Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I prefer the term ‘frugal’ over ‘cheap’

My dinnertime topics often include a bit of a boast about how inexpensively I made such wonderful fare. But I’ve never written a whole cookbook about it.
Erin Chase dishes up kid-pleasing fare in “The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook” with 200 tempting recipes. They’re not all pasta, rice and lentils, but she does a great job with those basics, as well.
Barbecue lentils, blueberry wild rice and green pepper soup may be adventurous in your book, but cranberry pork chops, sloppy chicken joes and beef tacos sound like something the kids would try. I love her ideas and will probably make her whole wheat pizza dough often. I’ll pass on making my own hot dog buns, but hey, it’s there for you.
Chase lived abroad, where there was only one toothpaste brand to choose from. Now back in America, she found her food budget shrinking as she began to buy more and more from her vast selections. Now couponing and healthy choices for her family has her back on track, and she wants to help readers budget their money and calories as well.
Here’s a Lenten idea: Make a shrimp marinade for about 40 cents with two crushed garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of butter and salt and pepper.
She calculates her pizza sauce can be made for 84 cents:
Homemade Pizza Sauce
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a small saucepan or skillet, whisk the tomato sauce with the spices and olive oil. Simmer for 2 to 8 minutes. Makes 2 cups.

Ginger Salmon Marinade (estimated cost, 35 cents)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper
In a small bottle or plastic container, shake the soy sauce, ground ginger, oil and salt and pepper. Pour over four salmon fillets. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before grilling.

Link to your drink
We’re handed Sharpies with cups and my friend’s house, so no one loses their drinks. Drinkmarx customizable beverage markers take it up a notch with plastic collars you can snap on to cups, bottles and cans. Stickers spell out my name on a pink link and stickers with chocolate cake, the Eiffel Tower and a glass of wine symbolize things Darragh might like. I’m thinking creating your “marx” is part of the party fun. Hey wait, that Sharpie could come in handy by creating your own artistic designs on this cool tool. It’s fun, and prevents the spread of germs.

Beemster sounds like a European car, but it’s an awesome Dutch cheese, which could help the good people of Nederland celebrate the Nederland Heritage Festival. I find the original so compelling it’s like a cheese candy. I’ve now enjoyed BeemsterLite Matured, which uses only grade-A milk from cows that have grazed freely on lush, pesiticide-free grasses of the Dutch Beemster Polder in North Holland.
People, the food pyramid says we’re supposed to have dairy daily, so we ought to enjoy it as much as we can. A serving of this is like a dessert that you’ll look forward to all day.

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