Posts Tagged ‘frugal living’

frugal recipe of the week: homemade mayonaise

I lived in Spain for a while and I adore Spanish cooking. Spanish food has nothing to do with Mexican. Its flavors are incredibly subtle. This week I wanted to try my favorite Spanish potato salad recipe (Ensaladilla Rusa) from my favorite local chef, Jose Andres.

The key to this recipe is a really good mayonaise which means NOT using the stuff from the store. You can make a better mayo yourself quickly and easily at home.

1. Pasteurize the eggs. Bring a pan with enough water to cover the eggs to 150-160 degrees F. When it reaches this temperature kill the flame and place *room temperature* eggs into the water. Cover and let stand for 3 minutes. That’s it!

2. Combine one egg, 2 T. water, 1 T. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, a pinch of white pepper, and just under 2 cups of olive oil (or vegetable oil if you don’t like the fruity taste of olive oil) into a a blender (I use a tall container and an immersion blender).

3. Blend on high speed until the mixture turns thick and white. You can blend in a couple drops of vinegar if it doesn’t have enough bite for you.

Voila!

mayo

Tastier and better for your health than the store-bought versions. Depending on what kind of oil you use it can also be cheaper than buying it at a store. And no useless plastic jar in the end!

Oh, and that Ensaladilla Rusa?

Squee!

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home depot freebies

Big box stores throw a lot away. What they don’t tell you is that some of the stuff they throw away is pretty useful, and sometimes they’ll give it away for free.

A while back I decided to try container gardening. We live in a high rise and don’t have a patio. There’s no community garden in the area. What we do have is a super sunny apartment. This weekend we went to home depot to buy some soil and plant pots.

tomato plant in pot

Our happy tomato plant in our free home depot pots!

At Home Depot I noticed some huge stacks of empty black 12″ pots by the register. I asked how much they were, and lo and behold, the answer was FREE!  The pots were used for trees, and the trees had sold. Home depot was just going to throw out the containers. Next time I need pots I’m definitely going to ask around my local home and garden stores.

So now it’s home to carrots, a tomato plant, and our rubber tree. Hopefully in a few months we’ll have some tasty, organic things to eat, no expensive grocery store required.

Anyone know of any other stores that give away leftovers for free?

learning to live smaller, cheaper, leaner, and greener

One of our first “reality bites”  moments of living smaller, cheaper, leaner, and greener came when we started to go house hunting back in April. We quickly discovered that in the DC area there are five big problems with finding a home to buy:

Problem 1: houses start at half a million.

Problem 2:  houses that are a half million dollars are generally falling apart and need lots of money and resource-intensive repairs.

Problem 3: even two bed/two bath condos don’t seem to get much bigger than 1,000 square feet before they start to cost more than houses or are two hours outside of town.

Problem 4: trying to pack two bedrooms and two bathrooms into less than 1,000 square feet = super tiny rooms.

Problem 5: you’re stuck with your building manager’s choice of energy sources when you live in a condo, and putting solar panels on a house (if you can afford the house) can cost upwards of $20,000.

This all wouldn’t be too much of a problem except that when we lived apart we had a total of 2,100 square feet of living space and all of the stuff we bought to go with those 2,100 square feet of living space.  That’s added up to a lot of financial and environmental damage over the years.

If we want our own place, we’ve got a lot to do! I’m super late getting on the blogging bandwagon, but here goes.  This blog is my little place to share and get ideas on ways to have less stuff, live more cheaply, live a bit more green, and have fun along the way.