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Posts Tagged ‘thrift’

After reading this article about a woman named Erin who has a blog I was surprised to see how well she lived on just $800 a year for her and her family. I have to say it really slapped my crazed spending into perspective. I mean, I’m a pretty thrifty person over all, but my food/home buying is careless. It’s not that it’s horrible, I just know I could be saving a ton of money on the things I’m buying with a little careful planning. Not even a lot of careful planning, but just a LITTLE.

Thankful, Jason feels the same way. And in fact together we decided to try our own experiment starting May 1st for 6 months. No it’s not as courageous as $800 a year, but in our own way, pretty revolutionary. We will be cutting our budget in half to $100 a month for all our groceries/cleaning/dining/bath/beauty expenses. So $600 total for 6 months. And if all goes well, we will cut it again to $75 a month for the next six month after that.

April is our month for adjusting.

We decided that it’s going to take at least a few weeks to adjust to this way of eating/spending.
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I LOVE popcorn. I have since I was a kid. It was always a special treat when we made it on the stove with lots of melted butter and salt and YUM! And it was always accompanied by a movie and paper cones made from construction paper and lots of friends (each kiddo was given their own cone of pop corn to eat out of while watching the movie). I think our parents would all rotate who had all the kids for a movie night so it was good for them and for us. So all growing up we had it, and then even when I was a teenager – with the microwave and microwave popcorn becoming popular – it was always a tasty treat. When I moved away to collage I didn’t have a microwave, just a toaster oven. I went back to making popcorn on the stove and I loved it all the more! Being in the middle of the corn belt there are a lot of local farms that sell pop corn and believe it or not, they all taste different and have different textures!

I was shocked when I learned a lot of my friends and classmates didn’t know how to make popcorn on the stove! Travesty!

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So here is how you make popcorn for 1 to 2 people.

Popcorn :: The Yummiest!

Ingredients
1/4 cup pop corn kernels
1 T. oil (olive oil or canola works well)

NOTE: Popcorn kernels can be purchased by the bag at any grocery store, but in bulk is pretty cheap at the natural food store. And like with beans there is more of a turn around there, so you will know they are fresh.

Directions
Place kernels and oil in a small sauce pan.
Swirl around so all the kernels are coated with the oil.

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Cover with a tightly fitted lid and turn on the burner to medium high heat.

Let it sit until you hear sizzling or the first kernel pop. From then on give the pan a good horizontal shake
every few seconds (especially when the popping really gets going).

Once the popping slows down (or there is more than 20 seconds between pops) place popcorn into a bowl and place pan lid on the top – to keep a late popper from exploding out of the bowl and taking a dozen pieces of popcorn with it). And when pouring it into the bowl, keep the lid semi over the pan. The reason you remove the popcorn right away is that the bottom kernels will actually burn… and burnt popcorn stinks like no other!

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Right after I took this picture one kernel actually popped – trust me, if that lid wasn’t on there it would be a mess, haha.

Now, for toppings. A big part of how healthy (or unhealthy) popcorn is, is determined by what you put on it. Using a light oil to pop it in and eating a small portion helps.

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Use sea salt instead of table salt for some good sodium.

Add some kick by tossing in some cracked pepper.

If you like cheesy popcorn a good alternative is using nutritional yeast (like a 1/2 T. is good). Use the flaked instead of the powdered (which I tend to literally inhale and then I cough like mad for 5 minutes).

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Nutritional Yeast is pretty great stuff. It has 8g of protein per 2T, is low in sodium, and has lots of other random nutrients that vegans and vegetarians need but may not get otherwise. It makes a great crust on baked tofu too. I’ve heard people like it on toast and other things like that. So far, a topping for popcorn is my favorite use for it.

Any kind of herb is yummy on there – particularly thyme in my case – but everyone is different.

What do you like to put on your popcorn?

Until next time, have a happy thrift kitchen!
Kristin

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 omelette 1.1 When I was a kid I watched the Frugal Gourmet all the time and the only thing I really remember from it was his show on making omelettes. Which is great because I love them, but a little funny because it’s the only thing I remember. Anyway, I’m digressing.

So the Frugal Gourmet had a great point about omelettes – use water instead of milk. He said that the milk actually causes you to have watery eggs – the dairy content of the milk cooks with the egg and then the water separates out after the fact. And interestingly enough, if you use water instead of milk and wisk it together, no water separates out.

And the neat thing is, this technique makes a tastier omelette and it’s less expensive than using milk in your omelette.
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Soaked and Rinsed Beans

Anytime I decide to make something myself I’m faced with issues of cost of materials, energy, and time. How much am I really saving when I make something myself? Well, if done right, a whole lot actually!

I love beans. There are to me a magical food filled with protein and fiber. Low in fat and sugar they make a great protein source in many types of meals. You can mix them into salads, stir fries, casseroles, stews, and of course chili!
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