Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top 10 Links of the Week: 10/23/09 – 10/29/09

Great googly moogly, there are just a ton of quality links this week, many Halloween-related. A quick, exciting reminder, too: CHG now has both Facebook and Twitter accounts. Hooray for inconsequential-yet-amusing methods of modern communication!

1) Eater: Rachael Ray Starts a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Petition
In what can only be described as a national travesty, Hall & Oates have not yet been inducted to – or even NOMINATED for – the RRHOF. But one little-known television chef is pulling for them. Sign up! Private eyes are watching you!

2) New York Times: Living for Candy, and Sugar-Coated Goblins

It’s every kid’s dream: Paul Rudnick is 51, and has eaten nothing but refined sugar foods since he was six. Somehow, he’s not dead. A recent day’s menu: “a plain bagel, a three-pack of Yodels, a small can of dry-roasted peanuts, some Hershey’s Kisses, and some breakfast cereal, which he eats by the handful, dry, out of the box.” You gotta read it to believe it.

3) The Atlantic: Meatless Mondays Draw Industry Ire
Y’know, I don't usually swear on CHG, but this is some bullhockey. Horsecrap. Buffalo Chips. A big bag of fertilizer. Summarized: kids in Baltimore are getting chili and lasagna for lunch one day of the week. Meat industry execs are peeved. One in particular - Janet Riley of the American Meat Institute - should be ashamed of herself.

4) Slate: Supermarket Sweep - Using coupons to get free groceries.

Writer Alicia Barney dives headfirst into hardcore couponing, and comes out a winner/owner of many canned soups. This might change some minds about the viability of the process.

5) Planet Green: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
Save your cilantro! Repurpose your potatoes! Blanch it, baby. Over four dozen totally food-related ideas for saving food and cash, brought to you by people who like the environment. Also, the letter “G.”

6) Zen Habits: The Anti-Fast Food Diet
Nine tips on how to embrace the Slow Food movement without quitting society and taking up residence in a yurt. My favorite: “when drinking tea, just drink tea.” In other words, be present. Do what you’re doing. Twitter will still be there later. (...I think. That thing breaks a lot, doesn't it?)

7) Metromix: NYC Chef Survey – Worst kitchen injury ever witnessed?
Oh, man. Hot cooking oil is a bad, bad thing folks. But still not as evil as the man-eating pasta maker. Fingeroni, anyone?

8) The Simple Dollar: Ethical Frugality Week – Serving Leftovers
Reader Jim writes in, disgusted that friends dared to serve him dressed-up leftovers when they had him over for dinner. Trent suggests that this isn’t too bad for close friends, but it shouldn’t go beyond that. I believe it’s all in how you dress it up. Chicken and potatoes straight from the Glad Disposables won’t work, but it’s okay to use leftover breast meat for a noodle dish, or as part of a curry. Readers, what think you?

9) Slate: Against Apple Picking - Why pick-your-own orchards are a wasteful scam.
Essentially, the most cynical essay about cider donuts ever written. I wonder if he hates babies and nuns, too. Read it to roil up the blood.

10) Reuters: New York study says menu labeling affects behavior
Contrary to all those other studies, a new report from the NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (Mental hygiene? Brush your brains, kids!) claims that fast food labeling DOES get people to buy food with fewer calories. Works for me.


Casual Kitchen: The Pros and Cons of Restaurant Calorie Labeling Laws
Pro: healthy! Con: are we becoming a nanny state? Mary Poppins would love that, wouldn’t she?

Clever Dude: – How we got a lot of food for a little money
CD explains the ins and outs of the oft-criticized site, recounts his own (excellent) experience at a local Ethiopian joint.

Consumerist/Jezebel: Budget Bytes
Fairly new blog with CHG-like philosophy and nice, clean design.

Culinate: Get your sear on - How to cook restaurant-perfect fish
Salt, pepper, oil, heat: GO!

Eat Me Daily: Turkey Totality - Thanksgiving Magazine Roundup Smackdown Spectacular
Saveur wins! Semi-Homemade loses.

Food Politics: Smart Choices Suspended
Last week, it was in trouble. This week, Smart Choices is kaput.

Get Rich Slowly: The Pitfalls of Buying in Bulk
Delves into a rarely-mentioned bulk problem: sometimes, when you have 250 of something, you get sick of eating it.

Hillbilly Housewife: Menu Planning around Budget Foods and Leftovers
A challenge! Prep a big meal on Day 1, and then use the leftovers to eat for the rest of the week. Godspeed.

The Kitchn: One Big Kitchen Tool We Have... But Never Use
A.k.a. Giant Wastes of Cash and Space, or What Not to Buy.

Money Saving Mom: Becoming a Mystery Shopper
Good summary of something I know zero about.

Neatorama: Bloody Brain Shooters
Gross, but effective. Happy Halloween, drunks!

Problogger: How Would You Monetize This Food Blog?
Lots of good ideas here, for those interested in making mad cash.

Serious Eats: Costco Will Accept Food Stamps Nationwide
Half the stores by Thanksgiving!

Urlesque: Internet Meme Cakes
Rick Astley and Keyboard Cat! In cake form!

Wise Bread: Five Potluck Parties That Help You Share the Wealth
Take potlucks one step further with related fun activities.

Wise Bread: 19 Tips to Cut Costs by Using Your Oven Efficiently
Turn that highly efficient machine into a highlyer efficienter machine … er.

Happy weekend, everybody! Enjoy Halloween/All Saints Day/whatever marathon you’re running. (Good luck Stan, Travis, and Ian!)

(Hall & Oates photo from AllMusic.)

Veggie Might: Make Your Own Mustard

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

What do you do when you need a quick meal, have veggie dogs leftover from camping, but the only mustard is the fancy balsamic garlic mustard you picked up in at the New England Maple Museum in Vermont? (Oh, we’ll visit there again, CHG campers, don’t you worry.)

If you’re me, you wonder if you could make your own mustard out the beaucoup yellow powder taking over your spice cabinet. (Then you eat the veggie dog with the fancy mustard.) But it got me investigatin’.

I read up on mustard making at Mother Earth News, a blog called Montana Jones, and the trusty How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook by Mark Bittman.

Turns out, you get pretty weak mustard from just adding water and vinegar to commercial mustard powder. But with only a touch more effort, you can get some sinus-clearingly fantastic mustard with yellow and brown mustard seeds.

Chow simplifies the mustard seed situation better than anyone, but here’s a quick breakdown:
  • Yellow mustard seeds can vary in color from brownish yellow to white. Yellow mustard seeds are best known and most readily available to Americans.
  • Brown mustard seeds are dark brown or black and easily found in spice shops and Indian groceries.
  • Black mustard seeds also range from dark brown to black but are smaller, more pungent than the other two varieties, and primarily used in Indian cooking. Black mustard seeds will also confuse your enemies!
The making is simple: soak the mustard seeds in the water, vinegar, spice mix for a few hours to overnight, puree, and TADA! Mustard. The nuances are only slightly more complicated.

Mustard loses its power over time. If it’s too strong at first, let it sit a while—a few hours up to a week—before you serve. Store your homemade mustard in glass, ceramic, or even plastic containers. Mustard will ingest a metal container. Mmm….ore-y. Fresh ingredients will affect shelf life, but homemade mustard will keep for a couple of months or longer.

Whether you use a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle, Mark Bittman warns you will not get commercial smoothness with home equipment. He’s right, as far as I can tell, but I like mine with a coarse texture.

I made two batches and let them sit overnight: one just straight-up the MB way, though I used garlic powder instead of fresh, and one with horseradish. Both were explosivo when I zapped them in the morning before work but had mellowed to perfection by lunchtime. My tofu sandwich rocked my socks.

Once you have the basic recipe down, you can be creative and experiment with spices and sweeteners. Soon you’ll be making your own fancy mustard and selling them at museums all across the northeast.


If you like this recipe, you might always like:

Spicier Brown Mustard
Yields 8 oz, or approximately 24 teaspoons
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
NOTE: Alas, Leigh’s camera perished in Lake George last week. This placeholder photo comes from Cookthink. It's a nice site, and you should visit there.

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Generous pinch of salt

Horseradish Mustard
Yields 8 oz, or approximately 24 teaspoons

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2-inch cube of fresh horseradish, chopped
Generous pinch of salt

Instructions are the same for each recipe.

1) Combine ingredients in a glass or ceramic container with a lid. Plastic is okay, but metal is a no-no.

2) Let stand overnight or at least 2–3 hours.

3) Puree in a blender or food processor until the desired consistency is reached. (I tried one batch in each and found the blender to have a slight edge on smoothness.) Add a drizzle of water to keep the blades whirling.

4) Pour back into glass container and let it mellow for a day or so.

5) Serve on your favorite sandwich or veggie dog and know spicy mustard.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price per Serving
9.2 calories, 0.5g fat, 0.3g fiber, $0.02

Calculations (for horseradish version)
2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds: 104 calories, 6g fat, 4g fiber, $.19
2 tbsp brown mustard seeds: 104 calories, 6g fat, 4g fiber, $.19
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar: 12.5 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.04
1/2” cube of horseradish: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.07
[1/2 tsp garlic powder: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.02]
generous pinch of salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.02
TOTALS: 220 calories,12g fat, 8g fiber, $.51
PER SERVING (TOTALS/24): 9.2 calories, .5g fat, .3g fiber, $.02

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10 Modern Food Myths, Busted

Salt helps water boil faster. An avocado pit will keep guacamole from browning. Soda will eat through basically anything, Alien-style.

We’ll hear hundreds of food myths in our lifetime. Some, thank Snopes, will be inarguably disproved, while others will remain as persistent as head colds, altering both what we eat and how we cook. And still more myths will be made up as we go along, as technology develops and kitchens change with the times.

Today, we’re focusing on a few of those newer myths; modern-day legends spawned by newspapers, TV shows, and those accursed enemies of truth, e-mail forwards. Will açai berries speed up weight loss? Does microwaving plastic cause cancer? Are bananas really going the way of the dodo bird? We'll explore and answer these questions and more, once and for all.

When you’re done perusing the myths themselves, head on over to the comment section to continue the discussion. Do you agree with these verdicts? What are the most outrageous food myths you’ve ever heard? Which ones would you like answered, in addition to these? Do tell.

Disclaimer: Many of these myths deal with health and diet issues, so I took special care to cite reputable resources. However, I’m not a medical professional, and nothing should be taken as expert advice. If you have any questions about the following, please consult your doctor.

Myth: Açai berries will help you lose weight.
Ruling: False.
Why: You know those internet ads? The ones with pictures of generic-looking women claiming to have dropped 30 pounds in 30 days? Click on them, and many will take you to websites promoting açai berries. While the berries aren’t bad for you, there’s very little scientific data to back up those outrageous dietary claims. Açai have no more antioxidants than several more common fruits and vegetables, and won’t aid in weight loss more than any other berry. P.S. Oprah does not endorse acai berries.
Instead: If you’re concerned about antioxidants, try packing more blueberries, plums, kale, spinach, and strawberries into your meals. However, know that antioxidants aren’t particularly well researched yet, and that adding more produce to your diet will always promote better nutrition.

Myth: If a food is “made with” healthy ingredients, it is healthy.
Ruling: False.
Why: Something “Made with real pineapple!” or “Made with organic ingredients!” isn’t necessarily comprised 100% of that component. Take this Wal-Mart grape drink for example, which claims to be “made with real fruit juice!” Concentrated grape juice is only the third listed ingredient, behind water and high fructose corn syrup. “Made with” in this case, as in many others, is attached only to sell the product.
Instead: A whole food will almost always be healthier than its more processed counterpart. (Meaning: if you want something with fruit in it, eat a piece of fruit.) However, if you find a product you think you might like, read the ingredient list. It’ll give you all the information you need.

Myth: Drop food on the floor? No worries. If you eat it within five seconds of letting it fall, you’re good to go.
Ruling: Sadly, false.
Why: So famous it scored its own episode of Seinfeld, this cousin to the hallowed Five-Minute Rule claims that edibles can’t be contaminated by floor/ground germs if it’s snatched up fast enough. Alas and alack, it ain’t so. According to the New York Times, “Quick retrieval does mean fewer bacteria, but it’s no guarantee of safety.”
Instead: If it can be washed, wash it! If not … do you have a dog?

Myth: Water infused with vitamins or supplements is healthier than regular water.
Ruling: Usually false.
Why: Health claims made on infused water labels are almost never medically substantiated, and frequently, the drinks contain almost as many calories as soda. Even creators admit, “It’s 100 percent marketing.
Instead: If you’re in a rush and in the mood for something flavorful, try seltzers or bottled drinks with minimal added sugar and short ingredient lists. Or, y’know, pack a thermos of tap water. It’s healthy, plentiful, and free.

Myth: Baby carrots are treated with deadly chlorine, making them deadly orange spears of death. You can tell by the deadly white film that appears on their death-causing surfaces as they age.
Ruling: True, then false.
Why: This has been a popular e-mail forward the last year, so we’ll go straight to Snopes for the debunkification: baby carrots are just larger carrots cut up. And they can, in fact, be treated with chlorine. But so are lots of other ready-to-eat vegetables, and they’re all washed before being shipped to stores. The white stuff you see on older baby carrots (middle-aged carrots?) is merely their cut surfaces drying out.
Instead: If you’re still worried, buy full-sized carrots and cut them down yourself. It’s cheaper anyway.

Myth: Microwaving plastic causes cancer.
Ruling: Largely false.
Why: If the plastic is meant specifically for use in a microwave, there should be no problem. This comes straight from the American Cancer Society: “[The FDA] does say substances used to make plastics can leach into foods. But the agency has found the levels expected to migrate into foods to be well within the margin of safety based on information available to the agency. As for dioxin, the FDA says it has seen no evidence that plastic containers or films contain dioxins and knows of no reason why they would.”
Instead: While I wouldn’t nuke a container unintended for the microwave (like a peanut butter jar or hummus tub), go ahead and use the other stuff. Still unconvinced? Try a glass microwaveable dish or bowl.

Myth: “If I can do this, anyone can!”
Ruling: Well…
Why: I love The Biggest Loser, largely for its central message: if the contestants can drop 5, 10, or even 15 pounds each week, us Joe Sixpacks can, too. And to a certain extent, it’s true; with the correct exercise regimen and diet, many people will lose weight over time. However (and here’s the catch), it’s highly unlikely it will be at Biggest Loser pace. BL participants shed quickly - maybe too quickly - for three reasons: first, the ranch is a closed culture. Family, friends, work, and other daily responsibilities aren’t around for distraction. Second, the BLs are in the gym eight hours a day, have their food closely monitored by the show, and receive multiple forms of psychological support. And finally, most are very large to begin with, which means they’ll lose more from week to week anyway. A 410-pound man can drop 22 pounds in a week. A 130-pound woman should not, unless she’s giving birth.
Instead: Keep watching! It’s a good show. But when it comes to your personal approach, keep in mind that moderation is everything.

Myth: A cardboard cup of Tasti D-Lite vanilla dessert contains only 40 calories.
Ruling: False.
Why: Back in 2002, the New York Times discovered it was actually between 140 and 225 calories. (Other flavors held even more.) The dessert was made differently in each store and serving sizes varied, explaining the discrepancy. As a result, Tasti had to tone down its ad campaign, and now lists all the real nutritional numbers on its website. CremaLita, a competitor, had similar false advertising issues.
Instead: Eat small portions of real ice cream, and maybe scale back on the Skinny Cow. Weight Watchers isn’t too happy with them right now.

Myth: In ten years, there will be no bananas.
Ruling: Well, maybe.
Why: In 2005, Popular Science published a piece about the potential extinction of the Cavendish banana, the varietal Americans have come to know and love/slip on in random parking lots. Writer Dan Koeppel argued the Cavendish is particularly susceptible to fungus, which would eventually wipe it out. While this may occur, it’s not expected for quite awhile. In that time, scientists could find another banana resistant to disease, as they did 50 years ago, when the Gros Michel banana was replaced by the Cavendish in supermarkets. Beyond that, a fungus presumably wouldn’t affect other kinds of bananas, of which there are dozens.
Instead: Eat apples?

Myth: If you use coupons the right way, supermarkets will owe you cash.
Ruling: Sometimes true.
Why: We’ve all seen folks like Frugal Coupon Mom on Oprah or Today. They’re the people who go grocery shopping, hand the checkout girl a few slips of paper, and come back with $25 or five free bags of groceries. And while there’s no doubt this is possible, it’s almost entirely dependent on location and time. Geographically speaking, if there’s no nearby supermarket with double or triple coupon days, you’re at an automatic disadvantage. Time-wise, you have to be prepared to devote several hours a week to couponing, making it the equivalent of a part-time job. Again, this is entirely possible, and even preferable for some families, but for most, those kind of savings simply aren’t feasible.
Instead: Shop wisely. Make a list. Buy loss leaders. Purchase food in-season. Stick to the perimeter of the supermarket. Use coupons judiciously.

And for kicks, an extra special bonus!

Myth: Everything you’ve ever read in an e-mail forward.
Ruling: Varies, but largely false.
Why: When it comes to a food forward, take it with a grain of salt. Even if it looks truthy. Even if someone writes, “I checked Snopes, and this is 100% correct!” Even if the Pope sends one to you. Because odds are 99 to 1 that it’s untrue, or at least grossly misrepresented. Onions will not protect against swine flu, Korean soup producers are not soliciting American animal shelters for ingredients, and McDonalds shakes ARE made with dairy products. (Apologies to the lactose-intolerant.)
Instead: If you want information on food or are sufficiently frightened by the contents of a forward, check Snopes or Google the matter. And speaking for all your friends and family, don’t pass on any any e-mail without verifying its accuracy first. That’s how “White House Won’t Allow Christmas Ornaments” rumors get started. (*Hits head on table*)

And that's it. Folks, the comment section is open. Or, for more fun food myths, check out some of these guys:

If you liked this article, you might also dig:
(Photos courtesy of [bellies], Flickr member terry_tu [baby carrots], and Wikimedia Commons [banana].)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CHG Asks the Internet: Fat-free Recipes for Gallbladder Surgery?

Hi everybody! Today marks the first installment of an experimental, semi-frequent advice column, CHG Asks the Internet. Alexis writes in:

Q: I just found out I have to have my gallbladder out in three weeks and my surgeon said I cannot eat any fat until then... I usually cook low-fat, but no-fat is a little daunting. Do you have a list of recipes with no fat at all in them? I plain to look through all of your recipes, but if you have a list, it would sure be easier!

A: Alexis, Mango Salsa, Chunky Applesauce, Cranberry Relish, and several of our drink recipes all have less than 0.4 grams of fat per serving, which is a good start. Beyond that, I might check FatFree Vegan Kitchen. It's absolutely friggin' loaded with fat-free dishes, and Leigh (of Veggie Might fame) is a big fan. I’m positive you’ll find something stellar in their Recipe Index.

Readers, what do you think? What are your favorite fat-free dishes? Do you know any good recipe sources for Alexis? This one's a toughy, and the comment section is wide open.

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comments, or send your query to Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

Today, the Novelty Gift Book Industry. Tomorrow, THE WORLD.

So, here’s a thing: the Husband-Elect and I wrote a book! A real book! With pages! And art! And an ISBN number and everything! And it comes out today!

It’s called The Emergency Gift Book: More Than 100 Instant Gifts to the Rescue, and it’s not about food whatsoever. But the writing is splendid (if I do say so myself) and the illustrations are even better. For more, here’s the official Amazon product description:
Are you pressed for time or prone to procrastination? Do you hate to shop? Or maybe you simply dislike shopping for other people? Emergency Gift Book to the rescue for the slacker and the stumped alike! This book contains everything you need to acknowledge family, friends, coworkers, cohabitants, and loved ones whenever a special occasion comes out of freaking nowhere. Inside you'll find IOU coupons, nifty gift card enclosures (to use instead of generic store packaging), and hilarious DIY-on-the-fly novelty gifts, all of which you can punch out and present to friends and loved ones (so much better than showing up with nothing but excuses).
We hope the book is half as much fun to read/play with as it was to write. (Because seriously, it was pretty fun.)

And that’s it! Thanks for the aside, and now back to our regularly scheduled food writing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Butternut Squash Risotto: Transcendence in a Bowl

Today on Serious Eats: Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake. Mmm ... autumn.

It’s tough avoiding cliché when attempting to explain Chez Panisse’s Butternut Squash Risotto. Not because it’s lame. Nope. Rather, it's because the dish assaults your senses, leaving them huddled in a corner, murmuring happily to themselves about how they never had it so good.

So, you gotta resort to phrases both tried and true: “best recipe ever,” springs to mind, as do “NOM,” “mmm … risotto,” and, “I would marry this food.” All of them are overused and a bit hyperbolic, but in this case, totally appropriate. Because this risotto? It’s a Sunday meal. It’s a birthday dinner. It’s something you’d make to impress the bejeezus out of your parents. And it’s cheap and relatively healthy, natch.

You’d never expect such a creamy richness from a recipe that’s less than 400 calories per serving, but that’s risotto for you. The Arborio rice gives off starch, creating a smooth texture and eliminating the need for Paula Deenesque quantities of butter. Instead, you’re only adding a few tablespoons of unsalted, plus a half cup of parmesan. It tastes positively sinful, but your soul remains miraculously clean.

Of course, if you don’t make it to eat, then make it to whiff. As a rule, sage smells like Xanadu. Sauté it with onion and white wine, and it creates an aroma Yankee Candle would kill for. I swear, while I was cooking, one of my roommates floated into the kitchen on a cloud of fragrance, Bugs Bunny-style. It was a sight.

The only drawback to the dish is that it can’t be abandoned. Risotto needs constant vigilance, so expect to be tethered to the stove for a little while. Look on the bright side, though; it’s not great for socializing, but it’s excellent for not socializing. Picture it: “Aunt Myrtle, how are you? Oh, your hiatal hernia’s been acting up again? And PBS keeps repeating the same episode of Lawrence Welk? And the America you used to know doesn’t exist anymore? I’d love to talk about it more, but my risotto needs stirring.”

In conclusion, make this. Make it now. You will win friends and influence people.


If you like this, you’ll also dig:

Butternut Squash Risotto
Makes 6 1-1/2 cup servings.
Adapted from Chez Panisse via The Wednesday Chef.

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound whole or 12 ounces cut up)
24 sage leaves
Salt and pepper
7 to 8 cups fat-free chicken (or veggie) stock
1 medium onion, diced small
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup parmesan, grated

1) Peel squash, then dice into very small (1/4- or 1/3-inch) cubes. Combine squash, a few sage leaves, 1 cup stock, and a little salt in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender (but not too soft) about 5 to 10 minutes. (You want the cubes to keep their form when they’re stirred into the risotto.) Drain and reserve liquid, just in case.

2) While squash is cooking, add the rest of the stock to another pot, bring to a simmer, and keep it there. Meanwhile, finely chop 6 large sage leaves.

3) In another, larger, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium until melted.  Add chopped sage and cook about 1 minute. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to low, add rice and a pinch of salt and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often, until rice has turned slightly translucent. Turn the heat back up to medium, and add the white wine. Once the wine has been absorbed, add enough hot stock to cover the rice. Stir well and reduce the heat back down to medium-low.

4) Gently simmer the rice, stirring occasionally, until stock is absorbed. Add another 1/2-to-3/4 cup warm stock, and stir occasionally until new stock is absorbed. Repeat the process until all the stock has been absorbed by the rice, and rice is tender. This could take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. (It took me closer to 30.)

5) While all this is going on, sauté 10 sage leaves in a 1/2 tablespoon of butter until crisp, about 30 to 60 seconds, turning once halfway through. Rest on paper towel.

6) When rice is mostly tender, add cooked squash, parmesan, and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until dairy is melted and squash is heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, using sage leaves as garnish.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
371 calories, 10 g fat, 1.4 g fiber, $1.77

1 medium butternut squash (12 ounces cut up): 153 calories, 0.3 g fat. 6.8 g fiber, $0.72
24 sage leaves: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $1.50
Salt and pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.03
7 to 8 cups fat-free chicken (or veggie) stock: 120 calories, 8 g fat, 0 g fiber, $3.00
1 medium onion, diced small: 46 calories, 0.1 g fat, 1.5 g fiber, $0.18
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter: 356 calories, 40.3 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.21
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice: 1280 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $2.49
1/2 cup dry white wine: 96 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $1.23
1/2 cup parmesan, grated: 172 calories, 11.4 g fat, 0 g fiber,
TOTAL: 2223 calories, 60.1 g fat, 8.3 g fiber, $10.72
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 371 calories, 10 g fat, 1.4 g fiber, $1.77

Friday, October 23, 2009

Top Ten Links of the Week: 10/16 – 10/22

Today launches the Megalinks in brand new Friday top ten form. While you're scrolling, don't forget to check out the honorable mentions section, a short list of other noteworthy stories and posts. It's a linkapalooza, minus the obligatory Jane's Addiction reunion.

1) Improv Everywhere: Grocery Store Musical
Years ago, I took improv comedy classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. In addition to it being the most fun thing ever, it’s where I met the Husband-Elect. (Amy Poehler will kind of be responsible for the birth of our kids, in the most roundabout way ever.) Improv Everywhere was created by UCB veteran Charlie Todd, and what they do is just wonderful. Grocery Store Musical is just their latest stroke of genius. If you have time, browse the site (especially the U2 stunt), and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

2) The Atlantic: Preparing for Gastric Bypass
If you know someone going in for bariatric surgery, forward him/her this excellent piece about communicating with medical teams. The first part (regarding complications of a particular case) is a little scary, but the rest really emphasizes the support systems needed to make the procedure a successful one. It’s as much mental as physical.

3) Culinate: How to Buy – and Share – Your Groceries in Bulk
Nice first-person account of families pooling their cash to buy organic food in bulk. Kathleen’s saving mad cash, reducing her garbage, and feeding her kids better all in one fell swoop. Nice work!

4) Huffington Post: Anthony Bourdain – Coolness Factor Wearing Thin
It’s a long, detailed, occasionally condescending argument for eating less meat disguised as an anti-Bourdain missive. And while I essentially agree with Kozloff, it seems like he might want to advocate moderation rather than rail against carnivores. P.S. If I was Bourdain reading this, I’d be most offended at the very first word: “celebrity.”

5) New York Times: A Few Cookies a Day to Keep the Pounds Away?
What John Nemet’s Cookie Diet says: Eat cookies! Get thin!
What John Nemet’s Cookie Diet forgets to say: Pay $56 a week to eat cookies! Get thin temporarily! Become viciously unhealthy! Gain every pound back the second you quit eating the cookies!

6) The Simple Dollar: Ethical Frugality Week - Free Samples
Are you obligated to buy something if you scarf a few free samples at CostCo? I say no, but that’s only because I’m usually in there to buy something anyway. The food is kind of a nice perk. If you’re doing it constantly, it’s another story. Readers?

7) Lifehacker: 10 Simple Freezer Tricks to Save You Time and Money
Want to tame freezer burn? Optimize your cooling coils? Save the information on a fakakta hard drive? Lifehacker tells all!

8) Food Politics: FDA to Clean Up Front-of-Package Mess
Oh, thank goodness. Froot Loops should not now or ever be considered a health food.

9) The Kitchn: What Foods Are Always in Your Fridge?
At Casa el CHG: milk, eggs, cheese, jam, capers, hummus, various condiments. What about you guys?

10) The Simple Dollar: Monday Mailbag
A reader wrote in to Trent regarding a Crate and Barrel advertisement, claiming the store was too expensive to be displayed on a personal finance blog. Rather than get into the ethics of blogs advertising (which I’m kind of new at), I’m gonna defend C&B for a minute. Because seriously, they have some great deals if you know where to look. A lot of their everyday glassware and smaller utensils are under $2 each, and the sales tend to be really solid. Plus, it’s always nice to give somebody a set of glasses in a C&B box, while secretly knowing you only paid $12.


Casual Kitchen: The Priming Reflex - How to Control Your Appetite (And Turn Your Back on a Million Years of Evolution)

Eat Me Daily: Food Art – ‘Eat the Art’ Group Exhibit at BHCC in Boston

Eat Me Daily: The Future of Print - The Rival Predictions of Ruth Reichl and Regina Schrambling

Epic Self: How to Master Portion Control for Life

The Kitchn: Best Quiet Snacks for Eating in Class

Money Saving Mom: Stretching Your Dollars Online With Coupons and Cashback

New York Times: Show Off Your Vegetables With Pasta

Seattle Times: Guide to the rice selection at your local market

Serious Eats: All About Curry

SFGate: Pumpkins – Going Beyond Pie

Readers, any other sweet links I missed? Feel free to add them in the comments section, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Veggie Might: Vegetarian Miso Soup

Written by the fabulous Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about all things Vegetarian.

Hi Readers! I thought of you every time I went grocery shopping or cooked a meal over the last month. I’m so happy we’re back together.

Back in June of 2008, I wrote an article about hidden meat that can trip up vegetarians and vegans, warning particularly of fish and chicken stock in soups. Blinded by my own ignorance, and probably the good-faith assurance of some waiter at some restaurant in 1991, I’ve been contentedly slurping down fishy broth at sushi joints across America, alongside my avocado rolls and edamame.

God bless the child that knows it all.

Miso soup is not vegetarian. I stumbled on this shocker last winter while reading the charming Japanese home cooking blog, Just Hungry, and I’m just getting around to sharing it.

Luckily, the mourning period was short-lived. The blog’s author, Maki, clued me in and gave me a vegetarian alternative in one fantastic post. I chose not to dwell on the amount of bonito fish flakes I must have consumed over the last 18 years.

Miso soup is made from a standard Japanese soup base called dashi, which combines water, kombu (dried seaweed), and bonito (dried fish flakes). Dashi can also be made with shitake mushrooms added to the mix.

The vegetarian/vegan version is just dashi without the bonito flakes. Yes, just two ingredients: water and kombu seaweed. I was able to score kombu at a fantastic price from a Korean grocery near my office. You can also find kombu at gourmet markets, health food stores, and larger grocery stores with a Japanese foods section.

Making dashi is an overnight process, but the soup that follows is so easy, light, and flavorful, you will want to make it by the tanker truckload. However, I must advice against that. Miso doesn’t stand up well to boiling and should be served right away. Otherwise, it gets angry and bitter.

You can add whatever veggies you like to your miso soup. I used scallions and a few button mushrooms, along with strips of the soaked kombu instead of the traditional wakame seaweed. It turned out to be too tough, so I’ve left it out of the recipe. Play around and see what you come up with. It’s a whole new fish-free world.

~ ~ ~

If you like this recipe, you might also like:
~ ~ ~

Vegetarian Miso Soup with Mushrooms
Yields 6 1-cup servings
Adapted from Just Hungry.
LEIGH NOTE: Please excuse the camera phone picture. My camera and I took an accidental swim in Lake George (brrrrr!) while canoeing a couple weekends ago. Fingers crossed it will dry out yet.

8 cups cold water
1 12” strip of kombu (wide, black seaweed)

Miso soup
8 cups of dashi
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
2 scallions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1/4 cup yellow, white, or blended miso

The dashi part
1) Soak kombu in water overnight (or at least an hour) in the refrigerator.

2) Bring to a simmer in a large heavy bottomed pot for 5–10 minutes. Do not allow it to boil.

3) Remove kombu and discard. (Or it can be saved and cooked for other dishes if desired. It’s rather leathery, otherwise.)

The miso soup part
4) Add mushrooms and scallions to dashi. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.

5) Ladle out about 1/2 cup of broth into a small bowl. Stir in miso until dissolved. Remove soup from heat and stir in miso mixture. Taste and repeat, adding more miso if desired.

6) Serve immediately alongside avocado rolls and edamame across America.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price per Serving
26 calories, 0g fat, 0.9g fiber, $.32

8 cups of dashi (12” strip of kombu + water): 0 calories, 0g fat, and 0g fiber, $.3

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Beginner’s Guide to Beans, Plus 42 Bean Recipes

Some will balk at their flavor and size. Many will have texture issues. And still others just won’t enjoy the farting.

But know this: there are few cheaper, healthier, and more versatile foods than the humble bean. Members of the legume family, beans can be found everywhere from gourmet restaurants to campfire cauldrons. They’ve been vital to the survival of certain populations, and instrumental to the development of particular cuisines. Also, they taste good.

Still, there are folks out there unfamiliar with chickpeas and pintos, kidney and black beans. And for them, CHG proudly presents the following: a breakdown of why beans are wonderful, plus 42 tried-and-true recipes in which to use them.


Low in fat, high in protein, and astronomically high in fiber, beans work beautifully as the main components of recipes, but also as fabulous alternatives to meat. This is for a few reasons: A) they create a complete protein when paired with nuts, seeds, or grains, B) their chemical composition makes you feel sated longer than a lot of other foods, and C) they have a bulky and substantial mouthfeel, so you never feel deprived. Studies have found them to be solid tools in weight loss and maintenance, and integral to the prevention of all kinds of diseases.

If that ain’t enough for you, this WebMD blurb is pretty convincing: “In a recent study, bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts -- yet they consumed 199 calories more per day if they were adults and an incredible 335 calories more if they were teenagers.” Sweet.

P.S. True to the well-known rhyme, beans make you both smartier and fartier. They contain both certain vitamins that improve brain function AND undigestable sugars, which lead to exciting intestinal activity, which leads to gas. So there you go.


Grown globally from Ethiopia to Australia, beans are some of the most plentiful - and subsequently cheapest - edibles anywhere. A pound of dried beans in Brooklyn will generally run about $1, and will produce four to six cups of food after rehydration.

Compare that to meat. In my neighborhood, a pound of chicken breast (one of the healthier animal options) runs $1.69 on sale. It shrinks slightly when cooked, ultimately producing around two cups of poultry.

Let’s do some math, then. One cup of cheap chicken is $1.69 divided by two, or $0.85. One cup of beans is $1.00 divided by five, or $0.20. Using these (incredibly) rough numbers, chicken breast is 425% the price of dried beans.

Of course, the numbers will vary by area, sales, and math skills, but you get the idea.


It’s a controversy as old as storage itself: dried or canned beans? On one hand, dried beans are universally cheaper, and widely considered to possess a creamier consistency and better overall flavor. On the other hand, canned beans aren’t terribly expensive themselves, and the taste difference is pretty negligible when you’re talking about everyday kitchen use.

The tiebreaker, then, is time. If you have the wherewithal, forethought, and 90 to 480 minutes to rehydrate a bag of dried chickpeas, you’ll be rewarded in kind. If you‘re throwing dinner together and an hour-long prep time is crazy talk, canned beans are the way to go.

It’s worth noting that if respected cooks aren’t using canned beans already (Giada DeLaurentiis, Sara Moulton, etc.), they’re starting to come around. Even die-hard dried fans like Mark Bittman have been giving props to metal dwellers recently. Meaning: don’t fear the Goya.


If you’ve ever tried chili, hummus, minestrone, Texas caviar, Mexican food, Indian food, Italian food, or, er, refried beans, you’ve already experienced the wonder of the bean. They’re omnipresent in cuisines all over the world, and come in a range of flavors and sizes that can be adapted to thousands of dishes. Here are six of the most common found in the U.S., along with a few recipe suggestions for each.

(A quick note before we get to the beans themselves: there are a zillion types of legume, and some [like the soybean] are rocketing in popularity stateside. But to keep things manageable, we’re sticking to a few big ones.)

Black Beans
Used frequently in Latin cuisines, the black bean is a small, ebony bean with an earthy flavor. I find it pairs very well with grains, and makes for a stellar soup.
Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa
Black Bean Brownies
Black Bean Burrito Bake
Black Bean Salad with Fresh Corn
Black Bean Soup
Calabacitas Burritos
Stuffed Peppers with Black Beans and Corn

Black-Eyed Peas
A terrible band, but a wonderful food, black-eyed peas are all over Southern cuisine. Like other beans, they’re great sources of fiber, folate, and protein. Unlike other beans, you will always feel like they’re looking at you.
Black-Eyed Pea (Texas) Caviar
Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas

Cannellini/White Beans
There are a ton of variations on the white bean, but I dig cannellinis in particular for their creaminess and flavor. Found in many Italian dishes, you’ll find that Microsoft Word often corrects its spelling to “cannelloni,” which is annoying.
Escarole and White Beans
Garlicky Long Beans and Beans
Grilled Zucchini with Quinoa Stuffing
Guacamole Bean Dip
Penne with Lemon, Potatoes, and Cannellini
White Bean and Tarragon Soup
White Chicken Chili
Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip

Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Without chickpeas, there would be no hummus. And without hummus, there would be no joy. Vital to Italian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines (among others), the plentiful and versatile garbanzo bean can be found in virtually every form, from dip to stew to flour (though I have yet to see a chickpea smoothie). Due to its subtle flavor and increasing ubiquity in the U.S., I like to think of the chickpea as a gateway bean; if you like it, odds are other legumes will soon follow.
Beets and Greens Curry with Chickpeas
Chickpea Salad
Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Edamame
Curry in a Hurry
Greek-Style Chickpea Salad
Lemony Light Hummus
North African-style Chickpea Salad
Pasta e Ceci
Pasta with Zucchini and Chickpeas
Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas
Pindi Chana (Spicy Chickpea Curry)
Roasted Chickpeas
Shredded Zucchini and Chickpeas Over Polenta

Kidney Beans (red and pink)
Substantive and quite large in comparison to other common legumes, kidney beans go great on salads and substitute fabulously for meat in chilis and stews. And seriously, what’s a frugal kitchen without red beans and rice?
Chili Corn Pone Pie
Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Pinto Beans (Frijoles)
Wonderful on their own and even better mashed, these pink-brown legumes claim the great honor of being the only bean my mom likes. Also, I could be talking out my neck here, but I find pintos a little sweeter than black beans and chickpeas.
Refried Beans
Swiss Chard with Pinto Beans and Goat Cheese

Multiple Beans
Each of the following recipes use more than one type of bean.
Bodega Beans (any)
Camp Stove Veggie Chili (black, kidney)
Curried Chickpeas and Black Beans (chickpeas, black)
Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili (any)
Gallo Pinto (pinto, black)
Indonesian Curried Bean Stew (chickpeas, black, kidney )
Light Leftover Turkey Chili (black, kidney)
Turkey Chili with Beans (white, pink, kidney)

And that's our ballgame. Readers, how about you? What are your favorite bean recipes?


If you like this article, you might also dig:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CHG: New and Improved!

With CHG’s relaunch comes a host of new and exciting improvements to the site. We're super-excited about them, and hope they provide y'all with a better blog experience. If you have any suggestions for more, we're always happy to hear them. In the meantime, behold!

What: A tag cloud!
Why: It’s pretty. Takes up less space than the old label list, too.

A Facebook page!
Why: All the kids have one these days.

A Twitter account! (Handle: KrisCHG.)
Why: Tryin' to keep with the times. Next, I'm planning on buying a phonograph to play records by this "Osmond Family" I keep hearing about.
Special Note: We’ll have both Facebook and Twitter buttons in the sidebar soon. (Meaning: as soon as I figure out how to do that.)

What: Stars (*) denoting vegan and vegetarian recipes in the Master Recipe List.
Why: Because vegans and vegetarians are people, too, dammit!

What: Occasional minor profanity.
Why: Hell if I know.

What: One recipe per week (Monday), plus occasional dishes from Veggie Might.
Why: Better food and burnout prevention. I discovered that coming up with two new recipes per week, plus another one for Serious Eats, could be a bit overwhelming at times. By losing one, I can concentrate more on the others, and insure a better overall culinary experience.

What: Popular Articles and Recipe Lists
Why: If my numbers are right Batman, these pieces have proven particularly useful to frugal cooks. If my numbers are wrong, the Joker’s got us cornered! BAM! THWAP!

What: Ads!
Why: I’m unemployed. Mama needs a new pair of … everything.
Special Note: Does anyone know how to get rid of ads between posts? I put them up via Blogger (not html), and now I can’t take them down. It’s driving me mad. Mad, I say!

What: Tuesdays off.
Why: $3 pints at the local alehouse. Also, laundry.

What: A Google search bar.
Why: It gives you search results without the whole article. Fancy!

What: Tuesday’s Megalinks are moving to Friday, and will become Top 10 Links of the Week. Fun quotes and videos will be added here and there, as well.
Why: The links seemed like a more natural fit as an end-of-week roundup, and condensing the list to the ten best stories should eliminate some of the slightly less engrossing features.

What: “If you like BLANK then you’ll love BLANK” At the end of each post.
Why: Who doesn’t love referrals?

What: Fiber calculations with recipes.
Why: Fiber is important! So is knowing its quantity when you’re on Weight Watchers. OP, represent!

I will be drinking more Dogfish Head Punkin Ale while typing.
Why: See #9.

Does that sound okay? What do you guys think? CHG’s always a work in progress, so thanks again for sticking around. It makes us happy in all the right ways.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash with Moroccan Spices: Back in Orange

EDITOR’S NOTE #1: Hi, sweet readers! We’re back! Thank you for being so patient during our absence. We’ll have a post on site improvements tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s get rolling with a brand spankin’ new recipe, brought to you by the fine folks at Kalyn’s Kitchen. (Meaning: Kalyn.)

EDITOR’S NOTE #2: Today on Serious Eats, I wrote of Giada DeLaurentiis’ Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip. Without exaggeration, I’d give up a kidney for a pita of this stuff. (Nope, no exaggeration there.) It’s only one Weight Watchers point per 1/3rd cup, making it way lighter than hummus. Giada wins.

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to re-emerge from a month of sloth and pondering with a recipe so fine, you won’t eat anything for the rest of the season. But first, a few things I discovered during four weeks of blog-free existence:

1) She deserved some kind of award before, but after seeing Jane Lynch on Glee, I’m pretty sure she deserves her own country.

2) This is the single best chocolate chip cookie recipe in existence. And if uninterrupted by sanity or others, I will eat an entire batch in a single sitting.

3) Employers don’t knock on your door and offer you jobs. Apparently, you have to go to them. And even then, they might not be so keen on giving you one. What’s that all about? (*weeps*)

4) Related point: when you have no workjob, the public health option suddenly seems like the greatest idea since maple bacon. Folks, if you help pass this thing, I’ll send you a cookie from bulletpoint #2 and/or a package of maple bacon.

5) Parks and Recreation is getting so good! Amy Poehler really has Leslie down now, and Chris Pratt and Nick Offerman are just plain hilarious. I’m super happy that one’s working out.

6) But The Office still wins. Case in point, compliments of Dwight K. Schrute: “R is among the most threatening of sounds. That’s why it’s called ‘murder’ instead of ‘mukduk’.”

7) Wow. I’m watching a lot more TV now.

8) Writer’s block? No problem! Put Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” on repeat, and don’t stop it until you have a few paragraphs typed out. If you can resist amputating your own ears with a #2 pencil, your productivity will increase tenfold.

9) Watching an hour of Barefoot Contessa per day is not conducive to fitting into one’s wedding dress. Ina, we gotta talk. (Call me!)

10) Oh, yeah. A lot more TV.

Anyway, it’s been an educational month. Mayhaps the best part, however, has been the cooking. I was a tiny bit burned out last time we spoke/read/wrote/communicated via pixels, but lately, it’s been good times in the CHG kitchen. I’m in such a felicitous mood culinarily, someone could sneak a jar of mayo into my fridge, and I’d only maim him instead of full-on mukduk.

Kalyn’s Roasted Butternut Squash with Moroccan Spices is one of the reasons for this rejuvenation. Warm and sweet with a very subtle spiciness, it’s a nice twist on regular roasted squash. You can smell it cooking in every corner of your house, and each bite evokes autumn in the best possible way. (Meaning: cool weather, gorgeous colors, and cinnamon-y smells. Not: rotting leaves and local delinquents toilet papering your house.) At 113 calories a serving, that's a good deal.

If you fear for your limbs when butchering a butternut squash, go ahead and buy it pre-chunked. It’s slightly more expensive, but still less costly than a hospital trip. Just make sure the cubes are patted down for moisture before you mix it with the oil and spices.

And that’s that. It’s good to be back, everybody. Here’s to tomorrow.


If you like this recipe, you might also like:

Roasted Butternut Squash with Moroccan Spices
Makes 4 side servings.
Adapted ever-so-slightly from Kalyn’s Kitchen and Fine Cooking.

4-5 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about one 2-lb squash)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Spice Mix (makes enough for 1 or 2 batches of roasted veggies):
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. chile powder
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/16 tsp. cayenne pepper
pinch of ground cloves

1) Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line a roasting pan with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.

2) Peel butternut squash (or cut off skin if you don’t have a decent peeler) and chop off ends. Scrape out seeds, and cut squash into 3/4- or 1-inch cubes.

3) Toss squash well with olive oil, salt, pepper, and spice mix, making sure everything is pretty evenly distributed. You can double the spice mix if you like, too, especially if you’re using older spices. (I did this with half the batch and it came out well.)

4) Spread squash out on pan, and roast anywhere from 30 – 50 minutes, or until sides are brownish and squash is soft. (Mine only went for 30, but I cut the pieces a little smaller.)

5) Season with kosher salt and serve hot.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
113 calories, 4.7 g fat, 3.3 g fiber, $0.45

4-5 cups butternut squash: 284 calories, 0.6 g fat, 12.6 g fiber, $1.52
4 teaspoons olive oil: 158 calories, 17.9 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.15
1/2 tsp. kosher salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber: $0.01
Freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber: $0.01
1 tsp. ground cumin: negligible calories, fat, and fiber: $0.02
1/2 tsp. ground coriander: negligible calories, fat, and fiber: $0.01
1/4 tsp. chile powder: 2 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, $0.01
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika: 2 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, $0.01
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon: 2 calories, 0 g fat, 0.3 g fiber, $0.01
1/8 tsp. ground allspice: 1 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.02
1/8 tsp. ground ginger: 1 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.01
1/16 tsp. cayenne pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber: $0.01
pinch of ground cloves: negligible calories, fat, and fiber: $0.01
TOTAL: 450 calories, 18.7 g fat, 13.3 g fiber, $1.80
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 113 calories, 4.7 g fat, 3.3 g fiber, $0.45

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Final Countdown (Do Da Do Dooo)

Hey everybody! We're officially back Monday the 19th, so keep your eyes peeled.

In the meantime, if you have a hankering for inexpensive, healthy food, check out The 25 Best Laughably Cheap Recipes at Casual Kitchen. Just reading it will make you wicked hungry.

See you in a few days!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CHG Grand Re-Opening, Coming Soon

Readers! Hi there! How have you been? Things are lovely over here. I got to see rhinos fighting a few weeks ago, so that was pretty sweet.

Beyond that, there's news! CHG is looking to start up again in another week or two. It should be plenty of time to get some housekeeping done, and juuuust enough time to emotionally recover from tonight's Office. (Yay Pam and Jim! I haven't been this excited over a TV event since they introduced "B" on Sesame Street.)

They'll be a few improvements upon CHG's return, including more in-depth posts, increased user friendliness, and at least marginally better photos. Alas, we'll also be coming back with ads. Though I aspired to be the Fugazi of food blogging, an extended period of employment inactivity has necessitated the monetization the site. (That's fancy talk for, "I gotta make some dough, lest I end up panhandling for Cheetos on Flatbush Avenue.") We'll try to make them as ethical and aesthetically pleasing as possible. Unlike, say, these.

So - hooray! I'm looking forward to getting back to business, and hearing from y'all about frugal, nutritious cooking. It's gonna be good times.

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