Friday, June 25, 2010

Perfectly Ripe Avocado-No More Waste!

You may be an expert at being able to tell just by the feel when an avocado is perfectly ripe. I am not. I wasted so many avocados by cutting them open too late or too early that I almost quit buying them altogether. Fortunatley it occurred to me to consult an expert about it. I finally asked one of my dear friends from Mexico how she knew when an avocado was truly ready to use. Her secret has worked for me every time. Here it is:

Buy the avocado when it is green. (I call it "crayon green.") Wrap the avocado in a towel or paper towel and set it in a dark place that will be room temperature. I put them on the counter under the cabinet. Leave the avocado there for 2 full days. At the end of 2 days or on the 3rd day...GUACAMOLE! You have a perfectly ready to cut and serve avocado.

I know there are other methods that work, but this has been my favorite. I've personally found it to be the least subjective and most effective.

***Baby Food Tip: Mash one of these up for a SUPER quick, SUPER easy, SUPER nutricious baby meal!***

Monday, June 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

My hubby's in Haiti and I'm at home with my mom, but I'm still feeling motivated to cook! (That's a miracle!)So I'm taking over the kitchen. I'll be sticking with easy stuff, only using one new recipe. Here's the plan:

Monday- Homemade Pizza (mom's request)

Tuesday- Vietnam Fried Rice (More With Less, pg. 130)

Wednesday- Easy Curry (More With Less, pg. 136)

Thursday- Chicken Pilau II (More With Less, pg. 184)

Friday- Out to eat for belated Father's Day dinner.

Saturday- Traveling to meet my love at the airport! :)

Next week I'll start planning all meals, including babyfood. I'm starting to see how helpful that would be. I've been just counting on leftovers, crockpot oatmeal, homemade bread, and granola to just make everything else happen. That is usually the case, but I think it will go more smoothly planned out ahead of time!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Review and GIVEAWAY- More with Less!*CLOSED*

I had already started down the road of wanting to live frugally and simply, and had just begun to scratch the surface of cutting out some processed foods. It had bothered me that most recipes I used involved some premade product or another. What if we moved to another country and there was no Pillsbury? What would I do then? I think that deep inside, I did not enjoy cooking was because I didn't feel good about what I was cooking. I wanted to learn to really cook but didn't know where to begin.

Enter More with Less, A World Community Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. This cookbook has revolutionized my cooking and grocery shopping in a matter of weeks! What makes this cookbook so unique?

First released in 1976 and again in 2000 as an anniversary edition, this book is a collection of Mennonite recipes from all over the world answering to a call to respond to world food shortages by using the earth's limited resources more responsibly. The premise is that North Americans typically overeat protein (especially meat), sugar and processed foods. It recommends consuming smaller quantities of meat, and that "combinations of grains and dairy products or grains and legumes form complete protein." In the introduction Longacre also discusses our responsibility and the role of faith in responding to world need as well as tips on how to build a simpler diet.

What I love about this cookbook:

1. All the recipes are simple, but from scratch. In other words, it makes cooking from scratch simple!

2. All the recipes are tested, and it shows! The recipes we've tried so far have turned out every time (except for a couple of errors on the part of the cook ;).

3. It proves that simple and inexpensive does not have to equal tasteless or unhealthy. All the recipes I've tried so far have come out very tasty!

4. It is multicultural, yet still simple and almost all of the recipes involve easy to find ingredients and things we typically already have around.

5. Our spending on groceries has gone down significantly, and the shopping list has become much simpler.

6. Many of the recipes call for 1 or 2 cups of meat. We have started freezing our meat in one cup portions. This has really stretched our meat out and helped us have what we need on hand.

7. Since everything is from scratch, I'm learning the basics of cooking and already starting to experiment on my own.

What I don't like about the cookbook:

1. The only thing that I can think of is that some recipes call for sausage or just plain pork, which we do not eat much of. However, in all of those cases that I've seen so far, it can be substituted with ground beef or chicken and in many cases it can be completely omitted.

All in all, if you want to simplify your grocery list, cut down on your grocery spending, eat less processed foods and learn to cook just about anything from scratch, THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU!

This cookbook correlates with the inspiration of this new blog as it assists in frugal, healthy, and simple living. I'm giving away one copy a way as a "kick off" for The Cheap and Choosy!


One Mandatory Entry: Simply leave a comment telling me what interests you about this cookbook.

Leave your email in the comment if it is not clearly posted on your blogger profile if you have one. You do not have to be a blogger to enter this giveaway! You just have to have a valid email address!

For Additional Entries:

1. Follow me on Google Friend Connect (right hand sidebar) and leave me a comment letting me know that you did.

2. Follow me on Twitter and leave me a comment to let me know that you did.

3. Tweet about this giveaway, including a link to this post, and leave me a comment letting me know you did. Please include the permalink of your tweet in the comment! (If you're not sure how to get the link, check out My New Life As a Mom's tutorial here.)

***You may tweet about this giveaway as many times as you want for the duration of this giveaway for an extra entry each time. Just leave a comment with the link each time!***

4. Subscribe to The Cheap and Choosy via email (right hand sidebar) and leave me a comment letting me know you did.

4. Email a friend who you think my be interested about this giveaway and CC it to me at, and leave a comment letting me know you did. (This will earn 3 entries! Just be sure to leave me separate 3 comments letting me know you did it.)

5. Blog about this giveaway and leave me a comment with the link to your post.
(This will earn 5 entries. Just be sure to leave 5 comments letting me know you did it!)

U.S. and Canada only. This giveaway is open until Monday July, 12 at 11:59pm EDT. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. I will email the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. I will post the winner when the selection has been made and confirmed by the recipient.

I am conducting this review and giveaway because I have found this book personally enriching and want to share it. The copy I reviewed and the copy for giveaway are purchased by myself personally. No compensation is being received by me or any other person as a result of this review and giveaway.