Originally Published in the Greenwood Daily Journal October 13, 2012
Earlier this year I decided that working full time, being a wife and parent, a freelance writer, food blogger, children’s television host and author of this column wasn’t enough on my plate and I became the host of my own internet radio show. Crazy, I know. I am a strike while the iron is hot, you only live once so live big kind of person. Seize the day, don’t look back and so on.
So every Thursday at 11 pm I go live and so far the show’s popularity has far exceeded my expectations. Not that I had the bar set low or anything, I just wasn’t sure how receptive the fans of my website would be to tuning in and being a part of the show. Amazingly enough I had scores of live listeners each week and lots of callers. It is fun to get a chance to speak with many who follow the goings on in my food world.
Luckily my show, Around the Kitchen Sink, is syndicated on ITunes so all of my foodie friends can download each free podcast at their leisure. Even my kids subscribe to my show, and I know my 13 year old would never admit it, but he thinks it’s pretty cool. I have been pretty lucky to nab some great guests so far like the creators of Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks, Jon Acuff of Dave Ramsey fame, Jill Smokler of Confessions of a Scary Mommy and most recently Food Network host Melissa d’Arabian.
Melissa called in to my show for what was supposed to be a 10 minute interview and it turned into an extended conversation about her new cookbook Ten Dollar Dinners and a chat about motherhood and feeding your family on a dime. I have to admit, I was a little giggly when she first came on the line. Hearing her voice after I had watched so many of her shows was a bit surreal. You would never guess it, but I do not watch cooking programs often. A few here and there but for the most part I have a hard time watching them.. I think it is the dialog with the camera that get to me. I want to watch them cook, not feel like I have to mute them to get through their show.
But Ten Dollar Dinners is one that I actually do watch. I feel like we have a common way of cooking and similar tastes. I have tried many of her recipes and I am sharing one with you today. One of my favorite brownie recipes is one of hers. It is the one where she adds a cup of cooked black beans to the mix to boost the nutritive value of the dessert. Plus, you would never even know they were there. Now that is a good recipe!
What I find to be interesting about this particular cookbook is that they all revolve around a particular line of thinking. That a budget meal can be an enticing one. Delicious, fresh, exciting and made without compromise. Celebrating smart cooking and saving along the way. I think some people think budget cooking is all about meatloaf and pasta dishes and whereas those are 2 great ideas, there is so much out there if you just take a minute to find it.
Being conscious of your shopping choices is somewhat of a lifestyle. Streamlining your grocery shopping all starts in the kitchen. Specifically the pantry. Take a few minutes to asses what you have before you go. This sounds obvious, but how many times have you wondered whether you had this or that ingredient back at home? Every once in a while I have what I like to call a pantry week where I try to completely empty what is on my shelves, refrigerator and freezer before heading out to buy more. You would be amazed at what you can come up with and that extra week of not spending as much at the checkout can add up over the course the of the year.
Melissa mentioned buying in bulk. Not the mass quantities you may be thinking of but in what she called ‘low bulk’. For example-if a recipe calls for a small amount of an ingredient, then make use of the salad bar or olive bar for that. Which would you rather do, spend 3.99 on a specialty can of olives or .42 on the amount you really need from the olive bar? That is just the tip of the iceberg of savings! You can do the same thing with cut up veggies and fruits, spices, and nuts as well.
There are so many ways to save here and there, more than I have the space here to share. The big thing is to spend where is matters. Make use of weekly specials try not to buy out of season, splurge occasionally on a few choice items and add a bit of punch and wow factor to those ordinary, everyday dishes.
There is something to be said for knowing that you brought a healthy and tasty meal to the table and it didn’t break the bank. Cooking for people and bringing them joy by creating something special is what makes me happy. It was nice to get a chance to talk to someone who has been able to make a living out of teaching others that they too cold do what I love to do. Making food you love that is budget friendly and easier than you think.
Listen to our FREE show HERE
My post about the black bean brownies HERE