Showing posts with label Cupcakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cupcakes. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Book Review

Book Review . Cooking . Lifestyles . Frugal Lifestyles . Patti LaBelle . Eggs - Omelets . Mock Potato Salad . Chocolate Cupcakes . Chicken Curry . Pound Cake . Mac & Cheese

Eggs are the wonder of the kitchen: inexpensive & nutritious, & they can be baked, boiled, fried, or scrambled into countless delectable dishes.

Patti LaBelle, she's authored several successful cookbooks that celebrate good health & great food. She once said that the secret to her scrambled eggs was a tiny bit of water, & of course. A teaspoon of water per egg is free, adds no fat or calories, & will give your scrambled fluff & volume.

Lynette Shirk Cookbooks

You can whip up a large batch of scrambled eggs on the weekend, & serve up hot & hearty breakfasts all week.

12 large eggs
1/4 cup water
salt & pepper

Preheat a 12-inch nonstick pan over medium-low heat.

Mix the eggs & water in a bowl with a fork until thoroughly blended.

Spray pan with nonstick cooking blended, but don't overbeat.

Heat a 10-inch or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or coat with a bit of butter.

Add the egg mixture to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the edges are cooked through. Thinking of your pan as a clock, start at 12:00 & scrape the edge of the eggs toward the middle with a wooden or nylon spoon. Tilt the pan to let the uncooked eggs spill over onto the pan surface. Continue scraping & tilting at 3:00, 6:00, & 9:00. Begin again at 12:00 & continue until the eggs have all been scraped to the middle of the pan. Fold the eggs over on themselves a couple of times until almost cooked through. If they look cooked in the pan, they'll be dry on the plate.

Season with salt & pepper, & serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Lara Starr Cookbooks

Omelet Options:

In kitchen Confi dential Anthony Bourdain famously recounts his 'audition' for a chef's job: create a simple, perfect French omelet under the watchful eye of the restaurateur. Good cooks become great chefs when their passion & skill turn humble ingredients into delicious dishes.

Patti LaBelle Cookbooks

3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon water
salt & pepper to taste
filling of your choice

Mix the eggs, water, salt, & pepper in a bowl with a fork until blended, but don't overbeat.

Heat a 10-inch or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or coat with a bit of butter.

Add the egg mixture to the pan. As it cooks, stir it with a wooden or nylon spoon while shaking the pan over the heat. Scrape the cooked eggs from the sides of the pan & blend with the rest. This should take less than 1 minute.

When the eggs are just about set but slightly wet, pat them into an even layer & let them cook undisturbed for a few seconds.

Add fillings, precooked if needed, down the center of the omelet.

Loosen around the edges of the omelet with the spoon. Tilt the pan to one side, scoot the spoon or a spatula under the opposite side of the omelet, & flip it to the middle to cover the fillings. Then tilt the pan to the other side & do the same with the other half of the omelet. Voila!

A few ideas for tasty & inexpensive filling:

Potatoes, Sour Cream, & Chives:

Spread a good slather of sour cream down the center of the omelet, add thinly sliced cooked waxy potatoes, & sprinkle with chopped chives or green onions.


Heat 3-4 tablespoons of refried beans, spread omelet, & top with Cheddar Cheese & jalapeno rings.


Spread 3 tablespoons ricotta or cottage cheese, 3 tablespoons leftover spaghetti sauce, & a sprinkling of mozzarella.

Mock Potato Salad

2 sleeves saltine crackers (about 80 crackers)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup pickle relish
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 hard - boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
2 cups mayonnaise (maybe more)personally, I prefer Salad Dressing
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Tabasco sauce, to taste

Crush the saltine crackers in a large bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients & stir to combine. Add more mayo if needed until the ingredients are well coated & hold together. Chill for an hour before serving. You may need to add more mayo again before serving if the salad appears dry.

Makes 6 serving.

Chocolate Cupcakes

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 recipe Cream Cheese Filling
12 fluted muffin cups

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Insert the muffin cups in a muffin tin & set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, & salt in a mixing bowl.

Combine the water, oil, vinegar, & vanilla in a pitcher. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients & whip with an electric mixer on medium for 3 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top each cupcake with 1-2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling.

Bake for 28 minutes. Cool before serving.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Chicken Curry

1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 large onion, peeled & thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or 1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 Roman tomatoes, chopped
1 small green chile pepper, such as jalapeno, seeded & thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
1 poached chicken breast half, cut into 1-inch cubes

Melt the oil & butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions & cook until very soft & golden, stirring often, about 30 minutes.

Add the garlic & salt for another 2 minutes. Add the cilantro or coriander, curry powder, tomatoes, chile, & water & stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken & simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Pound Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Generously butter a 5-inch x 9-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, & vanilla with an electric mixer, until light & fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to combine after each addition. Add the flour, baking powder, & salt & mix in on low speed until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about an hour & give it a check. The top should be golden & a skewer or butter knife stuck in the middle should come out clean.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife or flat spatula around the outside of the cake & turn it out onto the rack to cool completely.

My Kid's Moms Mac & Cheese

Experiment with different types of cheese to suit your family's taste.

1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoon melted butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 pound large elbow macaroni, cooked
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter a casserole dish.
Blend cheese, milk, flour, butter, & garlic in a blender or food processor. In a bowl, mix the sauce with the macaroni to coat completely. Turn the mixture into the prepared dish & bake for 45 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Colorful Birthday Party

Red M & M's have been back in the bag for years, & a few drops of coloring in birthday party & holiday treats will have no negative effects.

Everyday foods become party-special with a drop or two of your child (children) favorite food coloring.

These ideas for food & activities are bursting with beautiful colors, & will make an easy, festive, & inexpensive birthday celebration for a young child.

Your mama was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

A healthy & hearty breakfast will make you more alert & productive, fill you up so you'll be less likely to spend money on midday snacks,& if done right can be a yummy pleasure & calming morning meditation rather than a rushed chore.

Tell me what you eat, & I will tell you what you are. ... Anthelme Brillat-Savarian

Spray fruits & vegetables with a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, & 2 tablespoons baking soda, then rinse with water to remove dirt & chemicals.

The History of The Blue Plate Special

"Blue plate specials" were common on American diner menus beginning in the 1920's. The specials consisted of a meat & three vegetables for as little as two bits (25 cents).

A Hawaiian variation is called the "plate lunch": two scoops of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad & a serving of Japanese - inspired meat such as panko-curshed chicken or teriyaki beef. The plate lunch evolved when locals, immigrants, & servicemen worked together during WWII & shared their food at lunch. has discounted gift certificates for local, nonchain restaurants. There are often restrictions. You can save serious dough & may find a new favorite spot.

Go for lunch instead of dinner. Your favorite spots have the same great food at lunch, usually at a lower price.

Cents-Able Solutions: Meal Planning 101

You can avoid both overshopping & undershopping by setting aside a few minutes over the weekend to plan out your meals for the week. And when you buy what you need for the week, you'll save time & money on midweek trips to the store!

Organizing is what you do before you do something so that when you do it it is not all mixed up. ... Winnie the Pooh

Brunch has a rich history in Chinese American & Jewish American cultures. Chinese families can be found crowding dim sum houses on Sunday mornings, choosing delectable dumplings from roving charts. And in brownstones & rest homes from Brooklyn to Florida bubbes & zaydies consider no Sunday complete without bagels & the New York Times.

Brunch is an economical way to entertain at home.

Cents-Able Solutions: Be A Hipper Clipper

A few tips for making the most of coupons, sales, & specials.

Keep coupons in your wallet. Keep the good ones in your wallet without keeping up too much space, & you'll never leave them at home.

Bigger isn't always better. Many items are cheaper in large sizes, but some are not.

Brown - Baggin' It

A well-paid attorney's daily lunch consisted of a brick of ramen noodles fortified by handfuls of saltine crackers swiped from the deli in the lobby.

With a little planning you can reach a happy midday medium: a tasty & appealing lunch that won't break the bank.

Cents-Able Solutions: Food Storage & Safety

Being frugal isn't about being miserly or buying the least expensive products or ingredients, but about getting the best value out of everything you purchase.

Thaw meat in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or under cold running water. Thawing on the counter increases risk of bacteria.

Worth Its Salt

A soak in an Epsom-salt & bath is not only luxurious, but can also improve your health.

Improving heart & circulatory health.

Improve nerve function by regulating electrolytes, & helping to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.

Reducing stress.

Reducing inflammation.

VIVA Editions sent me a complimentary copy for review.

Lara Starr & Lynette Shirk, are the authors of 'The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook.'

Lara has offered advice on easy, affordable cooking & entertaining on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, & websites throughout the U.S. & Canada. She lives in Marin County, CA.

Lynette is a classically trained chef, & has authored nine cookbooks. She has cooked at celebrated restaurants. She lives in Seattle, WA.