Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cash Rules Everything Around Me (especially @ Disney)

Visited Disneyland for the Kid's graduation and Elias (Thing 1's kid) turns 5 in July, so we celebrated that, too!
We just got back from the land of Disney so obviously we have Mickey on the brain. We wanted to give you guys some tips before you go to save you some dough. 

First off, let’s get this straight: you can NOT have the mindset of saving money while on vacation. You can spend your money wisely, but you save money to go on vacation…not the other way around.

We go to Disneyland often (3-4 times a year), and try to go to Walt Disney World every 2 years.  My family and I have Premier Annual Passes to all Disney parks in America, (not to be confused with a Premium Annual Pass that can only be used in just Disneyland/DCA or WDW).  The reason we decided on the Premier Passes was because they were cheaper than buying a Premium Pass at Disneyland and 7 day-park hopper tickets at WDW (which is how many days we were planning on going anyway).

When to go: Time is MONEY! Plan to go in the off-peak season. Usually during September, October, first 3 weeks in November are great times to go for weather, price, and low-crowd reasons. (Except EPCOT- they've got the Food and Wine Festival going on then.)

Transportation: Book your flight within 5-6 months of the trip, if you plan to fly. Wait for deals, and book on a Tuesday or Wednesday. We rarely fly since we live in Northern California, but definitely for WDW. Southwest and JetBlue are the best airlines if you are flying from Northern California. Virgin also recently started doing nonstop flights to WDW from SFO. (BIG Tip: Sign up to get emails from airlines, they notify you of the great deals right when they are posted on the website!)

Hotels: I (Thing 1) touched on this in a previous post, but just in case you missed it:
  • "When booking a hotel room, keep these things in mind: distance from the parks, amenities like free breakfast, and parking fees. For instance, if you are going to pay for a hotel room that is just alright, but have to pay 14 dollars for parking, you might as well book the moderate room that is 10 dollars more a night with free parking and breakfast. It'll save you money in the long run. I also use tripadvisor to view the rooms and get traveler reviews." 
  • Again, I would definitely go during off-season. I use hotels.com a lot, too. I like them because they usually have great prices. When finding a great deal on hotels.com, always double-check the hotel website itself or call them. Sometimes they have specials and can be cheaper than hotels.com. When calling, mention you have AAA or you are an annual pass holder to see if there are any more discounts. Personally, I like to pay for my hotel room upfront so I don’t have to worry about it when it comes time for the vacation.
My personal recommendations:
  • AAA discounts: Tropicana Inn and Suites- The location is amazing! Literally right out of the gates of Disneyland. They have big, clean rooms with refrigerators and microwaves (big plus for our BIG family). The pool is a bit small, but a heated pool nonetheless. Tip: If you will be traveling with a stroller, request a room on the bottom floor.
  • Annual Passport Discount: Howard Johnson- They have a DEEP discount for pass holders! The location is awesome and about 2 city blocks from the park. They have refrigerators in their rooms, too. Tip: The pool is AMAZING! It has a pirate ship themed slide and kid area. Very clean and decent sized rooms. Definitely must stay there during the summer!
Side note: On occasion, you can find some pretty good deals with your pass at the resort hotels. But even with the discount, it can be pretty steep in price.
  • With no discounts: The Anabella Hotel. We stayed there on our last trip for the first time. The hotel is a bit out of the way, but it is still in walking distance (You can walk behind DCA and enter through the Grand Californian Hotel). The room had a fridge, but unfortunately no microwave. The Anabella has a large pool area with tons of seating and hot tub. (P.S. They have a sick Happy Hour. Try the Citrus Night and ceviche!)
Tickets: Ticket prices just went up drastically! I'm not sure we can afford to buy the annual passes this year, but if you plan on going more than 7 days, you might as well. If you live in California, Disney offers a payment plan on Disneyland/DCA passes, so take that into consideration when you do make your purchase. Also, consider purchasing tickets at AAA. This is the only place now that gives a great discount. (If you don’t have AAA, I'd grab a membership. It pretty much pays for itself just on tickets alone. And really? What if your damn car breaks down?) Other ways can be kinda shady, like Craigslist, eBay or “renting” tickets. When buying tickets, keep in mind to plan long term. If you are going more than 7 days in a year to any park: buy a pass. (Be a thinker, not a stinker.)

Souvenirs: I buy t-shirts, stuffed animals, and other cool items at Disney Shopping before the trip and hide them so the kids don’t see them. They sell the same products that you would find in Disneyland at least 20% off. Always google “free shipping” coupon codes before submitting your purchase. It's always worth a shot.

Food: Must have food in Disneyland/DCA
  • Churros (cart)
  • Pineapple Dole whip (Adventureland next to the Tiki Room)
  • Beignets (Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney)
  • Plaza Inn fried chicken (Disneyland Main Street)
  • Clam Chowder in a Boudin sourdough bread bowl  (DCA Pacific Wharf  Cafe or River Belle Terrace in DL)
  • Chimichangas (Cart)
  • Bengal BBQ skewers (Adventureland)
  • NEW! Hand Dipped Ice Cream Bar (Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream on Buena Vista St. in DCA)
  • NEW! Cozy cones: chili and chicken verde (Cozy Cone Motel in CARSLAND!)

Chili Cone Queso!

Thing 1 (left) and Thing 2 (right) with our cones.
(See? We really are asian!)
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions, comments, and/or suggestions. I would love to hear from all of you.

A dream is a wish your heart makes,

aka Cinder-skrilla &

helped out a bit, as well.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blogathon Wrap-Up #blogathon2

The Biannual Blogathon Bash was really fun and interesting!

I wasn't sure about it, since I'm a noob, but everyone was super kind and helpful (especially on Facebook). There was never any pressure to keep up or do more (or anything, really)…which in turn, made me want to do it all. I found some things that were really valuable, and plan to use in the future with all of my writing endeavors.

I dedicated 16-18 hours between June 22 and June 25th. In that time, I did:
  • a few mini-challenges
  • signed up for certain beneficial networks
  • signed up for Rocks and Roses
  • signed up for Foodie Penpal
  • learned how to make a recipe printable (!!!!)
  • entered a couple contests
  • caught up on 1/5 blog posts (3/5 are half-written. I have to send them off to Thing 1 to go collabo on them)
  • and primped the blog a bit! (See: added informational links on Thing 1 and I -------------->
  •  <------------- tweet button, and a few homies -------------->) 
All in all, a very enriching and learning experience, super glad to have had it.

I guess I forgot to add the wrap-up entry, oh well! Done and done!

Thanks again, Kathleen, and Xenia for letting me know about it. Can't wait til the next one :)

Onward and upward,

PS Thanks for the compliments on my handwriting! LOL!

Repurposing Food: Bananas into Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

My niece, Camryn, friggin' loves bananas. Every single time I take her to the grocery store with me, she asks for them. I bought her banana jam from our local orchard and she was ecstatic. She consumes them in any way, shape, or form. What I'm trying to say is, I almost always have a shitload of bananas in my house. Sometimes she eats them all, and sometimes Cam "forgets", or so she says. Whatever.

So, you know I hate wasting food. Currently, we have two bananas that are crazy over ripened and two is not really enough to make anything. I'll end up freezing those two until I come across some more forgotten bananas. Yes, it's okay to freeze certain fruits without any detriment. Nanners are one of them. My favorite thing to make out of bananas is banana bread. Chocolate chip banana bread, to be specific. If I have enough ingredients, I'll make one plain and one with chocolate chips. (How many times do you think I can say "bananas" in one post?)

My bud, Dahlia, of Makita Studio (holla!), mentioned that she made this recipe on instagram one day. I had the ingredients so I decided to try it out. Sidenote: I did not try this specific one out. I almost always end up changing at least half of the ingredients because I either a) don't like 'em or b) don't feel like using them. What's funny is I posted a pic of my finished product to her, said I changed a bunch of stuff, and she said she did, too! Haha!

Here is my adapted recipe:

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(Yield: 2 loaves or 24 regular sized muffins)
Print this recipe

  • In the oven, gettin' a tan.
    • 1 cup butter, unsalted and softened
    • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
    • 1/4 c. honey
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise <----WTF? NO.
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla (the real extract, not "vanilla flavoring")
    • 2 tablespoons buttermilk 
    • 6 super ripe bananas (I'm talkin black peel ripened), mashed
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or however the hell many you want, optional
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, completely optional (especially since I hate walnuts. Try pecans!)

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl. Set aside.

    • In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl down. Add bananas, buttermilk, and honey. Blend the flour mixture into the banana mixture; stir slowly and just enough to evenly combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
    • Fill loaf pans or muffin tins until 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (Tip: or when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean) about 50 minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes, depending on your oven.

  • Important things to remember:
  • DON'T OVER MIX! You'll end up with rubbery banana bread and that's gross. (If you'd like to know why, ask me in the comments.)

  • Tip: Create an even split top on your banana bread by running a butter knife or a small offset spatula down the center after panning, but prior to baking. Creating the divot will allow the bread to rise evenly. (You'd still end up with a split top if you didn't do this, but you don't know where exactly it will split.) Also, remember to rotate pans mid-bake.

  • Another tip: Don't have buttermilk? Use regular milk and lemon juice. (The ratio is usually 1 oz lemon juice per every 8 oz milk; In this case, you'd want 1 tablespoon 2 teaspoons of buttermilk, 1/2 tsp. lemon juice. Mix together and let sit for a few minutes, then add.) 

  • Cool loaf or muffins in the pan until cool to the touch, move to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve with honey butter (1/4 c. honey, 2 sticks unsalted butter…whip until combined!) or jam, preserves. Anything your little heart desires.

  • You should come out with something looking like this:

  • or this:
    Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (atop some rouge velvets that I made for my friend's birthday!) Sorry, I forgot to take a pic before wrapping them up. I was rushing to hop on a plane to Vegas! Oops. Anyway...
    Bon app├ętit or whatever,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Biannual Blogathon Bash 2012 #blogathon2

I'm pretty sure it was Xenia, of raisedbyculture, that mentioned the Biannual Blogathon Bash, a twice-annual blogging marathon, to me. As a new (public) blogger, I thought it would be a fun way of gettin' 'er done. Thus, here is the list of what I hope to accomplish this weekend!

blogathon to do list
Please excuse the chicken scratch.

Guess I can cross that first one off, yeah? Here we go.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

We're going to see the Mouse!

Greetings from "The Happiest Place on Earth"!!! I wanted to share some time and money saving tips with ya that I have learned along the way. There are some websites dedicated to this type of thing, but can be so overwhelming.

Tip #1: Plan your trip, waaaayy in advance to get the best prices on hotels and airfare. Beware of packages, they cost more than buying everything separate. But if you need that free lanyard then by all means... Lol

Tip #2: When booking a hotel room, keep these things in mind: distance from the parks, amenities like free breakfast, and parking fees. For instance, if you are going to pay for a hotel room that is just alright, but have to pay 14 dollars for parking, you might as well book the moderate room that is 10 dollars more with free parking and breakfast. I also use www.tripadvisor.com Gto view the rooms and get people's reviews on it.

Tip #3: If you park far or you walked to the park, invest in a locker. You don't want to waste your time trying to go back to the car and/or hotel just to get your jackets or snacks. They are decent priced and available for your use all day. (I do suggest leaving jackets in hotels if you are going back to take a nap or for an afternoon swim!)

Tip #4: Fast passes are your friend. Use them wisely. Once you get one for a ride, you are not able to get another one until the time on the pass is up.

Tip #5: If you are buying coffee in the park, buy it at Disneyland's Marketplace on Main Street. Save the receipt and you will be able to get free refills all day. Also, for the coffee conisseur. Disneyland has its own blend.

Tip#6: Ride all of the rides in Fantasyland after the parade or fireworks. There will be short waits!

These are all the tips I have just used! Enjoy. I tend to go to Disneyland frequently. Like 4-5 times a year. If you have any questions, or need a specific tip on traveling with kids, teenagers, or adults...let me know. Don't be afraid to shoot me an email. I have also stayed in lots of hotels around the area, so ask away!


Save Dollars at Disneyland- Food and Beverage Edition

With ticket prices on the rise to enter the happiest place on earth, it can be hard to enjoy yourself if you're so strapped for cash once you get in there.

Here is a huge tip for saving dough on your vacation to Disneyland, World, or any lesser theme park, really. As you already know, we roll deep. This trip we are a group of 8-12 people. Disney sells a 16.9 oz water for $3.50. YOU COULD BUY A WHOLE CASE OF WATER FOR THAT MUCH!

So, DO IT. Carry them bootches in your stroller.

Better yet, get these:

We must've saved probably $100-200 on water alone last time we went to Walt Disney World just by investing in those bottles. PLUS, we stayed super bossy and hydrated. The heat in Orlando (and Anaheim) is no joke! (BTW: I lived in FL for almost two years while working for the Mouse!) Every restaurant gives out free water, as well. (Not the outdoor food carts though, unfortunately.)

Tip: Bring two waters per person (if your kids can handle carrying two waters. Ours have little SF Giants backpacks to hold their goods.) Standing in line is a little mundane sometimes, but it still takes a lot of out you on a hot day. Stock up. It's summer, dude.

The Kid having an apple fruit leather while waiting in line for the new Matterhorn!
Sidenote: If you decide to buy a case of water, do yourself a favor and plan ahead. With your two bottles, fill one water bottle almost to the brim, and throw it in the freezer overnight. (If you're using your Brita, don't freeze the top, just in case. I don't know how the filter would react to freezing. Anyway, keep refilling your ice bottle with your non-ice bottle. Cold water all day. You're welcome. Super-side note: You could even go the extra mile and see if a water filter will fit in your hotel room.

And snacks, man! You could save a ton of money (and probably an inch or two on the waist) if you bring waters, Gatorade, cherries, and fruit leather like we did on this trip. Thing 1 is always saying how great it is to save money, without skimpin on quality. It's especially true here, honestly. Always know what you're putting in your body. Just because it costs more doesn't always necessarily mean it's better (or better for you.)

Lastly, please excuse the lack of posting. Thing 1 and the rest of my family are too busy having a friggin BLAST!! Carsland just opened and it's sick. Definitely a must see! Anyway, hope you all get to see it at some point, even if you're not a fan of the movie or Disney. They know what they're doing, I swear. Well done, Imagineers!

Have a magical day,

PS THANK YOU for all the page views, y'all! The contest is really gettin' on, so get in there while you can. Scroll back a few entries to see how you can enter the "Junk in my Trunk" contest! :)

PPS Here's a pic of Thing 1 taking my advice and me showing off the label of my fav flavor: ripened raspberry! They sell these at the park, as well. (Though we got ours at Costco for a fraction of the price- WINNING!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Got { T } Pain?

Hey there, homie!

   Heard you got a pain in your neck and it's not your baby mama/daddy. I am sorry, Bro, but I got a solution for you:
     Take pain reliever aids. Notice I didn't say, "Tylenol, Advil or Motrin"? That's because I don't buy them. I buy the generic form or store brand. If you look at the ingredients they are the exact same dosages, just in different packaging,  and at times DOUBLE the price! So why not save some dough, and buy the cheaper one?

     The same goes for any type of over-the-counter pills. This is just my opinion and observation. Please consult a doctor...yada..yada..yada...yada... I might be Asian, but I'm not a nurse.

Per the FDA website:[The] FDA firmly believes that generic drug products that have gone through the approval process can be used with the full expectation that consumers will receive the same benefits from generics as they do from brand name equivalents.

"Got my mind on my money and money on my mind." (But I definitely don't have a headache because I just saved money on my pills!)

50 Cent richer,

Thing 1

The "Junk in my Trunk" Contest

All right, here's the deal. I am in the process of redecorating my room. I have found so much random stuff. But alas, I'd like to make my random stuff YOUR random stuff.

I was going to start with just sending out an extra Hellogoodbye album that I found in my sock drawer. I purchased a bunch of them when they were on sale for times like these. (It's an awesome summer album! I love them!) But Thing 1 mentioned last night that Justin Halpern of @shitmydadsays recently did a giveaway since he has a new book out, I Suck at Girls. He gave away something like a box of condoms and his new book. Genius.

Now, I'm not promising any prophylactics, but we're turning it into more of a grab bag situation. The Hellogoodbye CD may or not be in this lovely package. We'll value it at $20, I guess.

(will run for two weeks: starting NOW until June 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm)

Un. To become eligible:

- Follow us on Blogger. Comment on any or all posts.
- Share a link to a post on Facebook (tag one of us so we can see it)
- Follow us on twitter and hashtag #thefrugalasians or @thefrugalasians when you link a post.
- Email us at thing1@thefrugalasians.com or thing2@thefrugalasians.com and give us a money-saving tip or your favorite budget-friendly recipe, we'll feature it if we feel like it!
- Pin one or more of our posts. 
- Follow one of our other blogs: Beyondtheballs (Thing 1) and @212degrees (Thing 2)

Deux. Don't be a jerk and email us if you haven't done any of these things. It's just not nice, and I will find out and send you a lump of coal. (HOW'S THAT FOR A GRAB BAG?!?) Friends, relatives, randoms are eligible to play along (mainly because I hate not being eligible to win cool shit just because I'm related to someone…and don't worry, we don't play favorites). Make sure we have a way of contacting you! At the end of your comment, leave your email, twitter, etc.

Trois. Have fun with it! Basically, pimp us out somehow and you could win something fun AND FREE! Pick your fav (if you have one), and let us know what you're up to! I know we're going to have a blast with these grab bags. If this goes well, we'll do another one, and another one…BONUS: Become eligible more than once by posting on multiple platforms, we'll give you double entries. Because we can.

Winner will be picked by opening up the following windows: twitter, pinterest, blogger, email, closing our eyes, and picking a platform first. Then, spinning around ten times then pointing at the screen thus deeming the winner. 

Hey, this is serious business and fair is fair.

 We will be in touch with the winner shortly after the deadline. I'm sure there's legal mumbo-jumbo that's suppose to go here, but we'll keep it light and fluffy for now. Oh, no purchase necessary. (Right? That's always at the beginning of the fine print!)

Happy cooking/shopping/pinning/tweeting whatever you're doing today!

(May the odds be ever in your favor.)

(Yeah, I just quoted The Hunger Games.)


Repurposing Food (aka Making Stuff out of Leftovers)

So, you've met Thing 1, huh? She is a PIECE, I swear!

Anyway, as she and I've explained, there's many a mouth to feed in this household. I try as hard as I can to make sure nothing goes to waste because it literally pains me when I have to throw something away.

Two of my most common repurposing situations include leftover baguette and leftover sauces. (Usually, these are the things that people throw away immediately if not consumed. No one likes stale bread and what's the point of keeping a sauce if the item it came with is gone?) Most say "garbage", and I'm like, "SCORE!" What's that saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure?"

Anyway, my leftovers went from this:

Stale bread (cubed)  tossed with a crapload of parm, Newman's Own salad dressing, salt, pepper, parsley flakes, garlic powder, and fresh garlic. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400, checking mid-bake and giving 'em a little flip.

After you do that, you end up with this:

CROUTONS! Literally everything is so much cuter in a jar, too. Yesssss.

I experimented with this batch, as I usually do every batch. I've yet to find a consistent combination that I am willing to use over and over again…because everything in my pantry and fridge is also inconsistent. But again, if it was, that'd be totally unfun. I usually use some type of oil, mainly extra-virgin olive oil from Trader Joe's or one from my local orchard so everything sticks together. 

Important things to remember:
- Less is more: When adding all of your oil and seasonings, add half of what you've got first, then gradually add the rest. Stuff is pretty potent regardless, you shouldn't ever end up with crappy tasting croutons.

- Make sure that your bread is evenly coated, and that your garlic is not too small (it'll burn otherwise). If you do it right (this is where the mid-bake flip becomes important), you'll end up with nuggets of roasted garlic in there, too. Your breath will stink, but you won't care. Super sweet and roasty, and the friggin best.

- Let croutons fully cool before storing in a airtight container. Also, be sure to taste them to ensure that they're completely dry. If they're not, throw 'em back in the oven for a few more minutes. If you're scared of burning them, leave the croutons in for longer at a lower temperature. What you don't want is a moist center with a crunchy outside. (That's what she said?) The moisture from the center will make your croutons go bad faster. (Even though these won't last a day, I bet, that's still no bueno.)

I didn't give you quantities on purpose, play around with this one. If you like more cheese, add more cheese. If you want no oil involved, don't add it. They'll still be croutons, but some stuff might not stick. Be warned.

So easy, practically free, and from scratch. Can't get much better. Add to your next Caesar salad, or as a snack for the children. OR pulse them in a blender or food processor, and BAM- you've got bread crumbs, WHAT!!! 

There are so many possibilities! 

P.S. I'll post about the sauces next time! I got too juiced about the croutons that I forgot about them! Oopsies!

P.P.S About to post about the giveaway!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thing 1 in the hizzzouse! Holla!

Wuzzzup? Wuzzzup? Wuzzzzzzzzup!

Let me take the time to introduce myself. I am Thing 1: the older, louder, embarrassing Frugal Asian. I have 3 children with my husband of almost 10 years, 2 sisters, and a brother. We all live together! One BIG happy family! As Thing 2 has already said, we feed hella folks, but don't like to skip out on taste and quality. Same goes for what I will be posting: I like to have fun and have fairly nice things, but I don't skip out on quality of items/activities.

 I just don't want pay FULL price.

 I will be posting random tidbits of money saving tips. Some of them you may already know from just talking to me or following me on twitter, but bear with me, we have some newbies and I want them to save some dollars, too. :)  Let the money saving commence!

Tip # 1: Read EVERY post of this blog. Follow us on twitter @thefrugalasians!

I don't make dollars. I just make sense,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Best Summer Purchase EVERRRR

Popsicle molds!!

 My niece, Camryn, helped make watermelon popsicles a while back. It's so fun to do family projects, insanely cheaper than the boxed ones...AND BETTER FOR YA! Plus, the popsicle molds were really cheap (less than $8/pack of 6 and 4) and they're reusable.

Watermelon Popsicles

1/2 medium sized watermelon (like the size of your head), diced
1 lemon, juiced
2 tsp. sugar to taste, optional
Popsicle molds

Now, I'll tell you, this could've been a lot easier to do. Like, a lot freakin easier than I made it. I could've pulled out the blender and thrown all the stuff in and hit the puree button. But guess what?


Camryn wanted to help, and in omitting the blender altogether, we made that possible. Our friend, Monica, was over and helped her "juice" the watermelon (pressed it through a collander into a bowl).

They had a lot of fun doing this, but I'm pretty sure they were incredibly unsanitary…I saw them sneaking bites. Brats.

As they pressed the watermelon (like you would grapes for wine), I added lemon juice. I ended up adding two lemons, but I went overboard. I should've tasted after the first one. Rookie mistake. (Sidenote: here's where you add the sugar if you want.)

Throw the tops on…(Goofballs)

Important things to remember:
Tip: Use a funnel and ladle to fill the popsicle molds. No one likes a messy and sticky kitchen. Also, make sure the lids are on tight and pour slowly!
Et voila!

Here are the molds we used: Rockets and the other ones were ice cream cones! SO. FRIGGIN. CUTE. Toss them in the freezer for at least 4 hours, but overnight would be better to ensure they're firm enough to stand on their own.

The half watermelon had tons of juice so we saved some for the next batch. (If I had to guess, it was about a quart and a half)

So, I'd love to show you a picture of the finished product, but wouldn't you know it- our damn refrigerator broke that same night! They never froze! So bummed. In other news, I'm pretty sure my little brother drank the juice even though the bag said not to. Cool.

We're gonna make them again once we get a new fridge this weekend. It's so hot outside, these things are necessary! 

Total for 25ish popsicles (that we would've made with the extra juice): $2.50! If we would've used the whole watermelon, we definitely could've made at least a million. Just saying. 

Enjoy your weekend, all! We are up in the few hundreds in views- so awesome, thanks! 

Thing 2

P.S. Don't ever leave Mon alone with my phone again.

P.P.S Don't worry, Thing 1 is working on her posts…I think.

P.P.P.S Maybe this was a bad idea…Should've made it thefrugalasian.com lol 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chicken Adobo & a Rant on Food Waste

One of my biggest pet peeves in life is wastefulness. More specifically, food waste. It's a waste of time (usually my time) and money, among other things. I come from the culinary world, and food waste meant time and hard earned money down the drain. Hard work should never go wasted.

One of the most crucial parts of cooking for so many people (8-12) at least 3 times a week is keeping food waste as low as possible. My main asset to the family is turning nothing into something. Majority of meals include a protein, a starch, and a vegetable. Luckily, we live in a straight farm town, and veggies are readily available. 

The day I came up with this blog, I was making Chicken Adobo in a crock-pot. My mom used to make this Filipino dish, and my Grandma before her. Everyone in our family has their own versions: chicken only, chicken/potatoes, adding hard-boiled eggs. All different, all great in their own right. You can do that, too! Change it up to make it yours

Chicken Adobo 
(can be substituted with beef*, pork**, etc.) 
-yields 20 servings (divide into 4 for a 5 person dinner)

My weapons of choice: 1 crock-pot, 1 cutting board (or two), 1 chefs knife, 1 really good peeler.

4 lbs. chicken thighs (boneless, skinless…will fit in the crock-pot better and faster cooking time!)
20 garlic cloves, crushed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 c. vinegar (Heinz white distilled, not apple cider)
2-3 c. soy sauce (Kikkoman, the best and only brand I ever use. You can use their low-sodium if you want to cut down on salt)
5-7 bay leaves
5-7 medium Russet potatoes, peeled medium diced (smaller you cut 'em, shorter the cooking time) Pictured: Russets and reds. I had a few leftover so I decided to use them.
4-6 c. white or brown rice, cooked
Steamed vegetable of your choice, I chose broccoli!

Set your crock-pot to 6 hours on HIGH. Throw the garlic cloves and onion in. 

Add vinegar and let it warm up (about 7 minutes). Prep your chicken in the meantime; trim off all extra fat.

Add soy sauce and bay leaves. Taste. 

Sidenote: If it makes your eyes water, and clears your sinuses, you're going the right direction. (My family likes tart and tangy Adobo, so 1-2 c. is good for them. It may not be for you, so start with 1 cup. Go from there). 

Add chicken, stir it up, and make sure the liquid covers as much as it can. 
If it doesn't immediately, don't worry. It will. 
Add potatoes on the outside ring of the crock-pot. Cover and let it ride.

 About 3 1/2 hours in, give it one full stir. Serve with some rice and veg (suggestion: we are big broccoli eaters). 

* Cook on low for 8 hours, use stew meat if it's available ($15 per 4 lb. package)
** Cook on low for 8 hours

Important things to remember:

- Do not stir frequently while using a crock-pot. Doing so depletes the temperature by 25 degrees each time. Ever heard the saying, "A watched pot never boils"? YEAH. 
- Tip: Vinegar mellows out as it cooks. So, even though it's super eye-watering at first taste, it will turn out to be way smoother at the end of cooking time. You can always adjust at the end, too. That's the beauty of cooking! You can change things and make it seem like you did it on purpose :P

And hey man, clean up is easy. Remember you're working with poultry, so make sure your work area stays tidy and sanitary. Cross-contamination is not the business.

Total for this meal: $21.66 for 20 servings including starch and vegetable. That's two dinners for 8 people, which comes out to less than $1.50/person per night.

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Want the breakdown? I will post it if you want! Let me know in the comments :)

Hope you try this one out, it's forrealzies bomb. Let me know if you do!

Happy Cooking! (Sorry, Julia! Still working on it)