Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Frugality pays!!

I've long been interested in being frugal. I've not always succeeded at being very frugal, but I've been interested. I've read books about how to make good frugal, simple meals for my family and I've tried to implement them. Some with, of course, more success than others.

For a time I really played with Once-A-Month cooking. I dreamed of being a lady of leisure all day, needing only to pull an-already-prepared meal from the freezer in the morning and voila! At supper time, I'm not slaving away over the hot stove. Making an oh-so-healthy meal for my family.

Of Macaroni and Cheese.

From a blue box.

Don't judge me.

But spending a whole day cooking did not appeal to me exactly. I often rethink that. I still like the idea, but I'm not sure I could pull it off...alone! If a couple of friends joined me, I'm sure I could do it and have fun.

Tonight I went searching for frugal food making tips and found this site. You should check it out.

I took the night off....

On Sunday we passed Perkins (like Denny's) and I saw they had again their slices of pie buy one, get one free. And since there are four of us, we could get a slice for everyone, on the cheap!

I dreamed about pie all afternoon. I could taste it. I longed for it.

I put off my pie eating until supper time. When we all trooped to Perkins and ate pie for supper. Yup. We had pie. It was simply glorious.

We did eat healthy pie, we all ordered some type of fruit pie so it's all good!

I seem to have fallen into some sort of fearful stupor about Julia Child's, Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Or maybe I think I can only cook from it in the winter ? I don't know but I do know it has been weeks, maybe months since I even opened the book.

I can feel the cooler weather coming and I'm excited to bring it out and cook from it. I wish I was dedicated enough and had the time to make one recipe from it every day and blog about it. Maybe I will sometime.

I still use The Joy of Cooking, at least weekly. That is such a treasure trove of recipes and so easy to follow.

I find myself incredibly anxious for soup. It's almost the right kind of weather for it too. I was tempted a couple of times this summer to make Vichysoisse, or cold potato soup but I'll admit it freely, I am afraid of cold potato soup. The very thought does not sound appealing to me. A friend had it on a cruise this year and said it was divine. I'm still chicken.

I'm dreaming of a good vegetable beef with barley soup. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I have long been a deep, down hater-of-steak. I've never really known the allure steak has on most people. When I was a child, we almost never had steak. It was an unattainable luxury for us. In fact, even today when I hear someone is having steak I automatically think they must be filthy rich.

When we would have steak (because someone gave it to us, or invited us over), though I always found it dry and tasteless. I know that had to do with how it was cooked and I shouldn't judge it by that. But when everyone is saying how good steak is and you finally try it, only to find it incredibly dry, there is a certain amount of let down.

About ten years ago I was involved in a Bible study that always celebrated it's finishing of a book with a steak dinner. Imagine my immense anticipation of the night. I got to eat steak, a food which up to this point in my life had not been a favorite.

My pastor grilled the steaks. And they were to. Die. For. Oh so good. Delectable. Wonderful.

I've since tried to repeat that experience at home, and I have dismally failed. My steaks are dry and tasteless. A couple of weeks ago I found some steaks in the freezer. My mouth immediately started watering for Jake's steak. I was literally drooling, since I was afraid of being frozen to the freezer with a line of saliva, I left the freezer for the computer and emailed him.

"I found more steak in my freezer...how do I cook it? I've told you before I'm not a steak person, but I like the way you make it. So I need to know all your secrets!!!"

I was asking with wrong motives, I will admit that right here and now. I wasn't asking so he would tell me how he makes them, I was asking, without using the exact words, for him to rush right over and make me steak.  Because yes, I am that shameless.  

He obviously didn't read between the lines because he was not forthcoming...except to answer my question.  In his answer he said, "We're a bit barbaric here...we like to stand over the grill and eat as we go (resembles pigs at a trough)...every bite cooked to perfection (go ahead and drool)"

I did drool. A lot. And put off making steak for another million years. I'm just a big chicken. Hahahaha. Talking about steak and call myself a chicken. 

The other night I was in the mood to grill and hoped my grill wouldn't hate me, which it has a great propensity to do.  I wanted to grill my steaks. I really did. But because I wasn't sure I was ready for it yet, I set out a package of pork chops. (Nine of those bad boys at Sam's on the cheap!) 

Now, you must realize, growing up I also never met a pork chop I liked. They too, were dry and tasteless.  But I have come a long way in knowing how to cook those and as long as I don't cook them inside, I do pretty good. 

That night was my night to shine. Not only did the grill not hate me! I cooked my pork chops to perfection! I know they look a little raw or a little over done. But let me tell you, when they were completely done, MELT IN YOUR MOUTH GOODNESS.  Juicy as the day is long and the summer is hot. One could, and in fact, did cut them with a butter knife. The only seasoning I used was good ol' salt and pepper. 

I asked Dear Man as we were just sitting down if he thought I should call Jake and invite him to come feast. He assured me it was too late, although I really think he just wanted them all for himself. 

The foil wrapped package in the picture is potatoes and is our favorite way of cooking potatoes in the summer. I just cut/cube potatoes, put them in foil with a little salt and pepper and a lot of butter and put them on the grill. 

Maybe now I will try cooking steaks on the grill.....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Sometimes my brain amazes me with great capacity and huge propensity to forget the simplest of simple tasks. Like say for example, setting something out for supper.

Hello! We all have to eat and we all generally eat supper in the evening. And generally we don't go foraging through the freezer unless we're having ice cream.

And while I think that wouldn't be a bad thing, especially on the hot summer nights, dear man is decidedly against it. How could I have married a meat and potatoes man while I am such a foodie free spirit? Cereal for supper? Unheard of..for him. For me? A delicacy. Ice cream? You're out of your ever-livin' mind! For me, Hot dog!!! (only much better than hot dogs)

Yesterday found me at 4pm contemplating what would be for supper. And then it hit me. Supper was frozen solid in the freezer and the grill wasn't started.

Not be deterred, because I was merely pondering this because my tummy was gnawing away on my backbone, I contemplated the finer points of fine dining...namely, peanut butter and jelly.

We had that for lunch. And who wants left over peanut butter and jelly? Not me. I contemplated using speed dial and begging someone to make supper for me because I was sick, desperately sick and couldn't feed my family.

I was merely sick in the head and I didn't think that would qualify. I contemplated my options a bit longer and my desire for a fine dining experience kept growing.

EUREKA!!! I had the answer. I knew the best place for fine dining at its finest!!!  And no, it's not McDonald's. Although you'd be close!

Culvers! Simply the finest of fine dining establishments. And last night they were giving away free samples of the "Flavor of the Day"!!  Which was "just drummy" and was not my cup of joe, but everyone else seemed to like it.

Oh and hey, maybe I should take the pork chops out of the freezer now, ya think??  Tonight we shall be dining on grilled pork chops (provided the grill doesn't hate me), potatoes and some sort of vegetable.  What will you be feasting on?