Tag Archives: food

Crockpots for Change

Word on the street is that crockpots are pretty handy to have around. They cook your food for you while you are away and can keep party food warm for a long time. For as long as I can remember, I have had a crockpot. However, for as long as I can remember I have rarely used my crockpot.

The one I have now is frankly TOO BIG! See? (okay, so that one is actually my roommates but I have a similar sized but different shaped one that is currently dirty)

How can I possibly justify using one that size to prepare a meal just for me? I can’t. I could, but I’d likely get real sick of whatever I would make before it would be gone.

The one I had before then was TOO SMALL. (Not pictured, as I left it at an old roommate’s house accidentally after moving.) At 1 quart, it was best for keeping dips warm. Anything substantial would not fit in it and it was hard to find crockpot recipes that would work for it.

 

 

But then I found one that is JUST RIGHT. This little 2 quart buddy will hopefully promote more usage of the ‘pot and more lazy dinners.

Of course, I just need to get over my irrational fear of leaving something hot plugged in unattended.

That fear is irrational, right guys?!

Any favorite crockpot recipes to share? 

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Roux’n it Up

I’ve been cooking a lot lately. Nothing too fancy, but much much more than I usually do. Tonight I decided I wanted to try something a bit more challenging. I decided to do something that incorporates a roux as homage to the wonderful cooking of my old roommate, Abbie.

I decided upon this recipe–Cream Cheese Potatoes–as it looked relatively simple and I liked the thought of cream cheese.

Simple, yes, but I didn’t have enough hands! This could be fixed by better timing, but it wasn’t a total mess. Three out of four burners were in use: 1) simmering potatoes (that I cut into tiny pieces); 2) making the roux/sauce; and 3) browning the bacon. As the roux/sauce required constant stirring, it made it difficult to tend to the other two burners. But I made do. Fact: I can stir two pots at once!

Due to the lack of hands, there are no pictures of the process.

I made a few small changes. First, I used a small onion and only 3/4 of it. Going forward, I would go with a medium to add more flavor. Second, I kept the bacon in instead of taking it out. However, I only had four slices instead of six to eight. DEFINITELY USE MORE! Lastly, I forgot to add salt & pepper to the roux. Woops. Ok because I don’t care for salt and the bacon/bacon fat adds some, but I LOVE PEPPER. Just needs a slight bit more kick.

After baking it for 30 minutes, it looked like this:

After cooling down, it was time to test my work. It was good. Not great or to die for, but definitely good and worth doing again with some tweaks. In addition to what I mentioned above, I would recommend layering the sauce more so that all the potatoes are touched. Possibly, only four large potatoes could be used. I really think the ones I grabbed were “extra large” instead of large. And, of course, MORE BACON.

Going forward, I’d like to test out some more recipes including roux, but this time ones that don’t involve actively preparing another piece of the equation as I am stirring the roux. I mean, I didn’t roux’n it (get it?!), but it would definitely make the whole experience a lot easier.

Overall: Will cook again.

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Poverty Foods

It was announced yesterday state judicial employees will have to take more furlough days than originally planned.  These two unpaid leave days a month will work out to roughly a 10% paycut.  On the bright side, most of the days are conveniently scheduled around holidays and, most importantly, I still have my job.

Now that my income will be reduced, I need to start thinking about saving money/earning extra money on the side.  I’ve spent today doing guide work on Cha Cha and am looking into babysitting opportunities.  However, I think the main way I will be able to work through this will be to cut down on my food expenses.

I go out to eat waaaay too much.  That can be fixed by limiting eating out to special occasions and by bringing a lunch to work at least four days a week.  I know if I completely deprive myself, I will just crave stuff more and go off the deep end.  I know myself all too well.

The purpose of this entry is a call for suggestions–cheaper food items to buy, cheap and delicious recipes, etc. I need to be a smarter grocery shopper.  I only shop/cook for one person, which (I think) makes it a little more difficult.  I can’t exactly buy in bulk because stuff will go to waste.

Koolaid and Spaghetti-O's

Koolaid and Spaghetti-O's

When I was a kid, we got by on hot dogs, spaghetti-o’s, bologna, Koolaid, and mac and cheese.  On special occasions, we would get VELVEETA shells and cheese.  But now, I think I’ve spoiled myself too much, buying whatever I want, when I want.  That needs to change.

What are your favorite “poverty foods”?

What are some ways you’ve found to make extra income?

I know I’m not living at the poverty level, but maybe if I start eating like I am I won’t have to worry about facing it later on.  Right?  Riiiiight.

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The Ham Dilemna

Ninety percent of the time, I absolutely hate ham.  I hate the idea of it, the look of it, the taste of it, the smell of it.

piggie

It’s not that I have a problem with pork–I actually love pork.  I’d almost say it’s my favorite meat.  No, wait.  I will say it–pork is my favorite meat.  I love bacon.  I love BBQ pork.  I love tenderloins.  I love porkchops.  You get the point.

But hamHAM?!?!?! No thanks.

My favorite pizza topping is pineapple.  And, of course, people always assume I want ham with my pineapple, or “canadian bacon.”  Ick ick ick.  And I despise ham on pizza to the extent that I won’t even pick it off–it’s residue will RUIN the entire pizza, rendering it unsalvageable.

Another favorite food?  HASHBROWN CASSEROLE.  Probably the best food item on earth.  But, again, people tend to RUIN it by putting chunks of diced ham in it.  Ew ew ewww.  And, once more, the ham chunks render it inedible.  Instead of tasting cheesy potato-y goodness, all I can taste is salt and essence of ham.  No thanks.

But, get this–I love ham steak.  Fried in a pan, with a little brown sugar.  So good.  It’s one of those foods I crave maybe two or three times a year and enjoy very much so when I do eat it.  Why do I like ham steak, which is HAM, but hate lunch meat ham or chunks/cubes/diced ham?  I REALLY DO NOT KNOW.

And then, once in a blue moon (or actually much less often than that–more like a leap year), I crave the unthinkable–lunch meat ham sandwich on a hamburger bun.  Today was one of those days.  And it tasted soooo good.  Tomorrow the idea of it will probably make me vomit.  No joke.

I never crave chunks of ham in an otherwise competent food item, though.  NEVER.

Perhaps one of these days I will understand my bizarre love-hate relationship with ham.  But for now, I will let it continue to baffle me.

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