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Budget Bites

Budget Bites, Dining, Featured, Healthy Meals, Recipes August 16, 2017

Summer Chilled Lobster Salad

Inspired by the gorgeous summer weather I decided to stop by my favorite fish market for a lobster tail. Living smack dab next to the Atlantic Ocean has a few perks, one of them being just caught lobster tails for 5 dollars. I decided to pair it with some peppery arugala from my garden, but if you are not a green thumb store bought works just as well. 

Budget Bites, Featured, Recipes February 26, 2013

Save Money in the Morning

Nothing makes you feel like you are standing in the middle of Times Square with your pants around your ankles quite as much as discovering that you a) made only 50% above the poverty level for a family of one last year and b) because you did freelance work to earn a little extra money they are taking 400 big ones out of your tax return. If there ever was FML moment;  one year of not sleeping, working late hours, neglecting my social life (and personal appearance as much as I hate to admit it), and I have a whopping seven hundos to show for it. Talk about putting your pride in the stocks.  I think I would have been happier if I had got chased by down the street an angry mob.  Thanks Uncle Sam, at this point my only feeling is hurray for the red, white and POO!

At any rate, discovering that one can work their hypothetical tail off and have nothing to show for it has made me re-evaluate my morning habits. The occasional breakfast out and cup of joe, though a beloved morning ritual, can start to add up if you are not careful.  My usual $1.55 cup of coffee from Wawa ends up costing me $5 a week. Add that up that and I waste $20 a month and $240 a year on coffee alone. Though it may not seem like much, for an unwillingly impoverished college graduate such as myself that is about half a week’s paycheck.  Sad I know, but true.  So in an attempt to squeeze blood out of my already exhausted pennies, I will be changing the location of my morning ritual to a much more affordable location, my kitchen.  For those of you who will be joining me in your own “breakfast at home” endeavors here is a recipe for quiche that I made this morning.


Bacon, Leek and Gruyere Quiche

¼ pound of bacon –chopped

½ onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

1 leek- cut to green part

1 cup of mushrooms

1 ½ cup spinach

5 eggs

¾ cup milk or heavy cream

1/2 cup greyure

1/2 cup swiss

1 premade pie crust

Salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder to taste.

Sautee bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan and drain excess oil.  Coat the pan with olive oil and add garlic, onion, leeks and mushrooms and cook until tender. Pre grease pie pan and line with crust. Combine eggs and spices and whisk until well mixed.  Stir in cooked ingredients and cheese and transfer to pie pan.  Bake at 350* for about 45 minutes or until the eggs bounce back to the touch.


Keep you wallets full and your mouths happy!

<3 DD

Copyright © 2013 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved

Budget Bites, Tips and Tricks October 12, 2012

Fall Fridays Frugal Factoid: BYOC

Most of us already have travel mugs and drink cups lying around our kitchen cabinets at home. What most of us don’t know is that using those cups can save you some dinero.  There are countless places that now offer discounts for bringing your own cup.  It’s like killing two birds with one stone, save a few pennies and the planet.  Personally, I bring my little orange cup everywhere.  Partly because I hate having 80,000 paper cups lying around my car and partly because I save about $25 a year on coffee alone.  Sound too good to be true, well it’s not.  Businesses both chain and local offer some nice incentives for byoc.  Bring your own cup Starbucks and save 10 cents off your coffee purchase.  If you’re a Dunkin lover, they also offer discounts, however they vary by location.  Other places to save include 10 cents at Peets coffee and 10 cents at Wawa.  Check with local stores to see what discounts they offer, sometimes you can save up to 50 cents.  It may seem small but believe me this adds up.  And now that I sound like my father, get out there and go save!

Keep you wallets full and your mouths happy!

<3 DD

Copyright © 2012 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved

Budget Bites, Tips and Tricks September 28, 2012

Fall Friday’s Frugal Factiod- National Day Giveaway’s

There are about 500 random National Days, literally every day of the week is a celebration of some random thing; pizza, cheesecake, breathing, you name it there’s a day for it.   While most of us look at these days and say really another one, we should really be saying what can I get for free today?  Although a smaller holiday like National Molasses Day (yes that is a real day) is probably of no use to anyone except gingerbread men, the more recognized ones such as today (National Coffee Day) usually mean freebies from National Chains.   You may have to do a little googling to find out who is giving stuff away, but I promise it is worth the 30 seconds it will take you.

Today for instance, there are several big names honoring National Coffee Day with freebies and deals including Dunkin Donuts, 7-11, Einstein Bros. and Mickey D’s.  I of course will be partaking as much as possible being that I am a coffee addict, but if you would like to look for yourself you can start here Find your nearest location and you can have your morning cup of joe for free or darn close to it; total savings- anywhere from $1 to $5.

Remember, today is just one of the many days that you can get free things. So, next time you start to roll your eyes when you hear its National Taco Day (Oct 4,2012), instead think ok how can I hit all the freebies in the shortest amount of time.

Keep you wallets full and your mouths happy!

<3 DD

Copyright © 2012 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved

Budget Bites, Dining, Tips and Tricks September 26, 2012

Thrifty Tapas in Midtown Manhattan

I know what you’re thinking; you can’t even sneeze in the city that never sleeps without spending $200. We’ll think again; 2 hours, a bottle of wine, 7 tapas, and $123.03 after sitting down; my two girlfriends and I walked out with full wallets and stomachs. In New York that’s about as rare as finding a car that doesn’t honk its horn. After getting caught up in the glittering lights and fabulous fashions of the Soho shopping scene; my credit card was breathing a sigh of relief. I have to admit, knowing that I had spent so little on a meal in Midtown gave me that little inner glow that every woman gets when she finds a steal; a feeling somewhere between cheating death and great sex. Not to mention the meal itself was sinful. We feasted on a tantalizing combination of sweet and sultry Spanish dishes that made our taste buds do the samba. Top it off with a fine bottle of wine, and it was evening to remember.

I would have to say that my favorite dish was the bacon wrapped dates. These velvety pillows were bursting with creamy blue cheese and blanketed by a smoky layer of fatty bacon. Every little morsel made melt in your mouth seem like an understatement. Each flavor worked together like a well composed tango, and tasted just as vibrant as one. The lusciously sweet dates enveloped the sharp brackish cheese that gave way to lingering hint of smoke to create a bite so voluptuous it would make Jessica Rabbit seem like a toothpick. It was a total OMG moment, and you didn’t even have to throw him out of bed in the morning ;).

Coming in at a close second was the garlic shrimp; succulent little crustaceans bathed in garlic and oil. They were so good would I have chased those things like the chef in The Little Mermaid to get them. Each bite exploded with a burst of intense, yet not over the top, garlicky flavor with a playful note of sweet briny shrimp that was rounded out by the earthiness of the olive oil. If it wasn’t wildly inappropriate I probably would have bathed in the bubbling little tub they placed on the table. Not to mention they were served with a side of fresh crispy Italian bread which alone would make be enough to make me believe that the Spice Girls are making a comeback. Heck I would lick the sidewalks of New York for a slice of good bread (what can I say I’m Italian, we love us some bread). As I dipped my coveted bread and bit into the delectable dish I decided that this was the “Sex and the City” of food; smart, juicy, bold, and tame all at the same time.

The rest of the meal was a cacophony of ambrosial seafood, delicately fried artichokes, sausage, and second rounds of things we’ve already ordered, washed down with the perfect pairing of a light red wine. We ate like kings and paid like paupers and while there was no champagne involved it was definitely beer budget.

Keep you wallets full and your mouths happy!

<3 DD

Copyright © 2012 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved

Budget Bites, Tips and Tricks September 7, 2012

Fall Friday’s Frugal Factoid

Now that the summer haze is over, well at least for everyone else except the few of us who refuse to leave the beach, we get back to our normal lives.  For me that means drinking my weight in pumpkin spice lates from Starbucks. (It tastes like pumpkin crack, seriously I’m addicted).  Case in point, our “routine” habits can get expensive without us even noticing.  Personally I look at my bank statement, shout Oy Vey like an old Yiddish woman, and wonder how I managed to rack up at $30 Starbucks tab in a week. However there are ways to pinch pennies and rake in piles of money.  Each Friday, I will share one of my tricks of the trade with you, so everyone can be a dexterous diner.

 Keeping with the Starbucks theme this weeks tip is bring your own re-usable cup Starbucks for 10 cents off your purchase.  (It adds up!)

Keep you wallets full and your mouths happy!

<3 DD

Copyright © 2012 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved