Credit Card Blues

There are few worse feelings than checking the mail and seeing that you have a credit card bill.  As you pull it from the stack, you realize that it is heavier than it should be.  You hope that it is just ads and other new information from the company, but in the back of your mind, you know that you used the plastic a little too much last month.  That was my experience the other day.  I don’t honestly know how I spent that much.  My first reaction is to always argue that all the chargers can’t be mine.  I mean, I’ve have fraudulent activity in the past, so why not this time?  Sadly, it was all me.  I am now $354.86 poorer.  What a bad day.

Springtime Seasonings

I thought I would bring you a recipe that was recommended to me by a reader.  I’ve never tried this before, but I think it will come together nicely.  This loyal reader told me it is definitely a frugal recipe and makes at least six meals.  Here we go!

Salmon with Curry Chutney Sauce

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 salmon fillets (4-6 oz each)

2 tablespoons butter

2/4 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup mango chutney

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)

In a resealable plastic bag mix the flour, salt, and curry.  Put the salmon in then.  Close the bag and shake it so that the fish is coated.  Then, get a large skilled and cook the salmon in butter for 5-6 minutes per side.

In a pot, mix the broth, chutney and hot pepper sauce.  Bring it all to a boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer uncovered for 3-5 minutes.  Put it over the salmon.

Cheap Candy

Well the holiday is over.  The work/school week is back in full swing and I have a craving for candy.  I’ve never been a huge fan of mints, but I love chocolate.  I also really enjoy the Easter sweet tarts.  Although they taste exactly the same as non-shape ones, there is just something amazing about them.  Knowing that I get this craving every year, I am well-prepared for how to not break the bank.  I head to the grocery store and look for the discount aisle.  I know that CVS and Walgreens also have these aisles.  Anyway, if you happen to stroll down it, you’ll find all the candy and chocolate you want at a fraction of the price it was selling for four days ago.  Go and enjoy.  I’m sure going to!

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone.  I’m looking forward to a nice and relaxing day.  I’m headed over to a friend’s house for a ham dinner and I’m bringing the desserts.  I am going to make cookies, brownies, and an apple pie.  I’m never sure what type of fruit goes well with Easter, especially when it comes so early in the year.  The past few days have been a challenge.  I’ve really had a lot of work and have been cutting into my sleep.  I had to go and pass a qualifying exam for my internship this summer and go through the process of gaining clearance.  Of course I got fingerprinted and asked a variety of questions.  Apparently if I pass everything up to that point, which I will, I have to go and take a polygraph test.  That’s not much of a worry either.  Right now, off to start baking!

Spring Salad

I’m really itching for the weather to warm up, so maybe if I put this recipe down, it will help old man winter move on his way:

Italian Spinach Salad

4 cups fresh baby spinach

2 medium tomatoes, quartered

8 large fresh mushrooms, sliced (I left these out)

2 hard-cooked eggs, quartered

1/2 cup real bacon bits (try 1/4 cup if you’re worried about your diet)

1 small red onion, sliced and separated into rings

3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill (I used 4!)

1-1/2 cups Italian salad dressing

1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup seasoned croutons (I used a full cup)

On eight salad plates, arrange the spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs, bacon, onion and dill if desired

In a small saucepan, cook the salad dressing and sugar over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Drizzle over the salads; sprinkle with the croutons.  Serve immediately.

Plastic Waterbottle

I used to buy 24 or 48 packs of bottled water at the store.  I never realized how wasteful I was being by doing that.  Instead, I spent $6 and bought myself a reusable water bottle.  Not the kind that you see on a bike, but more of a camper’s water bottle.  It is rugged and durable and I could, in theory, hook it onto my bag with the hook it came with.  I don’t plan on doing that.  But it really opens up a lot of options for me.  I fill it up every day before I go to class and I drink it throughout the day.  It has a really large top, so filling it up from the drinking fountain or sink is easy too.  Plus, it helps me get my 5-7 glasses of water a day.  I know that most people don’t believe the benefits of that, but I’m telling you, I really feel the difference.

ZipCars

As a student at a university, I have the opportunity to get a good discount on a ZipCar membership.  Not that you need to be a student in order to partake in this, but you get a better deal if you’re in school at the time.  For a $50 annual fee, I can drive a car whenever I want.  While the carpool situation I think will work out really well, this is a nice alternative to have.  Gas is included in the price and I can rent for around $8/hour.  You really can’t beat that when you consider that gas around here is at $3.55 a gallon.  And that’s at the cheap station my friends told me about.  If you’re looking for an easy alternative to public transportation or waiting around for your carpool mates, check out Zipcars.

Leftover Ham

I made a ham the other night but had a lot of leftovers.  Try this recipe to help you make those extra slabs of meat disappear.

Ham Griddle Cakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk (use skim – I found it tastes better)

1 cup ground fully cooked ham

Pancake syrup

In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  In another bowl, beat the eggs and milk.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in ham.  Pour the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle.  Turn when pancakes begin to brown on the edges; cook until second side is golden.  Serve with syrup.

Yield: 8 pancakes.

As for the syrup, I recommend Mrs. Buttersworth.  It goes perfectly with the flavor from the ham (mine still had some pineapple flavor in it).  Enjoy :)

Carpool!

In my current situation, I am carless. I walk or take public transportation everywhere. The nearest Target is about an hour away by Metro. I have made the trek a few times, but I realize that it just isn’t worth my time. And I never realized how often I actually went to Target. All of these problems were resolved today though. I found a signup sheet outside one of my classrooms for this exact purpose. People in my cohort who have a car are signed up go make multiple trips to Target a month. Us “riders” pay some gas money and we can get there in style and in only about 20 minutes. This is perfect! The amount of money I’m going to pay in gas is less than it costs for the subway. Yay!

Snobby Restaurant

So I had friends in town this weekend.  I took them to see the sites, making sure they got the limited day Metro passes, and we had a really good time.  I really wanted to take them down below the Lincoln Memorial to see the political cartoons from the 1930’s, but I couldn’t find a friendly enough Park Ranger.  Anyway, we’d just had a great day and decided we should go out for a nice dinner.  One of my friends said he would treat as payment for all my tour guide services.  I’m Ms. Frugal, so of course I said yes.  We find this nice little grille (note the ‘e’) and go inside.  The hostess is shocked to see us.  She shakes her head and says we are under-dressed.  We were all wearing sweaters and hats.  She said we needed ties and skirts.  It is a grille for goodness sakes!  Oh well, don’t waste your time at restaurants who don’t want your business.  The food wouldn’t have been worth the cost anyway.