Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
one large can of (cheapo store brand) chicken broth
handful of celery, chopped
handful of carrots, chopped
handful of spinach
2 pieces of cooked chicken (best if cooked beforehand on frying pan w/ Cajun seasoning)
one packet of hot sauce from your local Chinese restaurant
snidge of Cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
2. Add water to empty chicken broth can, pour in and let it boil
4. Let the noodles get soft, and reduce heat to let stand for approx 15 min
5. Turn off the burner with lid on let it cool down
6. Add salt and pepper to taste; top with grated cheese (optional) and serve
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Whether you live alone, with your boy, or with your best partner in crime, sometimes a Bitch has to break out the tool kit for a bit of do-it-herself. Before you roll up your sleeves and jump right in, make sure to properly assess the situation first. You don’t want to be the girl who cried “Landlord”, but there are some things you might not be able to fix. Below is a guide to some basic home improvement things you, as an apartment tenant, are responsible for fixing- and others that are out of your hands.
NOTE: Every Bitch should own a proper set of tools, including two screwdrivers (a flat blade and a Phillips head), an ordinary 16 oz claw hammer, a tape measure, a flashlight, a utility or box knife with a retractable blade, a razor blade holder/scraper, a 12” flat-jaw, arc-joint set of pliers, a crescent wrench, a toilet plunger, an electric drill with drill bits, and a level. Whether our tools are all pink and kept in a sparkle tool box (like my personal collection), or shoved in a Tupperware in our coat closet, we promise these tools will make your life much easier.
WHEN TO DO IT YOURSELF
- Fixing a clogged sink does not require major maintenance. The best way to keep your kitchen sink unclogged is to take preventative measures, but if it’s already clogged then it might be too late. Grab your plunger and follow these steps to get it working as good as new. Run the tap and fill the sink with enough water so that it covers the head of the plunger. Grab the handle of the plunger and place the head so that it is sealed against the bottom of the sink. Move the plunge up and down vigorously. Loosen the clog and wait for water to drain freely. To fully flush out the clog-causing debris, run very hot eater through the drain for several minutes. Remove the tarp beneath the sink and clean it thoroughly if the plunging fails to unclog the sink.
- How many Bitches on a Budget does it take to change a light bulb? One, if you follow these easy steps. Turn off the power and let the bulb cool. Twist counterclockwise, gripping ends between your thumbs and index fingers. Is the bulb broken? If so, take extra care and use an unpeeled potato to remove the base of a broken light bulb.
- Want to paint your room? There’s no need to call in a professional. All you need is a steady hand, the color of your choice, and a cute pair of painter’s overalls- er, a roller and some painter’s tape. But the overalls might also be a must. First, clean your walls with a large sponge and water/dishwashing solution. Tape the trim, molding, and windows that you’d like to avoid getting splashed with paint. Pour enough primer into the tray so that it almost fills the well toward the bottom of the tray. Coat walls in primer. Let dry. Paint trim. Roll on paint in a 3 foot x 3-foot “w” shape and fill in empty patches until the section of wall is fully covered. Remove painter’s tape while paint is still wet to avoid accidentally removing any dried paint along with it.
- If your sliding windows have gotten stuck between seasons, as humidity buildup often causes them to stick, don’t freak. A little silicone spray lubricant will grease the skids. Spray on a rag, then wipe along the tracks.
- Living with mice or roaches is a regular issue for most, if not all, New Yorkers. Personally, I have found great success in not leaving food out, cleaning crevices under the stove and behind shelves, and using mouse traps as a last resort. I do not endorse the poison pellets that cause mice to curl up and die behind your furniture, staying hidden for months until they start to rot- and I speak from experience. To get rid of roaches, I usually use insecticide spray (like Raid), and supplement with cockroach bait, traps, and liquid concentrate. If the problem worsens with either pest, find out when the exterminator will be visiting your building next.
- My roommate has drunkenly burst through the door so many times when the security chain has been on the door, it finally gave way last month and sent my roommate tumbling to the floor. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to replace and install. After purchasing a replacement at the hardware store, grab your screwdriver and some masking tape. Tape up the template for the lock plate (the part not attached to the chain). Position it about 3-6 inches above the deadbolt on your door. Screw the lock plate onto the door. Position the chain mount on the wall just outside the door frame. Make sure it lines up with the lock plate. Screw in the chain mount. Test it out- and try not to lock your roommate out when he’s gallery hopping with his art friends.
WHEN TO CALL THE LANDLORD
- If your cabinet has suddenly come off it’s hinges, if a drawer falls apart, or if your fridge stops running.
- If the heat won’t come on. Usually it takes a few days for it to kick on at the start of the chillier fall months, but don’t be afraid to ask your landlord for help if you’ve been shivering your way through November and December.
- Once upon a summer, M and I were preparing to host an epic dinner party for some of our closest friends. The crackers and cheese were out, the wine was uncorked, and we were sporting our fabulous American Apparel Le Sac dresses. Heeding the call of duty, one of us ladies popped into the bathroom for a last minute freshening up before the guests arrived. One flush of the toilet was all it took to send a flood of water out the bathroom door and into the living room, leaving us screaming from atop our couch and without a toilet for the rest of the evening. Call your landlord if this happens.
- Particular events over the course of the past year have led to many of us changing our locks. Stolen purses, lost keys, and angry exes are all acceptable reasons to have your locks switched. Just make sure to let your landlord know and make them an extra set of the new keys.
- A particularly hard rain or snow storm (or an absent-minded neighbor who left the tub running upstairs) could contribute to a weakening in your ceiling. If you notice water rings and stains appearing on the ceiling, give your landlord a ring.
- Smell gas? Call the gas company, then your landlord, immediately.
We’re lucky enough to live in a building where we absolutely adore our landlords. If you’re in a similar position, don’t forget to show some love! Send down some cookies if you’ve baked some extra, and don’t forget to say thanks every once in awhile.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Being a Bitch on a Budget, we often find ourselves scraping pennies, cutting corners, and eternally searching for coins beneath the couch cushions. In fact, we have caused a commuter traffic jam on more than one occasion to retrieve our dropped coin purse at rush hour near an L train turnstile.
One of the things that allows us to stay fabulous and spend what little money we have on luxuries such a $2 PBR, the occasional pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and trips on the PATH train is keeping a relatively small arsenal of foodstuffs in our cabinet. Sure, it may get boring to eat the same four things day after day, but if it allows us that little wiggle room in our budget, where’s the harm?
This being said, oatmeal is one of our favorite things to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Whether you prefer your oats steel-cut, rolled, crushed, or instant, oatmeal is the perfect bowl of something warm and comforting to keep you going all night long. Plus, daily consumption of a bowl of oatmeal can lower blood cholesterol, reduce the risk of heat disease, and stabilize blood-glucose levels. Plus, it costs between 20 and 40 cents to make a bowl (if you invest in a large drum of Quaker Oats), and fills you up!
Here’s how to make your oatmeal:
- In a small saucepan, put 1 cup of water (or 1 cup of milk-even soy is okay- depending on your preference) and a sprinkle of salt. Set the saucepan on medium-high heat.
- When the water or milk starts to simmer, pour in ½ c of oats. Reduce heat to low.
- Cook at a simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring every so often so the oatmeal doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- When the oatmeal is at it’s ideal consistency, turn off heat and serve! For a heartier, chewiest oatmeal, cook longer.
Here are some of our favorite ways to keep one of our favorite staples from becoming a little too Charles Dickens:
- A teaspoon of honey, a few drizzles of heavy cream, and a fresh peach sliced on top
- Butter and crew
- A spoonful of grape, strawberry, or blackberry jam or jelly
- A scoop of whey protein or cottage cheese for an extra protein boost
- Dried fruits like dried pineapple or apple
- Walnuts, pecans, or anything maple-glazed
- Vary the type of milk and choose from soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, chocolate milk (we’ll do this at home, where we have such a fancy milk selection)
- Maple syrup, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger
- Brown sugar and berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, whatever)
- Vanilla yogurt and sliced almonds with honey
- Peanut butter and chocolate chips
- Wheat germ with a few chocolate chips
- Some chai tea spices right in the bowl with cream, sugar, and raisins
Any other great combinations out there? Share ‘em with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tweet us @bbonabudget!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Clinton Hill is an oft-overlooked Brooklyn neighborhood with loads stuff to do, even if you are running low on dollars to spend. Located between Bed-Stuy, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene are filled with graceful houses with loads of period detailing along Cumberland, South Portland, and South Oxford Streets. Between dodging hipster Pratt artists and yuppies pushing strollers, you’ll find a quiet escape from the louder parts of Brooklyn. Due to the Pratt Institute, the neighborhood is primarily young students and families, and the community is filled with artists and bohemians of all types. The hill keeps it real, mixing cultures beneath the green leafy trees, and boasting such famous residents as Rosie Perez, Talib Kweli, Diana Martinez, and Mos Def- not to mention the old stomping grounds of Mr. Notorious B.I.G. himself.
1. Delicious, affordable and authentic, Castro’s (511 Myrtle Ave) has been serving the residents of Clinton Hill with outstanding Mexican food for years. The Jukebox in the front spouts Mexican music, you can eat outside on a sunny day, and their burritos are the size of a football. We’d recommend the chicken burritos ($7) for all of you carnivores, and cheese enchiladas for the vegetarians ($10). Open daily 11:30a-11:30p.
2. Hungry for a bialy ($1) and some culture? At Tillie’s of Brooklyn (248 DeKalb Ave), art comes with your side of $3.25 granola . The Brownstone Poets’ Reading is the latest event in the Salon Series that features spoken and written word, including poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and storytelling. Tillie’s hosts open mic nights, art exhibitions, openings, and readings- just check out their website at www.tilliesofbrooklyn.com for a complete schedule of events. Open Mon-Fri, 7a-9p and Sat-Sun, 8a-9p.
3. Bergen bagels on 473 Myrtle St is the place to pick up perfectly plump, kettle-cooked bagels ($1.75) with loads of house-made cream cheese, with choices of olive, walnut raisin, sundried tomato, and tofu vegetable ($1.00-$2.10 each). Open daily 6a-11p.
1. Whatever is on display at Pratt. The 2009/2010 gallery season’s theme is Design and Sustainability, and the Envelopes show, curated by Chrisoper Hight, is an interesting way to see this theme at work. The show features envelopes with designs that “explore new potentials of the architectural surface in terms of the skin of a building and also as a skin that envelopes the body.” On display are full-scale models and architectural renderings of these models. Drop by the Rubelle and Norman Schafler Gallery (200 Willougby Ave, 1st Fl) and see for yourself. FREE.
2. Watch the hotties play a pick-up game of basketball at Greene Playground on weekend afternoons. Pick a seat on the bleachers between Fulton St above St. Felix St and DeKalb Ave.
1. Stitch and Bitch Sewing Circle on Sundays at the little Café Suave (559 Myrtle Ave) has a homey 1940s feel. While the jury’s still out on if this establishment is actually closed (they’ve proudly displayed a “CLOSED” sign since their first day of opening), it’s worth a shot.
2. Challenge your fellow Bitch on a Budget adventurer to a swinging contest at Underwood park (at Lafayette and Washington Aves).
3. Alibi (242 DeKalb Ave) offers an unfinished-wood porch for smokers, a pool table, spray-painted walls, deer hunter arcade games, $4 Guiness and happy hour from 6p-8p. What’s not to like? If you’re in need of a local bar with cheap beer, stiff drinks, and students wearing sweatpants, look for further.
1. Take yourself to Apple Art Supplies (321 Dekalb Ave) and run wild through the overpriced aisles. Swarming with Pratt students and artists who don’t feel up to fighting the crowd at Pearl Paint on Canal St, this art supply store is close to heaven and fully stocked with all of your creative needs.
SPEND: (not including $2.25 metrocard) $11- 15
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Vinegar is an acidic liquid processed from the fermentation of ethanol in a process that yields acetic acid. It has been used since ancient times and is an important element in European, Asian, and other cuisines.
We have also come to found that it is truly a lifesaver, working overtime in a variety of time saving functions we we're aware of. Before you regulate that bottle of Shoprite-brand vinegar to the back of your cabinet, pull it out and make it earn its keep.
- Clean your teakettle or coffeepot, by boiling a mixture of water and vinegar in a teakettle and wiping away the grime. Cleaning your coffeemaker? Fill the reservoir of a coffeemaker with a mix of vinegar and water and run the brew cycle. Follow this with several cycles of just plain water to rinse.
- Boil better eggs by adding two tablespoons of vinegar to the water before boiling. The acidity of the vinegar helps to keep eggs from cracking.
- If, like me, you happen to take your sweet time when it comes to finishing your cup of morning coffee, chances are you’ve successfully stained the bottom of your favorite cup. Remove coffee stains by swishing 2 tablespoons of vinegar around in the cup and wash as usual.
- Killing yourself over trying to peel off price tags or stickers? Paint them with several coats of vinegar and let the liquid soak for five minutes before you peel.
- Make your 3 x 4 Williamsburg ‘backyard” into a garden paradise by using vinegar to kill your weeds. Fill a spray bottle with straight vinegar and spray multiple times.
- Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting. Dot the irritated area with vinegar to relieve immediate itching and take the edge off your sting.
- If the snow salt has wrecked havoc on your favorite boots, save them by reaching for the vinegar. Dip a rag or old T-shirt into vinegar and wipe away all that white, fabulous-killing residue.
- Don’t keep buttermilk on hand for all of your fried-chicken and baking needs? Not to worry. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and let it stand four to five minutes to thicken.
- We’ve heard a rumor that consuming one tablespoon full of the stuff stops hiccups instantly. Will test and get back to you guys about that one.
- Return your favorite sweater to its formerly fluffy state by dropping a few capfuls of vinegar in during the rinse cycle for an extra-soft feel.
What’s your household Wonder Product? Send us the household products you love and we’ll give ‘em a test.
Email us at email@example.com, or Tweet us @bbonabudget!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Did this go bad?
Part of being a Brooklyn Bitch on a Budget is not throwing anything away. Unfortunately, we’re somewhat notorious for holding onto most things for waaay past their expiration dates. It’s like if we have it in our fridge, we’ll use it somehow- even when your grapes are wrinkly, our milk is somewhat curdled, and our bread is stale. However, we’ve come to discover that keeping food well past it’s due date only results in a fridge full of smelly, rotten food.
One of our resolutions is to only buy what we can use (let’s see how long we can stay with it). Luckily, we’ve compiled this list to remind us how long we can keep certain foods around our kitchen before they pass their prime. Discard accordingly!
Apples: up to 3 weeks. Keep unwrapped in the fridge.
Asparagus: 4 days. Cut off bottoms and wrap exposed ends in moist paper towel in fridge.
Basil: 2-4 days. Avoid if wilted.
Bell peppers: 1 week. Store in plastic in fridge.
Berries: 3 days, max. Store in ventilated container in fridge.
Broccoli: 5 days. Keep in plastic in fridge.
Carrots: 3 weeks. Remove tops and refrigerate in plastic.
Celery: 2 weeks. Keep in fridge in vented plastic bag.
Cherries: 5 days, max. Store in plastic.
Chicken (cooked): 3-4 days. Refrigerate in shallow, covered containers.
Chicken (raw): 1-2 days. Keep in freezer.
Coffee beans: 1 month. Store in a cool, dark place in a container. Grounds last up to 2 weeks.
Dry pasta: up to a year, making it a favorite of the Brooklyn Bitches on a Budget. Store in a cool, dark place.
Eggs: 3-5 weeks. Place on lower shelves of fridge- not the door!
Flour: 6-8 months. Store in cool, dry place. A sealed container is ideal.
Garlic: 2 months. Store unwrapped in a cool, dry, ventilated place.
Grapefruit: 2 weeks. Store in fridge
Grapes: 1 week. Place in vented plastic bag and store in fridge.
Ground beef: 2 days. Either refrigerate or freeze.
Lemons/limes: 2 weeks. Store in fridge
Lettuce: 1 week. Refrigerate in plastic bag with a dry paper towel to absorb moisture.
Mushrooms: 3 days. Store in paper bag and put in fridge.
Onions: 2 months. Store in cool, dry place.
Oranges: 2 weeks. Store in fridge.
Pizza: 3-4 days. Keep leftovers wrapped in fridge.
Pork (raw): 3 days. Refrigerate in sealed container.
Potatoes: 1-2 months. Store in cool, dry place.
Steak (cooked): 3-4 days. Keep refrigerated.
Steak (raw): 3-5 days. Refrigerate in original packaging.
Tomatoes: 5 days, max. Store stem-side down and unwrapped at room temperature.
Make sure to keep your food fresh and your fridge smelling great!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Say it three times fast, and you’ll get the feel of our favorite Middle Eastern dish.
It’s what we look for first on the menu at The Hummus Place, and it’s the dish that brought on the Great Kitchen Disaster At Metropolitan Ave 2007- my roommate and I attempted to recreate it’s awesomeness by memory and were seriously disappointed.
Alas, it’s not as hard (or as expensive) as we originally thought. Shakshouka is native to North Africa and the Middle East, and usually served as a breakfast straight out of the skillet with a side of warm pita bread. However, we feel the need to eat this awesome hearty meal for lunch and dinner- plus we’re guaranteed to have plenty of leftovers.
Want to try for yourself?
All you need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped bell pepper (red or yellow or green)
1 can chickpeas
1 can black beans
1 chopped onion (red or white)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 clove chopped garlic
1 jar tomato sauce
black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, tumeric
2 c brown rice
4 c water
(Makes 4-5 servings)
- Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
- Add rice and cover. Remove top periodically to allow steam to escape. DO NOT STIR RICE!
- Coat large skillet with oil and turn heat to medium-high. Add onion and peppers, stirring until they brown.
- Add chickpeas, tomatoes, beans, and garlic. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, heat until it boils. Add spices to taste.
- Once sauce is boiling and vegetables are cooked, crack eggs on top of mixture. Cover the frying pan and turn the heat on low until the eggs are cooked through.
- Once eggs are cooked, serve over rice directly from skillet.