Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Accidental Vegetarian

Have you ever had amazing food that you didn't know you would actually like? Welcome to my world of Food. This past weekend I was lucky to venture to this place for a sampling of their fine tacos, one of which was a vegetarian option on the menu. I have been to quite a fair share of vegetarian spots and are always willing to try something new to me out. Well, let's just say after my meal, I was hooked. Soy crumbles with spices and seasoning was just too perfect. So, after one of my vegetarian friends pointed out that I could make them at home with his vegetarian "meat", I figured I would make my own to see how they stood up.

As simple as tacos can be, this one is just as so. You will only need a few ingredients.
  • Soy Crumbles ( I used BOCA brand- as they were what was recommended to me)
  • Tortillas/Taco Shells (I have to eat gluten-free so I choose corn tortillas)
  • Taco Seasoning (I use McCormick's Perfect Pinch Mexican)
  • Toppings (I prefer a lower cal option so I opted for Romaine Lettuce and Tostitos Salsa)
Here is what I did:
  1. Soy Crumbles come frozen, and already pre-cooked. All you need to do is heat up your desired amount (i used 1/2C for two tacos since I like mine pretty full) in a skillet. This only takes about 5-7 minutes just for the crumbles to thaw and warm. Add a pinch of olive oil so the crumbles will not stick.
  2. While the crumbles are cooking, chop your romaine lettuce.
  3. Since the oven has already preheated early (350 degrees) simply place the tortilla shells on the oven and allow them to hang for taco-shape. This will only take about 3-5 minutes so you will want to do this last.
  4. Before removing the crumbles, add taco seasoning to pan. Remove from heat and stir.
  5. Remove taco shells from oven and place on plate. Fill tacos with crumbles and toppings of choice. Serve warm!
As easy as it was to cook those crumbles, I was simply amazed. Now, as apprehensive as most people are of soy products, I find this a great replacement for beef. This would be great in spaghetti, tacos (like seen here) or any other dish where you could subsitute ground beef. Just keep the crumbles well seasoned and you will not taste the difference. Enjoy!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Instagram: Keeping Up with The Thrifted Owl

Since this time of year is so busy for me, I encourage you guys to follow me on Instagram (@baconneggs) if you have an account. I always post my latest thrifted finds- and other personal day-to-day in's and out's of my life. I have come across some really great pieces for my new condo and I cannot wait to share some of my upcoming projects with you all. So, stay tuned for more upcoming goods as they come! You are not going to want to miss these budget-friendly tips, tricks and ideas that you can easily do on your own.

Happy Hunting!

How-To: Freezing Kale

Kale. What a great new healthy veggie for our table. High and vitamins and minerals, this little leaf packs a punch. And with such a budget-friendly vegetable that is so versatile, it is one staple you're going to want to keep around. One of my personal favorite things to do with kale is to turn it into kale chips (btw you can find the recipe I follow here). Since I have been buying it in large quantities of  it I have always wondered if I can freeze it. Then that day came this weekend. So when I went to the farmers market here I asked the local farmer who grew the kale if they knew if it was possible to freeze (they said yes). So since I was in the dark for so long I figured I would pass my kale freezing tips onto you.
First thing is first you will need to prep the kale. Since it normally comes so large you will need to snip the pieces off of the stalk. Just take some regular old kitchen shears and snips the pieces to desired length ( I kept mine on the larger side so that I would snip them later).  Make sure you also clip off the yellow or brown pieces.

Next, you will need to start a large pot of water. Once it starts boiling, you are going to place a few stalks in to start blanching. This will essentially clean the bacteria and dirt on the veggie. Since my kale pieces include the stalks, I am going to keep them in for 3 minutes. If you prefer to  remove the stalks on each piece, you will only need to blanch the pieces for 2 minutes each.

Next set aside a bowl of ice. Once each pot of kale has been blanched, you will need to shock the kale- to stop the cooking process. This will allow the kale to be half cooked and bright green but allow you to be able to fully cook it later on.

After you have shocked the kale, set it in a colander to drip dry while you complete the rest of the pieces you have remaining.

Once you have finished all of the kale, you will need to allow it to fully dry before placing it in freezer bags for storage. If it is not fully dried, it will be soggy and therefore will not freeze well- so ensure it is completely dry first ( I used paper towels to get excess water as well.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Jewlery for Sale

Okay Guys and Gals, I have some stellar news for everyone. I am starting the process of getting all my jewelry ready to go for sale. So, if you are interested in purchasing some items, stay tuned for the deets.

Just to give you a brief history, I have been a big hands-on person since I was a child. I was the kid that wanted the crafting kits, and I was so fortunate to have various family members purchase me DIY kits for all kinds of projects. As I grew older, and my tastes changed, I started getting more into jewelry. My mantra has always been, why pay so much for a beautiful piece at the store when I can easily make it myself. As a teenager, a budget is essential to ensure you can do what you want and get things you like as well. Thus, the budget fashionista inside me was created. Since then, I have been making jewerly and other pieces for my friends until one finally suggested that I take my hobby and talents and sell them. And, after much trial and tribulation, I am finally able to start bringing my passions to life to share with everyone. I hope you enjoy my pieces and I look forward to making more items for everyone.

Thanks!
Lauren
The Thrifted Owl

Friday, September 27, 2013

Liberty Trail Instagram Contest Winners - Richmond.com: Discover Richmond

Hey All!
I have been super busy with some amazing upcoming projects I cannot wait to show you. However, I have also been busy trailing around town taking photos of this beautiful city and accidentally took 3rd place in an Instagram contest.

Check it out!! (and for more photos, check out Instagram @baconneggs)

Liberty Trail Instagram Contest Winners - Richmond.com: Discover Richmond

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thrifty Grocery Shopping Tips and Tricks

Hey Friends! It has been way too long. Thanks for sticking around. I have been on quite the blogger vacation! Between moving, life changes and everything in between, it has been a bit busy in this busy owl's life. Well, let's get down to business. If you have been following me on Instagram (@baconneggs), then you have been keeping up with some of my thrify purchases and mini walking tours of my city. However, I have a few things I have been saving specifically for those blog-reading-loving-fanatics and so I am going to just get back into the groove of things!


These thrifty ideas are not in the clothing department today. Today I am talking about something we do everyday...eat. Most importantly, food shopping. Groceries can be expensive, but we all have to buy them. So, why waste your money and throw out items that you spent your hard earned money to get? That's like taking your paycheck and throwing it in the trash. No one likes to waste. I am here to give you a few tips that can help you save a ton of moolah- and time!
  1. Buy some items in bulk. Not like Costco (all though that can save you some money on staples like toilet paper and paper towels), but buying items on sale. This past week I went to my local grocery store and they had a 6 pack of corn for $3 (that is 50 cents per ear). I brought them home, shucked them, cut them in half and froze them for later. Of course I am not going to eat all that corn anytime soon, but I can buy it now and save myself some hassle (and money) later on. And, it ended up being cheaper than the fresh canned corn I buy.
  2. Keep an Eye on Manager Specials. Go check out the meat department. Do you see any items with the clearance stickers on them for steaks? Grab them. The butcher of the store is in charge of circulating meat and if that meat has been on their shelves too long (less than a week), they put them on clearance so they can put their new meat in. This meat is still good and you can freeze it. Take those steaks home, slice them up for fajitas, steak tips, etc. and you will have saved yourself some dough in the process.
  3. Go on Off days. The best time to go to the grocery store is Tuesday or Wedneday. The least amount of shoppers go grocery shopping that day and you can always find the best sales, especially if the trucks are coming in. Talk to your produce manager to see when the truck comes in to your grocery store. This is also the best time to get fresh produce- instead of on the weekend when it has been picked through by the crowds.
  4. Talk to the grocery store staff. Befriend these folks. They are gold on your food budget. If you make friends with the butcher, they will recognize you and often cut you a great deal for your loyalty to the store. And, they can also help you with recipe ideas, etc., so start talking to them and before you know it, you will have one more friend in the store that can help you!
  5. Bring and Use Coupons. Most people do not like using coupons. This is free money my friends! Let's just say you need cereal. There may be a coupon that could save you on top of the savings from the store's sales ad. Which means you could save twice as much money as if you had just gone in without the coupon. I know they can be a hassle and it is time consuming to cut them out of the sunday paper. However, if you have seen the extreme couponers, you know, you can save some serious money with coupons.
And these are just a few tips I try to keep in mind when shopping for my groceries. I know some of you have a lot of tips and tricks. So, feel free to share them. I love to hear new ideas!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Supporting Your Local Community

One big thing I take into consideration when I am going to purchase something (regardless if I am looking for a great price or just wanting to find the best quality for my buck), I consider shopping local. Big box stores and chains (like Best Buy, TGI Friday's, etc.) lose what local owner have - they are right where we are. When I shop local, I give back to my city. The money I give a local merchant stays here -and I have found they provide the best services. Some of my favorite places to eat are locally owned right here in my own city.

One of my favorite venues in my city is coming up the weekend - called Arts in the Park. It is where local people bring their crafts, art, and homemade goods to one of the local parks, Byrd Park. It is free to attend and parking is also free. The people there are locals that live in my city and surrounding counties and they bring their items to the park for purchase. Some of my favorite pieces of jewelry and art work are from this event. It happens every year- during the Spring- and is one of the busiest times of year for my city. I am excited to share that one of my dear friends Lisa, known at The Pumkin Lady, will be there selling her items from her Spinbob Studios collections. I cannot wait to see her and support all these great artists!

If you are in the Richmond, VA area and are looking for great, local merchants to support, please check out this link for more! And, if you so happen to be in Richmond, VA this weekend, check out Arts in the Park!