Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beautifully Animated GIFs

This one is my favorite:

There are many more food and fashion animated photographs here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Preserving tomatoes with almost no work

I'm impressed. This blogger grows 2000 pounds of tomatoes a year. There's no way I could pull that off in my tiny, shady yard, but, I do buy some at the farmer's market when they are in season. I usually slow roast and freeze the ones I'm putting away. For those who wish to can but are overwhelmed by the usual work, check out this blog post: How to Preserve 100+ Pounds of Tomatoes with Almost No Work.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Like Coffee? Like Contests?

Just a short entry to let you know that jenzshoppin over at My Mom is a WAHM is giving away a $10 Starbucks giftcard. Head over to this post to enter.

Because I'm also cheap: the guide to group buying sites

I love eating in new restaurants. Unfortunately, I'd go broke if I ate out as much as I wanted. Luckily, I have found a nice workaround that has allowed me to double, if not triple, my restaurant budget.

By now, pretty much everyone has heard of group buying sites such as LivingSocial or Groupon. The concept behind the sites is this: you pay a small amount, such as $20, to get a larger amount, say $40 or so, in credit with a local merchant. These blow deals out of the water. There's no minimum purchase to get the credit, and usually few or no restrictions on how to use your certificate.

So, none of this is news, so why I am telling you? Because I want to share a couple of my strategies for getting even more out of my discount:

  1. Buy your certificate through a site like SwagBucks. Swagbucks gives back an amount of points that turns out to be about $2 back. Sadly, they no longer offer Groupon deals there, but, you can still buy EverMore and HomeRun.
  2. Buy your certificate through eBay. They pay out 5% in eBay bucks. EBay bucks, of course, can only be used on eBay. However, I shop there enough that I always wind up using my bucks.
  3. Buy through eBates. They usually offer 3% back, but sometimes double to 6%.
  4. Make sure you buy using a rewards card. My rewards card of choice is my PayPal debit card, where I get 1.5% cash back each month.
  5. Think you won't use a deal before it expires? Resell it on Lifesta. On popular deals, you can even make a profit.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon

As I've mentioned before, I think that having a pantry full of high quality ingredients is key for lazy foodiness. I can throw together a pretty respectable pasta with aged parmesan, some preserved lemon and some parsley snipped from the plant by my door. It's even more satisfying when these ingredients are homemade.

I found a great recipe for making your own homemade vegetable bouillon a few months ago on the fantastic cooking blog In Jennie's Kitchen. This has become a regular key player in dishes that need a little oomph. It has a much nicer flavor than bouillon cubes or canned broth, and it's cheaper, too. This recipe may seem high in salt, but, you only use it a teaspoonful or so at a time. Plus, the high amount of salt is needed to cure the vegetables and prevent them from spoiling. You should cure the bouillon for a couple of days to let it develop its peak flavor. However, I found that it's pretty good right after you make it, too. Feel free to make some substitutions for preferred vegetables, or to use up what you have on hand. For instance, Jennie's recipe calls for leeks. I omitted them and upped the onion and garlic, since those were what I had on hand.

Homemade Veggie Bouillon
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled & quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
  • 3/4 cups cremini or white mushrooms cleaned and quartered
  • generous handful of fresh parsley, including stems
  • 3 1/2 ounces kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Store in a clean container in the refrigerator. To use, mix one teaspoon bouillon with one cup boiling water.