Friday, May 21, 2010


So yeah, another failed project. Probably won't update this blog anymore.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Beef & Pepper Stir Fry

This is something easy to throw together but not necessarily quick. It often takes me about an hour from start to finish if I'm not using frozen vegetables (otherwise it'll take about 45 minutes). This recipe can be changed to anything you want, really. You can use broccoli, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, asparagus, green beans, anything.

Lets start with our cast of characters.

Today we need: about 1 lb. of beef. It really doesn't matter what cut you use, flank steaks and bottom round steaks seem to work the best though. Vegetables of your choice; today we are using an orange and red bell pepper, half a yellow onion and half a bag of frozen cauliflower. White long grain rice, oil, ground ginger, garlic powder, and soy sauce.

Corn starch too, it was late to the meeting and wasn't able to get into the group shot. Party pooper.

Start the rice first. Throw some butter in a pot and melt it.

Put your rice in and toss it around.

Saute it in the butter until it is nice and coated with butter and slightly golden. Add the correct amount of water (remember: 1c. rice to 2c. water!) and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 14 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

Slice your beef into thin strips, this works best if the meat is slightly frozen because it won't slip between your fingers and try to chop your fingers off in revenge.

Yes, I know my meat looks funny. It was a little freezer burnt. But it was fine! Trust me! I'm still alive aren't I?

Prepare the beef strips' coating. A little corn starch, a little water, a little bit of salt (optional) and some garlic powder.

Toss the beef strips in the coating and let sit while do other things.

Slice your peppers into strips and chop the onions into chunky bits.

Don't remind me that my camera sucks.

Now that all that is taken care of, dig out your electric wok that your father would be embarrassed to know that you owned.

It's not my fault, I have an electric range. Have you ever tried to use a wok on an electric range? YOU CAN'T.

Anyways, heat up your wok to about 375 and put somewhere around a tablespoon of oil in it. Throw in your nicely coated meat and stir fry it until your desired done-ness. Keep moving it around for even cooking or let it sit for a moment to get some crispy spots.

Set aside.

If your wok got a little bit dry add a little more oil to it.

Throw in your veggies. Stir them until they're done. If you are using frozen vegetables, add a little water and cover them for about three to five minutes to steam cook them. Nobody likes icy veggies.

While the veggies are cooking, prepare your sauce. Soy sauce, water, ginger, corn starch, and garlic powder. Super easy to remember.

When the vegetables are how you want them, return the beef to the wok.

Start pouring in the sauce you made.

Stir to coat.

Toss it around for a while until everything is covered with that delicious, sweet sauce. It'll thicken as the water boils out and when it cools.

If you are just now checking up on your rice which was done about 45 minutes ago, it should be sticky--perfect for stir-fry. If you checked on it earlier and left the lid off it'll be good too. Notice how soft and buttery it is?

Spoon a pile of rice onto your plate and top it with that delicious combination of meat, soy sauce, and peppers. I would recommend using a wide variety of vegetables so you get a combination of sweet, crisp, and savory. Try not to stick to one spectrum of the vegetable world.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DIY Laundry Soap

Yeah, I know, this isn't food. But I felt it was relavent since part of this blog is dedicated to saving money.

I originally got this 'recipe' from The Family Homestead. I've been using it for almost four months and I have to say I'm impressed with how clean my clothes come out.

First, we have our cast of characters.

You will need:
A large-ish size pot.
1/2 c. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.
1/2 c. Borax
1 bar soap.
A 2 gallon bucket.
Lots of water!

It doesn’t matter what kind of soap you use, depends on what scent you want. I had ivory on hand, so I’m using it.

Grate up your bar of soap. Don’t worry about your cheese grater, it will be fine <3

In the pot, put 6 cups of water and bring it to a boil, add the soap. Stir until melted.

Once melted, add the washing soda and borax, stir until well mixed.

CAUTION! Don’t leave this unattended! It can boil over very easily if you don’t keep stirring.

Once it’s all nice and blended, go to your bucket. Put 4 cups of hot water in it. Add your soap mixture and mix well.

Now, add 1 gallon and 6 cups of water to the bucket. You should have 2
gallons now. Mix well.

Put the lid on your bucket and let it sit for 24 hours before using.

When you open it back up the next day, it should have a slimy, chunky, rather sudsy look to it. Stir it well before using and make sure to get the stuff off the bottom.

For your average load, use 1/4th cup.

Once you’ve done your first load you’ll find out whether you need to add more or less soap or any of the other ingrediants.
I find that with this soap my clothes smell and feel cleaner and don’t have a ‘perfumed’ feel that I get from commercial soaps.

Well, there you have it! Hopefully I’ve inspired you all to make your own laundry soap and save a ridiculous amount of money. There are many other uses for Borax, such as using it as dish washing detergent, or keeping bugs away. (:

you can find more information and the calculations on how much this soap costs you per load at:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My version of Goulash

I hesitated to call this goulash, I've never liked goulash. My grandfather made it a lot when I was little and never really figured out what was so great about it; it tasted and looked like hamburger & tomato sauce mixed in with macaroni & cheese. But my fiancee tells me this is resembles his grandmother's version of goulash and since I couldn't think of anything else to call it, it's goulash.

This meal is relatively inexpensive and easy to throw together with frozen vegetables, left over sausages, left over spaghetti sauce, or whatever. The total price of this could be dropped to less than three dollars depending on what left-overs you use.
Here's the breakdown:

Pasta: $0.80

Hamburger: $1.10*
Peppers: $2.00*
Portobello Mushrooms $0.99*
Onion: $0.35
Crushed tomatoes: $0.99
Carrots: $0.50
Total: $6.73

* = sale.

Had the peppers, mushrooms and hamburger been normal price this meal might've cost around ten dollars. This recipe serves three to four people depending on serving size, and considering that to feed four people at McDonalds could cost you almost thirty dollars, I think this is a good, healthy alternative.

Lets get started then.

Begin with boiling about 2 1/2 cups of pasta in salted water. Have this going while preparing the rest of the meal.

In a large skillet, brown 1lb of hamburger until done. Drain and set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove and melt about 2tbsp of butter until it starts to turn brown.

Throw in your mushrooms. I am using about two cups of coarsely chopped Portobellos. Make sure to prepare more than you think you need because these will shrink in size as you cook. Stir them around in the butter until fragrant and you begin wondering where your fiancee hid the fish.

Now add the peppers. For this I used one orange pepper, one red pepper, four small carrots and one medium onion, all chopped in various sizes. I like a that home-made feel so I never chop anything the same size. I've got little pieces in there and big pieces. It makes it interesting.

Saute them for about two minutes, until they begin to smell good enough to just eat it straight out of the pan. Be careful not to overcook them, you want the peppers to still have snap when you're done.

Okay, now put the hamburger in as well as one can of crushed, diced tomatoes and about 1/4 cup of ketchup. I'm sure if you were making a little bit more you could use a small can of tomato paste or sauce but I'm not making that much, see?

Note: If you are using canned mushrooms, add them now.

Carefully fold it together and try not to get any on counter if your largest skillet just happens to not be big enough. I know, I could've used a pot but then I would have even worse photos for you. :)

Let it cook until the hamburger is hot again and the sauce is bubbling. Season how you want, I used garlic powder, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, coarse ground pepper, kosher salt, and some dried chives.

Serve over warm pasta and enjoy (:

This recipe is pretty versitle, there are tons of ways you could prepare this and never eat the same thing twice, You could probably go in a completely other direction with this and use shrimp and a white sauce and come up with something similar to shrimp scampi. Or you could use chicken with broccoli and green peppers, it's up to you really.

Even if I try to re-do this recipe it will never be the same thing, it'll always vary just a little bit.

I hope you enjoyed this (: Now get out there and cook!

My version of Goulash:

  • 2 cups Penne Rigati.
  • 1lb. Ground hamburger 80/20
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped.
  • 1 Orange Bell Bepper, chopped.
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped.
  • 4 Small Carrots, diced.
  • 2-3 Portobello Mushroom caps, chopped.
  • 1 Can Crushed Diced Tomatoes.
  • 1/4 cup Tomato Ketchup.
  • Garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Dried Oregano, Coarse Ground Pepper, Kosher salt, Dried Chives.
Serves 3 to 4.

Prepare pasta as instructed on box.

Brown hamburger, drain and set aside.

Saute mushrooms with butter until fragrent, add peppers, onion & carrots and toss for one minute. Return hamburger to pan. Add crushed tomatoes and ketchup. Mix together. Season to taste.

Serve over pasta.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Simple Boule

For those who don't understand simple french or baker's terms, it's a simple bread ball ;) SO YEAH, I learned how to make bread last night using this method: Five Minutes a Day to Fresh-Baked Bread.

I screwed up a little:

I put the dough in the fridge after preparing it forgetting it had to rise at room temperature, I saved it after about five minutes.

I didn't put enough corn starch on my makeshift 'Pizza Peel' so the dough stuck like crazy to it while it rested for 40min, I had to rework it and I did not allow it to rest again.

Because of this, the dough ended up landing in the pan weird in the oven and I had to work that even more to get it to set right.

The crust came out extremely chewy, but it is still edible and the bread itself is very soft and great with butter.

Since I have three more loaves worth of dough in the fridge (the dough will last up to two weeks in the fridge) I will eventually make more, probably as soon as this loaf is gone. Hopefully by the end of this batch I will have gotten a hang of the technique and I'll be getting better. I love this bread, I have always loved artisan bread. Store bought bread is too soft, has no texture, has no flavor, and is expensive! Not only is this method cheaper but the end result is so much more satisfying than that store bought crap.

Lets see how long I can keep this up. I may just keep half a loaf of the old crap in the freezer for when we're in-between loaves and have no time to bake :B