Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Meatless Monday - Chickpea & Vegetable Curry


2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
1 small zuchini, peeled & diced
1 medium diced tomato
2 large onions, diced
2 dried red chiles
1/4 lb fresh ginger, peeled & diced small
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (fresh ground, if you have it)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter

If this turns out to be spicier than you'd like, try adding 1 cup of plain yogurt and simmering for another 5 minutes. Don't forget to temper it first, so that the yogurt doesn't curdle.

Serve over rice.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Freebie Friday - 16 Harlequin Romance novels

In celebration of their 60th anniversary, Harlequin Romance has made 16 of their romance novels available for download through Barnes and Noble.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book of the Week - $3 Meals

One of the best ways to save money is by knowing how to save money! Books are one of the best ways to learn how. And so I'm introducing the Book of the Week concept here.

This week's book:

$3 Meals: Feed Your Family Delicious, Healthy Meals for Less Than the Cost of a Gallon of Milk

Also: $3 Meals in Minutes, $3 Low-calorie Meals, and $3 Slow-cooked Meals

Links are to Powell's Books, and Sensible Dollars receives a kickback if you buy there, so please do! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Meatless Monday - The Fast Food Edition

Even on a budget, sometimes you just need to eat out to treat yourself! I've got some cheap, meatless options for you below (prices and items on value menus can vary from region to region). Skip the soda, grab an iced tea or water at home.

Taco Bell
: While most fast food places have a dollar menu these days, Taco Bell does it better: 79, 89 & 99 cent items! Try the Cheese Rollup (79 ), the Triple Layer Nachos (79 ), or the Bean Burrito (99 ). You can even get dessert cheap here: Cinnamon Twists (79 ), or Caramel Apple Empanada (99 ). If you're feeling extra splurgy, go for the 7 Layer Burrito, the 1/2 lb Cheesy Beans & Rice Burrito, or a Tostada! Many other menu items can be ordered without meat, too, like the Mexican Pizza (spendy, for our purposes, but yummy!)

If you're like me, and have food sensitivities, you can check here to see what's safe for you. And to add to Taco Bell's budget-worthiness, you can download free music from their site! Really, the most economical fast-food choice, all around.

McDonalds: The Dollar Menu. Unless you can make a meal of fries, a side salad, or the fruit & yogurt parfait, McDonalds isn't really going to be adequate for Meatless Monday dinner. Good place to snag dessert though - 2 apple pies for $1!

: Two words for you: Baked Potatoes! Which makes them one step ahead of McD's, IMO, since a baked potato can easily make a meal for me. Add a side salad for rounding things out. And there's always the yummy Frosty.

Burger King: Offers a veggie burger, but not on the value menu. Veggie value items: fries, onion rings, side salad, apple pie. As with McD's, it's doable, but far from optimal.

That mostly covers it - Hardee's doesn't post a value menu on their website, and there isn't one near me...Arby's has remarkably few veggie options. Let me know if you think I've missed any major chains/items here!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Freebie Friday - Coldplay's LeftRightLeftRightLeft album

Free legal download from the band Coldplay, of their live album LeftRightLeftRightLeft.

Download Link

If the download link doesn't work at first, please try later - it's a demand issue!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Saving money can have some nifty consequences, like helping your heath, or helping the planet, or even helping build a healthier economy! It can change not only your life, but the WORLD!

Check out The Story of Stuff to give you even more reasons to buy less or used stuff instead of feeding the consumerism monster!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Meatless Monday - Cuban Rice & Beans w/ Fried Plantains

If you've never had fried ripe plantains, you're in for a treat! I love these things, and often buy them frozen (already cooked) for snacks and the occasional dessert!

4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 ripe plantain, sliced at a slight diagonal
1 cup brown rice
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped (or hotter pepper, if you want it spicy)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. vegetable bouillon
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a nonstick skillet or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and cook plantain, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until golden. Remove to paper towels; season lightly with salt.

- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet over medium-high heat and cook rice, onion and green pepper, stirring frequently, 4 minutes or until rice is golden. Add water and veggie bouillon and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered until rice is done. Stir in beans and parsley and heat through. Serve with the plantains and perhaps some fat, juicy, fresh tomato slices.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Freebie Friday - Fire and Fonts

Web Fonts

Candle Samples

For more freebies and great deals throughout the week, be sure to follow our Twitter feed!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Meatless Monday - Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera is one of the most versatile dishes on the planet. You can make it with any sort of pasta, you can use whatever vegetables you have available, it can be made with or without a sauce, and it can be served hot or cold. The vegetables can be raw, sauteed, roasted, dried, or any combination.

1 lb pasta
5 cups (raw) assorted veggies
1/2 C olive oil
fresh basil, rosemary, thyme & parsley
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 C parmesan and/or romano cheese

The pasta primavera that I'm having this week will be served hot, and made with (mostly) roasted vegetables. I'll be using Tinkyada (gluten free) vegetable & brown rice spirals because they're so colorful, and this is a great, colorful summer dish.

Start by choosing your veggies. Some suggestions: zucchini & summer squash, fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, jicama, mushrooms, bell peppers of all colors, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans (cut small), olives, carrots, onions & garlic. You'll want around 5 cups of veggies total.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Start pasta cooking (follow directions on package or your own inclination).

Chop the veggies you want to cook into bite sized pieces, or strips. For me this will be zucchini & squash, broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic and cherry tomatoes. Place in a baking dish with a sprinkling of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to combine/coat. Put in the oven. Let roast for about 20 minutes, while the pasta cooks. Check & stir occasionally if necessary.

Meanwhile, chop the other veggies you want to put in (I find that more delicate veggies like jicama, bell peppers & mushrooms do better if put in fresh). Chiffonade (cut into thin strips) the fresh herbs you're using.

When the roasting veggies come out of the oven, add them to the herbs and fresh veggies. Now would also be the time to add in things like olives and sun dried tomatoes, if you're using them. Mix the whole thing into the pasta, adding the remaining olive oil, salt & pepper.

Finally, add the parmesan/romano cheese, and serve! Goes nicely with a light wine or iced tea. Garlic bread if you're feeling especially elaborate. Delicious, nutritious, colorful & quick!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Freebie Friday, A Day Late - Comics!

Today (May 2) is Free Comic Book Day! Check out the link below to find participating comic shops in your area!