April 4th, 2011

7 Things to do with lemons

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything under the umbrella of “Domestic Badassery,” so here’s a small list of things you can do with one of my favorite kitchen staples – lemons!

  1. Sautéed zucchini – Man, oh man, the most-loved vegetable side dish in this household.
  2. Sanitize and deodorize your wooden cutting board – I got this idea from Sophie Uliano of Gorgeously Green.  You put some salt on your clean cutting board, then squeeze a little lemon juice from half a lemon on it, then rub the lemon around through the juice and over the entire board.  Let it sit for 5 minutes then rinse in cool water.  Repeat for the other side.
  3. Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic has a lovely-looking recipe for lemon curd.
  4. Bleach alternative – I put the juice of half a lemon + 1/4 cup peroxide + 1/2 cup warm water into the rinse cycle when washing white laundry instead of using chlorine bleach.  It works! It also helps to deodorize so it’s doubly awesome.
  5. Lemon cream scones – You know I love scones.  These are some of the best for Summer!
  6. Facial toner – I mix the juice of half a lemon with the same amount witch hazel, and store it in a bottle in the refrigerator.  Every morning after washing my face, I put some on a cotton ball and wipe it all over my face as a tightening, cleansing toner.  It works really well for acne! Not that I have any of that…  :sad:
  7. Lentil stew with potatoes and spinach – with some hearty bread, it’s one of my favorite meals.

What are your favorite uses for lemons?

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September 4th, 2010

The Cost of Food pt. 2: Spending less

I wanted to post about a new method of quick-breakfast-making that I’ve found, but my method of getting photos off my computer is to use Brian’s card reader and it’s not working.  So I hope you enjoy part 2 of “The Cost of Food” and maybe share your methods of cutting food costs in the comments!

In part one of this “mini series” I discussed how I discovered the very painful way after moving to Massachusetts that food is just dang expensive here.  Or at least much moreso than where I used to live, Ohio.  I started experimenting with different meals and decided that if I could keep each one under $2 per person for vegetarian meals and $3 per person for meat & fish meals, I was doing ok.  I could eat shrimp or steak more cheaply than a much less tasty meal at McDonald’s.  In this part, I’ll show you how I keep those meals at or under budget.

The key to accomplishing pretty much everything, especially saving money, is to be organized.  I use the following methods to take control of my food expenses:

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July 10th, 2010

The Cost of Food pt. 1

I’ve only lived in Massachusetts for almost a year now, and I’ve only recently gotten the hang of the cost of food out here compared to Ohio. Verdict: it’s just more expensive. I was frustrated that our monthly grocery bill was hovering around $300 for two people. That might not seem like much for some couples, but as I’ve mentioned before, I am a miser to the nth degree.  I want to be able to feed my boyfriend and myself delicious, relatively healthy food and not break the bank to do so.  Am I asking too much? Well I thought I might be, since I do everything I can to save money and still spend that much on food.  Until I accepted the fact that food is just that much more expensive out here.

When I was trying to figure out how my grocery bill was so high, I began figuring out how much each meal costs me to make.  I don’t take staples into consideration, because I keep them on hand anyway.  I only count things I bought specifically for each meal.  I divide how much each item costs by the number of servings it will…serve…and then add up all the items and that’s the cost of each meal per serving.  If I bought an ingredient as 2 for 1, I take the cost of it and divide it by 2, then divide that by the number of servings.  This way is more accurate since I essentially paid half price for it.

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June 2nd, 2010

Frugal Cooking: Chicken Stock

Chicken stock ingredients.

Frozen ingredients: chicken bones, vegetable "castoffs," and cold filtered water

Ok, it’s confession time.  I’m sort of a miser.  Although I love to buy gifts for people on the very rare occasion that I can afford to, I can’t stand to spend money on myself.  “Oh crap, I’m almost out of shampoo…how long can I go if I only wash my hair every other day?” or “Hmm, my closet is looking pretty bare…I guess I’ll wear Brian’s shirts more often…”  Yes, I’m really that bad.

As much as I loathe shopping for clothes or anything else I need (did I just hand over my woman card by denying any joy in clothes shopping??), I actually enjoy grocery shopping.  I still insist on spending as little money as possible, and keeping Brian and myself well-fed on a tight budget has become a sort of game to me.  I make a weekly menu & shopping list based on what’s on sale this week and what I already have in my freezer.  And my freezer is usually stocked with ground beef, chicken parts, some sort of fish, vegetables, and stock.  Currently I have duck, vegetable, and chicken stocks in my freezer.

The stock is key, you see.  Making my own stock makes me feel a little smug.  Unlike most recipes that use a whole chicken and a bunch of fresh vegetables, I use only scraps, saving double the money.  Why double? Well I’m saving once by not buying stock in the first place, and saving again by not buying anything to make the stock.  SCORE! I feel like a total domestic badass.  What I do is whenever we eat chicken and have bones leftover, we throw them into a plastic container, and throw that into the back of the freezer.  And we keep adding to it as we have bones until it’s full.  And whenever I use vegetables, I wash them well and peel them, then put the peels in another plastic container which has a VIP spot in the freezer door so I can pull it out quickly and add to it.

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