What Katie Cooks

Keeping lunches on the low

Posted by on Apr 26, 2010 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

Maybe you’re a student. Maybe you’re a full-time employee. Maybe you just like to take long walks in the early afternoon and sit by the pond. No matter what it is you do–unless that includes sleeping past the morning on a regular basis–chances are you need a lunch midway through the day to keep you going. Myself, I’m a full-time employee, so I get a half hour for lunch every day to replenish and rest. I work in a mall and have access to the entire food court, but as I am on a budget, I prefer to pack myself a lunch. This usually includes some nuts (cashews are my favourite), gelatin-free yogurt (Astro Bio Best), fruit that’s both fresh and dried (usually berries for the fresh and apricots for the dried, but I’ll occasionally mix it up a little too), a vegetable (usually carrot sticks), a treat (because I’m five years old) and a main course (usually soup or a Tofurky sandwich). To me, it’s really important to cover all of the food groups during your lunch, because you’ll need that energy for the rest of your work day to last you until supper–sometimes it is your supper. If you’re at home, it’s easier to cook up something, but if you’re going to be out and need to pack a lunch, here are some good tips to help you out. – Whenever you cook yourself a big meal, such as a soup, chili, pasta, etc., make plenty of extra and refrigerate it. Freeze if you’ve made enough to last more than a few days. Bring it to work or school with you in a microwaveable container and heat it up. Nothing costs less than something you’ve already made! – Baby carrots from your local grocery store are good vegetables to add to your lunch. They’re inexpensive, and they’ll last you a long time, especially if you put less than 10 carrots in your lunch. – This may be obvious, but keep an eye open for specials. Fruit specials are my personal favourite as you can get several lunches out of just one container of fruit. Fruit is also very versatile; it can be eaten alone, or added to a salad of your choice, such as a spinach salad. – Only pack what you need, and only buy what you’ll pack. Don’t over-purchase on food that will spoil easily. In addition, eat sparingly. A Tofurky sandwich, for example, can be made with only 2-3 slices of Tofurky. Add more lettuce to make the sandwich more filling, and your Tofurky will last you longer. – Skip the luxury items. Dressings and sauces may make your sandwich taste better, but they will cost you extra in the end with little to no extra benefit. Chips and cookies may be tempting, but in the end they’re going to suck up your money. Work on getting rid of food items that may be sitting unused in your cupboard instead, especially if you have some sweets left over from gifts. Buying something new is always tempting, but more often than not, it’s completely unnecessary. – Forget plastic bags for putting food in. Instead, get a Tupperware set. Tupperware is completely reusable and washable, and will save you money in the end, as you’ll be...

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Easy oven-roasted potatoes

Posted by on Apr 19, 2010 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love potatoes. What’s so great about them isn’t just their taste or how good for you they are, but also how amazingly versatile they are; potatoes make a great side, but also a fantastic dish all their own. Potatoes also tend to be very filling, which is great if you’re on a budget. The point of this blog is to save money and not starve, after all. This particular recipe is best as a side. It’s very simple and makes use of spices and seasonings you already have in your cupboard. If you have absolutely no seasonings then I suggest picking two or three from the list and buying some of those. In all honesty, though, simple salt and pepper will do nicely! Prep time: 5 minutesServes: 4 people (as a side dish)Cooking time: 40 minutesDifficulty: Super easyCost: Under $10, using things from your cupboard Ingredients – 2 lbs. mini potatoes, quartered– 2 tbsp. olive oil– 1 tbsp. seasonings of your choice (suggested: lemon pepper, garlic salt, minced fresh garlic, dill, oregano, rosemary, thyme, diced chives, chili powder or paprika.) If you’re feeling extra fancy or have the extra ingredients on hand, try throwing other vegetables, like onions or carrots, into the mix.– 1 tbsp. lemon juice (optional)– 1 tbsp. salt– a dash of pepper Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes in quarters. Combine olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Place potato quarters in the mixture and toss, making sure all potato quarters are evenly covered in the mixture. Spread covered potatoes evenly on a baking tray and sprinkle salt and pepper evenly on top. Place in oven to roast 40 minutes, turning over at 20 minutes. Potatoes are ready when they are golden brown on both sides and crispy. Hope you all enjoy these as much as I did! For a cheap and filling meal, I recommend eating it as a side dish with some rice, or with some greens and a protein of your choice. Please follow and like...

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Quick tips on the cheap

Posted by on Apr 15, 2010 in Uncategorized, What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

Before I get into recipes, I’d like to give a few helpful hints that you can use to eat healthy while keeping your wallet happy. These aren’t all necessarily food-related, but can help save you money to help you pay for food. 1. Get a big ol’ bag of riceMaybe this one sounds a bit odd, but hear (or read, as the case may be) me out. Most grocery stores sell huge 10 lb. bags of rice for $10-15. This may sound like a bit much, but you can get a lot out of one of those bags of rice, and it will definitely save you money in the end. If you can afford to buy bulk, it’s worth your while. Rice can be the base of many dishes, and the side to many others. That 10 lb. bag of rice will last you a long time, and you’ll be glad you bought it, especially since smaller increments of rice will cost you about a quarter of the bag of rice without actually containing a quarter. It really does make a difference! 2. Grocery giftsIf you’re on a budget as it is, chances are you’ve already sacrificed a lot of luxuries. One step further you can take on this is by asking your friends, family, and whoever else is likely to give you birthday and holiday gifts to give you grocery gift cards, available at most grocery stores you’re likely to shop at. Gift cards instead of money usually mean that you won’t spend the money on something you don’t need. 3. Save those pennies!Any useless change you find is absolutely not useless. Keep it in a jar whenever you find you have spare. If your state/province/country gives refunds for recycling, save up your bottles and cans and take those in for exchange. This is good for your wallet and the environment. When the jar is significantly full, roll your change. 4. Deals and couponsMaybe this goes without saying, but pay very close attention to the flyers at your local supermarket for coupons and weekly deals and specials. You can plan full meals around the deals you find. In addition, whenever canned vegetables or non-perishables like pasta are on sale, stocking up is always a good plan. Just make sure these are things you’ll be using in the future–don’t get 10 cans of diced tomatoes if you hate tomatoes! Save any useful coupons you get in the mail, or in your newspaper, or anywhere, really. Flyers you receive in the mail shouldn’t always be tossed immediately–give them a good look first. 5. Stick to your listMake a grocery list and stick with it. If you deviate too much from it, you run the risk of going over budget with food items you don’t need. Stick to the necessities and don’t go overboard with unhealthy snacks. Giving yourself some leeway isn’t a bad idea, but try to budget that, too–restrict yourself to only $10 worth of unhealthy snack items, for example. 6. Keep your eyes openA lot of big-name grocery stores will hold contests in which the prizes can be grocery cards. Sometimes these will manifest themselves in the bottom of your receipts, so pay close attention. You don’t want to miss an opportunity like that! Start collecting Air Miles,...

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Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

Hello. I’m Katie, and I’m a vegetarian. I’ve been a vegetarian for nine years now for a number of reasons, but I’m not going to get into that now. There are a number of very good reasons to become a vegetarian–or a vegan–in our society, but some people may be daunted by the money factor. Vegetarian food ain’t always cheap. Luckily for you, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years that I’d love to share with you. Since I’m on a budget more often than not, being frugal isn’t much of an issue. I’ll start by adding that some of my recipes will be vegan, some lacto-vegetarian and some ovo-vegetarian. I’ll let you know at the beginning of each recipe which it is so you can make proper arrangements. Until then! Please follow and like...

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