyone to think otherwise, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health have found that really healthy diets only cost about <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/healthy-vs-unhealthy-diet-costs-1-50-more/">$1.50 per day</a> more than the average diet. This research tracks with our household budget. We spend around $1200 more per year on groceries than most two-person households. So, how can we reduce our food budget by at least this $1200 without sacrificing nutrition or yummy food experiences?</p> <p>By scavenging food.</p> <h2>1. Eat Through Your Pantry</h2> <p>The average American household wastes between 15% and 25% of the food they purchase. To quote Dana Gunders, Staff Scientist for the Food and Agriculture Program:</p> <p>&quot;Imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one in the parking lot, and just not bothering to pick it up. That's essentially what we're doing in our homes today.&quot;</p> <p>To put that waste in financial terms, the average American family wastes $2,275 in food each year. With that in mind, the first place I'm scavenging food is in my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-fridge-tricks-that-will-save-you-big">own refrigerator</a>.</p> <p>In January, my husband finally agreed to buy fewer groceries after he realized how much of the food we had in our fridge was on the brink of going bad. To avoid wasting food, we scheduled meals based on the &quot;best if consumed by&quot; dates of the ingredients, and have been careful to buy only what we need to complete recipes or meals since then.</p> <p>Interestingly, organizing our grocery shopping around food waste prevention has not had a negative impact on our diet. In fact, it has made us cook with greater focus, intention, and creativity.</p> <h2>2. Become the Commissary Coyote</h2> <p>My husband is so skilled at cooking with leftovers, and so unapologetic about bringing home uneaten work lunches that were destined for the dumpster, that the marketing director for his video game company wants him to star in a YouTube office cooking series tentatively titled: &quot;Are You Going to Finish That? Snackin' With Steve,&quot; for the company's website.</p> <p>Some office cultures are super judgmental about eating leftovers, or even brown bagging lunch, so we are lucky that my husband's coworkers are charmed and even impressed by his culinary habits&hellip;and also completely uninterested in eating leftovers themselves. My husband's company orders in dinner at least once a week to reward the salaried workers who work overtime to meet deadlines. There has been enough surplus food from these office dinners that my husband has been getting the equivalent of two free lunches per week.</p> <h2>3. Gleaning</h2> <p>Most people who have fruit trees end up with more fruit than they can handle, and pretty much everyone hates wasting home grown fruit. Since I live in Los Angeles, just about every yard in my neighborhood contains at least one fruit tree. My neighbors are only too thrilled to let me pick their trees clean. It's free yard work for them. I haven't had to pay for orange juice in three months, and I can't remember the last time I paid for a lemon or a grapefruit. All of this fruit is organically grown since none of my neighbors bother to spray their trees for bug control.</p> <p>A great resource for finding free fruit is real estate agents. Fallen fruit looks terrible and attracts rodents, so several agents call me whenever they have a listing with ripe fruit trees. I just donated 300 pounds of surplus citrus I got from one property to a local charity.</p> <p>In previous years, I have advertised on Freecycle and Craigslist to find free backyard produce.</p> <p>Gleaning fruit not only saves me money, it makes me money. Last September, I made $400 from selling my jams and marmalades made from gleaned, backyard fruit.</p> <h2>4. Use Everything in the CSA Farm Box or Grocery Bag</h2> <p>My local grade school offers a weekly CSA farm share subscription that is a fundraiser for both the school and the organic farmers that provide the produce. Every week I am given additional free produce from families who will never try kohlrabi or still haven't eaten through last week's purple potatoes. Usually, I offer to trade something from my CSA box in return, but I rarely get any takers. Also, not one of my fellow farm box subscribers eat the tops of their vegetables, even though they are edible, so every week I collect multiple servings of beet, radish, carrot, or turnip greens.</p> <h2>5. Shop at the End of the Farmer's Market</h2> <p>Gas is expensive and so is garbage pick-up. Farmers don't want to haul away unsellable food from the farmer's market, so most market vendors are willing to give steep discounts on food that is perfectly ripe today, but will be too ripe for them to sell tomorrow. The vendors I shop with regularly know that I make preserves, so they always give me huge bags of damaged fruit for free at the end of the day. No one will buy a bruised apple, but I have to chop up the fruit anyway when I make pies or jams. It doesn't take me any extra time to cut the bad parts off of free peaches.</p> <h2>6. Work a Food Job or Just Work Near One</h2> <p>Many restaurant and catering jobs include a free staff meal and first dibs at leftovers. This is pretty common knowledge. But we don't even have to work a food job to get these benefits.</p> <p>My brother-in-law is a professional party planner. He sends his staff home with surplus food after every event. He's now our cake hook-up. We have been eating a ridiculous amount of leftover wedding cake made by the best bakeries in town.</p> <p>My husband's best scavenge of the year actually came from a side job. My husband recently DJ'ed a house party that was catered by the In 'n Out Burger Truck. At the end of the night, the party host offered him 60 freshly cooked, fully wrapped hamburgers that she was going to throw out. He brought home 26 hamburgers! He ate four of them whole and we performed a burgerdectomy on the remaining 22, removing the meat and onion, before composting the rest of the burgers. We chopped up the patties and the onions and made a huge pot of chili using only ingredients we already had in the house. The chili was delicious. It even retained that special In 'n Out charred taste! It was so good that we were sorry that he had left the rest of the hamburgers behind.</p> <p>The next time we get leftover burgers we are going to make <a href="http://www.urbancookery.com/white-castle-stuffing/">White Castle stuffing</a>.</p> <h2>7. Leftovers Are the New Black</h2> <p>Apparently, our love of catering surplus is totally on point. Two of New York's trendiest restaurants are <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/03/20/new_yorks_trendiest_restaurant_is_serving_you_garbage_and_its_awesome/">serving food waste</a> to ecstatic customers.</p> <h2>8. Forage</h2> <p>I took a foraging class last weekend, and in addition to learning to identify five more edible plants that are growing all over my neighborhood and free for the taking, I came home with a <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BC6p-48tN_V/?taken-by=myromanapartment">one pound oyster mushroom</a>, harvested by the instructor, that made the most delicious omelet. The instructor also showed me where to find wild currants on public land (I see free currant jam in my future) and how to use river stones to heat food quickly. It was well worth the $20 I spent on the class to learn how to survive the zombie apocalypse without poisoning myself.</p> <h2>9. Eat What You Know</h2> <p>Before I developed better plant identification skills, I used to worry about eating toxic weeds. Luckily in Los Angeles, it is legal to harvest fruit that is growing on or hanging over public land, including city sidewalks. So even if I could only identify the most common fruits like oranges and apples, I would still be able to forage plenty of food. Over the years, I have learned how to identify about 20 different fruit and nut trees, so I now have access to free fruit year around. Urban foragers in cities around the world have even made <a href="http://fallenfruit.org/map/">fruit maps</a>, which make finding and identifying fruit trees even easier for newbie foragers.</p> <h2>10. Eat the Enemy</h2> <p>March is the best month to harvest the edible weeds in my backyard. Between the chickweed, lamb's quarters, nettles, and mallow, we won't have to buy salad greens all month. Wild plants have very high nutrient and flavor densities when compared to conventionally grown produce. By eating weeds we are getting extra vitamins and tastes without spending a cent.</p> <p>While eating weeds sounds desperate to many folk, restaurants pay a premium for wild foods. In Los Angeles, top restaurants are creating entire menus based on locally foraged, wild crafted food. It should also be noted than many commonly foraged food items like dandelions and garden snails were brought to America by European immigrants as food crops and micro-livestock.</p> <h2>11. Scrounge Like Steve Jobs</h2> <p>Nick Heyer started <a href="http://www.reed.edu/reed_magazine/december2011/articles/apocrypha/traditions_myths_and_legends.html">the scrounge movement</a> at Reed College in 1966. In order to cut his food costs, Heyer started eating the lunch leftovers of a classmate who was on a diet. Since 1966, hundreds of students, including Steve Jobs, have stretched their scholarship dollars by scrounging.</p> <p>Many universities have less storied, less organized, and less gross scrounging programs. Once a week, I work at a university, between 10 p.m. and midnight. On the way home, I always get a free pastry from the coffee shop on the ground floor of my building. At the end of every night, the shop gives that day's leftover baked goods to any university employee who asks. This employee discount is not advertised. I only found out about the late night pastry perk when I tried to buy a midnight snack from the coffee shop after they had closed their register for the night.</p> <h2>12. Dumpster Diving</h2> <p>I know several people who live extraordinary lives &mdash; as food rescue volunteers, as globetrotting snowboarders, as artists &mdash; who all dumpster dive for food as a logical and practical money-saving tool. Because I have seen firsthand how these people use scavenging to live fabulously, I've been able to put aside all sorts of irrational, ego-based, &quot;ew gross&quot; thoughts and see that dumpster diving is more than just about money, it's a great way to reduce environmental impact and take a stand against the American culture of waste.</p> <p>Obviously, I don't have any squeamishness about pulling edible packaged or peel-able food out of the garbage. However, I have a moral problem with competing with the huge population of homeless people in my city who depend on dumpster diving for their meals. So, unless I find myself on the verge of homelessness myself, dumpster diving for food will not be part of my $31,000 Budget Challenge. (However, I will still be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash">dumpster diving for fun and profit</a>.)</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>Dearest readers, do you have food scavenging tips you would like to share with me? I'm listening. It's already March and I need to find $25,000 more before the end of the year to make my $31,000 Budget Goal.</p> <p>For us, this last pay period was gruesome. After six weeks in the shop and three failed smog tests, we finally got our Volvo station wagon up and running. Final cost: $1091.90. Alas, this financial hit was not defrayed by the whopping $90 I made last week from a little writing gig.</p> <p><strong>Goal</strong>: $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised</strong>: $8,890.00</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent</strong>: $4,833.72</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go</strong>: $26,943.72</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-lose-weight-without-counting-calories">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink Cooking food costs food waste foraging max wongs budget saving money Fri, 01 Apr 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Max Wong 1679503 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Kitchen: Splurge on This, Save on That http://www.wisebread.com/your-kitchen-splurge-on-this-save-on-that <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-kitchen-splurge-on-this-save-on-that" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000064301007.jpg" alt="Learning when to splurge and save in the kitchen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you like spending most of your time in the kitchen? Whether you cook or bake, you know there are a ton of gadgets and gizmos out there to help you in the process. The thing is, you don't need them all. Here are just a few items you might consider splurging on, and others that aren't necessarily worth the money.</p> <p>Note: Your own list will have a lot to do with your favorite cooking or baking activities, so we'd love to hear your picks in the comments!</p> <h2>1. Mixer</h2> <p>Splurge: If you're anything like me, you're concocting something baked on the daily. I use my&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1pcX7gn">KitchenAid stand mixer</a> ($150 to $250+) almost exclusively. It comes with beater, whisk, and dough hook attachments that work wonderfully for most tasks. I've been known to bake brownies, pizza dough, and a double batch of bagels all in the same day, so help with the heavy lifting is important. Bakers over at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chowhound.com/post/kitchenaid-mixer-749393">ChowHound</a> share that this stand mixer does indeed make baking faster and more efficient, definitely earning its value a million times over.</p> <p>Save: If you'd rather simmer soup than bake a cake, you might want to skip any type of mixer and just stick with standard whisks and spoons. You can get most basic, occasional baking done this way, from chocolate chip cookies to no-knead breads. If you'd like something motorized, I've also fallen in love with my&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/21nndON">KitchenAid hand mixer</a> &mdash; it whips up frosting in seconds, creams together sugar and butter like a dream, and costs less than $40.</p> <h2>2. Knives</h2> <p>Splurge: Cooks rely heavily on knives to slice and dice. Though you don't need all the many options you'll get in a big set, it's worth investing in a few quality pieces for your collection. Start with a quality&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1QlueFt">chef's knife</a> ($100+). Consumer Reports shares that knives that are forged versus stamped may cost more, but they'll <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/kitchen-knives/buying-guide.htm">hold up better over time</a>. They are created from a single piece of steel and won't bend as much with use.</p> <h2>3. Mixing and Prep Bowls</h2> <p>Save: The sky's the limit with the prices you'll see on bowls. I use a vintage Pyrex set handed down to me by my husband's grandmother. My mom, on the other hand, has used the same set of&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1QlMluN">stainless steel mixing bowls</a> ($15+) since her wedding shower back in 1980. You really don't need to go expensive on this item. Same goes with prep bowls. You can skip them entirely (I do) or pick up a <a href="http://amzn.to/1QlMq1G">set of four</a> for under $6.</p> <h2>4. Cast Iron</h2> <p>Splurge: You've probably heard of the many merits of a cast iron Dutch oven (perfectly even cook with roasting, braising, frying, baking, etc.) and wondered about the top-notch brands. When asked, readers of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/talk/2009/02/le-creuset-is-it-worth-it.html">Serious Eats</a> weighed in on the matter. Their overwhelming response?&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1Qlvh8l">Le Creuset</a> ($170+) is worth the price, especially if you plan to use it often. Check local shops (and hunt around online) for the best sales and deals. That way, you can build your lifetime collection slowly. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-to-pick-the-best-cookware-for-your-needs?ref=seealso">How to Pick the Best Cookware for Your Needs</a>)</p> <p>Save: You'll also find a ton of cast iron cookware at a fraction of the price, which might work well if you're only going to use it every now and again. Read reviews before you buy and look for notes on chipping and cracking (a common complaint with enamel on cheaper coated cast iron). Another good budget option might be&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/21noCox">Lodge</a> ($40+). Though a good number of their pans are not coated and need to be seasoned before use, they still offer the benefits of cast iron.</p> <h2>5. Digital Scale</h2> <p>Save: I've learned the importance of weighing ingredients versus measuring with my baking. My digital scale has been a big help with preventing bread-related mishaps. My <a href="http://amzn.to/1Up1il0">kitchen scale</a> only cost me around $10. You don't need one with lots of bells and whistles. A simple weight will do in a pinch.</p> <h2>6. Food Processor</h2> <p>Splurge: I use my food processor almost every day. It blends together a perfect hummus, makes an amazing pesto, whips up delicious pasta dough, and even gifts me with crazy-good homemade peanut butter, among many other things. It's not hard to spend well over $100 on one (I've have this&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1QixAwh">Cuisinart 11-Cup Pro</a> model for the last eight years) &mdash; but the cheaper options, in my experience, don't hold up to frequent use. I've burned out many motors in my time.</p> <p>Yes, you can get by without a food processor &mdash; but with its versatility, you won't want to. In fact, you may end up saving money by making things you usually buy at the grocery store from scratch. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home &mdash; And 5 to Buy</a>)</p> <h2>7. Grater</h2> <p>Save: Though I use a grater frequently, I wouldn't say it's an item you need to buy at a premium. The most important feature, in my opinion, is that it's easy to clean. Beyond that, you will probably want a couple different size options, course to fine. You can get away with spending less than $7 for a <a href="http://amzn.to/1Qlwixc">simple grater</a> that works well.</p> <h2>8. Veggie Peeler</h2> <p>Save: Same goes with a vegetable peeler. We had a fancier model that recently bit the dust. I replaced it with a&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1Up1yAw">$6 basic peeler</a>, and I couldn't be happier. When you're looking at peelers, try to find information on rust. The one I bought guarantees not to rust for 10 years!</p> <h2>9. Thermometer</h2> <p>Splurge: I'm a vegetarian, so I didn't know how important it is to have a good thermometer until a friend clued me in. You don't want to over- or under-cook an expensive piece of meat, for example. And you can buy a cheap thermometer that will record an accurate temperature and serve you well.</p> <p>Why is this one a splurge? A <a href="http://amzn.to/21npyt3">quick-read thermometer</a> will give you that reading in a blink (four seconds), which might mean the difference between delight and disaster.</p> <p><em>Save or splurge: What's on your list?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-kitchen-splurge-on-this-save-on-that">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-ways-to-use-up-your-summer-tomatoes">The 12 Best Ways to Use Up Your Summer Tomatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent">5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It (and 5 That Aren&#039;t)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-face-of-poverty-is-fat">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping baking Cooking gizmos kitchen gadgets tools worth the money Mon, 14 Mar 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1666848 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000068458311_Large.jpg" alt="a cheap and easy meal that will make even better leftovers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's true, some things just get better with age. This is true even with some foods &mdash; just a <em>little</em> age, mind you. Some flavors improve when they've had time to meld, mellow out, or become more concentrated. Here are 10 dishes that not only get tastier, but can serve double-duty as an additional meal the next day.</p> <h2>1. Chili</h2> <p>My favorite recipe contains garlic, oregano, onions, Tabasco, green peppers, and jalapenos. On day one, it's a fairly spicy concoction, but upon reheating, it has been delightfully tamed. Chili also holds up well in the freezer and defrosts pretty quickly. Serve it up again for lunch or dinner with some grated cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.</p> <h2>2. Meatloaf</h2> <p>Always great with a pile of mashed potatoes and some dilled carrots, meatloaf is so much better the next day in a sandwich with mayo, cheddar cheese, and dill pickles. If you can score some rye bread for that hot mess, all the better.</p> <h2>3. Pizza</h2> <p>If you buy a frozen pizza, or go the take-and-bake route, pizza and salad is a darned inexpensive meal. I never get anything except the large size because it can serve double duty: dinner <em>and</em> breakfast. My husband's trick is to heat a leftover slice in a little olive oil on the stove, so that the bottom re-crisps. Then, he makes an over-easy egg (firm, but still slightly runny). The egg goes on the top of the pizza. The flavors in Italian food are more pronounced, it seems, when reheated. I'm not sure he cares about that. He's a dude happily eating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-actually-enjoy-leftover-pizza">pizza for breakfast</a> instead of granola.</p> <h2>4. Mushroom Burgers</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mushroom-burgers">mushroom burgers</a> are one of my favorite vegetarian recipes. Not only are they inexpensive to make, but I actually prefer them to a meat hamburger. Don't skip the dried thyme, which imparts great flavor. I also add a little dried sage. This combo will remind you of Thanksgiving.</p> <p>Even though these days it's usually just my husband and I for dinner, I always make four patties. Why? Breakfast! Go Hawaiian-style with them and re-heat the &quot;burger.&quot; Plop it over some brown rice, and add an egg on top. As the Hawaiians say, &quot;So<em> ono</em>!&quot;</p> <h2>5. Lasagna</h2> <p>If you are going to make a lasagna (or <em>lasagne</em>, whichever way you prefer to spell it), well, go for it and make a big 9x13 pan of it. Why? Lasagna always always gets better after spending the night in the refrigerator. Mine are usually a little sloppy coming out of the oven, even when I let them rest. However, on day two or three, something magical happens and it firms up. The flavors are also more prominent. This can be a second or third dinner, or you can cut into smaller squares for lunches. Lasagna is also a good candidate for the freezer.</p> <h2>6. Stew</h2> <p>Stew meat is really cheap, and there is a reason for that &mdash; it comes from a tough cut (usually chuck or bottom round). Save even more money by just buying a package of meat and cutting it up yourself, rather than buying packages of precut &quot;stew meat.&quot; Don't worry about toughness, though. The act of cooking it slowly breaks the fibers down and tenderizes it. If you pair your meat with some pearl onions, garlic, red wine, and bacon, you'll be happy for days to come. It also freezes well.</p> <h2>7. The Sunday Roast, on Monday</h2> <p>Cooking a roast is a big effort, but the leftovers are great, and you will have enough for sandwiches, and maybe even another dinner. But wait! There is a breakfast bonus. Chop it up, add cooked potatoes, sauteed peppers, and onions, and bake into hash. Voila! Add a fried egg on top for a little extra treat.</p> <h2>8. Chicken Soup</h2> <p>For a variety of reasons, chicken soup is just better down the road. My mother's theory was that bay leaves gave soup extra flavor. She also was a fan of bouquet garni. I think the chicken fat and salt helps, too. I freeze mine in double gallon Ziplocks &mdash; you don't want to chance leakage &mdash; and don't forget to label. When you get a cold, remembering you have homemade chicken soup in the freezer will make you instantly feel better.</p> <h2>9. Thrice-Baked Potatoes</h2> <p>Not too many foods are as inexpensive as potatoes &mdash; or as versatile. Baked potatoes are fine, but twice-baked (containing cheese, green onion, maybe some broccoli or spinach) are terrific. And they are even better at breakfast, and especially on cold days. Bake a whole potato, stuff each half, and enjoy half with dinner and half another time. I tote my &quot;second half&quot; to the office, where I can microwave it.</p> <h2>10. Curry</h2> <p>Curry is often so spicy that I want a glass of milk to drink with it. So hot, but so good! Let it spend the night in the refrigerator, though, and it will mellow out. But it won't become boring, as the flavors seem to concentrate. I like mine with chicken, carrots, and pumpkin. Usually served with lots of rice, there is always enough for a second meal. It's inexpensive comfort food.</p> <p><em>Did we miss any delicious leftover gems? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-ways-to-use-up-your-summer-tomatoes">The 12 Best Ways to Use Up Your Summer Tomatoes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap dinners Cooking easy meals leftovers meal planning recipes Tue, 23 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1658639 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Save Time and Money on Food Prep http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-time-and-money-on-food-prep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-time-and-money-on-food-prep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_chopping_veggies_000079903751.jpg" alt="Woman saving time and money on meal prep" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found ways to save time and money during food prep, how to grow your savings in 2016, and steps to eliminate self-doubt.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/household/food-prep-saving-time-money-kitchen">Food Prep: Saving Time and Money in the Kitchen</a> &mdash; Organize your cooking and prep space so that you have easy access to commonly used appliances, spices, and utensils. [Frugal Toad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.wellkeptwallet.com/2016/01/7-ways-to-grow-your-savings-account-in-2016/">7 Ways to Grow Your Savings Account in 2016</a> &mdash; Save any unexpected money that comes your way, such as tax returns, work bonuses, extra savings on something you had to buy, and monetary gifts. [Well Kept Wallet]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2016/01/06/6-steps-to-eliminate-self-doubt-and-trust-yourself-again/">6 Steps to Eliminate Self-Doubt (and Trust Yourself Again)</a> &mdash; Create a response system for self-doubt triggers so you can deal with them when they come up. [Marc &amp; Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Get-Rid-39684880">16 Things to Get Rid of in 2016</a> &mdash; Get rid of any medicine, makeup, and other items that are past their expiration dates. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2016/01/3-tips-getting-important-things-done-every-day.html">3 Tips for Getting the Most Important Things Done Every Day</a> &mdash; Set appointments with yourself to do those tasks and activities that are most important to you. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://everythingfinanceblog.com/16635/10-common-student-loan-myths-busted.html">10 Common Student Loan Myths &ndash; Busted</a> &mdash; Consolidating all your loans into one large loan may sound convenient, but it isn't necessarily the best way to control your finances. [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2016/01/06/how-to-save-money-on-your-bike-commute/">How to save money on your bike commute</a> &mdash; Riding a bike to work can save you a lot of money on your commute, but there are some expenses to be aware of&hellip;and ways to spend less on them! [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dontpayfull.com/blog/money-saving-ways-to-celebrate-your-anniversary">10 Money Saving Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary</a> &mdash; Change the sheets, light up some candles, spread some rose petals, and have a bottle of wine nearby to transform your bedroom into a hotel honeymoon suite. [Don't Pay Full]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.shoplet.com/green-office/recycling-101-glass-recycling-facts/">Recycling 101: Glass Recycling Facts</a> &mdash; Want to live a little greener this year? Here's what you should know about recycling glass. [Shoplet]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/21-resolutions-for-the-involved-dad">21 Resolutions for the Involved Dad</a> &mdash; Dads (and moms!) can work towards being more involved by taking on some of these resolutions. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-time-and-money-on-food-prep">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">Canned vs. Dried Beans: Which Are Cheaper?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-ass-alternatives-to-canned-cranberry-sauce">Kick-Ass Alternatives to Canned Cranberry Sauce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">Better Brewing: 12 Ways to Make Coffee at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips Cooking food prep Fri, 08 Jan 2016 20:00:02 +0000 Amy Lu 1634659 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Foods Everybody Should Be Able to Cook by 30 http://www.wisebread.com/12-foods-everybody-should-be-able-to-cook-by-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-foods-everybody-should-be-able-to-cook-by-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cooking_dinner_000045924788.jpg" alt="Woman learning which foods to cook by age 30" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a pretty good cook. I can make just about anything &mdash; from single meals for myself to four-course feasts for a crowd &mdash; and I learned how to do it all on my own. If you're age 30 or older, you should probably have these mastered. Let's get cookin'.</p> <h2>1. Pasta</h2> <p>Pasta is one of the most versatile, easy, and budget-friendly foods you can buy. As for dressing it up, you can't go wrong with a basic homemade <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/homemade-pasta-sauce">tomato sauce</a> or <a href="http://www.chef-in-training.com/2015/07/perfect-homemade-alfredo-sauce/">creamy alfredo</a>. Not in the mood for sauce? You can also eat it plain with olive oil, or toss it with meats, seafood, vegetables, or whatever else suits your taste.</p> <h2>2. Eggs</h2> <p>There are plenty of ways to cook eggs (my favorite? baked eggs for brunch), but the three styles you should master are scrambled, fried, and hard-boiled. It's worth the effort to learn how to cook eggs perfectly, exactly how you like them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-perfectly-cooked-eggs?ref=seealso">6 Ways to Make Perfectly Cooked Eggs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Beef, Chicken, and Pork</h2> <p>The three staple meats of the American diet are beef, chicken, and pork. That's not meant to offend anybody of religious affiliation, of course &mdash; I totally respect that not everyone eats these meats &mdash; but those are our primary sources of protein in this country. And, they're the trickiest items on this list to cook.</p> <p>Raw meat contains so much bad-for-you bacteria that it can make you sick or potentially kill you if not prepared properly. Chicken, especially, must be cooked all the way through (to 165&ordm; F) before eating. Investing in a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009IH0BZ0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009IH0BZ0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ENFXJHPL6GHCSPU4">meat thermometer</a> can help you make sure you've properly cooked your meat to temperature.</p> <p>Baking is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook chicken thighs and drumsticks. Simply season them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your preference, toss in a 400&ordm; F oven, and let them cook for 20&ndash;30 minutes. Chicken breasts can also be baked or cooked right on the stovetop, and make a great addition to salads and pasta. Add a little olive oil to a hot pan, season the chicken, sear each side, and then turn the heat to low and cover until cooked through.</p> <p>Not in the mood for chicken? Try some foolproof <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/31096/easy-caramelized-onion-pork-chops/">pork chops with caramelized onions</a> to please your next dinner crowd. A simple <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/home-style-meatloaf/a88edb8e-d80a-4b01-b91a-b6f89a9fd101">home-style meatloaf</a> is also a super easy and delicious meal to dress up ground beef. Once you get the hang of a few basic staples, you can try spicing it up a bit.</p> <h2>4. Grilled Sandwiches</h2> <p>Who doesn't love an ooey-gooey, hot-and-melty grilled cheese sandwich? The answer is nobody in the history of ever, which is why you should know how to prepare one yourself. Once you've nailed down the gist of grilled cheese &mdash; butter both sides of bread, keep the heat low to medium to avoid burning &mdash; you can start experiment with other types of sandwiches that feature ingredients like bacon, ham, tomato, chicken, and pesto.</p> <h2>5. Holiday Ham, Turkey, Chicken, or Roast</h2> <p>Let's start with ham as it's the easiest of them all, because &mdash; and this might blow your mind &mdash; it's already cooked when you buy it. Yep, all you have to do is heat it up for an hour or so in the oven per instructions. Turkeys and chickens are a little trickier, but honestly not very hard. Skip stuffing the cavities of these birds as some say it's not an entirely sanitary practice. For roasts, you can set it and forget it in the slow cooker, which usually calls for a few chopped veggies, beef broth, and a dry soup mix from the grocery store &mdash; that's it.</p> <h2>6. Pancakes</h2> <p>Some people will tell you that making pancakes from scratch is the way to go, but if you're not so worried about that, I stand by box mixes. I've made both varieties, and in terms of taste I don't think homemade is any better than box brands. If you can follow directions, mixing the batter isn't rocket science, but to master the art of flipping you should have the griddle on medium heat and wait until bubbles form on the pancake before making your move.</p> <h2>7. Fish and Shrimp</h2> <p>Learning how to cook fish and shrimp is getting into much fancier territory, but if you're nearing your 30s, there's no excuse for not knowing how to cook these items in at least a basic way. Fish can be prepared dozens of different ways. It can be grilled, poached, baked, broiled and more, all fairly quickly and without a ton of effort. As for shrimp, these little buggers cook quickly in a pan or on the grill &mdash; two minutes on each side, and they're done. Or you could boil them for six to 12 minutes and drain. Simple as that.</p> <h2>8. Potatoes</h2> <p>There are so many ways to prepare potatoes, but if you're just branching out in the kitchen, it's best to stick with easy methods like roasting or baking. I prefer baking my potatoes in the oven over the microwave because I think they taste better that way, but there's a significant cook time difference; they take about eight to 10 minutes in the microwave, but about an hour in the oven. If you want to make roasted potatoes, you'll need to do a little prep. Dice the potatoes before seasoning with a little oil, herbs, salt and pepper, and putting them in a pre-heated 450 F oven for about 20 minutes. Give them an occasional stir.</p> <h2>9. Vinaigrettes</h2> <p>Instead of bringing out half-empty bottles of salad dressings and putting them on the dinner table, class up your meals and parties with freshly made vinaigrettes that require only a few ingredients and a hearty whisk or shake. Most recipes just require a few ounces of oil, vinegar, and other pantry staples.</p> <h2>10. Cookies</h2> <p>Unlike pancakes, I do think that homemade cookies far surpass the quality of store-bought. If you want to try your hand at the former, start with this <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/quick-easy-sugar-cookies-recipe-480137">easy sugar cookie recipe</a> and graduate to chocolate chip when you're ready. I'll let you in on a little secret: I undercook my cookies just slightly so they're still a tad gooey right in the center &mdash; that's just the way I like 'em.</p> <h2>11. Roasted Veggies</h2> <p>Essentially the same methods apply here as they do with potatoes. All root vegetables need about 20 minutes cooking time in a high-heat oven, around 400 F. Chop, season with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and pop them in. Stir or turn over the veggies at the halfway mark. You're good to go.</p> <h2>12. Sautéed Spinach</h2> <p>Sautéed spinach sounds difficult, but it's fairly simple. Before turning on the heat to a high-sided pan, I add one to two tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how much spinach I'm cooking), a teaspoon of chopped garlic, and a few red pepper flakes. Turn the heat to medium just until the garlic sizzles, then add the spinach. At this point, you can't leave the stove because you need to mind the spinach while it wilts and stir it to make sure that all the leaves hit the heat. Once it gets to your desired texture, add salt and pepper to taste, stir one last time, and serve with a splash of lemon juice on top.</p> <p><em>What recipes do you consider essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-foods-everybody-should-be-able-to-cook-by-30">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/canned-vs-dried-beans-which-are-cheaper">Canned vs. Dried Beans: Which Are Cheaper?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-ass-alternatives-to-canned-cranberry-sauce">Kick-Ass Alternatives to Canned Cranberry Sauce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pasta-makers">The 5 Best Pasta Makers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink 30 somethings Cooking eating well meal preparation millennials Wed, 30 Dec 2015 18:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1626819 at http://www.wisebread.com Pick Up One of These Frugal Hobbies This Weekend http://www.wisebread.com/pick-up-one-of-these-frugal-hobbies-this-weekend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pick-up-one-of-these-frugal-hobbies-this-weekend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_hiking_map_000078571079.jpg" alt="Couple picking up frugal hobby this weekend" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've recently come to the realization that many of my non-essential expenditures are focused on preventing boredom. Whether that's trying out new restaurants, collecting vintage cameras, or buying crafting supplies, hobbies can get surprisingly expensive. Fortunately, there are many hobbies that allow you to occupy your leisure time without racking up huge bills at the end of the month. My goal is to replace my less frugal hobbies with some of these inexpensive alternatives and I encourage you to do the same.</p> <h2>1. Succulent Gardening</h2> <p>Succulents are the perfect plant for a beginner gardener with a black thumb, like me. The only really bad thing you can do is overwater them. And while gardening in general is quite frugal (as long as you start from seeds and don't go crazy at the local nursery), succulent gardening is even more so. You never need to actually <em>buy</em> a succulent. They propagate themselves easily from cuttings begged, borrowed, or stolen (just kidding, NOT stolen!) from friends and family. All you need are some pots with good drainage (look for them at thrift stores to keep costs down) and some soil.</p> <h2>2. Cook Your Way Through a Cuisine or Cookbook</h2> <p>Cooking your way through a cookbook or, alternatively, a cuisine, can be a way to get your creative juices flowing, while avoiding eating out. Instead of becoming a &quot;restaurant foodie,&quot; which can get expensive, become a &quot;home gourmet foodie.&quot;</p> <p>When I first got married, I decided to learn to cook all of the American classics, from chili con carne to classic pot roast. I gave myself a free course in cooking as well as saved us money we would have otherwise spent on restaurants. To keep this hobby frugal, and look for accessible, down-to-earth cookbooks or food blogs.</p> <h2>3. Become a Thrifter</h2> <p>Instead of trolling the aisles of Target and picking up various knick-knacks you don't need, why not start browsing the aisles of your local thrift store instead? The thrill of finding something unique and awesome for $2 is just incomparable. True, it might not be something you <em>need</em>, but if you're going to shop anyway, at least you're only paying a fraction of the price. And if you find some cool stuff, you can always sell it on eBay or Etsy.</p> <h2>4. Play Board Games</h2> <p>An evening with friends playing board games can be surprisingly lively and fun. Start with classics like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IL5XY9K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00IL5XY9K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Y2FJC6NZNYZBMYUW">Scrabble</a> or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CV5PN2W/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00CV5PN2W&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=37KK3JKMLQAZRLPI">Monopoly</a>, and graduate to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U26V4VQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00U26V4VQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2EZWYIDHRX6DJFNQ">Settlers of Catan</a> or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001JQY6K4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B001JQY6K4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NSLUDKC35IBQAMZK">Dominion</a>. The game might set you back $20-$40, but it can give a group of people many hours of entertainment. Warning: This hobby can get expensive if you get obsessive, or greedy for all the games (And expansion packs! And special editions!), and is thus best suited for the casual hobbyist. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a>)</p> <h2>5. Make Origami</h2> <p><iframe width="430" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qzeaw7UXscw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Origami, the art of folding paper into creatures and shapes, is a wonderfully frugal hobby. All you need are some squares of paper, which you can cut from scrap paper, or you can buy a pack of colored origami paper for a very reasonable price. Check out YouTube videos and online tutorials to start learning.</p> <h2>6. Take Up Running</h2> <p>Running is one of the cheapest forms of exercise. You don't need a gym membership or any fancy gear except for a pair of running shoes. Get some friends together to make things more fun. Your health (and your wallet) will thank you.</p> <h2>7. Learn to Knit or Crochet</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00URN9DM6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00URN9DM6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BZ4YNRH7TWYEJ5OT">pack of yarn</a> from your local craft store will only set you back a few dollars and can occupy you productively for several hours. It's therapeutic to have something to show for your hard work, and maybe you can even save money on birthday presents by making knitted or crocheted headbands, hats, and other cute creations for your friends.</p> <h2>8. Explore the Outdoors</h2> <p>Check out the local outdoor hiking trails in your area. Exploring the outdoors can be a great way to get some exercise and entertainment at the same time. Look for local wildlife and learn to recognize local plants, using free resources from the Internet or borrowed books from the library, as well as local nature centers.</p> <h2>9. Try Geocaching</h2> <p>If you need more of a challenge, try <a href="https://www.geocaching.com/play">geocaching</a> &mdash; a kind of global scavenger hunt where you download GPS coordinates and enter them into a GPS device (an app on your smartphone, if you already have one). You then head out into the outdoors to find the cache, where you add your name to the cache's log once you find it (and sometimes find other treasures too).</p> <h2>10. Read a Book</h2> <p>Reading can be free if you have a library card. Many libraries also offer ebooks for free &mdash; you can download and keep it for two or three weeks and then &quot;return&quot; the ebook. If you don't like going to the library (or if it takes you several months to get through a book), many classic novels are available for free on Amazon.</p> <h2>11. Learn a New Language</h2> <p>Language skills will serve you well in the professional world, and it's also a fun pastime that can open the door to new friends and cultural opportunities. There are many free language resources on the Internet, such as Duolingo, LiveMocha, and more.</p> <h2>12. Upcycle</h2> <p>If you enjoy crafting but don't want to spend the money on craft supplies, upcycling might be for you. A simple search on Pinterest reveals a myriad of ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">turn your trash into treasure</a>, from melting down old candles to make new ones, to turning old t-shirts into rugs and tote bags, and sweaters into pillows and mug cozies.</p> <h2>13. Write</h2> <p>Get your thoughts out into a journal or blog. You can write about anything: your daily life, your cat's escapades, your personal poetry, or stories about your life. You could even turn this into a paying side gig &mdash; I started out writing descriptions of my travels and ended up writing for this blog!</p> <p><em>What hobbies do you like doing in your spare time that don't cost anything?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pick-up-one-of-these-frugal-hobbies-this-weekend">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/blood-gore-and-hairy-warts-a-diy-halloween-makeup-guide">Blood, gore and hairy warts; a DIY Halloween makeup guide.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY Cooking DIY exercise frugal activities fun projects gardening Fri, 04 Dec 2015 12:00:03 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1618136 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Small Kitchen Appliances That Aren't Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/13-small-kitchen-appliances-that-arent-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-small-kitchen-appliances-that-arent-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/electric_tea_kettle_000042299750.jpg" alt="Learning which small kitchen appliances aren&#039;t worth the money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter how big your kitchen is, sooner or later the countertops become cluttered. Whether it's from all of the wedding gifts you just received or too many late-night infomercial purchases, all those small kitchen appliances can really take up valuable space.</p> <p>Here are 13 small appliances that aren't worth the money, with cheaper alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Bread Machine</h2> <p>There's no better smell than fresh-baked bread. A $100 bread machine is easy enough to use &mdash; put the ingredients in, turn it on, and wait for the bread to bake &mdash; but the cleanup is difficult. And, speaking from experience, the rotating mechanism at the bottom of the bread machine can break, rendering it useless.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Make bread from scratch. Find a cookbook, follow the recipe, and you're set. Making homemade bread is a lot of work, but that can be the point of cooking &mdash; a slow, Zen-like process where the extra time is likely to equate to a better meal.</p> <h2>2. Stand Mixer</h2> <p>The KitchenAid mixer is one of the best-looking and often-used small appliances in our kitchen. But at $350, it's difficult to justify buying another when it breaks &mdash; which ours did. To make matters worse, its warranty had expired long ago.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Buy a cheap <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CH0ZLE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001CH0ZLE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ODNF3TNESZUHFGPB">electric hand mixer</a> and use your own bowl to mix things. It won't be as easy to use as a stand mixer, but it's less likely to break. And it takes up a lot less space in your kitchen.</p> <h2>3. Immersion Blender</h2> <p>At $100, an immersion blender is an expensive way to make squash soup or other dishes that need to be crushed or blended while cooking. We have one, though it rarely gets use. It sits so far back in a cupboard that it's often forgotten about.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Crush items with a big, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-kitchen-mixing-spoons">wooden spoon</a> while cooking in a pot, or pour them into a blender.</p> <h2>4. Deep Fryer</h2> <p>I'm not a big fan of deep-fried food, and cooking it at home seems messy. But if you like to deep-dry, spending $60 to $120 on a small fryer for the kitchen can sound like a deal &mdash; until it breaks or you find you barely ever use it.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Take a frying pan, add half an inch or less of cooking oil, and you've got a simple deep fryer. Or find a recipe to make fried chicken or onion rings in your oven.</p> <h2>5. Ice Cream Maker</h2> <p>Homemade ice cream is one of the most delicious treats. A quality ice cream maker is about $200, which may sound like a deal, but chances are you actually won't use it often enough to justify the cost or the amount of space it takes up.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Make ice cream by hand. One effective DIY method involves <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-ice-cream-without-124210">beating an ice cream base</a> in a bowl over ice. Like many alternatives, this takes more time, but should pay off in taste.</p> <h2>6. Contact Grill/Griddles</h2> <p>I have nothing against George Foreman and his popular grills that sell for $18 to $100. I've never used one and can only assume they work great. But it's another device to clean, and odds are you already have other pans at home that will do the same job.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Make a crispy panini right in a pan on the stove using a smaller lid as a press. You can use that pan for anything else a contact grill or griddle can make.</p> <h2>7. Electric Juicer</h2> <p>Fresh-squeezed orange juice in the morning is one of the best ways to start the day. An electric juicer, however, is an often-forgotten kitchen appliance that is probably bought with the best of intentions, but never fully utilized.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>A <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KH9PXZ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00KH9PXZ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=F73BQOENAPFMAR3W">handheld juicer</a> is a few dollars, and takes up a lot less space than most electric ones.</p> <h2>8. Vacuum Sealer</h2> <p>Some food can break down quicker when introduced to air &mdash; steak, coffee, and dried fruit, among others &mdash; and a vacuum sealer can solve that problem by sealing it in an airtight bag for the freezer. But at $100 or so, a vacuum sealer can be a waste of money if you don't use it very often.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Buy freezer bags and squeeze as much air out as you can when using them. And don't buy so much food that you need a vacuum sealer to begin with.</p> <h2>9. Electric Slicer</h2> <p>An electric slicer is a must-have for a butcher. But are you really slicing that much meat at home?</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Use a sharp knife you already have.</p> <h2>10. Dehydrator</h2> <p>A dehydrator is useful if you want to make beef jerky or dried fruits and vegetables. But again, as with too many small kitchen appliances, is this something you really plan on using often?</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Dry fruit in your oven. Or buy it that way at the grocery store.</p> <h2>11. Stovetop Smoker</h2> <p>Smoking meat in your kitchen sounds like a good idea. For around $60, a stovetop smoking pan provides an easy way to get this great flavor in homemade meals, but again &mdash; more often than not, it will sit unused.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Cook on your backyard grill, or make your own <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5880818/build-your-own-stovetop-smoker-with-kitchen-gear-you-already-have">stovetop smoker</a> with a roasting pan or stockpot, metal steaming tray, and aluminum foil.</p> <h2>12. Multi-Steamer</h2> <p>At $30, a multi-steamer to cook vegetables is a relatively inexpensive tool. But the hassle of using one means that often times, you simply won't.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Steam with a conventional pot you have at home, or use a microwave oven.</p> <h2>13. Tea Kettle</h2> <p>I used to drink hot tea often, and thought it was quaint to have a tea kettle that would make a whistling sound when the water was hot. This was great until I discovered that in my small kitchen, the kettle took up a premium spot on the stove and water deposits in the kettle made it worthless after a while.</p> <h3>A Cheaper Alternative</h3> <p>Boil water on the stove or in the microwave.</p> <p><em>What other kitchen gadgets are a waste of counter space?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-small-kitchen-appliances-that-arent-worth-the-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/common-money-saving-mistakes-that-can-cost-big-bucks">Common Money-Saving Mistakes That Can Cost Big Bucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-you-might-not-know-about-your-local-thrift-store">Things You Might Not Know About Your Local Thrift Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-budget-challenge-2016-how-to-live-frugally-when-you-have-no-time">My Budget Challenge 2016: How to Live Frugally When You Have No Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-without-crepe-pans-and-other-expensive-kitchen-tools">Cooking Without Crepe Pans and Other Expensive Kitchen Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cooking gadgets kitchen appliances shopping useless items waste of money Thu, 03 Dec 2015 14:00:17 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1617392 at http://www.wisebread.com