Browsing Category


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. 

Featured, Healthy Meals, Recipes August 15, 2017

Healthy and Hearty Toasted Breadcrumb and Anchovy Pasta

After two weeks of diligent trips to attempt to catch a fish with no avail, I decided to whip up a healthy pasta substitute to get my seafood fix.  While I thoroughly love that living less than 100 yards from the ocean enables you to take casual fishing trips after work, there are only so many cold windy nights in the dark a girl can take.  I instead settled for the next best thing, a delicate and delicious figure friendly pasta that has the flavors of fried fish.

Featured, Recipes August 15, 2017

Lobster Enchiladas with Dark Chocolate Sugarvpova Mole

I have been accused of being many things; being a chocolate lover is not one of them.  Yes, I know many of us girls proudly call ourselves “chocoholics,” however I have always had more of a meat tooth rather than a sweet tooth.  That being said, I consider myself to be a seriously smitten with Sugarpova, the new chocolate line from tennis star Maria Sharapova.

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, Recipes August 9, 2012

Restaurant Recipes at Home

There is often a certain stigma associated with being a foodie; why I have not figured out yet.  I mean really, is liking good food a crime, absolutely not! Wearing at outfit straight out of the 80’s, you might as well be wearing an orange jump suit; but having a refined palate is nothing to shake your fist at. Being a foodie doesn’t mean that you have to eat at the Taj Majal.  In fact, the word “foodie” does not mean you like to eat at “hoi faloy” restaurants at all; it just means you like good food.   Contrary to popular opinion, you can make a lot of foodie meals right home.

 One of my family’s favorite things to do is to go home and re-create the recipe after a good meal.  Not only is it cheaper to make it yourself (shocking I know), but you can put your own spin on it. There are many times I’ve made recipes at home that were better than I had out.  However, there are also those illustrious recipes that you just can’t figure out; the holy grail of do it yourself gourmet cooking. (Que mood lighting and sappy music…) For me that was the Bonefish Grill mussels.  While I absolutely adore them, spending nine bucks every time I needed my fix was starting to wear down my wallet.  So I set out on the journey of re-creating them.  Let me tell you it was no easy task.  I think I would have had an easier time pushing an elephant up a tree.  Every time I made them something wasn’t right. It was like that itch that you get that you can’t exactly figure out where it is… it drives you nuts!!! However, like Wiley Coyote, I refused to give up. Fortunately, my attempts didn’t end in pianos being dropped on my head. Eventually, after several failed attempts I finally nailed it down.  Anyway the point of my long and drawn out rant/monologue is that with a little (or a lot) of perseverance ANY recipe can be made at home.  Ok, so you can’t make little molecules unless you have a side hobby of molecular gastronomy, but you would be surprised at the culinary masterpieces you can produce in your own kitchen.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it on the first try.  As my mother said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  In retrospect, I always found it irritating, but the message is true. Just keep changing things and you’ll be on your way to being a galloping gourmet!

Here is the final recipe I came up with to save you the backbreaking task of trying to figure out the mussels.
 3 dozen fresh Prince Edward Island mussels (about 2 pounds)
4 ounces chopped red onions
2 ounces chopped garlic
14 ounces chopped tomatoes, juice and all
Fresh basil
2 ounces anisette
1/2 lemon, juice of parsley, garnish

Sauce (use 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup real butter
2 tablespoons minced yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt or sea salt
White pepper, to taste



Keep you wallets full and your mouths happy!

<3 DD

Copyright © 2012 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved

Budget Bites, Dining, Healthy Meals, Recipes July 26, 2012

Fish Stories- Sea Bass Ceviche

Fish stories are like tall tales or men and their ya know … parts.  Men just love to run around talking about how big it is, even the smallest fish somehow becomes a whale after the story is finished.  Maybe it’s an ego thing who knows.  But, after 24 years of fishing in the big blue I have come to find that it really doesn’t matter how big a fish is, in fact sometimes the small ones taste better.  I have caught all kinds of fish, big and small, as well as other creatures that live under the sea (though I have yet to catch a sponge that lives in a pineapple).  My favorite thing in the summer is get up at the butt crack of dawn and head out to the ocean on the Van Arsdalen family vessel, the legendary “Reel Daze”.  Why the butt crack of dawn you ask, because my grandfather does not believe leaving after the sun comes up; why I will never know.  However, nothing tastes better than catching your fish in the morning and eating it that night.  Yes, I’m aware I’m spoiled, but can you blame me.

Being a born and raised fisher-girl I have had fish in just about every way possible. So I decided that I would share my insider knowledge with the world, even those people that I like to laugh at for freaking out when a crab comes near them.  Periodically I will post some of my favorite recipes for you to try at home. Yes, seafood can get expensive but if you get it yourself it’s pretty much free.  However, if you’re a chummer like my mom I suggest avoiding the open sea and trying a small local fish market.  They tend to be less expensive than buying it at the food store, and in my experience have better product. If you buy a fish whole and filet it yourself it’s even cheaper.  Still, I strongly recommend catching it yourself.  Not only do you get a sense of accomplishment, but there is nothing as good as fresh caught fish.

On my last haul I caught two sea bass, and I would like to point out that I was the only person who caught anything (insert victory dance here)! This was especially exciting because my culinary ambitiousness was pushing me to make my own ceviche.  I love having it in restaurants, but its hefty price tag starts to wear on your wallet after a while.  Not only that but I figured the fish can’t get much fresher then catching it yourself; maybe if you eat it on the boat like me, but in my defense I was three and there was a fish in my hand; it seemed like the logical thing to do.  Anyway, the ceviche turned out to be fabulous and thus it is my first recipe in the fish stories book. I hope they inspire you to boatly go where no man has gone before!


Simple Sea Bass Ceviche

2 cups of fresh Sea Bass – Cleaned and cubed

1 lime juiced

½ a lemon juices

Squeeze of orange juice

½ tsp red pepper flakes

Handful of cilantro- Finely chopped

4 basil leaves- sliced thin

Salt and pepper to taste

Keep you wallets full and your mouths happy!

<3 DD

Copyright © 2012 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved

Dining, Recipes June 27, 2012

From Farm (ers market) to table

Ok, so I know isn’t really dining out, but this insider secret is something I felt I needed to share with my fellow food lovers; dining in is a great way to save money (big news right?) There is absolutely no reason why you cannot create a gourmet meal fit for a foodie right at home.  Anyone can make a delectable meal with the right ingredients.  A great place to start is fresh produce. I know what you’re thinking, produce = expensive.  However you’d be surprised to find that this time of year produce is not only abundant, but affordable.  Summertime in the great state of New Jersey usually means going to the “shore”, questionable people running around Seaside Heights, and lazy days filled with pina coladas.  BUT it also means that the farmers come out to play, bringing with them fresh seasonal vegetables.  While most people associate farmers markets with being overpriced and hoity toity, they are actually pretty budget friendly.  Plus, farmers markets have more than just vegetables; you can get cheeses, meats, eggs and even bacon.  Not only are these fresh ingredients better for you, but they make any dish taste 10x more flavourful.  When it comes to farmers markets you can shop smart and eat smarter.

Naturally when I heard that Princeton’s farmers marking was heading into town I was incredibly excited.  My mouth started watering when I thought of all the amazing things I could make with fresh Jersey vegetables.   So I hopped in my car and headed to P-Town.  Be warned folks, with so many different stands at your fingertips, it’s very easy to go overboard.   However, if you follow a few guidelines you too can be savvy shopper.


-Numero Uno: Make yourself a list of things you DEFINITELY need.  Going in there blindly can result in “the toy store effect;” where you get so excited you want to buy everything.  If you have an idea of what you want you’re less likely to overspend on things like pickled beets.

– Number 2: Give yourself a spending cap.  Most markets are cash only which makes this pretty simple.  Take enough money to buy what you think you need and then add $20.00 for a few extra treats.

-Number 3: Remember there are TONS of stands so comparison shop.  See which stand has the best price before buying.

                Those three tricks will keep you from leaving with buyer’s remorse; it works for me every time. On my last trip I brought $70 with me; $50 for my shopping list and $20 in case I saw something else I wanted.  I walked around the perimeter first to see which stands had the best deals and then planned my attack.  When I left the market I had spent my $70, with which I got a quart of blueberries (Awesomely priced at 4.25) a dozen eggs, a pound of fresh ground beef, a jar of homemade ketchup, a jar of Jersey bee honey, a half a pound of homemade cheddar cheese, 2 heads of broccoli, a pound of spinach, a pound of salad greens, a head of garlic, a pound of wild mushrooms, a fennel bulb, and a bunch of turnips.  Talk about making out like a bandit; I spent about a third of what I would have at the grocery store.


                Since my trip I have made mushroom risotto, turnip fries, oven roasted broccoli, garlic wilted spinach, the most delicious burger I have ever eaten, and one incredible omelet.  Had I gotten all of that out I would have spent well over $70 AND I still have about half of what I bought left.  As you can see farmers markets are not only for dexterous diners, but discerning palates as well.  If you want to try “living off the land” just find a market in your area and get creative!

Keep your wallets full and your mouth happy
<3 DD

Copyright © 2012 Christine Van Arsdalen. All Rights Reserved