Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for May, 2008


5/27/08 | Krispy Kreme


[ Currently Eating: Krispy Kreme Doughnut ]

Krispy Kreme on Cheap Eats at Bloglander

In this time of Eekonomic Recession, Allowance Busting Gas Prices and Global Toasting (and Dimming) sometimes you just need to get away from it all. No, not on Southwest Airlines. This is much cheaper – just head on over to Krispy Kreme to pick up a dozen doughnuts. And forget all your troubles for a few minutes.

Apologies for the candid shots, these were actually taken in the car. One dozen original glazed morsels of deliciousness. I haven’t had Krispy Kremes in ages, probably 3 or 4 years. I guess for people eating on the cheap (and also for those looking to lose weight), this probably isn’t such a necessary item. In fact, by Cheap Eats standards it almost qualifies as a luxury item.

But actually, the purpose of this post is to remind everyone that even when the chips are down, sometimes you just have to treat yourself. I hate to sound like a sappy life coach or something (I can’t believe that actually exists as a profession), but this goes not just for food. Whether it’s eating out at a fancy shmancy restaurant or splurging on a dozen doughnuts, don’t overlook treating yourself as a huge morale booster that will help get through the Days of Ramen and Canned Spaghetti Sauce.

Krispy Kreme on Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Back to Krispy Kreme – they are a bit more “compact” than I remember. Compared to normal doughnuts, the center holes also seem a bit large. I shouldn’t complain though, they are such a treat. Anyhow, the small size is probably good for weight watchers. I’m a bit unusual in that I have the willpower to only eat one at a time, so they’re probably going to last for a whole week. I like to put them in the toaster to get them nice and hot so they taste just like they came off the assembly line. When we picked them up, the “Hot Light” wasn’t on, so we got them cold in the box. They’re still pretty amazing that way.

I had a coupon for a free dozen, but even if you buy them, I think they go around $6-7 for a dozen original glazed. One or two dollars more for a dozen assorted.

Worse comes to worse, you can go out and spend some of your Tax Refund on doughnuts. Stimulate that economy with doughnuts, baby.

Price: Free (normally ~ $6-7 / doz.)
Found At: Coupon, sent for review
Cheap Eats Score: 7/10


[ Currently Eating: Bacon Egg Sandwich ]

Make Your Own Bread - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Anybody up for some failed bread?

I’m not even going to include the recipe because this didn’t turn out very well. It was a series of unfortunate events, and not the lemony kind. First off, I’ve never really baked bread before (unless you count Irish Soda Bread). Second, I decided to try out this Pyrex Bake-A-Round tube thingy I got at the thrift store instead of going the traditional route.

Third, I used the recipe in the box for French Bread, which was written back in the 70s (the recipe did use standard active dry yeast and most of the same ingredients found in bread recipes). I was thinking of a baguette or something – they obviously weren’t. The recipe called for FOUR cups flour to about one cup of water. I knew that wasn’t right, but I tried it anyway. It is awfully hard to mix in four cups of flour into a cup of water or so by hand. Oh yes, that’s Fourth: even though we have a perfectly good mixer with a dough hook, I “forgot” and decided to mix the bastard by hand. Actually, I suspect this is keeping with the Cheap Eats tradition since I’d be unwise to assume everyone has a mixer on hand.

So, it’s not a big surprise that the bread didn’t win best of show. Maybe it was the extra salt added in from the sweat rolling off my head as I tried to knead the dough. Old-time readers will also remember I have a nagging shoulder injury – that was not fun.

Make Your Own Bread - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

The bread itself came out just “edible”. That’s pretty much all the praise I can muster for several hours of effort. I wasn’t surprised it was very dense and almost cake-like. The crust actually came out decent, though not browned. Someone told me that industrial type ovens blast it with so much heat in a short time which is how they can get a better crust? Actually, if it wasn’t for the bake-a-round tube, it probably would have came out even worse.

However, a good Cheap Eater is willing to experiment and fail for the overall good of the wallet. Home-baked Bread definitely seemed like something that should be tried out. So, instead of moaning about this unlovable loaf, I’ll probably be trying it again sometime later in the year. I probably won’t be using the bake-a-round again, although it was sort of neat that when you cut slices they were perfectly round – that might be fun for hamburger sandwiches or something.

Also, I’m sure there are tons of excellent bread bakers out there – if you have a good recipe or technique to share, please do. I’m going to also say that I KNOW you can just use a bread machine to make it. But I’d like to hear from those who don’t use a machine, and possibly not even a mixer. I’m still not 100% convinced that making your own bread from scratch is worth the time and effort – I think the price of bread would knead (haha) to go up considerably to get more people to start trying to make their own.

Make Your Own Bread - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

5/15/08 | Lemonade


[ Currently Eating: A Tamale For Breakfast ]

Lemonade on Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Hm… my usage of girly kitchenware in the pictures are sure to further speculation that I’m really a girl and not a guy. But hey, that shouldn’t matter, right? *Curtsies*

The other day, life doth handed me free lemons – thusly, I doth made lemonade. Now, I’ve never really made lemonade from scratch. Mostly because the price of lemons is just too high to justify squeezing them to make juice. Maybe if you bought them in bulk it’d be worth it. Or, perhaps if you went on a fruit collecting trip.

But usually, I get lemons for free from relatives who have the trees and don’t know what to do with the fruit. So, conveniently for the 3 dollars or less limit – the price of lemons is going to be zero in this recipe. Actually, the only other ingredient that actually costs money is the sugar. I looked up a number of different recipes on the web, and settled on a version of this one to try:

Lemonade

4-6 lemons — Free
1 cup granulated sugar — $0.25
Water
Ice

Total: $0.25

You want to make a sugar syrup so there isn’t sugar crystals swirling around in the lemonade. Combine about 1 to 2 cups water with the sugar in a small pan or pot and heat until the sugar dissolves all the way. While that’s going on, juice the lemons so that you get about a cup of juice. Usually about 4-6 lemons.

Mix the sugar syrup and lemon juice in a pitcher. Add about 3 cups ice and then 4-6 cups of ice water. I like to use ice because it decreases the time you need to refrigerate the mixture before it’s cold again. Usually you still need to refrigerate it 15-30 min. Serve in glasses with ice.

Well, as you can see, it’s no wonder why kids are pushed to start up lemonade stands. The margin is enormous if you happen to have the free lemons.

The above recipe felt kind of off to me – in fairness the author said that it would make a very, very sweet lemonade. I think I would have cut the sugar by even 1/2 next time. But I like lemonade that’s very mild. I do think the simple syrup idea helps out a lot, as opposed to trying to get pure sugar to dissolve in ice water.

Continue reading “Lemonade” …


[ Currently Eating: Tasty Air ]

McD Southern Style Chicken Sandwich

Yep, two posts in one day again (I just moved the lemonade one forward in time so that it’s first). I seem to always catch these promotions at the last minute. This one is not so good anyhow, because you have to buy a drink. They call it “free”.

It’s already too late to get the biscuit breakfast sandwich, but for the rest of today (Thurs May 15, 2008) you can get a free Southern Style Chicken Sandwich at McDonald’s when you buy a medium or large drink.

I was wondering, what is it that makes this a “Southern Style” sandwich, is it just the coating on the chicken? Or is it the pickles?


[ Currently Eating: Senseo Coffee ]

Thin & Crispy - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I was originally going to make this review a Food Battle between Lays Sour Cream ‘n Onion Chips and these Thin & Crispy Sweet Maui Onion ChipsI found at the dollar store. I had big plans for the “battles” – they were going to become the signature review on Cheap Eats. But somehow, after having just the Pringles one, I lost interest. It’s just difficult (and contrary to the whole Cheap Eats manifesto) to keep buying similar products just to review them.

Also, like most people, I’ve been trying to cut out the unnecessary snacks. Getting a whole bag of Lays just to compare them would not be a good thing. Because I would be tempted to sit in front of the TeeVee and watch re-runs of MythBusters while eating the entire bag. Watching Adam and Jamie bust those myths is just so spellbinding that the motion of chip-to-mouth becomes dangerously automatic…

So anyhow, it’s just the one bag of potato chips up for review. I looked in vain on the packaging for another brand name besides Thin & Crispy. Nope – it’s like those generic blue and white brand items that just say “canned corn” or something. It was also difficult to find out who makes these – at the bottom corner of the bag it says “Snack Alliance Inc.” which sounds sort of sketchy. Er, I guess they’re not so proud of them?

I don’t know why they wouldn’t be proud, because these will give any brand-name thin chip a run for their money. As far as the name goes, they deliver exactly that – thin, crispy potato chips. Granted they’re laden with salt, fat, oil – but so are other brands of chips.

Thin & Crispy - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Like I’ve said, I’ve never run into freshness problems with dollar store items. This bag was no exception. The chips were plenty crunchy. In appearance and texture, they’re a bit “rougher” and maybe more rustic than standard Lays chips. They’re sort of a cross between Lays and maybe a lightly cooked kettle chip. None of the chips are really burnt, but you can see some of the edges have a little skin, are a little toasted and are sometimes more crumpled.

As far as taste goes, I really liked these. I believe there were three other flavors, but I’ve only tried the onion one so far. And when they say “Maui Onion” they mean standard onion powder (as far as i can tell). It’s sort of a tangy flavor combination, but I think that also comes from the sour cream or cheese solids added in. There isn’t a thick coating on the chips, I think it may actually have less than Lays does.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with my dollar bag of chips. The chips are so thin that even with this enormous looking bag, you’re only getting 6 ounces. I haven’t bought Lays in awhile, so I don’t know how their chips compare in price per weight. Buying a large econo-bag of Lays will probably be cheaper, but I’ll stick with the smaller bags unless there’s a party on the horizon.

Price: 99 cents for 6 oz. bag
Found At: Dollar Store
Cheap Eats Score: 7/10




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