Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I was recently asked:

"I have been drooling over most of the stuff on your blog, and I know you are a big believer in OAMC... so would you mind if I asked you some questions?

1. Where do you get your recipes? From the blogs on your site, books, combo? Any particular book/website you really recommend?

2. Do you only go grocery shopping once a month? Or is that just for the main ingredients- you still go for fruits/veggies etc.

3. On average, how much does the big shopping trip cost? (I know you're really good at shopping sales, but a general idea would be nice.)

4. Do you *need* a chest freezer to save everything you've made, or would a regular sized side-by-side freezer work? (On your blog you said it could fit, but I'd love an updated opinion juuuust to be sure!)

5. What are you favorite recipes? I've read most of the updates and ratings, but a quick list would be great.


1. I now get most of my recipes from regular cookbooks and allrecipes.com, as I found that making a bunch of brand new recipes lead to a lot of failures. And eating food we don't like sucks. I started with this book: Once A Month Cooking. It gave a great overview of the process, but I really didn't care for a lot of the actual recipes. DH is also really fussy, which makes it more challenging. I did one full set of their cooking to get the hang of it, and now I can just do my own thing.

2. Gosh no. I go shopping once a week and have zero aspirations to do it once a month. I go once before a big cooking session, but one of my "once a month" sessions usually lasts 3-4 months as we don't eat those meals every day. Usually on the weekends, we cook fresh. On Thursday, we make pizza. The frozen meals are just for busy days and lazy days. If you do want to try once a month shopping, the book "America's Cheapest Family" does outline how.

3. I've only costed it once. I spent $130 on the groceries, and the servings per recipe ranged from 4 to 10. Average cost/serving was about $1.75. It will vary based on what you make - lentil based dishes are cheaper than chicken breasts. So it depends what you like.

4. If you freeze things flat in freezer bags, you can fit an incredible amount in a small space. I would eat your freezer down a bit in the weeks leading up to freezing a bunch of meals, and you could stick to fewer recipes (I usually do 10-12; you could start with 5-6).

5. Lasagna, Sloppy Joes, Chicken Souvlaki, Grilled Fish, Beef Sandwiches Au Jus, Blackened Chicken (or Salmon), BBQ Pulled Pork, Aztec Quiche, Pizza Dough (made weekly on Sunday, frozen for Thursday), Chicken in Enchilada Sauce. Whew! Those are the definite winners I would happily eat again and again. Yes, they're all meaty. We're carnivourous. I make an effort to serve with a salad or veggie side.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Two Bite Brownies

Two Bite Brownies

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease 24 mini-muffin cups (or an 8 x8 pan).
In a large bowl, mix:
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar

6 tbsp cocoa powder (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
Mix well.

2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
Mix well again.

Use heaping teaspoons to fill mini muffin cups. Bake 10-12 min (watch carefully). For 8 x8 pan, bake 25 min.

This was my break-in recipe for my new mini muffin pans, and they are at least as tastey as the scarily shelf stable store bought variety. This is my go-to brownie recipe because I always have all the ingredients and it takes five minutes to mix up a batch.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Treats: Caramel, White Chocolate, and Milk Chocolate Popcorn

This is what I made this year for people I want to give small gifts to... in my family, that means cousins, aunts, and uncles mostly. I spend a lovely couple of hours with a friend, and we each got 14 bags to give away. We made a double batch of white and milk chocolate, and a single of the caramel (or about 1 cup of unpopped popcorn per type). The cost, including ribbon and bags, was less than $10 each. My favorite is the milk chocolate, but my friend preferred the white.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  3. Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.
Milk Chocolate Popcorn
  1. Preheat oven to 300F degrees.
  2. Grease a large roasting pan.
  3. Combine popcorn and nuts in prepared roasting pan.
  4. Combine morsels, corn syrup and butter in a medium, heavy-duty saucepan.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.
  6. Pour over popcorn and toss well to coat.
  7. Bake, stirring frequently for 30 to 40 minutes.
  8. Loosen popcorn from pan and allow to cool slightly in pan.
  9. Remove to a wax paper lined cookie sheet to cool completely.
White Chocolate Popcorn

2 cups white chocolate dipping wafers
1/2 cup popcorn (measured unpopped), air popped

  1. Pop popcorn.
  2. Melt white chocolate wafers in glass measuring cup in microwave.
  3. Pour white chocolate over popcorn. Stir well.
  4. Spread on wax paper lined cookie sheets. Allow to harden.
Update to anyone planning to try these: 2 weeks later, they all still taste great. The chocolate and caramel are still very crispy. The white chocolate has more of a soft texture, but has been well loved.

I just may repeat this next year.