Aug 232014
 

Hello, and welcome to this edition of cooking with Liquid, where we learn how to create tasty dishes on a frugal budget 😀 Today we will prepare a simple quinoa recipe.

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For those who have never heard of quinoa before it’s pronounced (KEEN-wah.) You can buy it at places like Whole Foods, Costco, and even Walmart. Today I’ll use the organic quinoa from Costco that comes in a 4 pound green bag for $18. It works out to be $4.5/lb.

Ingredients:
1 cup of quinoa (170 grams)
1 carrot
1/4 cup of spinach

1 cup of quinoa = $1.70
Carrot + spinach = $0.50
Total Recipe Cost: $2.20 

Cooking Instructions:
1) Cut vegetables into small pieces
2) Mix all the ingredients in a pot or saucepan, along with 2.5 cups of water
3) Close the lid and cook over the stove top on medium heat for 20 minutes

Est voila 😀 Just remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and bon appétit! Add salt and pepper to taste or use your own choice of seasoning. Quinoa is tasteless so it can be flavored any way you like.

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This recipe makes 2 servings so it’s a great meal for two, or it makes two meals for one 🙂 Each serving contains about 350 calories. You can mix in some pumpkin seeds for some extra crunch, or add 1 tablespoon of honey for a sweeter taste. You may also add blueberries, banana slices, oats, cooked beans, mixed nuts, cucumber, and other veggies. Quinoa is very versatile and pretty much goes with anything 😀

Quinoa is full of essential nutrients 🙂 One cup of uncooked quinoa has 24 grams of protein (the complete kind) which is about half the recommended daily value. It also contains calcium, folate, magnesium, 12 grams of dietary fiber, and 43% of the recommended daily intake of iron. Hipsters like quinoa because it’s gluten free and vegan friendly. Quinoa is also high in riboflavin which helps reduce headache pains for migraine sufferers by improving the metabolism in their brain and muscle tissues. Quinoa also has complex carbohydrate with low glycemic index which is good for weight management. So whether you’re looking for protein, iron, or just a cheap and nutritious meal, quinoa has something for everyone. At just $1.10 per serving it’s one of the most affordable super foods around 😀

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Random Useless Fact:
The word for the day after tomorrow is overmorrow.

 

Jun 112014
 

Long time readers will know that I like to share practical ways to save money that you won’t find on any other finance blog 🙂 Well I hope you like frugal recipe ideas, because today I will show you the Toast Sandwich recipe. This classic recipe dates back to the Victorian era. Invented in the 19th century in the UK, the toast sandwich recipe is known for being the cheapest lunchtime meal ever. In 2011 Britain’s scientists from the Royal Society of Chemistry cited the cost of each sandwich to be just 7.5 UK pence, which is about 13 cents US.  Jesus Crust that is cheap! 😯 It’s also ridiculously simple to prepare and find the ingredients for. So let’s get started!

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The toast sandwich recipe

Ingredients:
bread
butter
salt
Cooking Instructions:
1) Spread butter on a slice of bread
2) Add salt to taste and toast the bread
3) Place the toast between two other slices of bread

And that’s how you make a toast sandwich. 😀 Below is a picture of one I just made. For a healthier twist, I used whole wheat instead of plain white bread. Total cost was about $0.25.

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This frugal recipe is a smashing success! It tastes surprisingly good for what it is 🙂 The crunchiness of the toast combined with the soft texture of the bread actually works well together. The savoriness from the salt helps to bring out the flavors of the toast and melted butter. I would say it’s a bit on the dry side. But it’s more filling than a salad, so its got that goin’ for it, which is nice 😉  Overall I give this recipe 4 out of 5. 😀 You can’t really ask for a better dish for the price of literally a quarter!

Cent for cent this is the best value money can buy, which makes it an ideal recession food. This traditional toast sandwich recipe has been passed down by frugal British families for generations. And now you know it too! So the next time you feel a bit peckish but have run out of eggs and mayo there’s no knead to sulk and loaf around. 😛 Just make yourself a toast sandwich! Om nom nom (゜∀゜)

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Random Useless Fact: 

According to recruiting company Simply Hired the average bread scientist makes $47,000 USD a year

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Dec 052011
 

It’s December and feels like winter is here. But one benefit of living in an apartment is that my unit is pretty much a box with 5 of its 6 sides touching either someone else’s unit, or the hallway. Which means I don’t have to turn on my baseboard heaters during Winter. This takes no work on my part, and it saves money. Here is a historic look at my energy bill, taken from my electricity provider’s website. (BC Hydro)

 hydro_bill_2011    My usage has been fairly consistent over the last couple of years. No spikes during winter months. By not turning on the heat, even in January, my utility bill year round is really predictable. Even though it’s currently 0° C (32° F) outside, it’s actually a cozy 20° C (68° F) inside. I have to wear more than a t-shirt, but clothes from my closet are free. I’m basically leeching off my neighbors’ electricity (which they pay for)  by absorbing some of their heat through the walls, ceiling, and floor, (but don’t tell them.) This is part of how I’m able to save and invest half my net income.

In the chart above, I used about $22 worth of energy back in Feb 2010. Since then rates have gone up, and BC Hydro wants to further raise electricity rates by 16% over the next 3 years! Inflation can be a pain. But I’d rather save some money now so I can afford a warmer place in the future when I have kids, since utility bills might be twice as expensive by then. Plus, saving energy is better for the environment. Think of all the beavers and polar bears.

Criteria:
*This probably wont work if you’re living with other people.
*Helps if you’re a Canadian. We’re use to cold weather. 
*Won’t work if you live in a house because all sides of a detached home are fully exposed to the cold (brrr)




Estimated Annual Savings by never turning on the heat:$100 (depending on size/location of home)

Sep 272011
 

Here is another tip I use to save money by actually doing less work. 

People do laundry because our clothes get dirty. And the only reason they get dirty or sweaty is because we wear them. So the less they are worn the less they have to be washed. If you are like me and only spend about 10 hrs a day outside your home, and 7 hrs in bed, then consider spending the remaining 7 hrs you’re at home, in your undergarments only. 


By limiting the time you are dressed to only the necessary 10 hrs a day where society can see you, you can cut your clothing exposure by 7 hrs a day, and limit the opportunity (10 hrs instead of 17) for your clothes to get dirty/smelly/oily. Therefore, you can reduce the frequency of doing your laundry by more than 40%

Criteria: You must either live by yourself, like me, or live with people who don’t mind you walking around in your underpants (parents, boyfriend, etc.) In Vancouver, even though it’s almost October my room temperature is still in the mid 20s, and I don’t yet have the heat turned on. If you don’t live in an apartment or otherwise warm surrounding, consider doing this for the summer months only, if temperature permits.


Estimated annual time saved on doing laundry? 6 Hours

Estimated annual savings? $36

*Additional benefits: Making our world a greener place. Your clothes won’t wear or fade as quickly. And if you like to hang your clothes up to dry, this is a huge time saver.

Feb 112011
 

Here is one way I like to save money without doing any extra work. This may not be suitable for everyone depending on their views towards personal hygiene. Like a lot of people, I like to wash my hands after I’ve been out for most of the day. So after a meal at home, usually dinner, I leave the dirty dishes in the sink. When I come home from work the next day I wash those dishes right away. When the dishes are clean, so are my hands. So I don’t have to then go use the washroom sink to wash my hands separately with hand soap.

Estimated annual time saved on hand washing? 2.5 Hours
Estimated annual savings on hand soap? $3.00
Not much, but the money will add up over the years if you invest it and take advantage of compounding growth.