The Suburbanite
  • Want it cheap? Do it yourself

  • Save money and have fun customizing with our cheap-eats recipes.

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  • The easiest way to lower your soaring grocery bill is to transfer the labor. Do it yourself and save.
    Our cheap eats recipes will amaze you. You don’t need a culinary degree or a $350 mixer. With a little creativity, you’ll be right up there with the best. And none of these take more than a few minutes to prepare.
    Big plus: You can tailor these recipes to your family’s taste buds.
    What is easier than this:
    Freeze a can of peaches, pineapple, blueberries, apricots or whatever. Open and process in a blender or food processor until it reaches the consistency you desire. Serve.
    Try different fruit combinations. Fresh fruit in season works too, including mango.
    You’ll save dollars on the price of prepared sorbet.
    Neat trick: For banana sorbet, peel and freeze bananas in a plastic bag. Chop and process until creamy and serve. No added fat or sugar. Fancy enough for company garnished with a maraschino cherry.
    One dozen muffins homemade, about $2. One dozen muffins artisanal, up to $15. Get the point?
    Outside of the cost, there’s nothing magic about homemade muffins. They are easily made and even easier adapted to your family’s tastes. Consider the muffin your artist’s canvas.
    You can take our basic recipe and fly off in any direction. Limit your additions to one cup. A popular mix is chopped dates and pecans.
    A muffin with frosting is a cupcake, so invent your own toppings. Muffin batter is sticky enough to hold anything from wheat germ to rolled oats in brown sugar.
    1 egg
    3⁄4 teaspoon salt
    1⁄3 cup sugar
    1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup buttermilk
    2 cups flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    Beat egg, salt and sugar until light and fluffy. Add oil in a stream and continue beating. Beat in buttermilk.
    Sift flour and baking powder together several times and add to batter, stirring until just mixed. Add extras (raw sugar can be sprinkled on top for added sweetness). Bake in greased muffin tins for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees.
    NOTES: For a softer muffin, use cupcake papers. Make a buttermilk substitute — 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let stand to thicken.
    Makes 12.
    (Use one cup.)
    • Raisins or dates and chopped pecans
    • Cooked, mashed acorn squash or pumpkin
    • Chopped apples and grated carrots
    • Coconut flakes and chopped pineapple
    • Cooked seven-grain cereal with maple syrup
    • Diced apple and oat bran (use butter instead of oil)
    Page 2 of 2 - • Applesauce and blueberries
    • Fried diced bacon and onion
    • Sour cream (instead of milk) and dried dill
    • Mashed banana and chocolate chip
    Commercial cheese spreads get expensive. Save money and make your own, much better than processed. The key is to make it a day ahead and allow the flavors to meld overnight in the fridge. Feel free to adjust the ingredients. This is good on crackers or in sandwiches. Serves 8 or more.
    4 ounces pimientos, chopped
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1⁄2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    8 ounces colby cheese, grated
    8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
    Mix well, adding cheese last. Use your smallest grater for the cheese. Add it and continue beating until smooth.
    A meal in a glass. Almost. You’d spend a lot for a prepared breakfast drink. Make your own for a fresh taste and save. It’s almost as easy as opening a bottle.
    1 cup orange juice
    1 large banana, sliced
    2 tablespoons powdered milk
    1 teaspoon wheat germ
    Place ingredients in a blender and mix on high for about 45 seconds. Add a few ice cubes if you wish. Other fresh fruits work just as well including pineapple with cranberry juice, kiwi with pomegranate and apple with cherry. Loaded with vitamins and fiber for a healthful morning launch to your day.

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