I will admit, when I first heard about people going ‘extreme couponing’, I really thought those people were insane. I mean, obviously they don’t have jobs if they just clip coupons and dumpster dive for coupon inserts all day long, right? I saw one lady with a 4″ binder overflowing with papers and I just had to shake my head (as I paid full price for my food…)
That was one year ago. Now, I pay around $3.00 for all that you see above. Yes, you read that right. I save about 75-98% on my grocery bill every month just because I do a little extra research.
Who needs 16 Totino’s pizzas you ask? People that host karaoke parties every other weekend until 8am, that is who! And those Betty Crocker cake mixes are great for making cake pops and jello cakes for summer parties!
The secret is using Catalina savings (when the store prints out $ good like cash on your NEXT order) and just rolling those savings into another transaction. I did this seven times at Kroger this week and paid 6.00 for $195 worth of groceries.
WHO WANTS CAKE!
Hey, Happy New Year everyone! What’s that you say, it’s almost February? My bad. A few personal issues kept me away from the blog (thankfully not from cooking) and I think it’s all good now. Hurry, change the subject!
Mmm… chocolate. I first became aware of Green & Black’s chocolate because they were having a giveaway on Twitter (that I did not win, hurumph). Then they gave out coupons? Twist my arm. Verdict: it’s good. It’s really good. And it’s Fair Trade and organic so I have tricked myself into thinking I it’s Paleo and thus totally legit to eat on that diet. Then I did something totally cray cray. I dipped bacon in it. Boom! That just happened.
Every year, my beer club convenes for what we have called the “Annual Coldest Day of the Year Stout Tasting”, named after the first tasting which was literally on the coldest day of the entire year. Essentially, each person brings some hard-to-find or otherwise delicious stout-y brews and adds them to the collection. This year we sampled over 60 stouts. *Hic
An epic tasting is deserving of only the best accompanying tasty treats, am I right? And nothing brings out the roasted, smoky flavor of those big stouts like some dark-chocolate covered meat candy.
My fiance is not known for his skills in the kitchen, unless he is repairing one of the appliances, building shelves, or doing the dishes (Yes, he does dishes — and yes, I know I am lucky). It gets better: he is fantastic at making bacon, which in my opinion, is a skill that should be boasted on any resume right at the top.
First of all, he only uses Wright Brand bacon. As you can see, it’s nice and thick. It’s twice as much as most of the other brands, but it’s totally worth it. He then sprinkles the bacon with white (not brown) sugar. He adds a little more white sugar on while it is pan frying in a cast iron skillet.
Z.O.M.G. It is to die for.
For the stout tasting, we decided to marry this heavenly creation to dark chocolate to satisfy the sweet teeth of our stout-lovers.
Essentially, I just melted the dark chocolate in a double boiler and dipped each piece in to about an inch and a half. I set the pieces on a baking rack above wax paper until they set a bit, and I drizzled them with a maple syrup-confectioner’s sugar concoction that I piped onto the chocolate in a zig-zag.
I am happy to say that the entire contents of the plate of bacon disappeared in record time. I can’t say the same for the bacon aroma in my kitchen. To my friends: Thanks for all the wonderful compliments. To my dog: Sorry.
Once again, it seems as though winter has turned right into summer here in Ohio. What happened to our breezy spring afternoons? It’s nearly 84 degrees for a week now and I REFUSE to turn on the A/C. I will, however, solve this problem by making more ice cream. I have tried many flavors but this is hands-down a favorite for everyone. It’s one of those things that is every bit as good as it sounds! I make this recipe slightly easier by cutting down on a few steps. Essentially I buy a No-Bake Cheesecake kit and prepare the crust as if I were going to make the cheesecake and then crumble it up, and use about a 1/3 of the cheesecake filling mix powder in the ice cream mixture. It turns out perfectly, although it makes a slightly larger amount of mix than my lil’ Cuisinart ice cream maker can handle.
No problem, I just put the rest in Tupperware and freeze it for plain cheesecake ice cream later, or perhaps to dollop in morning coffee…
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Adapted from Taste of Home
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- GRAHAM CRACKER MIXTURE (see my shortcut above)
- 2-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 36 squares)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- ICE CREAM:
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant cheesecake or vanilla pudding mix (see my shortcut above)
- 1 quart heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in water until smooth. Stir in blueberries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
- In a large bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Stir in butter. Pat into an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the ice cream ingredients. Fill ice cream freezer cylinder two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. Whisk before adding to ice cream freezer (mixture will have some lumps).
- Crumble the graham cracker mixture. In a large container, layer the ice cream, graham cracker mixture and blueberry sauce three times; swirl. Freeze. Yield: 2 quarts.
A year ago I was making delicious and cute Guinness Stout cupcakes with Bailey’s icing. This year I have to settle for a cocktail (albeit an amazing one). Apparently I’m living in a ‘no cake’ household. Do you know how not fun it is to have the person you’re living with care about calorie intake? HURUMPH! :) I really miss making cake, however, there are plenty of reasons (aren’t there always) to celebrate. Especially on St. Patrick’s Day!
That’s right; get in close. Get lost in that whipped cream. Don’t you want to dip your finger in it? Mmm… booze. I realize I holiday-fied up this classic cocktail by adding the green garnish and sugar but, hey. I do what I want. Green beer is for frat kids; make yourself a nice, classy cocktail this St. Patrick’s Day.
- 1 1/2 oz. Irish Whiskey
- Brown sugar, to taste (I use 1 tbsp)
- 6 oz. hot coffee
I think I have professed my love for old cookbooks. I just love looking back at the food styling of the different decades and, well, mostly just laughing. It seems so odd that food can go in and out of style, because, it’s just food. Cocktails on the other hand do trend, but several are just timeless. Old bartending books from the 1960s – 1980s are my favorite, as they attempt to instruct readers on how to entertain and which spirits to have on hand, always. I picked up an old cocktail book at the cat welfare thrift sale for $1.00, and I totally got my money’s worth. It’s chock-full of creamy and blended drinks as well as all of the classics. Also a couple I had never heard of, but don’t know that I would want to make (Slow Screw Up Against a Wall, Mexican Style?).
He loves bananas; I love strawberries. We both love booze, so we chose this recipe to share with you:
- 1 oz. banana liqueur
- 1/2 oz. dark rum
- 4 oz. frozen strawberries, thawed (We used fresh)
- 1 1/2 oz. cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 banana, peeled and cut into slices
- 1 packet of sweetener (my own addition)
I swear this is the last craft post before I get back to booze. I have a series of delicious drink recipes to share very soon.
This project is very important to me; it was the first project I started by myself, and completed without needing any help. From the sanding, to painting, to picking out the fabric, to sewing, I could make it my project. I had really high hopes for it, but due to the breakup last year, I lost sight of the inspiration that I usually cherish to finish projects and push myself to meet my goals. Now that I am in what I feel to be a new chapter of my life, I found a new motivation to get it finished. Transformation seems to be the underlying theme lately. Taking the negative (or maybe just flawed or outdated) and turning it into something useful and beautiful. So, here it is. The super cute, yet slightly outdated thrift-store bench turned super mod. Enjoy!
There are a lot of snobs in my beer group. People who, given the choice, would rather stay dry than succumb to having to drink Miller Lite or its watery counterpart. That’s why when the “Crappy Beer Tasting” was suggested a couple years ago, I was surprised that anyone agreed to attend. The premise was that life is too short to drink crappy beer, however, since we have an extra day this year (Leap Day) that we should have one day to drink the worst beer we can find. The rules were as follows:
- It had to be a commercial beer; no homebrews.
- Any seal on the beer could not be broken.
- Must be chilled at time of ‘enjoyment’.
Someone had remarked, “Why is Miller Lite on there? I mean it’s bad but it’s certainly not the worst beer EVER…” Because my friend, that is not just any Miller Lite: that’s a Miller Lite that someone found in the woods during a golf game a couple years ago. It’s been through the elements. Verdict? Completely undetectable difference from regular Miller Lite. Apparently that beer is indestructible. Also, Drake’s Imperial Stout (discontinued) is a pretty good beer in a pretty awesome bottle, right? Well… not when the seal appears to have rotted and it’s been oxidizing since 2007. You may also think that New Holland can do no wrong when it comes to craft beer, but then you wouldn’t have tried the Charkoota Rye which, at best, tastes like wrung out band-aids slow dripped into a vat of liquid smoke.
You don’t have to take my word for it:
When it was all said and done, the clear cut winner was the Bud Light + Clamato Chelada that had been aging in an attic for two years. Just plain nasty.