Recessionista: Cooking on a Budget

The Wall Street Journal has had not one but two articles on budget grocery shopping in the past two days, which is an obvious indicator of what Americans have on the brain. On an even more interesting note, the ONLY stock that didn't fall yesterday was Campbell's Soup. It rose. Without further ado, some tips for eating on the cheap:

-Stop buying those pre-cut fruits and vegetables! In fact, stop buying anything that is pre-prepared for you. Say goodbye to that shredded cheese and grate your own.

-Rethink some old standbys that you may have left in your childhood, like frozen veggies and grilled cheese and tomato soup dinners.

-Explore ethnic recipes. They are often loaded with veggies, starches, and beans, which leads to our next tip...

-Be sparing with the meat...

-But don't forget eggs. They are filling and can be paired with a variety of vegetables in the form of omelets, frittatas, etc. I made a spinach and mushroom frittata last week that was good for almost a week's worth of dinners.

-Plan out your meals. There is no substitute for eliminating impulse purchases, buying in bulk, and making enough for leftovers the next day. At the same time, don't buy more than you can use only to have it go to waste in the refrigerator.

That's all I have for now. Any other ideas?

Recessionista: Target

In response to our Recessionista Post, we received some great emails!

One of them sang the praises of Target clothing.
I love Target for my basics and accessories. The quality of their clothes is pretty good and their prices are great. Plus, every month they bring in a new designer... Last week I got a tank and a sweater that I can wear to work, a shirt that I would wear when going out, and a pair of earrings all for under $50.

Lately, I couldn’t agree more, especially for items that you will only wear a few times or for trendy ac
cessory pieces.
I had been coveting this purple J. Crew sweater dress for Fall, but not loving its price tag.
On a recent Target trip I spotted this similar dress priced at $29.99. It was immediately in my cart.
For $100 less than the J.Crew number, it is totally perfect for a couple of wears in the coming months.

Anyone else have any great Target buys?

Motivation for the Day

Clean Your House in 19 Minutes

(If only I could fold and hang clothing in four minutes...)

The Plan: Recessionista

When I first heard the term "recessionista" I have to say I was a little bit offended. A lot of people in the United States are legitimately worried about the economy and their own personal financial stability, so it seemed a make up a trendy term about saving money. However, it seems like we are going to be hearing it more and more. In the spirit of journalistic cooperation (okay, maybe I am being a bit grandiose here), Farrell and I are planning a post about ways to save money in the current economy. If you have any ideas for ways to remain fashionable, keep a nice house, and eat fabulously on a tight budget, we'd love to hear them. Anything from where to shop to tips for cutting corners would be appreciated. You can reach us at We'll be publishing reader tips as well as our own next week.

Reader Request: Sheets

A reader recently sent in a request that I have also often wondered about….

I have a slightly strange pet peeve...wrinkled sheets. They really bother me, but for some reason no matter what I do, when I take my sheets out of the dryer, they are always wrinkled. Is there anyway to stop the sheets from wrinkling other then ironing them before I make the bed?


Reader Response

In response to my recent post on cupcake cakes/stands, a reader sent in the following examples. Unfortunately, I do not know the original source so if there are any problems or if anyone knows the sources, please let me know. - LG

Good Time or Disaster?

Growing up in Richmond, I drove by Sunny's Goodtime Paints on a daily basis. However, I never went in the store and didn't think much about the products until recently when they were mentioned in the Katie Ukrop feature in Domino Magazine. It piqued my interest and I took a close look at the website- wow! I was amazed by some of the products featured. I am, however, skeptical of my ability to pull off even the easiest of the stencil projects. Has anyone tried Sunny's? If so, how did it go?

In or Out?

Cupcake wedding, out, or a new classic?

PS- These are from the famous Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan.


Having recently moved from a fully carpeted apartment to a SFH that is 95% lovely hardwood floors, we are in desperate need of rugs for a majority of our home.

Does anyone have suggestions on where to purchase affordable, but good quality rugs for living rooms, dining rooms, etc?

Summer Harvest Salads

I took this salad, from the September 2008 issue of Southern Living, to a Labor Day BBQ today. It was a huge hit, and SO easy. I threw in a few blueberries that I had in the fridge to add to the fruit, and it was great.

Definitely give it a try before all of the end of summer nectarines are gone!
Cranberry Nectarine Salad
1 (3-oz.) package Oriental-flavored ramen noodle soup mix

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup hot water

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 (10-oz.) package gourmet mixed salad greens, thoroughly washed

3 large nectarines, peeled and cut in wedges

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 (4-oz.) package crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Reserve flavor packet from soup mix. Crumble noodles, and place in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake at 350° for 5 to 6 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 15 minutes). Place cranberries in a small bowl; add 1 cup hot water. Let stand 5 minutes; drain. Whisk together reserved flavor packet, canola oil, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add ramen noodles, cranberries, gourmet greens, and next 3 ingredients, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately.