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Like a flat tasty pie:)

Jake and I are back in Lancaster for a spell and helping out with the family business – produce stand at a farmer’s market. This means we get LOTS of delicious fruits and vegetable that we rarely splurged on while we were in Alaska, although our little arugula garden grew splendidly there. While boxing up beautiful arugula at 4am I had the urge to make some kind of pear tart/pizza. So that is just what we did – sort of made it up from a hodge podge of recipes.

It was GOOD. More like a pie that got steam rolled, this hit the spot. We didn’t have bleu cheese or gorgonzola so we substituted sharp white cheddar – but I ended up loving it. Here we go…

To make one small flat tart (light dinner for two): 

– handful of fresh arugula

– thin slices of a ripe bosc pear

– sharp white cheddar – shredded (or gorg or bleu)

– dough! we didn’t have yeast so ours became more like a pie crust – but I recommend this! You will need flour, water, salt, flax seed (optional), baking powder, veg oil.

1. Mix together a cup of flour (we only had white), 1/3 c. water, 1/2 tsp salt, small handful of flax seed, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/8 c. veg. oil. Mix, roll up into a ball and flatten. Place this on a cookie sheet and brush with a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

3. Top dough with cheese, pear, arugula, and then a bit more cheese.

4. Bake for 10-15 min at 350. You can change this depending on your preferences of crispiness.

5. Remove, cool a bit, and drizzle with more olive oil/ balsamic vinegar.

6. EAT!

OPTION: wait to add arugula after it comes out if you want some of that bitterness to stay – otherwise it gets baked out:)







So now that pickle-sized cucumbers are prevalent at the farmer’s market, I thought I’d try my first batch of pickles!  I opted for the refrigerator pickles – recipe found in Saving the Seasons.  Thanks to the Meyers’ women for this delicious recipe!  Also, I halved the recipe, so those are the quantities I’ll list here.  The original recipe is double what I made.

About 1 qt. small pickling cucumbers (8)

15-20 fresh dill sprigs

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, sliced

2 cups of water

1 1/2 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. pickling salt (You can find this in the baking aisle…even my city grocery store had it, so it must be everywhere)

1. Cut each cucumber into four spears.  In large bowl, combine cucumbers, dill, onion and garlic.

2. Bring water, vinegar, and salt to boil, stirring just until salt is dissolved.  Pour over cucumber mixture.

3. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months.

And that’s it!  Super simple and better than what you buy in the grocery store. (in my opinion)

Hi Circle! It’s been awhile! So…I just finished grad school a few weeks ago (woot), which meant ending yet another clinical placement, which meant coming up with yet another ‘thoughtful-yet-subtle-yet-creative-yet-cheap’ staff thank-you gift to bring in on my last day at said clinical site. I’m actually in the process of accepting a job at this office, so the stakes were a little higher this time – cookies or muffins just wouldn’t cut it. Solution: TRUFFLES! Problem: Truffles = exotic and scary and time-consuming (right?). False. Once again Google pulls through. These are the easiest thing ever…divine…and they look so elegant and taste so much like ‘real’ truffles.

I put them in cute little boxes for people at the office to take. Apparently they were a huge hit, and now I fear that I’ve raised the bar a little too high for myself….gulp. Little do they know…this is about as fancy as it gets for me.

Easy Decadent Truffles (

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 cups chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s Special Dark), melted

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla until no streaks remain. Refrigerate for about 30 min-1hr. (until it’s still pliable but no longer mushy and sticky). Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in whatever you please – like nuts or other fun things (I used chocolate sprinkles, coconut, and cocoa powder).

If I was really feeling saucy, I would have flavored them with different liqueurs like raspberry, orange, etc. Maybe someday when I feel rich.

Little darlings.

Traditionally, pinto beans are used but all I had were black beans.

4-5 cups cooked black or pinto beans (drained, if you used canned ones)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (next time I won’t use this)
1/4 cup lard or oil
1 t salt, if you cook your own beans

Heat the lard over medium heat in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly until softened. Add the beans, a few spoonfuls at a time, and mash them with a fork or potato masher as they fry. Continue mashing and adding beans until all the beans are incorporated. Stir in the salt and enough water to make the consistancy of mashed potatoes, maybe 1/3 cup? Remove from heat and serve. Supposedly these freeze well. Haven’t tried it yet but I will.

Yield: about 4 cups

Jada and I can easily eat 5 of these fresh off the skillet, smeared with a bit of butter.

2 cups* whole wheat bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 T ground flax seed
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
3/4 cup milk
2 t oil

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a pot, heat the milk and oil just til warm. Combine the two and mix until it comes together. Knead it for a minute or two on the counter top to make a nice, smooth ball. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 15 minutes. After resting, divide it into 8 balls and flatten them a little. Let these rest under the damp towel again, another 10 or 15 minutes. This lets the gluten calm down and will make it easier to roll them out.

Roll the dough balls out until they are about 8 inches across. You don’t want these things paper thin…more like 1/8 inch.

When they are all rolled out, heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Don’t use a non-stick pan here or you’ll ruin it. When the pan is very hot, throw on a tortilla. No need to grease the pan. Fry for about 20 to 30 seconds and then flip over. Fry another 20 seconds or so, or until it is flecked with golden brown spots. Remove from the pan and place between layers of a damp towel. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and keep stacking them on top of each other. The steam being caught between the towel and the tortillas helps to keep them moist and pliable.

Consume immediately or let cool completely (in that towel) and then store in a plastic bag in the fridge. To reheat them, place in a damp towel again and microwave for a bit or put in a hot oven for a few minutes. I’ve never had these things spoil on me but the longer you keep them, the drier they get. If you are stuck with a bunch of dry tortillas, just make a taco casserole or tortilla chips!

*Make sure this is a pretty accurate measurement. If you have too much flour, the dough will be dry and it will result in dry tortillas.

Yield: 8 8-inch tortillas

Has anyone else ever done this with chickpeas? I’ve always liked them well enough, but thought they were kind of blah and boring.

Then I went to Harrisonburg to celebrate this guy’s first birthday, which coincides with my own (we planned it that way, he and I):

…and his wonderful mama made roasted chickpeas as an appetizer for his first birthday party. (She also made me this birthday cake – but that’s neither here nor there).

Anyway, my previously lukewarm relationship with chickpeas was totally revitalized. They were crispy, crunchy, flavorful, and delicious.

Roasted Chickpeas

2 (12-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

olive oil (a couple tablespoons)

various seasonings of your choice: salt, garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder, etc.

Combine all of these. Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes. Watch them towards the end so they don’t burn! Snack on them.

As another side note – for some more awesome food pictures, check out some of Rachel’s (Cole’s mom and my dear friend) other creations at Brown Butter Bakery.

Sorry it’s a little blurry – we also made this on our honeymoon.  It’s really easy and nice and tart.

1 pound red potatoes

1/4 c. sour cream

2 T fresh lemon juice

4 stalks of celery

2 T chopped fresh chives

1. Bring potatoes to a boil in pot with water and add 2 teaspoons of salt.  Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.  Drain, run under cold water to cool, and cut into chunks.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Add the potatoes, celery, and chives and toss to combine.


Hi everyone! I am so honored to be invited to this blog of classy, creative cooks! I’ve been lurking here for a long time and am constantly getting new ideas and inspiration from you! You guys rock.

Here’s something seasonal…I love it with sweet potatoes, but I also frequently use butternut squash and/or pumpkin, or a mix of all three. It’s also incredibly forgiving as far as proportions – I never really measure much and just tweak it as I go. Mmm fall.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup (serves 6-8)

1/4 stick butter (2 Tbsp)
1 cup chopped onion
2 small celery stalks, chopped (I don’t use this – the huz is very un-picky but he loathes celery)
1 medium leek, sliced (I don’t use this either, but I probably should. I do love leeks.)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1.5 pounds (5 cups) sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks (or butternut squash or pumpkin)
4 cups chicken/vegetable stock/broth
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1.5 cups half & half (but if cholesterol’s not your thing, it’s just as good with part half&half and part milk, or all milk).
2 Tbsp maple syrup

1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion; saute 5 minutes. Add celery stalks and leek, saute 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes.

2. Add sweet potatoes (or squash or pumpkin), chicken stock, cinnamon stick, nutmeg; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes).

3. Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, then return to pot. (Or get a nice lil’ immersion blender and then it’s soooo much easier! I just got one this year and I swear it has changed my life).

4. Add half&half and maple syrup and stir over medium-low heat to heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy it in all of its deliciousness!

Recipe from Mom Baer.

6 large potatoes
2 T butter, melted (more is even better)
parsley flakes

Scrub the potatoes and cook them in a large pot of water until tender (leave them whole). When soft, drain and plunge into cold water until you can handle them. Peel them (the peels kind of slide off). Chill completely in the fridge.

When cold, grate one potato into the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Spread it out and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat these layers with the remaining potatoes. Drizzle with the butter, sprinkle with parsley, and bake at 350 until slightly crispy around the edges, maybe 30 or 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

I love this recipe because you can cook the potatoes ahead of time and then quickly assemble it before baking. Or, you can even assemble it and refrigerate until you need it.

5 cups finely chopped cabbage
1 red pepper, diced small
1 small carrot, shredded
1/2 cup diced celery
2 T minced onion
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 t celery seed
1/4 t dry mustard

In a large bowl, stir together the veggies and salt. Let sit while you cook the remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan. Boil them for 1 minute and then let cool to room temperature before mixing with the veggies. Refrigerate for at least a few hours, a whole day is best, before serving.

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