Make Lettuce Last Longer

If you love salads, you probably have lettuce sitting in the refrigerator. It’s a water dense food so it can spoil quickly but I’ve found a useful tip that keeps lettuce fresh longer.

When you’re washing and preparing it, remove any of the white membranes that run down the middle of the leaf. That’s the most water dense part so it usually spoils here first, discolors and tends to spoil the rest of the lettuce at record speed. If you really enjoy eating it, serve it first and keep the greener pieces for future salads.

Remove the membrane that runs down the middle of the lettuce to keep it fresher longer.
Budget Bytes by Beth Moncel-A Cookbook Review

If there ever was a time to learn to cook budget meals, this is it.

Some of you might know I’ve run a site called Budget Smart Girl since 2005. Food has always been a popular topic, especially buying and eating healthy food on a budget.

A few years ago, a book called Budget Bytes came on my radar.

I was eager to try some of the recipes and bought a copy.

Some budget cookbooks have been a bit of a let down, either so-so dishes or recipes that despite being labeled budget friendly, are anything but. Budget Bytes was the exception.

It’s been given the honor of one of the cookbooks that’s housed in my kitchen (instead of my downstairs bookshelf). It’s one of my go-to picks for everyday foods.

I have to say I’ve already made at least 50% of the recipes and I can only think of one other cookbook I can make that claim.

Each recipe I’ve tried, from the parmesan biscuits to chorizo sweet potato enchiladas I’ve loved. None of the recipes are too complicated, yes, some you might need some basic cooking skills, but as with all recipes, read them through a couple of times so you increase your chances of a near perfect dish.

The ingredients are easy to source too and many of the ingredients you probably already have on your pantry shelf.

Beth also sells meal plans that you might want to check out at

This cookbook gets a five start review from me.

The Easy Way to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

I’d heard about this simple trick to make peeling hard-boiled eggs easy but never tried it until a few months ago and now I’ll never use any other method.

Simple steam the eggs instead of boiling them.

Not sure why it works but it makes the whole process simple.

When it comes to cooking short cuts, simple is what I like.

How about you, have you tried steaming eggs?

Love egg salad sandwiches but hate peeling eggs?
Cooking Tip-Pastry and Biscuit Shortcut

Have you ever thought about using a cheese grater when you make pastry or biscuits?

I’m one for shortcuts and saving time in the kitchen so one day I reached for the cheese grater when I needed to mix in butter into the flour when I use making biscuits.

The butter has to be cold and make sure you hold it using the butter wrapper so your hand doesn’t warm it too much as you grate.

It adds fine pieces of butter (or whatever other fat you’re using) to the flour so all you need to do is give it a simple stir to combine it and voila, you’re ready to add liquid to the mix.

Give it a try and I’d love to hear what you think.

Ever thought about using a cheese grater to combine butter with flour?
Sweet Apple Carrot Coleslaw


2 (12 oz) packages shredded coleslaw mix

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 large apples

2 large carrots

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

Salt & pepper to taste


Rinse coleslaw mix and drain thoroughly. Using paper towels, pat out any excess water before using.

In a large bowl grate the carrots and apples. Add the vinegar and toss to keep the apples from turning brown.

In a separate bowl, mix mayonnaise, sour cream and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Pour over apples and carrots. Stir to coat evenly. Salt and pepper to taste.

Chill until ready to serve. Give it a few more stirs before serving to ensure any remaining sugar granules have been incorporated well.

Super Stuffed Potato Skins


6 baking potatoes
1 c. shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1 c. sour cream

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

¼ c. bacon bits

3 scallions, finely chopped

¼ c. sweet red pepper, finely chopped

Paprika for garnish


Scrub and pierce potatoes with a fork. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly for easy handling.

Cut potatoes in half length wise.

Scoop out most of the flesh and put it in a bowl leaving the skins on the baking sheet.

Add sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, scallions, red pepper, salt and pepper to the potatoes and mash to desired consistency.

Divide potato mixture evenly and return to skins.

Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 10 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Spicy Walnuts


1 cup of walnut halves

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of water

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

A dash of ground red pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

In a saucepan over medium heat add the sugar, water, cinnamon and ground pepper. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and allow the ingredients to melt. DO NOT STIR until it reaches 238 degrees. This will take about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the walnuts.

Lightly spray the cooled baking sheet with non-stick spray. Spoon the walnut mixture onto it.

After the walnut mix has cooled you can serve whole or crush them into small pieces and place in a serving dish.

Spicy Hummus Dip


1 (16 oz) can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground Cumin
1 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Curry powder
4 tbsp. chopped fresh Cilantro
1/3 c. sesame tahini
2 tbsp. Olive Oil

For more spice, add 2 tsp. hot sauce


Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.

Serve with fresh veggies, pita wedges or crackers.

Red potato salad

4 cups red potatoes, cubed

1 green bell pepper, diced

½ large red onion, diced

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

Salt & pepper to taste

3 scallions, diced (optional – as garnish)


In a pot over medium-high heat, bring the potatoes to a boil. Continue to boil for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.

While potatoes are cooling, you can make the dressing.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Add the bell pepper and onion. Stir and set aside.

Once potatoes are cool, fold them into the bowl to coat well.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Garnish with scallions if desired.

Jalapeno Cornbread


1 c. cornmeal

1 c. all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 c. buttermilk

1/3 c. sour cream

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 small can diced jalapenos

1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed

4 tbsp. minced scallion


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease an 8-inch cast iron skillet or oven-safe pan.

In a medium bowl, combine everything except jalapenos and corn. Using an electric mixer or fork, mix well to ensure all dry ingredients are incorporated.

Slowly stir the jalapenos and corn into the mix.

Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.